Italy

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Hans-Werner Sinn Fears Europe's "Very Messy" Easy-Money Endgame





There is a risk that Japan, China, and the US will not sit on their hands while the euro loses value, with the world possibly even sliding into a currency war. Moreover, the southern EU countries, instead of leaving prices unchanged, could abandon austerity and issue an ever greater volume of new bonds to stimulate the economy. Competitiveness gains and rebalancing would fail to materialize, and, after an initial flash in the pan, the eurozone would return to permanent crisis. The euro, finally and fully discredited, would then meet a very messy end. One can only hope that this scenario does not come to pass, and that the southern countries stay the course of austerity. This is their last chance.

 
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Euro Basis Swaps Keep Diving





While the euro itself has recovered a bit from its worst levels in recent sessions, euro basis swaps have fallen deeper into negative territory on par with the epic nosedive of 2011. We are not quite sure what the move means this time around, since there is no obvious crisis situation – not yet, anyway. A negative FX basis usually indicates some sort of concern over the banking system’s creditworthiness and has historically been associated with euro area banks experiencing problems in obtaining dollar funding. This time, the move in basis swaps is happening “quietly”, as there are no reports in the media indicating that anything might be amiss. Still, something is apparently amiss...

 
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Will Greece Call A Referendum On Euro Membership?





"One of the potential options Syriza might eventually consider could be a popular referendum on Eurozone membership – a step that would obviously involve great risks and uncertainties," UBS says, as Athens stares down a tough month ahead and an even tougher June and July.

 
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Futures Tumble As Yemen War Starts; Oil, Gold Surges





In a somewhat surprising turn of events, this morning's futures reaction to last night's shocking start of a completely unexpected Yemen proxy war, which has seen an alliance of Gulf State launch an air, and soon land, war against Yemen's Houthi rebels, is what one would expect: down, and down big. This is surprising, because on previous occasions one would expect the NY Fed, or its pet hedge fund, Citadel, or the BOJ or ECB (via the CME's "Central Bank Incentive Program") to aggressively buy ES to prevent a slide, something has changed, and for the BTFDers, that something may be very fatal with the e-Mini rapidly approaching a 1-handle yet again. The offset to tumbling stocks, as previously observed, is oil, with WTI soaring over 6% in a delayed algo response to the Qatar headlines.

 
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Lessons From The German Hyperinflation Of The 1920s





The German hyperinflation episode in the early 1920s is often quoted as an example of the dire consequences of excessive money printing – a leading industrial economy succumbing to the dangers of currency debasement promoted by incompetent central bankers. Alas, the reality is more complex than that, particularly when certain geopolitical and economic constraints of that time are taken into consideration. And as we shall see, we can draw some important lessons from that episode that can help us gauge the effectiveness of our very own currency debasement in the 21st century.

 
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US Hegemony, Dollar Dominance Are Officially Dead As China Scores Overwhelming Victory In Bank Battle





The China-led development bank essentially marks an epochal shift away from traditionally US-dominated multinational institutions like the IMF and the ADB. Meanwhile, it also represents an implicit attempt by the Chinese to usher in a kind of sino-Monroe Doctrine. The more isolated the US becomes as it relates to the new venture, the more transparent its motives seem. This was never about “standards” (the original excuse for Washington’s opposition to the bank), but rather about stifling Chinese ambition. "America seems to be confirming China’s darkest fears: it has adopted a policy of containment that is wrong in principle and has failed in practice," notes The Economist.

 
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Did De-Dollarization Just Reach Escape Velocity? China's New Silk Road & Putin's Eurasian Trade Network





The New Silk Road, actually roads - boosted by a special, multi-billion-dollar Silk Road Fund and the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which, not by accident, has attracted the attention of European investors - symbolizes China’s pivot to an old heartland: Eurasia. Beijing has been quick to dismiss any notions of hegemony. It maintains this is no Marshall Plan. China, on the other hand,  is focused on integrating “emerging economies” into a vast, pan-Eurasian trade/commerce network. And that, crucially, would have to include Russia, which is a vital part of the New Silk Road through an upcoming, Russia-China financed $280 billion high-speed rail upgrade of the Trans-Siberian railway. This is where the New Silk Road project and President Putin’s initial idea of a huge trade emporium from Lisbon to Vladivostok actually merge.

 
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Futures At Overnight Highs On China PMI Miss, Europe PMI Beat





It is a centrally-planned "market" and everyone is merely a bystander. Last night, following a dramatic China PMI miss, which as previously reported tumbled to the worst print since early 2014 and is flashing a "hard-landing" warning, the Shanghai Composite first dipped then spiked because all a "hard-landing" means is even more liquidity by the PBOC (which as we suggested a month ago will be the last entrant into the QE party before everyone falls apart). Then, this morning, a surprise beat by the German (and Eurozone) PMI was likewise interpreted by the algos as a catalyst to buy, and at this moment both European stock and US equity futures are their session highs. So, to summarize, for anyone confused: both good and bad data is a green light to buy stocks. In fact, all one needs is a flashing red headline to launch the momentum igniting algos into a buying spasm.

 
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Paul Krugman Is Wrong About The UK And Borrowing





Krugman wants his US readers to believe that all proper economists now agree that cutting deficits was a bad mistake, and it’s only self-interested finance types and ideologically-motivated politicians and think-tankers that take a different view. But that’s nonsense. Just think about it: “Everyone agrees that austerity was a mistake”… apart from every government in Europe except the Greeks, and the economists and many of the civil servants that advise them. Krugman and his fan-club do not constitute all serious opinion, much as they might like to regard themselves that way. It’s all very nice sitting in a US university office preaching to the Europeans (or, indeed, preaching in the New York Times)

 
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Buying Euphoria Fizzles Ahead Of Make Or Break Tsipras-Merkel Talks





As previously observed (skeptically), a main reason for the surge in the DAX, and thus the S&P, on Friday was premature hope that the Greek talks earlier were a long-overdue precursor to a Greek resolution, and as we further noted yesterday, subsequent bickering and lack of any clarity as we go into today's critical "final ultimatum" meeting between Merkel and Tsipras, is also why the Dax was lower by 1.1% at last check, even if the EURUSD continues to trade like an illiquid, B-grade currency pair whose only HFT purpose is to slam all stops within 100 pips of whatever the current price may be.

 
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Looks Like Germany May Have To Pay Up





It appears clear that the war reparations 'issue' will not go away anymore. Either Berlin pays what legal experts determine should be paid, or it risks becoming a pariah in its own neighborhood. That the Germans in the 1950s and 1960s, at home and in schools, chose not to tell their children anything about their crimes cannot serve as an excuse to silence the children of its victims. It seems the only way to save the European Union, that Germany has made its economy so dependent on, is for Germany to pay up.

 
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The Biggest Threat To The Low And Middle Skilled Worker: Robots





A study shows industrial robots' impact on economic growth is comparable to the impact of railroads, highways, and IT and given gains in labor productivity and aggregate growth, low- and middle-skilled workers could end up displaced.

 
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The New Order Emerges





China and Russia have taken the lead in establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, seen as a rival organization to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, which are dominated by the United States with Europe and Japan. These banks do business at the behest of the old Bretton Woods order. The AIIB will dance to China and Russia's tune instead.

 
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In Italy, They're Now Taxing Shadows





For merchants in Italy, there's a tradeoff for putting up an awning that may end up casting a shadow on the sidewalk. 

 
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Which European National Central Bank Is Most Likley To Become Insolvent, And What Happens Then?





In the aftermath of the ECB's QE announcement one topic has received far less attention than it should: the unexpected collapse of risk-sharing across the Eurosystem as a precursor to QE. This is what prompted "gold-expert" Willem Buiter of Citigroup to pen an analysis titled "The Euro Area: Monetary Union or System of Currency Boards", in which he answers two simple yet suddenly very critical for the Eurozone questions: which "currency boards", aka national central banks, are suddenly most at risk of going insolvent, and should the worst case scenario take place, and one or more NCBs go insolvent what happens then?

 
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