For those still unsure why Spain PM Mariano Rajoy is fighting tooth and nail to avoid requesting an official activation of the ECB's SMP reincarnation: the OMT, which is a conditional bond buying program supposedly pari passu with the private market (but not really) here is an explanation. While Spain already requested, and received, a bailout of its banking system, which according to eronous analyses by firms such as Oliver Wyman will be at most €60 billion, and which according to others (such as us) will eventually end up costing orders of magnitude more once the green light for extortion is open for the New Normal modified vigilantes, said bailout would come with full conditions. Today we learn what a major condition of the first bank bailout tranche disbursement will be. It should come as no surprise to our readers- recall that in May when discussing the absolute lack of any actual austerity implementation we said, that "In fact, the epicenter of the current meltdown - Spanish banking - has seen only de-minimus headcount reduction over the past few years - so who is tightening their belts?" It seems someone at the Troika was paying attention, because as El Pais reported, European condition number 1 will be an epic bloodbath of pink slips come Monday, with Spanish banks expected to fire thousands of bank workers immediately and shut down 1,000 branches.
Following this week's 'failed' Eurogroup meeting, leaked details suggest a debt-buyback is becoming the corner-piece of the 'new' Troika deal with Greece. The leaking of details (and anticipation by the market) has driven GGB prices up and reduced much of the benefit of the buyback 'boondoggle' but as Barclays notes, "even if the debt buyback enables the IMF and EU leaders to come to an agreement, leading to a Greek resolution in the near term, in the medium-to-long-term Greek debt is not sustainable on realistic macroeconomic assumptions without notable outright haircuts on official EU loans to Greece. Therefore, a successful debt buyback might resolve the Greek debt sustainability issue on paper in the troika report but it will most likely not resolve it in investors’ minds." While there are 'optical' advantages to the buyback, the four main disadvantages outlined below should be irksome to the Greeks (e.g. creditor benfitting over growth-empowering) - which is critical since, as ekathermini notes, a senior finance minister commented "God forbid we should not be close to an agreement on Monday."
Forget Chuck Schumer's cat-out-of-the-bag 'get back to work' comments to Bernanke, now it is union-leaders who are advising the world's central bankers. "There is a not a single reason not to lower rates" exclaims Sweden's trade union confederation to the central bank as he begins negotiations with employers on wage deals for next year. His demands (for lower rates) are "far from excessive" and he adds "should not cause inflation" as Swedish organized labor have "never called for levels that ... could not be supported economically." It seems that everyone, from NYTimes bloggers & NY politicians to Swedish Hoffas know best what the central planners must do - and furthermore, it is becoming clear to an increasing mob who is really in charge (sadly).
Muslim Brotherhood Offices Torched As Egypt Turns Against US Muppet President Turned "Temporary Dictator"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/23/2012 09:54 -0500
Shoe-throwing has escalated to building burning as demonstrators clash in Egpyt over Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mursi's 'coup-like' decision to make his decisions above judicial review. The self-annointed omnipotence comes after the judiciary were about to undo the Islamist-dominated panel drawing up the country's new constitution. This so-called "coup against legitimacy" has brought back painful memories as opposition leaders (ElBaradei) calls the 'temporary dictator' a "new pharaoh" - the same term of derision used against Mubarak when he was in power. The Muslim Brotherhood offices have been set ablaze as a consequence of this 'decree' and the US (a generous benefactor to Egypt's military) is "very concerned about the possible huge ramifications of this declaration on human rights and the rule of law in Egypt." But protest leaders perhaps summarize the situation best: "The decree is basically a coup on state institutions and the rule of law that is likely to undermine the revolution and the transition to democracy, I worry Mursi will be another dictator like the one before him."
Brazil’s aggressive efforts to weaken its currency by buying dollars – about $132 billion since the beginning of 2008 – have left the country with the sixth biggest international reserves in the world, about 80% of which is denominated in the US currency. However, recent turmoil in currency markets and concerns over the global financial crisis and fiat currencies in general has given Brazil’s authorities even more reason to diversify their holdings. It has frequently stated its intention to diversify assets and reduce its exposure to currency risk. Recent sharp weakness in Brazil’s real (see table) and systemic risks are leading central banks, including the BCB to diversify into gold. Brazil raised its gold holdings by 17.2 tonnes in October to 52.5 tonnes, the highest level since January 2001. The move comes on the back of Brazil’s 1.7 tonne increase in September, the country’s first significant gold purchase in a decade. However, there are concerns that the increase in the Brazilian central bank gold holdings' and tonnage are not all that they seem. It appears that the central bank in Brazil has not actually bought London Good Delivery bullion bars but rather fixed term gold deposits with bullion banks. Recently, the Brazilian central bank was asked about their gold reserves and about a section on gold on their website under 'Official Reserve Assets' lists gold as "gold (including gold deposit and, if appropriate, gold swapped)" with a footnote of "Includes available stock of financial gold plus time deposits."
- Boehner comments show tough road ahead for "fiscal cliff" talks (Reuters)
- Argentina angry at hedge fund court win (FT)
- EU Spars Over Budget as Chiefs See Possible Deadlock (Bloomberg)
- Merkel doubts budget deal possible this week, more talks needed (Reuters)
- Greek deal hopes lift market mood (FT)
- Greek Rescue Deal Faltering Cut in Rescue-Loan Rate (Bloomberg)
- Japan's Abe Pushes Stimulus (WSJ) - Unpossible: a Keynesian in Japan demanding stimulus? Say it isn't so.
- Authorities Tried to Flip Trader in Insider Case (WSJ)
That Greek suicide rates have exploded over the past two years is very much expected: after all, in order to preserve the sanctity of the failed monetary status quo, the Greek economy and its less than prosperous population have been sacrificed by the legacy elite and the wealthy. The socio-economic collapse has resulted in a total crash in economic production of goods and services, an nosebleed-inducing unemployment rate which increasing at a mindboggling 1% per month, and the rise of neo-nazism, with the Golden Dawn party now the third most popular political organization in the country (and rising rapidly). Sure enough, Kathimerini has confirmed that the" Greece's suicide rate increased by 37 percent between 2009 - 2011, To Pontiki newspaper reported quoting police data. The data, which was presented in Parliament by Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias following a request by SYRIZA MPs, showed that 3,124 suicides and attempted suicides have occurred in the debt-stricken country since 2009, the weekly newspaper said." As noted, no surprise in this very tragic headline on the day in which the world's still wealthiest nation gives gratitude for all its "wealth."
On a day when many will gorge excessively, some will starve still. Giving thanks for the simplest of staples is hard for many (and getting harder). As a result of the drought this summer the Federal government ended up buying less food than normal, and because this excess food is used to provide assistance to the poor in many cases, there simply may not be enough to go around. This sets up a potentially tragic situation as we head into 2013, and is likely to bring heightened social unrest to our shores as we outlined in my recent article The Global Spring.
Most recently, in "Elliott Management Vs Argentina Round 2: Now It's Personal" we laid out the story of how in the ongoing legal fight between Argentina's prominent distressed debt creditor, and exchange offer holdout, Elliott Management (and to a smaller degree Aurelius), and distressed debtor Argentina, the moving pieces continue in flux, even as various US legal institutions have demanded that Argentina proceed with paying the holdouts despite the Latin American country's vocal prior refusals to do so, and most importantly, the lack of a sovereign payment enforcement mechanism. Last night, the fight escalate one more, and perhaps final time, before the Rubicon is crossed and Argentina either pays Elliott, "or else" the country proves all those who furiously bought up Argentina CDS in the past two weeks correct, and the country redefaults on $24 billion of debt. Because as Reuters reports, late last night, US District Judge Griesa overseeing the Argentina case, ordered the Latin American country to make immediate payment with a deadline for escrow account funding of December 15.
The Austrian central bank keeps most of its 280 metric tons of gold reserves in the United Kingdom, Vice Governor Wolfgang Duchatczek was quoted as saying in the finance committee of the country’s parliament today, according to Bloomberg. Answering lawmakers’ questions, Duchatczek said 80%, or 224.4 metric tons of the metal was stored in the U.K., 17% or 48.7 metric tons in Austria and 3% in Switzerland, according to a summary of a closed-door committee meeting provided by the parliament. The reserve has been unchanged since 2007, Duchatczek was quoted as saying. The central bank has earned 300 million euros ($385 million) over the last ten years by lending the gold, he said.
And the Israeli update: ISRAEL HAS AGREED TO TRUCE IN GAZA, BUT WILL NOT LIFT BLOCKADE -ISRAELI SOURCES
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This is not the first time we have had rumor of a ceasfire between Hamas and Israel, but this one may be for real. If only briefly. From Reuters:
- CEASEFIRE BETWEEN HAMAS AND ISRAEL AGREED -PALESTINIAN OFFICIAL WITH KNOWLEDGE OF TALKS
Oil appears unwilling to wait for any confirmation from the Israeli side and promptly slides.
- Rough start for fiscal cliff talks (Politico)
- Europe Fails to Seal Greek Debt-Cut Deal in IMF Clash (Bloomberg)
- Japan’s Exports Reach Three-Year Low as Recession Looms (BBG)
- Beggars can be angry: Greek leaders round on aid delay (FT)
- More financial blogs launching soon: Financial Times Deutschland closing (Spiegel)
- China's backroom powerbrokers block reform candidates (Reuters)
- BOE Voted 8-1 to Halt Bond Purchases as QE Impact Questioned (Bloomberg). In the US the vote is 1-11
- UK heads for EU budget showdown (FT)
- Eurodollars - another epic scam: How gaming Libor became business as usual (Reuters)
- Clinton Shuttles in Mideast in Bid for Gaza Cease-Fire (Bloomberg)
- Fed Still Trying to Push Down Rates (Hilsenrath)
After tumbling to lows of 1.2735, and dragging the entire 100% correlated risk complex down with it, the EUR has since seen a straight line push higher despite the sad reality that for all expectations, Europe was embarrassingly simply unable to come to a resolution over Greece and has kicked the can to November 26, leaving Greece with zero cash to fund obligations to European banks, and if anything is left over, to fund domestic operations. The reason for the move up? The market, in all its wisdom, hopes that 6 short hours after saying "9", Merkel has already softened her stance and that a deal in 5 days is inevitable. Of course, these are the same people who said a deal last night was inevitable. These are the same people who also said that Washington is this close from a reconciliation on the Fiscal cliff, despite this thing called reality (see Rough start for fiscal cliff talks from Politico). Adding to the surrealism was a French spokesman who said the country would "do everything to reach a Greek accord." Since a recently downgraded France will "do" nothing (that's Germany), but will "say" everything, it is safe to say that France is now the comic relief typically attributed to Jean-Claude Jun(c)ker. Finally, and wrapping up the bizarro surreality of central planned markets, the recent spike in Brent on Gaza re-escalations has been interpreted by those uber-complex DE Shaw algorithms as a risk on move, and pushed all risk indicators to overnight highs. With volume today set to be abysmal as trading desks will be empty around noon, expect some more absolutely insane zero volume moves in the SkyNet battleground formerly known as the "market."
UPDATE: *EURO FINANCE CHIEFS REACH DECISION ON GREECE, OFFICIAL SAYS
Can't wait to see what they came up with...
EURUSD is limping lower (-20 pips to 1.2800) as the early morning hours tick by in Europe and still Greece is not ceremoniously considered fixed. Reuters, citing official sources, got its hands on the 15-page report prepared for the meeting and it is grim reading indeed - summarized below (via Bloomberg): "The [extensive] package of options will not make it possible to arrive at a debt-to-GDP ratio of close to 120 percent in 2020 without taking recourse to measures that would entail capital losses or budgetary implications for euro area member states or envisage a more comprehensive Debt-buyback entailing the activation of collective action clauses." It would seem the GGB trade may well be the 'no brainer' trade of the year after these new haircuts.
- More QE could distort rather than deliver (FT)
- Soros Buying Gold as Record Prices Seen on Stimulus (BBG)
- EU Leaders Face Greek Aid Gap in Brinkmanship With IMF (BBG)
- Weak data point to bigger economic drag from Sandy (Reuters)
- Shirakawa Pushes Back With Criticism of Abe Unlimited Easing (BBG) But... but... Bernanke??
- French Downgrade Widens Gulf With Germany as Talks Loom (BBG)
- Japanese Poll Shows LDP Advantage Ahead of Election (WSJ)
- BOJ in the Balance as Next Government Picks Top Posts (BBG)
- Exchanges Get Closer Inspection (WSJ)
- Greece edges closer to €44bn bailout (FT)
- Japan Government to Spend 1 Trillion Yen on Next Stimulus (BBG)
- China’s Richest Woman Divorces Husband, Fortune Declines (BBG)