European Central Bank
Foreign investment is of course common around the world and is generally seen as a good thing. Americans mostly like it, for instance, when Japanese investors bid up shares of US companies or Chinese expats pay above asking price for Manhattan apartments. With only a few exceptions we take the money and don’t look back. But there must be a limit, a point where foreign interests own so much of a country that they call the shots and the locals become in effect their serfs. Greece might be the test case that shows us where that point is...
"German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble conceded the possibility that Greece may need a parallel currency alongside the euro if the country’s talks with creditors fail," Bloomberg reports. Meanwhile, "sideline" negotiations between Greek PM Tsipras and Angela Merkel breakdown in Riga.
The uncertainty surrounding the inevitability, if not the exact timing, of multiple and possibly overlapping volatility drivers is itself a source of volatility. For the average person, these signs can be scary. Taking steps to avoid the circus as much as possible, such as extracting money from the markets, securing personal assets, and waiting out the swings, can be a source of emotional comfort and future financial stability.
A robust economy would allow central banks to raise rates and still allow debts to be paid down. But that is not what is happening. And it won’t happen. Junkies rarely go out and get a job... and gradually “taper off” their habit. No. They have to crash... hit bottom... and sink into such misery that they have no choice but to go cold turkey. Now, major central banks are committed to QE and ZIRP forever. They have created an economy that is addicted to EZ money. It will have to be smashed to smithereens before the feds change their policies.
Shape Of Greek Endgame Emerges: IMF Discussed "Cyprus-Like" Plan After Tsipras Warned Of Looming DefaultSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/18/2015 09:46 -0400
The IMF discussed a "Cyrpus-like" take it or leave it solution for Greece last week, FT reports. With the countdown to outright insolvency down to two weeks, PM Tsipras will meet EU leaders in Latvia on Thursday to make one last push for a last minute deal. Meanwhile, the fate of the Greek banking sector hangs in the balance as the ECB has come under fire for the monetary financing of the Greek government.
Once again, Greece seems to have slipped the financial noose. This brinkmanship is no accident. Since coming to power in January, the Greek government, led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza party, has believed that the threat of default – and thus of a financial crisis that might break up the euro – provides negotiating leverage to offset Greece’s lack of economic and political power. But their calculation is based on a false premise.
Central bank liquidity lines like those the Fed used to bailout the world seven years ago have become a fixture of the post crisis financial system. Since 2009, China has essentially blanketed the globe with yuan liquidity lines, inking swap agreements with nearly three dozen countries with the primary goal of increasing the degree to which the renminbi is used in international trade.
The costs and consequences of Greece exiting the Eurozone may well dwarf the financial losses triggered by Greece's default.
"The head of Germany's Bundesbank ripped into the European Central Bank on Thursday, saying emergency funding for Greek banks broke the taboo of financing governments and it was not up to central banks to decide who was or wasn't in the euro zone," Reuters reports.
While the US economy was crushed by harsh snow in Q1, with its GDP set to be revised to nearly -1.0% (yes, we know the real reason was the collapse in Chinese end demand and the soaring dollar but don't tell the Fed), Europe must have had a very balmy winter, because as Eurostat reported earlier today, Europe grew (and considering Europe estimates the "benefit" for prostitution and illegal drugs to the economy, we use the term loosely) 0.4% in the first quarter, a 1.6% annualized growth rate, in line with expectations, up from 0.3% last quarter and a year ago, and tied for the highest GDP print in 4 years.
The troika wants the Syriza government to execute things that run counter to their election promises. No matter how many people point out the failures of austerity measures as they are currently being implemented in various countries, the troika insists on more austerity. Even as they know full well Syriza can’t give them that because of its mandate. Let alone its morals. It’s a power game. It’s a political game. It always was. But still it has invariably been presented by both the international-press and the troika as an economic problem.
With a deal between Greece and its creditors seen as exceedingly unlikey at Monday's Eurogroup meeting, officials and analysts alike debate the logistics of default and a return to the drachma while Greeks may be called upon to choose between austerity or preparing for the possible introduction of a parallel currency and the economic malaise that will invariably follow.
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Earlier we detailed reports that The IMF was preparing a contingency plan in the event of a Greek default, and furthermore that Andrea Merkel was under increasing pressure to "let Greece go," and now, as Eurogroup ministers begin to gather for today's crucial 'deal-or-no-deal' meeting, Die Welt reports The Troika has 4 scenarios for Greece - one positive and three increasingly negative ranging from the need for further bailouts to paying staff in IOUs and issuing a parallel currency.