by James Corbett
February 16, 2016
You might remember that a couple of weeks ago we launched an open source investigation into the war on cash. As I noted at the time, the investigation was spurred by an uptick in anti-cash rhetoric over the last few months from the media, from central bankers and from politicians. Since that investigation took place, however, things have gotten even more in-your-face.
Just four days after we started the investigation Bloomberg came out with an op-ed urging the banksters to “Bring On the Cashless Future.”
“…a moratorium on printing new high denomination notes would make the world a better place.”
– Larry Summers, Harvard Professor
… and the world would be a much better place without …
esterday we reported that the ECB has begun contemplating the death of the €500 EURO note, a fate which is now virtually assured for the one banknote which not only makes up 30% of the total European paper currency in circulation by value, but provides the best, most cost-efficient alternative (in terms of sheer bulk and storage costs) to Europe’s tax on money known as NIRP.
That also explains why Mario Draghi is so intent on eradicating it first, then the €200 bill, then the €100 bill, and so on. Continue reading »
EURUSD just broke to a 1.05 handle, its lowest since April. With EURUSD now down 9 big figures from Draghi’s mid-October jawboning, the US Dollar index (heavily-weighted to EUR) is soaring, reaching back above to its highest since March. Bearing in mind that Fed’s Fischer says that the worst of USD’s impact on the US economy is yet to come, we may have a problem.…
So many of the exact same patterns that we witnessed just before the stock market crash of 2008 are playing out once again right before our eyes. Most of the time, a stock market crash doesn’t just come out of nowhere. Normally there are specific leading indicators that we can look for that will tell us if major trouble is on the horizon. One of these leading indicators is the junk bond market. Right now, a closely watched high yield bond ETF known as JNK is sitting at 35.77. If it falls below 35, that will be a major red flag, and it will be the first time that it has done so since 2009. As you can see from this chart, JNK started crashing in June and July of 2008 – well before equities started crashing later that year. A crash in junk bonds almost always precedes a major crash in stocks, and so this is something that I am watching carefully.
And there is a reason why junk bonds are crashing. In 2015 we have seen the most corporate bond downgrades since the last financial crisis, and corporate debt defaults are absolutely skyrocketing. The following comes from a recent piece by Porter Stansberry… Continue reading »
There has been a litany of layoff announcements recently: Biogen said yesterday that it would axe 11% of its people. ESPN would lay off 4% of its people. Twitter a couple of days ago said it would slash its workforce by 8%. Microsoft and HP are currently very busy shedding tens of thousands of workers.
Caterpillar announced over 10,000 layoffs last month. Intuit kicked off a new round of layoffs this summer. Permanently troubled former highflyer Groupon is laying of 1,100 folks. Even startups. Zomato, based in India, is laying of 300 folks, many of them in the US. Flipagram laid off 20% of its workers. And on and on. Even Snapchat. Continue reading »
– Poland, Czech Republic Won’t Join “Burning” Euro (ZeroHedge, July 27, 2015):
With the turmoil in Greece proving once and for all that in the absence of a fiscal union, the EMU simply cannot function or if it does, it will be subject to episodic crises stemming from endemic differences of opinion on fiscal policy, outsiders could be forgiven for looking upon the currency experiment as an abject failure.
Indeed, the struggle to secure a bridge loan for Athens last week underscored the degree to which non-euro countries are reluctant to put their taxpayers on the hook for problems which they believe are the result of an ill-fated attempt to unite fundamentally different economies and governments under a single currency.
Given the above, we weren’t surprised to learn that Poland and the Czech Republic are out voicing their reservations about running into what is effectively a burning building. Here’s The Telegraph on Poland:
Poland will not join the euro while the bloc remains in danger of “burning”, its central bank governor said. Continue reading »
– Little-Known History of the Euro: Crisis Was Baked In from the Start (Washington’s Blog, July 17, 2015):
You’ve heard that the Euro was created to provide two benefits for Europe:
1. Unite Germany, France and other countries in a peaceful political situation, to prevent repeats of World War I and II
2. Create a macro-zone to compete against the economic strength of the U.S.
So how did we get to this … austerity and meanness of spirit, as typified by the grim expressions sported by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble in talks with Greece? Continue reading »
– Euro-Skeptic William Hague: “I Was Right In 1998, And I Am Right Today” (ZeroHedge, July 9, 2015):
“Chirac and many others were appalled as I told them in 1998… joining the euro would exacerbate recession in some countries, and that some would find themselves ‘trapped in a burning building with no exits’ – a phrase that brought me a fair amount of controversy and abuse… I hope the eurozone leaders meeting today will remember that those of us who criticised the euro at its creation were correct in our forecasts. Otherwise they risk adding to the monumental errors of judgment, analysis and leadership made by their predecessors in 1998.”
– Nigel Farage destroys the euro groupthink in just 4 minutes. (Sovereign Man, July 8, 2015):
Standing before the European Parliament yesterday, it took Nigel Farage just four minutes to completely destroy every argument supporting the Eurozone.
A few years back when he spoke at one of our Sovereign Man events in Santiago, he anticipated everything that we’re seeing right now.
Today it’s not nearly as controversial to say that the Eurozone experiment has failed. Anyone aware of what’s happening in Greece should say the same. But very few people really understand why.
As Nigel explains in the video below, right from the start, the system was never intended to help the Greek people. Continue reading »
– The euro does not have a problem… it is the problem (Telegraph, June 20, 2015):
Europe’s leaders must face the truth that the single currency now poses fundamental threat to global financial stability
By Liam Fox MP, Conservative MP for North Somerset and former Defence Secretary
There will be a temptation to gloat over the Greek crisis over the next week and a queue of people waiting to say “I told you so”. Both would be unwise.
Whether Greece exits the eurozone or not (and it is an increasingly absurd charade), there remain a number of uncomfortable truths that the rest of the countries of Europe, whether in the eurozone, the EU or neither will have to confront. The first is that Greece is a failing state, something that will have implications far beyond the merely financial. Long before the financial crisis hits the global economy in 2008-09, Greece was in trouble.
Martin Armstrong The System Will Crack And One World Currency Is Coming
– Why Greece is the lynchpin that could unleash economic collapse, domestic martial law and global war (Natural News, March 23, 2015):
I wish I could download to your brain everything you need to know about the European Crisis unfolding right now. The possibility of the breakup of the European Union could be the spark that sets off the global debt implosion that leads to violent conflict across the globe.
The actions of Greece, it turns out, could set off a chain reaction that leads directly to a Wall Street panic and the “bail-in” seizure of your savings accounts at your favorite hometown bank. It could also radically destabilize Eastern Europe, heightening the risk for conflict between Russia and Western European nations (including NATO members like the United States).
Continue reading »
– ECB Prepares For Grexit, Anticipates 95% Loss On Greek Debt (ZeroHedge, March 18, 2015):
Dear Greek readers: the writing is now on the wall, and it is in very clear 48-point, double bold, and underlined font: when the ECB “leaks” that it is modelling a Grexit, something Draghi lied about over and over in 2012 and directly in our face too, take it seriously, because it is time to start planning about what happens on “the day after.” And incidentally to all those curious what the fair value of peripheral European bonds is excluding ECB backstops, the ECB has a handy back of the envelope calculation: a 95% loss.
Which also is the punchline, because while the ECB is making it very clear what happens next in the case of a “Graccident“, it has yet to provide an explanation how it will resolve the billions of Greek debt held on its own balance sheet which are about to be “marked-to-default“… Continue reading »
– EURUSD Tumbles To 1.06 Handle, Swissy Slides To USD Parity (ZeroHedge, March 10, 2015):
When does the Euro become the Ruble?
This is the weakest for the Euro since April 2003…
And swissy is back at parity – *USD/CHF AT PARITY FOR FIRST TIME SINCE SNB REMOVED FRANC CAP Continue reading »
– Beppe Grillo: “The Eurozone Chess Game Enters Its Final Stage: Germany Wins In Three Moves” (ZeroHedge, Feb 20, 2015):
With everyone’s attention focused these days on Greece’s Tsipras (and Varoufakis), and also casting concerned glances at Spain’s Pablo Iglesias, head of the poll-leading Podemos party which may well be the next Syriza, many have forgotten that Italy has its own “anti-austerity” voice, that of Beppe Grillo, a voice which had been relatively quiet in the recent past. However, judging by his latest blog post, he too will want to be heard in the seaschange in Europe in the aftermath of the Syriza surge and the resultant chaos that has shaken the Eurozone to its core.
From Beppe Grillo’s blog
The Euro’s up in smoke
The Eurozone chess game has entered its third and final stage. Germany wins in three moves – Euro, deflation and purchase of public debt by the ECB (QE) – and in the last few years it has found a way to maximise its profits and reduce to zero its risks as Europe’s creditor.
From Germany’s Spiegel:
Google translation (Original article in German down below):
– Debt dispute: ECB prepares for Greek euro exit (Spiegel, Feb 20, 2015):
Still negotiating Athens and the Euro-partners about new grants. Behind the scenes alternatives are already being played: The ECB is preparing by SPIEGEL information on the Greek exit from the euro before.
Frankfurt – The European Central Bank (ECB) is preparing for a Greek exit from the monetary union. To that effect, Employees by information obtained by SPIEGEL, an internal simulation games by how the rest of the euro zone could be held together.
Despite all the denials to urge the European monetary authorities the Greeks to finally introduce capital controls. According to the findings of the ECB, the Greeks have a day more than one billion euros abroad. Continue reading »
– Nigel Farage On “The Great Game Of Poker Over The Future of The Euro” (ZeroHedge, Feb 17, 2015):
“There is a great game of poker taking place for the future of this currency,” Nigel Farage exclaims as he deservedly takes a small victory lap over his warnings of the anti-democratic nature of the dis-union that has been created. As his warnings that “the EU will crush, and kill, and destroy nation state democracy,” have gone unheeded, this last week has seen The Eurogroup’s behavior justify everything Farage has feared… Juncker: “there can be no democratic choice against the Euro.”
Farage at his best…
– Greek FinMin Warns “Euro Will Collapse If Greece Exits”, Says Italy Is Next (ZeroHedge, Feb 8, 2015):
The time for the final all-in bet has arrived.
As we explained yesterday, when we wrote that “Greece Gambles On “Catastrophic Armageddon” For Europe, Warns It “Only Has Weeks Of Cash Left“”, and as confirmed further by today’s fire and brimstone speech by Greek PM Tsipras, in which he not only did not concede one millimeter to Europe but raised the stakes even higher, by promising among other things to raise the minimum wage and to halt foreclosures, Greece is now betting everything that Europe will not allow it to exit, hoping that “this time is not different”, and the existential terror that would be heaped on the Eurozone as forecast in 2012 by the likes of Citi’s Buiter and IIF’s Charles Dallara, will still take place, and Europe will concede that spending a few more billion on Greece’s bridge program is worth to avoid what could potentially spiral into an out of control collapse.
To be sure, that is precisely what Yanis Vaourfakis implied today when he said that “if Greece is forced out of the euro zone, other countries will inevitably follow and the currency bloc will collapse, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said on Sunday, in comments which drew a rebuke from Italy.” Continue reading »
– Tsipras Addresses Greece, Says Bailout Agreements, “Troika Era” Are Over (ZeroHedge, Jan 25, 2015):
The first public address of Greece’s new leaders, Alexis Tsipras has begun. The key highlights of his speech so far:
- TSIPRAS SAYS GREEK PEOPLE HAVE WRITTEN HISTORY
- TSIPRAS SAYS GREECE IS TURNING PAGE, LEAVING AUSTERITY BEHIND
- TSIPRAS SAYS BAILOUT AGREEMENTS HAVE ENDED FOR GREECE
- TSIPRAS SAYS TROIKA ERA IS OVER FOR GREECE
- TSIPRAS SAYS SYRIZA GOVT READY TO NEGOTIATE, COOPERATE ON DEBT
- TSIPRAS SAYS OLIGARCHS, ELITES IN GREECE HAVE BEEN DEFEATED
- TSIPRAS SAYS SYRIZA VICTORY IS VICTORY FOR PEOPLES OF EUROPE
Europe will not be pleased.
– This Is What Gold Does In A Currency Crisis, Euro Edition (Dollar Collapse, Jan 22, 2015):
Yesterday the European Central Bank acknowledged that the currency it manages is being sucked into a deflationary vortex. It responded in the usual way with, in effect, a massive devaluation. Eurozone citizens have also responded predictably, by converting their unbacked, make-believe, soon-to-be-worth-a-lot-less paper money into something tangible. They’re bidding gold up dramatically.
So after falling hard in 2013 and treading water for most of 2014, the euro price of gold has gone parabolic in the space of a couple of months. This sudden rather than gradual awakening is the standard pattern for a currency crisis, mainly because it takes a long time for most people to figure out their government is clueless and/or lying. But once they do figure it out, they act quickly.
Europe’s gold chart isn’t as dramatic as Russia’s (see it here) because Europe doesn’t depend on oil exports and the euro, while dropping versus the dollar, isn’t yet in free-fall. But with another trillion euros due to hit the market in the coming year, and a series of currency union-threatening political crises in the pipeline, the flight to safety could easily become a stampede.
Europe and Russia, meanwhile aren’t the only countries with incipient currency crises. Here’s gold in Canadian dollars: Continue reading »
– How The Swiss National Bank Almost Crushed George Soros (ZeroHedge, Jan 23, 2015):
Minutes after last week’s Swiss National Bank shocker, jokingly we mused:
Will be ironic if Soros was long EURCHF
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) January 15, 2015
… because there would be nothing more ironic if the man who “broke the Bank of England” ended up being FXCMed himself by another central bank, over two decades later and just as he was set to finally retire, at the age of 84, formally, something he supposedly announced in Davos yesterday. Continue reading »
Yes, but look who’s talking:
Bundesbank President Axel Weber has dished out €338 billion!!!
– EU has squandered last chance to make euro workable, warns Ex-Bundesbank chief (Telegraph, Jan 21, 2015):
Axel Weber says it is “hard to say” whether Europe would be in better shape today if the euro had never been launched, a tactful evasion understood as nostalgia for the stability of the D-Mark
The former head of the German Bundesbank has warned that the European Central Bank (ECB) will not succeed in raising inflation for years to come and is almost powerless to revive the fortunes of the eurozone on its own.
Axel Weber, now chairman of UBS and widely-regarded as Europe’s most influential private banker, said Europe’s leaders had squandered the chance to rebuild the eurozone’s foundations when the going was good and markets were calm. Continue reading »
– The SNB’s Wake-Up Call: Keynesian Central Banking Is Destroying Money And Markets (David Stockman’s Contra Corner, Jan 17, 2015):
It seems everyone was short the franc (CHF) as a matter of taking monetarism at face value. In other words, it amounted to believing the central party line about the economy and normalcy despite the fact that markets have been increasingly pessimistic about it all and actively and aggressively betting against it. Goldman Sachs is just one of many: Continue reading »
– What Really Happened At The SNB Yesterday: One Person’s Take (ZeroHedge, Jan 16, 2015):
Here are a few theories on what really happened at the Swiss National Bank on January 15, 2015. That fateful day, the SNB suddenly decided to end suppressing the value of the Swiss Franc versus the Euro.
What happened at the SNB? Continue reading »
– Largest Retail FX Broker Stock Crashes 90% As Swiss Contagion Spreads (ZeroHedge, Jan 16, 2015):
UPDATE: Knight Trading 2.0? Jefferies executive are reportedly on-site at FXCM discussing a $200 million bailout
As we first reported last night, FXCM was among the first of many retail FX brokers (and the largest) to see its clients suffer massive losses from yesterday’s Swiss Franc surge following the SNB decision to unleash market forces. There are now at least 4 retail FX brokers (FXCM, Excel Markets, OANDA, and Alpari) who have announced “issues” but FXCM, being among the largest and publicly traded is the most transparent example of wjust what can go wrong when average joes are allowed 100:1 leverage. FXCM is now stuck chasing clients for money they do not (and will never) have.. and its stock is down 90%, trading a $2 this morning (down from $17 on Wednesday). As Credit Suisse notes, time is running out as regulators “tend to be impatient once capital requirements are breached.”