To think it was just recently in September of last year when the S&P, seemingly unaware of the tragic reality facing Greece in just a few months (by reality we meen democratic elections which overthrew the previous regime which was merely a group of Troika picked technocrats), upgraded Greece to B and said "The upgrade reflects our view that risks to fiscal consolidation in Greece have abated." Well, the risks have unabated, and two months after S&P flipflopped and downgraded Greece back to B- on February 6, moments ago it downgraded it again, this time to triple hooks, aka the dreaded CCC+. But, as City AM reports, the biggest news is that the Greek Finance Minister "will on Friday meet with infamous sovereign debt lawyer Lee Buchheit, who has helped numerous countries restructure their debt. Buchheit is a partner at top US law firm Cleary Gottlieb."
A month ago we warned "Beijing, you have a big problem," and showed 10 charts to expose the reality hiding behind a stock market rally up over 100% in the last year. Tonight we get confirmation that all is not well - China GDP fell to 7.0% (its lowest in 6 years) with QoQ GDP missing expectations at +1.3% (vs 1.4%). Then retail sales rose 10.2% YoY - the slowest pace in 9 years (missing expectations of 10.9%). Fixed Asset Investment rose 13.5% - the lowest since Dec 2000 (missing expectations). And finally Industrial Production massively disappointed, rising only 5.6% YoY (weakest since Dec 2008). Finally, as a gentle reminder to the PBOC-front-runners, a month ago Beijing said there was no such thing as China QE (and no, the weather is not to blame.. but the smog?).
Inventor of Antivirus Sofware: The Government Is Planting Malicious Software On Your Phone So It Can See What You're DoingSubmitted by George Washington on 04/14/2015 22:12 -0400
“Encryption Doesn’t Matter In a World Where Anyone Can Plant Software On Your Phone and See What You’re Seeing”
It is quite obvious that Russia cannot substitute the West and in particular European countries with someone else. It is impossible for historical and cultural reasons, the abundance of industrial relations, geographical proximity and so on. Moscow can however substantially weaken such dependency through the strengthening of political, military, financial and economic relations with other countries which are friendlier and less susceptible to pressure from Washington. Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) holds a special place amongst countries friendly to the Russian government, and strategic dialogue is being actively developed with it.
Well done IMF, well done.
To maintain its hegemony, the U.S. must by all means prevent the emergence of rival powers and impede possible current as well as future threats that could emanate from oil states. The ideal condition for enforcing its own goals at a low cost would be the fragmentation of antagonistic power centers through ethnic and religious strife, civil wars, chaos and deep-seated mistrust in the Middle East – always following the well-known premise of ‘divide and rule.’ In fact, we are currently experiencing tremendous changes towards such a chaotic state of affairs.
The answer, as shown in the following charts from the IMF, is because the dotted "consensus" blue lines also known as simple trendline extrapolation, better known in the financial world as "Birinyi's ruler", sometimes just happen to diverge from reality.
Despite all the money-printing, bond-buying, ponzi-scheming; the looming reality of a possible Greek default is spreading rapidly across the rest of peripheral European bonds. Greek 3Y bond yields are up 167bps, breaking over 23% today. The last week has seen Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish bond risk rise 12-16bps - a dramatic move off such low Q€-driven bases. Already there is chatter that Spain's resurgent Podemos party will look to negotiate restructuring their debt, which merely confirms the fact that for all the bluster, EU leaders are scared stiff of the implications of 'allowing' Greece to exit...
Life and happiness in this life under any political system directly depend upon how much our individuality (versus the crowd) is retained and to what extent we throw off manipulated illusions. Fewer and fewer people have any cognitive imperative to question the system because hypnosis and learned behavior are transferred from one generation to another. False beliefs are self-perpetuating and feed upon one another. The more generations accepting myths, the more reinforcing they become. The creation of the mass mind and/or mass consciousness is the secret weapon of the ruling elite.
The new normal is a global faith in inexorable technological advancement as a cure-all to every predicament we face. In many ways, it's become the dominant religion of the 21st century. Sadly, there are a growing number of threats for which 'improved' technologies actually exacerbate the risks (particularly in regards to depleting critical resources) -- but society refuses to acknowledge this, as it runs counter to the tech-as-savoir meme so many are pinning their hopes on...
Think the market is overvalued? Believe US equities are artificially propped up by corporate buyback plunge protection? Wonder if a complete disconnect between stocks and economic fundamentals portends troubled waters ahead? Well, it will cost you to express your opinion via long puts, because as Bloomberg reports, S&P index downside protection is now the most expensive it's ever been relative to long calls.
Update: as always is the case in Europe, nothing is confirmed until it is officially denied by officials, so here you go: GREEK GOVT OFFICIAL DENIES FT REPORT GREECE PLANNING DEFAULT
It should hardly come as a surprise that after the latest round of Greek pre-negotiation negotiations with the Troika, in which the Greek representative was said to behave like a taxi driver, who "just asked where the money was and insisted his country would soon be bankrupt" and in which the Eurozone members "were disappointed and shocked at Athens' lack of movement in its plans, and in particular its reluctance to talk about cutting civil servants' pensions" that the next Greek step is to fall back - yet again - to square zero: threats of an imminent default. Which is precisely what, according to the FT, has happened "Greece is preparing to take the dramatic step of declaring a debt default unless it can reach a deal with its international creditors by the end of April."
Who could have seen that coming? With Treasury yields pressing lows of the day since the US open, and AAPL in the red; the stop-hunt in stocks this morning is now starting to fade back into reality as Crude oil prices gave up gains and went red and reports appear that Greece is preparing to default... The Dow and S&P are now red on the day.