International Monetary Fund
- Tsipras Endgame Nears as Greek Bank Collateral Evaporates (BBG)
- Shi'ite forces ordered to deploy after fall of Iraqi city (Reuters)
- Ratings agency Fitch to downgrade many European banks (Reuters)
- Bubble Blowing to Continue So Long as Yellen Isn’t Raising Rates (BBG)
- Greece's Debt Battle Exposes Deeper Eurozone Flaws (WSJ)
- Obama to set new limits on police use of military equipment (Reuters)
- China April home prices fuel hopes of bottoming out, but long road to recovery (Reuters)
- Hedge Funds Close Doors, Facing Low Returns and Investor Scrutiny (NYT)
- ASIC's Greg Medcraft 'quite worried' about Sydney, Melbourne house prices (Fin Review)
Once again, Greece seems to have slipped the financial noose. This brinkmanship is no accident. Since coming to power in January, the Greek government, led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza party, has believed that the threat of default – and thus of a financial crisis that might break up the euro – provides negotiating leverage to offset Greece’s lack of economic and political power. But their calculation is based on a false premise.
Tsipras has got the Eurogroup on speed dial now...
"China is reversing course on a major effort to tackle its hefty local government debt problem, marking a setback for a priority reform aimed at getting its financial house in order," WSJ reports. The abrupt about-face by Beijing, which will now allow local governments to once again tap shadow banking conduits for high interest loans, comes as the PBoC gets set to ramp up an LTRO-like program designed to essentially monetize trillions in local government debt. The interplay between the debt swap program, Chinese-style LTROs, and the decision to drop the ban on LGFV financing could set the stage for a dramatic increase in the country's already massive debt pile.
The costs and consequences of Greece exiting the Eurozone may well dwarf the financial losses triggered by Greece's default.
Germany throws its support behind a Greek referendum on euro membership while Putin invites Athens to join BRICS Bank. Meanwhile, Yanis Varoufakis has a plan for resolving Greece's debt problem — and he imagines the ECB chief is terrified of it.
Greece tapped emergency reserves in its holding account at the IMF in order to make a 750 million euro payment to the Fund on Monday meaning that, as predicted, the IMF is now paying itself. Athens has one month to replenish the account. Meanwhile, the Fund has indicated it wants no part of another Greek bailout. And just to confirm how terminal the situation for Greece is, MarketNews just reported that Greece now has a paltry €90 million in cash reserves left. The end of the world's most drawn out tragicomedy is finally nigh.
Whether it is more posturing ahead of OPEC's June meeting is unclear but the message from 'sources', according to The Wall Street Journal is "OPEC won’t agree to go lower," with regard global market share (which has fallen from more than 50-% to just 32% currently). The cartel's latest strategy report forecasts oil prices won't reach $100 - “$100 is not in any of the scenarios,” in the next decade (and could drop below $40) with its most optimistic scenario $76 in 2025 (which only Qatar and Kuwait can cover expenditures with). “If they want to sustain the organization, they have no choice,” but to reintroduce production quotas, adding any concession by stronger members would be temporary.
- Full picture of Clinton charities' foreign government funding remains elusive (Reuters)
- Greece Readies for Another Week of Deadlines (BBG)
- Greece says deal will be 'difficult' at Eurogroup meeting (Reuters)
- Saudi Arabia’s Rulers Snub Arab Summit, Clouding U.S. Bid for Iran Deal (WSJ)
- Saudi Aramco Said to Plan Spending $80 Billion Overseas (BBG)
- The $900 Billion Influx That’s Wreaking Havoc in U.S. Bills (BBG)
- Cameron rules out another Scottish independence vote (Reuters)
- Banks Prep Defense for Anti-Wall Street Campaigns (WSJ)
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."
Why would financial firms pay so much for blogger Ben Bernanke’s thoughts? Aside from the marketing benefits we noted, there is one good reason. In essence, you’d want to know what Bernanke would think if he were wrong or ill-informed about some important economic issue. That is something money managers understand in a way that academics and policymakers do not, for being wrong – and knowing what to do next – is a critical skill for the professional. Getting the most information from Bernanke, either in a one-on-one or just reading his work online, boils down to just two questions: “What doesn’t he know” and “What is he sure of that is actually wrong?”
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.
There is grave danger in the lack of momentum, as momentum serves as an indirect proxy for belief and rationalizations. Once they fade away it is harder to deny reality any longer. At the very least, top or not, it seems as if investors all across the financial landscape are themselves are losing faith not just in monetary policy and the economy but maybe even the idea that this was anything more than yet another bear market rally. Even Janet Yellen might think so; after all the “dollar” beat her to it.
With the crucial May 12th €774mm Greek IMF payment looming (and thus even more critical May 11th deadline for the Eurogroup's decision to release around €7bn in additional funds to Greece), the much-discussed 'splintering' of the Troika (The Institutions as the Greeks would prefer we describe them) appears to be gradually un-splintering. Today's statement from the EU talks that the members of the Troika "share the same objective" may reassure some after the 'limbo' of serious disagreements between the European Commission and The IMF. However, with various 'red lines' remaining unaddressed, EU sources say a deal on Monday is not possible.
Here is more insight to the recent USD rally... And why nothing looks like it seems!