- World Reserve Currencies: What Happened During Previous Periods Of Transition? (Economic Reason, Aug 11, 2014):
The decline of the US dollar hegemony is ever so clear today and this article aims to provide the reader with what exactly happened during past periods of reserve currency transitions. Historically, when a reserve currency transitioned over to a new one, it marked a pivotal change for the world. The economic paradigm shifted and the rules of the game changed. This time will be no different when the US dollar loses its status as the reserve currency!
The transition process of the world reserve currency brings much uncertainty
- Europe Agrees To Disagree Over New Russian Sanctions (ZeroHedge, July 22, 2 014):
As usual, Europe is talking out of both sides of its mouth (or other orifices). On the one hand, we are told:
- EU foreign ministers failed to agree new sanctions against Russia at a Brussels meeting
And on the other hand:
- Dutch minister says EU imposing new sanctions on officials over Russia
So – which is it Europe? Continue reading »
- ‘Public has no idea how NATO spends money’: Dutch auditors call for more transparency (RT, June 11, 2014):
Dutch auditors claim NATO member states – which contribute to the organization’s budget from a combined $1 trillion in defense spending – are largely unaware of how these funds are being spent, as most of the alliance’s expenditures remain classified.
For decades the accounting records of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which marked its 65th anniversary in April, remained largely ‘blotted out’ as classified, leaving billions of NATO dollars unaccounted for, claim auditors from the Netherlands. Continue reading »
- Massive Explosion Rocks Shell Oil Production Plant In The Netherlands (ZeroHedge, May 3, 2014):
Moments ago a massive explosion, accompanied by a raging fire seen from miles away, occurred at a Shell Oil production plant in Moerdijk, Netherlands, reports the Omroep Brabant. Two “enormously loud bangs” were reported by bystanders. Bystanders reported a pink flash of light followed by flames that were meters high. According to a Dutch reporter, the explosion shook the neighborhood houses as if an earthquake occurred. Marieke van Wijk of the Safety Mid and West Brabant reports that the fire occurred during an exchange of services.
“The blaze is pretty intense and the smoke goes straight up. Hazardous substances are igniting high in the air. “Stay at least always the smoke,” adds the municipality of Moerdijk.
No evacuation of local residents has been ordered so hopefully the damage is contained.
This is what the facility looked like before the accident:
— Martijn Standaart (@MStandaart) June 3, 2014
And this is what it looks like right now: Continue reading »
- Dutch MP Geert Wilders: EU cares about expansion, not Ukraine (RT, May 2, 2014):
The EU is responsible for “the mess” in Ukraine, Geert Wilders, Holland’s Party for Freedom leader, told RT. Wilders wonders why the bloc has got involved in a country where half the population is against joining Europe.
Wilders, who was speaking exclusively on RT’s SophieCo, believes the EU should have kept out of the conflict and only made things worse by giving the country hopes of a pre-accession treaty to the union, when the people of Ukraine were not in unison about joining the organization.
“It was a very delicate balance in Ukraine with 50 percent looking eastwards, towards Russia, and 50 percent of the population looking westwards, towards the European Union. So I think it was very irresponsible what the EU did; they should have kept out of it,” Wilders said.
- NATO To Boost Air, Warship Presence Around Russia; Netherlands May Deploy F-16s To Ukraine (ZeroHedge, April 16, 2014):
If there is was one way to assure a certain escalation in Ukraine hostilities beyond what has already happened, it is for NATO to do precisely what Russia warned it should not do: build up its presence in the surrounding countries. Which is why we find it somewhat puzzling that NATO announced it would do just this when as the Guardian reported, the military alliance said it would step up its presence around Russian borders to “reassure eastern European member states.” Continue reading »
-ABN Amro Ex-CEO Found Dead (ZeroHedge, April 6, 2014):
A mere two weeks since former JPMorgan banker, Kenneth Bellando jumped to his death, Bloomberg reports that the former CEO of Dutch Bank ABN Amro (and his wife and daughter) were found dead at their home after a possible “family tragedy.” This expands the dismal list of senior financial services executive deaths to 12 in the last few months. The 57-year-old Jan Peter Schmittmann, was reportedly discovered by his other daughter when she arrived home that morning. Police declined to comment on the cirumstances of his (and his wife and daughter’s) death. This is not the first C-level ABN Amro banker to be found dead. In 2009, former CFO Huibert Boumeester was discovered with (assumed self-inflicted) shotgun wounds.
Former ABN Amro Group NV Netherlands Chief Executive Officer Jan Peter Schmittmann, his wife and a daughter were found dead at their home today after a possible “family tragedy,” Dutch police said.
“The bodies of a father and mother and their daughter were found at the property” in the town of Laren, 32 kilometers (20 miles) southeast of Amsterdam, Dutch police said in a statement on their website today. Leonie Bosselaar, a police spokeswoman, said in a telephone call with Bloomberg News that the deceased were Schmittmann and two family members.
- Dutch government to pay Microsoft ‘millions’ to extend XP support (Dutch News, April 4, 2014):
The Dutch government has signed a ‘multi-million euro’ deal with Microsoft for continued support for its Windows XP systems, according to website Webwereld.
Between 34,000 and 40,000 Dutch national government civil servants are still using computers equipped with Windows XP, even though Microsoft is ending its support for the programme this month.
- Dutch court rules in favor of unblocking Pirate Bay as ban ‘ineffective’ (RT, Jan 29, 2014):
People in the Netherlands will soon have access to The Pirate Bay, one of the world’s most censored file-sharing websites, as a court in The Hague ruled that Dutch ISPs need to stop blocking the site after the ban proved ineffective against piracy.
The Court of The Hague released its verdict that two leading ISPs operating in the country – XS4All and Ziggo – no longer have to block access to file sharing website The Pirate Bay.
- Netherlands loses ‘AAA’ credit rating at S&P (MarketWatch, Nov 29, 2013):
LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — Standard & Poor’s on Friday downgraded its long-term sovereign credit rating on the Netherlands to AA+ from AAA, citing growth concerns. S&P said the country’s growth prospects are weaker than it had previously anticipated. “We do not anticipate that real economic output will surpass 2008 levels before 2017, and believe that the strong contribution of net exports to growth has not been enough to offset a weak domestic economy,” S&P said in a statement. The outlook is stable, reflecting the agency’s view “that risks stemming from low growth and the related fiscal outturn are balanced against strong export performance, a net creditor position, and high GDP per capita.”
- Alcoholics paid with beer to clean Amsterdam’s streets (RT, Nov 19, 2013):
In order to keep Amsterdam clean, the city now hires chronic alcoholics. For five cans of beer, tobacco and about $13 in cash per day they have to sweep the city’s streets. The new project aims at tackling anti-social behavior by keeping addicts busy.
Alcoholics start their work day at 9 am – not with brooms in hands, but rather with two cans of beer. They end their work at 3 pm – also with a can of beer. Sometime in the afternoon anti-social workers are offered a hot meal, which is served with two cans of beer.
For every day they turn up at work, the Rainbow Foundation that runs the project gives alcoholics, in addition to beer, 10 euro ($13) and a half-pack of rolling tobacco.
Continue reading »
- The Chinese Can Now Buy Real Estate and the Dutch Can Order Food Online with Bitcoin (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Nov 9, 2013):
Understandably, pretty much all of the focus on Bitcoin as of late has been on price appreciation considering the extraordinary move it has undergone. Specifically, it has quadrupled in value from the post Silk Road shutdown lows a little over a month ago. While understandable, it’s a bit unfortunate at the same time. The focus on price is taking away from the great strides being made in its acceptance, and at the end of the day, it is acceptance that gives ultimate value to Bitcoin not buyers and sellers. In that spirit, I want to highlight two recent significant early adopters of Bitcoin, both overseas.
Soft drinks should carry tobacco-style warnings that sugar is highly addictive and dangerous, a senior Dutch health official has warned.
- Sugar is ‘addictive and the most dangerous drug of the times’ (Telegraph, Sep 17, 2013):
Paul van der Velpen, the head of Amsterdam’s health service, the Dutch capital city where the sale of cannabis is legalised, wants to see sugar tightly regulated.
“Just like alcohol and tobacco, sugar is actually a drug. There is an important role for government. The use of sugar should be discouraged. And users should be made aware of the dangers,” he wrote on an official public health website.
“This may seem exaggerated and far-fetched, but sugar is the most dangerous drug of the times and can still be easily acquired everywhere.”
Mr Van der Velpen cites research claiming that sugar, unlike fat or other foods, interferes with the body’s appetite creating an insatiable desire to carry on eating, an effect he accuses the food industry of using to increase consumption of their products.
- Euro Area Government Debt Rises To New Record High (ZeroHedge, July 22, 2013):
While the European economy may be moving in a straight line from upper left to lower right, the same can not be said for the level of debt in Europe, which has taken on the inverse trajectory. As per the just released quarterly update of Euro area government debt, in Q1 2013, total government debt in Europe as a % of GDP just hit a new all time high of 92.2%. This compares to 90.6% in the previous quarter, and up from 88.2% in Q1 2012.
The proud Q1 debt-to-GDP outliers, where the local economies are expected to continue plunging and thus send the stock markets (if mostly that in the US) surging, are the following: Continue reading »
From the article:
… house prices fell by -8% in the year to December 2012 to be down -18% since prices peaked in 2008, pulling many Dutch households into negative equity …
- Netherlands on Edge of Economic Crisis; Unemployment Surges as Home Prices Collapse (Global Economic Analysis, April 21, 2013):
Netherlands is underwater in more ways than one. Der Spiegel reports Underwater: The Netherlands Falls Prey to Economic Crisis
More than a decade ago, the Dutch central bank recognized the dangers of [the housing] euphoria, but its warnings went unheeded. Only last year did the new government, under conservative-liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte, amend the generous tax loopholes, which gradually began to expire in January. But now it’s almost too late. No nation in the euro zone is as deeply in debt as the Netherlands, where banks have a total of about €650 billion in mortgage loans on their books.
Consumer debt amounts to about 250 percent of available income. By comparison, in 2011 even the Spaniards only reached a debt ratio of 125 percent.
The Netherlands is still one of the most competitive countries in the European Union, but now that the real estate bubble has burst, it threatens to take down the entire economy with it. Unemployment is on the rise, consumption is down and growth has come to a standstill.
Even €46 billion in austerity measures are apparently not enough to remain within the EU debt limit. Although [Dutch Finance Minister and Euro Group Chief] Jeroen Dijsselbloem has announced another €4.3 billion in cuts in public service and healthcare, they will only take effect in 2014.
“Sticking the knife in even more deeply” would be “very, very unreasonable,” Social Democrat Dijsselbloem told German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, in an attempt to justify the delay.
- UNPRECEDENTED Shortages Of Ammo, Physical Gold And Physical Silver (Economic Collapse, April 25, 2013):
All over the United States we are witnessing unprecedented shortages of ammunition, physical gold and physical silver. Recent events have helped fuel a “buying frenzy” that threatens to spiral out of control. Gun shops all over the nation are reporting that they have never seen it this bad, and in many cases any ammo that they are able to get is being sold even before it hits the shelves. The ammo shortage has already become so severe that police departments all over America are saying that they are being told that it is going to take six months to a year to get their orders. In fact, many police departments have begun to trade and barter with one another to get the ammo that they need. Meanwhile, the takedown of paper gold and paper silver has unleashed an avalanche of “panic buying” of physical gold and physical silver all over the planet. In the United States, some dealers are charging premiums of more than 25 percent over the spot price for gold and silver and they are getting it. People are paying these prices even though they are being told that delivery will not happen for a month or two in many cases. Some dealers are feverishly taking as many orders as they can, and they are just hoping that they will be able to get the physical gold and silver to eventually fill those orders. Personally, I have never seen anything like this. If things are this tight now, what is going to happen when the next major financial crisis strikes and people really begin to panic? Continue reading »
- Holland: “An Economy On The Brink” (ZeroHedge, April 2, 2013):
Infamous for little boys plugging holes with their fingers and grown-ups plugging their mouth with their foot (D-Boom), it seems Holland, Berlin’s most important ally in the goal of greater fiscal discipline in Europe, has fallen into an economic crisis itself. As Spiegel reports, the once exemplary economy is suffering from huge debts and a burst real estate bubble, which has stalled growth and endangered jobs.
The statistics make for some worrisome reading: no nation in the euro zone is as deeply in debt as the Netherlands, where banks have a total of about €650 billion in mortgage loans on their books; consumer debt amounts to about 250% of available income – by comparison, in 2011 even the Spaniards only reached a debt ratio of 125%; unemployment is on the rise; consumption is down; and growth has come to a standstill.
The trouble for Holland is that despite their proclamations of the need for Fiscal conservatism, even EUR46 billion in austerity measures are apparently not enough to keep the nation’s deficit within the EU debt limit. The Dutch were long among Europe’s most diligent savers, and in the crisis many are holding onto their money even more tightly, which is also toxic to the economy, as “one of the main problems is declining consumption.”
The nationalization on SNS in February brought this reality home and as Spiegel reports, “there is no end to the crisis in sight.”
- Another Gold Shortage? Dutch ABN To Halt Physical Gold Delivery (ZeroHedge, March 24, 2013):
Based on a letter to clients over the weekend, it appears Dutch megabank ABN Amro is changing its precious metals custodian rules and “will no longer allow physical delivery.” Have no fear, they reassuringly add, your account will be settled at the bid or offer price in the ‘market’ and “you need to do nothing” as “we have your investments in precious metals.”
Via Google Translate,
Changes in the handling of orders in bullion
On 1 April 2013,. ABN AMRO to another custodian for the precious metals gold, silver, platinum and palladium. This we your investments in precious metals otherwise handle and administer. In this letter you can read more about it.
- Dutch SNS Bank Fails On Real Estate Losses: First “Too Big To Fail” Nationalization In Five Years (ZeroHedge, Feb 1, 2013):
Earlier today we got one hint that not all is well in the European banking system, as far less than the expected €200 billion was tendered back to the ECB in the second LTRO repayment operation, when just 27 banks paid back some €3.5 billion. Another, perhaps far bigger one, comes courtesy of AAA-rated Netherlands, which just experienced its first bank failure since 2008 following the nationalization of SNS Reall NV, as the previously announced bad loan writedown finally claimed the bank. As a reminder, half a month ago we got news that “SNS Reaal NV (SR), a Dutch bank and insurer struggling to wind down a money-losing real estate lending unit, fell the most in more than two months after a report said it may have to post a 1.8 billion-euro ($2.4 billion) writedown on property-finance loans.” Today we got the inevitable conclusion: nationalization, one which will cost taxpayers about $5 billion to avoid contagion to what many see as Europe’s “strongest” banking system.
The move, aimed “at stabilizing the SNS Reaal group,” will cost taxpayers 3.7 billion euros ($5 billion), the Dutch Finance Ministry said in a statement today. SNS’s property- finance unit will be separated from the company.
- Irish plant shuts over new horsemeat in burgers (Businessweek, Jan 18, 2013)
- Tesco withdraws over 10 million beef burgers in UK, Ireland after horsemeat discovery (allvoices, Jan 18, 2013)
- Horse meat supplier still operating in the Netherlands with authorities refusing to name and shame the Dutch company (Daily Mail, Jan 18, 2013)
- Horse meat in supermarket burgers linked to Dutch suppliers (Telegraph, Jan 18, 2013)
– Horse Meat Found in Irish Beef Burgers (TIME, Jan 17, 2013)
Hundreds of youths gather in Haren, northern Netherlands, on September 21, 2012
- Hell of a hangover: 3,000-strong Facebook party leaves Dutch town ravaged (VIDEO, PHOTOS) (RT, Sep 22, 2012):
A Dutch girl had a most memorable, if unpleasant, birthday party when some 3,000 people showed up in her small hometown. The crowd – attracted by her invitation, which accidentally went viral – looted shops and clashed with riot police.
Six people were reportedly injured overnight in the town of Haren in the north of the country, as violence raged across the normally sleepy community. A car was set on fire, several shops looted and street signs and lampposts vandalized.
Dutch police eventually broke up the crowd, which was throwing stones, bottles and flower pots at the officers. Some 20 people were arrested.
The rioting was the culmination of an online campaign, which started when a girl posted a video invitation to her 16th birthday party on her Facebook page and forgot to mark it as private.
The news went viral, and several sites dedicated to the forthcoming event popped up. The party was dubbed “Project X Haren” by some, in reference to a US-made comedy film about a similarly disastrous incident.
Continue reading »
- Dutch unleash intelligent robot bins: No ID, no rubbish (The Register, Sep 12, 2012):
The Netherlands is rolling out intelligent bins that demand ID before accepting rubbish, and let the truck know when they need to be emptied, pointing towards the day when we’ll all have to pay for the stuff we throw away.
Altogether 6,000 intelligent bins are being deployed across The Netherlands, and green think tank Environmental Resource Management has calculated that just one of the cities involved (Groningen) saved itself £72,000 in the first year of deployment, and reduced its carbon footprint by 18 per cent, though the council seems more interested in the reduction in thefts of bins and ability of the system to prevent locals knocking up their own.
The robo-bins have an RFID reader in the lid, and will only open when presented with some ID. The quantity of rubbish is then used to calculate the customer’s bill, but things going into the recycling pile are free – so the scheme drives recycling. The bins also know how much rubbish has been dumped, so they use their embedded phone to call up a truck over Vodafone’s GPRS network when they’re full, reducing the distance trucks have to drive.
- 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.
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 »
- Moody’s Changes Aaa-Rated Germany, Netherlands, Luxembourg Outlook To Negative (ZeroHedge, July 23, 2012):
In a first for Moody’s, the rating agency, traditionally about a month after Egan Jones (whose rationale and burdensharing text was virtually copied by Moody’s: here and here), has decided to cut Europe’s untouchable core, while still at Aaa, to Outlook negative, in the process implicitly downgrading Germany, Netherlands and Luxembourg, and putting them in line with Austria and France which have been on a negative outlook since February 13, 2012.The only good news goes to Finland, whose outlook is kept at stable for one simple reason: the country’s attempts to collateralize its European bailout exposure, a move which will now be copied by all the suddenly more precarious core European countries.
From the report:
Moody’s changes the outlook to negative on Germany, Netherlands, Luxembourg and affirms Finland’s Aaa stable rating
London, 23 July 2012 — Moody’s Investors Service has today revised to negative from stable the outlooks on the Aaa sovereign ratings of Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. In addition, Moody’s has also affirmed Finland’s Aaa rating and stable outlook.
All four sovereigns are adversely affected by the following two euro-area-wide developments:
1.) The rising uncertainty regarding the outcome of the euro area debt crisis given the current policy framework, and the increased susceptibility to event risk stemming from the increased likelihood of Greece’s exit from the euro area, including the broader impact that such an event would have on euro area members, particularly Spain and Italy.
2.) Even if such an event is avoided, there is an increasing likelihood that greater collective support for other euro area sovereigns, most notably Spain and Italy, will be required. Given the greater ability to absorb the costs associated with this support, this burden will likely fall most heavily on more highly rated member states if the euro area is to be preserved in its current form.
- The Perfect Storm – Santelli Meets Farage (ZeroHedge, July 9, 2012):
The undisputed champion of European political ranting (UKIP’s Nigel Farage) discussed the sad reality of Europe’s inevitable demise with the reigning US chief of non-hype Rick Santelli in a no-holds-barred cage-match of like-minded skeptics. From Rajoy’s incompetence to the ‘genius of mutual indebtedness’, Farage explains the problem is ‘bedeviled with complexity’ as, for example, the last summit left “the Finnish and Dutch finance ministers leaving with a very different perspective on what happened than the rest” and now even Merkel is arguing domestically what she has and has not agreed to. From the simple self-referential idiocy of Spain’s EUR100 billion bailout – that creates vicious circles on all the peripheral ‘bailing’ nations; to “the same bundle of money going round and round in circles” leaving Nigel tempted to describe it as “a giant ponzi scheme”; Santelli, not to be outdone, explains how the US is just such a money-circulating ponzi scheme as “one part of the government issues debt as another part is buying”. The ECB, of course, is becoming plagued with more and more of the ponzi-like peripheral paper and as Farage notes “the day Greece leaves the Euro – and it will – the ECB is left with a massive paper loss” leaving the ECB under-capitalized – which in all its wonderful craziness means “it has to go and get fresh capital from the other countries that themselves have been bailed out and are in fact in trouble”. A farcical perfect storm as the “medicine is killing the patient”, and he fears if the nettle is not grasped (Euro break-up) now then the markets will overwhelm the whole thing this summer.
If the clip is not working (since it seems CNBC has been a little flaky with this embed – perhaps due to its rough content) – here is the link to the clip.
Tags: Angela Merkel, Banking, Collapse, Debt, ECB, Economy, ESM, EU, Euro, Europe, Finland, Germany, Global News, Government, Greece, Holland, Nigel Farage, Politics, Ponzi schemes, Rick Santelli, Society, U.S.
YouTube Added. 19.06.2012
- Farage On Barroso: “He’s A Deluded Communist Idiot” (ZeroHedge, June 20, 2012):
Commenting on the incredible circle-jerk that Europe (sovereign-to-banking-system) has become, the outspoken UKIP MEP Nigel Farage exclaimed to FOX Business in this best-ever-rant clip that “The whole thing is a giant Ponzi scheme, isn’t it?” Goaded somewhat by the interviewer’s questions citing Barroso’s intimation that the US is to blame for Europe’s problems, Farage opines that “Barroso is a deluded idiot” and a communist who supported Chairman Mao. The contagion effect from the US financial crisis did have impacts on Europe, there is no doubt, but as the frustrated Farage notes: the reason the Euro is in the state it is in is that they put together a completely artificial currency with countries that never fitted together on top of which was added a regulatory cost burden through excess regulation on the environment and employment legislation that is driving parts of Europe towards being a third world country; “America, you are not to blame”. The clip goes on to discuss the circular bailout fantasy, the taxpayer burden leading to a democratic revolution, and at the end of the day “this whole thing is going bust” as the likable libertarian notes that European leaders believe that “well-educated bureaucrats know better than we the poor peasants how best our lives should be led” which is the same path that led to the economic and social crash-and-burn in the Soviet Union.
An Epic Rant…