Greek FinMin Varoufakis is meeting sovereign debt lawyer Lee Buchheit today, the ‘fairy godmother to finance ministers in distress’... The big questions concern not just the difference between on the one hand, economic issues and on the other, political ones. Syriza doesn’t have the mandate to take Greece out of the eurozone. That is a huge point. But neither does it have the mandate to give in to the troika’s insistence on pensions cuts. At a certain moment, it may come down to what can be explained to the Greek people, and how well it can be explained. This explanation will almost certainly have to come after the fact, since holding a referendum pre-Grexit would carry far too much potential risk of uncontrolled demolition of the entire Greek economy and banking system.
Update: SCHAEUBLE: GREECE FREE TO SEEK RUSSIAN AID, MAY NOT GET MUCH
As Greeks take to the streets, Varoufakis calls predictions about Grexit reverberations delusional, and Bloomberg proposes a list of Greek default scenarios. Meanwhile, central banks move to ringfence Greek exposure and analysts scramble to outline the risk of bank runs, capital controls, and contagion.
- Fed Shies Away From June Rate Hike (Hilsenrath)
- Europe Stocks Fall Most in Three Weeks Amid Greece as Banks Drop (BBG)
- China Futures Tumble on Trust Curbs, Expansion of Short Selling (BBG)
- Oil slips below $64 as ample supplies weigh (Reuters)
- Fed officials lean all ways on rate hikes, data in focus (Reuters)
- Eurozone deflation eases in March (FT)
- Euro zone bond yields sink to historic lows (Reuters)
- Clinton Foundation to Keep Foreign Donors (WSJ)
- Russia says U.S. forced it to act on Ukraine (Reuters)
- Bankers to China's Rescue (BBG)
- Saudi Arabia Adds Half a Bakken to Global Oil Market in a Month (BBG)
- Valuations of Hong Kong's stock market operator go interstellar (Reuters)
- Switzerland Attracts Fewer Firms as Politics Hurt Business Image (BBG)
The biggest star of today's ECB's press conference was not Mario Draghi but 21-year-old German feminist, Josephine Witt, an ex-Femen activist who jumped on Draghi's desk wearing an "ECB Dick-tatorship", a slogan she repeatedly screamed as she was led away by security guards. She threw paper copies of her demands at Mr Draghi, while showering him with confetti that were created from her finely chopped up manifesto. Who is Josephine Witt and what is her message?
- China growth slowest in six years, more stimulus expected soon (Reuters)
- EU charges Google over shopping searches, to probe Android (Reuters)
- A Chinese Paradox: Slow Growth Is Good, Stock Bubbles Welcome (BBG)
- Draghi Seen Dispelling Duration Doubts About QE Program (BBG)
- IEA Sees OPEC Supply Jumping Most in Four Years on Saudi Surge (BBG)
- SEC Reaches Settlement with Former Freddie Mac (WSJ)
- Kerry says confident Obama can get final deal on Iran (Reuters)
- Regulators Call for Short-Term Loan Changes to Handle ‘Too-Big-to-Fail’ (WSJ)
- Florida Doctor Linked to Sen. Robert Menendez Indicted for Medicare Fraud (WSJ)
It is quite obvious that Russia cannot substitute the West and in particular European countries with someone else. It is impossible for historical and cultural reasons, the abundance of industrial relations, geographical proximity and so on. Moscow can however substantially weaken such dependency through the strengthening of political, military, financial and economic relations with other countries which are friendlier and less susceptible to pressure from Washington. Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) holds a special place amongst countries friendly to the Russian government, and strategic dialogue is being actively developed with it.
To maintain its hegemony, the U.S. must by all means prevent the emergence of rival powers and impede possible current as well as future threats that could emanate from oil states. The ideal condition for enforcing its own goals at a low cost would be the fragmentation of antagonistic power centers through ethnic and religious strife, civil wars, chaos and deep-seated mistrust in the Middle East – always following the well-known premise of ‘divide and rule.’ In fact, we are currently experiencing tremendous changes towards such a chaotic state of affairs.
- Shale Oil Boom Could End in May After Price Collapse (BBG)
- Oil above $58 on U.S. shale output report, Mideast (Reuters)
- Ackman Says Student Loans Are the Biggest Risk in the Credit Market (BBG)
- Alibaba Disputes U.S. Group’s Claim it Tolerates Fake Goods on Taobao (WSJ)
- Petrobras takes steps to avert a technical default (FT)
- Yen’s Drop Is Approaching Its Limit, Says Abe Adviser Hamada (BBG)
- 'Slicing and dicing': How some U.S. firms could win big in 2016 elections (Reuters)
- Fed official warns ‘flash crash’ could be repeatedv (FT)
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.
- Greece pleads cash running out, told to hasten reforms (Reuters)
- ECB Cash Said Likely to Fall Short of Greek Request This Week (BBG)
- Chinese Stock Buying Frenzy Sweeps Into Hong (WSJ)
- Shell’s $70 Billion BG Deal Meets Shareholder Skepticism (BBG)
- Yemen's Houthis seize provincial capital despite Saudi-led raids (Reuters)
- Iran Nuclear Deal Gives Syria’s Bashar al-Assad Reason to Worry (WSJ)
- Slow apps, low battery life limit appeal of Apple Watch (Reuters)
- Gilead’s $1,000 Pill Is Hard for States to Swallow (WSJ)
- The Oil Industry's $26 Billion Life Raft (BBG)
A central bank official, according to The FT, said that Greece has repaid the €450m it owed the International Monetary Fund today. Bond yields have fallen across the Greek curve with 10Y GGBs now at 11.1% (down 70bps from Tuesday's highs). Greek stocks are not as impressed and are giving back their gains. Tsipras, on return from Moscow, explained Greece "was not a beggar...asking other countries to solve its problem," but as a senior Greek official earlier this week said that while it would be able to make Thursday’s IMF repayment, it will still exhaust its cash reserves very soon and "next month is a different matter." HSBC points out that the real crisis point looms on the 12th May and FinMin Varoufakis warns the "asymmetric union" that they "have learned nothing from economic history."
- Shell Will Buy BG Group for $70 Billion in Cash and Shares (BBG)
- IMF warns of long period of lower growth (FT)
- Wall Street sanguine as it heads into worst earnings season in six years (Reuters)
- Switzerland First With 10-Year Bond at Negative Yield (WSJ)
- U.S. Dot-Com Bubble Was Nothing Compared to Today’s China Prices (BBG)
- Rahm Emanuel Re-Elected as Mayor of Fiscally Ravaged Chicago (BBG)
- Oil falls on U.S. stock build, record Saudi output (Reuters)
- White South Carolina policeman charged with murdering black man (Reuters)
- German Factory Orders Drop for Second Month (BBG)
- A third of Republicans support Iran nuclear deal (Reuters)
For a second time within a couple of weeks, Greek Defense Minister and leader of coalition government junior partner Independent Greeks, Panos Kammenos warned that if the European Union keeps undermining the coalition government and the country exit or is forced to exit the Euro “waves of migrants: will stream from Turkey to Europe and among them there would be ISIS “radicals.” Speaking to THE TIMES, Kammenos said: “The gross meddling into [Greek] domestic affairs isn’t just unheard for European standards, it’s unethical and it’s dangerous. If Greece goes, then a lot more than financial stability and the euro is at stake.” “If Greece is expelled or forced out of the eurozone, waves of immigrants without papers, including radical elements, will stream from Turkey and head towards the heart of the West."