Last week, the Greek government issued a decree which called for local governments to transfer excess cash to the central bank so that Athens would be able to pay pensions, salaries, and the IMF. The move is expected to raise as much as €2 billion to help keep the country afloat while the country’s “amateurish, time-wasting gambler” of a FinMin feebly attempts to find some kind of middle ground with his EU counterparts and as PM Tsipras pulls out all the stops including the old EU Summit sideline end-around with Merkel and the wild card energy gas pipeline advance from Gazprom (which may portend the dreaded “Russian pivot”).
If the “temporary” local government reserve sweep constitutes what we have branded “soft” capital controls, we now have the first evidence that the “hard” variety may have arrived because as Kathimerini reports, Greek debtors are having their deposits seized in lieu of payment. Continue reading »
Why in the world has JP Morgan accumulated more than 55 million ounces of physical silver? Since early 2012, JP Morgan’s stockpile has grown from less than 5 million ounces of physical silver to more than 55 million ounces of physical silver. Clearly, someone over at JP Morgan is convinced that physical silver is a great investment. But in recent times, the price of silver has actually fallen quite a bit. As I write this, it is sitting at the ridiculously low price of $15.66 an ounce. So up to this point, JP Morgan’s investment in silver has definitely not paid off. But it will pay off in a big way if we will soon be entering a time of great financial turmoil. Continue reading »
As the EU tries to battle its way out of financial crisis, the British mega rich continue to gain capital, according to the Sunday Times’ Rich List. It revealed that during the past 10 years the top one percent’s fortunes more than doubled in the UK.
The combined assets owned by the 1,000 wealthiest individuals in the UK have hit a new high of £547 billion ($831 billion), up from £250 billion posted in 2005.
All these gains came flooding in despite surging unemployment rates all over Europe, creeping deflation fears and overall economic slowdown.
Moreover, it is becoming increasingly competitive for the rich to find a place among the top 1,000 spot, with a minimum fortune of £100 million required.
Sunday Times published its list on April 26, revealing the names of 117 billionaires, with 80 of them residing in London. Continue reading »
The BND realized as early as 2008 that some of the selectors were not permitted according to its internal rules, or covered by a 2002 US-Germany anti-terrorism “Memorandum of Agreement” on intelligence cooperation. And yet it did nothing to check the NSA’s requests systematically. It was only in the summer of 2013, after Edward Snowden’s revelations of massive NSA and GCHQ surveillance, that the BND finally started an inquiry into all the selectors that had been processed. Continue reading »
When it comes to the topic of Greece, most pundits focus on two items: i) when will Greece finally run out of confiscated cash, and ii) will Greece fold to the Troika (and agree to another bailout(s) with even more austerity) or to Russia (and agree to the passage of the Russian Turkish Stream pipeline, potentially exiting NATO and becoming the most important European satellite of the USSR 2.0) once that moment arrives.
And yet what everyone appears to be forgetting is a nuanced clause buried deep in the term sheet of the second Greek bailout: a bailout whose terms will be ultimately reneged upon if and when Greece defaults on its debt to the Troika (either in or out of the Eurozone). Recall that as per our report from February 2012, in addition to losing its sovereignty years ago, Greece also lost something far more important. It’s gold:
Ms. Katseli, an economist who was labor minister in the government of George Papandreou until she left in a cabinet reshuffle last June, was also upset that Greece’s lenders will have the right to seize the gold reserves in the Bank of Greece under the terms of the new deal.Continue reading »
Banks Increasingly Refuse Cash Withdrawals – Switzerland Joins the Fun
The war on cash is proliferating globally. It appears that the private members of the world’s banking cartels are increasingly joining the fun, even if it means trampling on the rights of their customers.
Yesterday we came across an article at Zerohedge, in which Dr. Salerno of the Mises Institute notes that JP Morgan Chase has apparently joined the “war on cash”, by “restricting the use of cash in selected markets, restricting borrowers from making cash payments on credit cards, mortgages, equity lines and auto loans, as well as prohibiting storage of cash in safe deposit boxes”. Continue reading »
It has been a very disturbing 24 hours for Greece.
It all started during yesterday’s surprisingly short, just one hour long Eurozone finmin meeting in Riga, where Yanis Varoufakis not only got the most “hostile” reception yet being called “a time-waster, gambler, and amateur“, but for the first time one minister openly said that maybe it was time governments prepared for the plan B of a Greek default. This happened after Jeroen Dijsselbloem slammed the door on Varoufakis’ proposal for early cash after partial reforms.
“A comprehensive and detailed list of reforms is needed,” Dijsselbloem told a news conference following a meeting in Riga. “A comprehensive deal is necessary before any disbursement can take place … We are all aware that time is running out.”Continue reading »
Claiming to own X quantity of gold is one thing, and reporting how many times the gold has been pledged as collateral is another.
When correspondent Scott A. Batten offered to write an explanation of the rehypothecation of gold and why it matters, I quickly accepted. Like many others, I have breezed over the word rehypothecation with the basic understanding that it means assets pledged by counterparties (such as the infamous copper stored in Chinese warehouses) are reused as collateral/repledged–in effect, the same assets are pledged as collateral multiple times.
But beyond this, I have not had a clear understanding of how the rehypothecation of gold reserves threatens the whole shaky edifice of Infinite Greed, oops, I mean neoliberal capital markets.
Sometimes a picture is indeed worth a thousand words (or a thousand yuan) which is why we present the following map which shows all of the countries that have joined the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank with no comment other than to say “spot the odd G-7 nations out”…
All problems, all crises, have at least one solution, if not many solutions. There is no such thing as an unwinnable scenario. Some may not be smart enough or courageous enough to see it, but the solution is always there, waiting to be discovered. The only fight that cannot be won is the fight in which the enemy makes all the rules and we foolishly abide by those rules. Life is not a game of chess, and a man can choose to be more than a pawn anytime he has the guts to do so.
In the past, I have likened the liberty movement to a rebellion against not just tyrants but the game itself – a group of people willing to walk away from the chess board and make their own rules. I stand by that assertion. However, simply walking away is not enough; we must also be willing to take actions that will destroy the game entirely. Continue reading »
With the Nasdaq sitting at new highs having finally eclipsed the previous record of 5,048 set in March of 2000 and with consumers not-so-eagerly awaiting their chance to get in on the supposed wave of the wearables future by purchasing their very own Apple Watch, we learn that the fate of the tech bubble now rests entirely on the shoulders of Tim Cook because as FactSet notes, “blended Q1 Y/Y EPS growth for the Information Technology sector is 0.7% [but] excluding Apple, the blended earnings growth rate for the sector would fall to -5.1%.”
That rather disconcerting statistic makes this the scariest chart in the world for tech investors:
And as it turns out, it’s not just the tech space. Y/Y EPS growth for the entire S&P 500 is expected to come in at -2.8% — excluding Apple knocks more than a full percentage point off the already negative results: “The blended earnings decline for the entire S&P 500 is -2.8%. Excluding Apple, the blended earnings decline for the S&P 500 would increase to -3.9%.”
In other words, the market better hope there are a lot of these people out there: Continue reading »
Now that the confusion and the initial smoke following the stunning CFTC/DOJ/FBI allegation that the entire Flash Crash was the result of just one high latency UK trader’s actions has cleared, several critical things have emerged.
First: Nav Sarao not a typical massively funded, connected and lobby-protected High Frequency Trader, such as Citadel or Virtu, using countless algos across numerous fragmented markets to frontrun size order blocks, but an old-school “point and click” prop trader. This is how he described his trading style in a response to the UK regulator:
I am an old school point and click prop trader. To this day I am still using the mouse to trade. That is how I trade, that is how I always have traded, admittedly very very fast because I have always been good with reflexes and doing things quick. My trading is for the most part very short term and for very small profits, a large proportion of my profits are 1 price movements, which in the eminiSP’s case would be a quarter of a tick. I have also take longer term positions In the past and my biggest day was actually made for the most part whilst I was sleeping! Continue reading »
Well, the Nasdaq finally did it. It has climbed all the way back to where it was at the peak of the dotcom bubble. Back in March 2000, the Nasdaq set an all-time record high of 5,048.62. On Thursday, after all these years, that all-time record was finally eclipsed. The Nasdaq closed at 5056.06, and Wall Street greatly rejoiced. So if you invested in the Nasdaq at the peak of the dotcom bubble, you are just finally breaking even 15 years later. Unfortunately, the truth is that stocks have not been soaring because the U.S. economy is fundamentally strong. Just like the last two times, what we are witnessing is an irrational financial bubble. Sometimes these irrational bubbles can last for a surprisingly long time, but in the end they always burst. And even now there are signs of economic trouble bubbling to the surface all around us.
The following are 11 signs that we are entering the next phase of the global economic crisis: Continue reading »
Once upon a time, when then-NY Fed chief Tim Geithner was angling for a Senate confirmation which would make him Treasury Secretary, things got a bit tense when it was discovered that Geithner failed to pay Medicare and Social Security taxes on the income he earned while working for the IMF from 2001-2004. Basically, Geithner was classified as “self employed” and was thus responsible for making the payments himself but didn’t do so, which led to some $17,000 in unpaid taxes in 2003 and 2004. Geithner had previously paid more than $20,000 in back taxes to make up for missed payments in 2001 and 2002, so one might have thought he would check on 2003 and 2004 as well, but apparently some accountant somewhere screwed up — or so the story goes.
In any event, it now appears as though Hillary Clinton may be witnessing her “Geithner moment,” because as Reuters reports, several Clinton family charities will now refile a half decade worth of returns after failing to report “tens of millions” in contributions from foreign governments. Here’s more:
Hillary Clinton’s family’s charities are refiling at least five annual tax returns after a Reuters review found errors in how they reported donations from governments, and said they may audit other Clinton Foundation returns in case of other errors…Continue reading »