Men have had their stab at making the world into what they wanted and they made a pretty poor show of it all we might say when we look at the economy.
Democracy has regressed in 15 out of the 17 euro-area countries since 2008, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s democracy index, as economic policy was increasingly influenced by the ECB, the EU and the IMF, instead of elected politicians - something Nigel Farage has been vociferously concerned about.
Merkel Wins Federal Election But Coalition Partner Below Bundestag Threshold: Final Outcome Too Close To CallSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/22/2013 11:17 -0500
While the outcome of the election from the perspective of "the grand coalition" is still too close to call, Exit polls make it clear that Merkels CDU/CSU party has won the election with 42.5% of the vote. However, there are some very interesting results that could be a problem for Europe's 'program-based' nations: GERMAN AFD TAKES 4.8% IN FEDERAL ELECTION, ZDF EXIT POLL SHOWS; GERMAN FDP TAKES 4.5% IN FEDERAL ELECTION, ZDF EXIT POLL SHOWS. So the anti-Euro party has more votes (nearly the 5% required to enter the Bundestag) than Merkel's current coalition partner FDP party which creates major uncertainty over the forming of a coalition (which took 3 weeks in 2005) - which as we noted seemed to priced into Greek stocks on Friday. The pirate party is projected to have 2.5% of the vote. If the anti-Euro AfD enters the parliaments, a "Grand Coalition" appears inevitable. However, if it does not cross the 5% threshold, Merkel may end up with an absolute majority in the Bundestag and will not nead a coalition partner.
Since the global economic crisis began in 2008, Italy’s GDP has declined by about 8%, nearly a million workers have lost their jobs, and real wages have come under increasing pressure. The most striking aspect of Italy’s recent turmoil is what has not happened: citizens have not poured into the streets demanding reform. Indeed, throughout the crisis, Italian society has remained uncharacteristically stable. Japan’s experience – characterized by more than 20 years of economic stagnation – offers important lessons for crisis-stricken democratic countries with aging populations. During Japan’s “lost decades,” successive Japanese governments allowed public debt to skyrocket and refused to confront the economy’s deep-rooted problems, allowing sclerosis to take hold. In fact, Japan’s leaders had little incentive to pursue bold reform, because voters consistently failed to demand it. The question now is what kind of shock would be required to motivate Italians to demand similar action.
As we wrap up a most interesting, and volatile, week there are some things that we have discussed previously that are now brewing, interesting points to consider and risks to be aware of. In this regard we thought we would share a few things that caught our attention:
1) Angela Merkel Election No So Assured
2) The Debt Ceiling Debate
3) The "Taper" Indecision Is Back
4) In The "Economy Is Improving" Camp
5) Syria Already Set To Miss A Deadline
6) Everything Else...
Simply put, complacency is not an option; Stocks are overvalued, rates are rising, earnings are deteriorating and despite signs of short term economic improvements the data trends remain within negative downtrends. Investors, however, have disregarded fundamentals as irrelevant as long as the Federal Reserve remains committed to its accommodative policies. The problem is that no one really knows has this will turn out and the current assumptions are based upon past performance.
As we noted earlier this week, the German election is still very uncertain (with regard the fragile coalition that Merkel will have). What is perhaps worrisome for the glass-half-fulls is the rapid rise in the Anti-Euro Party:
*GERMAN ANTI-EURO AFD PARTY UP 1 POINT TO 4.5% IN FORSA POLL
This is critically close to the 5% required to enter parliament and it seems the most-likely-to-be-hurt by any less-than-generous reaction post-election is Greece and Greek stocks are tanking on this news...
There are very few people that actually give even one hoot and even fewer that could give two of them when it comes to poverty of people that are living in society alongside us.
In a world in which when the numbers don't comply with the propaganda, the only recourse is to change the rules, and if that fails, change the numbers themselves (see Fukushima radiation count, US GDP, Employment numbers, anything out of Europe, etc.) it was only a matter of time before that last sticking point of the grand made up narrative, the lack of economic improvement in the European despite evil, evil austerity (which somehow has resulted in record debt which is rising faster than expected virtually everywhere in Europe) resulting in unpalatable deficits, was magically "fixed." This was resolved moments ago when as the AP reports, "European Union finance officials have reached a preliminary agreement to change the way the bloc determines some deficit figures, which might lessen the pressure for austerity measures in crisis-hit economies." In other words, Europe's "recovery" will now be based on even more made up numbers. One wonders: since Europe is finally admitting that the numbers are fake, i.e., lying, are things finally getting truly serious again?
The (G)Reekovery, in which unemployment just rose to a new record high, must be so strong that the economy can easily afford another two days of lost output as virtually all public sector workers have decided to take another two day break from a grueling work schedule (one in which they used to get a week off for just using a computer) and go on strike. From WSJ: "Greek public servants began a two-day walkout Wednesday over plans to place government workers in a labor reserve that is widely seen as a step toward future layoffs. Teachers, hospital doctors and court officials, among others, participated in the walkout, leaving schools, courts and government offices closed across the country and hospitals operating on skeleton staff. On the streets of Athens, public sector unionists staged two separate demonstrations that brought about 10,000 protesters to the streets, according to police estimates."
A very soon tomorrow will bring the decision of the Fed concerning tapering into focus. Ok, a kind of fuzzy, hard to see and wispy focus. The one thing that we can assure you of is that whatever is to come our way it will not be a singular event. You will hear from the imbibers of Cool Aid and other mischievous reality altering drinks that it could be a one-off event. Tomorrow a process will be started, it will probably go in fits and starts but do not blind yourself; it will be the beginning of the journey to cut back on the propping up of the markets by the Fed.
With Syria now quickly fading from the headlines and Wall Street believing that Yellen is a "shoe in" for the Fed, what headwinds still remain for the markets ahead...
For all complaints about painful, unprecedented (f)austerity, the PIIGS (even those with restructured debt such as Greece) sure have no problems raking up debt at a record pace. Over the weekend, Spanish Expansion reported that Spanish official debt (ignoring the contingent liabilities) just hit a new record. "The debt of the whole general government reached 942.8 billion euros in the second quarter, representing an increase of 17.1% compared to the same period last year. Debt to GDP of 92.2% exceeds the limit set by the government for 2013..." Moments ago, it was Italy's turn to show that with employment still plunging, the only thing rising in Europe is total debt. From Reuters, which cites a draft Treasury document it just obtained: "Italy's public debt will rise next year to a new record of 132.2 percent of output, up from a previous forecast of 129.0 percent."
Greek PM Antonis Samaras: "You have to tell people the truth but you have to give them hope as well." i.e., lie
It had become clear that the President's own political base in the Senate were not going to support Mr. Summer's ascendancy. The eye of the Press will now turn to Mr. Kohn, Ms. Yellen, who does not seem to have the support of Mr. Obama, and the long, though interesting shot, of Stanley Fischer. Mr. Obama appears to be easing into a lame duck presidency far earlier than once thought and the reality of Obamacare will hit Main Street on October 1 which may tip the scales further out of his control. It may not be either the best of times or the worst of times but very volatile times that mark this week.
From Berlin to Ankara and even Damascus, the questions seem to be the same: Has the world order as we know it in the post-war era come to an end? What will the world look like without the United States in the role of superpower and ‘boss’?