International Monetary Fund

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With Ukraine Default Risk At 6 Year Highs, US Taxpayers "Volunteer" To Guarantee Its Debt





Just two days ago we detailed the possibility that Russia could accelerate debt repayment on a $3 billion loan it granted to Ukraine that has broken its covenants. While there is no word yet from Russia on a decision whether to demand the payment, it appears, as Reuters reports, the US taxpayer - just as we warned - is quite willing to step up (thanks to their leaders in Washington) and guarantee $2 billion in loans to the world's 2nd most credit risky nation (after Venezuela).

 
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Greek Default Risk Soars As "Independent" ECB Dictates Greek Policy... Or Else





Despite stressing time and again that the ECB cannot dictate policy within individual nation states in Europe, Reuters reports Draghi's henchmen are playing 'bad cop' to Germany's 'good cop' for now as they threaten the withdrawal of Greek financial system funding if reforms are not carried out post election. Greek stocks are falling once again (led by the banks) and default risk has soared, with 5Y CDS +250bps at 1555bps.

 
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Oil & The Economy: The Limits Of A Finite World In 2015-16





Mainstream Media in the US seem to emphasize the positive aspects of the drop in prices. If our only problem were high oil prices, then low oil prices would seem to be a solution. Unfortunately, the problem we are encountering now is extremely low prices. If prices continue at this low level, or go even lower, we are in deep trouble with respect to future oil extraction. The situation is much more worrisome than most people would expect. Even if there are some temporary good effects, they will be more than offset by bad effects, some of which could be very bad indeed. We may be reaching limits of a finite world.

 
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Who Will Be Hurt The Most If Greece Defaults





Who owns Greece's public debt? That's the 322 billion-euro question, according to the Finance Ministry's figures from the third quarter of last year. Most of the debt has changed hands since a bailout in 2010, a second in 2012 and a restructuring involving private creditors that same year. Private owners now hold only 17 percent. The secondary market has become very thin — bear that in mind when looking at 10-year bond yields. A default would have to be absorbed instead by official creditors, holding the remaining 83 percent of outstanding loans and bonds. These include euro-area governments (62 percent), the International Monetary Fund (10 percent) through its participation in the two bailouts, and the European Central Bank (8 percent), which purchased bonds in 2010 through its Securities Market Program. The remaining 3 percent are repurchase agreements and assets held by the Central Bank of Greece. It is unclear where losses on that portion would fall.

 
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Draghi Launches New Year With More QE Jawboning, Sending Euro To New 4 Year Low, Yields Lower, US Futures Higher





The new year has officially started because it wasn't even a day in and Mario Draghi was once again out and about, jawboning the Euro to a lower level than where it was when he said back in 2012 he would do "whatever it takes" to push it higher. The reason, as Reuters reports, why the Euro sank to a nearly 5 year low against the USD, was "clear indications that the European Central Bank will soon embark on outright money-printing." Actually, it was on just more hollow rhetoric by Draghi, who told German Handelsblatt that "the risk that we don’t fulfill our mandate of price stability is higher than it was six months ago." He also added that "it’s difficult to say” how much the institution will have to spend on government-bond purchases.

 
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The Annihilation Of The Middle Class: The Beginning Of The End For Modern America





Wealth inequality isn't just a political issue - it's a survival issue. When a society hits a certain level of economic disparity, it is set on a path towards destruction. It happened to the Roman Empire, and it will happen to the United States.

 
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Germany "Not Concerned" As The Cradle Of Democracy Rocks The Autocrats And Kleptocrats





With Greek CDS surging to near post-bailout highs (and short-end bond yields back above 11%), it appears the market is anxious of the endgame as tomorrow's 3rd and final 'snap-election'-saving vote looms. Following Samaras fearmongering yesterday, it appears Germany is starting to fear the worst (and play down its effect), as Merkel's bloc states "the prospect of a Greek sovereign default is no longer a concern for euro member countries and financial markets," adding "hope that Greece’s international partners would pay if the country’s policymakers refuse to carry out necessary reforms is misplaced." However, as Bruno de Landevoisin notes, "what is at stake is none other than the prosperity of the common man pitted against the privilege of concentrated power."

 
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The Cradle of Democracy Rocks the Autocrats





On the old continent, this December 29th, a succinct political showdown is scheduled to take place which may well become a defining moment for our entirely unsettled new millenium. 

 
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The Burning Questions For 2015





"Most investors go about their job trying to identify ‘winners’. But more often than not, investing is about avoiding losers. Like successful gamblers at the racing track, an investor’s starting point should be to eliminate the assets that do not stand a chance, and then spread the rest of one’s capital amongst the remainder." So as the year draws to a close, it may be helpful if we recap the main questions confronting investors and the themes we strongly believe in, region by region.

 
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Former BIS Chief Economist: "The System Is Dangerously Unanchored; It Is Every Man For Himself"





"There is no automatic adjustment of current account deficits and surpluses, they can get totally out of hand. There are effects from big countries to little ones, like Switzerland. The system is dangerously unanchored. It is every man for himself. And we do not know what the long-term consequences of this will be. And if countries get in serious trouble, think of the Russians at the moment, there is nobody at the center of the system who has the responsibility of providing liquidity to people who desperately need it. If we have a number of small countries or one big country which run into trouble, the resources of the International Monetary Fund to deal with this are very limited. The idea that all countries act in their own individual interest, that you just let the exchange rate float and the whole system will be fine: This all is a dangerous illusion."

 
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Emerging Markets In Danger





There are some signs of trouble in emerging markets. And the money at risk now is bigger than ever.

 
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IMF Now Ready To Slam The Door On The U.S. And The Dollar





This is it, folks; this is the endgame right in front of our faces. The year of 2014 is the new 2007, with all the negative potential but 100 times more explosive going into 2015. Our nation has wallowed in slowly degrading financial conditions for years, hidden by fake economic statistics and manipulated stock prices. All of it has been a prelude to a much more frenetic and shocking event. We expect a hailstorm of geopolitical crises over the next year to provide cover for the shift away from the dollar. Ultimately, the death of the dollar will be hailed in the mainstream as a “good and necessary thing.” They will call it “karma.” They will call it “progress.” They will even call it “decentralization” and a success for the free market. But it will not feel like a positive development for the American public, who will suffer greatly as the dollar crumbles.

 
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The Implosion Of American Culture





"... America has followed the Soviet Union down the path of re-engineering its ideological culture... shifting towards a new socialist middle ground where centralization has woven the macro economic system tighter around a supra-sovereign statehood... They will say no one saw it coming...    The sad reality is that the disorganized masses will remain ignorant to the whole process as they become consumed with television news drama that hides the structural truth behind the engineered cultural implosion of the American identity."

 
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Senate Passes The Cromnibus: Here Is Who Voted "No" And What It Actually Contains





Following the passage of the Crominbus on Thursday night in a last minute "nailbiter" when the Federal spending bill got just one vote more than the required majority, it was off to the Senate. And late last night, proving that the Senate can work on weekends when a piece of Citigroup-penned legislation is on the table, in a 56-40 vote (21 democrats, 18 republicans, 1 independent voting No), the Senate joined the House in voting itself $1.1 trillion for the next 9 months, with the bill now heading for the final signature: Obama's. There is some argument whether the executive will join the legislative in confirming the US government is now (and always has been) merely a pupet of Wall Street, although we expect all it will take Jamie Dimon is just one more phone call of "encouragement" to Obama to make sure Wall Street's will is done in the White House.

 
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