Mar 18

- Meet The Brand New, And Shocking, Third Largest Foreign Holder Of US Treasurys (Zerohedge, March 18, 2014):

Something hilarious, and at the same time pathetic, happened earlier today: at precisely 9 am the US Treasury released its delayed Treasury International Capital data (which was supposed to be released yesterday but was delayed because it snowed) which disclosed all the latest foreign Treasury holdings for the month of January. Among the key numbers tracked and disclosed, was that China’s official holdings increased from $1.270 trillion to $1.284 trillion, that Japan holdings declined by a tiny $0.2 billion, that UK holdings increased by $7.8 billion to $171 billion, and that holdings of Caribbean Banking Centers, aka hedge funds, declined by $16.7 billion. Here is Reuters with the full data summary (save it before this article is pulled).

So why is it hilarious and pathetic? Because just three short hours later, the Treasury - that organization that has billions of dollars at its budgetary disposal to collate, analyze and disseminate accurate and error-free dataadmitted that all the previously reported data was in effect made up!

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Feb 18

- China Sold Second-Largest Amount Ever Of US Treasurys In December: And Guess Who Comes To The Rescue (ZeroHedge, Feb 18, 2014):

While we will have more to say about the disastrous December TIC data shortly, which was released early today, and which showed a dramatic plunge in foreign purchases of US securities in December – the month when the S&P soared to all time highs and when everyone was panicking about the 3% barrier in the 10 Year being breached and resulting in a selloff in Tsy paper – one thing stands out. The chart below shows holdings of Chinese Treasurys (pending revision of course, as the Treasury department is quite fond of ajdusting this data series with annual regularity): in a nutshell, Chinese Treasury holdings plunged by the most in two years, after China offloaded some $48 billion in paper, bringing its total to only $1268.9 billion, down from $1316.7 billion, and back to a level last seen in March 2013! 

China TSY Holdings DEC

This was the second largest dump by China in history with the sole exception of December 2011.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Jan 16

- Who Are The Top Holders Of US Treasurys (ZeroHedge, Jan 16, 2014):

Yesterday, when the Treasury released its TIC data early by mistake, the update that China’s holdings rose to a record $1.317 trillion caused a stir. This was confusing, since while China, which as we reported yesterday, now has a record $3.8 trillion in reserves having grown by $500 billion in 2013, has barely invested in US paper, and in fact going back to 2010, its holdings were a solid $1.2 trillion. In other words, its Treasury holdings have increased by a modest $100 billion in three years. Hardly anything to write home about. And certainly nothing to write home about when one considers the soaring Treasury held by the largest holder of US paper… everyone knows who that is. For those few who don’t, and for everyone else too, here is the most recent breakdown of the top holders of US paper. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nov 16

- The Internet Is Now Weaponized, And You Are The Target (ZeroHedge, Nov 15, 2013):

By now, thanks to Edward Snowden, it is common knowledge and not just conspiracy theory, that every bit of information sent out into the wired or wireless ether is scanned, probed, intercepted and ultimately recorded by the NSA and subsequently all such information is and can be used against any US citizen without a court of law (because the president’s pet secret NISA “court” is anything but). Sadly, in a country in which courtesy of peak social networking, exhibitionism has become an art form, the vast majority of Americans not only could not care less about Snowden’s sacrificial revelations, but in fact are delighted the at least someone, somewhere cares about that photo of last night’s dinner. However, it turns out that far from being a passive listener and recorder, the NSA is quite an active participant in using the internet. The weaponized internet.

Because as Wired reports, “The internet backbone — the infrastructure of networks upon which internet traffic travels — went from being a passive infrastructure for communication to an active weapon for attacks.” And the primary benefactor: the NSA – General Keith Alexander massive secret army – which has now been unleashed against enemies foreign, but mostly domestic.

Enter the QUANTUM program…. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jun 14

- Euthanasia for children nears approval by Belgian Parliament; doctors to mass-euthanize children and Alzheimer’s patients (Natural News, June 12, 2013):

A proposed law on the verge of approval by the Belgium parliament would allow children to decide for themselves whether they should be euthanized (“killed”) by medical personnel. Currently, Belgian law limits euthanasia to persons 18 and older, but with the rise of autistic children thanks to biopesticides, GMOs and vaccines, nations are increasingly trying to figure out what to do with all these children who have been permanently damaged by the medical and biotech industries.

The answer, of course, is to simply kill them. It’s difficult to kill children off under current law without being charged with murder, however. So this proposed new law would allow doctors to decide whether children of any age (yes, even a five-year-old) can, themselves, “consent” to being euthanized without parental consent.

The mercy killing of autistic children has already begun in the UK, by the way. As the Daily Mail reports: “Desperate mother and godmother ‘killed severely autistic boy, 14, by stabbing him multiple times in the chest’ when they became overwhelmed caring for him 24/7 after demanding he be removed from the hospital and in put in their care.”

Not surprisingly, this “mercy killing” bill was introduced by the socialist party, since socialists tend to hate humanity no matter what country they live in. The proposed legislation calls for, “the law to be extended to minors if they are capable of discernment or affected by an incurable illness or suffering that we cannot alleviate,” reports AFP.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jun 02

Full article here:

- It’s A “0.6%” World: Who Owns What Of The $223 Trillion In Global Wealth (ZeroHedge, June 2, 2013):

Back in 2010 we started an annual series looking at the (re)distribution in the wealth of nations and social classes. What we found then (and what the media keeps rediscovering year after year to its great surprise) is that as a result of global central bank policy, the rich got richer, and the poor kept on getting poorer, even though as we predicted the global political powers would, at least superficially, seek to enforce policies that aimed to reverse this wealth redistribution from the poor to the rich (a doomed policy as the world’s legislative powers are largely in the lobby pocket of the world’s wealthiest who needless to say are less then willing to enact laws that reduce their wealth and leverage). Now that the topic of wealth distribution (or rather concentration) is once again in vogue, below we present the latest such update looking at a global portrait of household wealth. The bottom line: 29 million, or 0.6% of those with any actual assets under their name, own $87.4 trillion, or 39.3% of all global assets.

Here are the key highlights via Credit Suisse:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

May 19

- Belgian Police Investigate Millions of Counterfeit Euro Coins (Veterans Today, May 19, 2013):

WORLD NEWS TOMORROW – BRUXELLES -During the last month the Belgian Federal police has confiscated several tons of counterfeit Euro Coins that were shipped from China via the Belgian territory into the European Union. There seems to been a huge increase since 2012 in the production and sales of counterfeited Euro Coins.The counterfeit euro coins are smuggled into Belgium with description of old metal transports and it seems that there might have been several hundred tons of counterfeit euro coins already in the markets according to a radio interview confirmed by Ine Van Wymersch and that the Belgian federal police is investigating the matter at present.

Its is unclear as to how many tons of counterfeit Euro coins might have been smuggled into the Belgian territory. Seeing that Belgium is a very small country with a population of only 6 million , only a few tons of counterfeit Euro coins could hugely effect the true monetary value of Belgium.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Feb 20

- Robbers breach gate, steal $50 million in diamonds at Belgian airport (CNN, Feb 19, 2013):

Night had fallen. Some 20 airplane passengers had taken their seats for the short hop from Brussels, Belgium, to Zurich, Switzerland.Unknown to them, a precious cargo was being loaded into the airplane hold along with their suitcases: $50 million in rough and polished diamonds.

But the diamonds would never reach their final destination.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , ,

Dec 17

- Depardieu ‘Shrugged’ (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2012):

Via Emmanuel Martin, Executive Director of
the Institute for Economic Studies-Europe (www.ies-europe.org) and editor of www.LibreAfrique.org.,

Last week the big story in French headlines has been the tax exile of Gerard Depardieu in Nechin, Belgium, half a mile from the French border. French PM Jean-Marc Ayrault called the French movie star’s behavior “minable” (pathetic). A socialist MP, Yann Galut, even suggested that M. Depardieu loses his French nationality. In an open letter in the Journal Du Dimanche on December 16, Depardieu, who famously starred as Obélix, the big Gallic fellow of Astérix, carrying menhirs on his back – and sometimes throwing them at the Romans, replies. With a taste of Ayn Rand’s famous character John Galt. Gerard shrugged.

Depardieu begins by saying that what is pathetic is to call his behavior pathetic. Although he does not want to justify the many reasons of his choice, he makes it clear that he leaves after paying 85% of taxes on his income this year and € 145 million through his entire life; He leaves because the French PM thinks that “success, creation and talent, in fact difference, must be punished”. He then reminds Jean-Marc Ayrault that he set up companies that employ 80 people. Depardieu says he is ready to give up his French passport and his “Social Security” (the French public health care system, which he claims he never used).

This letter is important.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dec 11

- Gerard Depardieu Is Latest Refugee From French Millionaire Tax; Escapes To Belgium (ZeroHedge, Dec 10, 2012):

Three months ago many were angry and surprised (or not at all, as realistically this was a perfectly logical move), when Bernard Arnault, head of LVMH and the richest man in socialist France, decided he had had enough, and would move to Belgium to avoid Hollande’s punitive taxes on France’s wealthiest. The indignant media’s mocking response in France was fast and furious, with many delighted to see the billionaire leave. We wonder how the media will respond as more and more wealthy Frenchmen decide, now that the seal has been broken, to do just that and leave France to its grassroots movement where it is only “fair” that those who have more income and/or wealth, pay more than everyone else to keep the myth of the ponzi scheme formerly known as the welfare state alive and well. Such as one of France’s most popular actors, Gerard Depardieu, who is the latest high profile departure to leave his native country and go to Belgium to avoid the second coming of the “fairness doctrine” (the first one of course, doing less than spectacularly with that whole USSR thing).

From The Independent:

Gerard Depardieu is to leave his French homeland for Belgium in order to pay less tax.

The actor is the latest high profile figure to leave France after a series of wealth tax hikes by President Francois Hollande.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Aug 20

- Tales Of The Unexpected: Who Really Benefited From The Euro (Hint: NOT Germany) (ZeroHedge, Aug 18, 2012):

With austerity supposedly destroying standards of living (that no real austerity has actually been implemented is a different matter entirely) across Europe’s insolvent periphery, the only recourse said broke countries (here’s looking at you Mario Monti and Mariano Rajoy) have is to desperately attempt to shame those countries who have money such as Germany, Austria, Finland and the Netherlands, aka Europe’s AAA club, into shoveling more and more and more cash into the bottomless pit that are the PIIGS. After all, precisely this was the basis for the “hostage and extortion” strategy that Monti employed at the June 29 summit, and which has resulted in a surge in European stocks on hopes Germany will indeed bail everyone out. The reason for this is that, at least according to conventional wisdom, it was these countries that benefited the most from a decade of EUR-facilitated mercantilism, and exported inflation to their spendthrfit (and ‘debt-thrift’) southern neighbors. So it is only “fair” that these countries now give back a little (or a whole lot) back (just as it is only “fair” that Germany give a helping hand in Obama’s reelection chances, which as everyone knows would be negligible if the global capital markets were to tumble just before November if reality in Europe were to come back with a vengeance). Well, as virtually always happens, conventional wisdom is wrong, and as the following chart from UBS demonstrates, when one analyzes the only relevant metric that compares changes in standards of living across various income deciles- namely changes in real disposable household income – it is precisely the PIIGS that benefited, while countries such as Germany and Austria were left in the dust.

From UBS:

If we look across the larger and longer established Euro membership we can see these two patterns being replicated according to country type. Each country shows the cumulative real disposable household income growth for each of its income deciles. The lowest income decile is to the left of each country’s selection, and the highest to the right.

Austria looks to be alarmingly weak – what this actually represents is very little change in nominal disposable income growth, coupled with inflation. Germany, Ireland, most of Italy and the French middle class all experience a decline in their standards of living. In most of these countries, the highest income groups do relatively well. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Aug 15

- Cracked Belgian nuclear reactor to remain closed, “Repairing the crack is practically impossible”, says Belgium’s nuclear safety agency chief (EX-SKF, Aug 13, 2012):

Doel Nuclear Power Station has 4 reactors, all pressurized-water reactors.

The company that made the vessels had gone out of business.

(I’m assuming the “steel tank containing a nuclear reactor” is the Reactor Pressure Vessel and not the Containment Vessel, but not quite sure from reading the article. If the readers in Europe know, please leave a comment in the comment section.)

(UPDATE: It is the Reactor Pressure Vessel. Thank you readers.)

From France 24 News citing AP (8/10/2012):

A crack discovered in a steel tank containing a nuclear reactor at a Belgian power plant will likely keep the station closed, the country’s nuclear safety agency said on Friday. Repairing the crack is “practically impossible,” the agency said. Continue reading »

Tags: , , ,

Aug 12

- Belgian National Bank Governor Gets It: Bailing Out Spain “Makes No Sense” (ZeroHedge, Aug 11, 2012):

A week ago we explained quite clearly why instead of encouraging self-defeating, short-termist behavior by promising to save Europe’s insolvent countries if and when needed, which does nothing to resolves Europe’s problems and make it worse in exchange for a brief respite from bond selling, the ECB should be doing precisely the opposite: encouraging local governments to understand that there is no magic bazooka from the central banks. Specifically we said that “this Catch 22 of confounding cause and event can continue seemingly indefinitely, although in reality it can’t. Because fundamentally what the bond market does is keep sovereigns “honest” - just as Schauble said a week ago, Spanish yields at 7% are not the end of the world – instead what they are is a signal to the country to get its spending in control in order to reduce its deficit, and fundamentally get its house in order – yes, that means getting government spending to a sustainable level and firing hundreds of thousands of workers, as well as probably raising taxes even more. It also means pain all around, but the pain is inevitable and will only be worse the longer reality is denied.” This logic is so clear that only a lifelong economist, PhD or Goldman apparatchik can not grasp it: sadly that accounts for most of the people “in charge.”

Which is why we were delighted to read that at least one person “gets it” – Belgian national bank governor Luc Coene, the same Belgium that is also the clogged heart of the Burtonian bureaucratic labyrinth known as the EU, who told Belgium’s two largest newspaper that “buying the bonds of these countries would only serve to weaken the ECB and do nothing to resolve underlying issues of competitiveness.  “It makes no sense for the ECB to start financing those countries,” said Mr Coene, “It would only lead to the ECB taking on the whole public debt of Spain and Italy onto its balance sheet.” Bingo. And not a moment too soon – we really were starting to pull a Mogatu here. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jul 30

- For Italy, It Is Game Theory Over (ZeroHedge; July 27, 2012)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Apr 26

- Germany Folding? Europe’s Insolvent Banks To Get Direct Funding From ESM (ZeroHedge, April 26, 2012):

We start today’s story of the day by pointing out that Deutsche Bank – easily Europe’s most critical financial institution – reported results that were far worse than expected, following a decline in equity and debt trading revenues of 23% and 8%, but primarily due to Europe simply “not being fixed yet” despite what its various politicians tell us. And if DB is still impaired, then something else will have to give. Next, we go to none other than Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid, who in his daily Morning Reid piece, reminds the world that with austerity still the primary driver in a double dipping Europe (luckily… at least for now, because no matter how many economists repeat the dogmatic mantra, more debt will never fix an excess debt problem, and in reality austerity is the wrong word – the right one is deleveraging) to wit: “an unconditional ECB is probably what Europe needs now given the austerity drive.” However, as German taxpayers who will never fall for unconditional money printing by the ECB (at least someone remembers the Weimar case), the ECB will likely have to keep coming up with creative solutions. Which bring us to the story du jour brought by Suddeutsche Zeitung, according to which the ECB and countries that use the euro are working on an initiative to allow cash-strapped banks direct access to funding from the European Stability Mechanism. As a reminder, both Germany and the ECB have been against this kind of direct uncollateralized, unsterilized injections, so this move is likely a precursor to even more pervasive easing by the European central bank, with the only question being how many headlines of denials by Schauble will hit the tape before this plan is approved. And if all eyes are again back on the ECB, does it mean that the recent distraction face by the IMF can now be forgotten, and more importantly, if the ECB is once again prepping to reliquify, just how bad are things again in Europe? And what happens if this time around the plan to fix a solvency problem with more electronic 1s and 0s does not work?

Here is Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid redirecting attention back to where it was all throughout the summer and fall of 2011, until the new Goldman-based head of the ECB relented days after his appointment: Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 22

- Strauss-Kahn questioned in prostitution case (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 22, 2012):

PARIS — Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was being held for questioning Tuesday by French police investigating a suspected hotel prostitution ring.

Strauss-Kahn, a one-time French presidential hopeful whose chances were derailed by a sexual assault accusation, arrived at the police station in the northern city of Lille for a pre-arranged morning appointment and was still there in the late afternoon.

Police are probing a suspected prostitution ring in France and neighboring Belgium that has implicated police and other officials. They have questioned prostitutes who said they had sex with Strauss-Kahn during 2010 and 2011 at a luxury hotel in Paris, a restaurant in the French capital and also in Washington, D.C.

French law permits police to question Strauss-Kahn for 48 hours, and then for another 48 hours with a judge’s approval.

Strauss-Kahn lived in the U.S. capital while he was head of the IMF before resigning his position in May after he was charged by New York police with making a hotel maid perform oral sex. The charges were later dropped.

Two men with ties to Strauss-Kahn have been put under preliminary investigation in France on charges including organizing a prostitution ring and misuse of corporate funds.

Strauss-Kahn’s name surfaced in the investigation last fall and his lawyer has asked that Strauss-Kahn be allowed to tell his side of the story. One of Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers has said that the former French presidential hopeful never knew that the women at orgies he attended were prostitutes.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Jan 14

From the article:

S&P may have just killed the European sovereign market by saying out loud what only “fringe bloggers” dared suggest in the past.


- The Real Dark Horse – S&P’s Mass Downgrade FAQ May Have Just Hobbled The European Sovereign Debt Market (ZeroHedge, Jan. 13, 2012):

All your questions about the historic European downgrade should be answered after reading the following FAQ. Or so S&P believes. Ironically, it does an admirable job, because the following presentation successfully manages to negate years of endless lies and propaganda by Europe’s incompetent and corrupt klepocrarts, and lays out the true terrifying perspective currently splayed out before the eurozone better than most analyses we have seen to date. Namely that the failed experiment is coming to an end. And since the Eurozone’s idiotic foundation was laid out by the same breed of central planning academic wizards who thought that Keynesianism was a great idea (and continue to determine the fate of the world out of their small corner office in the Marriner Eccles building), the imminent downfall of Europe will only precipitate the final unraveling of the shaman “economic” religion that has taken the world to the brink of utter financial collapse and, gradually, world war.

Here are the key take home messages from the FAQ (source): Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dec 21

Recommended:

- Worse Than 2008 (ZeroHedge, Dec. 21, 2011)

Prepare for collapse.

Got physical gold and silver?

Don’t miss:

- Max Keiser And Gerald Celente On MF Global Bankruptcy Implications – The JP Morgan Connection – Goldman Sachs – CME (‘Chicago Mafia Exchange’) – Gold, Silver – Syria, Iran – Entire Financial System Collapsing, One Big Global Ponzi Scheme – False Flag, WW III – Bank Holiday, Economic Martial Law – ‘YOUR MONEY ISN’T SAFE’ (Video)


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dec 01

Flashback:

- University of Texas Takes Delivery Of $1 Billion In Gold Bars After Cue From Hedge Fund Manager Kyle Bass, Storing It In New York Vault


- Of Imminent Defaults And Self Deception. Kyle Bass Prepares For The Worst (ZeroHedge, Nov. 30, 2011):

In his latest letter to LPs, Kyle Bass of Hayman Capital Management, offers his tell-tale clarity on what may lie ahead for Europe and Japan. With his over-arching thesis of debt saturation becoming more plain to see around every corner, Bass bundles the simple (and somewhat unarguable) facts of quantitative analysis with a qualitative perspective on the cruel self-deception that we all see and read every day about Europe.

Whether it is Kahneman’s “availability heuristic” (wherein participants assess the probability of an event based on whether relevant examples are cognitively “available”), the Pavlovian pro-cyclicality of thought, or the extraordinary delusions of groupthink, investors in today’s sovereign debt markets can’t seem to envision the consequences of a default.

His Japanese scenario is no less convicted, as we have discussed a number of times, with the accelerant of this debt-bomb being the very-same European debacle and his time-frame for this is set to begin in the next few months.

Hayman_Nov2011

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nov 14

- So Much For “Europe Is Fixed”: French, Spanish, And Belgian CDS Hit New Records (ZeroHedge, Nov. 14, 2011):

It seems that rotating a few pawns at the top is not quite the bazooka everyone expected it to be last week. Case in point: CDS in the core European trio of France, Spain and Belgium just hit new all time wides. But before anyone blames evil CDS speculators, it is notable that CDS is significantly outperforming cash bonds. And since everything that can be said about Europe’s ongoing implosion has been said already, the only question is which Goldman “advisor” will replace Sarko in a few weeks.

CDS:

and cash bonds:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Aug 13

- Four European Nations to Curtail Short-Selling (New York Times, August 11, 2011):

A European market regulator announced on Thursday night that short-selling of financial stocks in several countries would be temporarily banned in an effort to stop the tailspin in the markets.

The European Securities and Markets Authority, a body that coordinates the European Union’s market policies, said in a statement that these negative bets on stocks would be curtailed effective on Friday in France, Belgium, Italy and Spain. They are already banned in Greece and Turkey.

“Today some authorities have decided to impose or extend existing short-selling bans in their respective countries,” the authority said. “They have done so either to restrict the benefits that can be achieved from spreading false rumours or to achieve a regulatory level playing field, given the close inter-linkage between some E.U. markets.”

The statement said details for each country would be posted on their individual financial regulators’ Web sites.

European financial regulators have been discussing a continentwide a ban over the last few days amid fears from governments in places like France that these negative bets on stocks were driving a panic. In short-sales, a trader sells borrowed shares in hopes that they will decline in value before he has to buy them back to close out his loan. The difference in price is his profit, or loss.

But some countries, like Britain, came out publicly against a short-sale ban.

Critics say short-selling encourages speculation and pushes stock prices down, sometimes feeding on itself in a panicked market, while advocates say it keeps the market honest and maintains liquidity.

The increasing number of European governments banning short-selling puts United States regulators in a tricky position. Investors with negative views on bank stocks who are forced to close their negative bets in Europe might shift them to American banks. On Thursday, stocks in the United States continued their see-saw ride, surging 4 percent, buoyed by hopeful data on initial jobless claims.

The short-selling announcement in Europe stirred some immediate criticism. “It is a crisis of confidence, and when you do something like this, it shows a lack of confidence, which is exactly the opposite of what you want to say to the markets,” said Robert Sloan, managing partner of S3 Partners, a firm that helps hedge funds manage their relationships with their brokers.

Back in 2008, European and United States officials coordinated temporary bans on shorting financial stocks.

The bans in Europe are drawing to the list of comparisons that commentators are making between the current market unrest and the financial crisis of 2008.

Back then, governments around the world, including Britain and the United States, banned short-selling on financial stocks temporarily. The ban was meant to prevent bank stocks from falling further, but in time, stocks fell anyway.

Hedge funds, in particular, were hurt by the ban because it interfered with trading strategies that pair negative bets with positive ones.

The ban on short-selling in 2008 has been widely criticized and blamed for driving investors out of the market altogether, further hurting stock prices.

It is impossible to know whether the panic would have been worse without the ban, which protected companies like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, but general studies of short-selling have found that bans on that activity can lead to more volatility in the market and lower trading volume, according to Andrew W. Lo, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mr. Lo said banning short-selling also removed important information about what investors think about the financial health of companies, and suggested that the bans served mainly political purposes.

“It’s a bit like suggesting we take heart patients in the emergency room off of the heart monitor because you don’t want to make doctors and nurses anxious about the patient,” he said.

Details were still emerging about each country’s policy. In France, the market watchdog banned short-selling or increasing short-selling positions, effective immediately, for 15 days on 11 financial institutions. They are: April Group, Axa, BNP Paribas, CIC, CNP Assurances, Crédit Agricole, Euler Hermès, Natixis, Paris Ré, Scor, and Société Générale.

Shares in the banks have slumped sharply, sometimes on market rumors. Société Générale’s shares plunged as much as 23 percent Wednesday before closing down 14 percent, on what the chief executive, Patrick Oudea, called “fantasy rumors.” Its shares recovered slightly on Thursday, gaining 3.7 percent.

The European authority does not have the authority to impose a policy on short-selling but it can make recommendations and coordinate cooperation among the European Union’s 27 governments. The European Parliament is considering legislation to give the authority additional powers.

Some investors are already anticipating that such a ban may occur, Mr. Sloan of S3 Partners said. He said that for the past two months many investors had been getting out of their short positions, in part out of fear that such a ban might be introduced. He also said if there were more short-sellers in the market now, the markets might be falling less than they are. That is because as markets fall, short-sellers often close their positions to cash in profits and in doing so, they have to purchase shares to cash out.

The markets could use these sorts of buyers now, said Mr. Sloan, who wrote a book after the 2008 crisis called “Don’t Blame the Shorts: Why Short Sellers Are Always Blamed for Market Crashes and How History Is Repeating Itself.”

Arturo Bris, a professor of finance at the IMD business school in Lausanne, Switzerland, studied financial stock prices in 2008 before and after a short-selling policy was put in place. On Wednesday, Mr. Bris said that he did not think such a ban in Europe would help in the long run. “If there is a ban in the European markets in the next couple weeks it would stop the blood, but it’s not going to solve the problem,” Mr. Bris said. “It would just delay the problem.”

Even with the European countries’ bans on short-sales of some stocks, investors who have negative opinions on companies may still find ways to bet against them in the derivatives market, if those sorts of trades remain allowed.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Aug 01

- The Vespa Has Crashed Into The Mountain: Italy Burning (ZeroHedge, Aug 1, 2011):

Italy undergoing a slow motion crash, with bank after bank getting halted, first Intesa, then Monte Paschi, and most recently, main bank Unicredit.

The FTSEMIB is now down a whopping 5.5% from intraday highs, led by the financial sector which may or may not last the week absent another EFSF expansion as we have speculated before.

Of course, should that happen, Italy becomes a liability and not a funder, meaning the proportional obligations of Germany and France will surge, just as we explained two weeks ago.

And more bad news: the spread between the 10 year Italy – Bund just hit an all time wide of 349, +16 bps on the session, as Italy CDS are now trading 328, +12, and Spain is 9 bps wider to 374.

Time for bailout #3, this time to rescue Italy, then Belgium and Spain, then France and the UK, until finally the Fourth Reich, in the darkness, shall bind them.

General Italy

And just the country’s top (and we use that term loosely) banks:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

May 05

BRUSSELS – Belgium’s radiation safety regulator has discovered radiation levels surpassing European Union limits on a shipping container from Japan, the agency said on Wednesday.

The agency is decontaminating the container after it found radiation from Cesium-137 being emitted at a level of 0.5 microsieverts per hour in two rust spots.

This exceeds a limit of 0.2 microsieverts per hour suggested by European officials.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Oct 18

A 24-hour strike has shut down rail service in Belgium and severely disrupted travel in northwestern Europe. Disruptions are expected to last until Tuesday morning.


Brussels is at a standstill

A 24-hour strike by one of Belgium’s main rail unions has forced the cancellation of nearly all high-speed rail service in and out of the country and severely disrupted the national network.

The strike, which began affecting the international trains linking Belgium to France, Germany the United Kingdom and the Netherlands on Sunday evening, has shut down the country and led to massive traffic jams.

“Not one train is rolling in [the Southern province of] Wallonia or in Brussels. In [the Northern province of] Flanders, only a handful of trains are moving,” a spokesman for Belgian rail network operator Infrabel told the Belga news agency.

Eurostar, Thalys cancel service

Eurostar canceled trains between the northern French city of Lille and Brussels until 10 p.m. local time Monday, though said the Paris-London line would not be affected.

But trains coming from London to Brussels will end at Lille, with buses taking passengers the rest of the way to the Belgian and European Union capital. All Thalys service to and from neighboring countries has been stopped.

Continue reading »

Tags: , ,

Jul 13

China’s leading credit rating agency has stripped America, Britain, Germany and France of their AAA ratings, accusing Anglo-Saxon competitors of ideological bias in favour of the West.

beijing-office-buildings
Beijing office buildings – Chinese rating agency strips Western nations of AAA status (AFP)

Dagong Global Credit Rating Co used its first foray into sovereign debt to paint a revolutionary picture of creditworthiness around the world, giving much greater weight to “wealth creating capacity” and foreign reserves than Fitch, Standard & Poor’s, or Moody’s.

The US falls to AA, while Britain and France slither down to AA-. Belgium, Spain, Italy are ranked at A- along with Malaysia.

Meanwhile, China rises to AA+ with Germany, the Netherlands and Canada, reflecting its €2.4 trillion (£2 trillion) reserves and a blistering growth rate of 8pc to 10pc a year.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, chief of the International Monetary Fund, agreed on Monday that the rising East is a transforming global force. “Asia’s time has come,” he said.

The IMF expects Asia to grow by 7.7pc in 2010, vastly outpacing the eurozone at 1pc and the US at 3.3pc. Emerging nations hold 75pc of the world’s $8.4 trillion (£5.6 trillion) of reserves. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Apr 26
bishop-roger-vangheluwe
Roger Vangheluwe said he was ‘enormously sorry’ for the abuse

The longest-serving Roman Catholic bishop in Belgium has resigned after admitting sexually abusing a boy for years. Roger Vangheluwe, 73, said that he was “enormously sorry” for molesting the boy from before he was made Bishop of Bruges in 1985.

The Vatican accepted his resignation only a day after a lawsuit was filed in the US against Pope Benedict XVI over sex abuse committed by an American priest.

The Catholic Church is reeling from the departures of several senior figures over abuse scandals, including Walter Mixa, a senior German bishop close to the Pope, who resigned on Thursday after admitting beating children at an orphanage.

Mr Vangheluwe is the most senior cleric to step down over child sex abuse during the crisis. In a statement read by the head of the Catholic Church in Belgium, Archbishop André-Joséph Leonard, the bishop said: “When I was not a bishop, and some time later, I abused a boy. This has marked the victim mentally forever. The wound does not heal. Neither in me nor the victim.”

Church officials said that Mr Vangheluwe would not be prosecuted because the crime had not been reported within the country’s statute of limitations, understood to be ten years after the victim turns 18 for cases of child sex abuse. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Apr 14

BELGIAN bishops have failed to punish any clergy over 300 complaints of paedophilia brought to their attention in the 1990s, claims a priest who helped many victims.

”We brought forward between 1992 and 1998 more than 300 complaints from victims of abuse committed by priests, but only 15 ended up with admissions” of guilt, Father Rick Deville told the Flemish dailies De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad yesterday.

”A priest accused would most often be moved, but was never punished,” he complained. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Mar 04

The carmaker wants £3billion from European governments to keep factories open, with Belgian and German plants most at risk

The European operations of General Motors will run out of cash within weeks unless they get government support, the American carmaker said yesterday, adding that a collapse would put up to 300,000 jobs at risk.

Fritz Henderson, the chief operating officer of GM, said that the division, which includes Opel in Germany and Vauxhall in Britain, would hit liquidity problems early in the second quarter.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Oct 06

FRENCH bank BNP Paribas has confirmed it has taken control of ailing finance group Fortis’s arms in Belgium and Luxembourg to create the “leading European bank in terms of deposits.”

The deal, thrashed out over a weekend of intense talks, leaves the Belgian and Luxembourg governments with reduced holdings in Fortis, which they partly nationaised a week earlier.

Under the deal, announced by Belgian and BNP officials in Brussels and official sources in Luxembourg, France’s biggest bank will take up to 75 per cent of Fortis’s Belgian operation leaving the other 25 per cent, a blocking minority, in the hands of the Belgian Government.

On the Luxembourg side, BNP Paribas will take 66 per cent of the shares leaving the Grand Duchy with 33 per cent, the source said.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Sep 28

Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) — Fortis, the largest Belgian financial-services firm, received an 11.2 billion-euro ($16.3 billion) rescue from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg after investor confidence in the bank evaporated last week.

Belgium will buy 49 percent of Fortis’s Belgian banking unit for 4.7 billion euros, while the Netherlands will pay 4 billion euros for a similar stake in the Dutch banking business, the governments said in a statement late yesterday. Luxembourg will provide a 2.5 billion-euro loan convertible into 49 percent of Fortis’s banking division in that country.

Fortis is the largest European firm so far caught up in the global financial crisis that drove Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. into bankruptcy two weeks ago and prompted U.S. President George W. Bush to seek a $700 billion bank rescue package. Fortis dropped 35 percent last week in Brussels trading on concern the company would struggle to replenish capital depleted by the 24.2 billion- euro takeover of ABN Amro Holding NV units and credit writedowns.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,