Timothy Geithner

Merkel Snubs France As Europe's "AAA Club" Meets In Berlin Tomorrow ex-Sarko

A few days after Germany proposed the stripping of Greek fiscal authority from the insolvent country, in exchange for providing funding for what German FinMin Schauble called today a "bottomless pit" (and Brüderle chimed in saying that "a default of the Greek government would be bitter but manageable), Sarkozy decided to demonstrate his "muscle" if not so much stature, and openly denied Germany, saying "There can be no question of putting any country under tutelage." Sure enough, it was now Germany's turn to reciprocate the favor. According to Bloomberg, "Finance ministers from the four euro- area countries with AAA ratings -- Germany, Finland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands -- will meet in Berlin tomorrow afternoon, a German Finance Ministry spokesman said." And as is well known, FrAAnce no longer a member of this, however meaningless, club. "The gathering is part of a a series of meetings convened by officials from the highest-rated euro states, the spokesman said, speaking on the customary condition of anonymity. Ministers will discuss current issues without briefing reporters after the meeting." And so the gauntlet of public humiliation is now once again back in Sarkozy's court. The good news: if the de minimis Frenchman does not get his act in order, and overturn the massive lead that his challenger in the April presidential elections has garnered, he will need to endure the humiliation for at most 3 more months. In other news, it appears that when it comes to saving political face, the rating agencies are actually quite useful.

Republicans Demand Block Of US IMF Funding To Bail Out Europe

Which is why we were delighted that after months of modest confusion on the topic, the Congressional Committee on Financial Services (including subcommittee chairman Ron Paul), have demanded that not only Geithner make his stance on a US-funded IMF bailout of Europe crystal clear, but that they are openly opposed to "American taxpayer dollars being used to bail out Europe...through additional contributions to the IMF." We are curious to see just how Geithner will weasel his way out of responding to this: perhaps the only logical stall tactic is to reply that he will be busy helping Mitt Romney in his tax "revisions" over the next several months.

The West Blinks - Iran Embargo Likely To Be Delayed By Six Months

UPDATE: Oil Sub $100.



And so the escalation ends, if only for the time being, as Iran chalks a (Pyrrhic?) victory.


Why? Because the world slowly realized that the potential surge in oil prices would tip a world already on the verge of a recession even deeper into economic contraction. Not rocket science, but certainly something the US president apparently has been unable to comprehend, especially if hoping that he would merely transfer exports from Iran to his close ally Saudi Arabia which would cement its European market monopoly even further. Or, perhaps, someone just explained to Obama that Embargo in January + QE3 in March = No Reelection...

In other news, crude is now dumping.

Thinking The Unthinkable: The Treasury Black Swan, And The LIBOR-UST Inversion

The below piece is a good analysis of a hypothetical Treasury/Dollar black swan event, courtesy of Eugenio Aleman from, surprisngly, Wells Fargo. Eugenio does the classic Taleb thought experiment: what happens if the unthinkable become not just thinkable, but reality. Agree or disagree, now that we have gotten to a point where 6 sigma events are a daily ocurrence, it might be prudent to consider all the alternatives.

Thinking the Unthinkable

The Latest From The Utter Lunacy Rumor Mill

In complete denial of everything the government leaked earlier, Morgan Stanley is now expected to need $1.5 billion in new capital.

I am happy to send my $10 by regular airmail or via carrier pigeon straight to PDT.

May 6 (Bloomberg) -- Banks that need to raise capital under the government’s stress tests will have until June 8 to develop a plan and until Nov. 9 to implement it, U.S. bank regulators said today.