European Central Bank

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When Fearmongering Goes Bad: Greece Scrambles To Prevent Deposit Run Goldman Warned About In Its "Worst Case"





Recall that just over two weeks ago, none other than Greek currency swap expert Goldman (alongside Jean-Claude Juncker who quite explicitly warned Greeks not "to vote wrong") came out with a Fire and Brimstone worst-case scenario which was nothing but an attempt at fearmongering designed to scare Greek MPs into doing Samaras' bidding, in which it said not electing the designated presidential candidate may lead to a worst-case scenario which involves a "Cyprus-style prolonged bank holiday." Basically what Goldman said is that unless Greece quickly folds back in line and does as the unelected Brussels eurocrats demand, there will be a Cyprus-style bank closure coupled with preemptied bank runs. Well.... oops. Because if that was the doubled-down bluff, then Greece just called it, and the "downside scenario" is now in play.

 
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Germany "Not Concerned" As The Cradle Of Democracy Rocks The Autocrats And Kleptocrats





With Greek CDS surging to near post-bailout highs (and short-end bond yields back above 11%), it appears the market is anxious of the endgame as tomorrow's 3rd and final 'snap-election'-saving vote looms. Following Samaras fearmongering yesterday, it appears Germany is starting to fear the worst (and play down its effect), as Merkel's bloc states "the prospect of a Greek sovereign default is no longer a concern for euro member countries and financial markets," adding "hope that Greece’s international partners would pay if the country’s policymakers refuse to carry out necessary reforms is misplaced." However, as Bruno de Landevoisin notes, "what is at stake is none other than the prosperity of the common man pitted against the privilege of concentrated power."

 
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The Cradle of Democracy Rocks the Autocrats





On the old continent, this December 29th, a succinct political showdown is scheduled to take place which may well become a defining moment for our entirely unsettled new millenium. 

 
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"The Fed Is Heading For Another Catastrophe... Central Banking Has Lost Its Way" Stephen Roach Warns





America’s Federal Reserve is headed down a familiar — and highly dangerous — path. Steeped in denial of its past mistakes, the Fed is pursuing the same incremental approach that helped set the stage for the financial crisis of 2008-2009. The consequences could be similarly catastrophic. The Fed’s incrementalism of 2004-2006 was a policy blunder of epic proportions. The Fed seems poised to make a similar — and possibly even more serious — misstep in the current environment. In these days of froth, the persistence of extraordinary policy accommodation in a financial system flooded with liquidity poses a great danger.

 
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Two Months After Saying "Deflation Isn't Going To Happen" ECB Warns "Negative Inflation" Is Coming





ECB's Vitor Constancio, October 26, 2014: "The scenario of deflation is not there because indeed we don't consider that deflation is going to happen."

ECB's Vitor Constancio, December 20, 2014:" "We now expect negative inflation in the coming months."

 
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2014 Year In Review (Part 1): The Final Throes Of A Geopolitical Game Of Tetris





Every year, David Collum writes a detailed "Year in Review" synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year's is no exception. "I have not seen a year in which so many risks - some truly existential - piled up so quickly. Each risk has its own, often unknown, probability of morphing into a destructive force. It feels like we’re in the final throes of a geopolitical Game of Tetris as financial and political authorities race to place the pieces correctly. But the acceleration is palpable. The proximate trigger for pain and ultimately a collapse can be small, as anyone who’s ever stepped barefoot on a Lego knows..."

 
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The False Promises Of 2% Inflation





A specter is haunting the world, the specter of two percent inflationism. Whether pronounced by the U.S. Federal Reserve or the European Central Bank, or from the Bank of Japan, many monetary central planners have declared their determination to impose a certain minimum of rising prices on their societies and economies. One of the oldest of economic fallacies continues to dominate and guide the thinking of monetary policy makers: that printing money is the magic elixir for the creating of sustainable prosperity. Once the inflationary monetary expansion ends or is slowed down, it is discovered that the artificially created supply and demand patterns and relative price and wage structure are inconsistent with non-inflationary market conditions. Governments and their monetary central planners, therefore, are the cause and not the solution to the instabilities and hardships of inflations and recessions.

 
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The Biggest Economic Story Going Into 2015 Is Not Oil





Once again oil is not even the biggest story today. It’s plenty big enough by itself to bring down large swaths of the economy, but in the background there’s an even bigger tale a-waiting. Not entirely unconnected, but by no means the exact same story either. It’s like them tsunami waves as they come rolling in. It’s exactly like that. That is, in the wake of the oil tsunami, which is a long way away from having finished washing down our shores, there’s the demise of emerging markets. And we're not talking Putin, he’ll be fine, as he showed again yesterday in his big press-op. It’s the other, smaller, emerging countries that will blow up in spectacular fashion, and then spread their mayhem around. And make no mistake: to be a contender for bigger story than oil going into 2015, you have to be major league large. This one is.

 
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Former BIS Chief Economist: "The System Is Dangerously Unanchored; It Is Every Man For Himself"





"There is no automatic adjustment of current account deficits and surpluses, they can get totally out of hand. There are effects from big countries to little ones, like Switzerland. The system is dangerously unanchored. It is every man for himself. And we do not know what the long-term consequences of this will be. And if countries get in serious trouble, think of the Russians at the moment, there is nobody at the center of the system who has the responsibility of providing liquidity to people who desperately need it. If we have a number of small countries or one big country which run into trouble, the resources of the International Monetary Fund to deal with this are very limited. The idea that all countries act in their own individual interest, that you just let the exchange rate float and the whole system will be fine: This all is a dangerous illusion."

 
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3 Things Worth Thinking About





Shifting consumption from gasoline sales to retail sales does not create economic growth. It is just a "shift" in where the same dollars are spent. However, there has been much "hoopla" over the recent retail sales report for November that saw retail sales jump for the month by 0.7%. While on the surface this appears to be a strong retail sales report, a quick look below the surface quickly destroys that claim.

 
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Frontrunning: December 15





  • Sydney Siege Sparks Muslim Call for Calm Amid Backlash Fear (BBG)
  • Oil Spilling Over Into Central Bank Policy as Fed Enters Fray (BBG)
  • Biggest LBO of 2014: BC Partners to acquire PetSmart for $8.7 billion (Reuters)
  • Tremble algos: the SEC has hired... "QUANTS" (WSJ)
  • When the bubble just isn't bubbly enough: There’s $1.7 Trillion Locked Out of China’s Stock Rally (BBG)
  • Oil price slide roils emerging markets, yen rises (Reuters) - may want to hit F5 on that
  • Libya Imposes Force Majeure on 2 Oil Ports After Clashes (BBG) ... and will resume production in days
  • Amid Crisis, Pimco Steadies Itself (WSJ)
 
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Crude Crash Set To Continue After Arab Emirates Hint $40 Oil Coming Next





In space, no one can hear you scream... unless you happen to be Venezuela's (soon to be former) leader Nicolas Maduro, who has been doing a lot of screaming this morning following news that UAE's Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei said OPEC will stand by its decision not to cut crude output "even if oil prices fall as low as $40 a barrel" and will wait at least three months before considering an emergency meeting.

 
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Deflation Is Winning (And Central Banks Are Running Scared)





The simple message: Quantitative Easing has failed to generate inflation. Stated alternatively: QE has not been able to overcome still extant deflationary pressures. Global central banker actions in printing over $13 trillion of new money over the last 6 years have been insufficient to surmount still existing deflationary forces.  It tells us the probability of further global deflationary impulses are very real.  This has direct implications for any sector of the economy or financial markets whose fundamentals are negatively leveraged to deflationary pressures (think banks, real estate, etc.)  Be assured the central bankers are more than fully aware of this.

 
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European QE Postponed Indefinitely? Leaked EU Draft Shows "Lack Of Political Cover" For Draghi





Today things for the former Goldman banker went from bad to worse, when as the FT reports, the ECB lost its "normal political cover" to make a bold decision, in fact the boldest decision in the ECB's history: one which could lead to a political and legal retaliation by Germany itself. The reason, as FT's Peter Spiegel explains, is that unlike previously when EU summits resulted in "greenlighting" blueprints which, if only on paper, enabled Draghi to proceed unconstrained, this time there was no such blank check compact. The bottom line, as Spiegel concludes, is that "Draghi won’t have the normal political cover he needs to make a bold decision early next year – a problem only compounded by the European Commission’s decision last month to put off the day of reckoning for France and Italy over whether they will face sanctions for failing to live up to the EU’s crisis-era budget rules."

 
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