And then there were 21. Hours ago on Saturday, the country whose currency is largely pegged to the dollar which itself is now anticipating a rate hike in the coming months, surprised the world by confirming its economic slowdown yet again following a recent rate cut just this past November when it lowered its benchmark rate by 40 bps, after it again cut benchmark lending and deposit rates by 25 bps starting on March 1. Specifically, the PBOC will lower the one-year lending rate to 5.35% from 5.6% and its one-year deposit rate to 2.5% from 2.75%. It also said it would raise the maximum interest rate on bank deposits to 130% of the benchmark rate from 120%.
Never has our nation, corporations and wealthy top 1% faced so many new threats to their efforts to grow their power and wealth around the world. But a real war would provide the crisis excuse to confiscate your gold and "excess" retirement plan and IRA assets, reduce or curtail your social security benefits, dramatically raise taxes and institute total exchange controls while curtailing your remaining freedoms and ability to resist for the duration of the crisis.
"Monetary Policy Is Bankrupt" Dr. Lacy Hunt Warns "Bonds, Not Stocks, Are A Good Economic Indicator"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/27/2015 18:35 -0500
"While the wealth effect is a theoretical possibility, it is not supported by economic fact. The stock market is not a good guide to the economy, but...the bond market is a very good economic indicator. When bond yields are very low and declining it’s an indication that the same is happening to inflation and that economic activity is weak. The bond yields are not here for any fluke of reason. They are here because business conditions in the US and abroad are quite poor."
Based on Bloomberg data, Doral Bank is the 3rd largest (by assets) bank in Puerto Rico...or rather was. After a 58% collapse in the share price today, news broke after the close:
*PUERTO RICO'S DORAL BANK PLACED UNDER FDIC RECEIVERSHIP, BANCO POPULAR AGREES TO BUY DORAL BANK OPERATIONS
It appears Non-Performing Loans were over 40%. Popular will take the deposits (and 8 of Doral's 26 branches) and the FDIC eats the bad debt (estimates to cost the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $748.9 million).
The aim of the Greek bailout was not to restore prosperity to the country's people, but to save the eurozone. Given this, the new Greek government is entirely justified in questioning the terms that the country was given. As negotiations continue (Tsipras "war" vs the initial lost "battle), the single worst outcome of the current negotiations would be Greece's submission to its creditors' demands, with few concessions in return. Default and exit from the eurozone would allow Greece to begin correcting past mistakes and putting its economy on the path to recovery and sustainable growth. At that point, the EU would be wise to follow suit, by unraveling the currency union and providing debt reduction for its most distressed economies. Only then can the EU's founding ideals be realized.
Two words can describe yesterday's first impromptu anti-government protest "organized" by the far-left Antarsya party now that the Greek honeymoon with the new Syriza government is over: disorganized and violent, especially since calling it a "protest" is a stretch - if anything was just young, unemployed, angry people tossing Molotov cocktails. Which is why today's first truly official protest organized by the Greek communist party in front of the Greek parliament on the well-known Syntagma square, will get far more attention, especially since it was Syriza's own anti-bailout protests that filled the same venue as recently as a few weeks ago.
As the rest of the world appears happy to assume everything is fixed in Europe (and if it's not, Draghi will buy it back to being awesome), Greece is looking unwell once again. Initial exuberance has faded dramatically in the last 3 days as IMF default warnings and a 22.5% plunge in tax revenues has sparked concerns about Greece's sustainability once again. Default (or restructuring) risk is soaring, Greek bond yields are surging, stocks sliding, and Greek banks (bonds and stocks) are getting hammered. As The Guardian's Helena Smith notes, "the country is in a strategic vacuum," and next week's T-Bill auction could be a major catalyst.
- Greece warns may default on IMF loan next week - Greek bank runs continue and deposits flee - The truth can be a scary thing sometimes … especially for those who put their head in the sand and ignore it ...
UPDATE: *PIRAEUS BANK CFO DENIES SPECULATION OF CASH SHORTAGE
It appears the worst fears of many Greeks may be coming true following a Stratfor report that Piraeus Bank ATMs in downtown Athens appear to have run out of money - telling "customers that there is no cash and the situation will last through the weekend." However, locals, reporting on Twitter, claim this is false. Greek stocks (especially banks) are down hard, as is the EURUSD.
Euro-denominated emerging market sovereign issuance will soar to its highest levels in 10 years on the back of the European Central Bank's quantitative easing programme, as issuers outside the eurozone seek to take advantage of falling euro yields, according to bank analysts.
If Bild's expectation that its "Nein to more Greek bailout" campaign would lead to a near unanimous vote in the Bundestag for a Greek bailout, then it achieved its goal when a massive majority of lawmakers, some 542 of them, voted in favor of giving Greece the prenegotiated 4 month extension to its current bailout. Still, as many pointed out, of the 32 votes against, a record margin for a euro vote, or 29, came from Merkel's own CDU/CSU block. This was up from 13 voting against the second Greek bailout. Indeed, as the Guardian's Ian Traynor summarizes "Merkel's biggest majority on Greece but also biggest rebellion in her ranks while linke votes for Syriza pals, also a 1st."
If there isone thing that is virtually certain about today's trading (aside from the post Rig Count surge in oil because if there is one thing algos are, it is predictable) is that despite S&P futures being a touch red right now, everything will be forgotten in a few minutes and yet another uSDJPY momentum ignition ramp will proceed, which will push the S&P forward multiple to 18.0x on two things i) it's Friday, and an implicit rule of thumb of central planning is the market can't close in confidenece-sapping red territory ahead of spending heavy weekends and ii) the Nasdaq will finally recapture 5000 following a final push from Apple's bondholders whose recent use of stock buyback proceeds will be converted into recorder highs for the stock, and thus the Nasdaq's crossing into 5,000 territory because in the New Normal, the more expensive something is, the more people, or rather algos, want to buy it.
Fill In The Blank: "Greece will achieve economic success when ____"
As "isolated" Russia signs a military deal with Cyprus, agrees bilateral trade with Greece, ratifies the $100 billion BRICS Bank, and offers to trade advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, it seems threats of more sanctions against Putin and his nation are finding resistance from an unexpected place. With British PM David Cameron re-demanding that Russia be excluded from the SWIFT global financial payments system, none other than ECB Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny has exclaimed, "one has to be very careful here, exclusion of Russia from Swift would be very problematic because it could potentially undermine confidence in this system as a whole."
Now that the Greek topic is back to overall debt sustainability, a few hours ago Greece Kathimerini reported that the Euro Working Group "discussed Greece’s imminent funding problems on Thursday amid mounting concern about how the country will meet its obligations next months." This follows a suggestion earlier in the day by the Greek Minister of State for Coordinating Government Operations Alekos Flambouraris that "Greece might delay payment to the International Monetary Fund if it cannot find the necessary money." But wait, how does a country "delay" a debt payment? It doesn't: "According to officials familiar with the subject. such a move would constitute a “clear default,” with consequences for a large number of other loans Greece has received."