BIS Says Party Over for Quantitative Easing

The Bank for International Settlements has demanded Central Banks stop their quantitative easing in hopes of a global economic recovery.  All that has happened is a stock market love affair while the real economy languishes.  BIS has issued their annual report demanding nations deleverage, which is codespeak for austerity.

When Hedge Funds Trump Governments

vultureWhile Greece suffers to the point of revolution and suicide, hedge funds made out like bandits on Greek sovereign debt.

Greece had reached its target of buying back enough bonds at a discount to retire 21 billion euros, or about $27 billion, of its debt. The bigger winners, though, were hedge funds, which pocketed higher profits than many had expected, in yet another Greek bailout financed by European taxpayers.

To some experts, this latest chapter in the long-running Greek drama is another reminder of how private investors have managed to outmaneuver European officials at various stages of the debt crisis. And they caution that each time it happens, future debt workouts in the euro zone will become even more costly.

When Europe wanted to give the Greek bond holders a hair cut, the hedge funds threatened collective action against a host of European countries. They wouldn't buy any European sovereign bonds in retaliation against the Eurogroup taking a hard line against them.

The warning was blunt: If Athens set off legal mechanisms in the bond contracts known as collective action clauses, forcing bondholders to accept lower prices, investors would stop buying the bonds of struggling European countries. That would be bad news for Spain and Italy — to say nothing of Portugal and Ireland when they return to global bond markets in 2013.

ECB Outright MonetaryTransaction Action In the Face of Recession Redux

euro symbolThe ECB, Europe's Central Bank, has launched a sovereign bond buying program, arguing for price stability and to make it clear the Euro is here to stay. ECB President Mario Draghi:

It is against this background that the Governing Council today decided on the modalities for undertaking Outright Monetary Transactions (OMTs) in secondary markets for sovereign bonds in the euro area. As we said a month ago, we need to be in the position to safeguard the monetary policy transmission mechanism in all countries of the euro area. We aim to preserve the singleness of our monetary policy and to ensure the proper transmission of our policy stance to the real economy throughout the area. OMTs will enable us to address severe distortions in government bond markets which originate from, in particular, unfounded fears on the part of investors of the reversibility of the euro. Hence, under appropriate conditions, we will have a fully effective backstop to avoid destructive scenarios with potentially severe challenges for price stability in the euro area. Let me repeat what I said last month: we act strictly within our mandate to maintain price stability over the medium term; we act independently in determining monetary policy; and the euro is irreversible.

This is an unlimited, open ended, short term maturity of one to three years, Euro area governments' bonds buy back program. The details are as warranted, dependent upon market conditions and at market value.

The Never Ending European Implosion Update

eurozoneSpain today was suddenly imploding. We should say suddenly with a bit of sarcasm, after all, we've been watching Europe put their fingers in the never ending European financial dike for years now.

What happened was Germany has demanded Spain be liable for their loans, 100% from last month's Spanish bail out.

The German Bundestag voted Thursday to approve the $122 billion banking bailout, but only if the Spanish government accepted full liability for the loans. “There will be no direct bank financing,” said Volker Kauder, head of the Christian Democratic delegation in the Bundestag.

Truth be told this is just another day in the adventures of Eurozone financial crises. U.S. Treasury bonds are hitting record lows as a mass exodus from Europe seeks safe assets.

U.S. Treasuries yields fell to new record lows on Monday as concern that the euro zone's debt crisis is spiraling out of control led investors to seek out the relative safety of U.S. debt.

Germany and U.K. bonds yields are also hitting record lows as the flight to safe haven continues.

More Austerity and Bail Outs for Greece as Conservative Party Wins Election

greeceGreece is in turmoil. Austerity demands and debt have ravaged the nation. In spite of this, the pro bail-out and corresponding austerity political party just won the election:

The pro-bailout New Democracy party came in first Sunday in Greece's national election and could gather enough support to form a pro-bailout coalition to keep the country in the eurozone.

The world's eyes have been on Greece and their elections. The reason is one party wanted to default and leave the Eurozone. The two main parties are the New Democracy and the Syriza. The New Democracy party are the conservatives and support the European bail outs, austerity demands and want to stick with the EU and the Euro. The left Syriza wants to default, get out of those austerity demands and leave the Eurozone.

Most are reporting the New Democratic Party of Greece can form a parliamentary coalition.

The euro strengthened as official projections showed Greece’s two largest pro-bailout parties winning enough seats to forge a parliamentary majority, easing concern the country would be forced from the currency bloc.

An Economy Destroyed -- The Enemy Is Washington

Originally published by
by Paul Craig Roberts
Recently, the bond rating agencies that gave junk derivatives triple-A ratings threatened to downgrade US Treasury bonds if the White House and Congress did not reach a deficit reduction deal and debt ceiling increase. The downgrade threat is not credible, and neither is the default threat. Both are make-believe crises that are being hyped in order to force cutbacks in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

If the rating agencies downgraded Treasuries, the company executives would be arrested for the fraudulent ratings that they gave to the junk that Wall Street peddled to the rest of the world. The companies would be destroyed and their ratings discredited. The US government will never default on its bonds, because the bonds, unlike those of Greece, Spain, and Ireland, are payable in its own currency. Regardless of whether the debt ceiling is raised, the Federal Reserve will continue to purchase the Treasury's debt. If Goldman Sachs is too big to fail, then so is the US government.

Prickly Fed on QEII

By Numerian


This is the battlefield on which corporations and their customers are struggling for survival. If companies can make price increases stick, the consumer is going to bear the burden of inflation, and for a lot of consumers this can be the last gasp to bankruptcy.

Image:  Anonomyous

The Federal Reserve is on the defensive over its next round of Quantitative Easing, known as QE2. Over 20 distinguished economists and market analysts placed an ad yesterday in The Wall Street Journal urging the Fed to drop its plan to purchase $600 billion in Treasury securities over the next six months. Finance ministers around the world have deplored this policy for its tendency to generate global inflation and scupper the dollar on the foreign exchange markets. Even that noted financial expert Sarah Palin has published a Facebook criticism of the Fed’s “running the printing presses.”

Some Federal Reserve governors have warned about the potential inflationary implications of QE2, even though they voted for it. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and NY Fed President William Dudley have been in the media during the past week, justifying their QE2 decision. If you analyze their comments carefully, you realize they haven’t been helping their cause.

Corn, Quantitative Easing and the Coming Storm

By Numerian

Does Ben Bernanke make any connection between the asset bubble in a commodity like corn, and the economic pressures this creates for the middle class or poor people? Given their lofty and isolated position, and the fact that Fed officials talk only to businessmen and millionaires in Congress, one of the things most lacking in Fed policy debates, public or private, is any concern for the average person in the US. It’s as if these are the people of least concern to the Fed, or if they are of concern, it is only as economic factors in econometric models. You get the impression that the Fed has, for a long long time, forgotten about the real, and often immediate personal consequences its policies have for the average person. Numerian

Economic Warfare? Europe versus Wall Street

Michael Collins

(March 10) Wall Streets is headed toward international pariah status thanks to two recent actions by the European Union (EU).

On Tuesday, the EU announced that it was banning Wall Street banks from the lucrative government bond business in Europe. They didn't express official concern or fire off a warning shot. They simply banned Wall Street from financing government bond deals like the one Goldman Sachs sold to Greece. The Guardian pointed out that Wall Street bond business from European governments has gone down over the last two years. Now the business is gone period. In effect, the EU has labeled Wall Streets business tactics as too dangerous for their governments to handle.