On Thursday, Ukraine struck a restructuring agreement on some $18 billion in Eurobonds with a group of creditors headed by Franklin Templeton. That's the good news. The bad news is that Ukraine also owes $3 billion to Vladimir Putin, and Vladimir Putin wants it back. All of it.
Despite the imploring of Greek bankers for Greeks to "take your money out of your chests and houses – which are not safe in any case – and deposit at banks," it appears the Greek bank deposit run continues. As The ECB just announced another €900 million increase in Emergency Liquidity Assistance, strongly suggesting that in the 2 days since the last increase, banks are once again insolvent facing a liquidity crunch as the "banks are trustworthy" propaganda falls on very deaf Greek ears.
President of Greek Banks Association Louka Katseli appealed at the citizens to return their money to the banks. “Banks are absolutely trustworthy,” Katseli told Mega TV, “Let’s all help our economy... If you take your money out of your chests and houses – which are not safe in any case – and deposit at banks, this will enhance liquidity.” Katseli’s appeal triggered laughter among Greeks with one exclaiming “Ah sure! Banks will never see my money again, I prefer to buy tonnes of peanuts with it.”
The divergence theme is not longer being eclipsed by the Greek drama and the Chinese stock market slide. See how this week's developments fit into the bigger picture.
Even as Greek banks, severely depleted of cash and eligible collateral they can post with the ECB, stand to fight another day (and potentially face more withdrawals as soon as the Greek banks reopen supposedly on Monday) thanks to another €900 million liquidity infusion, investors in Greek bank shares will be less lucky: "to ensure a new bailout, investors in the country’s banks faced the prospect of their holdings being "wiped out" under the terms of a €25 billion recapitalization plan."
"I think that if Greece were to leave the Euro things would get very complicated for them... and this would create the same very unhealthy situation as we have in Argentina. Why? If people start storing value in a foreign currency, in this case Greeks using Euros, this will create a huge lack of transparency and affect normal trade flows and transactions. And we know that the parallel economy in Greece is already quite large the way it is. So imagine an exponential version of that. It would be a very difficult period for Greece."
Update: EU finance ministers to hold call on Greek request for ESM loan.
GREECE ASKS FOR 2-YR BAILOUT PROGRAM FROM ESM: PM'S OFFICE
"More cynically, if a default of bank liabilities is inevitable, it may deem it better to ensure that domestic claimants on Greek banks switch into hard 'convertible' Euro banknotes (or offshore accounts), leaving the residual claimants (the ECB which has provided ELA funding) to take the loss."
The Greek case offers quite a relevant view into the world of 21st century monetary alchemy, because that is what it really amounts to. What is left, however, is the worst of all cases; no recovery, no lending and now just more financial imbalance piled onto the same negative pressures and imbalances that never really went away. What is amazing is how short the attention of “investors” may be, and how they allow themselves to think monetary complexity passes for proficiency or even expertise despite all and continued observation otherwise.
Earlier today, Barack Obama, together with 6 of the world's most powerful leaders (but certainly not Vladimir Putin) congregated in the Bavarian town of Krun where they will for the next two days hunker down at the luxurious Scholss Elmau for the latest G-7 meeting, covering an agenda dealing with climate change, global extremism, and of course, solving the Ukraine crisis (with or without instructions from George Soros on how to proceed). Serious stuff. Obama, however, decided to keep it "folksy" and the lame duck president, content with the direction the world is going, pulled a page right out of National Lampoons European vacation and kicked it back.
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."
"Greece is so far off course on its $172bn bailout programme that it faces losing vital International Monetary Fund support unless European lenders write off significant amounts of its sovereign debt, the fund has warned Athens’ eurozone creditors," FT reports, indicating that the organization may force the ECB and implicitly the German taxpayer to take the hit if Greece wants to receive the last tranche of aid under its existing program.
Take note, Gold is officially money for the most powerful entities in the world. They are not only accepting Gold as collateral but are openly trying to insure that they have their own Gold in safe custody.
It has been a story of two markets so far, with China's Shanghai Composite up another 3% in today's continuation of the most ridiculous, banana-stand driven move of the New Normal (and there have been many ridiculous moves in the past 6 years) on the previously reported hints that the PBOC is gearing up to start its own QE, while Europe and the Eurostoxx are lagging, if only for the time being until Citadel and Virtu engage in today's preapproved risk-on momentum ignition, on Greek jitters, the same jitters that last week were "fixed"and sent Greek stocks and bonds soaring. Needless to say, neither Greek bonds nor stocks aren't soaring following what has been the worst week for Greece in months.