Recall that three weeks ago we warned that "Monti Paschi Faces Bail-In As Capital Needs Point To Nationalization" although we left open the question of "who will get the haircut including senior bondholders and depositors.... given the small size of sub-debt in the capital structures." Today, as many expected on the day following the German elections, the dominos are finally starting to wobble, and as we predicted, Monte Paschi, Italy's oldest and according to many, most insolvent bank, quietly commenced a bondholder "bail in" after it said that it suspended interest payments on three hybrid notes following demands by European authorities that bondholders contribute to the restructuring of the bailed out Italian lender. Remember what Diesel-BOOM said about Cyprus - that it is a template? He wasn't joking.
The Venezuelan government is in a bind. They realize that 'the people' will stand-by idly as the nation's currency is devalued, as inflation soars, and blackouts continue as food shortages grow...(and the stock market soars) but take away a critical personal care item and the riots will begin. As Yahoo Maktoob reports, Venezuela's leftist government said Saturday it temporarily seized a major toilet paper factory hoping that it can end troublesome shortages of the staple personal care item. "The temporary occupation of [the toilet-paper manufacturing plant] is aimed at verifying that toilet paper industry production, marketing and distribution" are all in line with state policies, Vice President Jorge Arreaza said on Twitter, without indicating how long the takeover would last. This action follows 'nationalization' of large farms amid President Maduro's claims that the White House is plotting the "collapse" of his government next month by sabotaging food, electricity and fuel supplies.
The markets seem to sense that all of this. In the US we’re putting in what looks like a lower high. The market appears to be forming a Head and Shoulders pattern.
The Japanese Self-Defense Forces were on a high state of alert on September 9 ahead of the first anniversary of Japan’s controversial purchase of islets in the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu archipelago, particularly after a pair of Chinese bombers flew near Okinawa the previous day. Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera has ordered military personnel to strengthen their surveillance around the Senkakus, which are also claimed by China and Taiwan. A source in the Japanese government indicated that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Chinese maritime enforcement could take “outstanding” action in the area on September 11, the first anniversary of the purchase.
Just as we warned 4 months ago, the oldest bank in the world now faces a critical need to raise EUR2.5 billion in fresh capital - more than double its original plan. "There is no chance on the planet that they can raise [this] in 12 months... they are heading towards nationalization," exclaimed one investment banker, confirmed by another who added via Reuters, "it will be difficult to find someone to shell out all that money." The capital raise is equivalent to the entire market cap of the bank currently and it is becoming increasingly clear that the Italian state will be forced to provide the equity. The problem (for BMPS bondholders and depositors) is that under such a scenario, as Bloomberg notes, EC State Aid rules regarding a subordinated-debt bail-in could apply. However, given the small size of sub-debt in the capital structures, it is unclear who will get the haircut including senior bondholders and depositors.
Where’s Congress? That’s the question that should haunt the American people in the wake of President Obama’s apparent decision to get their country into another Mideast war. In the long history of the American experience, matters of war and peace have always been hotly debated. And those debates traditionally have been most intense and concentrated in Congress. Now we have a president who declares in word and deed that war decisions, as artificially defined by him as something short of actual war, are exclusively within his constitutional domain. And we have a Congress that shows no serious inclination to challenge that claim of prerogative and power. This is a very serious - and potentially calamitous - development in American history.
Less than a month ago, potash stocks around the world cratered overnight following news that Russian potash producer OAO Uralkali announced its decision to break up a 'marketing venture' that controlled around 43% of global potash exports in the process ending the cartel that many US fertilized companies enjoyed for years. The end of the cartel was also a big hit for former partner Belarusian Potash Company (BPS) and the host nation Belarus, a country of 9.5 million people, where revenue from its potash industry accounts for almost 20 percent of the budget. Everyone, Goldman Sachs, included were confounded by the move: Such behavior by Belaruskali in a structurally oversupplied potash industry should push for stricter competition for end customers and result in a significant swift decline in pricing... " What was most surprising is that Uralkali would voluntarily engage in this move, knowing full well that the Belarus government would retaliate. The only question is how severely. Turns out the answer is "very."
The country which over the past decade is most synonymous with "financial innovation" of the less than desirable kind, such as hyperinflation, complete currency and economic collapse and wholesale property confiscation, has just taken financial central-planning brilliance to the next level and following dictator Robert Mugabe's "reelection" has announced plans to open a new and "racially exclusive" stock exchange, allowing blacks alone to trade. And not trade just anything, but shares of recently nationalized foreign companies, most of which are South African-owned miners. Or rather were, because following the most recent nationalization round, Zimbabwe would take a 51% stake in all major foreign-owned companies valued at over $7 billion. No compensation will be paid.
The man who in the first months of his reign took over the bankruptcy process turning it over on its head to benefit the state over centuries of established creditor rights (with GM, Chrysler and a whole lot of union votes), and who defined his entire first term by nationalizing the US healthcare system, who personally determined the cutoff for "wealth" at $250,000 per year (with the corresponding tax hike "benefits" to go with it), not to mention inheriting the George W. Bush personal surveillance apparatus and taking the nationalization of individual rights and liberties to a whole new level, has just decided to branch out and subordinate yet another two birds of distributed, efficient, global decision-making to his will: trade and patent law.
As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.
Our goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime, and it is to this end that we take these stands.
Gold owners are almost universally familiar with the story of Franklin Roosevelt criminalizing the ownership of gold back in 1933. The term gold ‘nationalization’ is often thrown around. But remember, with nationalization, it’s the state that takes control of an asset. Executive Order 6012 took assets from private individuals, and then gave those assets to a private company – the Federal Reserve. This isn’t nationalization. It’s just theft. You’d think that the entire nation would have been in an uproar. But surprisingly, this wasn’t the case. History shows that the likelihood of a government pillaging its citizens’ wealth is directly proportional to that government’s fiscal health.
Plunging Chinese manufacturing and an 11 month low PMI got you down? Don't worry: there's a Europe for that, which overnight reported that manufacturing and service PMI in Germany and, don't laugh, France soared far above expectations (German Mfg and Services PMIs of 50.3 and 52.5, up from 48.6 and 50.4, and above expectations of 49.2 and 50.8; French Mfg and Services PMIs of 48.3 and 49.8, up from 47.2 and 48.4 and an 11 and 17 month high, respectively, blowing away expectations of 47.6 and 48.8). The result was a composite Eurozone Manufacturing PMI of 50.1, above 50 for the first time since February of 2012, up from 48.8 and at a 24 month high - reporting the largest monthly increase in output sunce June 2011, as well as a composite Services PMI of 49.6, up from 48.3, and an 18 month high. In other words, European Composite PMI is expanding (above 50) for the first time since January 2012.
Fractional reserve banking is unlike most other businesses. It's not just because its product is money. It's because banks can manufacture their product out of thin air. Under the bygone rules of free market capitalism, only one thing kept banks from creating an infinite amount of money, and that was fear of failure. Periodic bank failures remind depositors of the connection between risk and reward. What is not widely appreciated is that the ensuing government bailouts allowed an underlying shadow banking system to not only survive but grow even larger. To the frustration of Keynesians, and despite an unprecedented Quantitative Easing (QE) by the Federal Reserve, conventional commercial banks have broken with custom and have amassed almost $2 trillion in excess reserves they are reluctant to lend as they scramble to digest all the bad loans still on their books. So most of the money manufactured today is actually being created by the shadow banks. But shadow banks do not generally make commercial loans. Rather, they use the money they manufacture to fund proprietary trading operations in repos and derivatives. No one knows when the bubble will pop, but when it does a donnybrook is going to break out over that thin wedge of collateral whose ownership is spread across counterparties around the world, each looking for relief from their own judges, politicians, bureaucrats, and taxpayers.
- Record unemployment, low inflation underline Europe's pain (Reuters)
- The ponzi gets bigger and bigger: Spanish banks up sovereign bond holdings by more than 10% (FT)
- California Lawmakers Turn Down Moratorium on Fracking (BBG)
- China’s Growing Ranks of Elderly Beset by Depression, Study Says (BBG)
- Tokyo Prepares for a Once-in-200-Year Flood to Top Sandy (BBG)
- Morgan Stanley Cutting Correlation Unit Added $50 Billion (BBG)
- IMF warns over yen weakness (FT)
- Rising radioactive spills leave Fukushima fishermen floundering (Reuters)
- India records slowest growth in a decade (FT)
Argentina's president Kirchner, a keen observer of recent events in Cyprus, has figured out a way to kill two birds with one stone, namely attempt to put an end to tax evasion, and fund the capex of the recently nationalized state oil company YPF (now that its former owner, Spainish Repsol, is less than keen to keep investing in its former Argentine subsidiary). To do that she will present the local tax-evading population (pretty much anyone with any disposable income and savings) with a simple choice: buy a 4% bond to fund YPF "growth" or go to prison.