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  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2015. [View instapost]
    May 22, 2015 - European Leaders Say No to Political Solution for Greek Debt Issue. Greek Reporter, by Philip Chrysopoulos

    The Riga summit is over. The Greek Prime Minister wanted to escape the Troika's review and creditors demands for hiring and spending cuts on pensions and to receive debt relief through political action (write-offs).

    However, the German chancellor told reporters that, We (Merkel and Hollande) made it clear that Athens must continue negotiations with the three institutions (the Troika). And that Athens must NOT ask for facilitation, interventions, political solutions, detours and pressure on the ECB for increased liquidity. That's an unusually clear statement from politicians.

    The Greek government is being told they must obey the Troika and comply with the terms of the current loan agreement. They must reduce spending. They must reduce pension costs. They must increase taxes and they must collect taxes due. They must sell off state assets. There can be NO negotiations on terms and debt amounts until the Greeks obey according to the terms of the memorandum.

    So the Greek PM got nothing. This backs the Greek government into a corner. ECB liquidity (ELA lending) is slowly being reduced and the Greeks have just been told to STOP putting pressure on the ECB to get liquidity increased. In other words, the Greek banks are going to get squeezed more and more. In response, the banks will first end up under capital controls and than they will be Cyprused (bail-ins). The Greek banks will than collapse.

    It seems the only way the Greek government can soften what appears to be total capitulation is to call a referendum. If a referendum is called, the Greek people will be asked to make a choice. Or, in effect, to share the negotiation defeat. On one hand if they want to continue using the Euro, they must accept the terms of the Troika and its controlling influence on Greek budgetary and legislative processes. Or, they can default and accept the consequences (capital controls, Cyprused, major currency devaluation and loss of purchasing power relative to the Euro).

    In either situation, the current government has completely failed in the negotiation process and it seems likely that the government will likely fall. Selecting a referendum route seems to allow more wiggle room for the government. If they just cave in, I suspect we will see major civil demonstrations with calls for new elections. With a referendum they can say they followed the will of the people.

    What the Greeks apparently want is for their debt to be forgiven and for Germany to pay massive war reparations. They also want more government services, more health services, better schools more jobs through increased feather-bedding and better pensions. And they want EU taxpayers to pay for it.

    So will the Greek's cave in, or will they just default? I suspect there would be less economic pain with an apparent Cave in, plus continued resistance fighting to get the debt forgiven.

    We should get some closure pretty soon.
    May 22, 2015. 09:13 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #280, April 16, 2015 [View instapost]
    Nice tactical moves M.
    May 21, 2015. 03:56 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #280, April 16, 2015 [View instapost]
    Oh God! I’m sorry to hear that B. Whatever you say, you feel it's not enough. The best you can do is to just be there for your friend.

    Death of a loved one is a taboo subject where no one knows what to say, or people are afraid of even saying anything. In the early stages of the loss, I don't think its necessary to say much of anything other than to make sure your friend knows you are there and thinking of him and his family and that you understand the enormity of their pain.

    Males like to think of themselves as immune to emotional pain, but in a situation like this they are tearing themselves apart not just from the loss of their beloved son but from the effects of that loss on their wife. Letting your friend know that you understand that situation might help in starting the healing / coping process.

    One of the ways I have tried to help people is based on an old Irish expression: "To live in hearts left behind is not to die." Asking your friend to tell you some stories about his son might help in the grief process by basically celebrating the son's life. Frankly, I think one of the best ways to help is to share a hug, the most effective form of communication I know.

    And at your next family gathering, lift your glasses high and celebrate your love for those present and absent both. Tell and retell the crazy stories so no loved ones are forgotten.

    God Bless
    May 16, 2015. 04:15 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Swine Flu, MERS, Ebola And Medical News Concentrator January 1, 2015 To ?? [View instapost]
    Totally agree LT. The FDA runs its agency like it was still in the 1920s. In situations where someone has end-stage disease, not letting them have clear access to new products is a death sentence. Exactly who is being protected by not providing access to new treatments? It's not right.
    May 14, 2015. 04:38 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2015. [View instapost]
    Want to know how Greece made the 750M Euro payment?

    May 12, 2015 - Greece Empties IMF Reserve Account to Pay IMF; Liquidity "Terribly Urgent" Says Finance Minister

    Greece Taps IMF Reserve Account.
    Greece emptied its IMF holding account to repay 750 million euros due to the fund.

    Greece, like all other International Monetary Fund members, holds reserves from the IMF that are denominated in Special Drawing Rights (SDR). The reserves must be kept at a certain level or the country must pay interest if its holdings fall below its "allocation" of SDRs from the IMF.

    A government official told Reuters that Athens used about 650 million euros from the SDR holdings account and 100 million euros from its cash reserves to make the payment on Monday. Greece is supposed to refill those reserves over the next "several weeks". So add the repayment of IMF SDR reserves to the amount of Greek payments coming due in late May and June.
    May 12, 2015. 04:49 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Greek Tensions In Focus [View article]
    I always wondered how studies like this correct for differences in currency valuation between now and fifty years ago. No one would participate in a retirement program where money was just returned on a dollar for dollar basis. There was supposed to be some kind of compounded interest return. The big flaw in the program was the money was never put in investments. It just became a giant pork barrel.
    May 11, 2015. 12:56 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2015. [View instapost]
    Here's a look at payments due, including to the International Monetary Fund, until June 30. All figures are based on current exchange rates.


    May 12 — 757 million euros ($844 million) to IMF

    May 30 — 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in pensions, salaries

    June 5 — 303 million euros ($337 million) to IMF

    June 12 — 341 million euros ($380 million) to IMF

    June 16 — 568 million euros ($633 million) to IMF

    June 19 — 341 million euros ($380 million) to IMF

    June 30 — 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in pensions, salaries
    May 11, 2015. 12:21 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2015. [View instapost]
    Nothing seems to be happening on the Greek front. However, the strategy appears to based on the following "reasoning".

    The Greeks want a positive statement of progress made in the last period of negotiations. They than expect that kind of a statement to act as a stimulus for the ECB to relax its liquidity restrictions on Greece.

    In other words, the Greeks think the EU can use a "positive" statement as an excuse to open the ECB liquidity taps.
    May 10, 2015. 05:24 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #280, April 16, 2015 [View instapost]
    tax them to death via printing money
    make the savings rate negative
    take away high quality health care

    Oh… they have pretty much done that…
    May 8, 2015. 01:35 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Swine Flu, MERS, Ebola And Medical News Concentrator January 1, 2015 To ?? [View instapost]
    Excellent LT. I also agree with you Guns… I will hold a core holding in NVAX, but the rest will be trading shares because of the offerings. I think most biotech stocks are over priced, so they should be piling on the offerings while the getting is good. If we have a big slide, these companies will be kicking themselves for not getting the money when it was available. In the meantime, the best we can do is try to play the offerings. That means selling into a pop before they can get their offering out the door. I have pulled that off a few times, but that last offering caught me flat-footed.
    May 8, 2015. 11:01 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Swine Flu, MERS, Ebola And Medical News Concentrator January 1, 2015 To ?? [View instapost]
    In looking at the NVAX 10-Q I spotted the following:
    "Given the ongoing development of our quadrivalent seasonal influenza VLP vaccine candidate and our RSV F Vaccine, we see an important opportunity to develop a combination respiratory vaccine candidate. This opportunity presents itself most evidently in the elderly, although we have not ruled out developing a combination respiratory vaccine for the non-elderly. Early preclinical development efforts have given us confidence that such a combination vaccine is viable and in animal models, provides acceptable immunogenicity.
    We intend to explore this development opportunity by conducting a Phase 1 clinical trial in such a combination vaccine in 2015."
    This is either the likely reason for the recent offering, or it means another offering will be hitting us, likely in the third quarter.

    They are also asking for stockholders to approve an amendment to their charter that increases the number of authorized shares from 300 million to 600 million. They are currently approaching the 300 million share threshold and they do anticipate situations where they may need to potentially issue shares in order to raise additional capital, enter into potential collaborative arrangements with third parties, make acquisitions, or other corporate purposes. Without such authorized shares, our ability to do so could be dramatically limited or prevented altogether.

    So before any new offering occurs, they have to get the share holders approval. Given who owns most of the stock, I don't think there will be any problem getting that approval since offerings, by their nature, provide deals to the big players.

    Plan accordingly.
    May 8, 2015. 09:48 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2015. [View instapost]
    A true black cloud day for me Guns.
    May 8, 2015. 09:47 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2015. [View instapost]
    Nigel Farage resigns after losing to Tories in Thanet
    May 8, 2015. 09:15 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2015. [View instapost]
    Oh-oh. There are signs of contagion in the EU as measured by bond markets increasing yields on sovereign debt.

    If this trend increases, it would signal a true red flag to the EU with respect to fallout from a Greek default.

    The note includes a nice brief discussion of the IMFs apparent pushing for a debt restructuring for Greece as the country appears to be currently running a primary deficit of 1.5%.

    If the IMF pulls out of the bailout, the Troika would have to come up with the IMFs 3.6 billon Euros share (50%) of the 7.2 billion Euro bailout.
    May 6, 2015. 08:30 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2015. [View instapost]
    Total Chaos right now…

    May 5 - FT: IMF Threatens to Hold Back Aid to Greece if Eurozone Doesn’t Write off Part of Debt

    The IMF seeing that Greece is actually running a primary deficit has decided that the EU must write down debt. If it does not, the IMF will not provide its share of the agreed loan.

    This could mean that the EU could end up paying off the IMF and the IMF could end up out of the picture.

    I am also seeing reports that the Greeks will need yet another bailout loan of over 50B euros… And with that news, all bargaining leverage of the Greeks is gone.

    I have also read that the IMF and the Troika have different red lines. The IMF is refusing to compromise on labor deregulation and pension reform but was relaxed on fiscal demands (budget deficits). However, the EU is insistent that primary surplus targets (budget deficits) be met while being much more conciliatory about structural changes. Add to this that the Greeks have red lines on everything that the Troika and the IMF want.

    No matter what, the Troika is insisting that the technical review be completed. So in your faces Greeks… Frankly, I don't blame the creditors… How can you trust people that are essentially hiding the books???

    Meanwhile, the big payment to the IMF is due on May 12.

    My guess is we are going to get some kind of political play here that re-sets the playing board. That play will be accompanied with some liquidity for Greece to pay off impending bills.

    While it may seem that nothing is happening, we now know about the split between the IMF and the Troika / EU. This is the source of all the conflicting news reports… IMF is speaking to their news sources and the Troika / EU are talking to there’s. On top of this we have the Greeks taking to anyone that will listen.

    I have not read much about any political issues within the Greek government, but given all this ruckus I would think the shadow players would be moving their chess pieces around so they are not caught by events beyond their control.
    May 5, 2015. 04:57 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment