How this will not end badly and ugly is hard to see. As we quoted in an earlier article, the number of foodbanks in Britain went from 66 to 421 in the first 5 years of Cameron rule. How many more need to be added before people start setting cities on fire? Or even just: how much more needs to happen before the Scots have had enough? Very much like the Greeks, the Scots unambiguously voted down austerity. And in very much the same fashion, they face an entity that claims to be more powerful and insists on forcing more austerity down their throats anyway. It seems inevitable that at some point these larger entities will start to crack and break down into smaller pieces. As empires always do. Now, the EU was of course never an empire, there’s just tons of bureaucrats dreaming of that, and Britain is a long-decayed empire.
Earlier we detailed reports that The IMF was preparing a contingency plan in the event of a Greek default, and furthermore that Andrea Merkel was under increasing pressure to "let Greece go," and now, as Eurogroup ministers begin to gather for today's crucial 'deal-or-no-deal' meeting, Die Welt reports The Troika has 4 scenarios for Greece - one positive and three increasingly negative ranging from the need for further bailouts to paying staff in IOUs and issuing a parallel currency.
Members of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic bloc are pushing the Chancellor to let Greece leave the euro, with some lawmakers saying the EU would be better off without the Greeks. Meanwhile, German FinMin Schaeuble warns of "accidental" insolvency.
The biggest slow motion trainwreck in history, one that everyone knows how it ends just not when (especially since the "when" is about 5 years overdue), that of the Greek sovereign default may just got a bit more exciting earlier today when the WSJ reported that the IMF can no longer lie - like Mario Draghi did to Zero Hedge in 2013 - that there are preparation for a Plan B. To wit: "the International Monetary Fund is working with national authorities in southeastern Europe on contingency plans for a Greek default, a senior fund official said—a rare public admission that regulators are preparing for the potential failure to agree on continued aid for Athens."
How five investment themes will evolve in the week ahead.
Capital controls are in place...
So on Monday? He refused to nail down a day. But Germany is ready.
The next time something breaks in the financial system… it won’t be just individual banks going belly up. It will be entire countries. What’s happened in Cyprus and Greece is coming to your neighborhood… wherever you are.
The US is applying political pressure to Greece in an effort to dissuade Athens from participating in Russia's Turkish Stream Pipeline project which has been implicitly used, at various times, as a negotiating tactic in discussions with EU creditors. As the Times suggests, this is further evidence that Washington is becoming increasingly concerned that the world is rapidly shifting away from the US-dominated, unipolar model that has existed, in one form or another, since the collapse of the Soviet Union. This consternation is beginning to manifest itself in the revitalization of Cold War politics.
Investors are beginning to question the efficacy of these extreme central bank policies. More are joining the chorus of critics that believe policies have become counter-productive in both the short and long run. If true, it could mean that a Fed hike might come sooner than markets believes; and may occur prior to the arrival of the desired and optimal economic conditions. There must be a lesson to learn for those investors who blindly follow central bank actions. The lesson embedded in the dramatic re-pricing in European financial markets during the past 12 days may simply be that there are dangers when chasing assets irrespective of price levels. It seems to us that the ability of central banks to generate a Pavlovian or conditional investor response to their policy actions is now rightly being called into question.
Amid tense negotiations between Greek PM Tsipras, the IMF, and EU creditors, some officials say the chances of an agreement have increased materially since Yanis Varoufakis was sidelined after infuriating his eurozone counterparts in Riga last month. Now, just when there appeared to be some hope that Athens may avert a catastrophic default, Varoufakis has reportedly distributed a new "blueprint" for Greece that has little in common with the plan advanced by the country's reshuffled negotiating team.
In a remarkably unbalanced and lazy article on gold this month the Economist magazine attempts to dismantle the case for investors and others to own gold. Both from an investment point of view and also from an ethical point of view. The article is so laughably one sided that it resembles propaganda rather than journalism. Therefore, we take pleasure in dissecting the article misleading sentence by misleading sentence.
As next week's Eurogroup meeting's last chance to get more cash, ahead of the looming threat of a €780mm payments due to The IMF, rapidly approaches, the left-wing Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has forecast a "happy ending" to fraught negotiations on the cash-for-reforms deal. EU creditors are less enthusiastic, as Reuters reports, noting talks were making progress, though not enough for a deal next Monday. Tsipras promised to do "whatever it takes in order to reach... an honest and mutually beneficial agreement with our partners", but gave no indication of yielding on the lenders' core demands for painful reforms.
- Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage resign as Tories sweep to victory (Telegraph)
- Bonds and stocks rebound, sterling soars after UK election (Reuters)
- Cameron Set to Return With U.K. Majority as SNP Sweeps Scotland (BBG)
- Tory win brings marked EU exit risk (Reuters)
- Why did Labour lose this election? It never tried to win it (Telegraph)
- Stock Buybacks Hit New Records (WSJ)
- Hard Money Comes Easy as Wall Street Funds Home Flippers (BBG)
- Justice Department to Investigate Baltimore Police (WSJ)
- Saudi Arabia mulling land operations on Yemen border (Reuters)
While the US is waking up in anticipation of what is once again said to be the "most important nonfarm payrolls number" at least since the last most important such number, because anything 250,000 and above puts the June rate hike right back on the Fed calendar, while a collapse in this lagging indicator will be explained away with harsh rain showers in April, and send stocks soaring due to yet another delay in tightening expectations despite Yellen's outright warning of overvalued stocks, the UK has been up all night following a dramatic election, whose outcome has been largely the opposite of what the experts predicted, with Conservatives set to win an outright majority, resulting in embarrassment for Labor, the Liberal Democrats and the UKIP, both of which have already seen dramatic changes in their leadership, and moments ago both Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage announced they would stand down as party leaders.