The Chinese foreign ministry is out with a statement indicating the country has nearly completed its construction projects in the South China Sea. While this could be viewed as a sign that China has effectively backed down, albeit on its own terms and at its discretion, that will likely come as no consolation to the US and its allies because even as China signaled an end to its dredging activities, it also implicitly admitted that it will continue to build military facilities on the islands.
Haven’t you ever sat there in hindsight, drinking history down retrospectively like an already-bad whisky that has been mixed with some equally worse soda and a couple of rocks thrown in for good measure and wondered what life would be like if this or that event hadn’t actually happened?
“But the truly game-changing aspect of this proposal … lies in the “system” part. This would be an advanced, state-owned and operated system of electronic payments and settlements, denominated in ounces of precious metals, barred from engaging in lending, leasing, speculative or derivative transactions, and always maintaining a 100% ratio
As expected, earlier today the pro-ECB top European Union court found that Draghi's impromptu announcement of an OMT, which was basically the wrapping of his "whatever it takes" policy from 2012 to prevent the collapse of the Eurozone when peripheral bond yields were hitting daily records, was perfectly legal.
Another day of constant Grexit chatter, and this time the futures are really starting to react as what was seen as mostly impossible for the past 4 months is now almost inevitable. The first tremors emerged when Greece announced it would not present a new proposal to the Eurogroup to unlock aid, relying instead on what has already been submitted and which the Troika said was inadequate. Then, confusing matters, a new GPO poll posted on Greece's Mega TV showed that increasingly more, or over 56% at last count, of Greece would prefer a "bad" deal with creditors than being kicked out of the Eurozone putting the future of Tsipras' cabine tin jeopardy. And then, hinting that the endgame is officially here, the FT reported that "Eurozone officials discuss holding emergency summit on Greece", suggesting a second Lehman weekend may be just around the corner.
"Since the very beginning of the establishment of the G7, it has been a rich-man's club that consists of Western major powers and aims to maintain the collective hegemony of the US-led West. Whether the G7 will become a geopolitical tool or a Cold War relic largely depends on European countries. Unlike the US, Europe shares a closer geopolitical and economic links with Russia. If the G7 becomes a platform for the confrontation between the West and Russia, it will undoubtedly be a disaster for Europe."
With talks between Greece and creditors at what appears to be an intractable stalemate, Germany's EU Commissioner warns that a "state of emergency" could leave Greeks without energy and medicine. Meanwhile, PM Alexis Tsipras has pledged to defend democracy "in the place where it was born."
European shares remain lower, close to intraday lows, with the banks and autos sectors underperforming and food & beverage, retail outperforming. Tsipras hardens Greek stance after collapse of bailout talks. The Italian and Swedish markets are the worst-performing larger bourses, the U.K. the best. The euro is weaker against the dollar. Greek 10yr bond yields rise; Spanish yields increase. Commodities decline, with copper, nickel underperforming and natural gas outperforming. U.S. Empire manufacturing, net TIC flows, NAHB housing market index, industrial production, capacity utilization due later.
The narrative being sold through the media is that Greece is to blame, that German taxpayers are on the hook for Greek debts (while they’re really on the hook for German banks’ losing wagers). And that is, no matter how you twist it, not the same story. It’s again just a narrative. Brussels is toxic - and so is the IMF - and Greece should leave as soon as possible, as should Italy, Spain, Portugal. We should all resist the spin-induced attempts to demonize Putin, Athens and China any further, and instead focus on the rotten apples in our own basket(s). In short, the propaganda we should be worried about is not Russia’s, it’s our own. And it comes from just about every news article we’re fed. We’re much less than six degrees removed from Orwell.
The lack of faith in central bank trustworthiness is spreading. First Germany, then Holland, and Austria, and now - as we noted was possible previously - Texas has enacted a Bill to repatriate $1 billion of gold from The NY Fed's vaults to a newly established state gold bullion depository..."People have this image of Texas as big and powerful … so for a lot of people, this is exactly where they would want to go with their gold," and the Bill includes a section to prevent forced seizure from the Federal Government. Is this the first step down a road to secession?
In what sounds unnervingly similar to eugenics, Die Welt - the conservative German newspaper close to Merkel's CDU Party - unleashes an anti-Greek tirade warning that "Greece destroyed the European order before," and revives the racial theories of the Nazis, as the author of the article quotes 19th-century Austrian scholar Jakob Philipp Fallmerayer, a xenophobe and a slavophobe, who had invented the "Greeks are not real Greeks" theory in the context of the DNA-based eligibility for EU membership.
"We have a problem with this, and that is central bank hubris. They now think that they are omnipotent, because, essentially the government has said we are going to pass over all control of the economy to the central banks, they say to everybody else including financial market participants that “you don’t know, you don’t understand, we have our models and they are right”. And that kind of hubristic approach is when you sow the seeds of your own destruction."
After 27 years, honest price discovery has been destroyed, thereby reducing the nerve centers of capitalism - the money and capital markets - to little more than gambling casinos. Accordingly, speculative rent-seeking in the financial arena has replaced enterprenurial innovation and supply side investment and productivity as the modus operandi of the US economy. This has resulted in a severe diminution of main street growth and a massive redistribution of windfall wealth to the tiny share of households which own most of the financial assets. Warren Buffett’s $73 billion net worth is the poster boy for this untoward state of affairs. The massive and systematic falsification of asset prices which lies at the heart of this deformation of capitalism is a direct and unavoidable consequence of monetary central planning.
Spiegle traces the history of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's relationship with FinMin Wolfgang Schaeuble who is leading the opposition against further aid for a Greek government he views as unwilling to accept economic realities. As the rift between the two deepens, Schaeuble has instructed the German finance ministry to draw up plans that would limit the fallout from a sovereign default.