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Lore wrote:Interesting, a country with 1.3 million people and a nominal GDP the size of Mark Zuckerberg's bank account.
OilFinder2 wrote:Lore wrote:Interesting, a country with 1.3 million people and a nominal GDP the size of Mark Zuckerberg's bank account.
Which exceeds Cyprus' 1.1 million people with a GDP smaller than Mark Zuckerberg's bank account.
Spain formally requested financial help from Brussels for its shattered banks, but the continued lack of a detailed rescue plan compounded fears that Madrid will need a full international bail-out before a deal is agreed. Luis de Guindos, Spain’s finance minister, wrote to Jean-Claude Juncker asking for access to the €100bn (£80bn) offer of bank loans from Brussels, but did not specify either the required amount or any conditions.
There was still no agreement on the key uncertainty over whether the loans will come from the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF), which expires next month, or European Stability Mechanism (ESM), whose bonds would have precedence over private creditors.
After taking almost three weeks to take up Brussels’ offer for help, Madrid promised a full deal would be agreed within weeks. But traders bet it would take longer than the market could wait.
Within hours there was anticipation that Moody’s was preparing to downgrade Spain’s banks. Meanwhile, experts at Open Europe warned the loan agreement could back-fire and destablise Madrid even more. Raoul Ruparel of Open Europe said: “This package will intensify the sovereign-banking-loop in Spain as banks come under more pressure to load up on Spanish debt. Unless the far-reaching problems in the Spanish banking sector are resolved – which looks unlikely – further reinforcing this loop could eventually force Spain into a full bailout ... This is something for which the Eurozone’s current bailout fund would not be equipped.”
OilFinder2 wrote:I love the way DP tells us how insignificant the rise in new home sales is, and immediately afterwards he's got the audacity stupidity to post an article about ... Cyprus!!! .
Daniel_Plainview wrote:Earlier the newly elected Greek PM fell ill, and now:
Greek finance minister Vassilis Rapanos resigns just days after appointment
Greece is struggling to cope with a collapse in corporate tax receipts, according to the latest figures from the Greek finance ministry.
The steep fall in corporation tax income – from €737m (£590m) between January and May 2011 to €448m in the same period this year – is likely to weigh heavily on the new coalition government as it prepares for a European summit later this week.
Without the ability to tax company profits, the government will be forced to step up its demands on households for tax income at a time when most families are already suffering cuts in wages and falling living standards.
The figures will also undermine the message from Greek leaders that the new government is capable of arresting the country's decline and paying the interest on a new tranche of debt funding from Brussels.
Merkel argues that it is against the rules to use the European Central Bank to solve eurozone countries’ fiscal problems – and she is right. ECB President Mario Draghi has said much the same. Indeed, the upcoming summit is missing an important agenda item: a European Fiscal Authority (EFA) that, in partnership with the ECB, could do what the ECB cannot do on its own
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/soros-on ... z1yqNlp2pM
Banco Santander SA (SAN) and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA) were among 28 Spanish banks downgraded by Moody’s Investors Service, which cited the country’s sovereign debt and rising losses on real estate loans. The lenders’ long-term debt and deposit ratings were cut by one to four levels, Moody’s said today in a statement. The New York-based rating company also downgraded 16 Spanish banks on May 17.
Moody’s issued a three-step reduction in Spain’s credit grade on June 13, citing the nation’s increased debt burden, weakening economy and limited access to capital markets. Spain was lowered to Baa3, the lowest investment-grade rating, from A3 and remains on review for a further cut after announcing plans to borrow 100 billion euros ($125 billion) from European Union rescue funds to recapitalize banks.
The latest downgrade of banks reflects the government’s reduced creditworthiness, which lessens its ability to support the lenders, as well as Moody’s expectation that losses linked to commercial real estate will keep rising.
Moody’s downgraded 15 global banks last week, saying their capital-markets businesses suffered from volatility and the potential for “outsized losses,” according to a statement. The ratings firm also cited the companies’ exposure to Europe. The ratings on Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. (C) were cut to two levels above junk.
Concern that Spain will struggle to bail out its banks as their loan losses mount has driven up the country’s borrowing costs. The extra yield investors demand to hold Spain’s 10-year bonds rather than German bunds ballooned to 517.4 basis points on June 25 from 479.9 basis points on June 22. A basis point is a hundredth of a percentage point.
Spain formally requested the banking bailout in a letter to Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker, who leads the group of euro- area finance ministers.
The government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy published results of stress tests on June 21 that showed Spain’s banks may need as much as 62 billion euros of capital to withstand a worst-case economic scenario.
Oliver Wyman Ltd. estimated banks would need 51 billion euros to 62 billion euros should Spanish gross domestic product shrink by 6.5 percent over three years and housing prices drop 60 percent from their peak. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants said lenders would need 51.8 billion euros under those conditions.
The ratio of bad loans to total lending at Spain’s banks surged to 8.72 percent in April, the highest since 1994, from less than 1 percent in 2007, according to Bank of Spain data. Lenders have 184 billion euros of what the regulator terms problematic real estate-related assets after taking property onto their books following the collapse of Spain’s property boom in 2008.
Daniel_Plainview wrote:Here we go ...
Central Bank money printing is putting economies at risk
The Bank of England may be putting the economy at risk by persisting with low interest rates and money printing, according to the world's central banking supervisor.In its annual report, the Swiss-based Bank for International Settlements (BIS) warned that artificially low rates and inflated asset prices could also be holding back growth by masking lenders' bad debts and deterring them from cleaning up their balance sheets.
"Prolonged and aggressive monetary accommodation may delay the return to a self-sustaining recovery," BIS said. "It can undermine the perceived need to deal with banks' impaired assets."
Political pressure for loose monetary policy, including quantitative easing (QE), also threatened to damage central banks' credibility and destroy their independence, BIS said.
The world's financial regulator spelt out the risks of relying too heavily on the likes of the Bank of England and other central banks as it pressed Europe's leaders to step up their efforts to fix the eurozone's problems.
"The extraordinary persistence of loose monetary policy is largely the result of insufficient action by governments in addressing structural problems," it stated. "Simply put: central banks are being cornered into prolonging monetary stimulus as governments drag their feet and adjustment is delayed. This intense pressure puts at risk the central banks' price stability objective, their credibility and, ultimately, their independence."
The organisation noted that the Bank of England has been one of the most active central banks in the world, buying £325bn of gilts through its QE programme and cutting rates to an historic low of 0.5pc. Last week, the Bank revealed that it is poised to increase QE for a third time.
The analysis came as part of a wider warning from BIS that governments, banks and households struggling with too much debt were dragging down the world's economy and that more needs to be done to make the banking system safer.
"The world is now five years on from the outbreak of the financial crisis, yet the global economy is still unbalanced and seemingly becoming more so," it stated. "Big banks continue to have an interest in driving up their leverage without enough regard for the consequences of failure: because of their systemic weight, they expect the public sector to cover the downside.
"Another worrying sign is that trading, after a brief crisis-induced squeeze, has again become a major source of income for large banks. These conditions are moving the financial sector towards the same high risk profile it had before the crisis."
Why can't the Bank of England be honest about use of the printing press?
Members of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee should take heed of the warnings being sounded in the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) latest annual report before launching another bout of quantitative easing, as they are widely expected to do next week. Regrettably, it's unlikely to make much difference to their actions, even if they do. The BIS, often referred to as the central bankers' bank, did better than most in warning about the expansion of credit ahead of the bust, but nobody took a blind bit of notice.
There's no reason to suppose it will be any different this time. With an evident lack of realistic alternatives, QE has become the default growth strategy of choice – practised, if for no other reason, than at least to be seen to be doing something.
By the look of the last MPC minutes, as well as recent comments and speeches by committee members, QE III is already pretty much a done deal, whatever the BIS says. It awaits only the Chancellor's formal say-so, which given how desperate he is for anything that might pass as a growth initiative, can be taken as read.
He's rightly not for turning on fiscal policy, supply side reform will take years to yield results, and the eurozone debt crisis weighs ever more heavily on sentiment and confidence. So what the heck; it's worth another shot, isn't it?
Perhaps, if it could be demonstrated that to have the Bank of England buy up yet another lorry load of the UK gilts market is an entirely benign endeavour. Unfortunately it is not, as the BIS has belatedly explained.
Just the sheer scale of what's been happening to central bank balance sheets should set alarm bells ringing. Over the past decade, they have roughly doubled in size to $18 trillion globally, or some 30pc of global GDP. Real policy rates have also been firmly in negative territory in core, advanced economies for some years now. Both in size and duration, the present level of monetary accommodation is without precedent.
This may have been justified in the early stages of the crisis, when swift and decisive action by central bankers arguably helped prevent a depression. But the longer it goes on, the more questionable, counter-productive and potentially dangerous it becomes.
The damage it's doing to savers has been well rehearsed and need not concern us unduly here, suffice it to say that morally, as well as intellectually, it's very hard to justify such a deliberate and sustained attack on the thrifty.
As it happens, ultra loose monetary policy might even be contributing to depressed levels of domestic consumption, since low interest rates mean that everyone has to save more for longer to deliver the same level of eventual income. QE may therefore have helped boost the savings ratio, rather than reduced it as intended.
But it is the more pervasive effects I want to dwell on. One is that QE masks underlying balance sheet and solvency problems, acting as a palliative rather than a cure. Far from helping to solve the crisis, it only perpetuates it, threatening the economy with the same zombie-like condition as has afflicted Japan for more than 20 years now.
Problem loans get swept under the carpet, rather than dealt with in a manner which allows for resumed credit expansion. The upshot is that the economy becomes frozen in time; credit gets tied up in the old and dying rather than giving wing, as it should, to the new and growing.
Alternatively, the central bank printing presses may be encouraging a fresh search for yield, creating new bubbles in the developing world.
Ultra-loose policy in the West has forced high growth economies to follow the same path in an effort to keep exports competitive and drive domestic investment. This has in turn helped boost commodity prices, threatening to recreate the same cycle of boom and bust as seen in major advanced nations.
Already, a hard landing seems all too possible in China and Latin America. In attempting to ease our pain, we may only have incubated an even bigger tumour.
The truth is that nobody knows whether QE works at all in supporting demand, let along how it works. Every time you look, the Bank of England seems to have come up with a new explanation. Each member of the MPC holds a slightly, and in some cases, radically different view, thus conforming to the old joke that if you laid all the economists in the world end to end, they still wouldn't reach a conclusion.
Actually, the best justification for QE is the one which the Bank of England dare not admit to – that it monetises the deficit, at least temporarily, helps the government finance itself at very low interest rates, and that it removes all vestiges of sovereign credit risk.
In other words, it is the sort of thing that the European Central Bank ought to be doing to save the euro, only the Germans won't allow it.
People sometimes say to me, OK, so what would you do? You reject fiscal stimulus and you don't seem to like monetary stimulus much either. What else is there? My answer is, quite possibly nothing, other than radical supply side reform and the time to make it work.
In the pre-crisis years, many western economies were living high on the hog. Unsustainably high credit fuelled levels of spending. They must now cut their cloth according to their much-reduced means. It would be nice to believe that public policy could somehow magic us back to where we were, but it can't. The best it can do is smooth and elongate the adjustment; it can't eradicate it.
Lore wrote:OilFinder2 wrote:Lore wrote:Interesting, a country with 1.3 million people and a nominal GDP the size of Mark Zuckerberg's bank account.
Which exceeds Cyprus' 1.1 million people with a GDP smaller than Mark Zuckerberg's bank account.
But isn't the problem about how many EU countries are doing poorly, not about how many that are doing well?
... ZIRP “combined with abundant and nearly unconditional liquidity support, weaken incentives for the private sector to repair balance sheets and for fiscal authorities to limit their borrowing requirements,” BIS reported. And “they distort the financial system.” The numbers are stunning. Central banks, the report points out, printed $18 trillion “and counting” to buy often crappy assets that are now decomposing on their balances sheets—”roughly 30% of global GDP.”
Though it’s been nearly four years of zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) and serial Quantitative Easing (QE), the global economy is becoming more unbalanced, “and a safe financial system still eludes us,” the report said. Big banks continue to jack up leverage “without enough regard for the consequences of failure” because “they expect the public sector to cover the downside.” Leverage and trading have pushed the financial sector “towards the same high risk profile it had before the crisis.”
... That ZIRP and QE have done nothing for housing and the broad employment picture, and might on the contrary have helped prolong the nightmare, becomes obvious when the timing of these policies is superimposed on the graphs of the BLS Employment-Population ratio and the Case-Shiller home price index.
[Moreover,] ZIRP and QE have actually coagulated into impediments to growth—for a whole litany of reasons.
 We now have dysfunctional capital markets where investors lend money to the government for free or even at a guaranteed loss.
We have financial repression where yields are so low that investing in relatively safe assets, such as high-grade bonds and CDs produces a loss after inflation—an insidious tax on those who don’t want to risk losing 30% in the stock market just to stay ahead of inflation.
 And it’s a phenomenal subsidy for the other side that gets the money for free (or even at a negative cost).
 By eliminating income streams that consumers have been counting on, financial repression ends up decimating growth in the broader economy—a dilemma that Bruce Krasting depicted in “Broken Fences,” multiplied by the millions on a daily basis across the country.
 ZIRP and QE [cause] misallocation and subsequent destruction of capital. In one sector it’s particularly brutal. Tens of billions of dollars have been sunk into an economic activity—drilling for dry natural gas—that has been highly unprofitable for years. What’s left today is a mountain of debt, and wells that will never produce enough to make their investors whole.
Doug Casey of Casey Research believes that we’re in the fourth year of “The Greater Depression,” that we’re not in a recovery but in “the eye of the hurricane” on our way to “the other side of the storm.” It would be “far more severe” than 2008 and 2009 and would last quite a while, “depending on how stupidly the government acts.”...
“Central banks are being cornered into prolonging monetary stimulus as governments drag their feet and adjustment is delayed,” the Basel, Switzerland-based BIS said in its annual report, published today. “Both conventionally and unconventionally accommodative monetary policies are palliatives and have their limits.”
“In the middle of all this we find the overburdened central banks, pushed to use what power they have to contain the damage,” Stephen Cecchetti, BIS economic adviser, said on a conference call. “There are very clear limits to what central banks can do. It’s critical for the health of the global economy to break the vicious cycles and reduce the pressure on central banks.”
“As the benefits of extraordinary monetary easing shrink and become less certain, the risks of expanding central bank balance sheets are likely to grow,” Jaime Caruana, general manager of the BIS, said in prepared remarks for a speech in Basel today. “Such hazards may materialize in ways that are not completely clear today.”
Loose policy also poses risks for developing nations by fueling credit- and asset-price booms, complicating efforts to stabilize price gains, the report said. In emerging economies, interest rates have been raised “only hesitantly” out of concerns about stoking further capital inflows.
On the debt crisis in Europe, the BIS said it’s “hard to escape” the conclusion that the solution to the crisis will have to include a pan-European banking system.
Angela Merkel has firmly rejected the use of eurobonds ahead of a crucial summit in Brussels this week, ruling out jointly guaranteed eurozone debt for "as long as I live".
The German Chancellor's comments were met with applause as she briefed MPs from the Free Democrats party, her junior coalition partner, at an assembly meeting on Tuesday.
One official told AP that the crowd "reacted with applause to hearing that the Chancellor does not want a joint debt liability," while one participant reportedly shouted: "We wish you a long life!"
Several eurozone leaders, including French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti have called for the 17-nation bloc to draw-up plans to issue jointly-guaranteed debt in order to reduce borrowing costs for struggling eurozone nations.
Yields on benchmark 10-year government debt are currently at 6.8pc in Spain, and 6.15pc in Italy. Long term borrowing costs above 6pc are widely viewed as unsustainable in the long term.
Ms Merkel this week played down expectations of a major shift in policy from Germany at the EU summit, which starts on Thursday, and repeated that eurozone bonds would be "economically wrong and counterproductive". "When I think of the summit I feel concerned that yet again we will have too much focus on all kinds of ways of sharing debt," she said.
A German government spokeswoman declined to comment on Merkel's reported remarks. Mrs Merkel is set to address Parliament in Berlin on Wednesday, a day before the summit of EU leaders in Brussels is set to debate new strategies to tackle the bloc's debt crisis.
I myself have been struggling with this one. I cashed out some of my stock from the casino that is the stock market but now the cash is sitting in a savings account that pays a below inflation level of interest. The money is losing value year after year. I already have some precious metals but I don't want to put all my eggs in that basket. I was considering using it to pay off my mortgage but the current policies in place seem to be rewarding the spendthrifts and hurting the thrifty. What is everyone else doing about this issue of savings being inflated away?We have financial repression where yields are so low that investing in relatively safe assets, such as high-grade bonds and CDs produces a loss after inflation—an insidious tax on those who don’t want to risk losing 30% in the stock market just to stay ahead of inflation.
I have been reading your posts on the situation in the Eurozone and I feel you not being entirely fair in your appraisal of the situation. The situation is more complex than Club-med = deadbeat spendthrifts and Germany = prudent financial policies. The Euro presents Germany with a vastly undervalued currency. In effect, Germany is pursing the same “beggar thy neighbor” policies that nations employed during the great depression and China employs today by driving their currency down and their exports up. During the great depression, this lead other nations to retaliate by driving their own currencies down. However because of the currency union, Germany's fellow Euro members cannot do this. If Germany still had the deutschmark their currency would be about 40% higher than it is now, driving down their exports and high flying economy. IMHO, it was fundamental flaws in the currency union that allowed these crises to develop. Just as these flaws have hurt the PIIGS, they have helped Germany. It is unfair to lay all the blame on bad economic policies pursed by the PIIGS.Daniel_Plainview wrote:The deadbeat Club-Med nations desperately want Eurobonds. If Germany were to accept Eurobonds, it would instantly lower Germany's credit rating, and would instantly give carte blanche to the lazy Club-med malefactors who have become addicted to wanton deficit spending.
Germany vs. the Rest of EuropeThe German economy has been one of the wonders of the world over the last couple of years. While the rest of Europe staggered, German unemployment fell to the lowest level in decades. But the decline of unemployment since then has more to do with the fact that Germany — perhaps unintentionally but certainly effectively — has managed to assure that its currency is undervalued, both relative to that of its neighbors and to much of the rest of the world. That has helped the country’s exporters and brought more business to the country.
In the Great Depression, many countries tried devaluations to gain export advantages over rivals. The strategy became known as “beggar thy neighbor.” It generally failed to work because other countries responded with their own devaluations. Now some of Germany’s neighbors have been reduced to begging. They cannot take a page from the Depression playbook and devalue their own currency. They no longer have one.
The creation of the euro a dozen years ago at first seemed to provide a bonanza to many countries that adopted the currency. Their borrowing costs fell, as currency risk seemed to vanish and interest rates converged with the already low German rates. That cheaper credit helped them to borrow and grow. But most did little to hold down labor costs, or to enact structural reforms to let them cope with an environment where they could no longer regain competitiveness through currency devaluation.
The result is that unit labor costs, one measure of competitiveness between economies, fell in Germany while they were rising in other countries. Since the crisis, they have stabilized and even declined in many countries, but they are not close to making up the difference.
That makes it much harder than it used to be for the rest of the countries in the euro zone to compete with Germany. Germans are correct when they say that it was mistakes made by the other countries — whether in allowing real estate bubbles in Spain and Ireland or borrowing too much and failing to enact structural reforms in Italy — that caused the problems. But the euro has become a straitjacket for troubled economies trying to recover. “The birth defect of the euro was to put very different cultures of economic activity in the straitjacket of a single currency”
The euro has been very good to Germany, but if the country wants to continue to reap the benefits it needs to do more than angrily pay for bailouts while increasing its demands. One trouble with “beggar thy neighbor” is that the neighbors don’t like it. During the Depression, they could retaliate by devaluing their own currencies. Now they are simply getting angry, and hitting back at Germany the only way they can.
Armageddon wrote:Daily Doom
Richmond Fed Plunges; Consumers Underconfident For The Fourth Month In A Row
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/richmond- ... -month-row
kublikhan wrote:I have been reading your posts on the situation in the Eurozone and I feel you not being entirely fair in your appraisal of the situation.Daniel_Plainview wrote:The deadbeat Club-Med nations desperately want Eurobonds. If Germany were to accept Eurobonds, it would instantly lower Germany's credit rating, and would instantly give carte blanche to the lazy Club-med malefactors who have become addicted to wanton deficit spending.
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