Jul 12

- Spanish Banks Petition To Convert Historical Losses Into Bank Capital (ZeroHedge, July 12, 2013):

In what has to be the most insane level of desperation, the Spanish banking system is lobbying to turn its deferred tax ‘assets’ into fungible capital to meet new stricter Basel III requirements. In other words, the Spanish banks believe that capitalizing historical losses provides a fungible ‘stash’ of capital against future losses… Following this morning’s round of incredulity from the Spaniards, we have no words…

Via Reuters,

Spanish banks are lobbying the government to turn more than two thirds of their 50 billion euros ($65 billion) in deferred tax assets into state-backed tax credits that would boost their capital but add to the state’s debt, three banking sources said.

The so-called deferred tax assets (DTAs) are created when a bank makes losses or writedowns that it can offset against future tax bills when it returns to profit.

Under stricter Basel III rules on capital, being phased in as of January 2014, most forms of DTAs will no longer be allowed to count towards capital, while tax credits will be.

Spanish banks are asking the government to convert between 15 billion and 30 billion euros of their DTAs into tax credits, the banking sources said.

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Jul 12

- Meanwhile, In A (European) Galaxy Far, Far Away… (ZeroHedge, July 10, 2013):

Submitted by Bill Blain of Mint Partners,

Another day of fraught wonderment ahead of us. What does it all mean? China economic data increasingly suggests there is a serious problem, (that’s still a few points below crisis – but recent experience suggests the politics of mobs can turn ugly with surprising speed!). On the other hand, yesterday’s US auctions went swimmingly well – so we can all relax about the taper? Er.. no. And while Spain gets a cheeky 15-yr bond issue completed (driven on the back of a large single order we strongly suspect), the Italians then get downgraded because of the weakening economy, deteriorating competitiveness and 1.9% negative growth outlook… “You can’t make this stuff up,” comments Chris, my head of Govvie Trading. Continue reading »

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Jun 14

- Spain’s Debt Surges To Record High At Accelerating Pace (ZeroHedge, June 14, 2013):

Somewhere deep down inside the European Union’s leaders must know how foolish they are with their constant proclamations that the worst of the crisis is over and that growth will return any moment now. For now, the realists in the market have to be content with hard data, and as AP reports, Spain’s central bank reports the troubled nation’s debt jumped to a record 88.2% of GDP in Q1 2013. The year-over-year rise is also the fastest on record – so no green shoot there as the bank notes it expects the debt burden to rise to 90.5% of GDP by the end of 2013 (but may revise that forecast – up). The raw numbers are awesome. Spain’s debt was EUR 922.8 billion at the end of March – up 19.1% from a year earlier and with unemployment at 27.2% and a fourth year of recession, the more-than-doubling of debt-to-GDP in the last five years suggests the ‘OMT call’ may be getting closer. The stagflationary slump in Europe (inflation rising faster than expected as growth lags) continues with nearly 20 million people out of work across the region.

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Jun 12

- Europe’s EUR500 Billion Quasi-Quantitative Easing (ZeroHedge, June 12, 2013):

Submitted by Mark J. Grant, author of Out of the Box, Five Eurozone countries now have loans for half a trillion Euros.

These members of the Euro currency union are receiving loans from the one of two bailout funds which are financed by the other 12 Eurozone members. On top of that are the emergency loans from the International Monetary fund (IMF) and bilateral loans from the solvent countries to the bankrupt nations. Continue reading »

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Jun 06

Related info:

- Bilderberg 2013: Full List Of Attendees

- British Taxpayers To Pay ‘MILLIONS’ Towards Secretive BILDERBERG Meeting Security


Conspiracy theorists claim it is a shadow world government. Former leading members tell the Telegraph it was the most useful meeting they ever went to and it was crucial in forming the European Union. Today, the Bilderberg Group meets in Britain.

- Bilderberg Group? No conspiracy, just the most influential group in the world (Telegraph, June 6, 2013):

“The abuse is terrible,” said Peter Mandelson, leading the walking party through the throng of protesters and carrying the group’s uniform orange ski jacket under his arm.

Amid the din, Peer Steinbruck, the former German Finance Minister, pointedly refused to break off his conversation with Thomas Enders, the head of defence giant EADS. Behind him, Eric Schmidt, the Google chairman, picked up the pace along the narrow road and kept his eyes fixed on the Suvretta hotel ahead. Franco Bernabe, the vice chairman of Rothschild Europe, grinned through the chorus of booing and chanting in German down megaphones, before ducking under the police tape and into the safety of the hotel’s grounds.

It was June 2011. Demonstrations were sweeping through the stricken eurozone, China and North Africa. And in tranquil St Moritz, high in the Swiss alps, half a dozen of the most powerful men in the West had taken a break from a weekend of intensive and strictly confidential debate to walk in the woods, when their paths crossed with the protesters who had come from around the world to keep an eye on them.

The gathering was entirely innocent, the walking party would insist. But what were they doing there?

No such encounters will take place in Watford this week, as the Bilderberg, the annual conference for 140 of the world’s most powerful, meet for four days at The Grove, a £300-a-night golf hotel close to the M25. The entire hotel has been booked out, and a high fence erected around the exclusion zone. Armed checkpoints have been set up on local roads, and locals must show their passports to enter their own driveways. The Home Office may foot the bill. A US news site dedicated to uncovering conspiracies had booked a room for last week but were told by phone not to turn up.

Continue reading »

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Jun 04

- 18 Signs That Massive Economic Problems Are Erupting All Over The Planet (Economic Collapse, June 2, 2013):

This is no time to be complacent.  Massive economic problems are erupting all over the globe, but most people seem to believe that everything is going to be just fine.  In fact, a whole bunch of recent polls and surveys show that the American people are starting to feel much better about how the U.S. economy is performing.  Unfortunately, the false prosperity that we are currently enjoying is not going to last much longer.  Just look at what is happening in Europe.  The eurozone is now in the midst of the longest recession that it has ever experienced.  Just look at what is happening over in Asia.  Economic growth in India is the lowest that it has been in a decade and the Japanese financial system is beginning to spin wildly out of control.  One of the only places on the entire planet where serious economic problems have not already erupted is in the United States, and that is only because we have “kicked the can down the road” by recklessly printing money and by borrowing money at an unprecedented rate.  Unfortunately, the “sugar high” produced by those foolish measures is starting to wear off.  We are going to experience a massive amount of economic pain along with the rest of the world – it is just a matter of time.

But for the moment, there are a lot of skeptics out there.

For the moment, there are a lot of people that are declaring that the problems of the past have been fixed and that we are heading for incredibly bright economic times ahead.

Unfortunately, those people appear to be purposely ignoring the economic horror that is breaking out all over the globe.

The following are 18 signs that massive economic problems are erupting all over the planet… Continue reading »

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Jun 03

- The Full List Of 2013′s Bilderberg Attendees (ZeroHedge, June 3, 2013):

The only thing more ominous for the world than a Hindenburg Omen sighting is a Bilderberg Group meeting. The concentration of politicians and business leaders has meant the organisation, founded at the Bilderberg Hotel near Arnhem in 1954, has faced accusations of secrecy. Meetings take place behind closed doors, with a ban on journalists. We suspect the agenda (how the US and Europe can promote growth, the way ‘big data’ is changing ‘almost everything’, the challenges facing the continent of Africa, and the threat of cyber warfare) has been somewhat re-arranged as market volatility picks up and the status quo begins to quake once again.  The annual gathering of the royalty, statesmen, and business leaders, conspiratorially believed to run the world (snubbing their Illuminati peers and Freemason fellows), will take place this week at the Grove Hotel in London, England.

The Telegraph provides the full list of attendees below – for those autogrpah seekers – including Britain’s George Osborne, US’ Henry Kissinger, Peter Sutherland (the chairman of Goldman Sachs), the Fed’s Kevin Warsh, Jeff Bezos?, Peter Thiel, Italy’s Mario Monti, and Spain’s de Guindos.

Bilderberg delegates in full

  • Chairman: Henri de Castries, Chairman and CEO, AXA Group
  • Paul M. Achleitner, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Deutsche Bank AG
  • Josef Ackermann, Chairman of the Board, Zurich Insurance Group Ltd
  • Marcus Agius, Former Chairman, Barclays plc
  • Helen Alexander, Chairman, UBM plc Continue reading »

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May 26

- The Rout In Spain (ZeroHedge, May 24, 2013):

From Mark Grant, author of Out Of The BoxThere Are Those Weeks

The Rout in Spain

Overnight the shares of Bankia plunged 51.4%. This, by any definition, is a rout. The citizens of Spain had bought preferred shares, hybrid bonds on the basis of an “implied guarantee” from the sovereign. No such luck. It had been a tout sold by the bank and guaranteed by no one. Now the owners are suffering the disastrous consequences.

Many European analysts had suggested that the swap out of these instruments into equity would drop the price of the stock to about 1.35 Euros but reality emerged today as the equity price plunged to 0.68 Euros. The shares traded today were forty-two times the normal average trading volume and indicated the size of the problem. The stock has lost 90% of its value since May 6.

Continue reading »

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Apr 30

- 20 Signs That The Next Great Economic Depression Has Already Started In Europe (Economic Collapse, April 29, 2013):

The next Great Depression is already happening – it just hasn’t reached the United States yet.  Things in Europe just continue to get worse and worse, and yet most people in the United States still don’t get it.  All the time I have people ask me when the “economic collapse” is going to happen.  Well, for ages I have been warning that the next major wave of the ongoing economic collapse would begin in Europe, and that is exactly what is happening.  In fact, both Greece and Spain already have levels of unemployment that are greater than anything the U.S. experienced during the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Pay close attention to what is happening over there, because it is coming here too.  You see, the truth is that Europe is a lot like the United States.  We are both drowning in unprecedented levels of debt, and we both have overleveraged banking systems that resemble a house of cards.  The reason why the U.S. does not look like Europe yet is because we have thrown all caution to the wind.  The Federal Reserve is printing money as if there is no tomorrow and the U.S. government is savagely destroying the future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have by stealing more than 100 million dollars from them every single hour of every single day.  We have gone “all in” on kicking the can down the road even though it means destroying the future of America.  But the alternative scares the living daylights out of our politicians.  When nations such as Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy tried to slow down the rate at which their debts were rising, the results were absolutely devastating.  A full-blown economic depression is raging across southern Europe and it is rapidly spreading into northern Europe.  Eventually it will spread to the rest of the globe as well.

The following are 20 signs that the next Great Depression has already started in Europe… Continue reading »

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Apr 28


YouTube Added: 24.04.2013

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Apr 28

Related info:

- Spain: Unemployment Tops Record, Rising At Fastest Rate In A Year:

an incredulous 57.2% of under-25s out of work, Spain is closing in on Greece, according to official data, for the worst youth unemployment situation in Europe.


- Spain Is Beyond Doomed: The 2 Scariest Unemployment Charts Ever (The Atlantic, April 26, 2013):

Spain is in a great depression, and it is one of the most terrifying things I have ever seen.

Five years after its housing boom turned to bust, Spanish unemployment hit a record high of 27.2 percent in the first quarter of 2013. It’s almost too horrible to comprehend, but 19.5 percent of the total workforce has not had a job in the past six months; 15.3 percent have not in the past year; and 9.2 percent have not in the past two years. You can see this 1930s-style catastrophe in the chart below from the National Statistics Institute. Continue reading »

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Apr 25

- Spanish Unemployment Tops Record, Rising At Fastest Rate In A Year (ZeroHedge, April 25, 2013):

In yet another worse-than-expected macro data point, Spain has just breached the 27% unemployment level – the highest since at least 1976, when data began following dictator Francisco Franco’s death. At 27.2% this is already higher than the IMF’s year-end estimate of 27% suggesting growth estimates are already overly optimistic. What is more concerning is the rate of increase in the joblessness is rising once again. The 1.1 percentage point rise is the largest in a year and 177,700 more households now have no actively employed members than a year ago. The greatest fear though, for European leaders and the Spanish people themselves, is the surge in youth unemployment. As we have noted a number of times in the past, the possibility of social unrest is exaggerated significantly by this number and at an incredulous 57.2% of under-25s out of work, Spain is closing in on Greece, according to official data, for the worst youth unemployment situation in Europe.

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Apr 19

- The New “Nazis” of Spain (Testosterone Pit, April 16, 2013):

On Saturday, Popular Party Secretary-General María Dolores de Cospedal, number two of the governing party in Spain, said that she knew she was going to get criticized, “but this is pure Nazism.” On Sunday, rather than resigning, she repeated it. For more precision, she added that going to someone’s house to “harass” him “is a totalitarian attitude comparable to what occurred in the thirties in a European country.” A reference to Nazis marking the homes of Jews.

But these “Nazis” are folks who are standing up to the banks and draconian mortgage laws that the government is hell-bent on protecting. And they have a special word for their action: escrache. It had become popular in Argentina in 1995 after President Carlos Menem pardoned collaborators of the Junta. Activists with banners would gather in front of the home or office of a pardoned perpetrator. They’d chant and play music to let neighbors know. While Junta members were beyond the law, they could still be publicly humiliated.

Continue reading »

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Apr 13

-The Entire Economy Is a Ponzi Scheme (ZeroHedge, April 13, 2013):

Bill Gross, Nouriel Roubini, Laurence Kotlikoff, Steve Keen, Michel Chossudovsky, the Wall Street Journal and many others say that our entire economy is a Ponzi scheme.

Former Reagan budget director David Stockman just agreed:


YouTube Added: 10.04.2013

So did a top Russian con artist and mathematician.

Even the New York Times’ business page asked, “Was [the] whole economy a Ponzi scheme?

In fact – as we’ve noted for 4 years (and here and here) – the banking system is entirely insolvent. And so are most countries. The whole notion of one country bailing out another country is a farce at this point. The whole system is insolvent.

As we noted last year: Continue reading »

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Apr 12

- Carmen Reinhart: “No Doubt. Our Pensions Are Screwed.” (ZeroHedge, April 11, 2013):

“The crisis isn’t over yet,” warns Carmen Reinhart, “not in the US and not in Europe.” Known for her deep understanding that ‘it’s never different this time’, the Harvard economist drops the truth grenade a number of times in this excellent Der Spiegel interview. Sweeping away the sound and fury of a self-serving Federal Reserve or BoJ, she chides, “no central bank will admit it is keeping rates low to help governments out of their debt crises. But in fact they are bending over backwards to help governments to finance their deficits,” and guess what, “this is nothing new in history.”

After World War II, all countries that had a big debt overhang relied on financial repression to avoid an explicit default. After the war, governments imposed interest rate ceilings for government bonds; but, nowadays, she explains, “monetary policy is doing the job. And with high unemployment and low inflation that doesn’t even look suspicious. Only when inflation picks up, which is ultimately going to happen, will it become obvious that central banks have become subservient to governments.”

Nations “seldom just grow themselves out of debt,” as so many believe is possible, “you need a combination of austerity, so that you don’t add further to the pile of debt, and higher inflation, which is effectively a subtle form of taxation,” with the consequence that people are going to lose their savings. Reinhart succinctly summarizes, “no doubt, our pensions are screwed.”

This will take 3 minutes to read – read it. Understand what she is saying. Continue reading »

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Apr 08

- Record 2,564 Spanish Firms File For Bankruptcy In Q1, 45% Higher Than Year Ago (ZeroHedge, April 8, 2013):

Perhaps the best measure to gauge the European recovery is by the soaring number of companies going bust, because only from this perspective is Europe finally “fixed.” As Reuters reports citing a report by Axesor, a record 2,564 companies filed for “insolvency proceedings”, a more palatable version of the word bankruptcy, in the first quarter – an increase of 10% from Q4 and up a whopping 45% from Q1 2012. The reasons given: “tight credit conditions and meager demand.” Or in other words: no actual cash flow to fund demand for products and services. Obviously it will take some truly phenomenal massaging and manipulation to represent GDP as rising in this environment, but we are confident the Spanish authorities are already on it, and somehow the Spanish pension fund, already 97% filled with Spanish government bonds, will somehow have a finger in yet another completely unbelievable economic print which will fool most of the algos most of the time on flashing red Bloomberg headlines.

Per Reuters:

“Most Spanish businesses did not prepare for a crisis this big or this long, which could be a determining factor,” said Javier Ramos-Juste, head of economic studies at Axesor.

Spain has been in its second recession in five years for the past 18 months and unemployment is more than 25 percent.

Continue reading »

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Apr 04

- Mario Draghi Responds To Zero Hedge: “There Is No Plan B” (ZeroHedge, April 4, 2013):

This happened earlier today, at the ECB press conference:Scott Solano, DPA: Mr Draghi, I’ve got a couple of question from the viewers at Zero Hedge, and one of them goes like this: say the situation in Greece or Spain deteriorates even further, and they want to or are forced to step out of the Eurozone, is there a plan in place so that the markets don’t basically collapse? Is there some kind of structural system, structural safety net, especially in the area of derivatives? And the second questions is: you spoke earlier about the Emergency Liquidity Assistance, and what would have happened to the ELA in Cyprus, the approximately €10 billion, if the country had decided to leave the Eurozone?

Mario Draghi, ECB: Well you really are asking questions that are so hypothetical that I don’t have an answer to them. Well, I may have a partial answer. These questions are formulated by people who vastly underestimate what the Euro means for the Europeans, for the Euro area. They vastly underestimate the amount of political capital that has been invested in the Euro. And so they keep on asking questions like: “If the Euro breaks down, and if a country leaves the Euro, it’s not like a sliding door. It’s a very important thing. It’s a project in the European Union. That’s why you have a very hard time asking people like me “what would happened if.” No Plan B.

Secondly, I think the ECB has shown its determination to fight any redenomination risk. And OMT with its precise rules and acting within its mandate, is there to this purpose. So that’s the answer to the first question.

The second question was about the ELA, but again it’s related to “if Cyprus leaves”  and again we don’t have that in mind, so…. No Plan B.

Informative. We do have three follow up questions: Continue reading »

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Mar 30

- Betray Your Bank Before Your Bank Betrays You (Bloomberg, March 28, 2013):

What’s a Slovenian with several hundred thousand euros in the bank supposed to do? Spread it out among at least a few different banks, that’s what. Or move the money out of the country, while it’s still possible.

Imagine what must be on the minds of any savvy depositors still left at Nova Kreditna Banka Maribor d.d., now 79 percent- owned by Slovenia’s government. It was one of only four lenders in October that failed the European Banking Authority’s latest capital-adequacy test, a ritual best known for how lax its standards are. One that flunked was Bank of Cyprus Pcl, where uninsured depositors face 40 percent losses as part of the country’s bailout terms. Another was Cyprus Popular Bank Pcl, also known as Laiki Bank, where uninsured deposits will fare far worse and the bank is being shut.

Cypriot banks’ customers were complacent after uninsured deposits went unscathed in Ireland, Greece, Spain and Portugal, the first euro-area countries to seek international rescues. Slovenians won’t have that excuse should their country be next.

Continue reading »

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Mar 27

- This Is How A Country Ends: Not With A Bang, But A Bailout (ZeroHedge, March 26, 2013):

Curious how in the New Normal a nation is brought to its untimely end without a single shot being fired? Dimos Dimosthenous, who has worked at the Bank of Cyprus for over 30 years, explains:

“That will be the end. Our jobs, our rights, our welfare funds will be lost and Cyprus will be destroyed.”

In short: not with a bang, but a bailout.

… But at least it still has the symbol for all that is wrong with the broke(n) status quo: the

First, however, much more pain, because as Cyprus’ FinMin Sarris said a short while ago, uninsured depositors in the second largest bank Laiki which is now pending lqiuidation, may lose 80% (read 100%… or more), and wait up to seven years for a payout. Of course, with the majority of the “evil, tax-evading Russians” long gone having used the chaos and assorted loopholes in the past week to get out of Dodge, the only people punished are assorted local hard workers, and domestic businesses, now set to liquidate as soon as they can afford the bankruptcy filing fee.

Finally, speaking of getting out of Dodge, it is surprising that while professing its love for all man-made bubbles and going all in stocks no matter the fundemantls, the firm that is the shadow overlord of Wall Street, BlackRock, is doing just that.

From the WSJ:

BlackRock Inc. the world’s largest money manager, has cut holdings of Italy and Spain government bonds over the past three months. The firm may shed more if the euro-zone’s growth outlook deteriorates.

We have been less enthusiastic about euro-zone sovereign debt compared to three to six months ago,” said Rick Rieder, chief investment officer of fundamental fixed income and co-head of Americas fixed income at BlackRock. “If growth continues to deteriorate in the euro zone, due in large measure to weak private-sector lending from a deleveraging banking sector, we would further reduce our positions in the euro zone, such as in Italy and Spain.”

Continue reading »

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Mar 25

- El Pais Retracts Article Alleging “Merkel, Like Hitler, Has Declared War On Europe” (ZeroHedge, March 24, 2013):

What does it take for the Spanish “first amendment” journalistic override to kick in? Apparently, in the case of local media leader El Pais, putting up the following in print: “Merkel, como Hitler, ha declarado la guerra al resto del continente, ahora para garantizarse su espacio vital económico.” For the Spanish-challeneged this translates as follows: “Merkel, like Hitler, has declared war on the rest of the continent now to secure their economic living space.” Ah yes, the touchy verboten topic of German “Lebensraum” – its invocation, and ostensibly the unflattering Merkel comparison (seen so often in Greece) were enough to get the article by Juan Torres López in the Andalusia version of El Pais titled simply enough “Alemania contra Europa” taken down.Is it perhaps because unlike in Greece, where articles like that are a daily occurrence, Spaniards still have something to lose should they also lose the good graces of the German chancellor? Something that is more than one Spiderman towel per depositor in the nation’s just as insolvent banking system, where apparently unlike in Cyprus, the ESM actually does work to preserve liquidity and stability?…

A cached version of the article:

In its place one only now sees the following: Continue reading »

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Mar 16

- 17 Signs That A Full-Blown Economic Depression Is Raging In Southern Europe – Is The U.S. Next? (Economic Collapse, March 14, 2013):

When you get into too much debt, eventually really bad things start to happen.  This is a very painful lesson that southern Europe is learning right now, and it is a lesson that the United States will soon learn as well.  It simply is not possible to live way beyond your means forever.  You can do it for a while though, and politicians in the U.S. and in Europe keep trying to kick the can down the road and extend the party, but the truth is that debt is a very cruel master and at some point it inevitably catches up with you.  And when it catches up with you, the results can be absolutely devastating.  Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal all tried to just slow down the rate at which their government debts were increasing, and look at what happened to their economies.  In each case, GDP is shrinking, unemployment is skyrocketing, credit is freezing up and manufacturing is declining.  And you know what?  None of those countries has even gotten close to a balanced budget yet.  They are all still going into even more debt.  Just imagine what would happen if they actually tried to only spend the money that they brought in?

I have always said that the next wave of the economic collapse would start in Europe and that is exactly what is happening.  So keep watching Europe.  What is happening to them will eventually happen to us.

The following are 17 signs that a full-blown economic depression is raging in southern Europe…
Continue reading »

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Mar 09

- Fed Injects Record $100 Billion Cash Into Foreign Banks Operating In The US In Past Week (ZeroHedge, March 9, 2013):

Those who have been following our exclusive series of the Fed’s direct bailout of European banks (here, here, here and here), and, indirectly of Europe, will not be surprised at all to learn that in the week ended February 27, or the week in which Europe went into a however brief tailspin following the shocking defeat of Bersani in the Italian elections, and an even more shocking victory by Berlusconi and Grillo, leading to a political vacuum and a hung parliament, the Fed injected a record $99 billion of excess reserves into foreign banks. As the most recent H.8 statement makes very clear, soared from $836 billion to a near-record $936 billion, or a $99.3 billion reserve “reallocation” in the form of cash – very, very fungible cash – into foreign (read European) banks in one week.

Continue reading »

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Mar 01

- Italy Is Not Spain – It’s Worse (ZeroHedge, Feb 28, 2013):

With Rajoy quietly gloating at his political fraud being off the front-pages thanks to Italian elections, it seems the more we dig into Italian reality, the weaker the story becomes. The meme of the last few years has been that “at least we’re not as bad as Greece” and rightly so, for as Bloomberg’s Niraj Shah notes today, Greece’s poverty rate is a stunning 31% (against Holland’s 15.7%). However, while all eyes have been focused on Spain’s dismal economy, the sad reality is that Italy is worse than Spain in that its poverty rate is a breath-taking 28.2% (relative to Spain’s 27%) – even though the unemployment rates in the two nations are vastly different (Spain 26% and Italy 11.2%). Given this fact it is perhaps not surprising that the ‘people’ voted against austerity and furthermore, that Italy’s CDS has pushed above Spain’s for the first time in over a year.

Chart: Bloomberg Briefs

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Feb 22

- Nationalized Bankia To Post Largest Corporate Loss In Spanish History (ZeroHedge, Feb 21, 2013):

Just in case anyone is confused about how fixed Europe is, insolvent Spanish TBTF megabank, which F’ed last year and had to be bailed out by the government, will post earnings (and in this case we use the term very loosely) next week at which time it will report the biggest corporate loss in Spanish history. From Telegraph: “On Thursday Bankia will report full-year earnings, including a €12.6bn provision taken at the end of last year. The writedown is a result of the lender moving assets into Spain’s “bad bank” at heavy discounts. Bankia, which is seen as a symbol of Spain’s financial woes, was created through the merger of seven smaller savings banks before being listed on Madrid’s stock exchange. When the company failed, hundreds of thousands of people who had been sold shares saw their savings wiped out. The collapse forced Spain to ask Europe for a bailout for its banking sector, which has meant the lender is subject to tight controls.  Bankia is trying to sell its 12pc stake in International Consolidated Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways, which is valued at about £510m, and 5.3pc of the power company Iberdrola, which is worth about €1.24bn.”

Continue reading »

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Feb 16

- Germany, Spain Set To Pull The Plug On Green Energy (ZeroHedge, Feb 14, 2013):

Over ten years ago, when Europe was a bright and shining example of experimental monetarist “brilliance”, and when the money was flowing, the continent decided to do the ethical thing and actively promote the pursuit and development of renewable energy through countless government subsidies. As a result, Germany and Spain became the undisputed leaders in the race for a green future, and both created similar laws to encourage the development of renewable energy. There were two problems: i) green energy, while noble in theory, is about the worst idea possible when it comes to profitability and capital self-sustainability and constantly needs governmental subsidies, and ii) it was the end consumers who would pay for the government’s generosity, in the form of a surcharge on electric bills. In Germany, for example, as the industry grew (in size, and thus in losses) demand for the subsidy increased, driving the surcharge higher. In January, the surcharge, which amounts to about 14% of electricity prices, nearly doubled to 5.28 euro cents per kilowatt hour.

And, as the WSJ so deftly explains, “that means ordinary consumers shoulder the lion’s share of the costs for what the German government calls its “energy revolution.” And here is where a third problem comes into play, because while German and Spanish consumers were happy to pay a surcharge in the golden days of a Dr. Jekyll Europe when everything was great, soon Europe become a doomed Mr. Hyde-ian Frankenstein monster, with imploding economies, 60%+ youth unemployment and resurgent neo-nazi powers. In short: the German and Spanish consumers have had it with funding an infinite money drain (even bigger than Greece), when cash flow is scarce and getting worse, and have just said “Basta” and “Nein“, respectively. Continue reading »

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Feb 14

- Greek Youth Unemployment Tops 60% (ZeroHedge, Feb 14, 2013):

Optimism it seems is all that matters (or is all that is allowed) as we are battered by dismal data left, right, and center. Of course, a reflection on the markets tells any ‘smart’ person that it all must get better – or why would stocks or sovereigns, or EURUSD be where it is? However, the 6 out of 10 15-24 year olds in Greece (61.7% to be exact) would beg to differ with that view of the world (as their economy grinds to a halt) – and with Spain reaching new highs at 55.6% (as well as the Euro-zone over 24%), all the bureaucratic lip-service in the world won’t stop the revolt that is coming we fear.

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Feb 14

- The Pain In Spain Falls Mainly… Everywhere (ZeroHedge, Feb 14, 2013):

European GDP and Spain – where it’s going?

Europe Q4 GDP declines 0.6%, and economy contracts 0.9%. No one should be surprised at the latest disappointing European GDP numbers, but they hide important trends – Germany’s Q4 0.6% GDP drop was worse than expected, although the expectations remain for growth later this year. France is going to miss the 3% GDP deficit target because of low growth. For the rest of Europe the numbers were generally worse than expected – and no one credible is talking about significant growth prospects. (Sure, the Euro Elites are telling us they see growth tomorrow.. but tomorrow is always tomorrow..) Continue reading »

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Feb 12

From the article:

“So if you have not already taken steps to prepare for systemic failure, you NEED to do so NOW. We’re literally at most a few months, and very likely just a few weeks from Europe’s banks imploding, potentially taking down the financial system with them. Think I’m joking? The Fed is pumping hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars into EU banks right now trying to stop this from happening.”


- WARNING: the EU Crisis is BACK and Will Be Worsening in the Coming Weeks (ZeroHedge, Feb 12, 2013):

I want to issue a major warning to investors: the EU Crisis is going to get worse in the coming months.

I realize that most investors and analysts believe that the EU Crisis is over. Then think that because the S&P 500 is closing in on its all-time highs that things are fine in the system.
They are wrong.

The only item that held Europe together in 2012 was the credibility of EU politicians and ECB President Mario Draghi. Please note that nothing fundamental improved for the EU’s financial system: EU GDP has since re-entered a recession and EU unemployment has a hit a new record.

Indeed, the only reason things even looked better was because various Government engaged in massive interventions. In the case of Spain, this included raiding 90% of their social security fund to buy Spanish bonds so that yields would fall.

Continue reading »

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Feb 10

- “China Accounts For Nearly Half Of World’s New Money Supply” (ZeroHedge, Feb 8, 2013):

When it comes to the creation of money in China, and specifically the asset side of the ledger, or loans, there is much more confusion than consensus, primarily because nobody knows who it is that is creating the money: private or public entities, SOEs, the PBOC, regional banks, shadow banks, or your next door neighbor.Another thing that is largely misreported: what the actual assets pledged as collateral to new loans are. Because while it is well-known that corporate debt in China is now greater as a percentage of GDP than in any other country, the comprehensive picture is still confusing (albeit GMO did a fantastic summary recently of what is known) as reporting standards are still non-existent, and the government flat out lies about its balance sheet.

Yet one very simple shortcut to get a sense of what is truly happening in monetary China is to peek at the liability side of the consolidated balance sheet, and one line in particular, namely deposits. Because unlike in the US, where the vibrant equity Ponzi scheme has rarely been stronger, in China it is still all about the cash and as a result the bulk of the newly created money once again return back to the banking sector in the form of a deposit. Ironically, that is what banking should be about (instead of the entire industry being a glorified hedge fund) although in China even this practice has gone on way too far, and like in Europe, has long passed the point where there is real collateral value backing up the new money created (which explains the emergence of various letters of credit collateralized by copper still not dug out of the ground which reappear every time Chinese inflation spikes above 5%).

So how do deposits look when comparing the US and China? Well, after having less than half the total US deposits back in 2005, China has pumped enough cash into the economy using various public and private conduits to make even Ben Bernanke blush: between January 2005 and January 2013, Chinese bank deposits have soared by a whopping $11 trillion, rising from $4 trillion to $15 trillion! We have no idea what the real Chinese GDP number is but this expansion alone is anywhere between 200 and 300% of the real GDP as it stands now. Continue reading »

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Feb 09

- Watch The Financial Markets In Europe (Economic Collapse, Feb 7, 2013):

Is the financial system of Europe on the verge of a meltdown?  I have always maintained that the next wave of the economic crisis would begin in Europe, and right now the situation in Europe is unraveling at a frightening pace.  On Monday, European stocks had their worst day in over six months, and over the past four days we have seen the EUR/USD decline by the most that it has in nearly seven months.  Meanwhile, scandals are erupting all over the continent.  A political scandal in Spain, a derivatives scandal in Italy and banking scandals all over the eurozone are seriously shaking confidence in the system.  If things move much farther in a negative direction, we could be facing a full-blown financial crisis in Europe very rapidly.  So watch the financial markets in Europe very carefully.  Yes, most Americans tend to ignore Europe because they are convinced that the U.S. is “the center of the universe”, but the truth is that Europe actually has a bigger population than we do, they have a bigger economy then we do, and they have a much larger banking system than we do.  The global financial system is more integrated today than it ever has been before, and if there is a major stock market crash in Europe it is going to deeply affect the United States and the rest of the globe as well.  So pay close attention to what is going on in Europe, because events over there could spark a chain reaction that would have very serious implications for every man, woman and child on the planet. Continue reading »

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