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The Iran nuclear agreement has less to do with proliferation than it does with geopolitics. The reason Obama wants to ease sanctions on Iran is because he wants to push down oil prices while creating an alternate source of natural gas for Europe. In other words, the real objective here is to hurt Russia which... Read More
Varoufakis vs. the Troika
A disagreement over the terms of a deal to provide a bailout extension for Greece, has set the stage for a final clash between the Eurogroup and members of the Greek ruling party, Syriza. Although the agreement was approved on Tuesday when a list of reforms were submitted by Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis to... Read More
A Valiant Effort
It’s not easy to negotiate with a gun to your head. Nevertheless, that’s the situation Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis found himself in on Friday preceding a crucial meeting with the Eurogroup. According to one report, the objective of the last-ditch confab “was to prepare a consensus text that would be the basis for the... Read More
Don't Tell Anyone in Berlin
If you haven’t been following developments in the Greek-EU standoff, you’re really missing out. This might be the best story of the year. And what makes it so riveting, is that no one thought that little Greece could face off with the powerful leaders of the EU and make them blink. But that’s exactly what’s... Read More
Monday's Deadline
Monday is a crucial deadline in Greece’s struggle against Brussels-imposed austerity. Eurozone finance ministers are set to meet in the morning to decide whether Greece has made sufficient progress on previous agreements to justify further support. The new leftist government of Greece, Syzira, has rejected provisions in the so-called bailout, saying that the loans have... Read More
Cyprus in the Crosshairs
It was supposed to be a bailout. It turned out to be a death sentence. Given the checkered and unremarkable history of the Brussels bureaucrats, is anyone really surprised? Yes, an agreement was reached between Cypriot government officials and the so-called troika (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) in... Read More
In Need of a Platform
Italy's elections could signal the end of the euro or they could mean nothing at all. It's impossible to know just yet. But one thing is certain, Italians have "had it up to here" with austerity. Nearly 60 percent of the electorate voted for candidates who oppose the policy and who want a change of... Read More
From Greece to Spain
The Greek electorate has changed captains on the Titanic, but the ship is still sinking. So what difference did the elections make?


 None. Unemployment is still rising, the deficits continue to widen, and the economy is in tatters. Everything is fundamentally the same as before, with one exception, the victor (New Democracy's Antonis Samaras) remains... Read More
A Synchronized Global Slowdown
Growing troubles in the eurozone, a slowdown in China and a jobs report that was weaker than the most-pessimistic forecast, sent stocks plunging on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 275 points on the day while the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ followed the DJIA into the red. All the gains of 2012 have... Read More
Unraveling the Welfare Safety Net
Yields on 10-year Treasuries plunged to a record-low 1.56 percent on Thursday morning as panicky investors stormed out of European financial assets into German and U.S. government bonds. Deteriorating credit conditions, a flurry of ratings downgrades, and bank runs in Spain and Greece have triggered a flight-to-safety which has pushed the benchmark 10-year below its... Read More
Left to Fend for Itself
The endgame for Greece is now in sight. Attempts to form a unity government have failed and public opposition to austerity is growing. The uncertain political situation has triggered a bank run which drained nearly $900 million in deposits from Greek banks on Monday alone. Panicky Greeks are moving their money out of the country... Read More
EuroSpeak for "Starve the Beast"
The eurozone is slipping into a recession that could have been avoided. Had policymakers provided fiscal support for stricken countries in the South and guarantees on their government bonds, (as the USG does for US Treasuries) then their economies could have continued to grow while the necessary reforms were put in place. But the Troika... Read More
Committing Financial Suicide to Appease Big Finance
Money might "make the world go 'round", but it's not going to stop the eurozone from breaking apart. That's the lesson investors learned on Tuesday when global stock markets plunged on news that yields on Spanish and Italian debt had again entered the red zone. Stocks rebounded on Wednesday, but to little effect, after all,... Read More
Smoke-and-Mirrors
ECB president Mario Draghi's new lending facility--the Long-Term Refinancing Operation--has helped to pull the financial system back from the brink of another Lehman-type catastrophe, but it doesn't address the fundamental problems that created the crisis. (Account imbalances, capital flows) What the LTRO does is allow EU banks to exchange dodgy collateral for "limitless" 3-year loans... Read More
The Growing Crisis
While EU policymakers make arrangements for their 14th summit in the last two years, Europe's flagging economy continues to slip deeper into recession. On Monday, the Eurozone's Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) reported that production and new orders had declined for a 5th straight month. According to a survey of economists by Reuters, "The euro... Read More
The Coming Credit Crunch
For the second time in three years, the banking system has collapsed, which means that the banks are no longer able to fund themselves through the normal means, the wholesale markets. This same thing happened in July 2007 when two Bear Stearns hedge funds defaulted and trillions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities--which US banks had... Read More
How Draghi Rigged the System
European Central Bank president Mario Draghi is either a liar or a fool. Either way, he should be canned immediately before he dumps more money into an EU banking system sinkhole. What's all the fuss about? Here's a clip from Bloomberg that explains what's going on: Notice how the Long-Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO) was supposed... Read More
Crush Labor and Impose Austerity
Imagine if your banker offered to lend you a $150,000 to make up for the money that you'd lost on your home since the housing bubble burst in 2006. And, let's say, he agreed to lend you this money for 3 years at rock-bottom rates of 1 percent provided that you post the contents of... Read More
QE Through the Backdoor for Europe?
Mario Draghi has settled on a plan to pull the EU banking system back from the brink and hammer down sovereign bond yields at the same time. The European Central Bank chief has announced that he will launch an emergency liquidity assistance program on December 21, that will provide "limitless" loans to struggling banks at... Read More
The Eurozone Enters a Dangerous New Phase
The battered euro tumbled to an 11 month low on Wednesday while "safe haven" 10-year US Treasuries rallied. (1.93 percent) The flight from all-things-Europe continued with gusto after German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected a recommendation that the eurozone bailout fund (EFSF) be increased to deal plunging bond yields in Italy and Spain which are increasing... Read More
It's Back to the Drawing Board in Europe
When the book is finally closed on this week's EU summit, it'll be interesting to see what people remember the most. Will it be the proposed changes to the Lisbon Treaty, the new steps towards fiscal integration or the disgraceful behavior of David Cameron? My money's on Cameron. The UK's brash Prime Minister did his... Read More
More of the Same While Europe Burns
Angela Merkel has a cure for the eurozone's pesky debt crisis. Hair shirts and stiffer penalties. Aside from that, the German Chancellor has very little to offer by way of a remedy. In fact--what was so surprising about Monday's widely-anticipated press conference with Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy--was the absence of any new ideas... Read More
This isn't a Crisis; It's Blackmail
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve and the central banks of Canada, England, Japan, Switzerland, and Europe launched a coordinated monetary intervention aimed at easing interbank lending in the eurozone. While the emergency action sent stocks into the stratosphere, it did not relieve tensions in the markets or increase trust between the banks. In fact, on... Read More
A Collapse of the Eurozone
Stocks rose sharply on Monday on news that France and Germany are close to a breakthrough agreement that will resolve the deepening debt crisis. While the details remain sketchy, the grand bargain appears to involve some pooling of debt (eurobonds?), a bigger role for the European Central Bank (ECB), and an intrusive EU oversight panel... Read More
Pushing the Eurozone to the Brink
Germany's "failed" bund auction on Wednesday was a real gamechanger. It means that Europe's biggest and most powerful economy will not escape the contagion that's swept across the south. Germany's borrowing costs will rise and it's finances will be put under a microscope. But that's just the half of it. What's roiling the markets is... Read More
No Transparency, Complete Secrecy
As the boycott of sovereign bonds in Europe has spread beyond the south to triple-A-rated countries like Finland, the Netherlands and France, it's become increasingly difficult for banks and corporations to get short-term financing. The cost of swapping euros for dollars is steadily rising while interbank lending has started to break down. As banks hoard... Read More
Prepare for Another Full-Blown Meltdown
Credit conditions in the eurozone continue to deteriorate while yields on French, Spanish, Belgian and Italian bonds move higher. Italy’s 10-year yield increased 19 basis points to 6.89 percent on Tuesday, just a stone's throw from the "unsustainable" 7 percent. French debt is also under increasing pressure. The spread between France's 10-year debt and German... Read More
Eurozone Regime Change
Greek Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi have both been forced from office and replaced by representatives of big finance. Mario Monti, who will replace Berlusconi, was formerly the European Chairman of the Trilateral Commission and a member of the Bilderberg Group. He is also listed on Goldman Sachs board of... Read More
Living in Rats’ Alley
The situation in Europe gets more depressing by the day. Policymakers have waited too long and now events are beyond their control. The only way to avert a disorderly breakup and another Great Depression is by deploying the European Central Bank (ECB) to backstop the debt of the individual countries, and even that might not... Read More
Financial Terrorists
Well, that didn't take long. The European Central Bank's (ECB) new president, Mario Draghi, has been in office for less than a week and already he's got the printing presses running at full-tilt. Go figure? Draghi--who also served as a managing director for the "vampire squid" (G-Sax)--has promised repeatedly to focus laserlike on "price stability"... Read More
Draghi at the Central Bank
Goldman Sachs is about to take over Europe, but you wouldn't know it by reading the papers. On Tuesday, G-Sax alum, Mario Draghi, will take the helm at the European Central Bank replacing retiring ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet. The appointment has slipped by the media virtually unnoticed even though the ECB is the most powerful... Read More
Bad and Getting Worse
Imagine if the local fire chief, in the spirit of conservation, decided he'd use no more than 1,000 gallons of water to put out any given house fire. Do you think the citizens would support that policy if their town was burned to the ground? And, yet, this is the same approach that eurozone leaders... Read More
The Issue is Fairness
No one opposes unity. And no one opposes a stronger, more unified Europe. What people oppose is policy; policies that slash workers wages, privatize state assets, increase unemployment, and prolong recession. That's what people oppose. The people who are burning cars and fighting police in Athens aren't doing so because the hate unity. What they... Read More
Merkel Prevails, But Eurozone Still Tilting Toward Recession
German parliamentarians reaffirmed their commitment to the Euro-project on Thursday by approving an expansion of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). The balloting provided the landslide victory (523 to 85) that German Chancellor Angela Merkel needed to reestablish her leadership and to silence dissidents. The bill will increase the size of the emergency fund (from... Read More
Germany Goes Off Script
Funding fears, political gridlock and plunging stocks have pulled the eurozone deeper into crisis. On Friday, the gauges of market stress continued to widen signalling more turbulence in the days ahead. Libor --the rate at which London-based banks borrow from each other--increased for the eleventh straight day, while the Libor-OIS spread, (which indicates the reluctance... Read More
A Bank, A Gaggle of Ministers and a Few Worthless Treaties
Let's say you wanted to start a new country, but you knew nothing about civil institutions, bureaucracy or history. All you cared about was creating an environment that was good for business, where budget discipline and trade agreements were the law of the land. So, you spend a bundle of money hyping your Dreamstate to... Read More
An Interview with Martin Tomley
Martin Tomley previously worked at a major US bank. Now he writes on financial matters and the economy at macronomy.blogspot.com MW-- It seems like people in the US are not really paying much attention to the problems in Europe, but these problems appear to be getting worse all the time. Would you say that we... Read More
Greek Default Looms
Greece is hurtling towards default and the doomsday scenario is beginning to unfold. The IMF, the G-7, and the ECB have all swung into full-crisis mode and are prepared to do whatever they can to minimize the collateral damage. But the shock to the financial system and the fragile recovery is bound to be substantial.... Read More
The Big Fire Sale
There's no way to overstate the calamity that's unfolding across the Atlantic. The eurozone is imploding. The smart money has already fled EU banks for safe quarters in the US while political leaders frantically look for a way to prevent a seemingly-unavoidable meltdown. Here's an excerpt from a post at The Streetlight blog that explains... Read More
Merkel's push for Eurozone Banktatorship
The Bundestag will have one chance to stop Angela Merkel's plan to provide hundreds of billions of dollars to underwater EU banks that made bad bets on sovereign bonds. If the German parliament fails to block Merkel on September 23, then--under the "expanded powers" of the European Financial Security Facility (EFSF)-- insolvent banks will be... Read More
It’s 2008 All Over Again
Bank funding costs are rising, liquidity is being choked off, and interbank lending has started to stall. A full-blown crisis can still be averted, but leaders will have to knuckle down and resolve the political issues fast. Otherwise the 17-member monetary union will fracture and the euro will be kaput. Here's a clip from the... Read More
"Open Your Eyes: the Euro and Europe are on the Edge of the Precipice"
A toxic combo of poor economic data in the US and a widening credit crunch in the eurozone has sent stocks plunging for a 4th consecutive week. On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrials fell 172 points as jittery investors exited equities for the safe haven of cash and government debt. Global equities have lost more... Read More
Junk It and Start Over Again
We all know the drill. Bond yields start to spike in one of the smaller countries in the EU, and before you know it, the bigger countries are called in to bail them out. We've seen the same rerun over and over again. This time, Italy and Spain are in the crosshairs. Jittery investors have... Read More
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