Greece

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IMF Says Japan And Spain Are Done, "Debt Ratio Will Never Stabilize"





The IMF believes that advanced economy deficits will decline by about 0.75 percentage points of GDP this year which 'strikes a compromise between restoring fiscal sustainability and supporting growth". However, continued focus on nominal deficit targets runs the risk of compelling excessive fiscal tightening if growth weakens. In addition, there is a risk in the United States of political gridlock that puts fiscal policy on autopilot and results in a sharp and sudden decline in deficits—the “fiscal cliff.” What is more troubling is the significant upward revision to all of the peripheral European nations (with Greece now at 171% Debt/GDP in 2013 versus 160.9% forecast only 3 months ago). While the average debt-to-GDP ratio among advanced economies is projected to continue to rise over the next two years, surpassing 110 percent of GDP on average in 2013, debt ratios will by then have peaked in several advanced economies - though rather explosively they do not see debt ratios for Spain and Japan stabilizing.

 
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The Battle Of Berlin





In what has become a typical pattern; Europe has a summit, everyone says this, that, their own variation of that and the other to appease their citizens and it is not until days later that some sort of reality begins to be released to the Press. Not only has this become the pattern but it generally comes over the weekend when the markets are not open and when no one is paying much attention. It is a purposeful scheme and useful I suppose for dampening effects and it allows the bliss to continue. In the meantime there is no ESM in place, only $65 billion left in the EFSF after Spain and Cyprus are funded and the German Constitutional Court declared over the weekend that there would be no ruling on the ESM until September 12. The Golden Rule lives on; “He that has the Gold rules.”. For those that believe in the usefulness of firewalls, which would not include me, you are now staring at bricks to build dollhouses and it is not just the flank but the center that is fully exposed and vulnerable. This is Vichy reborn and Anschluss déjà vu and the takeover of Poland just accomplished on a different battlefield. The weapon is money and not armaments and while the stench is more polite the demand for victory has not lessened.

 
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Key Events In The Coming Week And... Bonds, PIIGS Bonds





Via Goldman, here are the key economic events to look forward to in the coming relatively quiet week. And out of DB, we get a list of the key PIIGS bond auctions and bailout events in the immediate and near-term future.

 
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Is Keynesianism Running Dry?





Even though the policy mix is extraordinarily stimulating, developed-world economies just cannot embark on a virtuous circle of recovery. Worse still, as Pictet points out in this excellent brief, governments, whose finances have been bled dry, are powerless to boost demand. This all suggests, they note, that Keynesian policies have failed. With no credit to dispense, State-administered Keynesianism is, in effect, bankrupt as government spending levers can no longer be activated. The implications are plain for all to see: once governments apply a brake to public spending, growth slows considerably. Economies of the developed world have become addicts, ‘hooked’ on government spending. A fresh approach to economic policy is needed. But policymakers will need to be both bold and brave as excess lending will always and inevitably lead to artificially-driven economic growth as it breaks the link between the cycles of innovation and economic growth. At a time when capitalism is being accused of the most reprehensible wrongdoings, policymakers will need to display great courage to promote the virtues of entrepreneurship and business.

 
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Guest Post: Welcome To The Future





In the US and Europe we have slowly come to the realization that traditional accommodative economic policies leave, and have left, the real economy limp.  Wildly divided governments don't help, but beyond the fact that western decision making bodies are polarized, it is abundantly clear that the panacea for the global economy is not even on the table right now.  The western world has been thrown into a bout of sovereign game theory, and by the constructs of game theory itself, one country will "win," while everyone else will lose to varying degrees.  But that we are such a highly integrated global economy--the reason the whole world is heading towards recession right now--means that a solution must incorporate every economy around the world.  The current game Europe is playing is bound to fail because if one country gets their way, others lose by definition.

 
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13 Jul 2012 – " Slow & Low " (Beastie Boys, 1986)





Nice equity (and commodities) close (DAX futures peaking at +2%).

Didn’t seem to impress EGBs, though. Nor credit, as it stands. No ROn mode behaviour here. And certainly not for Italy.

 
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Deciding The Fate Of The Euro





As Euro area policymakers continue to ‘muddle through’ the crisis, everyone's favorite FX Strategist - Goldman's Thomas Stolper, summarizes the decline in the EUR so far as due to slower growth and easier monetary policy, together with growing EUR short positions. Of course, the root cause of both developments is the political crisis in the Euro area. The uncertainty about the stability of the institutional framework of the Euro area forces front-loaded fiscal tightening, which in turn damages growth. In response, the ECB eased policy more than expected, while the Fed, did not ease as much or as early as many projected. Despite today's ecstacy in EURUSD, Stolper believes the EUR is unlikely to strengthen materially as long as this situation persists especially as the potential for the ‘fiscal risk premium’ to rise on the back of daily headlines that are dominated by disagreement and dispute remains. In an effort to clarify his thinking, Stolper identifies eight key issues that will determine the outlook for the Euro. Most of them relate to the Euro area crisis. The most interesting ones are possibly the timing of a recovery in the periphery, the ability of France and Germany to develop a common vision for further integration, and the evolution of fiscal policies in major economies outside the Euro area. He concludes that the risks in the near term remain substantial.

 
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Peak Gold





Peak oil is a phenomenon many will be aware of – peak gold remains a foreign concept to most. Peak gold is the date at which the maximum rate of global gold extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. The term derives from the Hubbert peak of a resource. Unlike oil and silver, which is destroyed in use, gold can be reused and recycled. However, unlike oil gold is money, a store of value and a foreign exchange reserve and gold is slowly being remonetised in the global financial system and indeed may soon play a role in a new international monetary system. Ore grades have fallen from around 12 grams per tonne in 1950 to nearer 3 grams in the US, Canada, and Australia. South Africa's output has halved since peaking in 1970. Peak gold may not have happened in 2000. Nor may it have happened in 2011. However, the geological evidence suggests that it may happen in the near term due to the increasing difficulty large and small gold mining companies are having increasing their production. The fact that peak gold may take place at a time when the world is engaged in peak fiat paper and electronic money creation bodes very well for gold’s long term outlook.

 
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Moody's Downgrades Italy's To Baa2 From A3, Negative Outlook - Full Text





The decision to downgrade Italy's rating reflects the following key factors:

1. Italy is more likely to experience a further sharp increase in its funding costs or the loss of market access than at the time of our rating action five months ago due to increasingly fragile market confidence, contagion risk emanating from Greece and Spain and signs of an eroding non-domestic investor base. The risk of a Greek exit from the euro has risen, the Spanish banking system will experience greater credit losses than anticipated, and Spain's own funding challenges are greater than previously recognized.

2. Italy's near-term economic outlook has deteriorated, as manifest in both weaker growth and higher unemployment, which creates risk of failure to meet fiscal consolidation targets. Failure to meet fiscal targets in turn could weaken market confidence further, raising the risk of a sudden stop in market funding.

 
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Jim Grant Discusses The Fed's 'Backward Shooting Gun', And Black Walnut Tree Treasury Replacements





Yesterday, when discussing the forthcoming implications of the Libor scandal, we said that in the barrage of coming lawsuits, "the entity that will be sued by proxy is the Federal Reserve, whose Federal Funds rate is really the setter for the baseline Libor rate." This claim came at an opportune time, just hours before one of the Fed's most vocal critics (and gold standard advocates), Jim Grant, appeared on TV to discuss precisely the same thing. Best summarizing his position is a cartoon that appeared in a recent issue of Grant's Interest Rate Observer in the context of Lieborgate, and who is really at fault here.

 
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Dummies Guide To Europe's Ever-Increasing Jumble Of Acronyms





It seems every week there are new acronyms or catchy-phrases for Europe's Rescue and Fiscal Progress decisions. Goldman Sachs provides a quick primer on everything from ELA to EFSM and from Two-Pack (not Tupac) to the Four Presidents' Report.

 
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Guest Post: Five Things I’ve Learned On The Ground In Portugal





Portugal is a country that I’ve always enjoyed, full of warm, welcoming people, excellent wine, and great weather. I came to Porto, the country’s second largest city of some 1.5 million, to get a sense of what’s been happening since the eurocalypse...

 
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12 Jul 2012 – " Under Pressure " (Queen & David Bowie, 1981)





Can’t keep count of EGB all-time lows anymore: let’s simplify by saying that the whole non-Peripherals EGB universe up to 5 YRS has traded new all-time lows today. Under pressure… 

 
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Economic Countdown To The Olympics 1: Impact On Stock Markets





With 15 days until the Olympics, we introduce the first in a five-part series of market-and-economy related discussions centered on that glorious event. As global equities exhibit their own 'Citius, Altius, Fortius', Goldman looks at the impact of the Olympics on stock markets. They note that, aside from the benefit of raising the international profile of the host country as both a tourism and investment destination, the announcement of a winning Olympic bid means major investment in infrastructure, including stadiums, accommodation and transport to prepare for the Games. Interestingly, all recent Olympic hosts have outperformed the MSCI World index in the 12 months following the Olympics. This is true of recent hosts regardless of the size of the economy or state of development, suggesting either the local market is boosted by the international profile of the Games, or is perhaps relieved to have the Games behind them. Given the below-average performance in the UK since the Olympic announcement, UK investors may hope for a continuation of this trend, looking forward to a positive year in equities following the London 2012 Games.

 
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