Despite Urges And Threats, Greece Remains Defiant, Won't "Budge On Red Lines" Even As Russia Denies Gas DealSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/19/2015 12:06 -0400
Hopes ran high among Europe's unelected bureaucratic oligarchy and the Troika of official creditors that the Greek government, after the ECB openly dropped hints of a Greek IOU currency in the immediate future, would finally relent over the weekend and admit that all of its promises to its voters were a lie and that the Tsipras government would finally pick up where the Samaras government left (and was booted) off. There was even a perfect venue: Washington D.C., where Varoufakis and Obama met for the first time just hours before. The hopes were promptly dashed after Greece, once again, said it would not "renege on election pledges to end austerity measures as creditors pressed for a compromise."
As we observed yesterday when we showed that if comparing the collapse in China's housing market with that of the US following their respective peaks then China is already a recession, we added that "as shown in the chart below [China] has recently engaged in several easing steps, with many more to come according to the sell-side consensus." Sure enough, just a few hours later, the PBOC announced its second Reserve Requirement Ratio (RRR) for all banks since February 4, when China had its first industry-wide RRR cut since May 2012. The move will be effective Monday, April 20.
With Greece teetering on the edge of insolvency and forced to raid pension and most other public funds, ahead of another month of heavy IMF repayments which has prompted even the ECB to speculate Greece should introduce a parallel "IOU" currency, a white knight has appeared out of nowhere for Greece, one who may offer $5 billion in urgently needed cash. The white knight is none other than Vladimir Putin.
Did WalMart Close A California Store To Punish Employees Who Protested Wages And Working Conditions?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/17/2015 20:10 -0400
Presenting the history of the Pico Rivera WalMart store which was closed as part of the company's mysterious, nationwide "plumbing" problem. Could the closure be related to the location's history of protests against low wages, poor working conditions, and retaliation? Read and decide for yourself...
Everyone this week focused on the slight production declines that this was a sign to go long oil, but what seemed to go under the radar was another build in both Cushing and the Gulf Coast storage hubs.
June 1, 2015 is a very important day for American civil liberties and the Constitution. On that day, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, one of the most egregious pieces of legislation passed in U.S. history, will expire automatically without reauthorization from Congress. Naturally, this is causing a panic attack within the heart of the NSA, FBI and all the authoritarian lackey legislators in Washington D.C. With the chances of a clean reauthorization next to none, these crafty “representatives” and their puppeteers need to figure out a way to sneak it into another piece of legislation. What better way to do this than making it a part of something that ostensibly appears to be reining in surveillance powers. Enter the USA Freedom Act.
Greek FinMin Varoufakis is meeting sovereign debt lawyer Lee Buchheit today, the ‘fairy godmother to finance ministers in distress’... The big questions concern not just the difference between on the one hand, economic issues and on the other, political ones. Syriza doesn’t have the mandate to take Greece out of the eurozone. That is a huge point. But neither does it have the mandate to give in to the troika’s insistence on pensions cuts. At a certain moment, it may come down to what can be explained to the Greek people, and how well it can be explained. This explanation will almost certainly have to come after the fact, since holding a referendum pre-Grexit would carry far too much potential risk of uncontrolled demolition of the entire Greek economy and banking system.
They say don't let money printing get to your head, but for one now former central banker it is far too late. The identity of the former employee of the Dutch Central Bank in question is unknown, what is known is that the money authority of the Netherlands has fired a 46-year-old female employee who for 6 of her 8 years with the central bank made money on the side as a "dominatrix prostitute who described herself as a high-class nymphomaniac and earned €10,000 a week dressing up as a Nazi and whipping men."
"Bridgewater’s assets under management increased from $150 billion as of 12/31/13 to approximately $154 billion as of 12/31/14."... "Bridgewater generally requires that its Clients have a minimum of $5 billion of investable assets."... "For new client relationships, Bridgewater’s standard minimum fee is expected to be $500,000 for its All Weather strategy, $1,000,000 for its Pure Alpha and Pure Alpha Major Markets strategies, and $4,750,000 for Optimal Portfolio."
A summary of the internal report shows the DEA doled out punishments to 10 of its agents, which ranged from a letter of caution to a two-week suspension. None of the agents who participated in the parties was fired. Re. Elijah Cummings exclaimed, the report depicted “truly breathtaking recklessness” and showed “DEA agents as completely out of control," lamenting “Hello? Am I missing something? I think we are at an all-time low here." We suspect it can get a lot lower yet.
Late last year, Grexit "expert" Willem Buiter decided that he was a greater expert on the topic of monetary metals than on geopolitics by stating that "Gold Is A 6,000 Year Old Bubble." Now, he has decided that after gold, it is best to just do away with any physical currency altogether and the time to ban cash has arrived.
Several years ago, Zero Hedge first, and to our knowledge only, reported that when it comes to unofficially executing trades in the equity market the NY Fed - through a slightly more than arms-length arrangement - does so using Chicago HFT powerhouse Citadel. In other words, while Citadel was instrumental in preserving the smooth, diagonal ramp in stocks since 2009 and igniting upward momentum just as everyone else stared to sell when the Markets Group of the NY Fed called, it was also paid handsomely: after all, nobody checks the Fed's broker commission statement. In fact according to some, indirect Fed compensation to what is the world's most leveraged hedge fund has been in the billions over the past decade. Well, now it's payback time, and as the NYT reported overnight, the Brookings Institution favorite blogger, former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, has joined none other than Citadel as an advisor.
Having written for several years about precious metals, the massive threat to our financial security (from our own financial institutions), and why gold and silver represent our best protection from that threat; it’s easy to forget that there are readers who are new to this sector. For those readers; it is necessary to review the fundamentals of supply and demand.
WalMart has abruptly closed multiple stores across the country affecting an estimated 2,000 employees over the past several days citing "ongoing plumbing issues" which it will apparently take the company 6 months or more to fix. Interestingly, the stores are geographically distinct, and have nothing in common other than "clogs and leaks," and no plumbing permits have been obtained for any work.
Back in November we chronicled the (quiet) death of the Petrodollar, the system that has buttressed USD hegemony for decades by ensuring that oil producers recycled their dollar proceeds into still more USD assets creating a very convenient (if your printing press mints dollars) self-fulfilling prophecy that has effectively underwritten the dollar’s reserve status in the post WWII era. Now, with oil prices still in the doldrums, oil producers are selling off their USD assets in a frenzy threatening the viability of petrocurrency mercantilism and effectively extracting billions in liquidity from the system just as the Fed prepares to hike rates.