International Monetary Fund

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Frontrunning: April 6





  • Political Battle Ramps Up Over Iran Nuclear Deal (WSJ)
  • Greece moves to quell default fears, pledges to meet 'all obligations' (Reuters)
  • Isolated Greece pivots east to Russia, China and Iran. But will it work? (Telegraph)
  • Frustrated officials want Greek premier to ditch Syriza far left (FT)
  • Greek political unrest and deepening debt crisis fuel talk of snap election (Guardian)
  • Rand Paul’s Challenge: Charting His Own Course (WSJ)
  • In Greenspan Conundrum Redux, Odds Are on Bond Traders’ Side (BBG)
  • Yemen's Aden suffers amid clashes, aid deliveries delayed (Reuters)
  • Record Gasoline Output to Curb Biggest U.S. Oil Glut in 85 Years (BBG)
 
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Stock Futures Keep Losses, Gold Near Highs After Worst Jobs Report Since 2013





As market participants slowly make their way back to trading desks around the post-Easter world, and especially the US where a truncated session on Friday morning ended in tears for anyone hoping for a 2015 US recovery following an abysmal March nonfarm payrolls print, they find that unlike on previous occasions, the equity futures liftathon is nowhere to be found this morning, with the S&P set to resume trading in the red for 2015. Away from Greece, whose future remains in limbo, the biggest development over the holiday weekend was a Goldman note in which the central-bank friendly firm said that "the right policy would be to put hikes on hold for now."

 
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Germany Generously Offers To Freeze The Bank Accounts Of Wealthy Greeks





Germany has been kind enough to provide an idea where the foundering Greek "radical leftist" government can find some additional funds: by freezing and raiding the bank accounts of wealthy Greeks. Of course, the legal loophole provision is that only those suspected (not convicted) of tax fraud would be eligible for such an asset  freeze, however since in Greece virtually nobody pays the amount of tax they should, this is essentially a carte blanche to freeze and raid the funds of the wealthiest Greeks who have bank accounts in Germany (and soon in all other European nations) no questions asked.

 
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Greece Said To Prepare "Grexit", Drachma, Bank Nationalization Plans





"Greece is drawing up drastic plans to nationalise the country's banking system and introduce a parallel currency to pay bills unless the eurozone takes steps to defuse the simmering crisis and soften its demands," The Telegraph reports, contradicting officials' "categorical" denial that the country faces a cash crunch and possible default as early as April 9. Will the curtain finally fall on the long-running tragicomedy that is the Greco-Euro standoff? 

 
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"US Has Screwed Up Its Approach To China's AIIB" Former US Secretary Of State Blasts





The Obama administration has "screwed up" on its way to deal with the China-proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and "should not have done in this way," former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said on Tuesday.

 
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"Repeal, Don't Reform The IMF" Ron Paul Rages





By taking money from American taxpayers to support economically weak and oftentimes corrupt governments, the IMF distorts the market, enriches corrupt governments, and harms both the American taxpayer and the residents of the counties receiving IMF "aid." It is past time to end the IMF along with all instruments of American interventionist foreign policy.

 
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Putin Is Becoming A "Vulture" Bond Investor





With Washington throwing its full faith and credit behind a new Ukrainian bond issue, it appears it’s time for Moscow to play spoiler to current debt restructuring talks between Kiev and its creditors. Russia holds some $3 billion of Ukraine's debt and doesn't think it should have to incur losses as part of any deal because Vladimir Putin is no average joe private creditor.

 
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Greek Finance Minister Praised By FT In 2010 As Europe's "Top Politician" Is Now A Convicted Criminal





Back in 2010, a panel of Financial Times "experts" was asked to rank Europe's finance ministers. Nineteen European finance ministers were judged. Greece's then finance minister George Papaconstantinou was found to have the best political skills among the 19 EU ministers and got an over 8th rank overall. Specifically, as Keep Talking Greece reported then, the FT said Papaconstantinou  had "the best political skills after displaying “panache” in his handling of the country’s economic crisis." That was then, this is now: Yesterday a special court found him guilty of fabricating a Swiss bank account document and  handed him a one-year suspended prison sentence.

 
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George Soros Warns Greece "Is Going Down The Drain"





“Right now we are at the cusp," billionaire George Soros tells Bloomberg TV in this brief clip, the chances of Greece leaving the euro area are now 50-50 and the country could go "down the drain." The 84-year-old fears that talks between Greece and 'the institutions' could "break down," adding that  "Greece is a long-festering problem that was mishandled from the beginning by all parties," concluding that the chances of Greece leaving the euro area are now 50-50 and the country could go "down the drain." Finally, Soros notes, what worries him the most is Ukraine.

 
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US Officially Loses Battle Over China-Led Investment Bank





Washington picked a completely unnecessary fight with China over the ostensibly non-contentious topic of infrastructure development because the US can’t stand the fact that traditionally US-dominated multinational institutions are on the verge of being supplanted by sinocentric ambition — and lost.

 
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Is Japan Zimbabwe?





"Because the Bank of Japan gobbles up dramatic amounts of debt, the cost of financing government spending stays low. It’s been said that a country that issues debt in its own currency cannot go broke. Theoretically that may be correct: the central bank can always monetize the debt, i.e. buy up any new debt being issued. But in practice, there has to be a valve."

 
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US Taxpayers To Fund Ukraine Bailout With Bond Guarantee





CCC-rated Ukraine is preparing to issue more debt, debt with a Aa+/AAA rating because it will come with the explicit guarantee of the United States of America. In other words, after raiding Greek pensions with the IMF's blessing, the Kiev puppet government is now going after the "full faith and credit" of the US... backed by its taxpayers.  In yet other words, the latest Ukraine "bailout" is courtesy of you, dear US taxpaying reader.

 
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De-Dollarization Accelerates As More Of Washington's "Allies" Defect To China-Led Bank





"Ignoring direct pleas from the Obama administration, Europe’s biggest economies have declared their desire to become founding members of a new Chinese-led Asian investment bank that the United States views as a rival to the World Bank and other institutions set up at the height of American power after World War II," The Times notes, in yet another indication of declining US influence.

 
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How Far Will The Euro Fall?





What can strike a balance between the opposing forces operating on the euro-dollar exchange rate? No one can say for sure, but one thing is certain: Whereas the profits from playing transatlantic interest-rate differentials may run to 1% or 2% per year, investors can easily lose that amount in a single day – or even an hour – by buying the wrong currency when the trend turns. As we know from decades of Japanese and Swiss experience, selling a low-interest-rate currency simply to chase higher US yields is often a costly mistake.

 
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