Tonight's protest in Athens has all the makings of the vintage ones from May of 2010, and the nigh is still young. Here are some updates:
- FTW: Public order minister resigns in Greece as fires burn - BBC
- Rioting spreads across central Athens, at least 5 buildings set ablaze - AP
- 2:02PM EST: FIRES ARE BURNING SEVERAL SMALL BUSINESSES AROUND ATHENS AS PROTESTERS CLASH WITH POLICE NEAR GREEK PARLIAMENT
- 1:52 PM EST: POLICE ARE CLEARING PROTESTERS FROM OUT IN FRONT OF GREEK PARLIAMENT BUILDING
- 1:50 PM EST: ATMS ARE REPORTEDLY EMPTY AROUND ATHENS... STILL UNCONFIRMED WORKING TO CONFIRM THIS
- 1:48 PM EST: LARGE FIRES ARE REPORTED AROUND ATHENS... INCLUDING A BRANCH OF EUROBANK AND STARBUCKS
- Skai TV reports that police have run out of tear gas & have asked for more supplies to be brought
As a reminder, the final vote is not until midnight.
€65 billion—20% of GDP—have been yanked out of Greek bank accounts, and political positioning for the “afterwards” has begun....
Greece Draws The Line As Unity Government Leaders Refuse To Cede To Further Troika Austerity DemandsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/03/2012 14:02 -0400
It appears that Greece will not even have to wait until the dreaded March 20 funding D-Day. As was earlier reported, Greek PM Lucas Papademos may resign if he is unable to persuade his coalition unity government to agree to further Troika demands for additional austerity. It now appears that there will be no agreement, and thus the primary demand from the Troika for further cash disbursement will not be met. The FT reports: "All three party leaders in Greece’s teetering national unity government have opposed new austerity measures demanded by international lenders, forcing eurozone finance ministers to postpone approval of a new €130bn bail-out and moving the country closer to a full-blown default. Representatives of the so-called “troika” – the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund – have demanded further cuts in government jobs and severe reductions in Greek salaries, including an immediate 25 per cent cut in the €750 minimum monthly wage, before agreeing the new rescue. But representatives of all three coalition partners, including centre-left Pasok of former prime minister George Papandreou and the centre-right New Democracy of likely successor Antonis Samaras, said they were unwilling to back the government layoffs." Now we have been here before, and as a reminder the last time Greece threatened to pull out of Europe with the G-Pap referendum threat back in the fall, G-Pap was promptly replaced with the Trilateral Commission member and former ECB Vice President, Lucas Papademos. The problem is that for him to obtain power, he needed to form a coalition government. Well, that now appears to be in tatters, as not one party is willing to break to the Greeks that the minimum wage of €750 will be cut even further. The question is who will blink first this time, as it is quite likely that neither the Troika nor Greece want an out of control default. Unless, of course, this was Germany's plan B to the imposition of a Greek commissar all along...
EURUSD longs just got punk'd again, with the EURUSD surging to over 1.32 on the fake BLS number (1.2 million labor force decline, whatever, with ), when it collapsed by 100 pips as the news we tweeted earlier that Greek PM Papademos may resign today throwing the entire Greek bailout out of the window, if his talks for further austerity fail. From Kathimerini: "Papademos is expected to meet PASOK’s George Papandreou, New Democracy’s Antonis Samaras and Giorgos Karatzaferis of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) on Saturday. The three politicians will have to agree on measures that will satisfy Greece’s lenders and pave the way for a new bailout. Sources told Kathimerini that the troika is demanding that the minimum wage of 751 euros per month (gross) be reduced and that labor costs in the private sector drop by 25 percent in a bid to help Greece regain competitiveness. Skai TV and radio reported on Friday that should the leaders fail to agree a deal, he will tender his resignation on Monday." And just to make the confusion complete, Jean Claude Juncker just announced there would be no Eurogroup meeting on February 6. So while the market is celebrating the rotation of banker jobs with minimum wage jobs, Greece may be on the verge of blowing up Europe.
As Greek standards of living nose-dive, loans to households and businesses shrink still further, and Troika-imposed PSI discussions continue, there is one segment of the country's infrastructure that is holding up well. In a story on Zeit Online, the details of the multi-billion Euro new arms contracts are exposed as the European reach-around would be complete with IMF (US) and Europe-provided Greek bailout cash doing a full-circle into American Apache helicopters, French frigates, and German U-Boats. As the unnamed source in the article notes: "If Greece gets paid in March the next tranche of funding (€ 80 billion is expected), there is a real opportunity to conclude new arms contracts." With the country's doctors only treating emergencies, bus drivers on strike, and a dire lack of school textbooks and the country teetering on the brink of Drachmatization, perhaps our previous concerns over military coups was not so far-fetched as after the Portuguese (another obviously stressed nation), the Greeks are the largest buyers of German war weapons. It seems debt crisis talks perhaps had more quid pro quo than many expected as Euro Fighter commitments were also discussed and Greek foreign minister Droutsas points out:"Whether we like it or not, Greece is obliged to have a strong military".
Former Greek PM, and career politician, George Papandreou, is effectively retiring. Per Reuters: "Greece's former prime minister George Papandreou told his PASOK socialist party on Wednesday that he will step down as party leader and not seek re-election, a socialist deputy told Reuters. "He told us that he will resign as PASOK leader and that he will not run for prime minister again," said the deputy who attended a party meeting on the leadership succession. Papandreou stepped down as prime minister in November last year to make way for a coalition government to help Greece exit its biggest financial crisis in decades." Nothing like scurrying away in the last lifeboat just as your country is caught in the 21st century equivalent of the 22nd Catch, where your tax collectors, so critical for procuring the much needed tax revenue (sorry Greece, only America can "print" its revenues) are on what seems to be perpetual strike.
This stuff is funny. Especially when google translated...
Greek blog DosePasa has released several smoking gun documents in which Boston-based Hayman Private Equity (no relation to the Kyle Bass firm, at least none that we can find), discloses it intention to offer a E20 billion loan through a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding to Greece at roughly LIBOR+125bps in February 2010. If the documents are proven legitimate, and with a plethora of executive-level signatures it appears they would be difficult to forge, Athens will likely now demand G-Pap's head on a platter, or at least a coherent explanation why he refused to do this transaction at massively beneficial to Greece terms, which most importantly, did not involve the IMF's austerity measures, which have been the source of so much consternation to date, not to mention a proximal cause for the biggest market drop in history.