"We didn't exactly believe your story, Miss O'Shea, we believed your two hundred dollars."-Humphrey Bogart
I was asked yesterday, on national TV, if the Europeans were going to come out and make a statement about "adjusting" the dollar to the euro. I smiled and said that there would be no announcement, but that the euro will drop because His Holiness, Mario Draghi, had "indicated" that he wanted it lower. What people on this side of the pond tend to forget is that the ECB is not a xerox duplicate of our Federal Reserve Bank. Every country in Europe, the EU-17 or the EU-27, has its own central bank with the ECB being at the top of the heap. In America our states do not have central banks even though there have been moments when some states such as Louisiana or Texas thought they did; but they did not. The folks in Italy and Spain and even Greece do have their own central bank, however, but they do not operate in the way they used to prior to the euro. Before the European Union the President of the country called Helmut or Julio or Don Juan and asked him to call the High Priest of the central bank, who never spoke to the President of course, and tell him what he wanted. Now it is all different. The boys in Berlin, nothing gender specific of course or in any way referencing anyone's looks, call the boys in Brussels, who then call the Italian Cardinal in Frankfurt, and after confessing their sins, they are provided with three Hail Angela's, a writ of dispensation and a partridge in a pear tree at Christmas.
"Oh, please, monsieur. It is a little game we play. They put it on the bill, I tear up the bill. It is very convenient." -Casablanca
As the Great Summit continues it is really quite amusing. In Paris it is reported that Hollande breaks "le chocolate croissant" with Merkel, while in London it is Cameron breaking some crumpet or another with Merkel as Rajoy shares some empanada with Merkel while Rutte goes "Dutch Treat" with Merkel and the poor lady will have to go on a serious diet before this is all over. I used to think that you could not be in Paris and London at the same time, but I have realized that I have been wrong all of these years. The Germans have figured out some new method for their leader to dine with everyone all at once, and with no one else present and to eat food significant to each country that she is trying to influence. Sitting here in Fort Lauderdale I have no idea how this is done, nor are they telling any of us, but it is probably a good thing that only a few of the European countries have decent wine because, if there were more, things could get out of hand quickly. On the other hand, given the German culinary skills which about match the British ones, what would they know anyway?
Brigid O'Shaughnessy: I haven't lived a good life. I've been bad, worse than you could know.
Sam Spade: You know, that's good, because if you actually were as innocent as you pretend to be, we'd never get anywhere. -The Maltese Falcon
When reading the headlines this morning one is struck by the inescapable fact that the press releases were written weeks ago in Berlin and Brussels. The British are "inching towards a deal" while the French are "millimetering towards a deal" and the Greeks do not care if there is a deal or not because they do not have to pay for it. The Greeks may have the best seat in the house. It could be "deal or no deal," and as long as they get paid to sit and watch, they could care less. More ouzo, si'l vous plait. Their Deutsche Bank credit card works just fine I am told. Faust has been coupled with the Greek Tragedy as Comedy is reborn in Athens. What next; the breaking of plates in Stuttgart?
This morning the markets are going nowhere; they are open but not receiving visitors today. Equities or debt they are just sitting about waiting to see if anything is actually done or if it is to be one more night alone in Schenectady. No one is expecting anything much and everyone knows that if something is actually done that it would be Saturday morning at 3:00 A.M. when it is announced, and so there is no hurry to check to see if the Emperors are wearing any clothes this morning. When Draghi shows up in a Bond Street suit or Angela appears in some new Chanel outfit then you will know that something is up. Until then; Café au Lait and Bratwurst will have to suffice.