Energy is perhaps the most important issue of human civilization at this time, and we are fortunate to bear witness to many exciting changes happening right before our eyes when it comes to creating the shift away from destructive fossil fuel power.
Germany has impressed Europe and the world with its success in providing nearly all of the power for its forward-thinking people from green energy sources. The small but progressive Latin American nation of Costa Rica has been in the spotlight for fueling its entire nation for some 285 days of the year 2015 with renewable energies. The movement towards renewable energy seems to be taking hold in Europe: Continue reading »
Glyphosate testing on urine and food products, carried out by the Portuguese No GMO Coalition in cooperation with the Detox Project, has revealed much higher levels of the World’s most used herbicide in Portugal than in other EU countries.
There has been a heated political and public debate since the release of the results in Portugal and the state-owned TV channel RTP has covered the story all week (see video of top headline news here).
Glyphosate, which is a probable human carcinogen according to the World Health Organization’s cancer agency IARC, is the most used herbicide in Portugal, as it is all over the World. More than 1600 tons of glyphosate are sold every year in the country which, beyond agricultural use, is also sprayed widely in urban areas both by local councils and gardeners. Continue reading »
“The new Portuguese administration is not the first government to resort to asset confiscation and populist expediency. Venezuela and Argentina also belong to this club. The important distinction is that Portugal is a eurozone member state, and its systemically important banks are regulated by the ECB.”
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Anti-austerity lawmakers forced Portugal’s center-right government to resign Tuesday by rejecting its policy proposals at the start of what was supposed to be a second consecutive term in office — and four more years of cutbacks and economic reforms.The government’s dramatic collapse came less than two weeks after it was sworn in and raised questions about debt-heavy Portugal*s commitment to the fiscal discipline demanded of countries sharing the euro currency. Continue reading »
Late last month we highlighted to reappointment of Portuguese PM Pedro Passos Coelho, noting that, in the words of Communist leader Jerónimo de Sousa, the President’s move to ignore the left’s attempt to form a government in the wake of largely inconclusive elections may be a “manifest waste of time.”
As FT put it a few weeks back, “no government on the left or right [can] hope to survive without support from the PS, which won 32.3 per cent [in October]” which means President Anibal Cavaco Silva might have made a mistake in propping up Coelho as the PM’s restoration will only serve to embolden an already angry left coalition.
“The conditions in the economies of the rest of the world have undoubtedly proved weaker compared with a few months ago, in particular in the emerging economies. Global growth forecasts have been revised downwards. This slowdown is probably not temporary.”
Undoubtedly, the most amusing this about the prospect of more easing from the ECB (as telegraphed by Mario Draghi last week) and the BoJ (where Haruhiko Kuroda just jeopardized his status as monetary madman par excellence by failing to expand stimulus) is that both Europe and Japan both recently slid back into deflation despite trillions in central bank asset purchases.
In other words, the market expects both Draghi and Kuroda to double- and triple- down on policies that clearly aren’t working when it comes to altering inflation expectations and/or boosting aggregate demand. Indeed, both Goldman and BofAML said as much last week. For those who missed it, here’s Goldman’s take Continue reading »
Nigel Farage unleashes another of his must-watch rage-fests aimed at the collapse of democracy in Europe. Amid the stunning “democracy crisis” in Portugal, where, as we detailed here, the government has lost its majority but the anti-EU opposition is being prevented from attempting to form a coalition, Farage fumes “this is the modern day implementation of the Brezhnev Doctrine. This is exactly what happened to states living inside the USSR.”
One of his best…
Transcript… (via Order-Order.com),
“This is the modern day implementation of the Brezhnev Doctrine. This is exactly what happened to states living inside the USSR . What is being made clear here with Greece and indeed with Portugal is that a country only has democratic rights if it’s in favour of the [European] project. If not, those rights are taken away. Continue reading »
“Note what’s happened here. The will of the people is now being characterized as a “false signal” to “financial institutions, investors, and markets.”
In other words, what voters want means nothing. This is about what “markets” and “financial instiutions” want. What the electorate wants is nothing more than a “false signal.”
This is precisely what we predicted would happen should the political situation in Portugal not unfold in a way that pleases Berlin and Brussels. Germany and, to a lesser extent, the IMF are now in complete control of the European political process. There’s no “democracy” left. It’s either get with the austerity program and stick with it, or face the consequences which, as we saw with Greece, could entail the closure of banks and the willful destruction of the economy. “
On Thursday evening, we took a close look at how the political landscape has changed in Portugal following inconclusive elections held earlier this month.
For those unaware, the worry in Brussels has always been that either Spain, Portugal or, in a less likely scenario, Italy, would go the way of Greece by electing politicians that would seek to roll back austerity, shun fiscal rectitude, and demand debt relief.
As we’ve noted on any number of occasions over the past nine months, that’s why Berlin adopted such a hardline approach to negotiations with Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis. There was never any hope of setting Athens on a “sustainable path.” It was always about deterring more “meaningful” states from going the Syriza route. Continue reading »
Newly-upgraded Portugal unleashed a budget bombsell on Wednesday when it revised its 2014 deficit higher by some 60% after a failure to liquidate the predecessor to bailed out Banco Espirito Santo left taxpayers holding a €5 billion bag.
– Portugal’s Debts Are (Also) Unsustainable (Sinclair & Co., July 18, 2015):
Everyone seems to be focusing on Greece these days – a country so indebted that it needs even more loans to repay just a fraction of its gigantic credits. Clearly this is unsustainable and something has to give. Even the IMF agrees. But what about the other Southern European countries? Actually, Portugal’s financial situation is looking particularly shaky, and any hiccups could have serious cross-border repercussions from Madrid all the way to Berlin.
– Germany’s Most Noted Euroskeptic Is Now In Control (ZeroHedge, July 12, 2015):
This weekend’s events in Europe have clarified who is really running the show across the ‘union’. Hans-Werner Sinn, Chairman of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, vehemnt euroskeptic, and head of the so-called ‘five wise men’ advising the German government and specifically Angela Merkel, confirmed his call from 2012 for a “temporary grexit from the euro.” The right wing economist previously explained “Greece and Portugal have to become 30-40% less expensive to be competitive again. This is being attempted through excessive austerity measures within the euro zone, but it won’t work. It will drive these countries to the brink of civil war before it succeeds. Temporary exits would very quickly stabilize these countries, create new jobs and free the population from the yoke of the euro.” Anyone positioning for more centrist union-supporting rhetoric, hope is no longer a strategy as the hardest conservatives are now in charge.
… at this very moment, politicians from Spain’s Podemos to Italy Five Star movement are drafting memos demanding that the IMF evaluate their own debt sustainability. Or rather unsustainability.
– Did The IMF Just Open Pandora’s Box? (ZeroHedge, July 3, 2015):
By now it should be clear to all that the only reason why Germany has been so steadfast in its negotiating stance with Greece is because it knows very well that if it concedes to a public debt reduction (as opposed to haircut on debt held mostly by private entities such as hedge funds which already happened in 2012), then the rest of the PIIGS will come pouring in: first Italy, then Spain, then Portugal, then Ireland. Continue reading »
– The Fairy Tale Of Portugal’s Successful Turnaround (The Globalist, March 2, 2015):
For all the attention given to Greece, is Portugal really that much better off?
Even a brief glance at the facts suffices. Portugal is no less bankrupt than Greece. The country’s government debt, at 124% of GDP, might be lower than in Greece. However, government debt is just one – even though important – part of the full debt picture.
On an aggregate level, Portugal’s overall debt level — at 381% of GDP when also including private households and non-financial corporations — is well above Greece’s total debt level (286% of GDP). Continue reading »
– The Economy Of The Largest Superpower On The Planet Is Collapsing Right Now (Economic Collapse, Nov 5, 2014):
How do you fix a superpower with exploding levels of debt, that has a rapidly aging population, that consumes far more wealth than it produces, and that has scores of zombie banks that could collapse at any moment. You might think that I am talking about the United States, but I am actually talking about Europe. You see, the truth is that the European Union has a larger population than the United States does, it has a larger economy than the United States does, and it has a much larger banking system than the United States does. Most of the time I write about the horrible economic problems that the U.S. is facing, but without a doubt economic conditions in Europe are even worse at the moment. In fact, there are many (including the Washington Post) that are calling what is happening in Europe a full-blown “depression”. Sadly, this is probably only just the beginning. In the months to come things in Europe are likely to get much worse. Continue reading »
– Is Portugal Next In Line For Wealth Confiscation? (Doug Casey’s International Man, Aug 22, 2014):
The pattern should be seared in your memory by now. If you fail to recognize it, you could be struck with a huge financial blow.
It’s a pattern that has played out over and over throughout history: a government gets into financial trouble, then denies there’s a problem, which is followed by a surprise wealth grab.
That’s exactly what happened when bank deposits in Spain and Cyprus were raided. We’ve also seen retirement savings confiscated in some form in Poland, Portugal, and Hungary. Capital controls have been imposed in Cyprus and Iceland.
Of course these aren’t the only examples of blatant government thievery. These examples are just within Europe and just within recent years. They can and will happen anywhere. Continue reading »
– 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
– Portugal’s Insolvent Banco Espirito Santo To Be Bailed Out, Existing Equity To Be Wiped Out (ZeroHedge, Aug, 3, 2014):
- Portugal may use the Resolution Fund to recapitalize Banco Espirito Santo, Diario Economico reports, citing unidentified people linked to the process.
- Resolution Fund may inject more than €3 billion
- A “bad bank” may be created for the toxic assets of the credit portfolio
- Solution aims to rescue Banco Espirito Santo without spending taxpayers’ money, and is being prepared by the government and the Bank of Portugal
- From Aug. 4, Banco Espirito Santo will leave the stock market and will be 100% owned by the Resolution Fund, an entity created in 2012 and financed by Portuguese banks and by revenue from the special contribution that the banking sector pays the Portuguese state
– Banco Espirito Santo Plunges: Shareholder Meeting Cancelled Due To “Unexpected Facts” (ZeroHedge, July 29, 2014):
With all other operating holdcos having already declared bankruptcy, the anxiety over Banco Espirito Santo is growing (despite DE Shaw and Goldman Sachs recommending investors buy the shares). Despite Bank of Portugal reassurance last night that “BES is able to raise capital), the stock is plunging on news of “unexpected facts” this morning…
- *BANCO ESPIRITO SANTO SAYS SHAREHOLDER MEETING WAS CANCELLED DUE TO “UNEXPECTED FACTS”
- *BANCO ESPIRITO SANTO FALLS MORE THAN 13% IN LISBON TRADING
Remember, this is systemic (as the Portugues President has warned), and the contagion is potentially global… not “contained.” Continue reading »
– Portugal President Admits Espirito Santo Failure Could Be Systemic As Another HoldCo Goes Bankrup (ZeroHedge, July 22, 2014):
As RioForte joins its parent ESI in bankruptcy, in a strangely honest turn of events from a European leader, Portugal’s President Anibal Cavaco Silva warned on Monday that fallout from the financial troubles of the founding family of Banco Espirito Santo (BES) could affect the wider economy. With Portugal’s hope-strewn GDP growth expectations at only 0.9% for 2014, they do not have much room for disappointment before the nation (whose yields remain near record lows) double- or triple-dips back into recession. Silva concluded, “We cannot ignore that there will be some impact on the real economy,” which is odd given every talking-head has explained it is “contained” and “priced-in.”
Rioforte joins ESI in bankjruptcy…
- *RIOFORTE SAYS IT SEEKS PROTECTION FROM CREDITORS
- *RIOFORTE SAYS FILING IS LINKED TO DIFFICULTIES AT ESI
Just another default in the chain Continue reading »
– Holding Company Of Portugal’s 2nd Largest Bank Just Filed For Bankruptcy Protection (ZeroHedge, July 18, 2014):
Following this morning’s farce of huge investor demand and then Bank of Portugal’s Costa ‘hoping’ for demand from investors willing to pile more money on losing money into Espirito Santo, it appears things have escalated rapidly…
*ESPIRITO SANTO INTERNATIONAL SAYS IT CAN’T MEET OBLIGATIONS
*ES INTERNATIONAL APPLIES FOR `CONTROLLED MANAGEMENT’ REGIME UNDER LUXEMBOURG LAW
The “controlled management” application is the equivalent of declaring a breakup or controlled bankruptcy process (as we explained here). ESI is the ultimate HoldCo in the Banco Espirito Santo family.
– The Next Domino: Espirito Santo Holding Company Preparing To File Bankruptcy (ZeroHedge, July 15, 2014):
While Banco Espirito Santo continues to exist on fumes and life support (that last ditch equity injection by Baupost a week ago may not have been Seth Klarman’s wisest investment), a key link in the Espirito Santo Holding Company structure is preparing to default. According to Reuters:
- ESPÍRITO SANTO GROUPS HOLDING COMPANY RIOFORTE PREPARING TO FILE FOR CREDITOR PROTECTION IN LUXEMBOURG – SOURCES
For those confused, “creditor protection” = bankruptcy.
Which one is RioForte again? We showed this handy org chart a few days ago, here it is again. Continue reading »
– CEO Of Europe’s Largest Insurer Pops The Utopia Bubble: “Nothing Is Solved And Everybody Knows It” (ZeroHedge, July 11, 2014):
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.
– Futures Tumble, Bunds Soar To Record, Gold Surges As Europe Is Broken Again; Espirito Santo Halted (ZeroHedge, July 10, 2014):
But… but… the VIX said everything is ok, and European rates were the lowest they have been in centuries… How can something possibly go wrong?
It just did.
The scandal which we first reported yesterday, after observing the record collapse in the bonds of troubled Portuguese lender Espirito Santo International following the failure to make a bond payment, has quickly escalated and overnight went nuclear. Continue reading »
Always wanted to know the feeling of being in the eye of a monster hurricane?
Well, we all are in the eye of the biggest financial monster hurricane ever created, right now.
It’s already bad, but this is really nothing compared to what is coming.
– Frontrunning: July 10 (ZeroHedge, July 10, 2014):
- Espirito Santo Financial Suspends Shares, Bonds on ESI Exposure (BBG)
- Europe Stocks Drop for Fifth Day as Espirito Santo Sinks (BBG)
- Espirito Santo Creditors Doubt Containment on Missed Payment (BBG)
- French Stocks Seen Extending Losses on Economy Concern (BBG)
- Stocks Slide With Portugal Bonds as Yen Gains; Oil Drops (BBG)
- U.S. Probes Hacking of Government Computers at Personnel Agency (WSJ)… finds terabytes of porn
- It’s Congress’ fault: Obama rejects criticism over border crisis (Reuters)
- Israel Mobilizes 20,000 Troops for Possible Gaza Invasion (BBG)
- Chinese hackers pursue key data on U.S. workers (NYT)
- Donetsk Primed for Siege as Ukraine Army Hems In Rebels (BBG)
Overnight Media Digest
– Portugal’s Largest Bank Misses Bond Payment; Bonds Collapse (ZeroHedge, July 9, 2014):
Brussels, we have a problem. As we warned 6 weeks ago, Espirito Santo International SA – is in a “serious financial condition” according to a central bank driven external audit by KPMG identified “irregularities in its accounts.” Sure enough, the ‘ponzi-like’ maneuvers have left the bank unable to pay its bonds as Bloomberg reports bonds plunged to record lows after a parent company delayed payments on short-term notes. More importantly, given the divisively dependent nature of the domestic sovereign bond market (and hence the health of the EU) and its banking system, it is noteworthy that Portuguese bond risk has surged to 4 month highs with the biggest 2-day spike in a year. As one analyst noted, “The bigger question is whether the government will have to get involved,” leaving the EU taxpayer on the hook once again (for fear of M.A.D. threats) as most critically, it “will have to step in to prevent systemic repercussions?“
Banco Espirito Santo has been “adequately isolated” by the Bank of Portugal from the financial problems, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Luis Marques Guedes said on July 3. The bank was the only one of the three biggest publicly traded Portuguese lenders that didn’t request state aid after the country received a European Union-led bailout in May 2011. Continue reading »
– Snow closes roads in central Portugal (The Portugal News, May 21, 2014):
While most of Portugal is currently experiencing strong winds and lower than average temperatures, residents in the Serra da Estrela in central Portugal have seen roads shut down due to heavy snow falls.
Access to the peak at Torre were cut on Tuesday evening and remained closed on Wednesday morning, local CDOS rescue services said.
The cooler weather is expected to last until Friday before clearing for a more spring-like weekend across Portugal.
– The Countdown to the Nationalization of Retirement Savings Has Begun (International Man – Casey Research, Feb 5, 2014):
Simply put, the new myRA program put forward by Obama is at best a sucker’s deal… or worse, it’s a first step toward the nationalization of private retirement savings. (Note: If you haven’t yet heard of myRA, I’d strongly suggest you read this excellent overview by my colleague Dan Steinhart.)
Even before the new myRA program was announced, there had been whispers about the need for the US government to assume some risk for US retirement accounts. That’s code for forced conversion of private retirement assets into government bonds.
– Europe’s Peak Youth Unemployment Gets Peak-er (ZeroHedge, Nov 29, 2013):
Despite a ratings ‘upgrade’ Spain’s youth unemployment rate has re-surged to a record 57.4% (just below that of Greece which still tops the scary chart list at 58%). Italy and Portugal also saw notable rises (despite the former’s record low short-dated bond yields) at 41.2% and 36.5% respectively. Ireland and France saw modest improvements but overall the Euro-zone’s youth unemployment just keeps rising. In spite of all the rhetoric from Merkel, Van Rompuy, and Barroso, 24.4% of Europe’s under-25 population is unemployed…
– All-Time High Unemployment: The Economic Depression In Europe Just Keeps Getting Deeper (Economic Collapse, Oct 31, 2013):
The unemployment rate in the eurozone is higher than it has ever been before. This week we learned that eurozone unemployment came in at an all-time high of 12.2 percent for September. Back in January 2012, it was sitting at just 10.4 percent. So anyone that believes that “things are getting better” in Europe is just being delusional. In fact, the economic depression in Europe just keeps getting deeper. The funny thing is that the mainstream media will barely call what is going on in Europe a “recession” even though the unemployment rates in both Spain and Greece are now much higher than anything that the United States ever experienced during the “Great Depression” of the 1930s. There haven’t been as many headlines about the financial crisis in Europe lately because the ECB has been papering over the debt problems of the periphery (at least for the moment), but the economic conditions on the ground for average Europeans just continue to get even worse. Later on in this article, you will read about a 25-year-old Spanish man with three college degrees that moved to London in a desperate search for a job who is now cleaning up poop for a living. The economic collapse of Europe continues to march on, and there is no end in sight.
All you have to do is look at the latest unemployment numbers to realize that things are getting worse in Europe. Continue reading »
– 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 »