European Union

"Deny All Rumors" Is Almunia Lying About No Greek Bailout?

European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia speaks to Bloomberg, and says "Greece will not default. In the euro area, default does not exist. There is no bailout problems." Too bad crooked budgets and associated deficits can not be funded with hopes, dreams and bureaucratic pragmatism.

More Eurozone Olive-Headed Stepchild Bashing

Poor Greece, and poor Europe: the two are now caught in such an unwinnable tug of war, that the EU is considering unwinding the very fabric of its union (an action, which some say, may not be the worse idea in the here United States) and set the struggling Mediterranean country loose. And if and when that starts, it is game over European Union. Yet posturing will do nothing to change the fact that even as Greek CDS hit an all time high last week, the economic catastrophe in the Ouzo-loving country is accelerating. The latest to join the Greek bashing goon squad is Deutsche Bank, with a note released on Friday, which highlights the key dangers to the country: the ability to finance deficits, capital flights, and an outright default if money does not turn up from under the mattress.

Leo Kolivakis's picture

Rush to Geneva?

Two of UK's largest hedge funds, Bluecrest and Brevan Howard, are making or considering moves out of London to Geneva. London's mayor, Boris Johnson, is worried that thousands of the City's bankers will flee to escape higher taxes and more regulations. Will the rush to Geneva spell trouble for global regulators?

Clusterfuck Nation ThinkTank's 2010 Forecast: Definitely Not Rosy

This depression will be a classic deleveraging, or resolution of debt. Debt will either be paid back or defaulted on. Since a lot can't be paid back, a lot of it will have to be defaulted on, which will make a lot of money disappear, which will make many people a lot poorer. President Obama will be faced with a basic choice. He can either make the situation worse by offering more bailouts and similar moves aimed at stopping the deleveraging process - that is, continue what he has been doing, only perhaps twice as much, which may crash the system more rapidly - or he can recognize the larger trends in The Long Emergency and begin marshalling our remaining collective resources to restructure the economy along less complex and more local lines. Don't count on that." - James Howard Kunstler

Guest Post: China Secures Gas Supply From Turkmenistan: Who's the True Winner?

On December 14, 2009, an inauguration took place that deserves more attention than it received because it marks an economic power shift to the benefit of three Central Asian countries and China and to the detriment of Russia. The presidents of China - Hu Jintao, Turkmenistan - Gurlanguly Berdymukhamedov, Kazakhstan - Nursultan Nazarbayev, and Uzbekistan -Islam Karimov, inaugurated the Central Asia-China gas pipeline that links Turkmenistan's natural gas fields on the Caspian Sea to the Western Chinese border in the Xinjiang province.

The Real Iraqi Crude Story (Hint: It Ain't Iran)

Sadly, media misfeasance (or malfeasance) has become such a common experience that it begins to look like a go-to story on Zero Hedge during slow news cycles. All we can say is that despite its increasingly droll repetition, we think media degradation in all its forms an important issue. So when, just for instance, the mainstream media jumps all over the Iranian "invasion" of Iraq to seize oil wells, despite the fact that the seizure of the well itself is only one of a rather unremarkable series of similar incidents in exactly the same disputed area going back years, and at the same time totally ignores the much more serious news of terrorist attacks on Iraqi pipelines that actually halt about 400,000 barrels per day of crude flow, well, we are just not that surprised anymore. One has to go to Alsumaria, Iraq's satellite channel, to find this story today.

Daily Highlights: 12.18.09

  • Asian stocks fall on concern banks will need to raise more equity.
  • Bank of Japan keeps its benchmark interest rate at 0.1% in unanimous vote.
  • Dollar rises, stocks fall worldwide as Greek downgrade fans safety demand.
  • European Union approved a 6 percent increase in spending next year.
  • German Business confidence probably rose to the highest since July 2008.
  • Initial Jobless Claims in US unexpectedly increased to 480,000 last week.
  • Japan central bank says it won't tolerate deflation; holds key interest rate at 0.1 percent.
  • Japan shares down as banks retreat on prospect of more stringent capital requirements

Daily Highlights: 12.15.09

  • Airline loss forecast for 2010 widens to $5.6B on fuel, IATA says.
  • Chinese government will target “excessive” growth in property prices in some cities.
  • Dubai bonds show more aid needed from Abu Dhabi to repay 2010, 2011 debt.
  • German Investor confidence falls as recovery weakens, Greece roils markets.
  • Gold futures down $7.90 at $1,115.90 an ounce.
  • Major Asian markets decline, Hang Seng falls 1.2% as China developers fall.

No More Failures Ever As Moral Hazard Goes Global: Austria's Hypo Alpe Adria Nationalized

The only way to maintain the global ponzi bubble as insiders cash out in ever increasing droves has now become a wave of rolling bailouts not only in the US, but across the entire world. The latest little casualty that could: Austria's Hypo Group Alpe Adria, the country's fifth largest bank by assets, which was nationalilzed ealier in a €5.5 billion bailout package. But ignore that: Europe is long and strong, with no bank balance sheet assets writedowns, a flourishing export economy, a surging currency and unprecedented growth ahead of soon to be (non) bankrupt Eastern European and Baltic states. The sarcasm in the previous statement is certainly not lost on the Austrian National Bank which said that "the whole Austrian economy has been able to avert a massive threat at a critical moment in time." No further commentary needed. Ben Bernanke's Moral Hazard world tour soon coming to an insolvent bank near your cottage.

With Dubai Temporarily Contained, All Eyes Shift To Greece

Today at 7pm, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will address “the economy, the productive model, the credibility of the state mechanism, the confidence of our European partners and, above all, the daily life and prospects of Greeks." The reason for this extraordinary measure (keep in mind this is Greece, not D.C., where the president provides hourly updates on the latest BLS releases) is the recent plunge in Greek stocks and government bonds, and culminating with several rating agencies either downgrading the country (Fitch) or putting it on downgrade review (S&P). Most recently, the yield on Greek 10 years hit 5.295% on concerns the country's fiscal deficit of 12.7% will makes its already extreme leverage even more unmanageable. And the biggest wildcard: the massive reliance of Greek banks on ECB repos backed by potentially soon to be much lass valuable government debt.

Plato's Beard Dulls Occam's Razor

This morning is sovereign morning here on Zero Hedge. Having looked into Dubai the United Kingdom, and Moody's non-assessment assessment of the Aaa gang, we explore the popular notion that treating with deep skepticism the economic pronouncements released by the sovereigns of developed, "western" economies (or their nearest approximation) is something for the "tin foil crowd." Despite the tremendous temptation presented to sovereigns in their role as not only issuer and regulator of debt, but the supervising authority overseeing financial reporting (and the absence of an authority empowered to enforce creditor's rights) it apparently seems quite beyond comprehension to wonder if a bit of rose colored lensing isn't being applied.

With Contagion Risk Back On The Table, Will PIIGS (Spreads) Fly?

The chart below, courtesy of CreditTrader, demonstrates that the sovereign credit spread between BRICs and PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain: the Eurozone's weakest legacy links) continues converging. The market is now fully expecting the next risk flaring event to occur deep within the bowels of Europe. And with the ECB's head stuck firmly up its rear end, and in fact threatening it is preparing to raise rates, the Stardust has started a line on the number of months before the break up of the European Union experiment becomes a fact.

Guest Post: The Great Geopolitical Battle Over Energy Transit Routes

As we all live in the present, it is very hard to fully assess the future implications of decisions supported or made by political and business leaders. An extraordinary game of geo-strategy is under way to lock in long-term agreements, notably in the energy sector. At a global level, the transit routes of future oil & gas pipelines become the object of a power struggle involving not only the suppliers and end-users but also the transit countries. Intensive courtships are under way where a ménage à trois, or more, may be the best option to prevent any country from being in a dominating position to rule a region and exercise political or economic pressure. Let’s take a practical example and look at some of the dynamics behind the Nabucco pipeline and at the different interests involved.