Monday, June 29, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Greek Crisis Now a Concern

It had not been if you read the scroll right, and no, I don't think there will be an accident. The government will just collapse and be removed.

"Breakdown of bailout talks has Greece on brink of default" by Griff Witte Washington Post  June 27, 2015

LONDON — Greece’s long-running standoff with its European creditors appeared headed Saturday for an abrupt and potentially cataclysmic ending as the continent’s finance ministers rejected an emergency Greek request to help the cash-starved country meet a Tuesday deadline for repaying its debts. 

Putting aside the self-inernalized banker's hyperbole of the reporter, JP Morgan just warned it was coming to a head. Had been minimized up until now.

Greece’s Parliament voted early Sunday in favor of a motion by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to hold a July 5 referendum on creditor proposals for reforms in exchange for loans, with the country’s future in the eurozone looking increasingly shaky, the Associated Press reported. 

Isn't that referendum going to be a little late, not to mention sure to be fixed like almost all western elections these days?

Reflecting the newly dire outlook, people formed lines at ATMs across Greece, seizing perhaps their last chance to withdraw their savings. Some went away empty-handed after the machines ran dry.

It's not new to those who read other things, and it's a $ign of what is coming to AmeriKa (unless the Fed keeps that printing press rolling; money won't be worth the paper its printed on and it will be something like Zimbabwe or early 1930s Germany, but who cares? Bankers need be $ated, so $addle up). 

With speculation mounting the banks may lack the funds to reopen Monday morning, European officials huddled to plot out how to contain the damage of a Greek financial meltdown. The finance minister of Greece was pointedly excluded.


That last one a BIG MIDDLE FINGER from the MI$ERABLE MI$ERS, 'eh?

The collapse of negotiations Saturday was the most ominous turn in a process that has been poisoned from the start by bitter mistrust between Greece’s radical leftist government and the austerity-minded figures who set policy in Europe.

How about that bias, huh? The "radical leftists" government against some benign "austerity-minded figures" -- that suffer no austerity themselves, the $cum.

who Wrote this And what paPer is it frOm?

Although both sides have repeatedly expressed a determination to keep Greece inside the common currency — and to avoid at all costs an uncontrollable and potentially disastrous default — that shared aspiration has not been enough to bridge the substantial divide.

Then why you been minimi.... never effin' mind!

As has become customary, both sides on Saturday blamed the other for the breakdown.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis called Saturday ‘‘a sad day for Europe,’’ and said the decision to reject his request to extend Greece’s bailout ‘‘will certainly damage the credibility of the euro group as a democratic union.’’

Can't damage something when it's no longer there.

European officials countered that Tsipras had blindsided them by calling the referendum on a proposal that was still being negotiated, a move that effectively torpedoed any chance for a deal.

The tribe has spoken (cue music).

‘‘The negotiations are clearly ended, if I understand Mr. Tsipras correctly,’’ said Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, as the continent’s top finance officials held their fifth emergency meeting in two weeks. ‘‘We have no grounds for further discussions.’’

Varoufakis later challenged European leaders to come back with a new proposal, and signaled an openness to further talks. But the acrimony on Saturday suggested that a return to the negotiating table is highly unlikely before two critical tests in the week ahead.

The first will come Monday, when Greek banks that have grown ever-more reliant on emergency loans from the European Central Bank face the prospect of reopening for business without new lifelines.

They won't have to (see subsequent article).

The second will be Tuesday, when a $1.7 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund comes due.

You gotta pay us money so we will loan you more money you can't repay -- and they called it a re$cue!

The IMF has repeatedly said it will not offer an extension. Greek officials, meanwhile, say they don’t have the money to make the payment unless its creditors unlock $8 billion in bailout funds frozen amid the stalled talks.

Tsipras has set the referendum, although it is now unclear exactly what Greek voters will be deciding. Tsipras said he wanted to give the Greek people the chance to vote on the latest proposal, which he painted as ‘‘an ultimatum” by creditors.

That's a good way of providing grounds for a rigged vote by saying voters were confused.

Personally, I don't think there is going to be a referendum. Tsipras and Syriza will be out of power by the end of this week.

But with Greece sliding toward default and a possible break with the euro zone, there is no guarantee that the offer will stand when the vote is held.

The European Central Bank, the European Commission, and the IMF have together provided Greece with $264 billion in bailouts over the past five years to deal with sky-high debts.

Yeah, those private central bankers that put you in this fix are great guys!

After years of withering austerity policies imposed by European paymasters as a condition of those deals, Greece in January rejected the medicine and elected Syriza, a radical leftist party that promised to tear up the agreements and start anew.

Pretty much broken most of them since and scooped up all the spare cash, pension funds, savings, to make last payment. Greek people got hot about it, but I didn't see much about it in pre$$.

Greece has repeatedly demanded that Europe reduce the nation’s debt load and ease up on austerity. But European officials have been unwilling to hand Syriza a victory, and have insisted the country keep to strict belt-tightening targets.

Because then they would have to do it for everyone and they would either take a loss or lose untold riches. The jig'll be up and the living the phat life at others expense will be over. And then we eat them.

The past week began with rare optimism, as Greece submitted proposals that European officials initially welcomed as a significant step forward. But by Wednesday, the creditors had submitted counterproposals for slashing pensions and cutting spending that Greek officials rejected as going too far.

Yeah, I noted the constant mixed me$$ages I'm getting from my pre$$, and how tired I am of it.


Not a word about the deal for Russian help, not one word. 

Time to get your money out of Greek banks:

"Greece to close banks amid wave of withdrawals" by Jim Yardley New York Times   June 28, 2015

ATHENS, Greece — Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced Sunday night that Greece’s banks would be closed as of Monday, as the fallout from ruptured debt negotiations with the nation’s creditors began inflicting pain on ordinary people while raising alarm in Washington, Brussels and Berlin.

Uh-oh. That's only done during depressions and those cities are the power centers of all the corrupt, too-big-to-jail banks.

Related: And So It Begins – Greek Banks Get Shut Down For A Week And A ‘Grexit’ Is Now Probable 

It's where I get most of my real economic news.

The emergency measures escalated the confused and unpredictable state of a crisis that some analysts say could ripple through global financial markets and undercut European unity.

So we can blame the Greeks for the $hit economy and not the true criminals, the private central bankers! 

The game's up, guys! The ma$k is off!

With so much at stake, leaders in other capitals encouraged a continued search for a way to prevent Greece from being forced out of Europe’s currency union. 

I was told yesterday that there wasn't much more to discuss. Sigh!

Greece owes a large debt payment by the end of the day Tuesday, and has scheduled a referendum for next Sunday on whether to accept terms of an offer from its creditors to release bailout aid it needs to meet its financial obligations.

Tsipras announced the emergency banking shutdown, which will also close the stock exchange, and imposed capital controls several hours after the European Central Bank said it would not expand an emergency loan program that had been propping up Greek banks for weeks. The banking system had neared insolvency after panicked account holders withdrew billions of euros, a pattern that continued over the weekend. 

It's called a run on banks, and my banker's books, 'er, history books say that's bad.

“It is clearer than ever that this decision has no other goal than blackmailing the Greek people and obstructing the smooth democratic procedure of the referendum,” Tsipras said in a brief televised address.

That is a STRONG STATEMENT, and youuuuuu better watch your back.

Tsipras attributed the action to the unwillingness of the country’s creditors to extend the bailout program, set to end Tuesday, until next Sunday, so that Greece could hold its national referendum. The referendum was a surprise move by Tsipras, announced early Saturday, as he declared that voters should decide whether to accept the terms of the creditors’ latest aid proposal — terms he considers onerous. 

I call it odious, but $ame difference.

Greece’s creditors — the other 18 eurozone countries, the ECB and the International Monetary Fund — in effect cut off negotiations with Tsipras after he called for the referendum, raising concerns that Greece would default on its debt and potentially seek to solve its financial problems by abandoning the euro.

Maybe they want them to default. Bankers always seem the benefit from crashes. They come out $melling like ro$es on the other side, having bought cheap and then selling dear.

But on Sunday, international leaders appeared to be seeking a way to calm the situation and explore the potential for common ground with the Greek government.

I think $omeone just blinked!

President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany spoke by phone Sunday and “agreed that it was critically important to make every effort to return to a path that will allow Greece to resume reforms and growth within the eurozone,” according to the White House. Merkel was expected to make a public statement Monday in Berlin.

Getting personally involved and hitting the phones, huh? Must be important.

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, who has at times been sharply critical of Greece’s negotiating stance, released a softer statement, declaring her “commitment to continue to engage with the Greek authorities.”


Greece must make a 1.6 billion euro debt payment to the IMF on Tuesday or risk falling into default.

Before this weekend, the four-month negotiations focused on the Greek side trying to agree to fiscal reforms, tax increases and pension cuts in exchange for creditors releasing a 7.2 billion euro bailout allotment that Greece needs to meet its short-term debt obligations, equivalent to about $8.1 billion.

That looks like blackmail and extortion.

Tsipras had consistently called for a broader, comprehensive deal that would liberate Greece from the economics of austerity. Attention will now likely shift to Brussels and Berlin. 

By now you know what that means?

In Brussels, the European Commission made its own unexpected moves Sunday. Jean-Claude Juncker, the commission president, released a statement suggesting that creditors had been willing to discuss Greece’s debt load, a key demand of the Tsipras government. But more surprisingly, the commission published details of the offer made to Greece, a move intended to show the lengths to which creditors had gone to satisfy Greek demands, one European Union official said.

“This is a last bridge we are building for them,” the official said about the decision to publish the terms of proposal. The goal was to pressure Tsipras to “change course” and encourage voters to choose “yes”’ in the coming referendum, the official said, while acknowledging the chances for such a switch were slim

Like I said, paving the ground for a rigged vote while in a most insulting fashion. These are the same crooks who screwed Greece (with collaboration from its former governments).

Perhaps the key figure in finding a compromise, assuming there is still time to do so, is Merkel, the most powerful political figure in Europe. She remained silent Sunday, with officials saying that Wolfgang Schauble, the German finance minister, spoke for the government in Brussels on Saturday. Following the collapse of talks, the finance minister declared that Germany and the other members of the euro would like to continue to hold talks but blamed the Greeks for declaring the discussions a failure. 

Kind of the female version of a guy who back in the 1930.... 

But Schauble also indicated readiness to “do everything to prevent every possible threat of contagion” of the situation, should Greece fail to reach a deal with its creditors, reflecting growing frustration in Berlin with the government in Athens. 

As if the looting $chemes of bankers were some sort of natural illne$$ -- and actually, it is!

Norbert Rottgen, a senior member of Chancellor Merkel’s party who is responsible for foreign affairs, stressed the wider geopolitical implications of what he called a “vagabond Greek government,” which could say no to the next round of European sanctions against Russia. He warned that after five years of bailouts, “it cannot just collapse over a week.”

That is what they are worried about (like that other fella with the mustac.... never mind)?

Of course, the 21st-century leaders of Western Europe are true fa$ci$ts, not the mislabeled and distorted nationalist regimes that are to be found in my banker's books, 'er, history books.

The immediate question in Greece revolved around the specifics of the emergency actions announced by Tsipras. He did not mention the stock market in his public address, but a senior official confirmed that it would also close.

The prime minister indicated that restrictions would be placed on ATM withdrawals and money transfers, but he provided no details. A legislative decree said banks would be closed through July 6 and that the cap on daily cash machine withdrawals would be 60 euros. That would not apply to tourists using cards issued in their home countries. 

MORE THAN A WEEK, huh? The Greeks are gonna be in the street!

Such a small cash withdrawal limit would highlight the dire condition of the Greek banking system. Cyprus avoided a banking collapse in 2013 by taking similar steps, though the daily withdrawal limit was 300 euros. The Cypriot government also acted in concert with other European governments as part of a new bailout program, while the Greek actions were the result of a breakdown in bailout talks.

They are doing well now (after the $have and haircut!) 

The ECB, if refusing to expand emergency funds to Greek banks, did not cut off support entirely, which will provide the government some flexibility in the coming days.

They CAN be flexible?

The ECB’s decision to cap the emergency loan program, as opposed to canceling it, “allows the Greek banks to remain in a sort of coma — not functioning but not dead,” said Karl Whelan, an economics professor at University College in Dublin. That way, he said, the Greek financial system might be revived if Greece secures a deal with its creditors.

Oh, yeah, that's a great progno$i$ for a patient.

And several analysts still predicted that despite the confrontation and fireworks, the two sides might well return to the table. Even as Tsipras and other members of his government are imploring people to vote “no” in the referendum and reject the creditors’ proposal, some experts predict that Greek voters, equating such a vote with leaving the euro system, will vote “yes.”

I'm one.

Raoul Ruparel, an economist and co-director of Open Europe, a London-based research group, said the breakdown in negotiations was “merely a prelude” to yet more talks in a week or so, after Greece holds its referendum.

Printed copy ended there.

“I think we are just getting started on this merry-go-round,” said Ruparel, predicting that Greek voters would probably vote to endorse proposals put forward by creditors. “We would then be back where we started, only in a worse situation.”


He predicted that Tsipras’ government and the creditors would need to negotiate an entirely new, and probably short-term, bailout in an atmosphere poisoned by even deeper distrust than before.

He said, “The whole thing is an absolute nightmare.”


Gee, my banker's pre$$ $ure is $inging a different tune this week after the stock market highs of the last few months.

"Dangers loom if Greece exits euro, adopts new currency" by Peter Eavis New York Times  June 29, 2015 

Like what, NYT?

NEW YORK — Greece could soon find itself in the middle of a daunting economic experiment.

Since Greece became part of the euro over a decade ago, the common European currency has been entrenched in the lives of the country’s 11 million people. But as Greece’s debt crisis escalates, the chances increase that the euro may be replaced by a new, national currency.

You are not just saying that too make me feel good?

Precedents for such a transformation may not exist. Economists say they cannot think of a time when a developed country with an open economy dropped out of a shared currency and set up its own new money. 

I think I can. The American Revolution

I know, I know, bad example.

“There is no modern parallel,” said Michael P. Dooley, professor of economics at the University of California Santa Cruz. “That’s one of the reasons why there is so much hesitation to do it.”

Well, there is a first time for everything.

Much has to happen before Greece reaches the point of an exit from the euro, or “Grexit.” And there is no provision in European treaties for a nation to leave the monetary union.

Still, the probability that Greece will depart soared over the weekend.

Polls show that Greeks favor staying in the euro, and Greece’s leaders have said they do not want to leave the common currency.

Do they? Who $ays?

Indeed, fears of the consequences could be a factor that persuades Greece’s leftist government to soften its stance and, at the last minute, forge a deal with its creditors. But if there is no deal soon, a series of events could increase the likelihood of Greece tumbling out of the euro.

“If this is divorce, and not a separation, then Greece must have a new currency,” said Arturo C. Porzecanski, a professor of international economics at American University.

In recent decades, many countries have adopted a new currency, including nations in Latin America. Countries like Greece sacrificed some of their sovereignty to become part of the euro. But in most cases, these countries were leaving behind a weak currency for one that turned out to be stronger. If Greece set up a new drachma, the name of its pre-euro currency, it is most unlikely it would be stronger than the euro.

Related"A return to the drachma could make Greek products more globally competitive in the long term"

$ay what?

A new drachma might also have a hurried and chaotic birth.

What one isn't?

When, in the postwar period, countries changed their currency, it usually took many months of careful planning. Of course, Greece may have been secretly preparing for a new drachma. But even if it has, its government has not had long to lay the groundwork.

I $ure hope $o!

“The first and most important thing to remember is that you don’t introduce a currency quickly,” said Stephen Kinsella, an economics lecturer at the University of Limerick in Ireland. “You just don’t.” Huge logistical and technical challenges could occur.

Global payments systems have to be reprogrammed.

F*** 'em!

And the task of actually acquiring a new physical currency can take months, though Kinsella said economies have shown they can operate for a while with a shortage of physical cash. That was the case in Ireland, he said, when bank tellers there went on lengthy strikes in the 1960s and 1970s.

One of the potential benefits for Greece of having its own currency is that it can keep printing it until monetary policy is loose enough to stimulate economic growth. A weaker drachma that falls in value against the euro and the dollar could also bolster Greece’s exports. And the government could pay its own bills — huge outlays like government worker wages and pensions — in the new currency.

Sounds GOOD to me!

The danger is that the government prints so much of the new currency that it falls too far, creates inflation, and soon lacks credibility with the Greek people.

What a hypocritical, pos paper. That is what the Federal Reserve has done here, enriching the 1% as prices continue to rise (something Americans do notice. Their purchasing power decreases every time those printing presses roll over).

“The moment people got it, they would want to spend it,” said Guillermo Calvo, an economics professor at Columbia. “Who knows where the exchange rate will go; it could overshoot like crazy.”

An exit from the euro could shake Greece in other significant ways. Banks might become overwhelmed with losses. This could force the government to take them over, said Raoul Ruparel, co-director of Open Europe, a think tank.

It "worked" here, I'm told by the banker's pre$$.

A barrage of litigation could also hit Greece if it were to leave the euro.

That will be tied up in court for years.

Greek companies that borrowed in euros might find it hard to pay them back if they are mainly earning a new drachma. The companies’ creditors and suppliers might refuse to be paid in the new currency.

Then $crew them.

Making matters worse, fear of the new drachma could prompt foreign companies to step back from entering into new contracts with Greek companies. 

It might slow down globalism? Good!


Of greater concern?

"China’s central bank cuts rates after sharp drop in stock markets" by Keith Bradsher New York Times   June 27, 2015

HONG KONG — Acting a day after the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets plunged more than 7 percent, China’s central bank cut interest rates on Saturday and reduced the reserves that certain banks must hold.

The two measures send a signal that the government may not be eager to see an abrupt end to a stock market rally that has seen prices more than double in the last 12 months. The rally has been underpinned by speculative trading heavily financed with borrowed money.

That has a REAL FAMILIAR ring to it!

Young, often poorly educated investors have been betting on further appreciation even as business managers, with more information on the true health of their companies, have reportedly been selling heavily.

It's the Chinese ENRON! They have been sucked into the corruption!

“We think today’s move is mainly driven by the government desire to support a bull market,” Lan Shen and Shuang Ding, two economists at Standard Chartered, said in a statement on Saturday evening.

Keeping the stock market buoyant, through measures like the interest rate cut, could help the Chinese government sell part of its stakes in government-owned enterprises that have incurred huge debts.

China needs a bailout? Uh-oh.

Previous sharp drops in the stock markets this year have been quickly countered by optimistic statements in state-controlled media. 

Hey, we get that all the time over here, so much so that it is in one ear out the other.

But Saturday’s moves, which included the fourth reduction in interest rates since November, were unusual in so closely following a stock market nose dive.

Yet both monetary policy moves on Saturday were carefully calibrated to limit their effect. China’s economy has already begun to stabilize in recent weeks, and the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, has been concerned that it not feed another round of speculative lending and borrowing.

(Blog editor just shakes head)

The People’s Bank cut interest rates by only a quarter of a percent, to 4.85 percent for one-year bank loans, and to 2 percent for one-year bank deposits. The central bank also told banks that specialize in agricultural loans and loans to smaller businesses that they could hold slightly smaller reserves against their deposits, freeing them to lend more.

But the central bank pointedly did not reduce the reserve requirement ratio for large banks, which represent more than half of the country’s financial system.

The lower ratio and the reduced interest rates were to take effect Sunday.

Economic measures like monthly surveys of corporate purchasing managers show that the Chinese economy remains fairly weak but is no longer deteriorating. A slide in housing prices that began in the spring of last year appears to have leveled off, and even reversed in some cities.

“The recent data that we had was definitely not good,” Louis Kuijs, the chief economist for Greater China at the Royal Bank of Scotland, said in a recent interview. “But it wasn’t a disaster.”

When they play it down be worried!