The IMF failures in Greece bring back vivid memories of the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-98... As the Indonesian episode should teach us, the IMF’s management can be very political and often neither trustworthy nor competent. Greece offers yet another chapter.
The so-called “trustees” of the social security system issued their annual report last week and the stenographers of the financial press dutifully reported that the day of reckoning when the trust funds run dry has been put off another year - until 2034. So take a breath and kick the can. That’s five Presidential elections away!
...Except that is not what the report really says.
"How would US Treasury bulls in the private sector react if they knew in advance that the second largest owner of Treasuries, the PBOC, was a forced seller of Treasuries. Such compelled selling would be obvious before US markets opened each morning as downward pressure on the RMB exchange rate in Asia forced the PBOC to liquidate foreign currency assets to defend the fixed exchange rate. Would even Treasury bulls stand in the way of such a large and predictable liquidation? If they didn’t then the second phase of The Great Reset would come to pass and the decline of EM external deficits would force tighter monetary policy in both EM and DM."
Last week, we asked "Is Australia the next Greece?" It appears, judging bu the collapse in the Aussie Dollar, that some - if not all - are starting to believe it's possible after last night's 15-month low in China Manufacturing PMI. As UBS previously noted, China's real GDP growth cycles have become an increasingly important driver of Australia's nominal GDP growth this last decade. With iron ore and coal prices plumbing new record lows, a Chinese (real) economy firing on perhaps 1 cyclinder, and equity investors reeling from China's collapse; perhaps the situation facing Australia is more like Greece than many want to admit.
In almost all cases, including the most recent rise, the intermittent change in psychology that drove interest rates higher in the short run, occurred despite weakening inflation. There was, however, always a strong sentiment that the rise marked the end of the bull market, and a major trend reversal was taking place. This is also the case today. Presently, four misperceptions have pushed Treasury bond yields to levels that represent significant value for long-term investors. While Treasury bond yields have repeatedly shown the ability to rise in response to a multitude of short-run concerns that fade in and out of the bond market on a regular basis, the secular low in Treasury bond yields is not likely to occur until inflation troughs and real yields are well below long-run mean values.
Something is very rotten in the state of China, and its crashing, manipulated stock market is merely the tip of the iceberg.
"The size of the required ‘upfront’ (i.e. to be introduced in 2016) principal haircut to be €110bn (60% of annual Greek nominal GDP in 2014). Note that we do not see much difference in an alternative scenario based on a ‘tranched’ principal haircut framework (of around €15bn per year), also starting in 2016. However, a ‘backloaded’ (i.e. to be introduced in 2022) approach relying on a single haircut would be more expensive, amounting to €130bn (72% of annual Greek nominal GDP in 2014)."
Australian consumers are more worried about the medium term outlook than at the peak of the financial crisis, and rightfully so. As The Telegraph reports, by the end of the first quarter this year, Australia’s net foreign debt had climbed to a record $955bn, equal to an already unsustainable 60pc of gross domestic product, and is set to rise as RBA's bet that depreciation in the value of the country’s currency would help to offset the decline in its overbearing mining industry hasn’t happened to the extent they would have wished. Furthermore, as UBS explains, China's real GDP growth cycles have become an increasingly important driver of Australia's nominal GDP growth this last decade. With iron ore and coal prices plumbing new record lows, a Chinese (real) economy firing on perhaps 1 cyclinder, and equity investors reeling from China's collapse; perhaps the situation facing Australia is more like Greece than many want to admit, as Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman and matriarch of Perth’s Hancock mining dynasty stunned her workers this week: accept a 10% pay cut or face redundancies.
Everyone seems to be focusing on Greece these days – a country so indebted that it needs even more loans to repay just a fraction of its gigantic credits. Clearly this is unsustainable and something has to give. Even the IMF agrees. But what about the other Southern European countries? Actually, Portugal’s financial situation is looking particularly shaky, and any hiccups could have serious cross-border repercussions from Madrid all the way to Berlin.
The preposterous Gong Show in Brussels over the weekend was the financial “Ben Tre” moment for the Euro and ECB. That is, it was the moment when the Germans - imitating the American military on that ghastly morning in February 1968 - set fire to the Eurozone in order to save it. In short, Greece will become an outright debtors’ colony and its government will function as page-boy legislators for the Troika occupiers. Needless to say, political and social upheaval will erupt when the full extent of the Tsipras surrender becomes evident, and the resulting political contagion will spread throughout the length and breadth of Europe as Greece implodes. In due course, the euro will collapse and the baleful Keynesian money printers’ regime in Frankfurt will be repudiated and dismantled. But not before European democracy has a brush with death, and European prosperity is extinguished for a generation.
An "esoteric point" about China's GDP data has suddenly become a very big deal as the world looks to China for economic leadership amid a global deflationary supply glut, lackluster demand, and depressed trade.
"There is room for improvement. But in general China’s GDP deflator hasn’t been underestimated, nor has GDP growth been overstated. Both objectively reflect the real situation."
Greece, Europe and the world are being crucified on a cross of Keynesian central banking. The latter’s two-decade long deluge of money printing and ZIRP has generated a fantastic worldwide financial bubble, and one which has accrued to just a tiny slice of mankind. That much is blindingly evident, but there’s more and it’s worse. The present replay of high noon on Greece’s impossible mountain of debt clarifies an even greater evil. Namely, that the central bank printing presses have also utterly destroyed the fundamental requisite of fiscal democracy. To wit, in the modern world of massive, interventionist welfare states, fiscal governance desperately needs an honest bond market.
The economic hitmen have honed their skills among the poor and relatively defenseless, and have been coming closer to home in search of new hunting grounds and fatter spoils. There is nothing 'new' or 'modern' about this. The only difference is that it is not happening in the past or in a book, it is happening here and now. "Economic powers continue to justify the current global system where priority tends to be given to speculation and the pursuit of financial gain. As a result, whatever is fragile is defenseless before the interests of the deified market, which becomes the only rule."