Just yesterday we warned that, among the 'solutions' the Greek government was exploring in its scramble for cash to pay back The IMF loan, was 'borrowing' from the nation's pension funds. Today we get the sad confirmation that indeed Greece will raid cash reserves in pension funds and other public sector entities to cover its funding needs. As Reuters reports, Greece will use short-term repo transactions to transfer the cash, but one government official said they could not be used to repay the IMF. As the radical left-wing government takes from the implictly wealthier Greeks (pension funders), it is giving free electricity, a rent allowance, and food stamps to the poor.
Ukraine's infamous pink Porsche-driving central bank governor, Valeriya Gontareva, raised the nation's refinancing rate from 19.5% to a stunning 30% (effective Wednesday) in order to "stabilize the situation in the money and lending markets," and imposed some 'capital controls' on exporters holding foreign cash. For now, the hink to the highest rate since 2000 is having a positive effect as UAH has rallied 2-3 handles back to one-month highs against the USD - having lost over 60% of its value in the last year (though we note these are the 'official' rates and may not represent actual UAH transactions in the real world). "The central bank is trying to send a strong signal that it is in charge," noted on analyst as the country desperately waits for its $17.5bn bailout from US taxpayers The IMF.
The 2008 worldwide financial crisis was produced due to excessively easy monetary policy, which caused the largest debt driven mal-investment in housing, automobiles, and Chinese produced crap in world history. The consequences of this debt bacchanalia should have been the orderly liquidation of the Wall Street entities that created the crisis, the writing off of trillions in bad debt, corporate and personal bankruptcies of businesses and people who borrowed recklessly, a sharp steep economic decline to cleanse the excesses, and politicians who immediately began the process of reducing budgets and addressing long term unfunded unpayable liability promises. Instead, the psychotic oligarchs did not want to lose any of their power, wealth or control over the proletariat. They have done the exact opposite of what needed to be done.
When do you know that Wall Street has officially succeeded in turning back the clock 5 years? When the market’s collective mind state has been reconditioned to the point where analysts feel comfortable creating research notes with titles like this one: “Keep Calm and Lever Up.”
Throughout history, political, financial, and military leaders have sought to create empires. Great Britain owned the 19th century but lost its empire due largely to costly wars. The US took over in the 20th century and, like Rome, rose as a republic, with minimal central control, but is now crumbling under its own governmental weight. Invariably, the last people to understand the collapse of an empire are those who live within it. Americans remain hopeful that the dramatic decline is a temporary setback from which they will rebound...Not likely.
Greek short-term default risk jumped over 300bps today putting the odds of a restructuring at 50-50 within the next year as the warnings we issued last week with regard Greece's imminent default on its IMF loan loom. Seeking to reassure its lenders (and avoid yet more capital flight), Reuters reports the Greek government said it was "exploring solutions," including delaying payments to suppliers or try to raise up to 3 billion euros by borrowing from state entities such as pension funds. We are sure the Greek people will be enthused when they find out what the 'radical left' has in store for their funds...
"Ultimately... it would be very hard for Greece to introduce a viable new currency unilaterally."
- Goldman Sachs
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- Netanyahu arrives in U.S., signs of easing of tensions over Iran speech (Reuters)
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- ECB uncomfortable with leading role in Greek funding drama (Reuters)
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- Iraq Military Begins Campaign to Reclaim Tikrit (WSJ)
- How Billionaires in London Use Secret Luxury Homes to Hide Assets (BBG)
Clearly if Western governments were ‘merely’ drowning in debt-to-GDP ratios of roughly 100%, then theycould still argue that attempting to manage these debt-loads was legitimate rather than treasonous. However, Germany’s government (debt-to-GDP of 188%) can no longer make that claim. Nor can:
"By lowering the cost of borrowing, QE has lowered the risk of default. This has led to overcapacity (see highly leveraged shale companies). Overcapacity leads to deflation. With QE, are central banks manufacturing what they are trying to defeat?"
The average American benefited in no way from the government/banker bailout. Their wages have deteriorated, their daily living expenses have risen, Obamacare has resulted in higher healthcare premiums, higher co-pays, more part-time jobs, less full-time jobs, and less healthcare choices for the working class, while Wall Street generates billions in risk free profits, bankers and corporate executives reap massive million dollar bonuses, and the .1% parties like its 1999. Rising wealth inequality has been systematically programmed into our economic system by bankers and their bought off puppet politicians in Washington D.C. – Corporate fascism at its finest.
The aim of the Greek bailout was not to restore prosperity to the country's people, but to save the eurozone. Given this, the new Greek government is entirely justified in questioning the terms that the country was given. As negotiations continue (Tsipras "war" vs the initial lost "battle), the single worst outcome of the current negotiations would be Greece's submission to its creditors' demands, with few concessions in return. Default and exit from the eurozone would allow Greece to begin correcting past mistakes and putting its economy on the path to recovery and sustainable growth. At that point, the EU would be wise to follow suit, by unraveling the currency union and providing debt reduction for its most distressed economies. Only then can the EU's founding ideals be realized.
As the finances of Venezuela continue to deteriorate under the collapse of crude oil prices, the government of President Nicolas Maduro is becoming more paranoid and vindictive. However, the utter bust in oil markets pulled the rug out from beneath the Venezuelan economy. Maduro is cracking down on political opponents as the country deals with the economic crisis, and his pronouncements have become more paranoid as the economy has worsened. The economic situation may only grow worse. The government’s budget breaks even with oil prices at an estimated $117.50 per barrel. With no imminent rebound in sight for oil prices, Maduro is resorting to state-sponsored repression to quell growing opposition.
As the rest of the world appears happy to assume everything is fixed in Europe (and if it's not, Draghi will buy it back to being awesome), Greece is looking unwell once again. Initial exuberance has faded dramatically in the last 3 days as IMF default warnings and a 22.5% plunge in tax revenues has sparked concerns about Greece's sustainability once again. Default (or restructuring) risk is soaring, Greek bond yields are surging, stocks sliding, and Greek banks (bonds and stocks) are getting hammered. As The Guardian's Helena Smith notes, "the country is in a strategic vacuum," and next week's T-Bill auction could be a major catalyst.
- Greece warns may default on IMF loan next week - Greek bank runs continue and deposits flee - The truth can be a scary thing sometimes … especially for those who put their head in the sand and ignore it ...