International Monetary Fund

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Frontrunning: February 12





  • 'Glimmer of hope' for Ukraine after deal at Minsk peace summit (Reuters)
  • Ruble Rebounds, Russian Stocks Surge on Ukraine Cease-Fire Deal (BBG)
  • Greek PM Tsipras in Brussels as clock ticks on EU bailout (Reuters)
  • Emerging-Market Currencies Rout Not Over for Traders (BBG)
  • Little noticed, new Saudi king shapes contours of power (Reuters)
  • In Wake of Financial Crisis, Goldman Goes It Alone (WSJ)
  • AmEx Is Losing Its Millionaires (BBG)
  • Thousands to Lose Health Insurance Over Residency Questions (WSJ)
 
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Guest Post: Understanding The Fear Of Self-Defense And Revolution





"Our era is a strange one when considering how social attitudes have developed in such a contrary fashion to the rest of history. I think that our forefathers would look upon our current culture with bewilderment when confronted with the fact that our generation has all but abandoned the option of physical rebellion as a tool for social change. I believe a revolution is indeed necessary, a final revolution to remove the influence of the globalist cult once and for all — not only their puppet governments, puppet political parties and puppet despots, but the globalists themselves. Will bad men still exist in this world? Of course they will. But the kind of advanced and well-organized internationlist machine that thirves today will no longer exist. To save a patient poisoned to the extreme, the patient must be purged until his body can recover on its own. The elites are a poison that must be physically removed from the human system."

 
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The Keys To The Gold Vaults At The New York Fed ‘Coin Bars’, ‘Melts’ And The Bundesbank





 

‘Coin bars’ is a bullion industry term referring to bars that were made by melting gold coins in a process that did not refine the gold nor remove the other metals or metal alloys that were in the coins. The molten metal was just recast directly into bar form. Because it’s a concept critical to the FRBNY stored gold, the concept of US Assay Office / Mint gold bar ‘Melts’ is also highlighted below. Melts are batches of gold bars, usually between 18 and 22 bars, that when produced, were stamped with a melt number and a fineness, but were weight-listed as one unit. The US Assay Office produced both 0.995 fine gold bars and coin bars as Melts. The gold bars in a Melt are usually stored together unless that melt has been ‘broken’.

 
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After Greece Warns It May Get Funds From Russia Or China, Europe Said To Propose 6 Month Extension





Update: EUROPEAN COMMISSION SAYS THERE IS NO FORMAL PROPOSAL FOR GREECE BUT TALKS ARE INTENSIVE

* * *

Did Europe just fold? Moments ago Bloomberg blasted a headline which has to be validated (and may well be refuted considering this is Europe), which said that:

COMMISSION TO PROPOSE 6 MONTH EXTENSION FOR GREECE - SOURCES.

So did Greece just win the first round of its stand off with Brussels, and why? What emerged as the biggest point of leverage overnight was the following threat reported hours ago by Reuters, citing the Greek defense minister Kammenos, who essentially threatened to go to Russia and/or China if Europe decline to cooperate.

 
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Tsipras Rejects EU Ultimatum, Demands Bridge Deal: "Greeks Can't Take More Disappointment"





Summarizing the key points of Tsipras Sunday speech to parliament:

Greece cannot back down (mandate is clear)
Greece rejects bailout extension (implicit GREXIT unless EU backs down)
Europe cannot afford repeat mistakes - will not humiliate one nation.
Greece's first priority: humanitarian disaster

 
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Varoufakis Warns "Cloud Of Fear Over Europe Becoming Worse Than Former Soviet Union"





The cracks in the foundation, walls, and ceiling of the European Union are beginning to widen. During an interview with Italian State TV RAI3, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis hinted at Greece's "New Deal for Europe" strategy (to be financed by the EIB) but it was the glimpse behind the curtain of EU solidarity that was most shocking as he explained, "Greeks don't have a monopoly on the truth. What we can do, for the rest of Europe, and for Italy in particular, is to open a small door to the truth," adding rather stunningly, that Italy "stands in solidarity with [Greece] but cannot tell the truth as they fear of possible consequences on behalf of Germany."

 
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Greece Gambles On "Catastrophic Armageddon" For Europe, Warns It "Only Has Weeks Of Cash Left"





One of the bigger problems facing the new, upstart Greek government, which has set before itself the lofty goal of overturning 6 years of oppressive European policies and countless generations of Greek cronyism, corruption and tax-evasion is not so much the concern about deposit outflows and bank runs - even though it most certainly will be in the next few days unless the Tsipras government finds some resolution to the dramatic standoff with Merkel and the ECB - but something far more trivial: running out of money.

 
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Global Economy Will Shrink By $2.3 Trillion In 2015





The world is going to be about $2.37 trillion smaller in 2015 than most expected at the start of the year as a consequence of the USD strengthening. This is not insignificant, as it represents 3.2% of last year’s estimated global GDP. For perspective, that would be as if an economy of the size between Brazil’s and the UK’s would have just disappeared.

 
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China’s Monumental Debt Trap - Why It Will Rock The Global Economy





Needless to say, Greece is only the poster child. The McKinsey numbers above suggest that “peak debt” is becoming a universal condition, and that today’s Keynesian central bankers and policy apparatchiks are only pushing on a giant and dangerous global string. So now we get to ground zero of the global Ponzi. That is the monumental pile of construction and debt that is otherwise known on Wall Street as the miracle of “red capitalism”. In truth, however, China is not an economic miracle at all; its just a case of the above abandoned Athens stadium writ large.

 
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The Lesson Of Greece: Only Collapse Makes Real Change Possible





When the illusion that the Status Quo can fulfill all its promises to everybody dies, the Status Quo starts the terminal slide to effective collapse.

 
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Putin Invites Tsipras To Visit Russia





UPDATE: And Russia reiterates its willingness to aid Greece financially... RUSSIA WOULD CONSIDER AID TO GREECE, NO REQUEST MADE: SILUANOV

While Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis' comments that "we will never ask for financial assistance in Moscow," which notably does not deny acceptance of aid if offered, and Greek Minister of Energy Panagiotis Lafazanis adding that Athens opposes the embargo imposed on Moscow, "we have no disagreement with Russia and the Russian people," it is perhaps not surprising that, as Vedemosti reports, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone with the new Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras, congratulated him on taking office, and invited him to Russia.

 
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Meet The Man Behind The Scenes: The "Pro-Market Socialist" Banker Who Will Shape "Europe's Financial Future"





While the media world follows every step of the new Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis (or "YV") with morbid fascination, and for good reason - he is so subdued it makes him flamboyant to a media world unaccustomed with modesty -  the truth is that, for all his best intentions, Yanis as well as the Prime Minister, are merely frontmen for popular consumption. The real brains behind the latest Greek attempt at tearing away the hated "oppressive" shackles of debt (which nobody had a problem incurring originally when everything was going smoothly, but that's a topic for another day) is a banker who sits 3000 kilometers away, on Paris' Boulevard Hausmann, and who is a self-described "pro-market socialist", and fan of The Clash. Meet Lazard's Matthieu Pigasse, the banker, whose actions in the next few days, as the WSJ puts it, will shape  "Europe’s financial future."

 
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Greek Caption Contest And Complete Overnight Summary





If you thought the Dijsselbloem-Varoufakis 'exit' was uncomfortable; watching Jean-Claude "when it's serious, you have to lie" Juncker grab Alexis Tsipras' hand in an awkward solidarity gesture as they ambled off stage today was eye-gouging... Perhaps the biggest news overnight was Varoufakis comment that GREECE `WILL NEVER SEEK FINANCIAL AID' FROM RUSSIA but broadly speaking conversations continue with "no change" - Greek FinMin Varoufakis told ECB's Draghi about his "government’s utter and unwavering determination that it can’t possibly be business as usual in Greece," and The IMF has stated that there has been no discussion with the Greek government on a change to the framework. Varoufakis is on his way to meet Germany's Schaeuble next.

 
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