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  • National Bank of Greece (NBG -22%) plunges, apparently not taking solace from the government's (laughable if the situation weren't so sad) forecast of economic growth returning in 2014. Once again a deadline for additional bailout funds nears, and once again there are the usual threats from EU big shots causing speculation that this time the Troika says "no." The Greek ETF: GREK -9.8%[View news story]
    What is it with Greek politicians? They hold all the cards, and yet wind up being bullied over and over again.
    The dictates against Brussels would be obvious to a 5 yr old: the Chinese would react badly to Grexit, as would the markets. The last thing Brussels, Paris or Berlin need right now is Greece upsetting the apple-cartin the context of Spanish disaster.
    Yet the Greek pols behave as if they were over a barrel. Frankly, if the Greek people strung the lot of them up, it would be no less than they deserve:
    Oct 31, 2012. 01:30 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • For 60 straight years, India has failed to reach its targets for increasing electricity production capacity. But while India still struggles with blackouts and power shortages, an energy plan based on thorium - an element with the potential to replace uranium as an ultra-cheap and ultra-safe nuclear energy source - may fundamentally alter the nation’s and possibly the world’s energy future. [View news story]
    Thorium is safer, more abundant, more efficient and more easily disposed of than Uranium.
    Sadly for the Pentagon, you can't easily make bombs out of it.
    For peaceful purposes, however, it is quite definitely the future.

    Perhaps someone should ask Iranium why they use Uranium, as their purposes are of course entirely peaceful...
    Aug 24, 2012. 10:33 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • There won't be any external rescue of Spanish banks, says PM Rajoy, now holding a press conference. The nationalization of Bankia, he says, is about gaining the confidence of the markets and protecting Spanish savings. Live here, in Spanish.  [View news story]
    I like Mariano Rajoy, he's a good bloke - he has no choice but to spout this codsdrivel.
    Still, that's no reason for the rest of us to believe it.
    The very fact that he was shrewd enough over the weekend to come up with a scheme to land Draghi with useless junk in return for real money suggests an absence of flies on senor Rajoy.
    But untrammeled access to the ECB's vaults is the only way Mariano is going to avoid the markets....
    May 28, 2012. 01:36 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Imminent 'Grexit': Can This Really Be Europe We Are Talking About? [View article]
    Very interesting piece, this: the opening logic about Troika money being cut off either way is, in theory, flawless.
    I continue to wonder, however, how the ECB could pay for the backwash of Greek exit, and what on earth would make the Greeks (in their current mindset) do it willingly..including Syriza.
    I remain convinced that there will be a compromise; but the game's up anyway, because Germany lacks either the money or political will to bail out the other debtors.
    I think the eurozone will leave us long before the Greeks leave it.
    May 26, 2012. 05:07 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The European Commission and the ECB are working on "emergency scenarios" in case Greece leaves the euro, Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht tells Belgium's De Standaard newspaper. This appears to be the first time that an EU official has publicly confirmed that such work is being carried out.  [View news story]
    First confirmation of specific plans involves the rapid withdrawal of 'Y' designation Athens notes, and massive increasw in 'X' German notes....
    May 18, 2012. 10:10 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Thermal coal used in power generation was once seen as Australia's safe bet, but lately the bet is looking risky. Australian thermal coal has fallen to $98/ton, down 21% from its average Q1 daily price Y/Y; with concerns from lackluster Chinese demand growth to the European slowdown to a glut of U.S. natural gas competing for Japan's attention, it's hard to see prices powering back anytime soon.  [View news story]
    Three massive problems in Oz were woefully apparent when I was there last year:
    1. Government overspending
    2. Property overheating
    3. Massive overdependence on raw materials and China...a deadly combo.
    The country needs a restructuring of its economy even more radical than ours in Britain. Neither Gillard nor Swan have the commercial nous to do it.
    Meanwhile, over in Europe the ground is being laid for further impacts on Oz markets - all negative:
    May 17, 2012. 11:20 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How surprising. Greece's plan to get citizens to pay property taxes by bundling them with electricity bills has failed, with the Public Power Corporation - itself bailed out last month - no longer trying to collect (even getting an ok from the finmin). Government (Troika) pencil-pushers had hoped the scheme would raise €1.7-2B in Q4 last year.  [View news story]
    People are never going to pay taxes that will prolong the agony. It is the fundamental difference between wealth creators who do get it, and tax collectors who don't. This is not mediaeval England with Normans beating up Saxons. People have the internet and stuff now.
    Meanwhile, the signs of eurozone death are everywhere, but as usual the eurocrats are on transmit not receive....
    May 15, 2012. 01:02 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • India will cut its Iranian oil imports this FY to 14M tons from 17.5M last FY as it bows to increased U.S. pressure, Bloomberg reports. India has also rejected a request from Iran’s Parsian Bank to open an office in Mumbai. However, Hilary Clinton, who is in India, said it's too early to say whether India will receive a temporary exemption from sanctions for its efforts.  [View news story]
    Everything today is a weapon: digital technology, energy, money transmission...and election results:
    May 8, 2012. 06:17 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • U.K. resistance derails efforts by EU finmins to reach an agreement to toughen bank capital rules. Ministers will try to bridge differences during the next two weeks, focusing on when countries can tighten domestic banking rules and add to EU minimum requirements on how much capital banks must hold.  [View news story]
    It really is a pity that more business journalists don't interrogate Osborne's 'cuts' versus Mervyn King's QE.
    King has spent 25x more on largely ineffective QE than Osborne has achieved through 'savings'. It is the massive flaw in the Coalition's rationale -
    May 3, 2012. 08:37 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • U.K. April services PMI slows to 53.3 from 55.3 previously. Combining the manufacturing, construction, and services PMI, Markit's Chris Williamson says they signal the weakest rate of growth since November. "The big question is whether the data are weak enough to encourage the BoE to provide further stimulus."  [View news story]
    A now very serious possibility the markets aren't taking into account is that sleaze on several fronts may throw the UK into political crisis before too long.
    Osborne is almost out of excuses on the austerity front, but at the same time the Leveson Inquiry is not looking good for the Cameron Coalition.
    The PM think that the Jeremy Hunt thing has gone away, but it hasn't: more damaging revelations about Hunt's probity are emerging -
    May 3, 2012. 08:37 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • After surging recently, and despite today's more expensive Italian bond auction and woeful Spanish industrial output data, yields on 10-year Italian and Spanish debt take a dive. That latter is -14 bps at 5.84% and Italian yields are -18 bp at 5.51%. German yields, which had been falling, are +15 bps at 1.79%.  [View news story]
    Wouldn't be surprised if this isn't Supermario ploughing in with some disguised ECB cash.
    As fast as the 'real' people try and repair the damage, the madmen in Brussels try to make things worse. Last week they quietly slipped thro new legislation as the prelude to EU expansion into Turkey (about to tank) and the Arab Spring states (about to burst into flames again).
    There's a piece about it at UK site The Slog if anyone's interested.
    Apr 11, 2012. 07:07 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment