Romania

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Cold War 2.0 Caught On Tape: US Military Convoy Crosses Eastern Europe While NATO Sings Karaoke Peace Ballad





A day after Kiev chose hawkish US Senator John McCain to serve on President Poroshenko's advisory committee (spoiler alert: he had to decline), the US military rolls through Romania with a "simple message" for Vladimir Putin and Russia. Meanwhile, European officials hold hands and sing Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie's "We Are The World" at a NATO dinner. And yes, we have the video clips. 

 
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Key Events In The Coming Week





Today’s Eurogroup meeting will be key in determining where Greece and its creditors negotiations currently stand. Over in the US today, it’s the usual post payrolls lull with just the labor market conditions data expected.

 
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IMF Preparing Greek Default Contingency Plan





The biggest slow motion trainwreck in history, one that everyone knows how it ends just not when (especially since the "when" is about 5 years overdue), that of the Greek sovereign default may just got a bit more exciting earlier today when the WSJ reported that the IMF can no longer lie - like Mario Draghi did to Zero Hedge in 2013 - that there are preparation for a Plan B. To wit: "the International Monetary Fund is working with national authorities in southeastern Europe on contingency plans for a Greek default, a senior fund official said—a rare public admission that regulators are preparing for the potential failure to agree on continued aid for Athens."

 
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Repatriation Of Gold From Fed Suggests Historic Vote Of No Confidence





Since 2012, there’s been an unprecedented call from foreign nations to repatriate their gold from Federal Reserve vaults in the U.S. This is an incredible development given many countries’ 71-year reliance on the Fed as a custodian for their bullion. Something huge must of happened in the last few years to prompt such action. That something may be a break in foreign gold holders’ trust in the Fed as a custodian of their precious metals.

 
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Does Turkey Prefer A European Or Eurasian Energy Union?





Turkey is currently trying to decide which of the two similar though competing projects - the Eurasian or the European Energy Union - would be more beneficial for the country. Russia’s attempts to build an ever closer relationship with Turkey - and the latter’s openness to such gestures - will complicate regional energy geopolitics further. Thus, Brussels and Ankara are likely to disagree on strategically important energy security issues over the coming years unless Turkey and the EU can achieve tighter cooperation under the framework of the European Energy Union. But if Turkey instead starts to pursue a more independent policy, particularly one at odds with the European Union, the Eurasian region will experience ever more unstable and competitive energy geopolitics.

 
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Key Events In The Coming Week





Quickly looking at the potential market moving events this week, US payrolls on Friday will be the clear focus. In terms of expectations, our US colleagues are expecting a +225k print which matches the current Bloomberg consensus, while they expect the unemployment rate to drop one-tenth to 5.4%. Elsewhere, Thursday’s UK Election will be closely followed while Greece will once again be front and center.

 
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The Global Liquidity Squeeze Has Begun





The entire global financial system resembles a colossal spiral of debt. Just about all economic activity involves the flow of credit in some way, and so the only way to have “economic growth” is to introduce even more debt into the system. Unfortunately, any system based on debt is going to break down eventually, and there are signs that it is starting to happen once again.

 
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300 US Paratroopers Arrive In Ukraine After Russia Says Its Missiles Will Target NATO Member States





"About 300 paratroopers, from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, arrived at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center, April 14 - 15, to begin a six-month training rotation with Ukrainian national guard forces."

 
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Greek Bank "Quarantine" Abroad Sparks European Selloff





A large number of European countries have effectively quarantined Greece in a bid to minimize the consequences on their credit systems in case of a Greek "accident." As ekathimerini reports, the actions are being taken in order to shield themselves and minimize the danger of contagion in case the negotiations between the Greek government and the eurozone do not bear fruit. This has sparked broad-based selling across global risk assets but particularly in Europe. Stocks from Germany to Spain are having their worst day of the year, European sovereign bond risk is exploding higher (contagion Mr. Schaeuble?), and Greek bank bonds and stocks are getting crushed.

 
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Putin Live: Talks US, Nukes, Ukraine, Iran, Hitler, And Cloning In Town Hall Meeting — Full VIdeo





Vladimir Putin holds his annual live Q&A event where, over the course of more than four priceless hours, the Russian President takes questions from across the country and discusses everything from foreign relations, to military might, to his sleeping habits, to not wanting to be cloned. 

 
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Sweden Slides Further Into NIRP: Cuts To -0.25%; Expands QE





Ahead of The Fed's 'impatience' today, and amid a tumbling EUR, the oldest central bank in the world has decided it is time to go further into the illustrious ranks of NIRP/QE'ers:

*RIKSBANK CUTS KEY RATE TO -0.25%, TO BUY GOVT BONDS FOR SK30 BLN

So as opposed to Denamrk's roundabout QE, Sweden just jumps in and monetizes that debt direct by expanding their QE program and shifts from small NIRP to bigger NIRP. All this while suggesting the labor market is strengthening and inflation has bottomed out. The reaction - SEK is plunging and OMX surges.

 
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Russia Cuts Interest Rate From 15% To 14%, Ruble Rises





Following the dramatic December surge in Russian interest rates when the Bank of Russia scrambled to preserve confidence in the then-plummeting currency and sent the interest rate to a whopping 17%, now that the oil price crash has stabilized it has been walking down this dramatic move, and after reducing rates by 2% on January 30 to 15%, moments ago the Bank of Russia once again cut rates this time by the expected 100 bps to 14%. The bank also said that more rate cuts are in the pipeline.

 
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