European Union

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How Britain Calculates Its Hooker "GDP Boost": 60,879 Prostitutes x 25 Clients Per Week x £67.16 Per Visit

First it was Italy which, as we reported last week, had decided to "boost" its GDP by adding the estimated impact of cocaine and hookers. And now, riding on the coattails of this economics gimmick designed solely to make the economy appear more solvent, it is Britain's turn, whose Office for National Statistics will also add add up the "contribution" made by prostitutes and drug dealers. According to the Guardian "for the first time official statisticians are measuring the value to the UK economy of sex work and drug dealing – and they have discovered these unsavoury hidden-economy trades make roughly the same contribution as farming – and only slightly less than book and newspaper publishers added together."

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Equity Melt Up Accelerates; Bonds Also Bid

The melt up is accelerating and with the momentum tailwind back, newsflow is once again irrelevant: any news that are even remotely good are trumpeted, and any bad news - such as Europe's right storm rising in the northern states, and left storm surge in the states that demand more handouts from the northern states or China sinking a Vietnamese boat, the most serious bilateral incident since 2007 - are once again (and as usual) nothing more than a catalyst for even more liquidity injections. End result: the S&P futures this morning are 5 points above Goldman's year end target of 1900 and 45 points away from its June 30, 2015 target. Can this breakneck scramble on zero volume continue until Grantham's bubble peak level of 2,200 is hit? Well of course: after all anything goes in the centrally-planned new normal.  To be sure, this is an equity only phenomenon: moments ago the Bund future hit its highest level since May 19, while the 10 Year remains unchanged at 2.53% as it continues to price in the new "deflationary" (and Japanese) normal. And as has been the case during all such divergences of late, either bonds or equities are making a horrible mistake: the question remains: who? Since all equities are doing is tracking FX pairs to the pip and have completely forgotten all about fundamentals, we have a pretty good idea what the answer is.


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Europe Threatens It May Halt Russian Vodka, Caviar Imports

European leaders will meet next week to discuss a three-tier plan to impose "costs" on Russia if today's Ukraine election is not deemed "free and fair." Reuters reports that the low-, medium-, and high-intensity scenarios that the always-so-smart EU leaders have created start with impose restrictions on imports of Russian luxury goods including diamonds, precious metals, furs, vodka and caviar. The sabre-rattlers then escalate up to the "stage three" measures against Putin with a complete ban on imports of oil and gas from Russia. In other words, in spite of German business damnation, EU leaders will commit economic suicide and stop importing gas just to teach Putin a lesson... well played... It seems Putin's words are more prophetic than ever... "Everything in the world is interdependent and once you try to punish someone, in the end you will cut off your nose to spite your face."

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Right Storm Rising

With England's euro-skeptic UKIP expected to win what will be the first insurgent party victory since 1910 and France's establishment concerned of "grave consequences" for the European Union following the National Front's win; given the strong turnout Europe-wide, the rise of the anti-European Union right is clear to see...

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Euroskeptics Surge: Live Results From The 2014 European Parliament Election

Below is a real-time tracker of the results from the elections as they come in. For anyone but the Euroskeptics, the results will hardly be pretty...

Tyler Durden's picture

Power-Sharing, As Un-American As Humble Pie

Contrary to blatant propaganda ignited by an insincere West, Putin’s government has no intention of enlarging the Russian Federation. All Putin, and overwhelmingly the Russian people, are after is the assurance of a buffer state in Ukraine without US missiles pointing at Moscow, and that implies a nation that would not join NATO. With the looming elections, Tymoshenko is decidedly pro-NATO but the front-runner Poroshenko has often suggested that Ukraine joining NATO would not be such a good idea. Meantime our neocon-infested State Department and the Pentagon continue to provide imprimatur to America’s corporate media to propagate lies demonizing Putin and Russia and glorifying our American empire. Yet, we are the folks who started the entire mess in Ukraine.

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The Complete Ukraine Election Preview (In 1 Simple Chart)

With relative front-runner Yulia Tymoshenko suggesting Ukraine hold a referendum on joing NATO in June - exactly the event that Putin has expressed grave concern about - this weekend's elections in the troubled nation are considerably more crucial to global geopolitical anxiety than the record low levels of implied volatility across FX, bond, and stock markets would suggest. AS Deutsche explains, Ukraine's new president will face challenges in almost all key spheres – in particular, de-escalating tensions within Ukraine, especially in the eastern provinces; conducting deep economic reforms in order to move Ukraine on the path of recovery along with dealing with the international lenders; finally, improving relations with Russia and the European Union. Below we outline the policy agendas of the candidates and assess the probable scenarios of further political development.

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Hookers And Blow: How Changing The Definition Of GDP Officially Jumped The Shark

A year ago it was the US which first "boosted" America's GDP by $500 billion - literally out of thin air - when it arbitrarily decided to include "intangibles" to the components that 'make up' GDP (in the process cutting over 5% from the US Debt/GDP ratio). Then Spain joined the fray. Then Greece. Then the UK. Then Nigeria, which showed those deveoped Keynesian basket cases how it is really done, when it doubled the size of its GDP overnight when it decided to change the base year of its GDP calculations. Now it is Italy's turn, and like everything else Italy does, this latest "revision" of the definition of GDP easily wins in the style points category. As Bloomberg reports, "Italy will include prostitution and illegal drug sales in the gross domestic product calculation this year." Yup: blow and hookers. And that, ladies and gents, how it's done.

Tyler Durden's picture

Of Gold & Geopolitics

They say that gold is a geopolitical metal. Gold is real money with no counterparty risk and, furthermore, an excellent wealth preserver in time and space. Like fiat currencies (dollar, euro, yen, Yuan etc.), gold’s price is also influenced by political events, especially those having an international impact. Alan Greenspan, ex-chairman of the Federal Reserve, said that gold is money “in extremis”. This is why gold is part of most central banks’ reserves. It is the only reserve that is not debt and that cannot be devalued by inflation, contrary to fiat currencies.

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When The Head Of The European Central Bank Lies To Zero Hedge On The Record: Presenting Europe's "Plan Z"

We are happy to report that Zero Hedge is the first media outlet that Mario Draghi has very publicly, officially, and on the record, lied to. Because as we learned overnight, Europe most certainly had a "plan in place so that the markets don't basically collapse." Only it wasn't as Margio Draghi called it, Plan B. It was a different letter of the alphabet. Thanks to the FT's Peter Spiegel we now know that just over a year ago, in order to preserve the myth that Europe's power echelons are so "confident" with the Eurozone staying together they did not even consider a break up as a potential outcome, Draghi explicitly and on the record lied.

Presenting Europe's Plan Z.

Tyler Durden's picture

Frontrunning: May 15

  • More than 20 dead, doctor says, as anti-China riots spread in Vietnam (Reuters)
  • Russia's Gazprom plans Singapore stock exchange listing (Reuters)
  • Inside Europe’s Plan Z (FT)
  • Ukraine slides deeper toward war as Russia warns to vote (BBG)
  • Fast-Food Protests Spread Overseas (NYT)
  • BOJ Beat, Officials Could Upgrade Outlook for Capex (WSJ)
  • Euro-Zone Economy Shows Weaker-Than -Expected Expansion (WSJ)
  • Yahoo to YouTube Ads Spreading Viruses Rile Lawmakers (BBG)
  • New York Times Ousts Jill Abramson as Executive Editor, Names Dean Baquet (BBG)
  • NYT Publisher Said to Always Have Clashed With Abramson (BBG)
  • Google gets take-down requests after European court ruling - source (Reuters)
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Geithner Confirms Mafia-Linked Berlusconi's Forced Ouster, But Says US Did Not "Have Blood On Our Hands"

Silvio Berlusconi - ironically nicknamed "The Teflon Don" - has been found to have done business with the Sicilian Mafia for nearly two decades, according to Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome. Having attacked the "biased judges" who called his actions "a continuous crime," Berlusconi wriggled out from under this result since the link to the Cosa Nostra was, as The Independent reports, via his conduit and former senator Marcello Dell’Utri who was sentenced to 7 years for mafia association. While this confirms as fact yet another conspiracy theory, the bigger story was the confirmation of a broad-based bloodless coup to ouster the Italian Prime Minister at the peak of the credit crisis. "At one point that fall, a few European officials approached us with a scheme to try to force Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi out of power," Tim Geithner writes in his new book, and after telling the President about "this surprising invitation," they decided not to get involved (publicly): "We can't have his blood on our hands."

GoldCore's picture

Interview: Bailins May Cause Bank Runs and Capital Controls In Western World - Russia, China Opt Out

And in Cyprus when it happened, the authorities said it was a once-off, because of all of the hot Russian money that is in Cyprus, and this will not happen anywhere else...but meanwhile they are planning for that scenario in most of our countries. People need to be aware of that and they need to prepare.

GoldCore's picture

Russian Economic Power Driving Wedge Between Indebted Western Governments

With Western nations heavily indebted, including the hugely indebted U.S.,  Russia looks like the only realistic source of such funds. Geopolitical risk remains very much underestimated and there remains the risk of financial, economic and currency wars where the Kremlin uses gold as a geopolitical weapon to undermine the dollar.  

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