International Monetary Fund
A central bank official, according to The FT, said that Greece has repaid the €450m it owed the International Monetary Fund today. Bond yields have fallen across the Greek curve with 10Y GGBs now at 11.1% (down 70bps from Tuesday's highs). Greek stocks are not as impressed and are giving back their gains. Tsipras, on return from Moscow, explained Greece "was not a beggar...asking other countries to solve its problem," but as a senior Greek official earlier this week said that while it would be able to make Thursday’s IMF repayment, it will still exhaust its cash reserves very soon and "next month is a different matter." HSBC points out that the real crisis point looms on the 12th May and FinMin Varoufakis warns the "asymmetric union" that they "have learned nothing from economic history."
The era of infrastructure investment and multilateral banks and financial institutions controlled, in large part, by Washington - often as an aggressive strategic policy tool - has come to an end.
While Germany has pre-emptively, and somewhat defensively, come out proclaiming Russian aid to Greece as 'no big deal' - a "routine event" - we suspect the signal that it would send would not be entirely great for the EU (and Obama's) 'Russia is evil' meme. Nonetheless, as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras meets Russian President Vladimir Putin today - just one day before The IMF loan repoayment is due, topics for discussion vary from lifting sanctions (bilaterally) or bankrolling a bailout to gas discount from Gazprom. Here's a summary...
- Shell Will Buy BG Group for $70 Billion in Cash and Shares (BBG)
- IMF warns of long period of lower growth (FT)
- Wall Street sanguine as it heads into worst earnings season in six years (Reuters)
- Switzerland First With 10-Year Bond at Negative Yield (WSJ)
- U.S. Dot-Com Bubble Was Nothing Compared to Today’s China Prices (BBG)
- Rahm Emanuel Re-Elected as Mayor of Fiscally Ravaged Chicago (BBG)
- Oil falls on U.S. stock build, record Saudi output (Reuters)
- White South Carolina policeman charged with murdering black man (Reuters)
- German Factory Orders Drop for Second Month (BBG)
- A third of Republicans support Iran nuclear deal (Reuters)
"This past month may be remembered as the moment the United States lost its role as the underwriter of the global economic system... With US commitments unhonoured and US-backed policies blocking the kinds of finance other countries want to provide or receive through the existing institutions, the way was clear for China to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank," the former Treasury Secretary says, in a sharp rebuke of US foreign policy.
With almost 70% of Europeans already believing that Greece is a drag on the EU economy, this morning's statement by Greek Alternate Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas - coming just a week after the war-raparations committee was set-up, telling lawmakers in Parliament that he has calculated that Germany owes Greece EUR 278.7 billion in World War II reparations, will surely deepen the rift (at almost 40% of Germany's EUR 735 billion Q4 GDP) whether right or wrong.
- 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)
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."
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.
"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?
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.
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.
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.
Greek Finance Minister Praised By FT In 2010 As Europe's "Top Politician" Is Now A Convicted CriminalSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/25/2015 12:46 -0400
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.
“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.