3 Eurozone Countries With Debt-to-Income Ratio Over 300%

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Forget the usual Debt-to-GDP ratio that is thrown about when discussing a countries ability to pay. A more realistic ratio is between its debt and its income since debt is paid from a governments income. When you consider this comparison, then 3 countries in the eurozone have  a ratio greater than 300%. Worse still is the US with a debt-to-income of 304% in 2012.

Ireland, Greece and Portugal are labouring under debt-to-income ratios of more than 300%, according to figures that expose the indebtedness of eurozone governments in relation to their government revenues.

The measure, intended to show governments’ abilities to pay debts, shows Ireland’s total debt in 2012 was €192bn (£163.1bn), or 340% of the government’s income. Ireland came a narrow second in the table to fellow bail-out recipient Greece, which has amassed an even worse debt-to-revenue total of 351%. Portugal – which has also received aid from the troika of the International Monetary Fund, the European commission and the European Central Bank – came third with a debt-to-revenue ratio of 302%, while Britain was sixth last year on the list of 27 European Union member states, with a debt-to-revenue ratio of 212%, according to calculations based on European commission figures.

 Debt figures are usually calculated as a ratio of a country’s national income and expressed as a proportion of GDP. But national income figures reflect activity across the whole economy, in both the public and private sectors. governments must pay debts from tax receipts and other government income, not the income for the economy as a whole. Some analysts argue a government’s debt-to-revenue ratio provides a clearer picture of its ability to fund annual debt payments once interest rates are taken into account.

The US is in even worse shape than Greece. Its $16tn (£10tn) debt is the equivalent of 105% of GDP, but more than 560% of government revenues. Washington’s debt payments are cheap after a plunge in the interest it pays on government bonds, but with revenues of only 14% of GDP compared with about 40% across much of the EU, its ability to pay is weakened.

Ireland, which is often commended for its recovery from the banking crash, has seen a sharp rise in its debt-to-revenue ratio in the last four years. In 2009 the ratio was 187%. A year later it had jumped to 262% before reaching 340% in 2012. However, the country appears to be in better shape when debt-to-GDP figures are used. It ranks fourth, with a 117.6% ratio, after Greece, Italy and Portugal.

Greece’s performance, by contrast, has improved. It has pushed through a huge clampdown on government spending and has seen its ratio fall from 402% in 2011 to 351% in 2012.

Some of Europe‘s strongest economies have jumped up the league table of indebted EU nations when the debt-to-revenue measure is used. Germany has a ratio of 181%, Malta’s is 178%, while France has a ratio of 174%, all higher than countries that are often cited as troubled and at risk of default such as Slovenia (120%) and Hungary (168%).

The healthiest economies according to the debt-to-revenue measure are the Nordic nations, where Sweden enjoys a 75% ratio, Denmark a 82% ratio and Finland a 99% ratio in 2012.

In the aftermath of the 2009 banking crash, the US investment bank Morgan Stanley argued that debt-to-government-revenue ratios should be included in any discussion of a possible sovereign debt default.

Analyst Arnaud Marès, who has since left the firm, said in August 2010: “Whatever the size of a government’s liabilities, what matters ultimately is how they compare to the resources available to service them. One benefit of sovereignty is that governments can unilaterally increase their income by raising taxes, but they will only ever be able to acquire in this way a fraction of GDP.

“Debt/GDP therefore provides a flattering image of government finances. A better approach is to scale debt against actual government revenues. An even better approach would be to scale debt against the maximum level of revenues that governments can realistically obtain from using their tax-raising power to the full.

This is a function of the people’s tolerance for taxation and government interference. Seen from this angle, the US federal debt no longer compares quite so favourably with that of European governments.”

In 2010, US debt to revenue was 365%.

Source: The Guardian

Iceland Vs Greece

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Sometimes a chart says it all. Its no wonder the lamestream media completely ignore the Icelandic success story because to follow would mean the end of the Euro. Taxpayers must be forced to prop it up at all costs so we know where Cyprus is heading judging by this chart.

Iceland Vs Greece – who made the right decision?

US Debt Per Person Higher Than Greece

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They always get us to focus on the wrong things……….all the talk this week has been deal on Greece but what about this for a chart.

Source: Bullion Management Group

Greece Once Again Threatens The Euro

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During the week the Greek finance minister was caught out lying about a troika bailout outcome but now Greece needs to face up to labour reforms over the weekend or else…

Tim Geithner’s carefully scripted plan to avoid European “reality” until the US election is unraveling. While previously Greece was not supposed to be an issue until after November 6, the recent escalation with the Greek FinMin openly lying about a Troika interim bailout outcome (which may or may not happen, but only following yet another MoU which would see Greece fully transitioning to a German vassal state in exchange for what is now seen as a €30 billion shortfall over the next 4 years, and which would send Syriza soaring in the polls in the process ensuring that a Grexit is merely a matter of time) has forced a retaliation. According to the Greek press, the Troika now demands that Greece resolve its objections to labor reforms (which as reported earlier have forced the ruling coalition to split) by Sunday night, or else… The implication, it appears, is that absent a compromise, the next Troika tranche of €31.5 billion is not coming, and Greece is out.

……

From Kathimerini:

The government is facing a Sunday deadline for a full agreement on the package of measures that will see it cash in the next bailout tranche of 31.5 billion euros. The three-day extension it got in order to get maximum backing within the three-party coalition will be necessary as minor partner Democratic Left insists on an improvement in the terms concerning labor reforms that it staunchly opposes.” Will Greece come through in the clutch? And if not, just what happens with the EURUSD on Sunday night as Greece calls the Troika’s bluff? Deja vu shades of early summer, and plunging European risk come to mind…

It will not be an easy agreement to reach and any fallout will be assessed on Monday by the Euro Working Group.

The Euro Working Group (EWG) of eurozone finance ministry officials will convene again on Monday to discuss whatever conclusions Athens has come to and prepare the blueprint that the Eurogroup of euro area finance ministers may discuss on Wednesday through a video conference that sources from Brussels say is likely to take place in order to discuss Greece.

The prime minister appears determined to have the measures passed immediately through Parliament, either in one or in two draft laws, ordering on Thursday the preparation of the bills required.

At the same time there are also disagreements within PASOK, the other minor coalition partner, as a number of deputies are threatening to vote against a Finance Ministry measure regarding privatizations.

Source: ZeroHedge

ECB Balance Sheet At $15 Trillion and Growing

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What was it that Jean Claude Juncker used to say?, “When it becomes serious, you have to lie”. Well, when it comes to the ECB’s balance sheet, they must have taken a leaf out of Junker’s book. According to ZeroHedge, the real figure of the balance sheet is $15 trillion because “guaranteed debt” is not counted even if its Greece.

The ECB, as I quoted recently from their own published balance sheet, has $15 trillion in loans outstanding to Europe. They claim a $4 trillion balance sheet based upon not counting guaranteed loans by various nations and by not counting contingent liabilities. This is the same scheme that is used for calculating the debt to GDP ratios of the countries in Europe. The methodology is consistent. If a loan, a debt, is guaranteed by a nation or if the liability is “contingent;”it is not counted. This, of course, does not mean that possibility of having to fund or write-off something is not there; it just means it is not counted.

Furthermore all guaranteed loans or debts of any nation, including Greece, are deemed “risk-free” and so the balance sheet of not just the ECB but the banks in Europe are skewed, as in incorrect by American standards, by the methodology employed. What is the “Standard Operating Procedure” in Europe would be fraudulent in the United States and while you may think that everyone is entitled to their own manner of doing things it also must be said that the European invention allows for increased risks and leverage that could overcome the Continent at any point. “Not counted” does NOT mean “not there” and so the cause for my great concern.
 
European banks were supposed to be de-leveraging  in accordance with the Basel III rules but have grown by 7% according to recent data released by Eurostat. Target2 was supposed to be shrinking but has grown to almost one trillion Dollars. The loans at the ECB have been increasing and whether the credit line to the Spanish banks or the loans to the banks of many countries in Europe to buy their debt at auction keeps on growing. The risk factor is magnified so far past any margin of safety that I am fearful, more than fearful, that some event, some relatively minor event in fact could throw Europe off a cliff that will make our fiscal cliff look like a gently rolling hill in comparison.
 
I repeat and repeat again:

“NOT COUNTED” DOES NOT MEAN “NOT THERE!”

Source: ZeroHedge

Greece Takes Next Step To Serfdom

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The bankers demands get more and more brazen but this latest one takes the biscuit. According to a leaked Troika letter, Greeks are about to be asked to work a 6 day week. This comes on top of a OECD report in 2010 which said the Greeks are the 2nd hardest workers in the world, after the South Koreans.

Area: Flexibility of labour arrangements
Measure: Increase flexibility of work schedules:
 
•     Increase the number of maximum workdays to 6 days per week for all sectors.
•     Set the minimum daily rest to 11 hours.
•     Delink the working hours of employees from the opening hours of the establishment.
•     Eliminate restrictions on minimum/maximum time between morning and afternoon shifts.
•     Allow the consecutive two week leave to be taken anytime during the year in seasonal sectors.
This is right up there with that Australia nut job, (300 lb) Rinehart (the worlds richest woman, who inherited her wealth and knows nothing about having to work for it).
Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart has criticised her country’s economic performance and said Africans willing to work for $2 a day should be an inspiration.
Chrstine Lagarde’s recent condescending comments towards Greece demonstrate further, what the elites feel about them. Whats in store for the rest us ?
“I think more of the little kids from a school in a little village in Niger who get teaching two hours a day, sharing one chair for three of them, and who are very keen to get an education. I have them in my mind all the time because I think they need even more help than the people in Athens.”

Greece Is Printing Its Own Euros And Everyone Turns A Blind Eye

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Nobody is brave enough to finally pull the plug on Greece and force it to exit the euro so the game continues. The Troika are due to release their report in September but in the meantime on 20 August a €3.2 billion bond is due to be paid. The ECB has stopped accepting Greek collateral. So where does Greece get its funding from? And here lies the fragility of the monetary system because Greek is printing its own money and everyone is turning  a blind eye.

A lot of politicians in Germany, but also in other countries, issue zingers about a Greek exit from the Eurozone and the end of their patience. Yet those with decision-making power play for time. They want someone else to do the job. Suddenly Greece is out of money again. It would default on everything, from bonds held by central banks to internal obligations. On August 20. The day a €3.2 billion bond that had landed on the balance sheet of the European Central Bank would mature. Europe would be on vacation. It would be mayhem. And somebody would get blamed.

So who the heck had turned off the dang spigot? At first, it was the Troika—the austerity and bailout gang from the ECB, the EU, and the IMF. It was supposed to send Greece €31.2 billion in June. But during the election chaos, Greek politicians threatened to abandon structural reforms, reverse austerity measures already implemented, rehire laid-off workers….

The Troika got cold feet. Instead of sending the payment, it promised to send its inspectors. It would drag its feet and write reports. It would take till September—knowing that Greece wouldn’t make it past August 20. Then it let the firebrand politicians stew in their own juices.

 

In late July, the inspectors returned to Athens yet again and left on Sunday. After another visit at the end of August, they’ll release their final report in September. A big faceless document on which people of different nationalities labored for months; a lot of politicians can hide behind it. Even Merkel. And the Bundestag, which gets to have a say each time the EFSF disburses bailout funds.

Alas, August 20 is the out-of-money date. September is irrelevant. Because someone else turned off the spigot. Um, the ECB. Two weeks ago, it stopped accepting Greek government bonds as collateral for its repurchase operations, thus cutting Greek banks off their lifeline. Greece asked for a bridge loan to get through the summer, which the ECB rejected. Greece asked for a delay in repaying the €3.2 billion bond maturing on August 20, which the ECB also rejected though the bond was decomposing on its balance sheet. It would kick Greece into default. And the ECB would be blamed.

But the ECB has a public face, President Mario Draghi. He didn’t want history books pointing at him. So the ECB switched gears. It allowed Greece to sell worthless treasury bills with maturities of three and six months to its own bankrupt and bailed out banks. Under the Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA), the banks would hand these T-bills to the Bank of Greece (central bank) as collateral in exchange for real euros, which the banks would then pass to the government. Thus, the Bank of Greece would fund the Greek government.

Its against the governing treaties but when has that stopped the elites in the EU who can break the rules whenever it suits them. As Eddie Van Halen once said, “To hell with the rules. If it sounds right, then it is.”

Precisely what is prohibited under the treaties that govern the ECB and the Eurosystem of central banks. But voila. Out-of-money Greece now prints its own euros! The ECB approved it. The ever so vigilant Bundesbank acquiesced. No one wanted to get blamed for Greece’s default.

If Greece defaults in September, these T-bills in the hands of the Bank of Greece will remain in the Eurosystem, and all remaining Eurozone countries will get to eat the loss. €3.5 billion or more may be printed in this manner. The cost of keeping Greece in the Eurozone a few more weeks. And on Tuesday, Greece “sold” the first batch, €812.5 million of 6-month T-bills with a yield of 4.68%. Hallelujah.

“We don’t have any time to lose,” said Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker. The euro must be saved “by all available means.” And clearly, his strategy is being implemented by hook or crook. Then he gave a stunning interview. At first, he was just jabbering about Greece, whose exit wouldn’t happen “before the end of autumn.” But suddenly the floodgates opened, and deeply chilling existential pessimism not only about the euro but about the future of the continent poured out. Read….. Top Honcho Jean-Claude Juncker: “Europeans are dwarfs”

Source: Testosteronepit.com

ESM/EFSF In A Picture

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One picture says it all really.

What lies ahead courtesy of ZeroHedge

July

  • 30 July: Italy auction. Bonds.

August:

  • 1 August: Monti meets Finnish PM. Italian PM Monti is due to meet his Finnish counterpart in Helsinki.
  • 2 August: Spain auction. Bonds
  • 2 August: ECB Governing Council meeting. Our expectation is that 2 August is likely to be an occasion for non-standard (“quantity”) monetary policies. Standard (“price”) monetary policy, or the level of policy rates, we suspect will take a backseat this month. A monetary policy “price” response would in any case be more effective after a “quantity” response given the current impairments of the monetary transmission mechanism. We expect a further 25bp refi rate cut at the September meeting. We suspect the deposit rate will remain at zero for now. See “Eurostress” in this issue of Focus Europe.
  • 7 August: Italian Q2 GDP flash estimate. A weak figure would reignite the ‘austerity versus growth’ debate (DB forecast –1.0% qoq).
  • 13 August: Italy auction. Bills
  • 14 August: Italy auction. Bonds
  • 14 August: Euro area Q2 GDP flash estimate, from Eurostat.
  • Mid-August: French Constitutional Court/Fiscal Compact. In Mid-August the French Constitutional Court is due to rule whether  the Fiscal Compact, which euro area countries are due to endorse by the start of 2013, needs to be ratified into the French Constitution. If so, a joint vote by the French Assembly would be required. Signals are that this would happen in September if required. See accompanying article on France in this issue of Focus Europe.
  • 16 August: Spain auction. Bonds
  • 20 August: Greek bond redemption. Greece is due to repay EUR3.1bn of GGBs. Following the PSI, these would be GGBs owned  by the ECB and EIB. While agreement on how to reconfigure the second loan programme is unlikely before September, it is unlikely the EU will hold-out from paying funds to Greece to repay the ECB/EIB. In a consolidated sense, the official sector’s exposure to Greece remains the same, but the creditor changes (to the EFSF). Alternatively, Greece could issue T-bills and the  Greek banks could absorb them with the assistance of ELA from the Greek central bank.
  • 21 August: Spain auction. Bills
  • 28 August: Spain auction. Bills
  • 28 August: Italy auction. Bonds
  • 29 August: Italy auction. Bills
  • 30 August: Italy auction. Bonds
  • End-August: DBRS rating on Spain/Ireland. By the end of August, the DBRS ratings agency is due to have concluded its review  of Spanish and Irish sovereign ratings.

September:

  • September: Moody’s due to conclude review of Spanish sovereign rating. Logically Moody’s should wait until there is clarity on  direct recap before making a decision on Spain’s rating. Since governments have not made progress fleshing out a direct recapitalisation facility — indeed, have created some ambiguity as to whether it will be non-recourse — there is a distinct risk that Moody’s, in another move to be “ahead of the curve”, decides to downgrade Spain within the next 3 months. Moody’s currently rates Spain Baa3, the lowest investment grade rating.
  • September: Detailed bottom-up Spanish bank stress tests due for publication.
  • 6 September: Spain auction. Bonds
  • 6 September: ECB Governing Council meeting. If we are right about the outcome of the 2 August ECB meeting (dominated by “quantity” measures), we suspect that revisions to staff forecasts for growth and inflation are likely to be a basis for a 25bp rate  cut.
  • 11 September: Greece auction. Bills
  • 12 September: German Constitutional Court ESM ruling. The German Constitutional Court is to rule on the complaints lodged  against the ESM and fiscal compact. The chances of the ESM being vetoed are low. However, the Court might again strengthen the German Parliament’s prerogatives as regards future European integration (see Focus Germany, 20 July). Germany is the last approval needed for the ESM to come into effect. Then the first instalment of the capital has to be paid by the ESM members  within 15 days of the ESM treaty entering into force. There are three other countries where Constitutional Court queries are outstanding — France, Austria and Ireland. France’s Constitutional Court will be deciding by mid-August. Neither Austria (which  may take another 3-6 months) nor Ireland are large enough to hold back the ESM — the ESM will come into force when countries representing 90% of the subscribed capital have approved it. Both Germany and France have an effective veto power in that case.
  • 12 September: Dutch Election. In April, the VVD/CDA minority government failed when Geert Wilders’ PVV party withdrew its  support amid negotiations for the 2013 austerity budget. A crisis was averted when three smaller parties came forward to give support to a budget, but an early election was unavoidable. Domestic austerity and European crisis issues will likely play  important roles in the election. Compared to the configuration of parliament at the October 2010 election, the latest opinion polls (Maurice de Hond) show PM Rutte’s VVD liberal party vying with the Socialist Party for the dominant party position. Both would  gain 31 seats in the 150 seat parliament on the latest polls. This is an unchanged position for VVD, but a doubling of SP seats. SP are gaining at the expense of all other parties except VVD and neo-liberal D66. This may reflect a backlash against the  austerity for 2013 which has broad party political support. SP have also taken a stance against euro rescue initiatives, voting against the ESM alongside the PVV and extracting a pledge from Dutch FinMin De Jager that parliament will vote on any future  direct bank recapitalisation disbursements. Given the typical distribution of the vote among several parties, the questions are  what coalition emerges from this election, how long it takes to form a government and what policies will it support? Markets in particular will be watching the ramifications for domestic fiscal policy (the 2013 Budget is a week after the election) and euro  rescue initiatives.
  • 12 September: Italy auction. Bills
  • 13-14 September: G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bankers meeting. In Mexico.
  • 13 September: Italy auction. Bonds
  • 14 September: ECOFIN meeting. This is very likely the finance ministers meeting when adjustments to Greece’s second loan programme will be considered. The remaining EUR23bn recapitalisation of the Greek banks is due to complete by the end of September, assuming a positive review of the loan programme. This is also when finance ministers should have their first discussion on the proposals for a common bank supervisory regime under the ECB. Any delays, with knock-on delays for a direct bank recapitalisation mechanism, will disappoint the market. Options for a reconsideration of Ireland’s legacy bank bailout policies may also be discussed (decision not due until October ECOFIN meeting).
  • 15 September: Eurogroup meeting. Coinciding
  • 18 September: Greece auction. Bills
  • 18 September: Spain auction. Bills
  • 20 September: Spain auction. Bonds
  • 25 September: Spain auction. Bills
  • 25 September: Italy auction. Bonds
  • 26 September: Italy auction. Bills
  • 27 September: Italy auction. Bonds

Source: ZeroHedge

Wolfson Interview on EuroZone Exit

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Wolfson interview with RT on exiting the euro.

Deutsche Bank Calls For Big Bang Solution From ECB

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At this stage very few people have any faith in the EUSSR sorting out the crisis in the eurozone. After agreeing a bank bailout for Spain, there has been a series of downgrades from Spain itself to Dutch banks etc. Coupled with the outcome of the Greece elections the markets are beginning the to see the naked emperor. Just look at Spain and Italy’s bond yields this week.

Deutsche Bank’s is not satisfied with the situation in Spain and have no faith in the recapitalization of its banks. It sees the only solution at this stage as a controlled market crash with a large role to be played by the ECB.

we were somewhat disturbed to read Gilles Moec’s summary this morning, which points out the patently obvious: “Spain recapitalization: it’s not working.” Whether it is that Europe’s brightest minds forgot about the threat of subordination (promptly reminded by Zero Hedge hours after the formal announcement), and that the scars of the Greek cramdown are still fresh in the private sector’s mind, it does not matter: as DB says: “Unfortunately, the market reaction was clearly negative, with Spanish 10 year rate brushing past 7% for the first time since 1996. Two main elements probably explain the market reaction: first, the increase in public debt triggered by the recapitalization whose cost will stay on the sovereign’s balance sheet under the current rules); second the seniority attached to ESM loans, if this scheme is used as the final channel for the EU loan instead of the EFSF.”

Yes, it is “unfortunate” that Spain’s bailout plan was poorly planned, organized and executed. It is not unfortunate that some are still left who can do simple math and call out Europe’s failed plans. Which brings us to the present, where we find that even Deutsche Bank has given up hope for interim solutions, having realized that the market will no longer accept transitory, feeble arrangements. Instead DB is now formally calling for a big bang resolution, one coming from the ECB. Here is the punchline: “ECB has room for manoeuvre, but needs political cover for a ‘big’ policy” or said otherwise, “A shock is required to get a liquidity response.” In other words: Europe’s only real hope for even a stop gap solution… is a wholesale market crash, not surprisingly the very same conclusion that Citi reached on May 19 when they warned that only Crossover (XO) at 1000 bps or wider could push Europe into acting…

So in the case of a market crash, the ECB will loan directly to the banks via vLTRO.

It is possible in the context of more disorderly market scenarios that the ECB pre-empts the BLS to reengage the vLTRO policy which has, in Draghi’s view, already ‘broadly’ worked in similar market conditions.

 

Source: ZeroHedge

 

EU Has Worst Case Contingency Plans For Greece Leaving

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With the Greek elections on the 17 June, the EU is preparing worst case plans in the event that Greece would leave the euro. These include limiting ATM withdrawals and capital controls etc.

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European finance officials have discussed as a worst-case scenario limiting the size of withdrawals from ATM machines, imposing border checks and introducing capital controls in at least Greece should Athens decide to leave the euro.

EU officials have told Reuters the ideas are part of a range of contingency plans. They emphasized that the discussions were merely about being prepared for any eventuality rather than planning for something they expect to happen – no one Reuters has spoken to expects Greece to leave the single currency area.

Belgium’s finance minister, Steve Vanackere, said at the end of May that it was a basic function of each euro zone member state to be prepared for problems. These discussions appear to be in that vein.

But with increased political uncertainty in Greece following the inconclusive election on May 6 and ahead of a second election on June 17, there is now an increased need to have contingencies in place, the EU sources said.

The discussions have taken place in conference calls over the past six weeks, as concerns have grown that a radical-left coalition, SYRIZA, may win the second election, increasing the risk that Greece could renege on its EU/IMF bailout and therefore move closer to abandoning the currency.

Even limiting travel is proposed.

As well as limiting cash withdrawals and imposing capital controls, they have discussed the possibility of suspending the Schengen agreement, which allows for visa-free travel among 26 countries, including most of the European Union.

….

Another source confirmed the discussions, including that the suspension of Schengen was among the options raised.

“These are not political discussions, these are discussions among finance experts who need to be prepared for any eventuality,” the second source said. “It is sensible planning, that is all, planning for the worst-case scenario.”

The first official said it was still being examined whether there was a legal basis for such extreme measures.

But the Greek people are still in love with the euro, rather how an alcoholic craves whats bad for it.

The vast majority of Greeks – some surveys have indicated 75 to 80 percent – like the euro and want to retain the currency, something Greek politicians are aware of and which may dissuade them from pushing the country too close to the brink.

However, SYRIZA is expected to win or come a strong second on June 17. Alexis Tsipras, the party’s 37-year-old leader, has said he plans to tear up or heavily renegotiate the 130-billion-euro bailout agreed with the EU and IMF. The EU and IMF have said they are not prepared to renegotiate.

If those differences cannot be resolved, the threat of the country leaving or being forced out of the euro will remain, and hence the need for contingencies to be in place.

Switzerland said last month it was considering introducing capital controls if the euro falls apart.

In a conference call on May 21, the Eurogroup Working Group told euro zone member states that they should each have a plan in place if Greece were to leave the currency.

Belgium’s Vanackere said two days after that call that it was a basic function of each euro zone member state to be prepared for any eventuality.

It’s all been well prepared for(check out older post from last December on the UK) , but we will be the last to know.

Greek Drachma Appears On Bloomberg Ticker

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Russia Today have reported signs of the Greek Drachma appearing on Bloombergs Ticker while Bloomberg themselves have said that its a test. It has since been removed.

Traders around the world have been staring at their Bloomberg screens, hardly believing their eyes. The electronic information platform has been showing details for possible Greek Drachma trading.

The Bloomberg helpdesk described it as “an internal function which is set up to test.”

The news comes in the wake of the heated discussions over the future of the euro zone and the membership of Greece. While many experts insist that Greece should leave the Euro and default, some suggest it should remain the union and introduce a parallel currency to the Euro to repay the country’s debt.

The Head of the European Investment Bank Werner Hoyer said on Tuesday that Greece will be able to remain a member of the union. “Greece will have the opportunity to solve the huge problems that it is facing. Continuing support from the EU will contribute to this, in case, of course, the very Greeks would want that,” Hoyer said.

And a survey at the weekend showed that Greeks prefer to stick to the Euro and not revert to the old drachma.

The Greek Drachma details have now been taken down from the Bloomberg service.

 

 

 

Greece’s Electric Network On The Verge Of Being Cut Off

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The power generation companies in Greece for some time are struggling to pay their bills. This time the natural gas supplier DEPA has called enough is enough, pay up or else. It’s the last thing a struggling economy needs and hopefully disaster can be averted.

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece’s power regulator RAE told Reuters on Friday it was calling an emergency meeting next week to avert a collapse of the debt-stricken country’s electricity and natural gas system.

“RAE is taking crisis initiatives throughout next week to avert the collapse of the natural gas and electricity system,” the regulator’s chief Nikos Vasilakos told Reuters.

RAE took the decision after receiving a letter from Greece’s natural gas company DEPA, which threatened to cut supplies to electricity producers if they failed to settle their arrears with the company.

Source: Reuters

Greece Must Remain In Euro, Otherwise Its Success Outside, Would Encourage Others To Leave

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Normally a country in debt crisis would devalue its currency, suffer short-term pain and then reap the rewards of instantly being cheaper. Although in the case of Greece which doesn’t have a strong export industry it would still have a massive benefit if it was to leave the euro. In the case of Iceland, it successfully devalued and is growing its economy again, although it has mainly escaped the attentions of the presstitutes. There you have it, the MSM and EUssr does not want Iceland’s success story to be told for the same reason it doesn’t want Greece to leave the euro, because it knows this is the correct way to handle the debt crisis and other countries would want to follow.

The elites of the EUssr are desperate for Greece to remain with the euro because its eventual successful recovery with a new currency with cause the euro to collapse. Consider the following article on FT from Arvind Subramanian (a Senior Fellow at the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics, which counts amongst its directors numerous influential Bilderberg members, including former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, former United States Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, and Bilderberg kingpin David Rockefeller). Someone is scared!!!

Expelled from the eurozone, Greece might prove more dangerous to the system than it ever was inside it – by providing a model of successful recovery.

There is an overlooked scenario in which default is not a disaster for Greece. If this is the case, the real, more existential threat to the eurozone might be a very different one, in which the Greeks have the last laugh. Consider that scenario.

The immediate consequences of Greece leaving or being forced out of the eurozone would certainly be devastating. Capital flight would intensify, fuelling depreciation and inflation. All existing contracts would need to be redenominated and renegotiated, creating financial chaos. Perhaps most politically devastating, fiscal austerity might actually need to intensify, since Greece still runs a primary deficit, which it would have to correct if EU and International Monetary Fund financing vanished.

But this process would also produce a substantially depreciated exchange rate (50 drachmas to the euro, anyone?) And that would set in motion a process of adjustment that would soon reorientate the economy and put it on a path of sustainable growth. In fact, Greek growth would probably surge, possibly for a prolonged period, if it adopted sensible policies to restore rapidly and sustain macroeconomic stability.

Examples of successful devaluations

What is the evidence? Just look at what happened to the countries that defaulted and devalued during the financial crises of the 1990s. They all initially suffered severe contractions. But the recessions lasted only one or two years. Then came the rebound. South Korea posted nine years of growth averaging nearly 6 per cent. Indonesia, which experienced a wave of defaults that toppled nearly every bank in the entire system, registered growth above 5 per cent for a similar period; Argentina close to 8 per cent; and Russia above 7 per cent. The historical record shows clearly that there is life after financial crises.

This would also be true in Greece, even allowing for the particularities of its situation. Greece’s low export-to-GDP ratio is often said to preclude the possibility of high export-led growth. But that argument is not ironclad because crises can lead to dramatic reorientations of the economy. India, for example, managed to double its similarly low export-to-GDP ratio within a decade after its crisis in 1991, and doubled it again in the following decade even without a big currency depreciation.

To put in context, Greece’s successful potential exit from the euro could have massive ramifications. Germany may have to concede way more ground to hang on to its free lunch.
Suppose that by mid-2013 Greece’s economy is recovering, while the rest of the eurozone remains in recession. The effect on austerity-addled Spain, Portugal and even Italy would be powerful. Voters there would not fail to notice the improving condition of their hitherto scorned Greek neighbour. They would start to ask why their own governments should not follow the Greek path and voice a preference for leaving the eurozone. In other words, the Greek experience could fundamentally alter the incentives for these countries to remain in the eurozone, especially if economic conditions remained grim.

At this stage, politics in Germany would also be affected. Today, Germany grudgingly does the minimum needed to keep the eurozone intact. If exit to emulate Greece becomes an attractive proposition, Germany will be put on the spot – and the magnanimity it shows in place of its current miserliness will be the ultimate test of how much it values the eurozone. The answer might prove surprising. The German public might suddenly realise that the eurozone confers on Germany not one but two “exorbitant privileges”: low interest rates as the haven for European capital and a competitive exchange rate by being hitched to weaker partners. In that case, Germany would have to offer its partners a much more attractive deal to keep them in the eurozone.

Such a scenario would be rich in irony. Greece is viewed as the pariah polluting the eurozone; its expulsion might make it a far bigger threat to the single currency’s survival. If a eurozone exit creates the conditions for a rebound in Greece, it may prove an infectious model. The ongoing Greek tragedy could yet turn out not too badly for the Greeks. But tragedy it might well be for the eurozone and perhaps for the European project.

Christine Lagarde The Hypocrite

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Last week Christine Lagarde famously kicked Greece in the balls, telling them to shut up and pay more taxes, while all the while SHE PAYS NO INCOME TAX. Here was what she said

“As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about all those people who are trying to escape tax all the time. All these people in Greece who are trying to escape tax.”

…..

she added that they could “help themselves collectively” by “all paying their tax,” and agreed that it was “payback time” for ordinary Greeks.

The Independent reports as follows

It was called her “Let them eat cake” moment. Now Greece will be saying: “Make her pay tax”.

The IMF chief Christine Lagarde was accused of hypocrisy yesterday after it emerged that she pays no income tax – just days after blaming the Greeks for causing their financial peril by dodging their own bills.

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund is paid a salary of $467,940 (£298,675), automatically increased every year according to inflation. On top of that she receives an allowance of $83,760 – payable without “justification” – and additional expenses for entertainment, making her total package worth more than the amount received by US President Barack Obama according to reports last night.

Unlike Mr Obama, however, she does not have to pay any tax on this substantial income because of her diplomatic status.

I just love the double standards the elite have 😉

Christine Lagarde – Payback Time For Greece

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It’s easy to criticize someone in Greece when you are pulling in over $500k a year and basically couldn’t give a shit because you are not Greek, but it’s another thing to say it publically as IMF chief Christine Lagarde has done. Her attitude could best be summed up by, the Greek people borrowed too much and now deserve the suffering, so they should pay more tax and shut up. The mask has slipped, but is her position more in line with her fellow elite?. Certainly the way Greece has been treated has been nothing short of disgraceful coupled  with a biased media coverage of the Greek people.

There may well be tax avoidance, but never is discussed the corrupt political elite which was responsible for this behaviour or the fact that the Greeks in 2010 were the hardest workers in Europe, 2nd only to South Korea in OECD countries.

In an interview with the British Guardian newspaper published Friday, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, vented her class hatred for the workers of Greece, denouncing them as tax scofflaws and ruling out any respite from the austerity measures that have devastated the country.

In the interview, Lagarde was questioned about the social catastrophe resulting from five years of economic crisis and austerity measures dictated by the IMF and the European Union. She was asked, in particular, to respond to the plight of pregnant women who “won’t have access to a midwife when they give birth,” patients who “won’t get life-saving drugs,” and the elderly who “will die alone for lack of care.”

Contemptuously dismissing the suffering and death caused by the policies she is helping to impose, Lagarde replied: “I think more of the little kids from a school in a little village in Niger who get teaching two hours a day… I have them in my mind all the time, because I think they need even more help than the people in Athens.”

The crocodile tears of Lagarde, formerly the finance minister under French President Nicolas Sarkozy, for the impoverished children of Africa carry little weight given the quasi-genocidal record of French imperialism in Africa and the neo-colonial interventions in the Ivory Coast, Libya and other parts of the continent carried out by the Sarkozy regime.

The IMF head continued: “As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about … all these people in Greece who are trying to escape tax.”

Asked whether she thought more about non-payment of taxes than “all those now struggling to survive without jobs or public services,” Lagarde replied, “I think of them equally. And I think they should also help themselves collectively … by all paying their tax.”

The Guardian article continued: “It sounds as if she’s essentially saying to the Greeks and others in Europe, you’ve had a nice time and now it’s payback time. ‘That’s right.’ She nods calmly.”

Lagarde, who makes more than half a million dollars after taxes as IMF chief, reflects the outlook of the financial aristocracy that dictates policy in Europe and around the world. In condemning the people of Greece to unspeakable suffering and misery, she speaks for the entire European bourgeoisie and all of its national governments and European Union institutions.

Her “Let them eat cake” attitude sums up the loathing and fear of her class for the working class throughout Europe and internationally. Her remarks underscore the fact that Greece has been selected to serve as a benchmark for a deliberate policy of exploiting the capitalist crisis to effect a fundamental and permanent restructuring of class relations. The bourgeoisie is determined to eradicate all of the past social gains of the working class and carry through a social counterrevolution, imposing conditions of poverty and exploitation not seen since the end of the 19th century.

Source: wsws.org

Iceland’s Economic Recovery Is Blueprint For Eurozone

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It’s funny how Iceland’s economic success has been almost completely ignored by the presstitutes. In Ireland, which started out on a similar route to Iceland, has an almost complete media blackout of the Iceland success story. In any debate of bank debt in Ireland, at no point has Iceland’s decision to renege on its banks odious debts ever mentioned. This is in direct contrast to what the Irish government did. In fact, refusing to give the Irish a referendum, unlike Iceland, shows Democracy doesn’t exist. Maybe it should be called Dumb-ocracy, because the electorate are kept as dumb as possible, like mushrooms, kept in the dark and fed shit.

As regards to the eurozone, Iceland points the way to growth and how a small nation can actually survive when odious debt is removed. It takes a brave move from its people to overrule the politicians and stand up to the bankers. How many times have we heard in the last year from eurozone politicians, who admit that the euro was ill-conceived, only to move further into the danger zone by proposing a fiscal union as the final solution to all of europe’s problems. If they got it wrong originally with the euro, why listen to politicians about any economic decision, because clearly they are making the wrong decisions in Europe.

Is it any reason then we hear nothing of Iceland’s economic recovery, because the politicians don’t want anyone to know, that life can be better outside the euro.

In 2008, Iceland was the first casualty of the financial crisis that has since primed the euro zone for another economic disaster: Greece is edging toward a cataclysmic exit from the euro, Spain is racked by a teetering banking system, and German politicians are squabbling over how to hold it all together.

But Iceland is growing. Unemployment has eased. Emigration has slowed.

Iceland has a significant advantage over stressed euro-zone countries—a currency that could be devalued. That has turned its trade deficit into a surplus and smoothed its recovery.

Iceland has control over its fishing industry and is not limited to fish quotas that other european countries have to work with. Business within the fishing industry is booming and looking for workers.

So brisk is the fish business that Mr. Palsson’s factory draws Polish workers to this island off an island, a heart-shaped dollop of volcanic rock five miles from Iceland’s south coast.

“Every house is full because we can offer so many jobs,” said Mr. Palsson, 37 years old. On his humming factory floor, cod whip through machines that lop off heads and slice out bones. Rows of workers in Smurf-blue smocks lean over illuminated tables to cut the filets.

Iceland—with its own currency, its own central bank, its own monetary policy, its own decision-making and its own rules—had policy options that euro-zone nations can only fantasize about. Its successes provide a vivid lesson in what euro countries gave up when they joined the monetary union. And, perhaps, a taste of what might be possible should they leave.

So what happened and how did Iceland recover?

Iceland fell hard in 2008. Its engorged banking system sunk and unemployment soared. The government was jeered out of office by dispirited voters in angry street protests. Young people packed their bags. As in the euro zone, the International Monetary Fund parachuted in with a bailout.

Its currency devalued by half. That boosted exports, like Mr. Palsson’s fish, and trimmed costly imports, like cars. The weakened krona was hard on homeowners who borrowed in foreign currency, but Iceland’s judges and policy makers orchestrated mortgage relief. Expensive foreign goods also ignited inflation. Consumer prices have risen 26% since 2008.

That rescue, in turn, weighed on the financial system. But unlike Ireland, for example, Iceland let its banks fail and made foreign creditors, not Icelandic taxpayers, largely responsible for covering losses.

Iceland also imposed draconian capital controls—anathema to the European Union doctrine of open financial borders—that have warded off the terrifying capital and credit flights that hit Greece, Ireland and Portugal, and now test Spain and Italy.

And instead of rushing into the sort of spending cuts that have ravaged Greece and Spain, Iceland delayed austerity. Initially, the country even increased social-welfare payments to its poorest citizens, whose continued spending helped cushion the economy.

Difference between Iceland and Greece.

Exiting the euro would be traumatic for Greece, even if it could benefit from devaluation. Iceland’s open economy is much more geared toward trade; Greece’s €52 billion in exports last year amounted to 24% of its gross domestic product. Iceland’s exports reached 59% of GDP. Icelanders heat and power their homes with geothermal energy; the Greeks import their energy and would suffer a huge price shock after a devaluation.

Bond rate.

Earlier this month, Iceland sold $1 billion in 10-year bonds at 5.875% interest. That is a lower rate than what Greece, Ireland or Portugal would pay, if they had access to financial markets at all. In March, Iceland began repaying its IMF loans ahead of schedule.

Adjust imbalances internally (austerity) or through currency devaluation?

Righting imbalances is hard inside the euro zone. There, the policy is so-called internal devaluation, a euphemism for making populations poorer. In theory, pushing down wages makes export industries more competitive with foreign competitors. In practice, it is difficult to lower wages without hurting the domestic economy.

In Ireland, the most successful of the euro zone’s bailed-out countries, the policy has spurred a revival in exports but at the cost of high unemployment and lower domestic consumption. In Iceland, by contrast, the devalued currency forces residents to buy less from abroad and shift their purchasing home.

“We are seeing in Greece and in Southern Europe how painful it is to adjust through the labor market,” said Tryggvi Thor Herbertsson, a member of parliament for the conservative opposition party. “To adjust through the currency,” he said, “is so much less painful.”

 

Common sense tells us that the euro€ has been an absolute DISASTER, its time to return to our own currencies and take back control.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Germany Leading Europe Into 1930s Style Depression

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James Meadway, Senior Economist, New Economics Foundation, giving an interview on Russia Today discussing Germany’s “relentless austerity” drive across the eurozone and its affects.

Nigel Farage: Greece Outside The Euro Might Be An Inspiration To Others

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Nigel Farage outlines why Greece leaving the euro may be an inspiration to others. With the new Drachma(floating peg) to be devalued by 50-60%, tourism would boom and after a tough few weeks, it would give Greece  a chance.

What Happens When A Country Defaults

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From The Financial Times

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