We live in strange economic times, stranger perhaps than at any other point in history. Since 2007-2008, the globally intertwined and dependent fiscal system has suffered considerable declines in every conceivable area. Manufacturing around the world is in a slump, from Japan to China to Europe, with the minimal manufacturing accomplished in the U.S. also fading. Consumption is falling, most notably in petroleum and raw materials. Employment is truly dismal, with the U.S. posting over 94 million people as “non-participants” in the national work force. Continue reading »
Varoufakis said that Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister and the architect of the deals Greece signed in 2010 and 2012, was “consistent throughout”. “His view was ‘I’m not discussing the program – this was accepted by the previous [Greek] government and we can’t possibly allow an election to change anything.
“So at that point I said ‘Well perhaps we should simply not hold elections anymore for indebted countries’, and there was no answer. The only interpretation I can give [of their view] is, ‘Yes, that would be a good idea, but it would be difficult. So you either sign on the dotted line or you are out.’”
– From last year’s post: Everything You Need to Know About the Greek Crisis and ECB Fascism in Two Paragraphs
By now, most of you have heard about Wikileaks’ release of internal deliberations between the top two IMF officials in charge of managing the Greek debt crisis – Poul Thomsen, the head of the IMF’s European Department, and Delia Velkouleskou, the IMF Mission Chief for Greece. Continue reading »
Today’s Wikileaks disclosure, in which two IMF officials hinted that the IMF may use a “credit event as a means to pressurize(sic) Greece” as it has been subsequently put by Greek officials, has elicited another round of widespread anger in Athens and could jeopardize the upcoming Greek debt negotiations.
The anger has been made more acute because Greece previously accused Poul Thomsen, one of the IMF staffers caught on the leak, of effectively sabotaging talks in the past when the IMF refused to compromise on Greek pension cuts after the government proposed alternatives with an equivalent fiscal impact.
As such, hoping to ride on the latest wave of populist anger, it was only a matter of time before the country’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras officially responded to the IMF. Continue reading »
Greek politicians wasted no time in seeking a response from the IMF over the leaked transcript released earlier today by Wikileaks suggesting the IMF may threaten to pull out of the country’s bailout as a tactic to force European lenders to more offer debt relief, and which according to the Greek government was “interpreted as revealing an IMF effort to blackmail Athens with a possible credit event to force it to give in on pension cuts which it has rejected.”
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
I, Michael Hudson, John Perkins, and a few others have reported the multi-pronged looting of peoples by Western economic institutions, principally the big New York Banks with the aid of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Third World countries were and are looted by being inticed into development plans for electrification or some such purpose. The gullible and trusting governments are told that they can make their countries rich by taking out foreign loans to implement a Western-presented development plan, with the result being sufficient tax revenues from economic development to service the foreign loan. Continue reading »
A sharper than expected downturn in China, a soaring USD, sudden bouts of global risk aversion, and escalating geopolitical tensions will conspire to make 2016 a “bumpy ride,” the IMF says, on the way to cutting its forecast for global growth for the fifth time in fifteen months.
PARIS (AP) — International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has been ordered to stand trial in France over her role in a 2008 arbitration ruling that handed 400 million euros ($434 million) to a French business magnate.
A French court ordered the orange-skinned IMF head to finally face trial over her alleged role in the Tapie payout scandal. What is most unexpected about this outcome is that France’s top prosecutor had recommended in September that investigations against Lagarde in the case be dropped.
The IMF has now been drawn into the U.S. Cold War orbit. On Tuesday it made a radical decision to dismantle the condition that had integrated the global financial system for the past half century… By doing so, it announced its new policy: “We only enforce debts owed in US dollars to US allies.”
On December 8, the IMF’s Chief Spokesman Gerry Rice sent a note saying:
“The IMF’s Executive Board met today and agreed to change the current policy on non-toleration of arrears to official creditors. We will provide details on the scope and rationale for this policy change in the next day or so.”
Since 1947 when it really started operations, the World Bank has acted as a branch of the U.S. Defense Department, from its first major chairman John J. McCloy through Robert McNamara to Robert Zoellick and neocon Paul Wolfowitz. From the outset, it has promoted U.S. exports – especially farm exports – by steering Third World countries to produce plantation crops rather than feeding their own populations. (They are to import U.S. grain.) But it has felt obliged to wrap its U.S. export promotion and support for the dollar area in an ostensibly internationalist rhetoric, as if what’s good for the United States is good for the world. Continue reading »
China and Russia too are run by TPTB.
To them this is a big game of chess and the people are the pawns that will be sacrificed.
While the world was following the tragic events unfolding on Friday night in France where hundreds of innocent civilians were killed or injured, an important economic development took place at the IMF, whose staff and head Christine Lagarde, officially greenlighted the acceptance of China’s currency – the Renminbi, or Yuan – into the IMF’s foreign exchange basket, also known as the Special Drawing Rights.
As Reuters summarizes, the recommendation paves the way for the Fund’s executive board, which has the final say, to place the yuan on a par with the U.S. dollar Japanese yen, British pound and euro at a meeting scheduled for November 30. At this point only an explicit veto by US political interests deep behind the stage can derail the CNY’s ascension into the SDR. The United States, the Fund’s biggest shareholder, has said it would back the yuan’s inclusion if it met the IMF’s criteria, a U.S. Treasury spokesperson said, adding: “We will review the IMF’s paper in that light.” Continue reading »
In late October, when describing Venezuela’s desperate steps to keep itself afloat for a few more months, we reported that in order to fund $3.5 billion bond payments in early November, Maduro’s government had engaged in something that is the very definition of insanity: selling the country’s sovereign (and pateiently repatriated by his deceased predecessor) gold to repay creditors.
Specifically, in the past several months, Caracas has quietly parted with 19% of its gold holdings: “Central bank financial statements posted this week on its website show monetary gold totaled 91.41 billion bolivars in January and 74.14 billion bolivars in May. At the strongest official exchange rate of 6.3 bolivars per U.S. dollar, which the bank uses for its financial statements, that decline would be equivalent to $2.74 billion.” Continue reading »
– The IMF Just Confirmed The Nightmare Scenario For Central Banks Is Now In Play (ZeroHedge, Sep 4, 2015):
The most important piece of news announced today was also, as usually happens, the most underreported: it had nothing to do with US jobs, with the Fed’s hiking intentions, with China, or even the ongoing “1998-style” carnage in emerging markets. Instead, it was the admission by ECB governing council member Ewald Nowotny that what we said about the ECB hitting a supply brick wall, was right. Specifically, earlier today Bloomberg quoted the Austrian central banker that the ECB asset-backed securities purchasing program “hasn’t been as successful as we’d hoped.”
Why? “It’s simply because they are running out. There are simply too few of these structured products out there.” Continue reading »
– Putin To Get $3 Billion From US Taxpayers After Ukraine Bond Debacle (ZeroHedge, Aug 28, 2015):
On Thursday, Ukraine struck a restructuring agreement on some $18 billion in Eurobonds with a group of creditors headed by Franklin Templeton. The deal calls for a 20% writedown and a reprofiling that includes a maturity extension of four years and an across-the-board 7.75% coupon. All told, Kiev should save around, let’s just call it $4 billion once everything is said and done (there are some miscellaneous loans and bonds that still have to be worked out).
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that Ukraine also owes $3 billion to Vladimir Putin.
Now obviously, owing Vladimir Putin $3 billion is not a situation one ever wants to find themselves in, but this particular case is exacerbated by the fact that Putin did not loan the money to Ukraine as we know it now, he loaned the money to a Ukraine that was governed by Russian-backed Viktor Yanukovych. Of course Yanukovych was run out of the country last year following a wave of John McCain-attended protests. Continue reading »
– China chooses her weapons (Gold Money Aug 20, 2015):
China’s recent mini-devaluations had less to do with her mounting economic challenges, and more to do with a statement from the IMF on 4 August, that it was proposing to defer the decision to include the yuan in the SDR until next October
The IMF’s excuse was to avoid changes at the calendar year-end and to allow users of the SDR time to “adjust to a potential changed basket composition”. It was a poor explanation that was hardly credible, given that SDR users have already had five years to prepare; but the decision confirming the delay was finally released by the IMF in a statement on Wednesday 19th. Continue reading »
– No SDR For You: IMF Tells China To Wait At Least One Year Until Reserve Basket Inclusion (ZeroHedge, Aug 19, 2015):
If there was any confusion as to whether the recently devalued Chinese yuan would be landing in the IMF SDR basket on January 1, the Fund just cleared it up.
H/t reader squodgy:
“What a connection….Military Industrial Complex AND the Banksters.”
– US Military Uses IMF and World Bank to Launder 85% of Its Black Budget (Anti Media, Aug 13, 2015):
Though transparency was a cause he championed when campaigning for the presidency, President Obama has largely avoided making certain defense costs known to the public. However, when it comes to military appropriations for government spy agencies, we know from Freedom of Information Act requests that the so-called “black budget” is an increasingly massive expenditure subsidized by American taxpayers. The CIA and and NSA alone garnered $52.6 billion in funding in 2013 while the Department of Defense black ops budget for secret military projects exceeds this number. It is estimated to be $58.7 billion for the fiscal year 2015.
What is the black budget? Officially, it is the military’s appropriations for “spy satellites, stealth bombers, next-missile-spotting radars, next-gen drones, and ultra-powerful eavesdropping gear.” Continue reading »
– Goodbye Troika: Germany Rides Into Its Greek Colony On The “Quadriga” (ZeroHedge, July 27, 2015):
With creditors’ motorcades having officially returned to the streets of Athens in the wake of Greek lawmakers’ approval of the second set of bailout prior actions last Wednesday, tensions are understandably high.
After all, these are the same “institutions” which Yanis Varoufakis famously booted from Greece after Syriza swept to power in January, and they’ve come to represent the oppression of the Greek people and are now a symbol of the country’s debt servitude.
Although an absurd attempt was made to rebrand the dreaded “troika” earlier this year, the new and rather amorphous moniker – “the institutions” – never really stuck and perhaps because everyone involved felt the need to put a new name to the group that Greeks regard as the scourge of the Aegean in order to make negotiators feel safer on their trips to Athens, creditors have now added the ESM to their collective and rebranded themselves “The Quadriga.”
– Greek Capital Controls To Remain For Months As Germany Pushes For Bail-In Of Large Greek Depositors (ZeroHedge, July 26, 2015):
Two weeks ago we explained why Greek banks, which Greece no longer has any direct control over having handed over the keys to their operations to the ECB as part of Bailout #3’s terms, are a “strong sell” at any price: due to the collapse of the local economy as a result of the velocity of money plunging to zero thanks to capital controls which just had their 1 month anniversary, bank Non-Performing Loans, already at €100 billion (out of a total of €210 billion in loans), are rising at a pace as high as €1 billion per day (this was confirmed when the IMF boosted Greece’s liquidity needs by €25 billion in just two weeks), are rising at a pace unseen at any time in modern history. Continue reading »
– Was Greece Set Up To Fail? (The Automatic Earth, July 18, 2015):
An entire economy is being deliberately suffocated, and all in all it’s just total madness. Quiet madness, though (update: and then the riots broke out..).
Two things I’ve been repeatedly asked to convey to you are that: Continue reading »
“What Europe Wants” – to use global issues as excuses to extend its power:
- environmental issues: increase control over member countries; advance idea of global governance
- terrorism: use excuse for greater control over police and judicial issues; increase extent of surveillance
- global financial crisis: kill two birds (free market; Anglo-Saxon economies) with one stone (Europe-wide regulator; attempts at global financial governance)
- EMU: create a crisis to force introduction of “European economic government”
– The Shocking 2008 AIG Report On “Empire Europe” And The Death Of Greece (ZeroHedge, July 15, 2015)
Yesterday, Nomura’s Richard Koo presented one of the better assessments of the situation in Greece, when he said that the “IMF is slowly beginning to understand the Greek economy“, which explains its strategic U-turn, one which now demands far greater debt cuts than what Europe, and Germany in particular, is willing to concede. Continue reading »
“Several days ago when we first calculated that the new Greek debt/GDP post bailout #3 will promptly hit 200%, something the IMF agreed with earlier today. But it won’t stop here, and as the following analysis from Michael Lebowitz at 720 Global shows, just based on the country’s negative growth rate and positive interest rate, Greek debt/GDP will keep rising indefinitely and will likely hit 336% in about one decade, at which point Greece will, for all intents and purposes, cease to exist.”
– Greek Debt/GDP: 336% By 2025 (ZeroHedge, July 14, 2015):
Back in 2012, when the IMF forecast that by 2022 Greek debt would become sustainable (under 120%) we laughed, and laughed, then laughed some more (see: The Farcical Tragicomedy Of The “Sustainable” Greek Debt/GDP “Denominator from November, 2012)
Three years later the IMF itself not only admitted its original Greek debt “sustainability” predictions were total garbage (hence our quarterly humor series presenting the latest and greatest IMF projections about world growth), of which the most humorous was its forecast of Greek 2016 GDP growth as the highest in the entire Eurozone…
… but the IMF itself, under pressure from Washington, has become the biggest advocate of debt forgiveness, just not its own debt: that of the ECB will do nicely. Continue reading »
“The dramatic deterioration in debt sustainability points to the need for debt relief on a scale that would need to go well beyond what has been under consideration to date – and what has been proposed by the ESM. European countries would have to give Greece a 30-year grace period on servicing all its European debt, including new loans, and a very dramatic maturity extension, or else make explicit annual fiscal transfers to the Greek budget or accept ‘deep upfront haircuts’.”
Or, more simply: “Mark it zero.”
– IMF Declares War On Germany: In “Secret” Report Lagarde Says Greece Will Need Massive Debt Relief (ZeroHedge, July 14, 2015):
Update: Europe now looks to be in damage control mode. Here’s Reuters:
- EU SOURCE SAYS EURO ZONE LEADERS KNEW OF LATEST IMF DEBT ANALYSIS FOR GREECE BEOFRE AGREEING ON THIRD BAILOUT TERMS
A divide between the IMF and Europe (read: Germany), regarding writedowns on Greece’s debt to the EU has been brewing for quite some time and recently returned to the international spotlight when, a few months back, the Fund indicated debt relief was a precondition for its participation in any further aid for Athens. Continue reading »
– Complete Humiliation: Greek Parliament Pressed To “Approve” German “Coup” (ZeroHedge, July 14, 2015):
Months ago we said the following about the future of Greek politics:
It is becoming increasingly clear that the Syriza show will ultimately have to be canceled in Greece (or at least recast) if the country intends to find a long-term solution that allows for stable relations with European creditors although it may be time for Greeks to ask themselves if binding their fate to Europe is in their best interests given that some EU officials seem to be perfectly fine with inflicting untold economic pain upon everyday Greeks if it means usurping the ‘radical leftists.’
At the risk of overstating the case, that assessment has now proven to be almost entirely accurate. Continue reading »
– Greek bailout deal highlights monumental scale of Syriza’s betrayal (WSWS, July 14, 2015):
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has signed up to an agreement that transforms Greece into a de facto colony of the European Union and places the country under the dictates of Germany.
What remains of the Greek economy, above all its most valuable assets, is to be pillaged so that Athens can continue to pay back loans from the EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Greece is to be placed under the direct control of EU officials. The function of Greece’s parliament will be to rubber-stamp the transfer of real authority to Brussels and Berlin. It has until Wednesday to pass a series of laws implementing the demands of German imperialism and the EU. Continue reading »
– Troika Says Greek Proposal Not Enough To Meet Targets, Serves As “Basis For Negotiations” (ZeroHedge, July 11, 2015):
Tsipras betrayed the public trust last night when we rammed through a draft proposal for a Third Greek bailout, one which would push total Greek Debt/GDP over 200%, which the Greek population overwhelming rejected in a democratic vote last weekend. And now, it is up to Europe to decide if it will trust the Greek government, which clearly has no problem lying to anyone, to implement reforms which Greece has been unable to effect for over 5 years.…
– Peak Central Banker Hypocrisy: ECB Warns On ELA “Moral Hazard” (ZeroHedge, July 7, 2015):
On Monday, the ECB ratcheted up the pressure on the Greek banking sector.
The bank holiday is now in its second week and Greeks have been living with capital controls for nine days. The unequivocal results of Sunday’s referendum suggest that the ‘inconvenience’ of the daily limit on ATM withdrawals and the supplier credit crunch that threatens to empty the shelves at Greek stores hasn’t yet been sufficient to force the country into submission. Continue reading »
– Ahead Of Dark ATMs, Import Shortages, Tsipras Goes Back To Brussels Begging For Bailout (ZeroHedge, July 7, 2015):
On the heels of Sunday’s referendum wherein Greeks essentially gave the greenlight for an unceremonious EMU exit should Europe decide to spurn the IMF and stick to a “no debt relief” policy for Athens, PM Alexis Tsipras and his newly-appointed finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos are making a final push to break the stalemate with creditors before the ATMs go dark and a supplier credit crunch creates widespread shortages of imported goods.
EU finance ministers will convene in Brussels first, followed by a meeting of European leaders which is scheduled to begin at 6 pm local time. According to Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the Greek delegation will table a proposal that looks quite a bit like what voters explicitly rejected on Sunday. Here’s more (Google translated): Continue reading »