Greece

Guest Post: America’s Hijackers – Where Are They Now?

Spoiler Alert: They’re mostly still in office  (so much for building suspense).

On October 3, 2008, 338 elected officials (263 House reps, 74 Senators and 1 President) took it upon themselves to save America from certain financial doom by passing the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, completely ignoring the will of the American people,  opting instead to fulfill a Thomas Jefferson prophesy:

“The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.” 
~ Thomas Jefferson

Guest Post: Do The Swiss Know Something The Rest Of Us Don't?

Ueli Maurer, the Swiss defense minister, has been making coy statements about the European crisis getting ugly – as in really ugly, like needing armed troops to deal with it. This sounds more like Greece, where the rioting is regular and increasingly scary, than anything in Central Europe, but where the whole EU furball is headed does seem less than clear of late. The Swiss are famous for preparing for everything and having an absolutely huge army, relative to their population, to deal with any eventuality. It’s easy to dismiss the Swiss, since they are a tiny country whose military hasn’t actually fought anybody in a couple centuries. On the other hand, they managed to stay out of both of Europe’s catastrophic World Wars precisely though preparing for eventualities and maintaining a strong defensive capability. They’re clearly on to something.

Over 6,000 Cops Will Protect Merkel On Her 6 Hour Visit To Athens

Angela Merkel is finally coming to the one country where the local media will not tire of photoshopping her in various Nazi outfits. The result: at least 6,000 policemen (and more like 7,000 according to Spiegel) will be deployed to protect her on her 6 hour visit to Greece on Tuesday, the first since the crisis erupted in 2009, and which has seen Greek unemployment explode from manageable to 25% at last check. Another result: parties from across the spectrum have said they will protest her visit, and strikes will further shut down what is already a completely shuttered economy. "She does not come to support Greece, which her policies have brought to the brink. She comes to save the corrupt, disgraced and servile political system," said Alexis Tsipras, who leads the opposition Syriza alliance. "We will give her the welcome she deserves."..."We don't want her here," said Yannis Georgiou, 72, who has seen his pension cut by one third. "We will take to the streets against austerity and against the government. Maybe Merkel will hear something and see what we're going through." Finally, with virtually the entire police force tasked with defending Merkel from the residents of her Southeastern European colony, it means that virtually every other place of interest will be left unguarded. Hopefully, nobody in Greece has seen Die Hard with a Vengeance and has access to dump trucks. The one thing Greece has going for it: there is virtually no official gold left anywhere that can be stolen (most of it already has been transferred elsewhere), or otherwise any tourist armed with a camera and located in the vicinity of the National Bank of Greece could film a sequel to what many consider the best Die Hard of all.

Guest Post: What Could Go Right?

A number of macro-issues could "go the right way" in the coming months. However, nothing good can possibly come from artifice, propaganda, misdirection and simulacra "fixes." Something must break through the facade for good things to happen. It's a long shot, but we can always hope. Without truth, there is truly no hope.

Poor Athens; The Gods Flee Mt. Olympus

The Greeks only assume the mantle of serfdom to keep the pipeline of capital flowing. They have damaged their national psyche in the process and caused undue pain for their citizens but it must seem simpler, to the elite of Greece, to beg rather than go back to work. The problem for Europe now is that the amount of money is so large and the pain will be so great that they wince at the consequences of their misbegotten strategy. Europe provided money, demanded austerity, and kept the charade in play far longer than good sense would dictate. Now, however, I would assert; the tragedy is about to end and the farce about to begin.

Frontrunning: October 5

  • Draghi Says Next Move Not His as Spain Resists Bailout (Bloomberg)
  • EU Doubts on Deficit Cutting May Hinder Spain’s Path to Bailout (Bloomberg)
  • Merkel to Visit Greece for First Time Since Crisis Outbreak (Bloomberg)
  • Fed's Bullard warns inflation won't ease U.S. debt burden (Reuters)
  • Walmart Workers Stage a Walkout in California (NYT)
  • Natural Gas Glut Pushes Exports (WSJ)
  • BOJ Refrains From More Stimulus as Political Pressure Mounts (Bloomberg)
  • Big funds seek to rein in pay at Wall Street banks (Reuters)
  • Hong Kong Luxury Sales Fall as Chinese Curb Spending (Bloomberg)
  • Dave and Busters Pulls IPO due to "Market Conditions" (Reuters) - so market at anything but all time highs now is market conditions?
  • Weak U.S. labor market looms ahead of elections (Reuters)
  • Glut of Solar Panels Poses a New Threat to China (NYT)

Meanwhile, In Greece...

It would seem the austerity-to-social-unrest 'correlation' is proving out as 250 furious shipyard workers stormed the Greek Defense Ministry in Athens demanding to be paid their wages (which they have not seen for six months)...

Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: October 4

Markets were in sleep mode for most of the session, ahead of the BoE monetary policy decision, as well as the ECB’s press conference where the President is unlikely to outline any new measures and instead reiterate that the ECB stands ready to do whatever is necessary. The BoE held both their rates and asset purchase target unchanged, however it is widely expected that the central bank will boost the facility by another GBP 50bln in November. Today’s supply from both Spain and France was easily absorbed by the market, both were supported by the recent decline in bond yields. Going forward, apart from digesting comments from Draghi, market participants will get to see the release of the latest weekly jobs report, durables revisions and the minutes from the FOMC.

European Bailout Rumor Du Jour Comes In Early

At least it is not the China bails out Europe one: thankfully that one is now finished. Instead it is something almost as stupid -i.e., something that was floated, then denied, then floated again, then redenied, from Reuters:

  • EURO ZONE CONSIDERING FIRST LOSS INSURANCE FOR SPANISH BONDS UNDER ASISSTANCE PROGRAMME - EU SOURCES
  • SCHEME COULD COST EU RESCUE FUND ABOUT 50 BLN EUROS FOR ONE YEAR, ENABLE SPAIN TO MEET FULL BORROWING NEEDS -SOURCES
  • NO DECISION TAKEN YET ON BOND INSURANCE SCHEME, MAY BE SEVERAL WEEKS AWAY -SOURCES

Considering the source, Reuters, was pretty much 100% wrong on Monday when it said the Spanish bailout was imminent and Germany contingent, something Germany refuted shortly thereafter, we give this rumor about the same "likelihood" of being credible as every other one that Europe is fixed. But at least it managed to get the EURUSD higher by 20 pips.

Overnight Sentiment: Spain Sells Bonds As Redemptions Loom

For the third day in a row, there is little to write home about from the overnight action. The EURUSD has been choppy following an MNI report about comments from EU officials that suggested Germany wants to delay the Troika decision on a €31.5 billion payment to Greece until after the November 12 Eurozone finmin meeting, no doubt predicated by the already discussed willingness by Europe to not rock the boat before Obama is reelected, still leaving the question hanging: just why is an entire insolvent continent so hung up on a US presidential decision. The main FX market focus is on the European Central Bank rate decision, due at 1145GMT. The ECB is widely expected to leave rates on hold just as the BOE did moments ago (it needs to hurry up if it wants to win the race to debase) although in the New Normal one can't be sure of anything. In other news Spain auctioned off a much needed €3.99 billion in various short-term bonds, the bulk of which fell under the LTRO maturity umbrella, but which was successful nonetheless if with modestly weaker short-end results, and an overall bitter aftertaste as seen by the resumption in Spanish 10 year widening, as the entire market, not to mention Draghi, is starting to get very impatient with Rajoy, who is now even getting urged by Catalonia's Arturo Mas to finally bite the bullet and demand a bailout (and resign shortly thereafter): "A bailout is inevitable; therefore the best thing to do is to make the decision without delay,” Mas said. “Spain has the potential to overcome the situation, but it will need assistance for some time." Recall that Spain's cash needs in October surge so every single successful euro raised is more than critical.