Jun 09

“Fly Like A G7” – Caption Contest (ZeroHedge, June 8, 2015):

Christine Lagarde sits at the right hand of god Obama at the G8(-1), proudly representing the great Republic of Hermes…

G7-Germany-Obama-2

“Entourage 2”?

G7-Germany-Obama-1

It’s good to be king (in your own mind or not)

Source: @JamesLiamCook

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Jun 06

Thousands protest G7 summit in southern Germany (Mail.com, June 6, 2015):

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Thousands of demonstrators packed a German Alpine resort town on Saturday to protest a wide range of causes, from climate change to free trade, before the arrival of the leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized democracies for a two-day summit.

Though the demonstration in Garmisch-Partenkirchen was largely peaceful, a small group of protesters clashed with police as they marched through the town, charging at officers who responded with pepper spray. At least two protesters had to be taken away by medics for treatment. Police said one officer was also injured by the pepper spray; there were no arrests. Continue reading »

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Aug 02

G7 reported freezing new World Bank projects in Russia   (RT, Aug 1, 2014)

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Apr 26

G7 agrees new sanctions on Russia as observers held in Ukraine (Reuters, April 26, 2014):

Leaders of the Group of Seven major economies agreed to impose more sanctions on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, where armed pro-Moscow separatists have detained a group of international observers they accuse of being NATO spies.

The pro-Western Kiev government said a Russian special forces operative was behind what it called a kidnapping in the eastern city of Slaviansk that is under the separatists’ control, and said the detainees were being used as a “human shield”.

Continue reading »

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Sep 12

Five Years Later: 18 Dollars Of Debt For Every Dollar Of GDP; Total G7 Debt/GDP: 440% (ZeroHedge, Sep 12, 2013):

With everyone focused on the 5th anniversary of the Lehman failure, we are taking a quick look at how the world’s developed (G7) nations have fared since 2008, and just what the cost to restore “stability” has been. In a nutshell: the G7 have added around $18tn of consolidated debt to a record $140 trillion, relative to only $1tn of nominal GDP activity and nearly $5tn of G7 central bank balance sheet expansion (Fed+BoJ+BoE+ECB). In other words, over the past five years in the developed world, it took $18 dollars of debt (of which 28% was provided by central banks) to generate $1 of growth. For all talk of “deleveraging” G7 consolidated debt has been at a record high 440% for the past four years. So in the G7, which is a good proxy for the developed world, debt continues to increase whilst nominal growth remains extremely low thus ensuring that the deleveraging process has yet to start. As Deutsche Bank states, “at best we’re stabilising the ratio at or around record highs.”

As for the implications for interest rates, they are quite clear: Continue reading »

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Mar 21

john-lipsky-first-deputy-managing-director-of-the-imf
John Lipsky, first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), sits for a photograph following a television interview outside the Jackson Lake Lodge in Moran, Wyoming, on Aug. 20, 2009. (Bloomberg)

March 21 (Bloomberg) — Advanced economies face “acute” challenges in tackling high public debt, and unwinding existing stimulus measures will not come close to bringing deficits back to prudent levels, said John Lipsky, first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

All G7 countries, except Canada and Germany, will have debt-to-GDP ratios close to or exceeding 100 percent by 2014, Lipsky said in a speech today at the China Development Forum in Beijing. Already this year, the average ratio in advanced economies is expected to reach the levels seen in 1950, after World War II, he said. The government debt ratio in some emerging market nations had also reached a “worrisome level.”

“This surge in government debt is occurring at a time when pressure from rising health and pension spending is building up,” Lipsky said. Stimulus measures account for about one-tenth of the projected debt increase, and rolling them back won’t be enough to bring deficits and debt ratios back to prudent levels.

Rising public debt could lead governments to seek to eliminate it through inflation or even default if they fail to carry out fiscal measures in time, Mohamed A. El-Erian, co-chief investment officer at Pacific Investment Management Co. warned earlier this month. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of “The Black Swan,” a book arguing that unforeseen events can roil markets, said March 12 he is concerned about hyperinflation as governments around the world take on more debt and print money.

Budget Deficit

The U.S. budget deficit widened to a record in February as the government spent more to help revive the economy. The gap grew to $221 billion after a shortfall of $194 billion in February 2009, the Treasury Department said on March 10. The figures indicate the deficit this year will probably surpass the record $1.4 trillion in the fiscal year that ended in September. Continue reading »

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Jan 09

On Thursday I had posted Bloomberg’s summary on the monthly investment outlook by PIMCO’s Bill Gross:

PIMCO’s Bill Gross warns on risks of US deficit: ‘Our government doesn’t work anymore, or perhaps more accurately, when it does, it works for special interests and not the American people.’

But that summary missed a lot of important points.

Here is just one excerpt as a starter:

“Here’s the problem that the U.S. Fed’s “exit” poses in simple English: Our fiscal 2009 deficit totaled nearly 12% of GDP and required over $1.5 trillion of new debt to finance it. The Chinese bought a little ($100 billion) of that, other sovereign wealth funds bought some more, but as shown in Chart 2, foreign investors as a group bought only 20% of the total – perhaps $300 billion or so. The balance over the past 12 months was substantially purchased by the Federal Reserve. …”

If that doesn’t bother you, then I do not know what will. The Federal Reserve is creating money out of thin air like there is no tomorrow and the bad news is that that is exactly what the elite that controls the US government and the Federal Reserve has planned for America:

In the next two years (or just a little more than that) we will see hyperinflation in the US, people in America will become desperately poor and the Greatest Depression will turn the US into a Third World country.

(In 2009 Bill Gross was named the world’s 32nd most powerful man by Forbes.)

Now here is the full article by Bill Gross, ‘The King of Bonds’ (Must-Read!):


Let’s Get Fisical

bill-gross-1

Quixotic journeys often make for great literature, but by definition are rarely productive. I am, after all, referring to windmills here – not their 21st century creation, but their 17th century chasing. Futility, not productivity, was the ultimate fate of Cervantes’ man from La Mancha. So it is with hesitation, although quixotic obsession, that I plunge headlong into a discussion of American politics, healthcare legislation, resultant budget deficits and – finally – their potential effect on financial markets. There will be windmills aplenty in the next few pages and not much good can come of these opinions or my tilting in their direction. Still, I mount my steed, lance in hand, and ride forward.

Question: What has become of the American nation? Conceived with the vision of liberty and justice for all, we have descended in the clutches of corporate and other special interests to a second world state defined by K Street instead of Independence Square. Our government doesn’t work anymore, or perhaps more accurately, when it does, it works for special interests and not the American people. Washington consistently stoops to legislate 10,000-page perversions of healthcare, regulatory reform, defense, and budgetary mandates overflowing with earmarks that serve a monied minority as opposed to an all-too-silent majority. You don’t have to be Don Quixote to believe that legislators – and Presidents – often do not work for the benefit of their constituents: A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll reported that over 65% of Americans trust their government to do the right thing “only some of the time” and a stunning 19% said “never.” What most politicians apparently are working for is to perpetuate their power – first via district gerrymandering, and then second by around-the-clock campaigning financed by special interest groups. If, by chance, they’re ever voted out of office, they have a home just down the street – at K Street – with six-figure incomes as a starting wage.

What amazes me most of all is that politicians can be bought so cheaply. Public records show that combined labor, insurance, big pharma and related corporate interests spent just under $500 million last year on healthcare lobbying (not much of which went to politicians) for what is likely to be a $50-100 billion annual return. The fact is that American citizens have never been as divorced from their representatives – and if that description fits the Democratic Congress now in control – then it applies to Republicans as well – past and present. So you watch Fox, or is it MSNBC? O’Reilly or Olbermann? It doesn’t matter. You’re just being conned into rooting for a team that basically runs the same plays called by lookalike coaches on different sidelines. A “ballot box” pox on all their houses – Senators, Representatives and Presidents alike. There has been no change, there will be no change, until we the American people decide to publicly finance all national and local elections and ban the writing of even a $1 check for our favorite candidates. Undemocratic? Hardly. Get on the internet, use Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter to campaign for your choice. That’s the new democracy. When special interests, even singular citizens write a check, it represents a perversion of democracy not the exercise of the First Amendment. Any chance that any of this will happen? Not one ghost of a chance. Forward Don Quixote, the windmills are in sight.

Distressed as I am about the state of American democracy, a rational money manager cannot afford to get mad or “just get even” when it comes to investing clients’ money. Still, like pilots politely advertise at the end of most flights, “We know you have a choice of airlines and we thank you for flying ‘United’.” Global investment managers likewise have a choice of sovereign credits and risk assets where stable inflation and fiscal conservatism are available. If 2008 was the year of financial crisis and 2009 the year of healing via monetary and fiscal stimulus packages, then 2010 appears likely to be the year of “exit strategies,” during which investors should consider economic fundamentals and asset markets that will soon be priced in a world less dominated by the government sector. If, in 2009, PIMCO recommended shaking hands with the government, we now ponder “which” government, and caution that the days of carefree check writing leading to debt issuance without limit or interest rate consequences may be numbered for all countries.

Continue reading »

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Feb 15

A “second wave” of countries will fall victim to the economic crisis and face being bailed out by the International Monetary Fund, its chief warned at the G7 summit in Rome.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s warning comes amid growing concern that at some point in the next year a major economy could have to seek support from the Fund. Mr Strauss-Kahn, who was yesterday attending the Group of Seven leading finance ministers’ meeting in Rome, said: “I expect a second wave of countries to come knocking.”

Related article:
IMF Says Advanced Economies Already in Depression (Bloomberg)

The IMF managing director also said the rich world was now in the midst of a “deep recession”. It came as the G7 pledged to avoid slipping into protectionism and repeating the same political and economic mistakes as were made in the 1930s. Ministers also pledged to do more to support their banking systems, sparking speculation that a number of countries, including Germany and France, will unveil new bail-outs and possibly set up “bad banks” as they scramble to fight the crisis.

Continue reading »

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Nov 07

The International Monetary Fund has slashed its forecast for the world economy next year, predicting outright contraction for the rich economies of North America, Europe, and Japan for the first time since the Second World War.


Taxi driving through Tokyo at night. Photo: GETTY

“Prospects for global growth have deteriorated over the past month. The financial crisis remains virulent. Markets have entered a vicious cycle of asset deleveraging,” said the fund yesterday.

Britain’s economy will suffer and will see the steepest decline in G7 club of leading powers, shrinking 1.3pc as the crunch in the City of London leads to more job losses. Germany will decline by 0.8pc, The US and Spain by 0.7pc.

Sending shivers through stockmarkets everwhere, the Fund cut its world outlook next year to just 2.2pc, down from 3pc just a month ago. This is a global recession under the IMF’s 3pc rule-of-thumb.

“Financial stress is likely to be deeper and more protracted than envisaged in October. Markets are pricing in expectations of much higher corporate default rates, as well as higher losses on securities and loans,” it said.

“Activity is increasingly being held back by slumping confidence. As the financial crisis has become more entrenched, households and firms are increasingly anticipating a prolonged period of poor prospects for jobs and profits. As a result, they are cutting back.”

Olivier Blanchard, the IMF’s chief economist, called on authorities around the world to respond rapidly with combined monetary and fiscal stimulus, saying risk on an inflationary surge had subsided as commodities prices slump.

Continue reading »

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Oct 17

Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, warned her US counterpart Hank Paulson that he had to bail out US investment bank Lehman Brothers or face global financial collapse, but her advice went unheeded.

Financial crisis: France's finance minister Christine Lagarde
Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, warned her US counterpart Hank Paulson that he must bail out US investment bank Lehman Brothers or face global financial collapse, but her advice went unheeded. Photo: Reuters

Sources close to Mrs Lagarde said that she had called the US Treasury Secretary – a close personal friend – well before the ailing bank’s collapse imploring him to act, but he chose not to.

Lehman Brothers’ demise sparked the biggest shake-up on Wall Street in decades and sent shock waves around the world that triggered a massive bailout plan in Britain and Europe.

Mrs Lagarde – attributed with playing a key role in brokering a bailout deal among G7 finance ministers in Washington last weekend – dubbed Mr Paulson’s decision to let the bank go under “horrendous” as it triggered panic in markets and banks to the brink of a 1929-style financial meltdown.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, she warned that the world’s hedge funds could be the next institutions to be hit by the financial turmoil.

Mrs Lagarde, a perfect English speaker, said that governments must be “vigilant” over the health of hedge funds. “Initially everybody thought the hedge fund sector would be the first one to actually cause the collapse. They are vastly unregulated, they have been operating at the fringes, at the margin, and we need to be careful that there is no contamination effect,” she said.

Related articles:
Hedge funds shake in the teeth of financial storm
US hedge funds suffer heavy withdrawals

Her warning will send a shiver through the $2 trillion (£1.15billion) hedge fund industry, which has doubled in size in the last three years and proved to be one of the most powerful forces in the global financial system.

Continue reading »

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Oct 13

Why is gold dropping right now when anyone in their sane mind would expect it to rise? The simple answer to this question is, “because Comex-gold isn’t gold” – and because it deceptively pretends to be ‘the’ price-setter for real gold.

Gold is gold, paper is paper, and “Comex gold” is nothing but paper masquerading as gold while simultaneously pretending to be the price-setting medium for actual gold in the world. Now, finally, Comex-gold is in the process of being unmasked.

The real supply and demand determinants for Comex gold are not actual gold investors but fund managers. Fund managers are inextricably intertwined with the world of contract-based credit instruments. They use bet on Comex gold contracts to hedge their other (currently horrendously losing) bets with something they all, in their in-bred belief in paper markets, believe will ‘go up’ in value while everything else is going down.

However, these very same fund managers and their paper-bound investment psychology are the exclusive reason why Comex gold is dropping in these times when everyone (including fund managers) expects gold to rise. As already stated, though, and as they now finally realize to their own dismay, Comex-gold just isn’t gold – and that causes even further selling.

Two Losing Bets, Compounded

Fund managers’ other bets are losing money fast, now, so they need to raise cash to keep up the overall value of their respective funds, so they can earn their management bonuses and avoid getting booted for lack of relative performance. Guess what they cash in on? The very same Comex paper-gold they mistakenly bought as a ‘hedge’, of course.

Meanwhile, real investors in real gold are enjoying their shopping spree – except that the spree turned into a treasure hunt as the shelves and display cases of gold dealers look more and more like the supermarket shelves in the old Soviet Union – bare.

This is the only ‘bare-market’ in real gold the world will see for a long, long time to come.

With this split, this disconnect, between Comex illusion and gold reality, one thing or the other will have to give, and it won’t be physical gold that gives.

Continue reading »

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Oct 12

Government set to become biggest shareholder in top banks as Japanese weigh bid for Morgan Stanley

THE government will launch the biggest rescue of Britain’s high-street banks tomorrow when the UK’s four biggest institutions ask for a £35 billion financial lifeline.

The unprecedented move will make the government the biggest shareholder in at least two banks.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which has seen its market value fall to below £12 billion, is to ask ministers to underwrite a £15 billion cash call.

Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS), Britain’s biggest provider of mortgages, is seeking up to £10 billion.

Lloyds TSB, which is in the process of acquiring HBOS in a rescue merger, wants £7 billion, while Barclays needs £3 billion.

The scale of the fundraising could lead to trading at the London stock market being suspended. This would give time for the market to digest the impact of the moves.

Continue reading »

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Oct 12
Strauss-Kahn said rich nations had so far failed to restore confidence

The world financial system is teetering on the “brink of systemic meltdown”, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned in Washington.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn said rich nations had so far failed to restore confidence, but he endorsed a new action plan by the G7 group.

He also said the IMF was ready to lend to countries in dire need of capital.

The 15 eurozone leaders will meet in Paris later to try to establish a common approach to the markets crisis.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said they would present a number of proposals at the summit to ease the credit freeze that has caused the collapse of several leading international banks.

But after meeting in Paris on Saturday, the two leaders said the summit would not result in a joint financial rescue fund for Europe, in the model of a $700bn rescue by the US government.

Continue reading »

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Oct 08


A security officer stands outside of the Federal Reserve building in Washington on Sept. 16, 2008. Photographer: Jay Mallin/Bloomberg News

Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and four other central banks lowered interest rates in an unprecedented coordinated effort to ease the economic effects of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

The Fed, ECB, Bank of England, Bank of Canada and Sweden’s Riksbank each cut their benchmark rates by half a percentage point. The Bank of Japan, which didn’t participate in the move, said it supported the action. Switzerland also took part. Separately, China’s central bank lowered its key one-year lending rate by 0.27 percentage point.

Today’s decision follows a global meltdown that sent U.S. stock indexes heading for their biggest annual decline since 1937; Japan’s benchmark today had the worst drop in two decades. Policy makers are also aiming to unfreeze credit markets after the premium on the three-month London interbank offered rate over the Fed’s main rate doubled in two weeks to a record. Continue reading »

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Aug 30


Russian soldiers adjust a Russian flag in the South Ossetian city of Tskhinvali (AFP)

The Kremlin moved swiftly to tighten its grip on Georgia’s breakaway regions yesterday as South Ossetia announced that it would soon become part of Russia, which will open military bases in the province under an agreement to be signed on Tuesday.

Tarzan Kokoity, the province’s Deputy Speaker of parliament, announced that South Ossetia would be absorbed into Russia soon so that its people could live in “one united Russian state” with their ethnic kin in North Ossetia.

Continue reading »

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Aug 28


Russia has criticised the US for using naval ships to deliver aid to Georgia

A new Cold War between Russia and the West grew steadily closer yesterday after the Kremlin gave a warning about “direct confrontation” between American and Russian warships in the Black Sea.

Dmitri Peskov, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister, declared that Russia was taking “measures of precaution” against American and Nato naval ships. “Let’s hope we do not see any direct confrontation in that,” he said.

Any attempt by countries in the West to isolate Russia would “definitely harm the economic interests of those states”, he said.

Continue reading »

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Apr 19

Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU’s ‘Mr Euro’, has given the clearest warning to date that the world authorities may take action to halt the collapse of the dollar and undercut commodity speculation by hedge funds.


Jean-Claude Juncker, who is calling for Washington to
take steps to halt the slide of the dollar

Momentum traders have blithely ignored last week’s accord by the G7 powers, which described “sharp fluctuations in major currencies” as a threat to economic and financial stability. The euro has surged to fresh records this week, touching $1.5982 against the dollar and £0.8098 against sterling yesterday.

“I don’t have the impression that financial markets and other actors have correctly and entirely understood the message of the G7 meeting,” he said.

Mr Juncker, who doubles as Luxembourg premier and chair of eurozone financiers, told the Luxembourg press that he had been invited to the White House last week just before the G7 at the urgent request of President George Bush. The two leaders discussed the dangers of rising “protectionism” in Europe. Mr Juncker warned that matters could get out of hand unless America took steps to halt the slide in the dollar. Continue reading »

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Apr 10

A foreclosure sign in Florida. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

America’s mortgage crisis has spiralled into “the largest financial shock since the Great Depression” and there is now a one-in-four chance of a full-blown global recession over the next 12 months, the International Monetary Fund warned today. Continue reading »

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