Reuters

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Mark Fisher Accused By CFTC Of Pulling An MF Global, Depositing Customer Funds Into Non-Segregated Account





Mark Fisher is a staple contributor on CNBC. Or at least was. According to various headlines flashing across both Bloomberg and Reuters, it seems that his MBF Clearing Corp is the first victim of the CFTC expanding its MF Global inquiry, and Fisher's MBF Clearing Corp of performing just the same "vaporization" activity that MF Global engaged in and that boggle regulators' minds.

MBF CLEARING CORP SUED BY CFTC FOR FAILIING TO SEGREGATE FUNDS
CFTC ACCUSES MBF OF DEPOSITING CUSTOMER FUNDS INTO A NON-SEGREGATED ACCOUNT THAT ROUTINELY HELD BETWEEN $30-90 MLN
CFTC ALLEGES CUSTOMER ACCOUNTS WEREN'T PROPERLY SEGREGATED

Oops. In other news, JPM and Jon Corzine are both completely innocent of anything. But at least the CFTC can say it has done its duty of punishing transgressors and all is now well.

 
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Chart Of The Day: The European Commission's Greek GDP Forecast





Reuters has been kind enough to release the "Second Economic Adjustment Programme for Greece" - a 195 page blueprint that Greece has to follow (unlike the first one, which it kinda, sorta ignored) in order for the money to keep flowing (money to bail out Europe's banks that is). We can save you the reading: below is the only chart of note. This is what the European powers expect Greek GDP to do. It needs no further commentary.

 
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Frontrunning: March 13





  • Tainted Libor Guessing Games Face Replacement by Real Trades (Bloomberg) - so circular, self-reported data is "tainted" - but consumer confidence is great for pumping a stock market?
  • Japan Sets up $12 Billion Program for Dollar Loans, Increases Growth Fund (Bloomberg)
  • China Hints at Halt to Renminbi Rise (FT)
  • Spain Pressed to Cut More From Its Budget (FT)
  • Bailout can make Greek debt sustainable, but risks remain: EU/IMF (Reuters)
  • Banks to Face Tough Reviews, Details of Mortgage Deal Show (NYT)
  • U.S. and Europe Move on China Minerals (WSJ)
  • Use of Homeless as Internet Hot Spots Backfires on Marketer (NYT)
  • Obama administration seeks to pressure China on exports with new trade case (AP)
 
Tyler Durden's picture

The Greek PSI Lawsuits Begin





You didn't think investors would voluntarily give up on the potential to generate returns between 50% and 333% now did you following the 'coercively voluntary' (aka Schrodinger Spanish Inquisition) Greek debt exchange? Because here they come. Reuters reports that a Hamburg law firm representing 110 Greek bond holders have formed a class action group and intend to sue banks and the Greek state following the Greek swap. It is unclear yet if there are any hedge funds participating in the group, or if these are the entities represented by Bingham. Most likely not: those will almost certainly seek non-class action status so as not to dilute the legal effort, if not fees. However, now that the precedent is set, look for the onslaught of lawsuits to start in earnest. What is probably quite important is that European taxpayers will now be delighted to know they are paying the Troika lawyers' $1000/hour legal fees (and uncapped expenses).

 
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Adding Insult To Injury, Greek Gas Prices Are Now The Highest In Europe





Just because being officially the first broke Eurozone country, having 50%+ youth unemployment, and a collapsing economy is not enough, adding absolutely insult to injury is the following chart from Reuters, which shows that compared to other European economies, Greece now has the highest gas price in the old continent. And indicatively while America complains over what is now the highest gas prices in 2012 per AAA, at $3.80 average for a gallon of regular, 30 cents higher than a month ago, and 35 cents higher compared to a year earlier, gas in Greece now sells for over $9.00/gallon. But at least the IMF's worst case projects that Greek economy will be flat in 2013. And that's the "worst case scenario." But at least Europe sure taught Iran a lesson by halting crude imports. Oh yes, that Iran just happened to be one of the biggest suppliers to Greece - oh well. At least Greece still gets to proudly say it is a European colony, everything else be damned. 

 
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Germany Wants New European Constitution: "There Are New Centers Of Power In The World."





Germany wants to "reignite a debate over creating an EU constitution to strengthen the bloc's ability to fight off financial troubles and counter-balance the rising influence of emerging economies". Guido Westerwelle noted that Germany EU leaders "need a new constitution... as there are new centers of power in the world." A key change that Germany wants for instance is an amendment to incorporate tighter regional oversight of government spending and allow the EU court of Justice to strike down Spain's a member's laws if they violated fiscal discipline. Here comes the 'Pro-Quo' to the Greek Bailout 'Quid'!

 
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The Bad News Begins: Greek Q4 GDP Slide Revised Downward From -7.0% To -7.5%





Not even 6 hours after the PSI exchange offer details, and already the true Greek problem rears its head. Because it is not the crushing debt coupon that is the primary threat to Greece: cutting the cash coupon from infinity to 2.6% is welcome, but utterly meaningless if the debt load is still intolerable (as a reminder, just the Troika DIP is about 130% of Greek GDP, meaning all junior debt is worthless as confirmed by the trading price of the New Greek debt in the 15 cents on the euro region). No - the true threat to the Greek economy is that nobody wants to work anymore. Sure enough, the previously reported -7.0% contraction in Q4 GDP has just been revised to -7.5%. From Reuters: "Greece's gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 7.5 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2011, the country's statistics office said on Friday based on seasonally unadjusted provisional estimates. The contraction, which followed a 5.0 percent GDP decline in the previous quarter, was deeper than a previous Feb. flash estimate of -7.0 percent." And one can be absolutely certain that this number will be revised far further lower when all is said and done. Also, with recently released Greek PSI data coming at an all time low, we wish Greece the best of luck in achieving that -1.0% GDP growth in 2013 as per the IMF's downside case. Finally, this explains why the NEW Greek debt is trading with an implied redefault probability of 98%.

 
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Reuters Reports That Hedge Funds Have Found Greek Default Trigger Loophole





While the general market mood is one of pre-default euphoria reminiscent of that in the pre-Lehman weekend, clouds may be brewing. As Reuters reports, "Some hedge funds have found a legal loophole they believe will force Greece to repay some of its debt in full, three sources close to the matter said on Thursday, in a move that would intensify the standoff between the country and its debtors." The loophole? A tiny €412.5 million bond issued by Hellenic Railways with a clause that "allows bondholders to argue that Greece is in default if it is trying to restructure or change the terms of its debt, the sources said. The creditors could already argue that Athens has defaulted, and if they buy up a quarter of that bond -- or enough of it not to be forced into the debt swap -- they can also then demand immediate repayment, a process known as acceleration." More: "The funds are now trying to buy up enough of the bond -- issued by state-owned Hellenic Railways and guaranteed by the government -- to force Greece to repay them in full, to the tune of some 400 million euros. If Greece refuses to do so, this may trigger similar provisions on other Greek railway bonds, potentially landing Athens with a bill of about 3 billion euros, with investors demanding immediate repayment, the sources said." Things could move very fast since the PSI results are due in 7 hours: "Sources close to Greece's negotiation fear the funds could already start the acceleration process by Friday, or next week, if they find they have a big enough majority."

 
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Obama Denies Trying To Bribe Israel In Exchange For Iran Bombing Delay





Earlier today we reported that based on various sources, the chief topic of conversation between Obama and Netanyahu at this week's talk between the two leaders was the calendar for Operation Desert Glass and Operation Enduring Brent Freedom, just so the ensuing price surge in crude does not impair Obama's reelection chances. From that point on it was merely a countdown to the official denial from the US government, as the last thing the president needs is the perception that the fate of the US' top post is somehow in the hands of Israel, which in turn needs to be bribed with concrete penetrating presents of the GBU-XXX family to withhold from doing what it feels like doing. Sure enough...

 
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Greek Reports Peg PSI Participation At "Over 75%"





With less than 4 hours until the Greek PSI deadline (8pm GMT), the time to start spreading rumors has arrived. Sure enough, courtesy of Reuters:

  • SENIOR GREEK GOVT OFFICIAL SAYS TAKE-UP IN DEBT SWAP EXCEEDED 75 PCT LATE LAST NIGHT

Needless to say this conflicts with what all other media reports on the topic in this latest headline frenzy. Then again, in the game of the Schrodinger PSI, where the quantum participation state is 0% or 100% depending on whether one collapses the Lie function, the only sure thing is that there will be a Dead Schrodinger Cat bounce before the CAC is triggered shortly and the market tests just how firewalled it is to a Greek CDS trigger.

 
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Obama Promises Bunker Busters To Israel If Netanyahu Delays Iran Invasion Until After US Elections





Two days ago Obama held a press conference in which he openly prevaricated and disinformed the world about the true nature of his meeting with Israel PM Netanyahu. Today we find what was truly discussed, courtesy of Israel's Maariv newspaper, Spiegel and Reuters, which all tell us that it was a simple case of quid pro quo, namely that Barack Obama would supply Israel with bunker-busters and refueling planes if Bibi promised to delay an Iran attack until after the presidential election. The implication is simple - avoid an oil price shock this summer and delay it until next winter when Obama will be safely in his throne for another 4 years, at which point US citizens can fuel their cars with combustible urine following nights of binging on Everclear in hopes of ending their sorrows with alcohol poisoning, or better yet, all be in possession of the heavily subsidized flaming half ton block of metal known as the Obama Pinto, er, Volt.

 
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Van Lanschot Taps LTRO





De Telegraph reported on Thursday that Van Lanschot bank had tapped the LTRO for 750 million euros. Quoting Floris Deckers, Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors, "What would you do if you saw a 50 euro note lying on the sidewalk. We're earning a nice margin on it. We don't need it for financing or liquidity."

More on this story at Reuters here:

 
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