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  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2014 To ??? 223 comments
    Jan 1, 2014 12:57 AM

    This instablog is designed as an interactive News Concentrator devoted to news and discussions about debt and associated problems in the EU and its member states.

    The top portion of the instablog contains useful background information/ charts.

    Up-to-date news content is posed in the comments area. So if you are interested in current news, read the comments.


    A picture is often worth a thousand words. Here we have the Percent Economic Growth Rates for three countries: US, Greece, Germany. Note the distinct downturn in the US Economic Growth Rate.

    Here is National debt as a percentage of GDP in 2009 for the Euro Zone. Look at Greece and Italy.

    Here is Government deficit as a percent of GDP for 2009. Look at Greece and Ireland. Look at UK and Spain.

    Here is the all important Jobs Picture as of March 2010. Look at Greece, Spain, Ireland and France.


    What is the EFSF?:

    The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) is a special purpose vehicle financed by members of the Eurozone to combat the European sovereign debt crisis. The €110 billion bailout to Greece is not part of the EFSF guarantees, but a separate commitment.

    When you look at the Guarantee commitments by the different euro zone countries [] you will see something interesting. Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain (i.e., the PIIGS) account for over one-third (36.7%) of EFSF commitments. All by themselves, Italy and Spain have a financial commitment of almost one-third (29.8%) of the total EFSF commitment.

    (October 23, 2011) I added this nice summary graphic of the Dominoes effect associated with the European debt crisis. You can also see the graphic and the accompanying article with the following link:

    (October 23, 2011) Guest Post: The European Financial Crisis In One Graphic: The Dominoes Of Debt. From: Zero Hedge, by: Tyler

    The original copyrighted graphic is from Charles Hugh Smith (" 2011)

    Added February 9, 2012

    Greek General Government Debt Percent GDP

    (March 10, 2012)

    Unemployment for individuals less than 25 rose to 51.1 %, twice as high as three years ago as budget cuts imposed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund as a condition for dealing with the country's debt problems have caused a wave of corporate closures and bankruptcies.

    Fantasy Greek GDP Growth Rates:

    In the fantasy report "Greece: Preliminary debt Sustainability Analysis" dated February 15, 2012 which I referred to as the "Deus ex machine" report one of the EUs key economic assumptions was that Greek GDP growth in 2012 would be -4.8% and -1% in 2013.

    The Greek economy saw growth rates of:

    -0.2% in 2008,
    -3.3% in 2009,
    -3.4% in 2010,
    -6.9% in 2011
    -7.5% in fourth quarter of 2011.
    (Data from John Mauldin report

    I plotted the Greek GDP data below and projected the GDP values for 2012 and 2013 based on the current data. I also plotted the Greek GDP projections from the Deus ex machine report - blue line.

    There is no Greek stimulus, jobs are in freefall. Which projection do you believe?

    (March 29, 2012) Greek Deposit Run Update: Hopeless And Getting Worse.


    Added April 27, 2012

    Q1 unemployment is now one quarter of the working population or 24.44%, up nearly 2% from the 22.85% as of December 31

    (click to enlarge)

    Global PMI Changes from March to April 2012

    (click to enlarge)

    From: ZeroHedge


    (click to enlarge)

    From: ZeroHedge -

    Ten Year Bond Yield Curves as of 7/20/2012

    From: The Disciplined Investor

    (click to enlarge)

    Here are some interesting charts on Italy sourced from Bloomberg's BRIEF?August 7, 2012, available on "The Big Picture"

    I verified the shadow economy figures in the following sourced article about shadow economies:

    Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences by FRIEDRICH SCHNEIDER and DOMINIK H. ENSTE, Journal of Economic Literature?Vol. XXXVIII (March 2000) pp. 77-114

    (click to enlarge)

    (click to enlarge)

    (click to enlarge)

    (click to enlarge)



    (click to enlarge)

    From: Labor Force Survey by the Hellenic Statistical Authority January 10, 2013

    (click to enlarge)

    From: Labor Force Survey by the Hellenic Statistical Authority January 10, 2013

    (click to enlarge)

    This chart is based on the data from the Hellenic Statistical Authorities Labour Force Survey published January 10, 2013.

    This shows the rate of change of unemployment among age groups from 2011 to 2012.

    Yet the Greek government, under the direction of the Trokia, is about to initiate an even more Draconian series of spending cuts and tax increases.

    Remember the IMFs fantasy report? GDP was supposed to start increasing again in 2012. Instead, it continued to fall, and this is one of the reasons why. They are systematically forcing people out of their jobs. No jobs, no income, no income, no spending.

    Yes, the 15-24 age group has unemployment at 56.6%, but as this chart shows, the older age groups are suffering a higher rate of increase of unemployment. So they are rapidly catching up.


    Latest youth unemployment chart as of May 31, 2013

    (click to enlarge)

    From: ZeroHedge Nov 26, 2013

    Socgen in its most recent report predicts that Europe is only half way through its lost decade of 2007-2018 (see chart). We blame much of this weak performance on a slow policy response in tackling both the sovereign and banking crisis, and the still too slow pace of structural reform. The fear is now that the euro area is on the verge of deflation.

    Nice video on the European Debt Crisis...

    Hat tip to DoubleGuns

    The European Debt Crisis Visualized (Jan 13, 2014)



    Remember, the top portion of this insta contains some useful historical information. CURRENT NEWS is posted in the comments area.

    WARNING: This is a no Troll Zone. If you are disruptive, your comments will be deleted.

Back To FocalPoint Analytics' Instablog HomePage »

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Comments (223)
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  • I can't resist marking a clean chalkboard either. :-)
    1 Jan, 01:16 AM Reply Like
  • Long as you keep your fingernails away from it...


    Happy New Year FPA and all !
    1 Jan, 08:26 AM Reply Like
  • A happy new year to all and thanks to FPA for his hard work on this and his other blogs!


    1 Jan, 06:31 AM Reply Like
  • I also want to say Thanks! to FPA for this site. It is real work to maintain and I appreciate it. Excellent references to news and commentary from FPA's posts.


    Having an EU-centric concentrator with such excellent moderation is great, but I also learn about more than just the EU from the comments. Good group of intelligent folks.
    1 Jan, 12:16 PM Reply Like
  • FPA and all,
    Happy New Year and thanks for the blog and discussions, I have and continue to learn a lot here, and the analysis is second to none (serial comma on purpose). ;-)
    1 Jan, 12:29 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Happy New Year Everyone!


    Thanks very much guys. I want to take the time to point out how much I appreciate the people that follow and contribute to the concentrators...


    It's you the participants, with your perspectives, that put the information into a useful context that adds so much more interpretative value to the raw information.


    It's one thing to read the news in isolation, it's a whole different thing to put your feet up around the virtual country store stove, sit down with your virtual neighbors, and discuss the news.
    1 Jan, 06:57 PM Reply Like
  • They are going to push wealth back in Greece, just like us:


    Greek PMI highest in 4 years
    For the first time since Socrates was a boy, quips Pawel Morski, the output component of Greece's PMI is above 50 for the 2nd consecutive month.
    The composite read climbed to 49.6 in December, the highest print in more than four years.
    Most of Europe is in the red, but stocks in Athens have their tails in the air, the General Index ahead by 3.5%.
    National Bank of Greece (NBG) +1.4% premarket
    2 Jan, 07:51 AM Reply Like
  • Happy New year all and I repeat the many thanks to FPA for all the hard work he puts in on the concentrators! Now that the CDS instruments in the EZ have expired mitigating the chances of serial bank failure and general economic melt down resulting from a Greek default. Has the chances of that happening with Greece leaving the EU and reverting back to the Drachma increased? Should that come to pass what are the implications for the other PIIGS which still face huge debt and other financial obstacles?
    2 Jan, 12:51 PM Reply Like
  • Here is a good summary of the risks to the EZ. I am not as bearish as the author, but he does an excellent job of exposing the RISK.
    IMO, the split in the EZ comes....question is when ?


    People think the USA debt is bad, but it's nothing compared to Japan & the EZ. In our lifetime, there will be a reset to end this debt level that is higher than GDP. And IMO, thinking global growth or any one countries growth in GDP will not offset these high debt ratios.
    3 Jan, 04:30 AM Reply Like
  • Another view of the EU bank threat from incestuous bond buying.

    7 Jan, 01:48 AM Reply Like
  • One of the biggest Ponzi schemes of all time.
    7 Jan, 11:58 AM Reply Like
  • But trip, they are sovereign bonds, how can they not be safe?


    7 Jan, 12:41 PM Reply Like
  • HillBilly, Sovereigns can run out of ink. At that point they are no longer safe.


    Remember when........



    Enjoyed your sarcasm hillbilly, just wanted to add to it. LOL
    13 Jan, 03:17 PM Reply Like
  • More on how EZ banks will see unintended effects from income inequality regulations. What could go wrong?
    7 Jan, 05:13 PM Reply Like
  • Atlas Shrugged alert!
    8 Jan, 08:47 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Spain Youth Unemployment Rises To Record 57.7%.
    8 Jan, 08:16 AM Reply Like
  • Bullish for home alarm companies in Spain in 5 to 10 years
    8 Jan, 04:44 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Nice point Robert...
    I was recently looking at research about the link between unemployment and crime... I found this in a US study...


    ... the strongest finding in this new study is a link between falling wages and property crimes such as burglary. However, the study also found a link between wages and some violent crimes - such as assault and robbery - in which money is often a motive.
    8 Jan, 05:55 PM Reply Like
  • FPA: Greetings. Thanks for the link it's an interesting study. I fully expect some politician to use it as a reason to raise the minimum wage. It's on the Democrat agenda again this year as one of the central themes I expect from the POTUS at the State Of The Union address. The other two will be comprehensive amnesty for illegal aliens and never ending unemployment benefits. I'm sure Obamatax will not get much attention if any as the Democrats would rather talk about anything else.
    14 Jan, 05:59 PM Reply Like
  • Hi Robt....IMO the minimum wage is a non-event. Most states have already raised it, (last report I seen was 14, with more considering it) and in reality no one in either party really fights it because most companies are already paying more than what they raise it anyway. Dems get political points, repubs don't fight it because it really doesn't affect their constituents. I doubt on a federal level they vote on it in DC until the admin. changes.


    Here is the big thing tho, raising min. wage is sorta like a tax increase to state & fed govt. Not much but a few billion. The feds get about 30% of that raise (Soc. Sec= 14.5%, fed tax rate 15%) & states get their income tax %--see the example below:


    KY has a 7% income tax rate, 6% sales tax which is not charged on food, agriculture equipment and a few more exemptions.


    Tenn..has no income tax, but has a 10% (9.75 to be exact) sales tax and property tax is about double what KY is. They collect sales tax on every dollar that changes hands too. Food, cars, I mean everything, they even send the tax man to antique shows and flea mkts.
    Even though they tout no "income tax" you pay far more taxes in TN than KY.


    So both states with opposite tax structures both get a few million in benefits. As minimum wage workers do not save, they spend it all.
    15 Jan, 03:28 AM Reply Like
  • LT: Greetings. Reality is irrelevant. Whether or not it gets a vote is irrelevant as well. In fact I'm sure the Democrats would rather not vote the issue so they can blame republicans for not letting it come to a vote. It's all about the talking points and shifting the conversation from a subject Democrats don't want people thinking about to one that favors their chances in November. The press will help them (Democrats.) as much as possible. After all a traffic jam in NJ got a 44:1 reporting ratio to the IRS targeting scandal. That is one globally important traffic jam!
    15 Jan, 05:31 PM Reply Like
    The smart money may have already boarded the boat to Europe
    10 Jan, 07:33 PM Reply Like
  • The huddled masses of Wall Street, yearning to breathe free?
    10 Jan, 08:45 PM Reply Like
  • Money yes...Smart money? That remains to be seen.
    13 Jan, 03:21 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Great to see you Guns!
    13 Jan, 06:18 PM Reply Like
  • Its been busy here. Lots going on. See my comments on the QC. We will be shaking up Ohio this year. ooh rah. Gov Kaisich has to go, Boehner too. We have a lot of signatures to gather up now to get our candidates on the ballots by the 25th so I will be busier still.
    13 Jan, 11:13 PM Reply Like
  • Re: "huddled masses-


    Love it!


    15 Jan, 06:16 PM Reply Like
  • More like "muddy hassles".
    15 Jan, 06:54 PM Reply Like
  • Ignore the Japanese and China parts and this becomes a relatively short read about the EZ banking problem/disaster. Not really new info, but all in one short(ish) piece.

    13 Jan, 07:36 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Nigel Farage: Europe Is Now Run By Big Banks, Big Business, and Big Bureaucrats
    16 Jan, 12:42 AM Reply Like
  • Other than having the order jumbled (Big Bureaucrats, Big Banks, Big Business) he is correct.
    16 Jan, 08:22 AM Reply Like
  • He got more applause this time. I think 3-4 other politicians may have seen the light.
    16 Jan, 03:54 PM Reply Like
  • DG: I noticed the applause too!


    Tenacity may be starting to pay dividends.


    16 Jan, 04:00 PM Reply Like
  • If not tenacity maybe common sense mixed in with a little reality check.
    16 Jan, 05:11 PM Reply Like
  • Well, we know Nigel had common sense, but the others there?


    Anyway, if he's got a few applauding in those "august chambers", I think the odds are decent he'll be right about the elections too.


    One thing common to most of humankind, I think, is that no one likes to be told how to run their lives by .... "them". By "us" seems more palatable, which probably makes it the more dangerous of the two.


    16 Jan, 05:47 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » I sure hope he is right about the elections, and I also hope he is watching his own back…
    16 Jan, 08:28 PM Reply Like
  • He has a good guardian angel.


    "The crash was not the first time Mr Farage had cheated death - he was hit by a car 25 years ago and left with a fractured skull.


    He said: 'I'm not quite sure who's looking after me at the moment, but they're doing a frightfully good job.'


    He said the worst part of the accident was being stuck in the plane.


    'We were trapped inside it and there was petrol everywhere. I thought 'God, we've survived the impact and now we're going to burn to death'."



    Nigels Guardian angel?

    16 Jan, 09:23 PM Reply Like
  • I had similar hopes prior to our last round of elections...


    I hope his anticipation is more accurate than mine.
    17 Jan, 05:46 AM Reply Like
  • IMF warns these four EZ countries could destabilize global economy. Denmark, Finland, Norway and Poland.


    I had no idea!! Not sarc

    17 Jan, 01:00 PM Reply Like
  • Re: Debt to disposable income-


    "Danish households owe creditors 321 percent of disposable income, the OECD says. Norway’s household debt reached a record 200 percent of disposable income in 2011."


    If we take a look at what the typical 30 something y/o US couples have as a debt load we would see a $300K-$350K mortgage on their castle with a value of $400K? Their yearly disposable income is probably spent primarily on satisfying a $2000 mortgage requirement plus insurance and taxes. I surely don't have the data to speak more to this issue but I believe these numbers as presented are just not as shocking as the author would seem to have us believe.


    17 Jan, 06:54 PM Reply Like
  • I think that number is the nations overall average that makes it shocking. A lot of folks are ALOT more in debt than that to get that average or everyone is that deep in the red. Not sure what our average is but your right about some folks here having those same type or worse numbers.


    Of course with so few folks working here maybe our numbers are really low now since they cant possibly get a housing loan. /s
    19 Jan, 05:35 AM Reply Like
  • This may explain why the Germans have a positive trade balance,
    in spite of paying workers some of the highest wages in the world.

    21 Jan, 02:51 PM Reply Like
  • Europe finally admits monetary union leads increased unemployment and social hardship!!!



    Add this to "The Cost Of Socialism" - 206 Million Unemployed and it would seem folks should start waking up soon....maybe a little....I hope.



    The future does not look bright at all. The UN is projecting that by 2018 the number of unemployed youth will climb to about 215 million. This type of forecast is simply taking the trend in motion and projecting the same pace forward. There will be an exponential rise after 2015 and this will be a Phase Transition resulting in greater violence and protests all because governments refuse to even consider what their policies have been doing.


    Think it might soon be time to invest in guillotines.


    Edit in my oops.


    Oops for got to mention Ukraine. They need guillotines now!!1

    22 Jan, 11:18 PM Reply Like
  • Guillotines?


    получите веревочку!


    (Get a rope!)
    23 Jan, 10:39 AM Reply Like
  • WT, nice comment.


    Ropes are cleaner but the sight and sound of that blade coming down has got to get politicians attention.
    23 Jan, 05:22 PM Reply Like
  • When the correction in the world markets occurs there is likely to be blood in the streets even without the blade!
    23 Jan, 07:52 PM Reply Like
  • Rob, I am just hoping to not be one that's bleeding or one that's doing the "Poor Boy Shuffle" when that time comes.



    Tough when your down to a Harmonica, washboard, wash tub string bass and one guitar. Our country seems to be heading that way quick.
    23 Jan, 10:07 PM Reply Like
  • Indeed the "blades" are out in several emerging markets. Fist fights break out in the Turkish Parliament as currency bloodbaths spill out over Latin America. Not a pretty picture ...


    24 Jan, 08:36 AM Reply Like
  • Economic problems in the "democracies" of the Middle East results in worry for investors who flocked there for higher fixed investment and equity returns. Worried investors tend to pull money out and buy US treasuries, even at near zero yield.


    Hence interest rates rise in the Middle East countries that have capital markets while liquidity falls as banks try and reduce risk. Tight money and higher CC rates annoy the recently prosperous folks who were feeling great with new (cars, homes, flat screen TVs, cell phones) stuff.


    Unhappy people blame the government, because the government TOLD them that they ( Government ) were responsible for their better life style. Maybe the people need to "light a fire" under the responsible party (the government) to make things better again?


    Hasty elections, street riots and bombings worry investors even more and more money leaves. Then crude oil prices slip because of Chinese and other BRICs slowdown. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.


    Nothing good going on here.
    24 Jan, 12:52 PM Reply Like
  • The currency wars are heating up, and the major players are preparing their strategies.


    Look for more sovereign debt issues to go languishing in Europe as the Asians stop buying. Look for the Chinese to catch the Japanese leaning the wrong way (almost there, actually) with their cheap yen plan. Look for the commodity-rich nations to crank their currencies back to 2008 levels (primarily Australia and perhaps Canada, though there are some interesting possibilities among smaller countries like Norway, Greenland, and some central Asian ex-Soviets). Brazil and India are fascinating, but unique and separate, examples of emerging markets trying to play the fiat currency game like the big boys - and they are going to get swatted hard.


    China is the lever, while America is the fulcrum.


    I'm short the AU$ for this reason.
    24 Jan, 01:05 PM Reply Like
  • What outcome determines the winner? Country with the lowest valued currency or first to destroy their currency.


    This seems more like a game of Russian roulette, eventually everyone looses if they keep playing.
    24 Jan, 02:29 PM Reply Like
  • Don't forget Chile. China is a huge buyer of Chile's commodities. Maybe 50%?
    24 Jan, 03:01 PM Reply Like


    Check out the last part, about Turkey. It's short. Guess who holds a bunch of their government paper? No, ya gotta read it :-)
    24 Jan, 03:00 PM Reply Like
  • Well, they invententh civilization and they destroyeth
    24 Jan, 09:55 PM Reply Like
  • Perhaps they will gobble it to death.
    25 Jan, 12:01 AM Reply Like
  • >SHB-


    It's like that old story of the Scorpion crossing the river on the Frog's back. The Scorpion stings the Frog and the Frog says to the Scorpion 'Why'd you do that? Now we're both going to die!'


    The Scorpion says' I couldn't help it- It's my nature.'


    25 Jan, 05:26 PM Reply Like
  • Ominous.


    Bank refuses to give customers their money, unless they tell the bank why they want it.
    25 Jan, 07:29 PM Reply Like
  • I'm glad I keep most of mine in a credit union. And I've started making small aperiodic withdrawals from even them and stashing a little cash to weather any delays that might be imposed by the nanny state(s), which our forefathers tried to prevent.


    'Course I dare not carry it on me as it would be subject to confiscation without cause as "it's likely proceeds from illegal activity, like drugs". And I'm even leery of keeping it in the house.


    I have small amounts in commercial banks, but if those are frozen, no harm to me.


    26 Jan, 08:24 AM Reply Like
  • A danger unique to concentrating your assets in fiat currency (regardless of source) is the end game in the currency wars usually involves hyperinflation and "New Dollars". Old dollars are rendered worthless, by the same government fiat which creates all currency.


    At one time it was "unthinkable" that we could see that sort of catastrophe in the United States, but no longer.
    26 Jan, 09:17 AM Reply Like
  • TB: For the moment, I'm just protecting the dollars I have from unforeseen actions.


    I will use those sometime in the future to further diversify.


    26 Jan, 09:51 AM Reply Like
  • Instead of a back-up emergency hoard of fiat, why not 5oz, 10, oz and 100oz Silver ingots. Silver has hardly moved in the last twelve months. Ingots can be traded for cash just about anywhere. Albeit such trading could be subject to scalping in addition to brokerage fees at the local pawnbroker but most jewelers are trading Silver and Gold these days.


    I purchased several of the 10oz variety at Kitco a couple of years ago. 48 hours from their receipt of my wire transfer to delivery at my door. Very low cost. Couldn't be happier. They do have a minimum- can't remember if it's $2000 or $2500. Very tight margins but they do charge shipping. I think my shipping was $20 or so.


    26 Jan, 02:44 PM Reply Like
  • I just found that my links in posts are not active- Anybody else have the same issue?
    26 Jan, 02:48 PM Reply Like
  • WWT: I just checked one I put in the QC in my comment about the marketwatch article. It worked - goes to wikipedia "fourth estate" entry.


    26 Jan, 03:08 PM Reply Like
  • >HTL-


    Your "4th estate" link works- Almost all other post links do not. No stock symbols links work for me either.
    26 Jan, 03:33 PM Reply Like
  • WWT: Curiouser and curiouser!


    Earlier I followed SMaturin's link about banks asking questins and it worked.


    Now it's dead - positioning cursor over it acts as if it's normal text.


    I tried to highlight for a C&P test and I can't even highlight it.


    26 Jan, 03:45 PM Reply Like
  • I'm starting to get an uncomfortable feeling about all this.


    There was a Ruskie hacker involved in the Target mess. Do any of you think that this might possibly be an offshore malware event affecting SA?


    A shot across the bow of capitalist US?


    Food for thought.


    26 Jan, 09:55 PM Reply Like
  • More ominous shenanigans by banksters:



    You may have to use Jon's workaround to make the link work. Go to my comments section, it works there.
    26 Jan, 09:11 PM Reply Like
  • And this makes you wonder:


    Are We On The Verge Of A Massive Emerging Markets Currency Collapse?




    EDIT: not no more. BRIS went defunct in '12.


    What else give short exposure to EM?


    PPS: the SA SNAFU's truly f'd that edit, alosing the previosu links and comments.
    26 Jan, 09:24 PM Reply Like
  • SMaturin, OTOH that link works right here.


    Seems to be a random-event generator involved in link construction.


    27 Jan, 10:36 AM Reply Like
  • They don't do Bris anymore?
    27 Jan, 10:51 AM Reply Like
  • WT,


    I ain't touching that one with any length of pole!
    27 Jan, 12:03 PM Reply Like
  • Coward!
    27 Jan, 01:01 PM Reply Like
  • I did not realize (BRIS) was a short "exposure" in an emerging market. LOL
    27 Jan, 01:58 PM Reply Like
  • WT,

    27 Jan, 02:42 PM Reply Like
  • >DG & SM-


    You both earn a big GROAN!
    27 Jan, 03:49 PM Reply Like
  • and they have done this twice before, and I don't remember hearing a word about it.



    China halts transfers at Citi, other banks: report
    26 Jan, 09:29 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » MarketWatch China bank-transfer halt only for small amounts
    While banks in China have suspended some interbank transfers and other systems for several days, the move only covers some Internet transfers and those for small amounts, according to a statement on the People's Bank of China website.
    26 Jan, 09:46 PM Reply Like
  • >FPA: The Chinese banks can deal with big transactions, but NOT with "small" transfers? Sounds like a story to cover failing liquidity that is hard to hide from individuals wanting spending cash. They won't keep "the secret" to themselves. Email moves too fast to stop such rumors. If that doesn't cause a run on the banks, nothing will!


    Will the police "disperse" lines of customers at the banks just trying to get at their funds?


    Tomorrow morning should be exciting :-(
    26 Jan, 10:41 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » The story has been taken down now… a hoax?
    27 Jan, 05:33 AM Reply Like
  • ZH reports it was a hoax. This is the second hoax. Guess they are setting us up to thing the preposterous is a hoax.....until its not and we set around watching and laughing at the hoax that is not.....and we get slaughtered!!! ouch!!
    27 Jan, 10:33 AM Reply Like
  • A hoax is a good way to run a very stealthy trial balloon, and then gauge the impact...


    Would also work for the news about the big accounting firms all under a cloud with the US guvmint, and presumably fantasy books created for the big Chinese companies...


    As Holmes would say: "The game is afoot!"
    27 Jan, 10:47 AM Reply Like
  • Yeah, DG, I saw that ZH article last night after posting the hoaxed report:
    No, There Is No Stoppage Of Cash Transfers In China


    And today:
    Forbes Pulls Down China Hoax Story; Even As Dennis Gartman Is Completely Fooled
    27 Jan, 10:57 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » January 26, 2014
    Greece faces a new black hole in finances amid rising tensions with creditors
    From: The Guardian, by Helena Smith


    European finance ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday are due to express uneasiness over the resistance Athens is displaying to adopting reforms. Meanwhile, the Greek government is examining the bottom line ramifications of a court ruling reversing wage cuts for security forces agreed under the country's 2012 bailout agreement.


    As a result of the uneasiness, the EU, ECB and IMF have postponed completing their latest review of the economy and signaled that rescue funds will not be forthcoming if Greece fails to implement improved competition rules.


    [The Troika wants Greece to remove trade restraints on competition and says monies can't be released in the spring unless the Greek government lifts barriers to competition. The Troika said Greece should use guidelines from the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for removing regulations that it says distort competition.


    The Greeks argue that increased competition would allow cheaper imports to flood the Greek market. Note that the Greeks are focusing on competition due to cheep imports. This suggests that the restraints on competition demanded by the Troika actually concern EU trade restraints while masked under the heading of within Greece constraints.


    The dictator Samaras has indicated the government will be unable to enforce all of the reforms, going so far as to propose alternatives at the weekend. [I.e., he is suggesting that the terms of the agreement be renegotiated. Good luck on that one, as the rules the Troika wants the Greeks to enforce are EU rules. ]


    The Greek Supreme Court:
    Meanwhile, Greece's highest legal body is saying that the military and police be reimbursed for pay cuts dictated when Athens signed up for the second EU - IMF rescue program in 2012. This ruling, which was leaked before being officially announced, described the austerity measures as unconstitutional. If enforced, this decision will add between € 500M and € 1Bn to the government's budget and would wipe out the € 800M primary budget surplus the government is claiming it has achieved. [The Troika also disagrees with the Greeks that they have obtained a primary budget surplus claiming that the 2014 budget has a € 1.4 Bn shortage.


    On Sunday night the court signaled it was ALSO considering appeals from social security funds, university professors and other civil servants on similar grounds. "If that is the case and it is extended to other public sector employees it will be hugely significant," says Giorgos Stathakis, a minister with the main opposition Syriza party.


    Samaras is desperate to avoid implementing further belt-tightening, insiders said the government could draw funds from bribes and bank accounts confiscated from corrupt officials. Kickbacks from arms deals, believed to be in excess of €80m, could also used. [Wow! They may have to dip into their stash of bribe and kickback money!]


    Feed to the fire:
    Tensions spawned by the court verdict have been intensified by suggestions made by the EU monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn that Athens will have to wait until the summer for debt relief talks to begin. Samaras and company had hoped to finish these talks in the spring when it had official confirmation of its primary budget surplus.


    Of course, the Greek government wants to avoid delays. Elections are coming and Syriza is projected to gain strength at the expense of the ruling collation. If SYRIZA finishes first in the European Parliament elections, Tsipras, the SYRIZA party leader has made it clear that his party will not recognize the government’s mandate. The same will happen if SYRIZA obtains positive results in local elections across Greece, which coincide with the European election. In either case, SYRIZA is almost certain to push for national elections to be held in 2014 hoping to win, and then cancel the bailout terms.


    January 26, 2014
    Greek Pensioners Sue For Lump Sum Payments. From: Greek Reporter, by Andy Dabilis.


    Greek civil servants, on seeing that the Greek high court will rule that
    military pay cuts were unconstitutional and must be repaid, are suing to get back lump sum benefits that were slashed even though they were earned.


    Basically, the government took as much as 38% of the funds that were withdrawn from pay checks for decades. The workers want their money back and if they are successful, lump sums for pensions would have to be brought back to their original levels, costing an as yet unknown amount.


    Unease in the Greek government has been fueled by a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights which ruled that a retirement lump sum constitutes part of a pensioner’s personal wealth, as it has been generated through the latter’s contributions, and that any reduction to that sum is a violation of their rights.


    There was no indication on when there would be a decision. Greek teachers have been waiting for years for the government to follow a previous court order that they be paid retroactive raises which was ignored by the government and continues to be ignored.
    27 Jan, 07:42 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » SA links and edit function appear to be broken yet again… one would think they would test changes before going live and letting the population find the errors… The heading "FEED to the fire" is supposed to say "FEET to the fire".
    27 Jan, 07:46 AM Reply Like
  • At least the like button works.
    27 Jan, 10:31 AM Reply Like
  • Bundesbank says bail in your rich citizens prior to asking for assistance. Here it comes boys and girls, here it comes. Capital controls are the only thing that can stop the route on banks by the rich now.


    Oh yea we just saw that being tried.



    "Tell us why you need the money" or you wont get it. We have to protect you....from your money!!! You might spend it foolishlier than us...can't have that now can we.


    The bail ins are coming the bail ins are coming. Story below.

    27 Jan, 10:30 AM Reply Like
  • Now I see that comments are disappearing. FPA your link to the greek pensioners just vanished. Or did you do that?
    27 Jan, 10:51 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » I was testing to see if a link in a [ link ] would work vs. just the link. It made no difference, so I deleted the test…. I see links are now working...
    27 Jan, 11:01 AM Reply Like
  • The first link worked but you had to wave your arrow over the link in just the right location to get the link to open. Weird. I guess it required a wee bit of Irish leprechaun magic to make it work.
    27 Jan, 02:01 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » The edit function is still not working, but at least there is a clue as to why… when you try to edit a comment, the edit box shows up like before as the same width as the original comment, but when you type, the box suddenly expands to a new wider width… I suspect when you hit publish the mismatch between the original width and the new edit field width causes an error.
    27 Jan, 11:06 AM Reply Like
  • Blood bath today in the "no earnings" and low/no dividend paying microcap to midcap tech stocks.


    The tech-ish sub-category I call "new energy" got slaughtered. No energy storage stock I track got out alive.


    The Russell 2k seems to verify the trend by losing 1.45% on the day. The midday bounce was pathetic. Traders rule and investors best keep their distance, IMHO.
    27 Jan, 04:27 PM Reply Like
  • Sorry, my comment [ 27 Jan, 04:27 ] should have been posted in a different forum. My bad.
    27 Jan, 05:35 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » They can't even convincingly lie:
    Greek workers income fell 9.9%, and social benefits to households fell by 8.2% in the third quarter of 2013 relative to 2012. The Greek statistics service also said that final consumption spending of Greek households and NPIs fell by 10.2 percent in the July-September period in 2013 relative to 2012.
    Not to worry, the Greek government's 2014 budget says that 2014 will be an up year based on their projections. How can they have an up year when Greek income is dropping off a cliff? If income drops, taxes drop. They can't even convincingly lie.
    28 Jan, 09:22 AM Reply Like
  • Tax collection in Greece has little to do with earned income and more to do with reducing tax evasion. So, if they could reduce tax evasion, they could increase revenues. Of course, all signs point to tax evasion increasing in a poor economy when it was rampant in a good economy.


    Government of Greece might be following the philosophy of "fake it until you make it" but I agree this is getting a bit too far fetched.


    On the other hand, EU will keep bailing them out because the alternative has knock-on effects the EU backers - and EU banking institutions (including those in the UK) - can't accept. The Greek master stroke was going on the Euro. The EU - and all of Europe's banks (both in and beyond the EU) - are stuck with the Greek problem unless they take over administration of the country or federalize.
    31 Jan, 01:38 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Jan 31, 2014
    Greece Creditors, France, Germany Held Secret Meeting Monday.
    From: ZeroHedge, based on an article from The Wall Street Journal, by Matina Stevis.


    Top officials held a secret meeting Monday evening to discuss mounting concerns over Greece's bailout. Concerns are increasing because Greece faces a large €11 billion maturity on government bonds due in May. [One month before Greek elections].


    High-level officials from the IMF, the European Commission, the ECB, senior euro-zone officials and the German and French finance ministers were present.


    They were trying to figure out how to tackle two issues threatening to unsettle the fragile economic recovery in Greece and the broader euro zone.


    Issue One: How to press the Greek government to forge ahead with unpopular structural reforms. [Good luck on that one because if more austerity measures are pushed, it seems likely the Greek dictators "government" will fall, and the party that takes over has said they will default.]


    Issue Two: How to gather together unplanned capital to cover a shortfall in the country's financing in the second half of the year, estimated at €5 billion - €6 billion.


    [This is the budget gap that the Greeks claim does not exist. Based on the fact that this meeting took place, its clear the budget gap does exist. The EU has to provide Greece with more funds to pay the interest and principal due to the EU banks, or Greece defaults. This is going to be very unpopular in Germany. They are going to have to mask the extra funds from the German public while trying to make it seem as if the iron fist was being applied. Issue one, PR, issue two reality.]


    The IMF hasn't disbursed any aid to Greece since July and is €3.8 billion behind in scheduled aid payments. The IMF will not give any more funds to Greece until they have a clear view of the country's finances 12 months ahead. This condition has not been met to the satisfaction of the IMF. [In other words, the IMF along with the Troika have reason to believe that Greek budget numbers are wishful thinking... but, but, we have a primary surplus... ]


    The meeting was inconclusive. Talks with Greek authorities continue. However, representatives of the three institutions, known as the Troika, have put a hold on plans to travel to Athens.


    Meanwhile, Greek Finance Minister Stournaras, who was briefing the press in a building across the street at the time of the secret meeting, wasn't invited.
    31 Jan, 01:03 PM Reply Like
  • Might as well be a room full of monkeys trying to put a square peg in a round hole. How do you get people in a democracy to do things that are in the best interests of outsiders?
    31 Jan, 01:40 PM Reply Like
  • >FPA-


    Thanks for a clear demystification of the dilemma.


    Do you think Greece will default? It almost seems they should be seriously considering it. Doesn't look like they will receive any more funding with the current stance.


    31 Jan, 04:25 PM Reply Like
  • WT: Greetings. With all the manipulation and grand standing it's hard to tell. There are allot of moving pieces here that don't readily mesh. If they default (Are allowed to default.) there are serious consequences for the debt holders the EZ central bank, the IMF and allot of other foreign stake holders many of which we aren't even aware of (Or who deny all knowledge.). Things are likely to be dicey at best and if TPTB can't keep a lid on it the resultant debt bomb explosion will cause allot of collateral damage. My gut tells me Greece won't be allowed to default. My analytical side tells me that it's not a question of if but of when? Clear as mud huh?
    31 Jan, 06:46 PM Reply Like
  • >Robert-


    Re:Greek Default- Thanks for chiming in-


    I guess I had similar thoughts but never did consider that they may NOT BE PERMITTED to default. How would that play out?
    Curiouser and curiouser


    31 Jan, 07:05 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Based on my reading of the tea leaves, I believe the EU will elect to kick the can.
    If the Greeks default, EU banks and the EU will be damaged. If the EU tries to force more austerity on Greece the current government will fall. If the government goes down, I believe the new government will default. The EU can't offer a new bailout, so I think we will see a payback delay. A payback delay would close the budget gap and free up the IMF funds.


    A payback delay has to be packaged in a favorable way to help the Greek government win the upcoming elections. I think those elections are going to be a very close thing.
    31 Jan, 07:07 PM Reply Like
  • rbf: The money boys can cover up almost anything unless a senior Greek gov official actually says, on camera, "we have not made any payments against bond interest since xxx."


    But everyone "in the business" will know that a default took place. Interesting to watch from the upper balconies, far away from the rotten fruit ;-)
    31 Jan, 07:10 PM Reply Like
  • IMO, you guys are correct in your assumptions and what is going on behind closed doors...the EZ will kick the can again. But no money will change hands or flow into Greece until after the election.


    Greece is probably ready to default soon if they don't get major concessions. I think this time the EZ knows it. Greece has made major changes so far, but the revenue side has to come now from the tycoons, not workers. They are just like the USA, with the loopholes in place the "haves & corps" are paying zero. It is not about raising taxes, it's about collecting what is due .. Greece has to figure a way to collect.


    Just keep in mind, Greece is small enough that the default can be absorbed, but it is the fallout that has repercussions that could be unimaginable....I do think a write off is coming, just not now.
    1 Feb, 03:59 AM Reply Like
  • Scenario I see...


    Can is kicked, lengthening the runway until next election.


    New government goes for structured default, picking and choosing winners and losers. They also seek to keep the euro. Plan is to have their EZ cake and eat their EZ default too.


    Eventually Greece will be evicted from squatting in the EZ, at which time they will reissue drachma currency, but continue accepting euros. Offers to repay contested debt with drachmas will be made, and accepted. Creditors will use the new drachmas to buy major chunks of Greece not nailed down. Absentee landlords will own the country.
    1 Feb, 06:37 AM Reply Like
  • >Trip-


    I find that scenario most plausible-


    " Absentee landlords will own the country. "
    Those folks wouldn't be the ones using the Cyrillic alphabet would they?
    1 Feb, 09:41 AM Reply Like
  • Ready to take a gamble on Greece?

    1 Feb, 12:08 PM Reply Like
  • I'd be willing to lay 5 to 3 that (OTCPK:GOFPY)'s a winner.


    2 Feb, 09:24 AM Reply Like
  • I got inspired in my wee insomniac hours this morning after reading a comment by Pater Tenebrarum:

    1 Feb, 01:15 PM Reply Like
  • If I'm not mistaken, inspired by the Magical Mystery Tour? You did a very credible job, regardless.
    Good Work!
    1 Feb, 02:21 PM Reply Like
  • Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Karn Evil 9, from the Brain Salad Surgery album, and best version from the 1974 tour live album, Welcome Back My Friends.


    I saw them live at August Jam in Charlotte Motor Speedway in that tour, which was awesome!


    PT notes somewhere in one of his online profiles that he is a fan of ELP. I have been a big fan ever since that concert, and was reminded of the song by his comment.
    1 Feb, 02:34 PM Reply Like
  • I had it in my head it came off the Magical Mystery Tour album. Only missed by a few years and the wrong group! These senior moments seem to come faster these days! :-((


    1 Feb, 03:33 PM Reply Like
  • Investors pull $12 billion from emerging markets

    2 Feb, 03:16 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » February 2, 2014
    German Document Reveals New Greek Aid Package.
    From: GreekReporter


    The German newspaper Der Spiegel, citing a five-page document from the German Finance Ministry, reported on Saturday that Germany is preparing a new aid package for Greece that will amount to 10-20 billion euros.


    This new aid package will force the Greek government to proceed with new measures and reforms and help the country meet its borrowing needs [pay back EU bank loans] for the next two years.


    However, it won’t have the form of a third memorandum in order to avoid political reactions. According to the article, the new aid package will be released before European Elections in May. At the same time, it is estimated that there will be an extension of repayment of the current debt with lower interest rates.


    A spokesman for the German Finance Ministry denied these allegations saying that ”there is no new situation,” and referred to previous statements by the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble. The German Minister had claimed that there could be a possible refinancing but any new package would be far smaller than the aid granted so far. [note the double-speak since the last claim by "iron fist Schaeuble was there was zero chance of any new aid.]
    So new funds before the next election in an attempt to keep the current dictator in power... extension of repayments, with lower interest rates, and obligatory verbiage positioning the policy cave-in as something that will "force" the Greeks to proceed with new measures and reforms... The new program is first released as a trial balloon with a leak of the document through Der Spiegel to test the waters... Now wait and see what the political reaction is among the German public...
    2 Feb, 03:10 PM Reply Like
  • Sort of reminds me of what happens with our "Debt Ceiling". Never really repay most of it, just keep refinancing it and increasing the debt authorized.


    2 Feb, 03:13 PM Reply Like
  • >HTL-


    "..just keep refinancing it and increasing the debt authorized."


    KInda like kicking the can? Like a computer game- Get yourself lazered in half and get over it and keep going-


    No accountability any more- anywhere.


    2 Feb, 03:40 PM Reply Like
  • >FPA- Thanks for that very informative update.


    I'd be willing to bet the news will be received somewhat negatively in Munich wouldn't you think?


    3 Feb, 12:02 PM Reply Like
  • It isn't a problem. The EU central bank can just print money and use it to pay off whatever loans they want. It's the perfect system. They own the bank!


    And the more they print, the higher the interest rates lenders will demand for loaning the EU "real" money. Meanwhile the inflation rate lurks below the radar. No extreme inflation yet because of the overall economic slowdown in the EZ. Wait.
    2 Feb, 06:53 PM Reply Like
  • FWIW-


    Turkey ETF (TUR) up over 5% today. Might be a good sign. The ETF is heavily populated with Turkish banks representing around 50% of holdings.


    I have been an off and on holder- Holder at present.


    4 Feb, 12:04 PM Reply Like
  • 40 Maps That Explain The World-
    Some afternoon entertainment-

    4 Feb, 12:22 PM Reply Like
  • As I posted on twitter a few days back, #6 makes no sense - if people lived there, its not a discovery. I can't believe we still talk about Europeans discovering places where other people lived... as if they're on Star Trek and discovered a new life form on a distant planet.
    6 Feb, 09:37 AM Reply Like
  • >Jon-
    Re: Discovery-
    What would happen if Portugal, Spain, Netherlands and Great Britain all discovered each others discoveries?
    Boggles the mind.........


    ps- I gave you a (Like) in case it doesn't show.
    6 Feb, 10:00 AM Reply Like
  • Re: EU banking mess: Recent observations by Pater Tenenbrarum on various EU banking problems.

    6 Feb, 12:27 PM Reply Like
  • Wyostocks brought us this from the Breakfast Club. It seems the State Department has been outed for meddling in Ukraine.
    6 Feb, 04:07 PM Reply Like
  • Same o, same o.


    What would be a surprising headline would be that the State Department was NOT meddling in a country, and was doing a competent job.
    6 Feb, 04:19 PM Reply Like
  • TB: Greetings. You are of course correct. It would be surprising to find they weren't meddling. It's the fact that they were caught on tape during a telephone conversation that is surprising. What has become of our spycraft? Perhaps the NSA leaked the call.
    6 Feb, 04:39 PM Reply Like
  • Hack the NSA and you are privey to everything they have. Minus all the grunt work. Hell you know where all the info is that you could ever want and you do not have to spend alot of money getting it, its all just sitting there.
    6 Feb, 11:19 PM Reply Like
  • Celtic Pussycat circa Feb. 2014. From Survive and Prosper.

    6 Feb, 08:08 PM Reply Like
  • >SHB-


    The Irish situation is indeed tragic. The people took it on the chin solving the bubble pop there- Not the banks.


    Looks like they will be on the hook again.


    6 Feb, 09:17 PM Reply Like
  • WT: What surprises me is that, after the fact, they didn't lynch the Men in Charge. Having the taxpayers bail out bad banks is insane. I believe there was a big payoff in there somewhere. If the Irish weren't so angst ridden as a culture, someone would have dug out the facts and published them. But the Irish seem to revel in suffering in silence.
    7 Feb, 04:46 PM Reply Like
  • >SHB-


    Having made an extensive study of the Irish culture I agree with you all the way. Irish society is hard wired to accept authority from on high with little resistance.


    Their having been beaten into submission for 200 years, it will take another 200 to negate the damage. Its as if the Whigs are in control of the country.


    8 Feb, 09:07 AM Reply Like
  • Most of the independent thinkers left and immigrated to the US in the Great Diaspora. The more stubborn independents that remained behind were killed off in the struggle for independence.


    8 Feb, 11:28 AM Reply Like
  • The stubborn and ornery ones that did not get killed off got "transported" to Australia. Splains a lot about where freedom and ingenuity are valued and productive in the two centuries later.
    8 Feb, 06:07 PM Reply Like
  • Re: Like button, got this e-mail 12:38 A.M: "We have received a notification from our tech team that the issue that you have noted would be resolved by today".


    No help so far.


    7 Feb, 06:54 AM Reply Like
  • LOL, it was working VERY early this morning, but seems to have died at the first hint of traffic on the site.


    They seem to have added something somewhere that is really eating up site resources.


    Probably some helpful "upgrade" recommended by a salesman.
    7 Feb, 07:05 AM Reply Like
  • In prior days I was getting the "Something went wrong ... " a lot when going to a bog from notification.


    Maybe that's related to what yo said TB.


    7 Feb, 07:14 AM Reply Like
  • Talk of wholesale savings confiscation in EZ. Wonder how long till bank runs get started then capital controls. Pay attention America, Pay attention now!!!

    13 Feb, 08:04 AM Reply Like
  • Hi DG,
    I wonder if their insurance is like the FDIC? FDIC doesn't cover losses caused by a bank run. Free money!!
    13 Feb, 11:59 AM Reply Like
  • FDIC doesn't cover losses caused by a bank run. Free money!!


    I did not know that. I would say that is important to know. Good grief charley brown.
    13 Feb, 12:10 PM Reply Like
  • DG,
    I picked up that tidbit of info in an accounting class a few years ago. The instructors' stated reason was that during a bank run the losses would be self inflicted by the banks customers.
    13 Feb, 12:22 PM Reply Like
  • Oh, I thought if the bank went under, because of a bank run, your deposits would not be insured.


    I feel better now.
    13 Feb, 02:54 PM Reply Like
  • Re:" FDIC doesn't cover losses caused by a bank run."
    "... during a bank run the losses would be self inflicted by the banks customers. "


    Ahhh! Now I understand. It is guilt by association. If you belong to the class of "XYZ Bank Customers", you must also be guilty if some of then want their money NOW. Wow, the logic is underwhelming!
    13 Feb, 03:00 PM Reply Like
  • There is no logic, its a damn bank, run by a central bank, headed by crooks. Logic left in 1913.
    13 Feb, 05:32 PM Reply Like
  • Yeah-
    John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Ffloyd and Alvin Karpis tried to right-size banks but just didn't do enough.
    14 Feb, 09:52 AM Reply Like
  • Rattie, I do not know if you saw this. It might be something your interested in adding at the top or at least linking.

    13 Feb, 07:47 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » I agree Guns… I tried to add the link, and it will not take the link…
    Thank you SA. I give up.
    14 Feb, 02:16 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » I see that many of my TinyURL in the header have been broken. I also can't get new links to post in the header of the EU concentrator to post….


    I have notified SA, and I notified the Sr. Editor, Eli.


    Until this problem is fixed, and until all the broken links on the EU concentrator have been fixed, I am no longer supporting my news concentrators. I will also not be posting any new content.


    Sorry about that folks, but my patience is at an end. If SA wants content from this person, they are going to have to fix the ability to provide reference links.
    14 Feb, 02:44 PM Reply Like
  • Rattie, I agree with you. This site is so buggy right now its nuts. My posts keep getting squished into one paragraph too. If I edit something woooosh all squished into one paragraph again.
    14 Feb, 04:00 PM Reply Like
  • >DG-


    I find that squishing as well, but I have a work-around. If I have separated two lines I will insert a character at the beginning of the desired space,
    like that.
    Then when I want the space to stay a space it will, so far....
    14 Feb, 05:13 PM Reply Like
  • All these work arounds just to get a simply system to function properly. Must be the damn weather. It seems to be effecting the whole stock market, economy and even SA programs. LOL
    14 Feb, 05:36 PM Reply Like
  • >DG-


    Re: Work-arounds.


    Somebody is saving money throughout the 'system' and passing the buck downstream to those that are unable to yell too loudly.


    It has become perverse in society and the public is accepting it just like busing your own McDonalds table or pumping your own gas-


    Sheeple, unite!


    14 Feb, 09:23 PM Reply Like
  • I hear them baaaaa, baaaaa, baaaaaing. Nothing intelligent of course.
    17 Feb, 09:09 AM Reply Like


    Nice charts and thoughts on China, the EU and scattered euro-asian countries. By Cliff Wachtel
    18 Feb, 03:55 PM Reply Like
  • Nice overview. A tad "looking back" oriented, and of course cautious, but sound. I like it.


    Look for the next such report to be more upbeat and reflect the continuing evidence that China will avoid a hard landing (that 2 quarters of 2% growth thing should be a BIG cautionary note to those betting with Chinese equities, though).


    I think they will hit a growth rate of around 6.5% this year, and probably next year as well.


    The GDP chart for a Chinese Hard Landing is the weakest part of the analysis, imo, but its also the most speculative (and they know this).
    18 Feb, 04:41 PM Reply Like
  • trip, I'm not counting on a soft landing in China. I'm of the "busted landing gear and ground down belly plates" view. Some will limp away and some will need to be carried. That is the BEST I see.


    But different views are what make a market!
    19 Feb, 04:09 PM Reply Like
  • Hillbilly with the amount of money they printed I see a rough landing but.....I saw a lot more pain and suffering with what the fed was doing at this point so they may be able to keep a lot more plates spinning in the air than we ever thought possible for far longer than we thought possible. And far longer than we can remain solvent.


    Soros at 1.3 billion from his starting 2010 bet. He has remained solvent only because he has so damn much money.


    Frankly I am amazed at the abilities of EZ, USA and China. Simply amazed. If this was the olympics I would have to score them a 9.6 so far. It leaves me pissed and frustrated and those do not go together very well. My wife told me so thats how I know. Apparently I am no fun to be around when I am in that mood. I figured a little more whisky and the moodiness goes away. Apparently, according to my wife, I am wrong on that point. I think I will continue to experiment and investigate that further.


    Night all. Time to dream of boiling sap. Yep real exciting life her in Ohio, but tasty.
    20 Feb, 01:51 AM Reply Like
  • Keeping Up With The Joneses for Central Banks has become a question of Money Printing and Cheap Money.


    As with other versions of Keeping Up With The Joneses, the amazing part is that people thought it was worth keeping up with them in the first place, and that they continue to be sold on the idea despite the economic pain it causes.
    20 Feb, 08:11 AM Reply Like
  • Meandered over to ZH prior to heading to bed and this is what I find. Chinas spinning plates might be in jeopardy according to this article. Or I am too tired to understand.

    20 Feb, 01:56 AM Reply Like
  • China-


    As long as they print money there shouldn't be any angst- look what printing did for our esteemed financial institutions. If weren't for the Big Bail how many would be still standing?


    21 Feb, 07:38 AM Reply Like
  • If I had a hedge fund, I'd be buying Ukranian bonds at yields near 50% today
    3 Mar, 11:11 AM Reply Like
  • Maybe that's why I don't ;-)
    3 Mar, 11:12 AM Reply Like
  • Putin: The Mask Comes Off, But Will Anybody Care?

    15 Mar, 08:44 PM Reply Like
  • >SM-


    "American Interest"


    Very interesting publication with substance. I've got it bookmarked.




    16 Mar, 09:45 AM Reply Like
  • Crimea, Scotland…now Venice votes on breakaway

    21 Mar, 05:22 AM Reply Like
  • Logical, in an off-kilter way.


    Texas will probably be the next to want to secede.
    21 Mar, 09:04 AM Reply Like
  • Don't forget Catalans, Basque and Walloons among other Europeans long since ready to go splitsville.
    21 Mar, 09:24 AM Reply Like
  • Re: Ruskie Escapades-


    Does anybody think they're considering negating the Alaska treaty?
    21 Mar, 03:29 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Gang… I am in discussions with Eli with respect to the broken links… I will let you know the outcome.
    22 Mar, 05:04 AM Reply Like
  • One beer per link per day down. Don't take anything less ;-)


    Hope the discussions go well. Miss these posts.
    22 Mar, 07:42 AM Reply Like
  • Rattie-


    Let us know if we can lend support somehow.


    22 Mar, 02:14 PM Reply Like
  • Ditto FPA -- your loyal following stands ready with keyboard in hand.
    22 Mar, 03:38 PM Reply Like
  • Mercy: I can barely type as it is - I remain sitting w/KB in lap! :-))


    Ready to chip in regardless!


    22 Mar, 05:45 PM Reply Like
  • Rattie, add me to your soldier list if needed. Standing by, awaiting orders.
    23 Mar, 03:05 PM Reply Like
  • FPA: Greetings. Need a negotiator? I'm not currently engaged!
    16 Apr, 04:41 PM Reply Like
  • Stability of the euro is shaky for now. Our clueless leaders in Washington keep meddling in Ukraine. To what effect is what I am worried about.

    23 Mar, 03:09 PM Reply Like
  • Obama to Seek Russian Suspension From G-8



    Kicking the bully off the merry-go-round?
    24 Mar, 03:58 PM Reply Like
  • Interesting. I wonder if the West will attempt to evict China from the WTO after they ignore the WTO admonishments?
    24 Mar, 04:16 PM Reply Like
  • 5 kooky things that happened in Europe while we were obsessing about Ukraine
    25 Mar, 09:43 AM Reply Like
  • Things not so stable it seems Jon. Change is in the wind.
    25 Mar, 10:31 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » It appears the links in the header have been repaired. Thank you. Now why was I not informed? Instead I find the Blog in a non-posting state. I had to go in and re-publish it…. Jsssss!!!!
    8 Apr, 07:58 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » The Wall Street Journal reports that Greece is planning to issue a long-term bond on Wednesday.


    The paper reported that the Greek government “is likely to sell around 2 billion euros in five-year debt,” and that Deutsche Bank AG and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co have undertaken the bond’s issuance.


    Greek government bondholders suffered a principal loss of roughly 69% over the last two years. But according to Alessandro Giansanti, senior rates strategist at ING Bank now its time to move forward and the market is positive on Greek government bounds.


    The ten year is at 6.1%...
    8 Apr, 08:05 PM Reply Like
  • Gonna buy some ? (wicked grin here :)
    8 Apr, 08:27 PM Reply Like
  • Greek tragedy continues...
    8 Apr, 08:45 PM Reply Like
  • I for one just can not imagine the thrill of knowing that I can reinvest last years -69% tragedy in an opportunity to make 6.1%. Folks should be jumping all over that. No?


    Is that in euros by chance? That would make all the difference I'm sure.
    8 Apr, 09:14 PM Reply Like
  • I do wonder when global bond markets will revert to the mean. The risk/reward profile across all bond asset classes makes no sense.
    9 Apr, 10:39 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Greece is ready to enter the public bond market. Greece’s agency for managing public debt and the Finance Ministry made the announcement on April 9 and said it would be subject to British law but didn’t provide details on the amount or expected interest rate.


    However, Reuters, citing three unidentified sources, said the bond will be a five-year issue for up to 2.5 billion euros, ($3.44 billion). One said there is the expectation of strong interest even though private investors two years ago were stiffed with 74 percent losses.


    With the five-year bond sale, Greece returns to the capital markets for the first time since it was bailed out by international lenders in 2010. On Wednesday, the 10-year yield fell below 6% for the first time since 2010.


    Greece is still rated nine notches below investment grade at Caa3 by Moody’s. Standard and Poor’s and Fitch rank Greece six notches below investment grade at B-. Moody’s recently said it would delay another rating until August.
    10 Apr, 03:53 PM Reply Like
  • This is better than when a friend of mine bought a house with no money down a year after filing for bankruptcy (circa 2005). The amount of risky behavior without sufficient reward in the world indicates the system is broken...


    ... mainly because those who take risks don't pay for failure, instead average citizens pay for risks they never took.


    Matt Taibbi interview, part 1:


    Part 2:
    10 Apr, 06:11 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Exactly Jon. The banks are taking high risks because there are no consequences. There are no consequences because the banks that effectively OWN the governments have their high risk bets backed up by the taxpayers.
    10 Apr, 08:00 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » The sale of the five year bonds by the Greek government was eight times over subscribed!


    Why are markets relatively comfortable with lending to Greece? Because they are assuming that the EU, i.e., EU taxpayers, will back the loan rather than allow a default.


    Of course, the EU taxpayers don't know they are backing this new Greek debt. The EU taxpayers just get the risk, while the profits go to the banks and EU government officials through various types of direct and indirect payoffs.


    An indirect payoff would be someone placed in a position to make a decision. Their payoff is their salary, power, and various other perks. They may say they are not taking any payoffs, but in fact, the positions they hold are the payoff.


    They use those positions to parlay into other high paid positions which they are now qualified for. And they will get those new positions so long as they remember who gave them their 'qualifications'.


    And there is nothing we can do about it… this is the way the stinking graft and corruption system works. We pay the bills and they get rich… Sorry for the rant…
    10 Apr, 08:30 PM Reply Like
  • Very sound reasoning, Rat. Excellent example.


    I have had a long running debate with some EU buddies about this topic, ie, that the European system is inherently more "ethical" than others. LOL, one of my favorite examples is a relatively underpaid EU CEO who, however, also serves on about 17 Boards (some at VERY high salary plus options and perks), Chairs no less than 4 blue ribbon government functions, lives in 4 different amazing mansions (plus 1 actual castle) at corporate expense, and receives personal "bonuses" from foreign governments for selling them his influence.


    All perfectly legal in the EU.


    But he only makes about half the salary of his counterpart in Abu Dhabi (who however serves on only 1 other BOD - lives in a home he pays for himself - and would get tossed in prison if he sold his influence to a foreign government.


    Ironically, the Russians (actually, the "Soviets") were warning us of our society's corruption for decades, we just didn't listen.
    11 Apr, 07:42 AM Reply Like
  • Ironically, the Russians (actually, the "Soviets") were warning us of our society's corruption for decades, we just didn't listen.


    Now we know why folks in Ukraine may want to be part of Russia rather than the EU. They even voted overwhelmingly that way. Wonder who the idiots are here. Us for putting up with it or them for choosing Russia.
    11 Apr, 09:04 AM Reply Like
  • The eastern euopeans have a long history of getting screwed by trusting too much Western promises of support which never materializes...


    I would peg the current likelihood of that sort of outcome as "near certainty".
    11 Apr, 09:31 AM Reply Like
  • Well we are certainly putting up with the corruption so there is half the argument already determined to be certain. LOL


    edit: who do you want to be in charge, the bankers or Putin. That is the dilemma for them but one form of slavery is better than the other. No?
    11 Apr, 10:45 AM Reply Like
  • One has more guns than the other, so its really a moot point.
    11 Apr, 11:10 AM Reply Like
  • Your right, the bankers own all the military industrial complex. Folks will probably take Putin. He can deal with the bankers..... when he buys his allotment of guns. LOL


    Couldn't help myself. I have become so cynical I disgust myself. Feel sorry for you all.
    11 Apr, 11:19 AM Reply Like
  • Greek bond tragedy continues. Bankers got their money it seems so now they are getting worth less and maybe soon to be worthless.



    Edit: misread the charts. Apparently it is just a prediction to follow the 2010 sales.
    11 Apr, 11:21 AM Reply Like
  • Of course Rattie you already covered this bond sale earlier but did you see that it sold at 4.75% which is down considerably from the 6% area, previously discussed just a few comments up.
    They must have sold those bonds to the three blind mice. Now missing tails I might add.
    11 Apr, 11:34 AM Reply Like
  • Good perspective on why the Euro is holding up:


    "What most forecasters fail to take into account is the European Central Bank’s tolerance for below-target inflation because of the region’s history with hyper-inflation, Schenker said. That lessens the odds that the ECB, unlike the U.S. Federal Reserve, will move to spark inflation with policies such as printing money to buy bonds, thus debasing the euro."
    11 Apr, 01:35 PM Reply Like
  • Re: Hyperinflation


    I remember when Geithner went hat-in-hand to Merkel attempting to get the EU to debase their currency about two years ago. Merkel just looked at him and said "You want what?"


    11 Apr, 11:19 PM Reply Like
  • First person perspective of what is happening in Greece.

    13 Apr, 12:28 PM Reply Like
  • >guns: I'm not sure exactly what point the Greek guy was trying to make, but I could tell he was seriously pissed!


    I suppose having the pols turn over the fate of your country to the Boys in Brussels, just to keep their fat pay check coming, is reason enough. The ratio of guvmint workers to total population does seem a bit excessive in Greece.
    13 Apr, 01:52 PM Reply Like
  • Hillbilly, I think the point was that the new bonds sold were just to pay the excessive number of pampered politicians and the interest due on the previous debt. It did nothing for the country but they were supposed to cheer because they got to sell more debt at such a great rate. Yea!!! All hail Cesar!!!
    13 Apr, 06:16 PM Reply Like
  • >guns: you typed: "the point was that the new bonds sold were just to pay the excessive number of pampered politicians and the interest due on the previous debt"


    That sounds about right. At least, that would also piss ME off :-) The pols will always pay themselves first, even if the remaining folks are starving. Pols got a ticket to ride the gravy train.
    13 Apr, 08:33 PM Reply Like
  • No one has yet experienced a world wide "debt reset". I suspect we will be the first. I can't say I'm looking forward to the experience.


    The frantic search for "high" yield that is "safe" is evident in the still dropping US T-bill rates. How do you tell the difference between deflation and yield desperation? Or is there any?
    12 Apr, 12:24 PM Reply Like
  • >SHB-


    This is the graphic I keep coming back to.



    12 Apr, 12:43 PM Reply Like
  • >WT: Yep, we (the USA) have run up a lot of debt since 1982.
    Looking at the depth of the post 1930s de-leveraging isn't comforting, is it?
    12 Apr, 01:33 PM Reply Like
  • We are poised to plunge over the true "fiscal cliff" of unsustainable personal debt.


    Governments and fractional reserve bankers can print more money. Consumers cannot.
    12 Apr, 02:50 PM Reply Like
  • >SM-


    "...Consumers cannot"




    12 Apr, 03:50 PM Reply Like
  • Doc, I think we can print more money as consumers, you just do not want to get caught. LOL
    13 Apr, 06:24 PM Reply Like
  • D.G; In fact we do print more money every time we take out a loan.


    From occasionally keeping up with the new monetary theory folks I learned that when a bank writes a loan for which they didn't actually have $ backing it - your indebtedness becomes an "asset" on their books and, IIRC, through the magic of computers $ is deposited to your account.


    Voila! Money was created out of thin air.


    Although it is indirect, it is "consumer" action that causes the "printing" of $.


    This keeps the double-entry books in balance as the "liability" of readily available cash in your account is balanced by the "asset" of your I.O.U.


    I've pondered whether this can possibly be true. When I consider our low savings rate for so long, it seems it must be so because the actual savings that might provide funds to be lent has been so low for so long that we couldn't have had the near crash of the banking system if all the loans were covered by "savings".


    Anyway, just though I would mention this. I'm not knowledgeable enough to argue it, but I observed some who were duke it out and that particular point about how the money was created didn't seem much disputed. Other effects surrounding it were heatedly disputed though.


    I know it is not "printing money" in the sense you meant as it's actually every banker making loans that do it, which was the surprise to me. So all you have to do is have an easily swayed banker as a "best bud" and you can almost print your own money.


    13 Apr, 06:37 PM Reply Like
  • HTL,


    The bank created new money out of nothing and loaned it to you. You did not create it. You borrowed it and must pay it back. Who does the bank pay back for the money it created?


    Fractional reserve banking allows the banksters, authorized by their private overlord, the Fed, to create money from thin air. If you do it you go to jail.


    If you fail to repay the loan you are in trouble and the creditors take your stuff.


    If the banks fail to balance their books because they made bad loans, the Fed bails them out so they can keep playing that game. Wash, rinse, repeat.
    13 Apr, 07:23 PM Reply Like
  • USA household debt as a percentage of annual disposable personal income was 127% at the end of 2007, versus 77% in 1990.



    Wonder what it is right now-


    13 Apr, 11:53 AM Reply Like
  • WT-
    As of 2010 USA household debt as a percentage of annual disposable personal income appears to have dropped to 100% (foreclosures probably contributed to the drop)


    Also interesting is the debt service payments as a % of disposable income which have experienced a big drop thanks to the Fed's artificially low interest rates (from 13% in 2007 to 10% in 2013:
    13 Apr, 01:27 PM Reply Like
  • Hi WT,
    That article was dated 2008. I have to wonder how that would read now that we have the ACHA tax to help lower disposable income. Yes, I know all the arguments, but at work I hear all the 20 something immortals complaining about being broke because of it. Face it, a minimum of $450 a month of income is gone. This will only get worse as the penalties increase each year and more people are forced to sign up. BTW, what's the big deal about 7 mil people signing up? They started this fiasco saying 49 mil needed health care, not to mention all the people that already had care that lost policies that had to switch. More govt, mumbo jumbo. Please excuse the rant, I can't even mention this at home or mama goes ballistic.
    13 Apr, 02:41 PM Reply Like
  • >MJ-


    The second graph about debt service payments as a % of Disp. Inc. really threw me before your comment clarified it for me- The engineered drop in interest rates!




    13 Apr, 05:31 PM Reply Like
  • >SD-


    Agree the income is gone but so are some of the ridiculously high medical charges that low income group had to pay because they didn't have insurance. Hospitals are screaming because they can't gouge the indigent (read as taxpayers) like before.


    I have always felt that the medical system in this country was pathetic- It may still be but maybe we won't rank 23rd in quality and outcomes right behind a bunch of third world countries any more. Having spent over 40 years in the industry of health care economics I say there are many sides to this story. I'm not taking any position yet but I am attempting to arrive at a conclusion as to where we stand not only economically but as a world leader as well by turning over the rocks and avoiding the political rhetoric.


    13 Apr, 05:43 PM Reply Like
  • Hi WT,
    As an average Joe with no experience in health care, you can understand why I am confused by all the political grandstanding on what most would agree is a problem area. If you, with 40 years in the industry are perplexed, imagine how the rest of us with no experience in the industry, are struggling to understand, while trying to filter out the politics.
    13 Apr, 06:18 PM Reply Like
  • MJ this might interest you. This is an article talking about household debt rising again. Dated 2/18/2014.

    13 Apr, 06:28 PM Reply Like
  • Stilldazed: I don't struggle to understand becuse I know it's unconstitutional. Having read the whole dissenting opinion from the SCOTUS, I can state that the word "tax" was never once used in the legislation and it was Chief Justice Roberts that legislated from the bench by determining that in spite of no occurrence of the word "tax", the legislators obviously meant tax every time the used words like "penalty", levy", fine", ...


    It was unusual, I've read, in that the supremes generally take care to interpret words exactly as they were meant and used.


    Prior to going to the SCOTUS the administration argued that the law was constitutional under the interstate commerce authority.


    When they got to the SCOTUS, they knew that it was unconstitutional under that regime and changed their argument to it was constitutional because it was within authority of congress to "tax".


    The "conservative" Chief Justice then decided to break the tie by asserting that they "obviously" were "taxing", not fining or penalizing, to enforce an unconstitutional mandate for individuals to purchase goods and services they otherwise might not purchase.


    For me to want to understand this is like wanting to understand why calculated and premeditated murders are done.


    I don't care why, I just want illegal activity prevented. There's folks that do understand that sort of stuff and I hope they can prevent them.


    13 Apr, 06:51 PM Reply Like
  • Thanks DG.
    13 Apr, 08:27 PM Reply Like
  • Latest from Farage.

    16 Apr, 01:24 PM Reply Like
  • Gotta like Farage...


    But this election is where we see that the (individual) nationalists are going to lose to the (collective) nationalists.


    The whole idea of a socialist state is that " will work if there are enough people in the pool..." Oddly enough, the enormous Soviet Union did not seem to convince this group of the fallacy of this theory. Whenever this awkward observation is brought up, inevitably the failures of the Soviet Union are dismissed because "...they did it wrong - we'll get it right".


    This concept appears to be dearly held by a significant majority, who will use their votes to "give it another go".


    Of course, not ALL countries will see the signs in the same way, and there will be a lot of variation, sufficient to make the new majority push through some contorted changes to the EU documents allowing for a majority to over-rule an individual national outcome.


    This will ultimately split the current membership, and we could well see countries like Britain leave the EU before they are subsumed within the pulsating mass.
    16 Apr, 01:45 PM Reply Like
  • Hi gang! Just catching up. I'm not sure if I'm glad to see virtually everything the same as it was six weeks ago or not. There was that whole correction of last week but it may just be another head fake. The EZ continues to be puzzling as you would think that Russian military moves would have resulted in more profound market jitters especially in the EZ. Thanks again FPA for maintaining the concentrators even with less than stellar support from the management. At least I'm not the only one that had management issues! LOL.
    16 Apr, 06:03 PM Reply Like
  • Wonder who is controlling the country?
    Wonder no more-


    This quote from a guy back in 1802 says it all-


    'I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake homeless on the continent their fathers conquered'


    - Thomas Jefferson 1802
    17 Apr, 09:43 AM Reply Like
  • I regret that I only have one thumbs up to give to that comment.
    17 Apr, 09:52 AM Reply Like
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