International Monetary Fund

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IMF Gets A Warm Welcome In Spain





Despite near record low bond yields, a surging stock market and a leadership proclaiming victory, the people of Spain appear upset at the IMF's appearance in their nation. Around 2,000 people protested in Bilbao today as the IMF (member of the infamous Troika) overturning cars and windows, graffiti-ing "IMF Out!" and held banners saying "Troika Go Home", denouncing economic policies that welcome austerity measures and the introduction of cuts. While Christine Lagarde, who attended, lauds the progress (and demands more); perhaps it is the record unemployment, record suicides, record homelessness, and record loan delinquencies that tarnish the rose-colored glasses that 'the powers that be' would prefer the general public to see the world through.

 


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Ukraine's Prime Minister Speaks





Ukraine's acting PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk speaks. Highlights below:

  • UKRAINE TO FULFILL ALL IMF REQUIREMENTS, PREMIER SAYS - like Greece?
  • UKRAINE PM SAYS BELIEVES RUSSIAN TROOPS WON'T INVADE E. UKRAINE - because they are there already?
  • UKRAINE PM SEEKS TO INCREASE RESERVES TO EASE FX FLUCTUATIONS - "Whatever it takes", even printing dollars
  • UKRAINE PM SAYS NAFTOGAZ SHOULD BE PRIVATIZED - Ukraine oligarchs delighted by this development
  • UKRAINE PM SAYS NEW GOVERNMENT HAS NO INTENTION OF NATIONALISING PRIVATE COMPANIES" - Ukraine oligarchs even more delighted by this development

And finally, why all the above was irrelevant:

  • UKRAINE PM SAYS RUSSIA REFUSES TO HOLD BILATERAL UKRAINE TALKS

Oh well, as long as it fools those USDJPY ramp algos if only for a few minutes.

 


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G-7 Countries Put Sochi June Vacation Plans On Hold





By now it was only a formality, as the likelihood of the G-8 meeting taking place in Sochi in June, months after the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, was zero at best. So the fact that G-8, pardon, G-7 countries announced the halting of their preparation for a June vacation on the Black Sea should not surprise anyone.

 


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Ukraine Acting President Calls Emergncy Meeting Of Security Chiefs; Russia Threatens To Cut Off The Gas





All the dominoes are tumbling now. Moments after the Russian upper house of parliament approved the decision to use Russian troops in the Ukraine as expected, Ukraine's acting president called an emergency meeting of security chiefs according to his spokeswoman. Oleksander Turchinov summoned his Security Council after Russian President Vladimir Putin sought parliamentary approval to deploy Russian forces in the Ukrainian region of Crimea. At this point the biggest and perhaps final wildcard is whether NATO does or does not get involved. If it does, and if Russia does not back off - which it has clearly telegraphed it won't - futures may be looking at a limit down open on Sunday.

 


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Ukraine Bank Runs Could Soon Be Seen In EU And U.S.





"If you have physical gold or silver, you are in a golden position,” Celente said. Despite the many risks of today, Celente saw light at the end of the tunnel. He said that there are opportunities in “clean food”, breakthrough alternative energy, alternative medicine and in digital education and internet learning.

 


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Futures Tread Record Territory Water Following Overnight China, Ukraine Fireworks





In addition to the already noted fireworks out of China, where the Yuan saw the biggest daily plunge since 2008 and the ongoing and very rapid newsflow out of the Ukraine, focus this morning was very much of the latest Eurozone CPI data, which despite matching previous low levels, came in above expectations and in turn resulted in an aggressive unwind of short-EUR bets as market participants were forced to re-asses the likelihood of more easing by the ECB. Still, even though the Euribor curve bear steepened and Bunds came under significant selling pressure, the EONIA forward curve remained inverted, signifying that there is still a degree of apprehension over what is unarguably very low inflation data.

 


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One Idea How To Generate 5.8 Million Jobs





According to the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank supported by organized labor, the answer to generating up to 6 million more jobs is as simple as ending global currency manipulation. But not in the sense of ramping USDJPY or AUDUSD at key market inflection points which mostly benefits such FX-rigging chatrooms as "the Cartel", no: they are thinking more big picture, in the "central bank manipulation sense." The report says that "several foreign countries devalue their currencies to make their products cheaper, making it difficult for U.S. manufacturers to compete, the report said." In essence what the group suggests is that the US currency is overvalued relative to the rest of the world, and that by "realigning exchange rates, U.S. trade deficits would be reduced by up to $500 billion per year by 2015. Such a move would increase U.S. gross domestic product by up to $720 billion per year and create up to 5.8 million jobs, the report said." Said otherwise: stop foreign currency manipulation, but allow and encourage the US to keep pushing its own currency even lower.

 


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Ukraine Central Bank Promises Liquidity To Local Banks, With One Condition





While the "developed" world scrambles to find a way to provide Ukraine with a bailout in such a way that Russia doesn't turn off the gas, Ukraine is doing some scrambling of its own to assure the local banks, which have been plagued by both bank runs and a collapse in the currency to record lows over the past few days, that it will be there to provide funding on a business as usual basis. Itar-Tass reports that "Ukrainian banks will be provided with necessary liquid assets, including cash." But there is a condition: the funding will only come "if they will remain under open control of the National Bank of Ukraine, the newly-appointed NBU Chairman Stepan Kubiv is quoted as saying on the bank’s official website."

 


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Meanwhile, More Russian Military Vehicles Amass In The Crimean





While the IMF is promising a massive bailout to the Ukraine, and NATO is using the harshest language it can possibly muster to halt Russia in its tracks, Putin is doing what he does best: employing brute force (as seen below), and using even harsher language, to wit: RUSSIA: WEST MUST STOP MAKING PROVOCATIVE STATEMENTS ON UKRAINE.

 


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Pro-Russian Gunmen Seize Ukraine Crimean Parliament; Russia Puts Jets On High Alert; Hryvnia In Record Plunge





All those clips we showed in the past few days of Russian forces amassing in the Crimean? Well, turns out they were all predictive of what has just happened in the Crimean region parliament at Simferopol, where around 120 pro-Russian Gunmen occupied the parliament building and raised the Russian flag. The scene was the site of Wednesday’s scuffles between Tatar groups and pro-Russian supporters. As Euronews reports, local Tatar leader Refat Chubarov posted that the buildings have been occupied by men in uniforms bearing “no recognisable insignia.” Kyiv says it would regard any movements by Russian military in Crimea outside Moscow’s Black Sea Base in Sevastopol as an act of aggression. Following the fall of President Viktor Yanukovych divisions in Ukraine have come to the fore. All this happens as Russian troops in the area are building up and at the same time as Russia put fighter jets on combat alert, according to Interfax.

 


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Futures Sell Off As Ukraine Situation Re-Escalates





Three unlucky attempts in a row to retake the S&P 500 all time high may have been all we get, at least for now, because the fourth one is shaping up to be rather problematic following events out of the Crimean in the past three hours where the Ukraine situation has gone from bad to worse, and have dragged the all important risk indicator, the USDJPY, below 102.000 once again. As a result, global stock futures have fallen from the European open this morning, with the DAX future well below 9600 to mark levels not seen since last Thursday. Escalated tensions in the Ukraine have raised concerns of the spillover effects to Western Europe and Russia, as a Russian flag is lifted by occupying gunmen in the Crimean (Southern Ukrainian peninsula) parliament, prompting an emergency session of Crimean lawmakers to discuss the fate of the region. This, allied with reports of the mobilisation of Russian jets on the Western border has weighed on risk sentiment, sending the German 10yr yield to July 2013 lows.

 


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George Soros On "Sustaining Ukraine's Breakthrough"





When civilians launched a suicidal attack on an armed force in Kyiv on February 20, their sense of representing “the nation” far outweighed their concern with their individual mortality. The result was to swing a deeply divided society from the verge of civil war to an unprecedented sense of unity. Whether that unity endures will depend on how Europe responds. We hope and trust that Europe under German leadership will rise to the occasion.  We must, however, end with a word of caution. A replay of the Cold War would cause immense damage to both Russia and Europe, and most of all to Ukraine, which is situated between them.

 


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Kerry Promises Ukraine $1 Billion Bailout (Detroit, Not So Much)





Having threatened Russia that "any military move would be a grave mistake" and sounding awefully like a "line" to be crossed, US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters that the US is ready to bail out Ukraine...

  • *KERRY: RUSSIA MILITARY MOVE ON UKRAINE WOULD BE GRAVE MISTAKE
  • *KERRY SAYS U.S. PLANNING $1 BLN LOAN GUARANTEE FOR UKRAINE
  • *KERRY SAYS U.S. WORKING WITH IMF, OTHERS ON AID TO UKRAINE

One has to wonder how many US jobs this will create (or save)? Or will Ukraine offer unlimited vodka to citizens of Detroit (or Puerto Rico for that matter)?

 


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Ukraine Bonds Re-Collapse As Russia Warns Of "High Chance Of Default"





Russian bonds had rallied for 2 days on the heels of the ouster of Yanukovych and a hope-fueled strategy (supported by Goldman's buy-buy-buy recommendation) that Europe or the IMF would save the day and fund them back to solvency. However, Russian deputy finance minister Storchak has a different perspective...

*UKRAINE FACES HIGH PROBABILITY OF DEFAULT: RUSSIA'S STORCHAK

And that has sent 3-month Ukraine bond prices tumbling once again...

 


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Stocks Wobble Overnight As China Tremors Get Louder





All eyes were on China overnight, where first the PBOC drained a quite substantial CNY 100 billion in liquidity via 14 day repos in the month following the biggest credit injection on record, pushing those worried about China's credit schizophrenia to the edge, and then things got even more bizarre when in an act of clear PBOC intervention, the CNY dropped to the lowest since August 2013 as concerns about the global carry trade's impact on China (as noted here previously) start to reverberate. We will have more to say about China's Yuan intervention, but what should be noted is that the Shanghai Composite has tumbled nearly 10% in the past week, and was down another 2% overnight and is once again just barely above 2000, a level it can't seem to get away from for years (which is fine: recall that the real bubble in China is not the stock but the housing market). Chinese property stocks dropped to 8-month lows as concern continues about bank's withdrawing some liquidity for the asset class.The USDJPY drifted along and after rising to a resistance level of about 102.600 has since slide just shy of its 102.20 support area which means US equity futures are now in the red, and concerns that the S&P 500 may not close at a new record high are start to worry the technicians.

 


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