European Union

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Fourth Largest Bulgarian Bank Seized After Bank Run: "Let's Not Tear Down Our House" Central Banker Begs





The small, impoverished country of Bulgaria may not be in the Eurozone (even though its currency is pegged to the Euro), but it is in the European Union. Which is why we find it surprising that there has been relatively little mention that overnight the fourth largest Bulgarian bank, Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank) and which in recent weeks has made headlines due to the political exposure of one of its largest shareholders, was seized by the Bulgarian central bank following what Reuters reports was a run on the bank.

 
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Putin Advisor Proposes "Anti-Dollar Alliance" To Halt US Aggression Abroad





Putin's economic aide and the mastermind behind the Eurasian Economic Union, argues that Washington is trying to provoke a Russian military intervention in Ukraine, using the junta in Kiev as bait. If fulfilled, the plan will give Washington a number of important benefits. Firstly, it will allow the US to introduce new sanctions against Russia, writing off Moscow's portfolio of US Treasury bills. More important is that a new wave of sanctions will create a situation in which Russian companies won't be able to service their debts to European banks. Glazyev's set of countermeasures specifically targets the core strength of the US war machine, i.e. the Fed's printing press. Putin's advisor proposes the creation of a "broad anti-dollar alliance" of countries willing and able to drop the dollar from their international trade.... An anti-dollar coalition would be the first step for the creation of an anti-war coalition that can help stop the US' aggression.

 
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Greece Goes Medieval - 2/3rds Of Wages Paid In Barter





Do you remember the serfs and servants and villeins and peasants in the good old times of feudalism and the Middle Ages? If you don’t, I have good news for you! The custom of working in return of goods instead of salary revives in Greece of modern European Union and of exquisite Euro area. The results of a survey conducted by the Labor Institute of the Confederation of Labor Union (GSEE) are shocking but not unexpected...

 
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"Liquidity Is Becoming A Serious Issue" As Japan's Bond Market Death Goes Global





While we noted last week the death of the Japanese bond market as government intervention has killed the largest bond market in the world; it is now becoming increasingly clear that the dearth of trading volumes is not only spreading to equity markets but also to all major global markets as investors rotate to derivatives in order to find any liquidity. Central planners removal of increasing amounts of assets from the capital markets (bonds and now we find out stocks), thus reducing collateral availability, leaves traders lamenting "liquidity is becoming a serious issue." While there are 'trade-less' sessions now in Japanese bonds, the lack of liquidity is becoming a growing problem in US Treasuries (where the Fed owns 1/3rd of the market) and Europe where as JPMorgan warns, "some of this liquidity may be more superficial than really deep." The instability this lack of liquidity creates is extremely worrisome and likely another reason the Fed wants to Taper asap as DoubleLine warns, this is "the sort of thing that rears its ugly head when it is least welcome -- when it’s the greatest problem."

 
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Frontrunning: June 16





  • Iraq Army Tries to Roll Back Sunni Militants’ Advance (BBG)
  • Starbucks to Subsidize Workers' Online Degrees (WSJ)
  • ‘Bitcoin Jesus’ Calls Rich to Tax-Free Tropical Paradise (BBG)
  • Medtronic Is Biggest Firm Yet to Renounce U.S. Tax Status (BBG), Medtronic to buy Covidien for $42.9 billion, rebase in Ireland (Reuters)
  • Oil Topping $116 Seen Possible as Iraq Conflict Widens (BBG)
  • Putin Seeks Paris Landmark as Hollande’s Russia Ties Defy Obama (BBG)
  • GM Says It Has a Shield From Some Liability (WSJ)
  • BOJ’s Bond Paralysis Seen Spreading Across Markets (BBG)
 
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Russia Rejects Ukraine's Gas Deal; 2am Eastern Deadline Looms





As suspected given the huge distance between the bid and offer, the EU-brokered Ukraine-Russia gas deal has failed:

  • *GAZPROM CEO MILLER LEAVES SITE OF UKRAINE GAS TALKS, SAYS TALKS ENDED, DEADLINE WON'T CHANGE
  • *RUSSIA REJECTED EU'S GAS PROPOSAL: OETTINGER; UKRAINE WAS READY TO ACCEPT EU PROPOSAL ($300-$385)

Gazprom seeks $1.95bn from Ukraine for past shipments of gas by the 10am Moscow time deadline (2amET) and will continue to seek upfront payments for any further shipments.

 
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Spanish Government Goes Digging For GDP, Asks Brothels: "How Many Services Do Your Hookers Provide?"





First Italy, then Britain, and now Spain has decided that the key to reducing its debt-to-GDP ratio is not fiscal responsibility, growth, inflation, or restructuring but simply changing the denominator to better reflect reality - in other words, as El Pais reports, Spain is putting an official number on its sex trade and therefore juicing GDP. Prostitution, which is in legal limbo in Spain, is expected, according to revised figures released by the INE on Thursday Spanish GDP increases by between 2.7% and 4.5% after illegal activities such as prostitution, drug trafficking and smuggling are included. The Spanish government is undertaking a sexual services survey to better understand the industry...

 
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Frontrunning: June 12





  • Iraqi Drama Catches U.S. Off Guard (WSJ)
  • Al-Qaeda Offshoot on NATO Border Threatens Turkish Rally (BBG)
  • It's just the snow, people: U.S. Economic Recovery Looks Distant as Growth Lingers (NYT)
  • Freed Taliban leaders may remain in Qatar beyond one-year travel ban (Reuters)
  • BNP Paribas Executive Chodron de Courcel to Quit Post (WSJ)
  • Greenmail is back (WSJ)
  • Facebook Places Multiple Bets to Win Messenger Wars (BBG)
  • ECB easing to benefit Ukraine, Russia corporate bonds (Reuters)
  • Rome Shows the World How Not to Run Bike-Sharing Program (BBG)
 
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Frontrunning: June 5





  • Inside the White House's decision to free Bergdahl (Reuters)
  • Dimon’s Raise Haunts BNP Paribas as U.S. Weighs $10 Billion Fine (BBG)
  • Jobs Are on the Line as Banks' Revenue Slides (WSJ)
  • Wall Street Adjusts to the New Trading Normal (WSJ)
  • Nothing like objective, intense probes: GM recall probe to clear senior execs, finds no concerted coverup (Reuters)
  • ECB ready to cut rates and push banks into lending to boost euro zone economy (Reuters)
  • China Should Resist Further Stimulus, IMF Says (BBG)
  • Carney Finds Ally in Draghi as Key Rate Kept at 0.5% (BBG)
  • Assad wins Syria election with 88.7 percent of votes (Reuters)
 
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France Responds To US BNP Fine, Will Train Hundreds Of Russian Seamen To Operate French-Made Warship





France has suddenly found itself battling two populist fronts: on one hand it had to continue its foreign policy track of siding with NATO and the US when it comes to Russian developments; on the other it had to responds to howls of protest from the population bashing the US for having the temerity to punish its flagship bank (recall "France Furious At US $10 Billion BNP "Masterful Slap", "Racketeering" Fine"). Today, it was revealed that in weighing the two evils, it picked what it thought was the lesser one, and as the WSJ reports "a group of 400 Russian sailors are scheduled to arrive on June 22 in the French Atlantic port of Saint-Nazaire to undergo months of instruction before some of them pilot the first of two Mistral-class carriers back to Russia in the fall, said one of these people."

 
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What Q2 GDP Rebound? Trade Deficit Soars To 2 Year High, To Slam Lofty Q2 GDP Expectations





The US trade balance collapsed in April dashing hopes for the exuberant hockey-stock rebound in Q2 GDP. This is the biggest trade deficit since April 2012 and the biggest miss from expectations since October 2008. The last 2 months have seen the biggest slide in the deficit in a year as trade gaps with the European Union and South Korea reach records and the deficit with China surged by $7billion to $28 billion. Impots of capital goods, autos, and consumer goods all set records. And Q2 GDP downgrades in 3...2...1...

 
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Frontrunning: June 3





  • At least 74 dead in crashes similar to those GM linked to faulty switches (Reuters)
  • Obama Calls for $1 Billion Europe Security Fund; Will Increase U.S. Military Presence in Eastern Europe (WSJ)
  • Euro Inflation Slowing More Than Forecast Pressures ECB (BBG)
  • China accelerates as euro zone stumbles (Reuters)
  • Russia says Ukraine situation worsening, submits U.N. resolution (Reuters)
  • Secondary Sales Squeeze Investors (WSJ)
  • Barclays Said to Start Cutting Jobs in Investment Banking Unit (Bloomberg)
  • Backlash Grows on Release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in Taliban Prisoner Swap (WSJ)
  • For fallen soldiers' families, Bergdahl release stirs resentment (Reuters)
  • PIMCO's Gross stares at record outflow (Reuters)
 
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The Most Worrying Chart For Europe's Stability





While we have historically noted the explosion of youth unemployment as a key factor for instability in Europe, there appears to be an ever more concerning indicator of the potential fragility of the European Union. As Bloomberg's Maxime Sbahi notes, the difference in economic performance (and mood) between France and Germany, often referred to as the European “engine,” is at a record high. This disparity is likely to weaken France and isolate Germany further, heightening political tensions and indecision in the euro area.

 
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France Furious At US $10 Billion BNP "Masterful Slap", "Racketeering" Fine





With Eric Holder suddenly playing hardball with the banks (most notably not US banks), it has not gone unnoticed among the largest European newspapers. The potential $10 billion penalty for BNP Paribas - France's largest bank - for alleged dealings with a sanctioned Iran has been called a "masterful slap," by Le Monde and Le Figaro said the U.S. was making an example of BNP to deflect criticism it had been "lenient with the American banks responsible for the financial crisis." This could make for an awkward week for Obama, not only facing Putin as he visits Europe to celebrate D-Day but as the allies themselves turn on him with France's Hollande likely to raise the matter and, as Bloomberg reports, newly elected National Front party called on the French government to "defend the national interest" in the case.

 
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