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.
When it comes to the second coming of the cold war, things are not looking good for the leader of the “Free World”, because for the second year in a row, at least according to Forbes editors, the person whom they have chosen as the world’s most powerful in the world…
While today’s market dump was certainly dramatic, it was a function of the scant liquidity in the market (as we warned would be the case first thing) and outsized moves following last week’s mauling, not the result of any fundamental (or not so fundamental) news.
That could change tomorrow, and change for the worse, because as Barclays reminds us, tomorrow is when the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is scheduled to hear testimony on the ECB’s non-existent Outright Monetary Transactions program (OMT). Recall that the OMT is the imaginary (again: non-existent) byproduct of Draghi’s “whatever it takes” speech: a byproduct that was supposed to exist purely in the imaginary realm (as it was merely a verbal bluff, one which was never meant to be actually activated), and never actually take practical shape (hence, why the OMT’s legal term sheet still does not exist, over two years later).
Sadly for Draghi, and the entire Deus Ex theater that managed to send European peripheral bonds from record wides yields to record low, tomorrow it will attain some much dreaded shape.
And while a ruling on the legal questions forwarded by Germany’s Constitutional Court is not expected this year, the hearing and questions posed by EU judges may give some early insights into their views and to what extent they might share the view of the German court that, unless several restrictions are imposed, the OMT should be considered illegal under European law. Continue reading »
When Mario Draghi set off on his latest quest to slay Europe’s deflation monster, after an endless array of failed alphabet soup programs to inject money into stock markets mysteriously failed to fix Europe’s insolvent economy riddled by record unemployment and trillions in non-performing loans, he clearly was guided by this latest Eurobarometer survey of Public Opinion in the European Union, in which virtually everyone across the board admitted that the most important issue facing the common folk in Europe is plunging prices and crushing deflation.
Oh wait… it says rising prices/inflation.
Well, that’s embarrassing. Please ignore everything we just said, because paradoxically to “fix” Europe, Mario Draghi is desperately trying to make Europe’s biggest problem even worse. Or not: surely this is just a case when the 6 members of the ECB’s executive board “know better” than some 330 million Europeans.Continue reading »
It’s one thing for a tinfoil fringe blog to repeat, month after month, that nothing in Europe has been fixed, that Draghi’s disastrous policies are merely concentraing and stockpiling even more unresolved problems – for now ignored courtesy of the gentle sprinkle of ZIRP, or rather NIRP “fairy dust” – and that just like Portugal showed panic can grip the entire continent literally overnight because everyone knows this. It is something entirely different for the CEO of Europe’s largest insurer to make the same statement.
When asking Allianz SE’s chief investment officer about the euro area’s sovereign debt woes, be prepared for an emphatic response.
“The fundamental problems are not solved and everybody knows it,” Maximilian Zimmerer said at Bloomberg LP’s London office. The “euro crisis is not over,” he said.
While extraordinary stimulus from the European Central Bank has encouraged investors to pile into the region’s government bonds this year, that’s not a sufficient remedy for Zimmerer, who oversees 556 billion euros ($757 billion) at Europe’s largest insurer. Countries are still building up their debt piles, and that’s storing up trouble for the future, he said.
Update: just as expected, the confidence-preservation brigade is quick on the scene:
HUNGARY LOAN-REFUND LAW VIOLATES RULE OF LAW: BANK ASSOCIATION
HUNGARY LOAN-REFUND LAW DAMAGES INVESTOR CONFIDENCE, BANKS SAY
Because clearly marking loans to fair value would crush investor confidence. And clearly investors are dumb enough not to realize that it is precisely by hiding what is beneath the surface, that they have zero confidence in the system.
* * *
Ever since 2012, when we first revealed that the biggest problem plaguing Europe’s financial sector is the $2 trillion+ in bad debt on the books of European banks (not our numbers, the IMF’s), it became clear that the only way Europe can avoid a complete financial meltdown coupled with currency disintegration, is if it can constantly keep rolling over said bad debt (obviously the only way to do that would be to create an epic debt bubble leading managers of other people’s money to do idiotic things like buy Spanish debt at 2.75%). This is why not only the BOJ launched its mega QE in 2013, but why Draghi also kicked in with NIRP a month ago: the logic – do anything and everything to reflate the biggest credit bubble possible as otherwise European banks will have no choice but to face up to their trillions in bad loans. Continue reading »
Flogging savers until their morale improves, that’s how ECB President Mario Draghi is going to fire up the economy in his bailiwick. Among other things, he announced that the ECB would lower key interest rates from nearly nothing to next to nothing and impose negative deposit rates on the reserves that banks stash at the ECB.
The goals beyond destroying savers? Hammering down the euro, but given the efforts by the Fed, the Bank of Japan, and others to hammer down their own currencies, it’s going to be a slog. And motivating over-indebted companies to borrow even more to invest in worthy projects that don’t exist – because if they existed, banks would have already gone after them, awash in liquidity as they are. Continue reading »
Goodbye ZIRP, hello NIRP. Today’s decision by the ECB to officially lower the deposit facility rate to negative (as in you pay the bank to hold your deposits) is shocking, but not surprising: we previewed just this outcome precisely two years ago in “Europe’s “Monetary Twilight Zone” Neutron Bomb: NIRP”
Here is what we wrote in June 2012 about Europe’s unprecedented NIRP monetary experiment.
Just because ZIRP is so 2009 (and will be until the end of central planning as the Fed can not afford to hike rates ever again), the ECB is now contemplating something far more drastic: charging depositors for the privilege of holding money. Enter NIRP, aka Negative Interest Rate Policy.
The European Central Bank and Bank of England on Friday outlined options to reinvigorate the market for bundled bank loans, which was “tarnished” by the global financial crisis, saying a better-functioning market for asset-backed securities can help boost lending to the private sector, particularly small businesses.
Yes, the ECB is now energetically trying to revive the a market for asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) – the very kind of “toxic-waste” that allegedly nearly took down the financial system during the panic of September 2008. The ECB would have you believe that getting more “liquidity” into the bank loan market for such things as credit card advances, auto paper and small business loans will somehow cause Europe’s debt-besotted businesses and consumers to start borrowing again thereby reversing the mild (and constructive) trend toward debt reduction that has caused euro area bank loans to decline by about 3% over the past year.
What they are really up to, however, is money-printing and snookering the German sound money camp. That is, the ECB is getting set to launch QE in financial drag by purchasing or discounting ABCP while loudly proclaiming that it’s not “monetizing” any stinking sovereign debt! Continue reading »
Trends Guru and forecaster extraordinaire Gerald Celente joins Sheila Zilinsky the Weekend Vigilante on his plan for a one-two punch to the globalist agenda and we take back the greatest country in the world
“The European Central Bank has given its strongest signal yet that it is prepared to embrace quantitative easing to prevent the euro zone from sliding into deflation or even a prolonged period of low inflation.”
– ‘Draghi strengthens QE signal’, Financial Times, April 4, 2014.
Yes, heaven protect Europe’s embattled citizens and savers from a prolonged period of low inflation. How could they possibly survive it ? Continue reading »
In what was a shocking and disappointing at the same time decision, overnight the German Constitutional court, which had been contemplating the legality of the ECB’s still non-existent OMT program, conceived in July 2012 to prevent the collapse of the Eurozone and still only existing in Mario Draghi’s head as it has zero legal documentation supporting it, said that, in its judgment, the ECB’s Outright Monetary Transactions program likely exceeded the central bank’s powers.
“There are important reasons to assume that [the OMT] exceeds the European Central Bank’s monetary policy mandate and thus infringes the powers of the member states, and that it violates the prohibition of monetary financing of the budget,” the German court said Friday. “Subject to the interpretation by the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Federal Constitutional Court considers the OMT decision incompatible with primary law,” the German court said.
No sooner had the ECB statement been released with its disappointing lack of unsterlizied QE or negative rate promises than European stocks mini-flash-crashed. Most notable was Germany’s DAX which collapsed over 200 points only and was promptly halted in the futures markets. Only to magically re-appear after the halt almost unchanged…
Following yesterday’s unexpected (if not shocking) news that ministers from Berlusconi’s PDL have resigned en masse in order to push for new elections, leading to the latest Italian government crisis (in a long and distinguished series), Italy’s premier Letta and president Napolitano are scrambling to preserve some stability, and not only they but moments ago Ansa reported that the management and supervisory boards of Italian megabank Intesa are set to meet at 6 pm, as not even the most optimistic see an easy way out of the political dead end Italy has found itself in now.
Europe’s debt-crisis strategy is near collapse. The long-awaited recovery has failed to take wing. Debt ratios across southern Europe are rising at an accelerating pace. Political consent for extreme austerity is breaking down in almost every EMU crisis state. And now the US Federal Reserve has inflicted a full-blown credit shock for good measure.
A leaked report from the European Commission confirms that Greece will miss its austerity targets yet again by a wide margin Photo: Reuters
None of Euroland’s key actors seems willing to admit that the current strategy is untenable. They hope to paper over the cracks until the German elections in September, as if that is going to make any difference.
A leaked report from the European Commission confirms that Greece will miss its austerity targets yet again by a wide margin. It alleges that Greece lacks the “willingness and capacity” to collect taxes. In fact, Athens is missing targets because the economy is still in freefall and that is because of austerity overkill. The Greek think-tank IOBE expects GDP to fall 5pc this year. It has told journalists privately that the final figure may be -7pc. The Greek stabilisation is a mirage.
Italy’s slow crisis is again flaring up. Its debt trajectory has punched through the danger line over the past two years. The country’s €2.1 trillion (£1.8 trillion) debt – 129pc of GDP – may already be beyond the point of no return for a country without its own currency.
Standard & Poor’s did not say this outright when it downgraded the country to near-junk BBB on Tuesday. But if you read between the lines, it is close to saying the game is up for Italy.
Coming off the heels of a fantastic performance in recent local elections, the UKIP under the leadership of Nigel Farage continues to make waves in both the UK and the Continent itself. In this case, I refer to a recent powerful performance at the European Parliament courtesy of Godfrey Bloom (UKIP), member of the European Parliament.
For many years, I have stated that Ben Bernanke was and is committing crimes against humanity, and would one day stand trial much like the war criminals at Nuremberg. It appears I am no longer alone in echoing such sentiments, as Mr. Bloom has just done so before the European Parliament.
I once said that Nigel Farage is Category 5 political hurricane. That hurricane has landed.
“In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. … This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists’ tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists’ antagonism toward the gold standard.” - Alan Greenspan
“By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.” - John Maynard Keynes
Quantitative easing = printing money = creating money out of thin air = increasing the money supply = inflation = hidden tax on monetary assets = theft!
The first time the Status Quo/Troika tried to force a (not so) stealthy gold confiscation on an insolvent European country was back in early 2012, when as part of the most recent Greek bailout MOU, it was disclosed that “Greece’s lenders will have the right to seize the gold reserves in the Bank of Greece under the terms of the new deal.” However, the public outcry was so loud that the Troika had no choice but to shelve its plans and proceed with a full scale bondholder restructuring instead. Fast forward to last week, when Europe’s appetite for physical gold came back with a bang, this time as part of the Cyprus “Debt Sustainability Analysis“, and subsequent comments from Mario Draghi, demanding that tiny Cyprus, whose opposition, already weakened by the confiscation of uninsured deposits would be far less vocal than Greece’s, sell off €400MM, or virtually all of its sovereign gold, over 10 of its 13.9 total tons, to cover the excess costs of its ever ballooning sovereign bailout. Continue reading »