"When I hear the Germans say that they maintain a very moral stance about debt and strongly believe that debts must be repaid, then I think: what a huge joke! Germany is the country that has never repaid its debts. It has no standing to lecture other nations. ... Germany is really the single best example of a country that, throughout its history, has never repaid its external debt. Neither after the First nor the Second World War. However, it has frequently made other nations pay up... "
Greek PM Tsipras just delivered the biggest Friday night bomb in recent European history: he stunned the Troika and his peers in Europe with the biggest shocker of all - a referendum announcement, aka the Greek "nuclear option", something which cost his predecessor George Papandreou his job. At this point there is no turning back, and the Greeks - of which 80% want to stay in the Euro even as 80% want an end to austerity - will get to choose their own fate. Whatever choice they make, they will now only have only themselves to blame.
The economic hitmen have honed their skills among the poor and relatively defenseless, and have been coming closer to home in search of new hunting grounds and fatter spoils. There is nothing 'new' or 'modern' about this. The only difference is that it is not happening in the past or in a book, it is happening here and now. "Economic powers continue to justify the current global system where priority tends to be given to speculation and the pursuit of financial gain. As a result, whatever is fragile is defenseless before the interests of the deified market, which becomes the only rule."
"My tax plan would blow up the tax code and start over. Today, the American people see the rot in the system that is degrading our economy day after day and want it to end. That is exactly what the Fair and Flat Tax will do through a plan that’s the boldest restoration of fairness to American taxpayers in over a century."
The one most recurring laments coming out of peripheral European countries which boast near record youth unemployment, in most cases around the 50% area, is that the only reason why there is no growth is due to "evil austerity", imposed upon them by Germany and other frugal Northern Europe overseerers, who do not permit the rampant issuance of debt to fund domestic spending and fiscual stimulus programs. There is one problem with that: the peripheral European countries are not only issuing debt at a pace that is greater than the "pre-austerity" period, but these nations' debt to GDP ratios have never been higher!
Facing its first current account deficit in seventeen years amid low oil prices and a war with Yemeni rebels, Saudi Arabia picks a convenient time to open its stock market to direct foreign investment.
Gold bugs weren’t wrong - just super early. If central banks ever got religion and pulled a Volcker and hiked rates to the moon, it would be a remarkably bad time to hold gold. However, throughout history, there have been times where people were very sad that they didn’t own gold. We talk about one of them here. It’s very real, and the history of fiat currencies is also quite sad.
It has been a mostly quiet overnight session with Europe solidly green on another bout of Greek hope even as Bundesbank's Weidmann warned that Greek insolvency risks are rising and Greece reporting that its unemployment rose once more from 26.1% to 26.6% in Q1, in which we got two more rate cuts by New Zealand (which sent the Kiwi crashing the most since 2011) and South Korea (the Won initially dipped only to rebound) but China stole the stage with its latest report on retail sales, industrial production, and fixed investment all of which showed a modest bounce from multi-year lows suggesting the PBOC's attempts to shock the economy into growth may be starting to work (which is bad news for the market).
Financial markets in the United States and around the world are all waiting with “bated breath” for when the Federal Reserve modifies its “easy money” policy and starts to raise interest rates. No one, however, asks a simple question: Why is the American central bank in the interest rate setting business?
"Only if the economy is powered by the marginal borrower who will no longer borrow after a 0.25% hike, does it make sense to believe a hike will derail the economy. Comparisons to 1937, where a hike pushed the US into recession, are incomparable and groundless. On the other hand, maybe the FOMC is worried that the ‘no free lunch’ concept makes them suspicious of the possibility of a meaningfully deleterious market reaction which could have a negative impact on the broader economy. However, under this logic, delaying a hike would only exacerbate such a response."
History has not been kind to major trade blunders. Just as the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 sparked a global trade war that may well have put the “great” in the Great Depression, Congressional enactment of enforceable currency rules today could spark retaliatory actions that might devastate the free flow of trade that a sluggish global economy desperately needs.
In downgrading the city, Moody’s said it expected “Chicago's credit challenges will continue, both in the near term and in the long term [as] unfunded liabilities of the Municipal, Laborer, Police, and Fire pension plans grow and exert increasing pressure on the city's operating budget.” That looks to have been an accurate assessment, because as Bloomberg reports, Chicago’s budget gap is set to triple by 2017.
It’s no secret that the protracted negotiations between Athens and its creditors are taking a toll on the Greek economy in general, on the Greek banking sector more specifically, and on Greek citizens most tragically. Now, thanks to a new report from the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Enterprises, we can quantify the daily economic toll of failed negotiations.
A look at the economic data and market psychology as a new week begins.