Dec 15

- Strikes across Belgium cause transport chaos (BBC News, Dec 15, 2014):

A nationwide strike in Belgium has brought air, rail and road transport to a standstill and forced many businesses to close.

Hundreds of flights to and from Belgium have been cancelled, as well as Eurostar services to Brussels.

The widespread industrial action is the latest in a series of strikes protesting against the new centre-right coalition’s austerity policies.

The government plans to save €11bn (£8.7bn) in the next five years. Continue reading »

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Dec 08

Gold-bars

- Belgium Investigating To Repatriate All Gold Reserves (Bullion Star, Dec 5, 2014):

Just after I reported on the repatriation of 122.5 tonnes of gold by The Netherlands from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) and about the Eurosystem allocating as much of its gold reserves as possible – a global run on gold which can only be seen in advance of a reform of the international monetary system, the next Eurosystem member has come forward, Belgium.

In Europe so far; Germany has been repatriating gold since 2012 from the US and France, The Netherlands has repatriated 122.5 tonnes a few weeks ago from the US, soon after Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front National party of France, penned an open letter to Christian Noyer, governor of the Bank of France, requesting that the country’s gold holdings be repatriated back to France, and now Belgium is making a move. Who’s next? And why are all these countries seemingly so nervous to get their gold ASAP on own soil?

VTM-nieuws has just reported the Belgium central bank has confirmed it’s investigating to repatriate all its gold reserves. Continue reading »

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May 27

H/t reader squodgy:

“This is strange.

Seems the Bonds were dumped and the Rothschilds through the JP Morgan channel have bought them under a shell trader to prop up the US Fed….again Rothschild & JP Morgan plus Goldman Sachs.”


- Who Is The New Secret Buyer Of U.S. Debt? (Alt-Market, May 21, 2014):

On the surface, the economic atmosphere of the U.S. has appeared rather calm and uneventful. Stocks are up, employment isn’t great but jobs aren’t collapsing into the void (at least not openly), and the U.S. dollar seems to be going strong. Peel away the thin veneer, however, and a different financial horror show is revealed.

U.S. stocks have enjoyed unprecedented crash protection due to a steady infusion of fiat money from the Federal Reserve known as quantitative easing. With the advent of the “taper”, QE is now swiftly coming to a close (as is evident in the overall reduction in treasury market purchases), and is slated to end by this fall, if not sooner. Continue reading »

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May 15

Putin chess

- Russia Dumps 20% Of Its Treasury Holdings As Mystery “Belgium” Buyer Adds Another Whopping $40 Billion (ZeroHedge, May 15, 2014):

Back in mid-March, there was a brief scare after the start of the Ukraine conflict, when Fed custody holdings plunged by a record $104.5 billion (if promptly bouncing back the following week), leading many to believe that Russia may have dumped its Treasurys, or at least change its bond custodian. We noted that we wouldn’t have a definitive answer until the May TIC number came out to know for sure how much Russia had sold, or if indeed, anything. Moments ago the May TIC numbers did come out, and as expected, Russia indeed dumped a record $26 billion, or some 20% of all of its holdings, bringing its post-March total to just over $100 billion – the lowest since the Lehman crisis.

Russia TSY March

20140515_TIC1

But as shocking as this largely pre-telegraphed dump was, it pales in comparison with what Zero Hedge first observed, is the country that has quietly and quite rapidly become the third largest holder of US paper: Belgium. Or rather, “Belgium” because it is quite clear that it is not the country of Begium who is engaging in this unprecedented buying spree of US paper, but some account acting through Belgian custody.

This is how we explained it last month: Continue reading »

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Apr 20

- BNP Banker, His Wife And Nephew Murdered In Belgium (ZeroHedge, April 20, 2014):

In the beginning it was banker suicides. Then about two weeks ago, suicides were replaced by outright murders after the execution-style killing of the CEO of a bank in otherwise sleepy (and tax evasive) Lichtenstein by a disgruntled client. Then on Friday news hit of another execution-type murder in just as sleepy, if not so tax evasive, Belgium, where in the city of Vise, a 37-year-old Director at BNP Paribas Fortis was murdered alongside his wife and a 9 year old nephew in a premeditated and orchestrated drive-by shooting.

L’venir reports:

According to Marcel Neven, Mayor of Vise, nothing can yet explain what caused the violent shooting that rocked the neighborhood sports hall of his town this Friday, April 18, late at night. A man of 37 years, Benedict Philippens, bank manager Ans-Saint-Nicolas, was shot. A little 9 year old boy, living in Dolhain, was also killed. A lady, the wife of the man and the boy aunt and godmother, Carol Haid, 37 also died of his injuries on Saturday, in the morning. She was hit by three bullets in the back, said a judicial source.

According to information from the survey and some witnesses, a car waiting outside their house Berneau street near the sports hall Visé. When the victims’ car is back in the driveway, shots were fired from the car that waited patiently. The author of the shots is actively sought. Continue reading »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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:

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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Jul 30

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

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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 »

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