Transparency

IMF Approves Loan (To Pay Ukraine's Gazprom Bill): Putin 1 - 0 IMF

After 'billing' Ukraine this morning, Gazprom must be jubilant this evening as news exudes from Washington that...

  • *IMF APPROVES UKRAINE LOAN OF $17 BLN OVER TWO YEARS
  • *UKRAINE EXPECTS FIRST TRANCHE OF IMF AID MAY 5-MAY 8: FIN MIN

But,

  • *IMF SAYS IMMEDIATE UKRAINE LOAN DISBURSEMENT TO BE $3.2 BLN

So that won't even cover the $3.49bn they already owe to Gazprom? (In fact, $2.2bn is approved for dissemination to Gazprom)

In Latest European "Stress Test" Farce, ECB Assumes No Deflation Even Under Severe Systemic Shock

Earlier today the EBA published its common methodology and scenario for the 2014 EUwide bank stress test. The adverse scenario covers the period 2014 to 2016 and at least on the surface is generally tougher than the adverse scenarios in previous similar exercises, resulting in a severe negative deviation of EU GDP growth of 7% from its baseline level by 2016. So far so good. But where the whole thing disintegrates into yet another sham spectacle confirming just how insolvent European banking truly is, is one simple observation: not even under the adverse scenario does the ECB contemplate the possibility of deflation!

Death & Taxes: A Letter From A Private Banker

One of the founding fathers of the United States famously remarked that death and taxes are the only certainties in life. And as tax day rolled around once again in the US, individuals the length and breadth of the country were participating in the annual ritual of filing their income tax returns with the federal government. Outside of the United States, banks, custodians, brokers and investment advisers are also working to meet a tax deadline coming soon—registration with the United States Internal Revenue Service to comply with FATCA. And so the diminished privacy that has become a feature of our modern lives now looks set to pervade the conventional banking system. Citizens will render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, but the wisest among them will continue to avail of the privacy and asset protection offered in certain jurisdictions.

Guest Post: When Will Capitalism Come To Wall Street?

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “Doing well is the result of doing good. That’s what Capitalism is all about,” and nowhere is this description more embraced than on Wall Street. There, the idea of the meritocracy, where those that produce the most financial value get to take home the biggest rewards is almost a cliche  All of which begs the question, why do most hedge funds exist?  If Capitalism existed on Wall Street, and compensation was tied to the creation of economic value, most of the “absolute return industry” would go out of business. To understand why, we need to go back a decade.

Ruble Tumbles Despite Russian Rate Hike

The USDRUB rate is back above 36.00 - nearing its record lows - despite a surprise Russian rate hike this morning aimed at stalling the capital outflows. It seems Lavrov's comments that Kiev will face "bloody justice" geopolitical angst is trumping any arbitrage or macro data flows for now. Russian stocks are also fading.

China Goes Dark: PBOC To Keep Goldbugs Clueless About Its Gold Buying Spree

Now that everyone is breathing down the PBOC's neck to finally reveal - with a five year delay - just how much gold it does hold, the Chinese central bank has done a U-turn on its indirect transparency and, as Reuters reports, has begun allowing gold imports through its capital Beijing, sources familiar with the matter said, "in a move that would help keep purchases by the world's top bullion buyer discreet at a time when it might be boosting official reserves."

Sorry Janet: Technology Is Deflationary

We all know the Federal Reserve is terrified of deflation, because they keep telling us that deflation is the equivalent of death and inflation is the equivalent of oxygen. What they fail to mention is that inflation is only oxygen for debtors barely able to service their debt and those who profits from debt, i.e. bankers and financiers. For everyone earning a wage or salary, inflation is the equivalent of death by a thousand cuts and deflation is the elixir of life. When prices decline, our money goes further, i.e. our purchasing power increases. Only bankers, governments and other parasites that live off the carrion of debt fear deflation and try to destroy the purchasing power of wages with everything in their power.

GM "Scapegoats" 2 Employees, Places Engineers On Paid Leave

In the interests of transparency and on the heels of Mary Barra's suggestion that some of those involved in the ignition switch problem are still employed at the firm, she has decided to place 2 employees on paid leave...

  • *GM BARRA CONFIRMED 2 ENGINEERS PLACED ON PAID LEAVE
  • *GM SAID TO PLACE DEGIORGIO, ALTMAN ON PAID LEAVE
  • *GM CREATES SPEAK UP FOR SAFETY PROGRAM FOR EMPLOYEES

To distract from the main headlines, GM has created a "speak up for safety" spy-on-your-neighbor plan as part of her safety-first strategy.

1% Of US Doctors Account For Over $10 Billion Of Medicare Billings

The top 1% of 825,000 individual medical providers accounted for 14% of the $77 billion in medicare billing in 2012, according to new federal data reported by the WSJ. The data shows a very small number of doctors and medical providers account for a huge amount of the costs for treating the elderly and, as WSJ notes, suggest in some cases, may be enriching themselves in the process. As Bloomberg notes, one doctor, who treats degenerative eye disease in seniors, was paid $21 million (twice the 2nd highest paid doctor on the list) with some top earners making 100 times the average for their respective fields. One researcher summed it up, "There's all sorts of services that are low-value for patients, high-revenue to providers," and leaves us wondering, once again, how the government will manage as Obamacare's "success" washes ashore.

 

NHTSA "Punishes" GM With $7000/Day Fine

So much for new GM's transparency... After failing to respond to over a third of NHTSA's requests:

  • *NHTSA: GM STILL HAS 'FAILED' TO PROVIDE SUBSTANTIVE RESPONSE

NHTSA has thrown the book at General Motors (kinda)..

  • *NHTSA SAYS GM SUBJECT TO CIVIL PENALTY UP TO $7,000/DAY

That will teach them!! There are some teeth there, as NHTSA added that it may refer GM to the Justice department.

Frontrunning: April 8

  • Russia's Gazprom says Ukraine did not pay for gas on time (Reuters)
  • Ukraine Moves to Keep Control in East (BBG)
  • Banks Set to Report Lower Earnings as Debt Trading Slumps (BBG)
  • More DeGeners and Obama selfies needed: Samsung's lower first-quarter estimate highlights smartphone challenges (Reuters)
  • Citi Is Bracing to Miss a Profit Target (WSJ)
  • Another slam from GM? Safety group calls for U.S. probe of Chevy Impala air bags (Reuters)
  • Japan drugmaker Takeda to fight $6 billion damages imposed by U.S. jury (Reuters)
  • EU court rules against requirement to keep data of telecom users (Reuters)
  • White House may ban selfies with president after Ortiz-Obama photo promotes Samsung (Syracuse)