The European Central Bank’s decision to reject the Bank of Greece’s request for increases in Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) has, in a nutshell, crushed Greek banks for what appears to be purely political, nogitating-based motives. Greek financial advisor Alcimos (infamous for their heretical comments on the referendum) commenced proceedings before the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union, requesting the annulment of the ECB decisions.
The global and European economies are increasingly dominated by bureaucrats taking arbitrary decisions on capital allocation, with little regard for rules or process. The decisions of the ECB to reject the applications of the Bank of Greece for additional funding under ELA could have only been politically motivated, and therefore in clear violation of the ECB’s independence as enshrined in Article 123 TFEU. It is time for EU bureaucrats to stop acting as autocrats. Continue reading »
It is clear from the EU Finance Ministers’ template-like comments to the press what the real worry is in Europe (and the world). It’s not The Greeks (Schaeuble: “No other decision was possible, no problem with Greek referendum… need to see what happens next”), it’s something else:
*SCHAEUBLE SAYS DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO AVERT MARKET UNEASE
*PADOAN: INSTRUMENTS IN PLACE TO COUNTER POSSIBLE CONTAGION
*DIJSSELBLOEM: OUR INSTITUTIONS ARE PREPARED TO TAKE ANY ACTION
*STUBB: “I DO NOT SEE A RISK OF CONTAGION”
*SCHAEUBLE SAYS WE’LL DO EVERYTHING TO FIGHT CONTAGION THREAT
*PADOAN: IF INSTABILITY, ECB HAS INSTRUMENTS TO INTERVENE
“… the immediate aftermath of such a non-payment will be to push bond yields up across the periphery. This rise in the fiscal risk premium (Exhibit 3) will of course be limited, because the ECB will likely accelerate QE, including via the Bundesbank. That will push rate differentials, especially longer-dated ones, against EUR/$. We estimate that the initial fiscal risk premium effect could be three big figures, while the subsequent QE effect could be worth around seven big figures”
This was not supposed to happen: by now the Greek insolvency “can” should have been kicked, and the Greek government, realizing the money has run out for both the government and the banking system, should have folded to Troika demands, and allow the Troika money to return repaying obligations to the Troika in exchange for more spending cuts.
Instead, the “game theoretical” approach of bluffing until the end, and beyond, has put both countries in a corner from which neither knows how to escape, and with the “final deal deadline” passing this weekend we now have quotes such as this from the EU: Continue reading »
“The head of Germany’s Bundesbank ripped into the European Central Bank on Thursday, saying emergency funding for Greek banks broke the taboo of financing governments and it was not up to central banks to decide who was or wasn’t in the euro zone,” Reuters reports.
Mario Draghi, perhaps blinded by confetti, doesn’t see a scarcity of collateral while HSBC thinks that’s a bit “strange,” and Morgan Stanley doesn’t really see what the problem is even as their own analysis shows that it is now “impossible” for Germany to fully implement their portion of the program under the capital key. Meanwhile, FT thinks it’s possibly important that thanks to the absurd consequences of NIRP-dom, the ECB may soon take the plunge into euro corporate credit sending yields on corporate bonds negative.
You may well have seen the coverage of my intervention in the ECB press conference yesterday, during which I jumped on the table and showered Mario Draghi with confetti. Many people have contacted me on social media since then, asking me why I did it, how I got into the ECB’s inner sanctum so easily, and what stunts I plan in future.
Here, I’ll attempt to answer those questions as comprehensively as I can.
First, the inspiration. Four weeks ago I saw the anti-ECB protest by Blockupy in Frankfurt, my home city. The demonstration was greeted with a massive, draconian police response in the form of tear gas, water cannons and riot shields.
I was shocked. I thought: “the ECB doesn’t have any political mandate, it’s never been elected. Why are the police defending them with such brutal force?” I wanted to to try and take the criticism against the ECB’s policies to the very heart of the organisation, inside their buildings. Continue reading »
and in the face of the overwhelmingly powerful external
environment of the ECB’s monetary police,
sometimes it’s hard to remember.
We own our own lives –
and they’re not the chips in the ECB’s gambling game,
not to be played with, not to be sold, not to be devastated.
We own our own lives!
-will be the outcry of those who face repression,
when we begin to see our poverty not as personal defeat or unchangeable destiny.
master of the universe,
I come to remind you that there is no god,
but there are people, behind those lives,
and if you rule instead of serving,
you will hear our outcries louder, brighter, inside and outside your halls, everywhere, and you shall deserve no rest. Continue reading »
The European Central Bank’s press conference was briefly disrupted by a protester today, who jumped on to the stage and threw confetti. Staff from the ECB are investigating the incident.
Security staff took immediate and effective action.
Initial findings suggest that the activist registered as journalist for a news organisation she does not represent. Like all visitors to the ECB, she went through an identity check, metal detector and x-ray of her bag, before entering the building.
ECB President Mario Draghi remained unharmed and calmly proceeded with the press conference.
It was bound to happen sooner or later: moments ago Mario Draghi was attacked by what appears to be a female (non-Greek) protester screaming “End ECB Dick-tatorship” while delivering his prepared remarks.
Back in January, when European stocks were only starting their unprecedented QE ramp, we presented the “Driver Behind The European Stock Surge” in which we showed that ever since Mario Draghi’s “whatever it takes” speech in July 2012, European equity prices were up 50% (even higher now) even as corporate earnings had actually declined by 7%. Continue reading »
We already know that the Bank of Japan will monetize 100% or just over of all Japanese gross sovereign bond issuance (source). As for Germany, on a run-rate basis, and assuming allocation based on the abovementioned capital key, it means that for the next 12 month period, assuming no major funding changes in Germany, the ECB will swallow more than a whopping 140% of gross German issuance! Or, said otherwise, the entities who will buy more than all gross German and Japanese issuance for the next 12 months, are the ECB and the Bank of Japan, respectively. Continue reading »
The Fed and the ECB know exactly that it is totally insane what they are doing, unless you want to destroy the middle class and the entire financial system, which is exactly what they are doing and deliberately so.
In short, the entire citizenry of the euro area has already become poorer due to the efforts of the ECB. The explicit goal of the central bank is now to make them even more so. What is the point of such a policy?
There is of course a point to this seeming lunacy: it is all done to support the profligate governments of Europe’s welfare states and keep the formation of the socialistic super-state in Europe on track. Whether this is seen as good or bad by the average citizen is not even up for debate: it is simply what the political and bureaucratic elites have long ago decided is good for the citizenry, since they think they know best. One might say that it is up to said citizens to elect someone who would do things differently, but that runs into the practical problem that many, even most, of the political groups offering an alternative are even bigger etatistes than the current elite. Whether they are of the socialist or the nationalist (more precisely, national socialist) variety matters little in this context. One would have to expect them to implement even more central economic planning.
The ECB may succeed in increasing economic activity and prices in Europe (especially the latter) by stepping up the pace of monetary pumping even more. However, this will not create any new wealth and will ultimately only sow the seeds of the next crisis. Since many economic regions in Europe are already very poor structural shape, it is also possible that that not even the illusion of economic growth can be created anymore. Bondholders should however be happy, as they can now unload the debt of governments that are up to their eyebrows in debt that will never be repaid in real terms on a buyer with unlimited buying power.
Perhaps echoing two entire nations’ frustration, one reporter loses his cool when Mario Draghi explains how everyone else in Europe gets free money except Greece and Cyprus…
Having explained that The ECB’s Bond-Buying program wil lnot include Greek and Cypriot bonds, “feisty” veteran Greek journalist Aristidis Vikettos unloads on Draghi… “You’re Biased…” he exclaimed, leaving Draghi speechless
Mario Draghi was left speechless on live television when a feisty veteran journalist accused him of bias during really tense moments at a press conference, following the conclusion of the ECB Governing Council meeting in Nicosia. Continue reading »
The European Central Bank will kick off its monthly €60 billion purchases of government bonds and private sector assets next Monday, said the head of the ECB Mario Draghi.
“Following up on our decisions of 22 January 2015, we will, on 9 March 2015, start purchasing euro-denominated public sector securities in the secondary market. We will also continue purchasing asset-backed securities and covered bonds, which we started last year,” Draghi said in a press-release published Thursday after a news conference in Cyprus.
The programme will last till September 2016, Draghi confirmed. The €1.14 trillion package is hoped to avert deflation and save the eurozone from a triple-dip recession.Continue reading »
With less than 24 hours until the ECB’s meeting at which Mario Draghi and company are set to decide if i) they will increase the current Greek emergency liquidity allotment from €65 billion as a result of the ongoing bank deposit run or ii) reduce – or even outright cancel it – to send Tsipras a message that the time for negotiations is over, Europe is no longer playing Mr. nice guy. In fact, judging by the latest report in Reuters, which may well be nothing but another planted trial balloon (in the aftermath of today’s latest Telegraph revelations one should read everything presented in the media, here certainly included, with a cape-size ship full of salt) Greece can kiss goodbye not only any a loan extension without a bailout “programme” resumption, but also any hope that tomorrow’s its ELA will be increased. Continue reading »
“In short: anyone betting that tomorrow the ECB will extend the Greek last-ditch source of liquidity no questions asked, may want to not hold their breath. And once Greek ELA access is withdrawn, well… Cyprus was called a “blueprint” for a reason.”
As we have consistently shown over the past month, the battle between Greece and the Eurozone is all about leverage, and specifically who has more of it. Furthermore, as we laid it out previously, the best way to quantify this duel of leverage is through two easily observable metrics: the level of Eurozone risk asset prices (if Greek contagion fears were dominant, the Eurostoxx would be tumbling), and the pace of deposit outflows from Greek banks (if the Greeks fear the ECB is about to yank all money they would pull their cash from the bank, in the process forcing Tsipras and Varoufakis to the negotiating table willing to sign anything Europe throws at them).
ECB leverage measured in Greek ATM lines;
Greek leverage measured inversely in the level of the Stoxx 50
Which is why in a Eurozone in which all price levels are now controlled by the ECB, it is not surprising that no amount of huffing and puffing has managed to derail the Stoxx or the Dax even briefly from their relentless surge to all-time highs. Continue reading »
*ECB SAYS IT LIFTS WAIVER ON GREEK GOVERNMENT DEBT AS COLLATERAL
*ECB SAYS IT CAN’T ASSUME SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION OF GREECE REVIEW
What this means simply is that since Greek banks are now unable to pledge Greek bonds as collateral and fund themselves, and liquidity is about to evaporate, the ECB has effectively just given a green light for Greek bank runs, as suddenly it has removed, both mathematically but worse politically, a key support pillar from underneath the already bailed out Greek banking system, (or merely a negotiating move to let Greece see just what kind of chaos this will create ahead of the big D-Day on Feb 25th when ELA could be withdrawn). Continue reading »
In the early 1970s, there were about 200,000 new US businesses created each year (net of closures). Now, the number is negative. Why are Americans getting poorer?Look no further. No new businesses (net). No new jobs (again net). No new wealth. Under Obama and Draghi, crony capitalism flourishes. Real capitalism dies.
I was going to start out saying Thursday was the saddest day in Europe in 50 years, or something like that, because of the insane and completely nonsensical largesse the ECB permits itself to launch, aimed at once again saving a banking system, but which will not only not help the European people, it will make things even much worse than they already are.
I’ve said many times that the EU in its present form should be dismantled tomorrow morning (even though it’s not the same tomorrow morning anymore), and if Draghi’s $1.1 million x million ‘stimulus’ should make anything clear, it’s that the dismantling gets more urgent by the day. Continue reading »
The Keynesian revival that is currently underway in the backrooms and hallways of assorted world governments is being somewhat replicated in Europe this week. It is all predicated on the position that all previous forms of “stimulus” from the fiscal side were not the right size, composition or color for that matter and thus the lack of recovery can be attributed to the impurity of the Keynesian solutions. That is further augmented in especially the Krugman view of “austerity” which has supposedly undercut all the good deeds done by central banks.
Thursday’s press conference with Mario Draghi announcing the QE program ran dangerously into interfering with that Krugman view, while also keeping within the spirit of the “purity” argument. Toward the end of the question and answer session, the ECB’s chief was asked about hyperinflation, as if this latest balance sheet expansion might nudge Europe closer to Weimar. Continue reading »
Given that already surging money supply growth rates in the euro area are now bound to increase at an even stronger rate, economic activity as measured by aggregate statistics is bound to pick up eventually. It is always important to keep in mind though that quantitatively measurable “activity” as such is not telling us anything about its quality. The boom prior to the 2008 crisis was also characterized by a measurable increase in “activity”, but as it turned out, most of it was merely a complete waste of scarce capital.
There is no reason to assume that this time will be different. These boom-bust sequences will continue until the economy is structurally undermined to such an extent that monetary intervention cannot even create the illusory prosperity of a capital-consuming boom anymore.
The bankers applauding Draghi’s actions today will come to rue them tomorrow.
Well, he finally launched “whatever it takes” and that marks an inflection point. Mario Draghi has just proved that the servile apparatchiks who run the world’s major central banks will stop at nothing to appease the truculent gamblers they have unleashed in the casino. And that means there will eventually be a monumental crash landing because the bubble beneficiaries are now commanding the bubble makers.
There is not one rational reason why the ECB should be purchasing $1.24 trillion of existing sovereign bonds and other debt securities during the next 18 months. Forget all the ritual incantation emanating from the central bankers about fighting deflation and stimulating growth. The ECB has launched into a massive bond buying campaign for the sole purpose of redeeming Mario Draghi’s utterly foolish promise to make speculators stupendously rich by the simple act of buying now (and on huge repo leverage, too) what he guaranteed the ECB would be buying latter.
So today’s program amounts to a giant bailout in the form of a big fat central bank “bid” designed to prop up prices in the immense parking lot of French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese etc. debt that has been accumulated by hedge funds, prop traders and other rank speculators since mid-2012. Never before have so few—-perhaps several thousand banks and funds—-been pleasured with so many hundreds of billions of ill-gotten gain. Robin Hood is spinning madly in his grave.
*DRAGHI SAYS TODAY’S MEASURES WILL BOLSTER INFLATION
*DRAGHI CITES SIGNALING EFFECT ON INFLATION EXPECTATIONS
“Different this time?” or “Einsteinian Insanity”?
With The ECB set to announce a QE4EVA-esque bond-buying initiative within the next hour or two, we thought it worth looking at just what The Fed’s balance-sheet experiment did for inflation expectations (the key narrative that is driving Draghi’s decision) and economic growth (what every politician is demanding Draghi help with)…
From “whatever it takes” to OMT to “discussing” bond purchases, with European interest rates at record (incomprehensible) lows (apart from Greece) and EURUSD at 11-year lows (down 25 handles in the last 8 months), Mario Draghi looks set to unleash interventionist ‘hell’ on the investing public in Europe with EUR50 billion (plus plus) of ECB QE per month for as long as it takes.
And then there’s this:
*MERKEL SAYS DEBT CRISIS ‘MORE OR LESS UNDER CONTROL,’ NOT OVER
*MERKEL SAYS ECB IS MAKING AN INDEPENDENT DECISION TODAY
The next time anyone is stupid enough to mention monetary policy “normalization”, either have them read this:
The Bank of Japan’s expansion of record stimulus today may see it buy every new bond the government issues.
The BOJ said it plans to buy 8 trillion to 12 trillion yen ($108 billion) of Japanese government bonds per month under stepped-up stimulus it announced today. That gives Governor Haruhiko Kuroda leeway to soak up the 10 trillion yen in new bonds that the Ministry of Finance sells in the market each month.
Translated: the BOJ will monetize 100% of all Japanese debt issuance (source).
… And this:
in Q1, we expect the ECB to announce a EUR500bn sovereign QE program and buy EMU government bonds according to each EMU country’s ECB capital key contribution. This implies that the ECB would purchase EUR130bn of German bonds, i.e., 90% of the 2015 gross issuance of German Bunds.
Translated: the ECB will monetize 90% of all German debt issuance (source).
Say what you want about Bill Gross, but the legendary bond investor is absolutely spot on in the following paragraph from his latest, December, investment outlook:
How could they? How could policymakers have allowed so much debt to be created in the first place, and then failed to regulate their own system accordingly? How could they have thought that money printing and debt creation could create wealth instead of just more and more debt? How could fiscal authorities have stood by and attempted to balance budgets as opposed to borrowing cheaply and investing the proceeds in infrastructure and innovation? It has been a nursery rhyme experience for sure, but more than likely without a fairytale ending.