Just when you thought it was getting better (or so you would believe if you listened to the mainstream media's punditry) Greece faces what ekathimerini reports is a "situation worse than in 2012." From well-known Belgian beer to electronics equipment, the first occurrences of shortages in imported goods and raw materials have arisen as a result of Greek enterprises’ inability to pay with cash in advance. But Greece is not Venezuela... yet.
It may come as a surprise to some that across from the stark Greek economic calamity is an industry that has swam, so to say, while everything else has sunk, because while virtually every other aspect of the Greek economy is in shambles, its shipping industry is not only the pride of the nation, but has created more Greek billionaires than any other aspect of the economy. As Bloomberg recounts, Greeks have long dominated the shipping business. The nation’s fleet, numbering 3,669 vessels in 2013, is the largest in the world, according to the annual report of the Union of Greek Shipowners, making up more than 7 percent of the Greek economy and providing 192,000 jobs in 2013. And, perhaps most relevant, Greek shipping has also made billionaires of the country’s four largest ship owners by tonnage: John Angelicoussis, George Prokopiou, Peter Livanos and George Economou. The quartet control a combined fortune of $7.6 billion. It is these billionaires that are now suddenly sweating...
Following earlier comments from various Eurogroup members - after yesterday's dismissal of Greece's proposed "reforms" - ranging from Slovakia's "Greece needs to face the naked truth," to Dijsselbloem's "we seem to be losing time on Greece," and Schaeuble's "not a lot has happened on Greece," it appears Greece has quickly folded once again and acquiesced to EU's demands for harsher cuts. With cash unlikely to last more than 3 weeks and being unlikely to get the EU1.9bn in bond profits from the ECB (according to EU officials), Greek officials have stated that they are "willing to enrich" the list of reforms.
As Mario Draghi unleashes his trillion euro bond buying program - aimed from what we are told, at lowering risk premia in credit markets to stimulate the eurozone's economy from utter stagnation - things are not going according to plan. Away from Greece, peripheral bond spreads are all up 8bps on the day and stock indices are mixed on this first day of DOMO (Draghi Open Market Operations) Of course, the other reason for Q€ is to implicitly (because one would never explicitly admit to joining the currency wars) devalue the currency - thus improving competitiveness and exports for the EU; but that's not working out so well as Germany's exports dropped and missed by the most since August... this was not supposed to happen.
To some (mostly those in the 1-10% wealth bucket) the main event today is the iWatch unveiling. To others (mostly those not in the 1-10% wealth bucket) it is the Eurogroup meeting in which the fate of Greece will be discussed and perhaps decided. One thing is certain: virtually nobody will care when the Fed's Mester and Kocherlakota speak later today as the Fed is now - supposedly - set to hike no matter what. Here is what the other main events are for the balance of the week.
- ECB Starts Buying German, Italian Government Bonds Under QE Plan (BBG)
- Creditors Reject Greece's Reform Proposals (BBG)
- Is Apple Watch the Timex digital watch of the Internet era? (Reuters)
- Tesla shedding jobs in China as sales target missed (Reuters)
- Malaysia Airlines says expired battery on MH370 did not hinder search (Reuters)
- Gunmen kill more than 12 Islamic State militants in eastern Syria (Reuters)
- GM Plans Share Buyback, Averting Proxy Fight (WSJ)
- Wisconsin capital marked by third day of protests after police shooting (Reuters)
It was not all smiles and jokes as Mario Draghi's European QE officially launched in Europe, with Greece leaving the proverbial turd in the monetary punch bowl.
Why are negative interest rates now making an appearance? They are a natural consequence of the rampant money creation undertaken by central banks in response to the global financial crisis as there is a lot more newly-created money floating around the financial system than there are safe places to put it. With the increasingly globalized world of international finance a bank run or financial panic anywhere can easily become a bank run or financial panic everywhere, it might be a good time to give your mattress a bit of extra padding.
Because we are all deep-undercover Greek tax collectors now.
NATO's Not Enough! President Juncker Calls For Creation Of European Army To "React Credibly" To RussiaSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/08/2015 21:40 -0400
No lessor official than European Commission President (and liar-when-it's-serious) Jean-Claude Juncker has called for the creation of an EU army... in order to show Russia "that [The EU is] serious about defending European values." Juncker explained an EU army would "help us fulfil Europe's responsibilities in the world," arguing that NATO was not enough since not all EU members are part of the alliance. As one stunned euro-skeptic exclaimed, "we have all seen the utter mess the EU has made of the economy, so how can we even think of trusting them with its defence."
Back in 2009, the United Nations Statistical Commission endorsed a revision to the System of National Accounts (SNA), which sets the international standards for the compilation of national accounts. As a consequence, Eurostat has amended the European equivalent of the SNA, the European System of Accounts (ESA) leading to a revision of GDP figures. Out of nothing but accounting smoke and mirrors, the reclassification has had a positive effect on GDP, increasing it on average by 3.5 percentage points for the EU and the Euro area as whole.
Greece "Risks Bankruptcy" As Europe Rejects Varoufakis Payment Plan; Another Referendum Fiasco EnsuesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/08/2015 18:43 -0400
The longest running European "Union" soap-opera may finally be coming to its anticlimatic end.
Following a speech at Delft University in Holland, Eurogrpup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem was confronted by a calmly-spoken, rational-thinking Greek student, who explained the misery and insanity of what the EU is doing to Greece... "1000s of Greek have committed suicide because of your policies... you keep on giving loans to Greece to pay back the same loans... its like going one loan shark to another loan shark to get more loans to pay back another loan shark."
The divergence is not just between the US and Europe/Japan, but also China.
This absence of moral values is something Europe in its present form will never be able to claim back. Never. The EU has shown itself to be a gross moral failure, and that’s it: the experiment is over. What will undo Europe from within is its economic policies. Which are strongly linked to the same moral values issue: inside a union, you cannot let thousands of people go without food and health care while others, a few hundred miles away, drive new Mercs and Beamers over a brand new Autobahn. That’s not a union. That’s a feudal society. And those don’t hold.