With talks between Greece and its creditors expected to go mostly nowhere in Riga later this week, and with speculation about an energy deal between Athens and Moscow (i.e. the precursor to the dreaded "Russian pivot") looking less like speculation and more like reality with each passing day, Europe is going the spite route by filing anti-trust charges against Gazprom.
While this week sees the peak of Q1 earnings season, it will be a generally quiet week on the macro economic front for both EM and DM, with the emphasis on the latest seasonally adjusted manufacturing sentiment surveys, US durables and Japan trade.
While today's macro calendar is empty with no central bank speakers or economic news (just the monthly budget (deficit) statement this afternoon), it’s a fairly busy calendar for us to look forward to this week as earnings season kicks up a gear in the US as mentioned while Greece headlines and the G20 finance ministers meeting on Thursday mark the non-data related highlights.
The Middle East’s ongoing descent into chaos and China’s impending ascendancy to the status of global superpower are just two of the many threats that the US, European Union and Russia all share. Each of these issues should certainly occupy a higher position on their respective agendas than the breakup of Ukraine or the insolvency of Greece. Leaders of all three governments would be well-advised to set aside their differences, or at least to prevent those differences from obstructing cooperation on more important issues. Unlike its predecessor, the Second Cold War will not be bilateral. Today’s world is far more chaotic, kinetic and dangerous than it was fifty years ago.
"NATO completed the first military drills for its new rapid reaction force. From Tuesday through Thursday, more than 1,500 troops took part in exercise 'Noble Jump,' designed to test whether troops assigned to NATO’s new Spearhead Force, or Very High Joint Readiness Task Force, could be ready to deploy 48 hours after receiving an order-to-move." In other words: NATO could deploy troops to counter Russian "aggression" within 2 days.
While Germany has pre-emptively, and somewhat defensively, come out proclaiming Russian aid to Greece as 'no big deal' - a "routine event" - we suspect the signal that it would send would not be entirely great for the EU (and Obama's) 'Russia is evil' meme. Nonetheless, as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras meets Russian President Vladimir Putin today - just one day before The IMF loan repoayment is due, topics for discussion vary from lifting sanctions (bilaterally) or bankrolling a bailout to gas discount from Gazprom. Here's a summary...
There is virtually nothing in the substance of the deal for the War Party to attack. To defeat the deal, the War Party will have to defend its three-decade long campaign of exaggerations, distortions and bellicose animosity toward the Iranian state. But that is impossible because the axis-of-evil narrative was never remotely true. What the framework deal actually does, therefore, is to open the door to an eventual US withdrawal from its bloody, failed history of intervention in the middle east. So doing, it would pave the way for a drastic shrinkage of an obsolete war machine that has had no purpose since 1991 except to spill American blood and treasure in a region of the world where it has no business meddling. No wonder the War Party is going hysterical.
This week's main event will be the FOMC announcement on Wednesday at 2:00 pm and the subsequent press conference, the conclusion of the March 2-day Fed meeting, in which it is widely expected that Yellen will announce the end of the Fed's "Patience" with an economy in which resurgent waiters and bartenders continue to skew the job market even if it means consistently declining wages for 80% of the US labor force. Here is a summary of what else to expect this week.
"The best environment for man is the environment of liberty." - former President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus
Liberty is a fundamental human right; it is the cornerstone of our existence. But liberty is under attack from all directions, whether through higher state control or individuals themselves. Liberty is in search for its protector.
With Greece moving to the, ahem, periphery if only for a few days/hours, this week the US calendar returns to the forefront with Fed Chair Yellen’s semi-annual monetary policy testimony before the Senate Banking Committee tomorrow night and the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, which the market will be paying very close attention to for the reconciliation of how the Fed plans to continue on its rate-hiking path despite rapidly deteriorating US macro data that has started 2015 at the worst pace (in terms of downside surprises) since Lehman.
The 2015 World Press Freedom Index highlights the worldwide drastic decline in freedom of information in 2014. The rise in overall violations of freedom of information was evident in all continents, but for America - the bastion of press freedom in the land of the free and "the most transparenet administration ever" - fell once again... to 49th!!
It is very difficult for governments to control the progress of a monetary union break-up because the example of one country exiting will create a precedent in the eyes of other members of the monetary union. The transmission channel is not government bonds, nor equities, not currency markets, but banks. In the event of a Greek exit from the euro, the loss in the real value of Greek bank deposits would encourage bank depositors in other countries to withdraw their funds.
The process can be very rapid indeed.
During the fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2014, U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) deployed to 133 countries - roughly 70% of the nations on the planet - according to Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bockholt, a public affairs officer with U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). And this year could be a record-breaker, just 66 days into fiscal 2015 - America’s most elite troops had already set foot in 105 nations, approximately 80% of 2014’s total. Despite its massive scale and scope, this secret global war across much of the planet is unknown to most Americans…”We want to be everywhere,” said Votel at Geolnt...
Austrian "Freedom" Party Demands Bailout For Swiss Franc Speculators (From "Monstrous Monetary Policy")Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/26/2015 23:10 -0400
The phrases "it's just not fair" and "waa waa waa" were not seen in Austria's Freedom Party's statement demanding a bailout for Swiss-Franc-denominated borrowers (i.e. people who were willing to speculate on FX rates with their house as collateral in order to get a lower interest rate in order to afford a bigger home that they really couldn't afford in real risk-adjusted terms). What Austria needs, general secretary Franz Kickl exclaimed is "a general regulation and an offer to all Franc borrowers," adding that "it cannot be that Austrian borrowers are the only ones who keep their losses even they are indemnified in Hungary, Croatia and perhaps even in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia." Which does sound oddly like 'waa waa waa'?