Euro Area

     

 

 

Never let a Crisis go to Waste

As is well known, the EU’s socialist centralizers and “harmonizers” have always fully expected the adoption of the euro to lead to a crisis that would allow them to push through policies that would otherwise never have seen the light of day. Italian socialist and former EU Commission president (i.e., chief commissar) Romano Prodi told the Financial Times in 2001:

 

“I am sure the euro will oblige us to introduce a new set of economic policy instruments. It is politically impossible to propose that now. But some day there will be a crisis and new instruments will be created.

 

(emphasis added)

 

Montgolfiere_1783Montgolfière – engraving by Claude-Louis Desrais, 1783

 

Read the rest of this entry »

     

 

 

Greece is Still Lying in Wait …

We haven’t written much about Greece recently, but there have actually been a few developments worth paying attention to. Several easily foreseeable things have indeed happened in the meantime: Prime minister Tsipras felt forced to call a snap election after securing the first bailout tranche, the radical Marxist faction of Syriza led by Panaghiotis Lafazanis has split from the party, and so has its “youth wing”. In the meantime, the Greek economy has predictably nosedived as a result of the banking system freeze (Mish reports the grisly details here).

 

persto

 

Read the rest of this entry »

     

 

 

The Gift that Likely Will Keep Giving …

Jay Taylor has mailed us an infographic he and his colleagues at Boston University and Pearson Education have put together, entitled “Why the Euro Zone Crisis is not Over”. We have decided to reproduce it here, as it provides a good overview of the most important data points surrounding the still festering crisis situation.

 

Why-the-Eurozone-Crisis-is-Not-OverInfographic by Boston University and Pearson Education – click to enlarge.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

     

 

 

The Industrious Greeks Mystery

In the course of the Greek crisis, animosities between creditor countries like Germany and Greece didn’t take long to surface. They were fired up in the tabloid press, which was quick to revive various stereotypes. In Greece, Germans soon found themselves compared to their Nazi predecessors, while German tabloids inter alia complained sotto voce about those allegedly “lazy Southerners”.

 

lazy GreekThe stereotype of “lazy Greeks”

 

Read the rest of this entry »

     

 

 

Greek Stocks Reopen with a Thud

The Greek stock market very likely represents an emerging opportunity, as many stocks are sporting extremely low valuations these days. However, when we last discussed the Greek market, we pointed out that there was probably no hurry and more importantly, that using ETFs to play the Greek market would pose a difficulty at the current juncture.

 

arquitectura-del-pasado-7161Greek ruins – emblematic for the country’s situation.

Photo credit: fondos7.net

 

Read the rest of this entry »

     

 

 

Austria’s Constitutional Court Decides to Uphold Property Rights

To everybody’s vast surprise, Austria’s constitutional court has decided not to side with the government in the infamous Hypo Alpe Adria (HAA) case. The bank went belly-up after the 2008 crisis and slowly but surely it emerged that it represented a financial catastrophe of truly stunning proportions.

Incompetence on a rarely seen scale, but probably also fraud (although that angle has yet to be pursued by the judiciary) ultimately produced the biggest de facto (if not de iure, yet) insolvency in Austria’s history.

 

Hypo_Centar_7_downloadHypo Alpe Adria – a giant house of cards that imploded in the course of the financial crisis.

Photo credit: hypo-alpe-adria.hr

 

Read the rest of this entry »

     

 

 

Begone, Rebels

As we noted last week, a surprisingly large number of Syriza MPs voted against the bailout package, thereby defying their own government. The rebel faction was led by Marxist hardliner and energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, who has always been on record for being in favor of a “Grexit”.

After the vote, Lafazanis told journalists that he “was against the plan”, but “supported the government”. This didn’t save him however – Tsirpas reshuffled his cabinet, removing Lafazanis and two deputy ministers, replacing them with more loyal allies.

 

1000Grexit supporter Panagiotis Lafazanis got “exited” himself.

Photo credit: Thanassis Stavrakis / AP

 

Read the rest of this entry »

     

 

 

Is Spain the Next Greece?

Today, we report on a new front in the Great Zombie War – the U.S. health care sector… and why costs there are set to rise. (More on that below…)

For now, we are sitting in the bar at The Hazelton Hotel. We always thought of Canadians as being a bit more reserved and conservative (socially, not necessarily politically) than their neighbors to the south. Well, not in this hotel!

It is more like Dallas than what we recall from our summers in Nova Scotia. People dressed in the latest gaudy fashions… loud hipster music… trendy decor… women who appear to have had extensive body work done. And on the TV above the hotel bar is a recurring ad from a zombie law firm advertising for personal injury cases!

 

Rioja_barrelsBarrels of Spanish Rioja

Photo credit: illogronio.com.es

 

Read the rest of this entry »

     

 

 

Interest Rates and the Euro

After the introduction of the euro, many peripheral countries in the euro area experienced a major credit boom. The reason for this was that these countries previously had “soft” currencies, this is to say, they regularly devalued their currencies instead of implementing economic reform.

Devaluation is the easy way out for policymakers after all. The supposed “advantages” of currency devaluation, illusory, misleading and fleeting as they are, are always experienced as the first effect. The disadvantages – which dwarf all the so-called advantages – are only becoming visible at a later stage, by which time most people are no longer able to properly assess the cause-effect vector.

This failure to understand cause and effect in economics is widespread. Unfortunately, one group among which it is widespread are economists. Looking at the assertions made by many of today’s most prominent economists, we are often struck by how superficial they appear, especially with respect to monetary debasement.

 

bastiatFrédéric Bastiat: a classical “proto-Austrian” economist whose writings remain highly pertinent.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

 

Read the rest of this entry »

     

 

     

 

 

Bribes and Payoffs

PARIS – Protesters gathered in Syntagma Square in Athens on Wednesday night…

They were demonstrating against the cruelty of life in general and, more specifically, the deal their government made with its creditors.

“Greek workers taken to the cleaners, as Tsipras forced to retreat on promises,” reports the Financial Times.

“Austerity,” the papers call it. But that is just the public narrative. Austerity is what Greece would have gotten without $220 billion in bailout funds from its neighbors and two debt restructurings.

Without these, public sector wages… and pensions… would go unpaid. The banking system would collapse. And Greek savings would be obliterated.

 

Athens riotsRiots in Athens – it was actually just a tiny group joining the rioting fun this time (as in: how dare they send us more billions and actually tie that to conditions!). Most of the Greek zombies know that if they want to keep suckling on the government teat, they have little choice, so they have decided to take the money just one more time  ; )

Photo credit: Yannis Behrakis / Reuters

 

Read the rest of this entry »

     

 

 

 

Euro-Group Deal Approved by Greek Parliament

The result of the parliamentary vote in Athens just came through, and was remarkably closely aligned with recent surveys of Greek voters. Funny enough, these surveys revealed approximately 70% approval of the deal offered by the euro-group among the population. No doubt the fact that the insolvency of Greece’s fractionally reserved banking system was recently painfully revealed to depositors after the ECB froze ELA had something to do with this sudden surge in support. Moreover, it is always possible that a majority of Greece’s citizens actually realizes that there is no way around wide-ranging reform.

 

metron-analysisRecent polls show soaring support for Syriza in spite of Tsipras ignoring the referendum outcome (source: Keep Talking Greece)

 

Read the rest of this entry »

     

 

 

“Game Over” for Greece

The drama… the drama. I’ve had enough of this. And after examining the details any reasonable person ought to agree. The bottom line = Greece is a “free-loading” country with a “free-loading” national manifesto. This nation, and its people, have lived beyond their means for long enough. Their Debt/GDP ratio is > 175% and climbing. More importantly, the outlook for any economic recovery is bleak as Greece’s structural reforms seem insurmountable and definitely, to them, not at all palatable. Plus, the perceived/tolerated graft associated with the people/government Greece is just monumental. The proverbial “ride” they’ve been on has now come to a deservedly screeching halt.

 

shove-it

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • America Goes Full Imbecile
      Credit has a wicked way of magnifying a person’s defects.  Even the most cautious man, with unlimited credit, can make mistakes that in retrospect seem absurd.  But an average man, with unlimited credit, is preeminently disposed to going full imbecile.   Let us not forget about this important skill...  [PT]   Several weeks ago we came across a woeful tale of Mike Meru.  Somehow, this special fellow, while of apparent sound mine and worthy intent, racked up...
  • Retail Capitulation – Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Small Crowds, Shrinking Premiums The prices of gold and silver rose five bucks and 37 cents respectively last week. Is this the blast off to da moon for the silver rocket of halcyon days, in other words 2010-2011?   Various gold bars. Coin and bar premiums have been shrinking steadily (as have coin sales of the US Mint by the way), a sign that retail investors have lost interest in gold. There are even more signs of this actually, and this loss of interest stands in stark...
  • Credit Spreads: Polly is Twitching Again - in Europe
      Junk Bond Spread Breakout The famous dead parrot is coming back to life... in an unexpected place. With its QE operations, which included inter alia corporate bonds, the ECB has managed to suppress credit spreads in Europe to truly ludicrous levels. From there, the effect propagated through arbitrage to other developed markets. And yes, this does “support the economy” - mainly by triggering an avalanche of capital malinvestment and creating the associated boom conditions, while...
  • Gold Divergences Emerge
      Bad Hair Day Produces Positive Divergences On Friday the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China was apparently escalated by a notch to the next level, at least verbally. The Trump administration announced a list of tariffs that are supposed to come into force in three week's time and China clicked back by announcing retaliatory action. In effect, the US government said: take that China, we will now really hurt our own consumers!  - and China's mandarins replied: just you wait, we...
  • Industrial Commodities vs. Gold - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Oil is Different Last week, we showed a graph of rising open interest in crude oil futures. From this, we inferred — incorrectly as it turns out — that the basis must be rising. Why else, we asked, would market makers carry more and more oil?   Crude oil acts differently from gold – and so do all other industrial commodities. What makes them different is that the supply of industrial commodities held in storage as a rule suffices to satisfy industrial demand only for a...
  • Chasing the Wind
      Futility with Purpose Plebeians generally ignore the tact of their economic central planners.  They care more that their meatloaf is hot and their suds are cold, than about any plans being hatched in the capital city.  Nonetheless, the central planners know an angry mob, with torches and pitchforks, are only a few empty bellies away.  Hence, they must always stay on point.   Watch for those pitchfork bearers – they can get real nasty and then heads often roll quite literally....
  • Lift-Off Not (Yet) - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Wrong-Way Event Last week we said something that turned out to be prescient:   This is not an environment for a Lift Off Event.   An unfortunate technical mishap interrupted the latest moon-flight of the gold rocket. Fear not true believers, a few positive tracks were left behind. [PT]   The price of gold didn’t move much Mon-Thu last week, though the price of silver did seem to be blasting off. Then on Friday, it reversed hard. We will provide a forensic...
  • Cryptocurrency Technicals – Navigating the Bear Market
      A Purely Technical Market Long time readers may recall that we regard Bitcoin and other liquid big cap cryptocurrencies as secondary media of exchange from a monetary theory perspective for the time being. The wave of speculative demand that has propelled them to astonishing heights was triggered by market participants realizing that they have the potential to become money. The process of achieving more widespread adoption of these currencies as a means of payment and establishing...
  • The Fed's “Inflation Target” is Impoverishing American Workers
      Redefined Terms and Absurd Targets At one time, the Federal Reserve's sole mandate was to maintain stable prices and to “fight inflation.”  To the Fed, the financial press, and most everyone else “inflation” means rising prices instead of its original and true definition as an increase in the money supply.  Rising prices are a consequence – a very painful consequence – of money printing.   Fed Chair Jerome Powell apparently does not see the pernicious effects...
  • Merger Mania and the Kings of Debt
      Another Early Warning Siren Goes Off Our friend Jonathan Tepper of research house Variant Perception (check out their blog to see some of their excellent work) recently pointed out to us that the volume of mergers and acquisitions has increased rather noticeably lately. Some color on this was provided in an article published by Reuters in late May, “Global M&A hits record $2 trillion in the year to date”, which inter alia contained the following chart illustrating the...

Support Acting Man

Item Guides

j9TJzzN

The Review Insider

Dog Blow

Austrian Theory and Investment

Archive

350x200

THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

Realtime Charts

 

Gold in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Gold in EUR:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Silver in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Platinum in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

USD - Index:

[Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com]

 

Mish Talk

 
Buy Silver Now!
 
Buy Gold Now!
 

Oilprice.com