Earlier this week we observed that in what may be Europe's latest mistake, the European Union is about to grant visa-gree travel to 80 million Turks: a key concession that Erdogan obtained as a result of the ongoing negotiations over Europe's refugee crisis which has pushed Turkey into the key player spotlight. And then, overnight, the European Commission officially granted its support to a visa-free travel deal with Turkey after Ankara threatened to back out of a landmark migration deal. It proposed to lift visa requirements by the end of June.
- Puerto Rico Development Bank Won’t Make Most of a Debt Payment Monday (WSJ)
- Why the jump in futures? Tokyo slide keeps mood downbeat (Reuters)
- Indiana to test Donald Trump’s staying power with evangelicals (Reuters)
- Gold Rallies Above $1,300 for First Time Since January 2015 (BBG)
- This Tech Bubble Is Bursting (WSJ)
In the next 20 years, total US debt would reach 50 trillion dollar. That’s right, 50,000 billion dollar!
"Not only do the five largest financial institutions in the US have a higher concentration of assets than they did before the financial crisis but it’s the largest concentration ever. So we’ve made the too-big-to-fail-problem worse because we have bigger, more systemically important financial institutions now than we did in 2007 – and nobody seems to know what to do about it... [EU banks] are acting irrationally. They’re not acting that way because they don’t believe it or they don’t understand it. So we’re still all trying to feel around in the dark as to what this means. And that means that the chance of an accident is very high."
Low interest rates attempt to buy time. The idea is to bring consumption forward until the economy heals on its own as capital projects are completed. But those projects never began this time. The end result is ever-higher debt that borrows more and more from the future. Unfortunately, it borrows from the future without making the future any brighter through solutions to root causes of economic ailments. At some point, the “future” becomes “today”.
Depressed oil prices, rampant corruption, and pipeline vandalism are only parts of Nigeria’s oil problem. It’s now losing a massive 400,000 barrels of crude daily to pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, an amount equal to the entire daily export capacity of its Forcados terminal. Overall damage from piracy, theft and fraud for Africa’s largest oil exporter is estimated at some $1.5 billion a month...
"Increased government spending, financed by central banks could indeed create inflation, but will further elevate the problem of debt viability. If investors lose confidence that the debt can ever be repaid, they will reduce their holdings, increasing the cost to governments or inviting more central bank buying. This can eventually result in the devaluation of all currencies against real assets such as gold, high inflation or even outright defaults (as was the case in Greece). If such a trend develops in one of the large economies, it could have far-reaching consequences."
- Markets Get the Worst Kind of Kuroda Surprise as BOJ Stands Pat (BBG)
- Bank of Japan brushes aside calls for more easing despite price falls (WSJ)
- Ford Profit Surges to Record as Sales of SUVs, F-150 Gain Speed (BBG)
- Valeant Pharmaceuticals to Make Sweeping Changes to Board (WSJ)
- Trump breaks taboos, attacks Clinton on gender issue (Reuters)
Those who thought the situation in Greece was solved after prime minister Alexis Tsipras suddenly caved in to creditors’ demands need think again. Greek tax revenues are running well under expectations. A default looms in July unless the creditors give more money to Greece so that Greece can pay back the creditors. As convoluted as that sounds, that’s precisely the way this madness works. The creditors demand still more austerity but Tsipras said “no”. Instead, Tsipras seeks an emergency meeting, but European Commission president Donald Tusk said “no” to that proposal.
From the supporters of Donald Trump to the street protesters of southern Europe, voters around the world are mad as hell. Inequality, immigration, and the establishment's perceived indifference are firing up electorates in a way that's rarely been seen before. As the following charts from Bloomberg show, the forces shaping the disruption of global politics have been building for years and aren't about to diminish...
The European Union now finds itself in a classic catch-22 situation. Large numbers of Muslim migrants will flow to Europe regardless of whether or not the EU approves the visa waiver for Turkey. "Democracy, freedom and the rule of law... For us, these words have absolutely no value any longer." - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Just 4 months after Swiss army chief André Blattmann warned the risks of social unrest in Europe are soaring and advised the Swiss people to arm themselves, Switzerland is escalating its military preparedness. In response to Balkan countries closing down traditional migrant routes to Europe, Switzerland's military is taking steps to prepare for a potential new wave of immigrants in case it becomes part of a new route. As such, the neutral nation has put together a formal emergency preparedness plan, which outlines three scenarios, one of which would call for significant military intervention.
"The US stock market seems egregiously overvalued versus other stock markets... you are going to see declines in the US stock market and since the correlations are so high this means that probably the junk bond market will go back down, too. Negative interest rates are the dumbest idea ever. It’s horrible.... Gold is doing fine. It’s preserving capital in the US, it’s been making money over the last couple of years for European investors. That’s why I own gold.... Trump is going to win. I think Clinton and Sanders are both very poor candidates."
When you make a deal with the devil, it’s certain the devil will insist you keep up your end of the bargain. That’s precisely where we are at today in regards to the European refugee crisis. German Chancellor Angela Merkel signed off on a deal with the devil (Turkey) that would give 80 million Turkish Muslims visa-free access to the EU. As part of the deal, Turkey will receive €3 billion in aid. In return, Turkey agreed to halt the flow of refugees pouring into Greece. Turkey did stop the flow of refugees into Greece, and now the devil wants his due.