Gross Domestic Product
The fact that there is a debate about a quarter-point rate hike tells us that extraordinarily low interest rates have mostly failed to deliver a robust recovery. That people opposed to even the tiniest increase in rates are resorting to hyperbole tells us that they too know this. The thinking seems to be that six years into near-zero policy, the only reason it hasn’t worked is because it hasn’t been tried long enough. Meanwhile, the dangerous side effects of year after year of artificially low rates continue to grow.
Greece Willing To Do "Whatever It Can" To Reach Deal After Greek Liquidity Situation Deteriorates RapidlySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/13/2015 09:25 -0400
"Greece will make every effort to reach an agreement with its euro zone partners at Monday's meeting of euro zone finance ministers on how to transition to a new support program, its government spokesman said on Friday. "We will do whatever we can so that a deal is found on Monday," Gabriel Sakellaridis told Skai TV. "If we don't have an agreement on Monday, we believe that there is always time so that there won't be a problem." The reason for this rapid about face? "Senior bank officials have told Kathimerini that almost all the liquidity available to Greece (59.5 billion euros) has been absorbed and that banks’ total dependence on the Eurosystem amounts to 90 billion. The rapid deterioration in liquidity conditions has been attributed to the uncertainty that arose when the snap general elections were called as well as the new government’s inability to reach a swift agreement with the country’s creditors." As usual: money threatening to walk, walks.
With tax receipts tumbling and ELA funding hitting its limit, the Greeks are up against it. On the other side, the Greek strength in the face of EU's demands (and Eurogroup's realization of the uncertainty this could lead to) has apparently led to the start of compromise. As Bloomberg reports,
*GERMAN, GREEK OFFICIALS SIGNAL COMMON GROUND ON AID DEAL
*GERMANY SAID NOT TO INSIST ALL PARTS OF CURRENT BAILOUT STAY, GREECE SAID TO BE OPEN TO SURPLUS, PRIVATIZATION DEBATE
As Merkel noted earlier, "Europe is always about finding a compromise," and it appears they are getting closer - as long as a 'program' continues. Bundesbank's Weidmann has noted that Grexit would not solve either side's longer-term problems.
US equity markets are quietly doing what they do - go up and stay up. But in the biggest markets in the world - US Treasury, Japanese bonds, and foreign exchange - something turmoily is happening. Yields are cratering today.. The USDollar is getting hammered on the back of JPY gapping dramatically stronger and EUR surging.
We are living in an era where a single statement of truth will drive a pin into the global bubble of phantom assets and debts, and the lies spewed to justify those bubbles.
Greece has the potential to be the small domino that ends up toppling much larger dominoes.
Greece’s problem can only be truly solved if large scale debt restructuring is accepted and executed. But that would initiate a chain of events that would bring down the bloated zombie that is Wall Street. And it just so happens that this zombie rules the planet. We are all addicted to the zombie. It allows us to fool ourselves into thinking we are doing well – well, sort of -, but the longer term implications of that behavior will be devastating. We’re all going to be Greece, that’s inevitable. It’s not some maybe thing. The only thing that keeps us from realizing that is that the big media outlets have become part of the same industry that Wall Street, and the governments it controls, have full control over. And that in turn says something about the importance of what Yanis Varoufakis and Syriza are trying to accomplish. They’re taking the battle to the finance empire. And it should not be a lonely fight. Because if the international Wall Street banks succeed in Greece, some theater eerily uncomfortably near you will be next. That is cast in stone.
Seven years after the bursting of a global credit bubble resulted in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, debt continues to grow. In fact, as McKinsey explains in their latest report, rather than reducing indebtedness, or deleveraging, all major economies today have higher levels of borrowing relative to GDP than they did in 2007. They pinpoint three areas of emerging risk: the rise of government debt, which in some countries has reached such high levels that new ways will be needed to reduce it; the continued rise in household debt; and the quadrupling of China’s debt, fueled by real estate and shadow banking, in just seven years... that pose new risks to financial stability and may undermine global economic growth.
"It's a man-made tragedy, and the men who made it won’t fix it." So it turns out Lenin wasn’t just right that the best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency. It’s also the best way, as Venezuela can tell you, to destroy the socialist one.
- RBA cuts interest rates to record low of 2.25% (SMH)
- RBI keeps rates on hold (Reuters), India allows banks flexibility on big projects to reboot growth (Reuters)
- BP slashes capital spending by 20% (FT)
- Greek Retreat on Writedown May Move Fight to Spending (BBG)
- Rosneft accounting move helps BP beat profit forecast (Reuters)
- Amazon in Talks to Buy Some of RadioShack's Stores (BBG)
- Behind Obama's budget proposals, a gloomy view of the future (Reuters)
- How the Justice Department, S&P Came to Terms (WSJ)
- Staples, Office Depot in Advanced Talks to Merge (WSJ)
Update, and in line with the FT report, here's Bloomberg: GREECE SAID TO DROP WRITEDOWN REQUEST AFTER OPPOSITION FROM EU
Over a week after the new Greek government came to power, it has presented its first actual proposal of how it hopes to negotiate with Europe that does not involve the infamous "debt write off", which as both Germany and the ECB have made clear, is a non-starter as it impairs the ECB's balance sheet and leads to a loss of "faith" in the money printer, the legacy monetary system and so on. So instead of yet another debt restructuring, the FT reports that Yanis Varoufakis "would no longer call for a headline write-off of Greece’s €315bn foreign debt. Rather it would request a “menu of debt swaps” to ease the burden, including two types of new bonds." Actually he still does, only he is not calling it as such.
Despite Angela Merkel's insistence on numerous occasions this past week that there will be "no debt renegotiations," it appears a schism at the core of Europe is opening. As France24 reports, following a meeting between France's finance minister Michel Sapin and Greece's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, the press conference had a considerably more amicable tone that Friday's Dijsselbloem dissing. "France is more than prepared to support Greece," Sapin said adding that Greece’s efforts to renegotiate were "legitimate." Sapin urged a "new contract between Greece and its partners."
There is no reason to assume that this time will be different. These boom-bust sequences will continue until the economy is structurally undermined to such an extent that monetary intervention cannot even create the illusory prosperity of a capital-consuming boom anymore. The bankers applauding Draghi’s actions today will come to rue them tomorrow.
It’s already ‘later’. We're living through the period of time when that dawning recognition of limits will finally burst over the horizon, shining a very bright spotlight on a frightening number of our global society's unsustainable practices. The most urgent of them all, as far as everyone reading this is concerned, is the very uncomfortable fact that it is our system of money that is most likely to break first and hardest because its very design demands endless growth, without which collapse ensues. Central bank credibility (as fictitious as that may be) is essential to maintaining the current narrative, BUT central banks are rapidly losing their credibility (which should have happened simply via deductive reasoning a long time ago) and the strains are showing. When credibility in central bank omnipotence snaps, buckle up. Risk will get re-priced, markets will fall apart, losses will mount, and politicians will seek someone (anyone, dear God, but them) to blame.
Breaking the stranglehold of vested interests is the essential step to rebuilding an economy that isn't totally dependent on manipulated money and statistics.