Seeking Alpha


Send Message
View as an RSS Feed
View kmi's Comments BY TICKER:
Latest comments  |  Highest rated
  • Greece threatens to sue Europe [View news story]
    Right now the primary strategy is regime change on the part of the creditors and the Greek oligarchs.

    I realize that Putin is the Great Big Boogy Man that Europe and the USA fear is hiding under their beds, but a Russian bailout is pretty far-fetched.

    In any event it's a significant part of the Syriza strategy to avoid taking on more debt, and to seek a credible, realistic, growth oriented restructure.
    Jun 29, 2015. 08:04 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Greece threatens to sue Europe [View news story]

    "But...I've never seen anyone address the question, what if Greece don't play ball AND refuses to leave AND pursues her rights under the treaty."

    It's an interesting question is it not?

    What if Greece retaliates against non-cooperative Eurogroup partners by vetoing every piece of EU politics? EU motions require unanimity. Greece could scuttle pretty much everything.

    One wonders what position Greece takes for example, next time Russia or Iran sanction extensions come up for review.

    No one is talking about it, but, I believe, some clarity can be obtained from Mr. Varoufakis recent experience with the Eurogroup. I dislike block quoting large amounts of text but in this instance it is interesting:

    "Following my intervention the Eurogroup President rejected our request for an extension, with the support of the rest of the members, and announced that the Eurogroup would be issuing a statement placing the burden of this impasse on Greece and suggesting that the 18 ministers (that is the 19 Eurozone finance ministers except the Greek minister) reconvene later to discuss ways and means of protecting themselves from the fallout.

    At that point I asked for legal advice, from the secretariat, on whether a Eurogroup statement can be issued without the conventional unanimity and whether the President of the Eurogroup can convene a meeting without inviting the finance minister of a Eurozone member-state. I received the following extraordinary answer: “The Eurogroup is an informal group. Thus it is not bound by Treaties or written regulations. While unanimity is conventionally adhered to, the Eurogroup President is not bound to explicit rules.”

    The rules have been rewritten, reinterpreted, and adjusted at will during the length and breadth of the Greek crisis. Most recently when the ECB declared an end to Greece's ELA forcing a liquidity - not a solvency- crisis by encouraging a run on its banks. Having already initiated an effort to push Greece out of the EZ, can it possibly be believed that the same will not happen to its position in the EU? And thereafter, to any other country which isn't wholly on board with the center's policy agenda?

    I find this fascinating.
    Jun 29, 2015. 07:45 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Rough session for oil as equities dive [View news story]
    The backdrop of failing Iran talks is interesting, but China is likely more relevant, as it accounts for the vast majority of global demand growth.
    Jun 29, 2015. 07:13 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • WSJ: Greece won't pay IMF tranche due tomorrow [View news story]
    Bjorkman, I enjoyed reading your comments in this news current. I suggest reading this article from Bloomberg:

    I don't agree with many of the points made but there are some interesting opinions expressed that follow your line of thinking.

    I'll also point out that Greece isn't in position to become an exporter or heavy industry nation in its current regulatory paradigm. It needs reform - reform that isn't coming under the current Troika led programs. It needs a ground up rebuild of its regulatory environment akin to many LatAm emerging market economies. Yep, I said "emerging".
    Jun 29, 2015. 07:00 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Greek parliament approves bailout referendum [View news story]
    Rick, I find the sequences of events you report and in the manner you interpret them different than in my own read.

    I recommend you read Mr. Varoufakis own piece on "how it happened":

    I also enjoyed Frances Coppola's view of the events in Forbes here:

    Also, I have a different opinion on June 30: I think it's a fantastic date. No deal will indeed mean a tough time for Greece but it will also be the end of having Syriza's legislative hands tied. Your concern that an extension to the program would need to be passed by 18 other parliaments is misguided as that doesn't seem to be part of Mr. Tsipras' strategy at all.

    Any new program - if indeed one were to arise - would have to formed under an entirely new, Syriza-led paradigm. Notions of the end of current bailout being a calamity are vastly overblown, they are mostly a calamity for a continuation of the current failed ideas.

    You seem to think that I am merely placing my opinion here: I propose you consider that much of what I am saying is the interpretation of the unfolding events from the perspective of the Greek side. I am not looking for good guys or bad, or who to blame, but the actual truth is, when reviewing the statements from the Greek reps, that a severe amount of their activity is misreported and misrepresented and news reports routinely slight the Syriza government.

    I look forward to a managed default, hand in hand with, ideally, the IMF, and excluding the ECB. The ECB has clearly made its case that it is not ever going to defend the Euro and Euro membership 'at any cost', having engaged in politicking outside its mandate on several occasions. A IMF-led restructure in my view would be vastly preferable to dealing with the representatives of 18 other sovereign nations each with their own agendas, hangups and issues.
    Jun 29, 2015. 06:38 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Global markets plunge on Greek fears [View news story]
    These aren't serious declines, and perhaps, like we keep being told, the Greek issue is contained and containable and cannot significantly impact markets.

    The most important likely outcome will be a permanent increase in EU periphery states bond yields as membership proves to be a two way street, but the increase may be mild.

    The language coming out is consistently "Greece is a small insignificant economy and can't move markets much" but what this implies is that common currency exit is indeed an option now that Greece is blazing that trail, and that we're lucky it's Greece going and not a larger economy. Amusing.
    Jun 29, 2015. 06:27 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Greek parliament approves bailout referendum [View news story]
    Your comment is a fantastic example of just how out of touch observers are with the realities in Greece.

    To wit: do you really not see how offensive the notion of a primary creditor sending its people into a sovereign nation to collect taxes for them is?

    As to the public TV station, you clearly have no idea of how sorry the state of TV is in the country. The public station was literally the only source of educational and cultural programming, period. And the total of the cleaning ladies salaries amounted to an insignificant budgetary amount that was balanced elsewhere.

    The final round of negotiations, lest you forget, had been in stalemate - till Mr. Tsipras made concessions. And was then told he had to make more. The vast majority of movement was made on the Greek side. The unwavering intransigence of the Eurozone side is what provoked Tsipras to walk away. You imply that in order to close this miniscule gap it was the obligation of the Greek side to cave: why? Tsipras had already made concessions that he clearly, strongly feels will lead to a continued failure of the Greek economy, and another bailout regime.

    Tsipras' coalition and popular support remains. Your sense that he thought he would not get his government to vote the agreement is misguided. Syriza has consistently surprised observers by holding ranks, and appears to continue to be doing so.

    I appreciate you follow the events of this drama - noting details - but I disagree on the color and depth of the details you provide. In consideration of the fact that I feel we will continue to disagree I only ask you this: aren't you tired of "Greek bailouts"? I am. Tsipras is. And so is Syriza. Perhaps you should dwell on that for a minute.
    Jun 28, 2015. 09:28 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Greece's Tsipras sets July 5 referendum on bailout [View news story]
    The notion that Syriza knew it could not end austerity is far-fetched. It lacks a deep understanding of who these people are in the grand scheme of Greek politics. What is more accurate to say is that its counterparts repeatedly made a significant error in underestimating them, assuming that they would backpedal and keel over like every government preceding them. And initially, mere days into taking over governing from an uncooperative predecessor, they were forced to.

    Varoufakis himself has been an astute observer of the Greek Crisis and spoke at length about it prior to entering politics. He has a keen understanding of where the failures of the bailout programs lie and has spoken at length about why they are unsustainable and wrong for the economy. The proposals made by Syriza itself are highly centrist and reasonable. This is no 'moral crusade': most economists and history itself has proven that austerity does not lead to growth. The troika proposals are not designed to return Greece to a sustainable growth-oriented future.

    The programs proposed by the Troika, will, indisputably, absolutely, definitely, lead back to yet another negotiation and bailout. Syriza is looking to end this cycle, here, and now. Yet even the last proposals made on the creditor side maintain the fiction of extend and pretend.

    My perspective on this is pretty simple: Tsipras offered the Eurogroup one last chance to make a deal. They offered nothing of substance. He took a principled and rational stand, for the Greek people and because the path Greece is on today will lead, one way or another, to a sustainable future. Either inside the EMU or not. Good for him. Better for Greece.

    Tsipras has a few fallback plans in play too, which have yet to be called on, but he is doing a fine job of defending the actual interests of his electorate.
    Jun 28, 2015. 07:39 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Greek parliament approves bailout referendum [View news story]

    Have you reviewed the -actual- Syriza proposals vis a vis the creditors version? Did you know that when Syriza took office there were only 100 tax collectors who did most of their work by hand and that Syriza, under the terms of the agreements, and due to lack of funds have been barred from enacting legislation to hire?

    I don't know why you feel you have to say you 'sympathize' with the Greek people when addressing me, nothing in any of my comments anywhere suggest that I am discussing 'dignity' or pride, my comments reflect on economic realities: its a verifiable fact that the Troika policies have failed.

    Also, you seem to have missed that Syriza has in fact put pension reform on the table.

    Further, I don't get where you come up with 'despise the Troika for their dictatorial behavior": I highly respect the Troika, especially the IMF for admitting their programs were failures, and the 2012 restructure was handled poorly and that the IMF should have taken the helm on it.
    Jun 28, 2015. 07:16 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Greek parliament approves bailout referendum [View news story]
    Tobias, Syriza's ideas of growth are suited to the economic realities of Greece, you should take a minute to review their proposals since you seem to be reiterating the propoganda. The troika programs were not only wrong, but they combined bad policy with austerity for a 1-2 knockout on the economy.

    There is only one way forward for the Greek economy: growth. More austerity is worse than default.
    Jun 28, 2015. 03:39 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Greece's Tsipras sets July 5 referendum on bailout [View news story]
    "The loans to Greece by the IMF must be paid back even in the case of default."

    I expect Greece to eventually make the IMF whole, but Greece really has 2 years before the IMF issue needs to be addressed. It could choose to do so earlier of course.

    "in 2012 the Greek debt was cut in half by IMF forgiveness on their loans"
    Please provide a link indicating that the IMF took a 50% haircut on its Greek debt in 2012 since my understanding is that in 2012 the IMF and official creditors took no losses, it was private sector creditors who took haircuts on debt subsequently and for that matter previously purchased by official sector participants for large discounts. The official sector has taken zero haircuts, period.

    "Remember that Greece has no commerce except for travel."
    This is wrong. Greece has the largest merchant marine fleet in the world (the Greek-owned merchant fleet remains one of the world’s biggest, ranking first in tankers, second in dry bulk carriers, second in LNG tankers and container ships.), one of the best deep water naturally formed docking harbors in the world, and some of the most important ports for trade goods entering the EU.

    "80% of the loans are from the IMF"
    This is so wrong as to be embarrassing.
    Jun 28, 2015. 12:00 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Greek parliament approves bailout referendum [View news story]
    Merkel has no voice in ECB funding. That's done by a voting majority of Eurogroup representatives. That said, it's already happened.

    But do try to keep up:
    Jun 28, 2015. 11:02 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Greek parliament approves bailout referendum [View news story]
    techy46, you may not know this but deals are forward-looking. That means that if the Eurogroup wants to avoid a systemic event, it needs to find a way forward. Your comment is backward looking and has no bearing on the current negotiations. Syriza has put pension reform and early retirement on the table, but your comment illustrates that you didn't know that.
    Jun 28, 2015. 10:59 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Greece's Tsipras sets July 5 referendum on bailout [View news story]
    I have skin in the game JasonC. I speak to Greeks every day. Do you?
    Jun 28, 2015. 10:52 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Greece's Tsipras sets July 5 referendum on bailout [View news story]
    Who are you mad at JasonC? The Greeks for making withdrawals of their real money they deposited into banks that provided a guarantee of access to it? The Greek banking system for performing on its obligations of of providing access to deposits? The ECB for performing on its obligations of providing liquidity to peripheral country banking systems?

    Your comment is suggesting that any one of the actors could potentially perform in a manner other than what they are doing which is, obviously, completely wrong.
    Jun 28, 2015. 10:51 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment