‘Remember Greece: the country that in 2010 launched Europe’s sovereign solvency crisis and the ECB’s own helpless attempts at intervention, which later was “saved”, only to default shortly thereafter (but without triggering CDS as that would end the Eurozone’s amusing monetary experiment and collapse the Deutsche Bank $100 trillion house of derivative cards), which later was again “saved” when every single global central bank made sure Greek bonds became the only yield-generating securities in the world? Well, the country which at last count was doing ok, is about to not be ok. Because according to none other than S&P, at some point over the next 15 months, Greek debt is about to be in default when the country is no longer able to cover its financing needs. In other words, back to square one.
As Bloomberg reports, citing Real News, S&P analyst Marie-France Raynaud said Greece can’t cover its own financing needs.’
- Troika Leaves Athens With No Agreement Reached
- Greece’s 2015 Budget: Too Good to Be True?
- Greece Vows Tax Cuts, Economic Growth in 2015
- Greece Depends On Chinese Investments
- Merkel and Samaras laud Greece’s progress on reforms
- Google tries boosting Greek tourism – and maybe itself, too
- Private Bad Debt Buildup Casts Shadow on Greek Rebound
- Greece downgraded to ‘emerging market’ status
‘Greek prosecutors have brought criminal mismanagement charges against a former official responsible for the post-Olympic use of costly venues that languished for years after the 2004 Athens Games. Constantinos Matalas, who headed the now-defunct state-run Olympic Properties SA in 2008, faces a jail term of 5 to 10 years, if convicted.
Prosecutors Sotiris Boygioukos and Eleni Siskou also asked Parliament to lift the immunity of Matalas’ successor, Dionysis Stamenitis, who is now a lawmaker with the governing conservative New Democracy party, to allow his prosecution on the same charges. Greece hosted the 2004 Games after a mad, last-minute rush to complete the venues in time. But for years thereafter most of the purpose-built installations languished unused and poorly maintained.’
‘[...] Yo, Blair – what are you doing this time? He is pushing a huge global project in the name of some big guys who care less than nothing that the local people don’t want it.
The scheme is, as always, a case of powerful elites against ordinary people, and guess which side he is for? He is gazing now at Puglia’s southern coasts in his capacity of facilitator of Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan’s president, nominated in 2012 for Person of the Year by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the TAP consortium of energy, Trans Adriatic Pipeline, formed by British oil giant BP (20 percent), Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR (20 percent), Norway’s Statoil (20 percent), Belgium’s Fluxys (16 percent), France’s Total (10 percent), Germany’s E.ON” (9 percent) and Switzerland’s di Axpo (5 percent). It’s a 2,000-mile pipeline transporting gas from Shah Deniz-2, the biggest Azeri gas field in the Caspian Sea, across Turkey, Greece and Albania to Italy.’
‘Greece’s economy has taken such a brutal beating that it is in a category apart from other European countries suffering through the recession. Where Greece lost some 25% of its economic output, Spain lost about 6%. Experts say that, even as the Greek economy begins to recover, the shock has been so severe that older workers are unlikely to ever hold full-time jobs again.
Unlike in other parts of Europe, Greek reforms have largely removed provisions that protected older workers. In Spain and Italy labor-market regulations favoring baby-boomers over their children are still largely in place, entrenching the so-called two-tier labor market. But in Greece, everyone seeking work largely faces similarly poor odds, said Raymond Torres, head of research at the International Labor Organization, the United Nations labor agency.
While Greece’s youth unemployment is still a record for the EU—almost 60% of people aged 15 to 24 were out of work in 2013—the unemployment rate among older Greek males is about twice the euro-zone average and almost four times that of Germany. Some 18% of 40-to-59-year-old Greek men were out of work last year, according to Eurostat, the European Union statistics agency.’
Athens’ Olympic Games venues lie abandoned and left to decay, ten years after spending over £7 billion
‘The Athens Olympics were meant to be a celebration of the Games’ history, as the spiritual home of Olympic sport hosted the world in the XXVIII Olympiad.
The Greeks poured around €9billion (£7.13billion) into building new stadiums and infrastructure, and despite disputes and delays in the run-up to the event, put on a successful games.
However, a decade on, the stands lie empty, completely unused and allowed to fall into disrepair, as the global economic crisis meant the country’s government were unable to invest in the upkeep of the Olympic venues.’
‘Greece ranks first in the eurozone and fourth among the 28 members of the European Union for the percentage of its citizens living on or below the poverty line, according to a new report. The study, conducted by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), found that just over a third (34.6%) of Greeks – some 3,795,100 individuals – were living on less than 60% of the national median income in 2013.
This percentage has risen steadily since 2010, when the country began implementing austerity measures, increasing from 27.6% in 2010 to 27.7% the following year, 31% in 2012 and 34.6% in 2013. The publication of the study, which is based on Hellenic Statistical Authority (Elstat) data, coincided with the 40th anniversary of the effective ending of military rule in 1974.’
- Greece: A fragile calm
- International creditors remain sceptical about Greece’s ability to reform without close supervision
- Greek economy to grow by 0.7% after six years of recession
- Greek banks to quadruple housing loans by next year?
- Greece faces power cuts as unions plan strikes
- Greece forges template for economic recovery as tourists pour in
- Greece gets strong interest in oil, gas blocks, minister says
- Court rules seizure of debtor’s deposits without notice is constitutional
- SS songs and antisemitism: The week Golden Dawn turned openly Nazi
- In Greece, a battle to reclaim the seashore as commons
- EU Warns Greece Is “A Cause Of Serious Concern” As Top Tax-Collector Resigns
- Car bomb explodes outside Greek central bank building, no one hurt
- Black Rock warns “Greece most likely to default”
‘A group of Cypriots on Monday filed a war crimes complaint against Turkey at the International Criminal Court over what they say is its policy of settling Cyprus’ breakaway north with mainland Turks.
Cyprus split into a Turkish-speaking north and an internationally recognized Greek-speaking south in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup that aimed to unite the island with Greece. A Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence is recognized only by Turkey, which maintains 35,000 troops there.’
‘The headline gains were for nationalist and Eurosceptic parties – witness all those pictures of “evil” Nigel Farage smiling into his pint glass, or of Marine Le Pen, whose Front National party triumphed in France, throwing back her head and cackling. But some member nations bucked the trend in the Euro elections and registered a surge towards leftwing candidates.’
- Leftwing Syriza party triumphs in European elections in Greece
- Leftist parties slam Spain’s political status quo
- National Front’s Le Pen urges dissolution of French parliament
- Far-right takes victory in Danish European elections
- Euroskeptics Win Big in EU Parliament Votes
- Eurosceptic ‘earthquake’ rocks EU elections
- Cameron Tells EU Leaders To Reform Bloc In Wake Of Eurosceptic Victories
- Flemish separatists are big winners in Belgian election
- Conservatives win EU vote in Germany, while euroskeptics make major gains
- Slovak PM’s party wins euro election, turnout a record low
- Centrist ANO narrowly wins Czech EU election, PM’s party third
- Turkish Cypriots angry over EU vote in Cyprus
‘In Europe, dark clouds are gathering on the horizon once more. Yesterday marked the conclusion of the European Parliamentary elections, and the extreme-right had a number of terrifyingly strong showings in France, Austria, Denmark, Hungary and Greece, among other countries. But as disillusioned citizens across the continent send their ultra-nationalist, proto-fascist and even openly neo-Nazi deputies to Brussels and Strasbourg, the one candidate who actually managed to secure an overwhelming victory here in Greece is Manolis Glezos, the legendary 91-year-old WWII resistance hero, who, on May 30, 1941 — at the age of 19, just weeks after the Nazi invasion and occupation of his country — scaled the Acropolis in the dead of night and, together with his friend Apostolos Santas, tore down the Swastika.’
- Eurosceptic ‘earthquake’ rocks EU elections
- EU vote sees boost for right wing in France, Austria and Greece
- Front National wins European parliament elections in France
- Ukip storms European elections
- Hungary’s Fidesz wins European poll, Jobbik stalls
- Greece’s Golden Dawn to enter EU Parliament for first time
- Greece’s Syriza Wins EU Elections in Warning to Samaras
- Socialists win by landslide in Sweden as voters punish government parties
- Geert Wilders defeat blamed on his decision to link with Marine Le Pen rather than Nigel Farage
‘Greek radical leftist leader Alexis Tsipras, running to head the European Commission, said on Thursday[May 15th] his country’s EU-led bailout has been a failure, despite Athens’ recent return to bond markets.
“What happened in Greece is not a success story but a social tragedy that shouldn’t be repeated anywhere in Europe,” Tsipras said during a debate among candidates for president of the European Commission, to be appointed after EU Parliament elections May 22-25.
…Tsipras, the European Left’s candidate in the European elections, made his first appearance in a string of televised debates among the contenders. These debates are the first of their kind as the EU seeks to show its relevance to increasingly hostile voters.’
- The Myth Of The Greek Recovery
- Greece’s so-called recovery: a dangerous delusion
- The Greek “Success Story” of a Crushing Economy and a Failed State
- Greece sells 110 of its best beaches in the name of “development”
- Greece’s top court allows far-right party to contest EU vote
- Greek Anti-Austerity Protesters Fought with Police in Athens
- Startup companies boom in Greece (Video)
- Charities step up to help feed Greek children (Video)
- Greece protests over government plans to sell off historic national buildings
- Greece sends tax inspectors to anger management seminars
- Greek police enter schools, quiz children on political activities
- Christine Lagarde thinks the troika got it wrong on Greece? If only she knew
- Greece: The EU’s Neoliberal Poster Boy
- Greek Farmers Block Athens with Tractors
- Unemployment in Greece breaks all records: 28% general, 61.4% among youth
- Syriza Succeeds in Greece by Challenging European Left’s Approach to Reform: Interview with Leo Panitch
- Escaped Marxist guerrilla Christodoulos Xiros alarms Greece with pledge to return to arms
Down is up. Sick is healthy. The RMS Titanic is seaworthy. Topsy-turvy logic is a speciality of the austerity brigade, and here they come dishing up a third helping. First, in 2010-11, they pledged that making historic cuts amid a global slump would definitely, absolutely secure a strong recovery. Then things went predictably belly-up, forcing Cameron and Osborne to dump their deficit-reduction plans and the eurocrats to make more bailouts. Yet these reversals were, naturally, “sticking to the course”. Now things don’t look quite as awful as they did a couple of years ago – and this somehow gets chalked up as a miraculous rebound.
Only a prude would expect their politicians not to exaggerate. But getting to such upside-down conclusions requires more than that: it requires fictionalising and even lying. Let’s have a look at two examples from the past few days, one in Britain the other in Greece.
An anarchist Greek guerrilla group has claimed responsibility for a car bombing at a central bank building in Athens two weeks ago. The dawn blast on April 10 caused no injuries but smashed windows in one of the busiest streets in the capital. It came hours before Greece tapped bond markets for the first time since its bailout began four years ago.
The Revolutionary Struggle militant group said in a document on an anti-establishment website the attack was a protest against Greece’s return to bond markets and proved the group was still active. In 2010, authorities said they had dismantled Revolutionary Struggle.
The group said the blast also targeted the office of the International Monetary Fund representative in Greece, housed in the central bank premises, and was a protest against a visit to Athens by German Chancellor Angela Merkel the next day. Revolutionary Struggle said the purpose of the attack was to awaken austerity-hit Greeks and topple the state.
- Poll: Europe’s Eurosceptics more united than many think
- Golden Dawn and the rise of the far right in Europe
- A confederacy of xenophobes in Europe?
- Surge in support for anti-EU populist parties threatens the European integration
- Ukip support surges following Maria Miller expenses scandal, poll finds
- Cameron says rivals’ views on Europe ‘extremist’
- French far-right party soars in elections
Report: Investor-state lawsuits worth €1.7 billion rage across Europe, could spiral dramatically under TTIP
Greece, Cyprus and Spain are facing claims from speculative investors worth more than €1.7 billion in a series of eurozone-related investor-state disputes that could spiral dramatically under a proposed EU-US trade deal known as TTIP, a new report says. The study ‘Profiting from Crisis’, is launched today (10 March) by campaigning group Corporate Europe Observatory and the Trans-National Institute, as the EU begins a public consultation on the regulatory implications of any agreement.
The paper finds that “a growing wave” of corporate lawsuits from investors burned in Europe’s recent economic crisis risks repeating the banking sector bail-out that precipitated it. Many of these litigants are “circling vultures” looking for short-term bargains and not long-term investments, the report claims. “At a time when ordinary people across Europe have been stripped of many basic social rights, it is perverse that the EU supports an international investment regime which provides VIP protection to largely speculative foreign investors,” said Cecilia Olivet, the report’s co-author.
Greek authorities are studying what is being described as a cache of “highly incriminating” photographic material in which members of the far-right Golden Dawn party are allegedly depicted participating in mock executions, posing with weaponry and giving Nazi salutes.
The hoard of almost 14,000 pictures and 900 video clips – discovered in computers and mobiles phones confiscated from two MPs and a man who headed one of the group’s local branches – has been handed by police to a public prosecutor investigating the extremists’ alleged illegal activities.
“What this confirms, without a shadow of doubt, is that Golden Dawn is not only a Nazi group but a criminal organisation that operated as a paramilitary structure,” said Dimitris Psarras, the country’s leading authority on the party.
Global Power Project: Connecting Josef Ackermann, the Institute of International Finance and the Euro Debt Crisis
Josef Ackermann served as CEO of Deutsche Bank from 2002 to 2012, and over the same period served as Chairman of the IIF. Ackermann was also, and still remains, a member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group and continues to serve on the IIF’s Group of Trustees, a board which includes a number of prominent central bankers including Christian Noyer, the Governor of the Bank of France and Chairman of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS); Jamie Caruana, the General Manager of the BIS; and Jean-Claude Trichet, who was the president of the European Central Bank from 2003 to 2011.
During the early stages of the financial crisis, Ackermann served as an “unofficial adviser” to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her then-Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck. In December of 2009, Ackermann was speaking at a summit in Berlin attended by Chancellor Merkel and several other German cabinet ministers, corporate CEOs and others, where he explained that while the financial crisis had largely been “abated,” many “time bombs” remained — in particular, Greece, which he referred to as the “problem child” of Europe. Ackermann blamed the debt crisis on people having “lived beyond their means for years, if not decades,” warning that pensions and health care systems would “compound the problem” in the future.
The Financial Times has referred to Ackermann as a “reluctant power broker” who “has the ear of Angela Merkel, Europe’s most powerful politician.” Ackermann not only became one of the most influential bankers in the world, but a major political figure as well. As he himself explained: “Financial markets now are very political – political considerations have to play an important role.” In 2011, Ackermann warned that in terms of Europe’s crisis, “I don’t see a quick economic recovery, so we will have a longer time of somewhat lower growth – certainly three to five years.”
In October of 2011, Ackermann delivered a speech in which he said that Europe had “now entered a period of deleveraging” which “will inevitably entail a long period of austerity as governments, households and firms raise their savings.” At an economic forum in December of 2011, Josef Ackermann stated that Europe had to get its debt under control, “even at the cost of national sovereignty,” suggesting that neither “the pressure of financial markets” nor austerity measures “threaten democracy.” The real threat to democracy, according to Ackermann, was the “excessive debt” of European states.
The Greek finance minister has said his country’s economy is heading “slowly towards recovery” after it saw growth in the second quarter of the year.
Yannis Stournaras said available evidence suggested Greece will see quarter-on-quarter growth for the first time since its economic crisis began.
But he stopped short of saying Greece was out of its six-year recession.
Mr Stournaras said that, overall, he expected the Greek economy to shrink by up to 3.8% this year.
That is more optimistic than the 4.2% contraction forecast by Greece’s international lenders, and a significant improvement on 2012, when the economy shrank by 6.4%.
The finance ministers comments, at a conference in Athens, reflected signs of optimism among economists around the Greek economy.
Tourism is picking up, leading to a rise in seasonal employment. Manufacturing is also showing some signs of recovery, while retail sales continue to decline, but at a slower pace than previously.
However, analysts remain cautious.
- Striking Greeks clash with police, teargased as crisis deepens (RT)
- Greece Turns to EBay-Style Auctions to Unload State Property (Business Week)
- Greece’s birthrate falls as austerity measures hit healthcare (Guardian)
- Greece’s biggest social security fund to borrow €150m to pay October pensions (KTG)
- Golden Dawn Neo-Nazi Accused of Athens Murder of Rapper KillahP (IB Times)
- Greek media outline the profile of Fyssas’ murderer; Golden Dawn sues minister, media for “slander” (KTG)
- Unchecked Violence Bound to Spread (HRW)
- Greek party leader urges residents to …lynch local mayor (KTG)
- Golden Dawn leader’s alleged driver, bodyguard arrested for illegal weapons possession (KTG)
- From 2012: Golden Dawn has infiltrated Greek police, claims officer (Guardian)
[...]The problem is that in 2014-15 Greece must still make debt payments of more than €40bn and, since the rescue programme is ending in 2014, it is not clear where these funds will come from. The government has cut spending dramatically and imposed a storm of taxes; it could also use some money left over from the borrowing of the last three years. Even so, it is highly unlikely to make up the entire sum, particularly as its own finances for 2015-16 remain uncertain. This is the immediate reason why Greece might need a fresh package, perhaps up to €20bn.
The real problem, however, is longer term. The growth potential of Greece has been devastated during the last three years, and the EU policies of cutting wages and privatising public assets at knock-down prices are making things worse. Furthermore, the rescue programme obliges the country to generate a primary fiscal surplus of 4.5% of GDP by 2016 to repay its debt. Imposing austerity on this scale in the midst of unprecedented recession is disastrous, not to mention preposterous. Under these conditions the burden of enormous Greek debt is unbearable, even at rates of 2% and with longer maturities. Interest payments alone will be roughly €7bn annually, a major charge on a shrunken GDP.
MORE RECENT NEWS FROM GREECE:
- Greek minister: Country may need extra 10 billion euros (CNN)
- ECB: Greece in need of once more, probably twice help (Press TV)
- Greek unemployment rises to record 27.9 percent in June (Reuters)
- ‘Greece suicide rate up 43% between 2007-11’ (Press TV)
- Northern Greece: 6:10 companies do not pay their employees up to 3-16 months (Keep Talking Greece)
- Greek teachers to strike over cuts (AP)
- Greek anti-terror prosecutor escapes injury in letter bomb attack (AP)
The Troika is looting Greece. They’re destroying it. They’re waging financial war. They partnered with corrupt Greek officials.
They’re strip-mining Greece for profit. It’s the epicenter of global pillage. Ordinary people have no say. They’re victims of force-fed harshness.
The more Athens borrows, the greater its debt burden, the harder it is to get out from under. Greece is dying. It’s practically a corpse already. Only its obituary remains to be written.
Official unemployment tops 27%. It’s likely higher. Youth unemployment approaches 65%. An entire generation’s lost. It’s being systematically destroyed. It’s dying on the alter of pay bankers first. Whatever they want they get.
- Greece’s Unemployment Nightmare Continues To Get Worse (Business Insider)
- Greek Consumer Prices Fall for Fifth Straight Month in July (International Business Times)
- Troika Wants Greek Homes Repossessed (Greek Reporter)
- Greek activists reconnect power to poverty-stricken homes (RT)
- Greek Villagers Chase Tax Collectors Out Of Town (Zero Hedge)
- China runs half of Greece’s ports, now ready to take over rest; along with roads and airports (RT)
Eurozone taxpayers and the IMF are left wondering what their bailout funds have been spent on in Greece. The Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF) has spent EUR38bn (or 75% of its total) bolstering the capital of Greece’s four biggest banks (and winding down eight small lenders). The EUR50bn fund looks set to be drained further – despite the banks comments that costs have been cut, funds raised, and assets sold – as non-performing loans continue to surge. About a quarter of all loans are non-performing and that share is likely to increase as the country’s six-year recession, which has wiped out over a quarter of the economy, shows little sign of abating. Have no fear though, since stress tests will be carried out later this year to establish whether Greek banks have more capital needs. Of course the key question is – just where were these rescue funds diverted within the bank shells.
- Germany’s Schaeuble praises Greek economic progress (BBC)
- Wealthy Greeks forced to pay for police protection (AP)
- Greeks flee country as govt resorts to mass layoffs (RT)
- Tourists return to Greece’s summer resorts, in boost for economy (Reuters)
- Wealthy Shipowners To Bail Out Economy (Sky News)
- Greek monks defy eviction with Molotov cocktails (Independent)
Greece has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis and is experiencing its sixth year of recession, while harsh austerity measures have left about half a million people without jobs.
“Greece is still facing difficult times because the reduction of employment in the public sector is a topic that needs to be solved,” Merkel said in a press conference earlier this week.
Greece has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis and is experiencing its sixth year of recession, while harsh austerity measures have left about half a million people without jobs.
Eurozone finance ministers agreed Monday [July 8th] to unlock billions of euros in fresh aid for Greece on condition it press ahead with urgently needed reforms.
The Eurogroup ministers, holding their last meeting before the summer break which was also attended by IMF chief Christine Lagarde, agreed to pay out 6.8 billion euros in fresh aid to Athens.
However, the funds would not be handed over in one lump sum, but in different instalments subject to certain conditions being met.
Employees of Greek state broadcaster ERT held protests outside the studio of the new TV station that will soon replace them.
ERT was shut down by the government last month as part of their efforts to cut costs and reduce national debt.
The new station began transmitting on Wednesday on the channel formerly used by ERT.
It aims to be fully operational within 3 months.
by MARK MOBIUS
In June, major international equity index provider MSCI confirmed Greece’s sojourn among the ranks of “developed markets” would end later this year as it will become the first-ever country to lose its “developed market” status in the MSCI universe.1
Interestingly, Greece was classified as emerging when I started with the Templeton Emerging Markets Group in 1987, and while the recent news might conjure up images of a significant turn for the worse for the country’s economic fortunes, MSCI’s explanation for Greece’s reclassification was actually more mundane.
The division of MSCI’s equity universe into separate “developed,” “emerging” and “frontier” indexes was originally conceived in response to the arrival on the world scene of countries in various stages of economic development. In order to be classified as a developed market, a country’s gross national income (GNI) per capita has to have been at least 25% higher than the World Bank’s threshold for a country to be in a “high income” (i.e. developed) category for three consecutive years.2
That would equate to US$15,600, given the World Bank threshold stood at US$12,475 as of 2011, the latest year for which data are available. Despite several years of wrenching recession, Greek per capita GNI has been far in excess of this figure.3 Indeed, several emerging and frontier markets would meet this criterion. Therefore, MSCI’s economic development requirements for index inclusion were not the issue for Greece, but other factors relating to the ability of international investors to easily enter and operate in the market proved important.
by George Georgiopoulos
Greece’s bank rescue fund has hired Rothschild and Goldman Sachs as advisers on the sale of lenders Proton and Hellenic Postbank (TT), which are most likely to be bought by bigger Greek banks, officials told Reuters on Friday.
TT and Proton, victims of Greece’s economic crisis, were split into “good” and “bad” parts and are fully owned by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), a capital backstop with 50 billion euros ($65 billion) of bailout money.
Greece agreed with its international lenders – the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank – to sell the two banks by mid-July in order to get more bailout funds.
International lenders may freeze emergency aid to Greece for three months unless Athens can convince them that the country is on track to meet its reform goals, a senior euro zone official said on Wednesday.
“If we don’t conclude this review, I don’t see any disbursement to Greece over the next three months”,” the official told reporters, referring to a health check of the country’s progress by the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank.
Euro zone finance ministers are expected to decide the issue on Monday, but the official said it was unlikely they would delay the payment.
by Tyler Durden
From time to time it is necessary to quietly sit down and assess where we are going. This is a significantly different undertaking than listening to those who try to tell us where we are going. Government and the Pastors of Propaganda are always whispering into our ears either offering Heaven or the retribution of Divine Providence so the removal of either from a deliberate consideration is a necessary part of the examination of reality.
I bring a measure of experience to this task. Things that are not counted, liabilities that are excluded from national budgets or their debts, do not mean that they do not have to be paid. This, in fact, is Europe’s greatest problem. They have played “extend and pretend.” They have played “lie and deny.” They have resorted to every trick imaginable when compiling data such as the debt to GDP ratios of the countries and yet; chicanery does not erase the debts.
The financial projections of the IMF, the EU and the ECB are never accurate or even close to accurate because they use garbage for their data. It is therefore “garbage in” and “garbage out” as they all make a mockery of themselves. The vast amount of investors continue to believe them as evidenced by the markets but certain events are now about to take place.
Greece reported out a -14.2% decline in just one month this morning for retail sales. Greek collapse III is almost at hand as their two major privatizations have failed and as their economy continues to worsen. Soon the Greeks will call for more money but the end of this road is in sight as I do not believe the nations in Europe are willing to roll over again. The IMF is also up against the wall and they have asked, I understand, for Europe to forgive part of the Greek debt which has fallen, so far, on deaf ears.
The Cyprus solution is a failure. It is as clear and as simple as that. Cyprus will have $10.17 left in their banks by the end of the year. They will soon be back asking for more money and we will have another IMF problem and a Euro fiasco as the amount of money they have been given to date is akin to a flyswatter trying to smack down an F-14. A ridiculous incident in both cases.
The biggest problem though is going to be France. They have a stated debt to GDP ratio of 90.2%. This is another mockery of the data though as the real number, liabilities included, is somewhere around double this number or just below 200%. They also have an economy that, according to “Trading Economics,” is expected to decline in the next quarter by -0.5% while their sovereign debt increases to $366.9 billion which is an increase of 9.5%. This is while their government spending rises 9.9% for the same time period. This, then not only puts them in violation of the EU’s current mandates, which is a secondary consideration, but puts them clearly on the road to insolvency.
France has run out of road.
The real issue here is a question of politics. In France being rich is defiled. That is fine and dandy except this attitude leads to an inescapable end which is with a 75% tax rate, massive amounts of workers in the government, social programs that keep increasing, and no reason to be successful and thereby support the government; those with money are fleeing the country. The drain is enormous.
Consequently sovereign revenues cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, support the imbedded costs of the country which must either be drastically cut, think massive protests or where France shows up at the door of the EU asking for help, which would be a disaster for the European Union. I believe the country is at this crossroads now as their fiscal policy, regardless of politics, is just not sustainable.
Now the investors of the world are in another reality altogether. They do not want to hear anything about these sorts of things. They are in the state of, “ignore and deplore.”
You can live there for a while. Government induced fantasies have occupied the center stage before and for some time. Our current denial of reality is fueled by all of the money that the central banks have pumped into the world but that will be diminishing as the Fed and others examine the longer term consequences of their actions. There are always consequences.
What has been put off will arrive. It was always just a matter of time.
Time is running short.