Authored by Steve H. Hanke of the Johns Hopkins University. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_Hanke.
Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that WikiLeaks transcripts suggested that the International Monetary Fund (I.M.F.) had discussed the possibility of hatching nefarious plots against Greece. Immediately, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras accused the I.M.F. of trying to “politically destabilize Europe.”
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Whether or not the IMF intended to use a Greek credit event to destabilize Europe as the greek government first alleged, or whether this was "nonsense" as Lagarde responded to Tsipras letter, is irrelevant - ultimately the underlying premise was whether or not Greece gets debt relief, something the IMF has been insisting on since the third bailout package. And as is well-known, it was Germany - not Greece - that stood in the IMF's way. So after a terse weekend in which relations between Greece and the IMF devolved once again to frigidly sub-zero levels, moments ago Germany chimed in with its position, which can be summed up in another familiar word: "nein".
In a quiet start to the week following last week's surprisingly strong rebound which followed a stronger than expected jobs report (perhaps to demonstrate that good news is once again good news), Japan stocks continued to sink as the USDJPY dropped to fresh lows, while commodities declined for a fifth day as the supply glut from crude to copper weighed on prices, dragging down commodity currencies. European equities rose, rebounding from a one-month low.
IMF's Lagarde Responds To Tsirpas: Calls Use Of Credit Event As Negotiating Tactic "Simply Nonsense"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/03/2016 17:12 -0400
"Any speculation that IMF staff would consider using a credit event as a negotiating tactic is simply nonsense... this weekend’s incident has made me concerned as to whether we can indeed achieve progress in a climate of extreme sensitivity to statements of either side... I have decided to allow our team to return to Athens to continue the discussions... it is critical that your authorities ensure an environment that respects the privacy of their internal discussions and take all necessary steps to guarantee their personal safety... the IMF conducts its negotiations in good faith, not by way of threats, and we do not communicate through leaks."
In a leaked transcript, IMF staffers are caught on tape suggesting that a threat of an imminent financial catastrophe was needed to force other players into accepting its measures such as cutting Greek pensions and working conditions, or as Bloomberg puts it, "considering a plan to cause a credit event in Greece and destabilize Europe."
Greek politicians wasted no time in seeking a response from the IMF over the leaked transcript released earlier today by Wikileaks suggesting the IMF may threaten to pull out of the country's bailout as a tactic to force European lenders to more offer debt relief, and which according to the Greek government was "interpreted as revealing an IMF effort to blackmail Athens with a possible credit event to force it to give in on pension cuts which it has rejected."
NATO isn’t just an expensive luxury of the sort we can no longer afford – it is a tripwire that could be set off by a minor border conflict involving Moldova, the status of Kaliningrad, or – more likely – another round of hostilities in Ukraine. Would we start World War III in defense of the oligarchs of Kiev? I wouldn’t put it past them. With his plan – or, rather, inclination – to abandon the old NATO and replace it with some sort of multilateral counterterrorist operation, and his insistence that our “allies” pay up, Trump is forcing an issue onto the stage that hasn’t been seen since the days of Bob Taft.
We cannot be sure what shape the next crisis will take, although it seems likely that it will be yet another “deflation scare”, mainly caused by falling asset prices. However, we do know what the last crisis of the current system will look like. It will entail a crumbling of the public’s faith in fiat money and the institutions that issue and administer it.
Erdogan has boasted that he is proud of boldly blackmailing EU leaders into paying him protection money. The nightmare scenario for a desperate EU is that no matter how much it bows to extortionist demands from Turkey, the migrant crisis will continue to grow.
Will We Learn History ... Or Repeat It?
Amid secular stagnation, the Eurozone's old fiscal, monetary and banking challenges are escalating, along with new threats, including the Brexit, demise of Schengen, anti-EU opposition and geopolitical friction. Brussels can no longer avoid hard political decisions for or against an integrated Europe, with or without the euro.
"The reality is this. Central bank polices consisting of QE’s and negative/artificially low interest rates must successfully reflate global economies or else. They are running out of time. Or else what? Or else markets and the capitalistic business models based upon them and priced for them will begin to go south. Capital gains and the expectations for future gains will become Giant Pandas – very rare and sort of inefficient at reproduction."
Good fences make good neighbors...