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Friday, March 02, 2012

P.I.I.G.S. - G.I.P.S.I. - GOLD AND coca - cola

Derivatives: The $600 Trillion Time Bomb That's Set to Explode
 In 2009, five banks held 80% of derivatives in America. Now, just four banks hold a staggering 95.9% of U.S. derivatives, according to a recent report from the Office of the Currency Comptroller.
 The four banks in question: JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS).
 Derivatives played a crucial role in bringing down the global economy, so you would think that the world's top policymakers would have reined these things in by now - but they haven't.
 Instead of attacking the problem, regulators have let it spiral out of control, and the result is a $600 trillion time bomb called the derivatives market.
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A)Banks borrow €530bn from ECB scheme


The European Central Bank on Wednesday injected €529.5bn into the eurozone financial system as 800 European banks took advantage of the ECB’s cheap three-year loan programme.
Consensus median forecast had predicted banks would tap about €500bn from the second phase of the ECB’s three-year, longer-term refinancing operation (LTRO), which offers lenders an interest rate of just 1 per cent.

Money Supply How deep are the ECB’s pockets?
Europe banks hungry for second helpings

The ECB’s first three-year loan programme in December, which saw 523 banks borrow €489bn, was widely seen as a “game changer” that helped to avert a liquidity squeeze in the European banking system. The LTRO boosted investor sentiment, lifting markets and aiding an initial flurry of bond issues by banks at the start of the year.
Wednesday’s figure included funds rolled from shorter dated operations. About €313.7bn of net new liquidity was added to the system – much more than in December’s loan auction. “This is at the higher end of market expectations and should have a positive impact on risk assets especially when compared to the €193.4bn net liquidity add that was seen from December’s LTRO 1,” said Divyang Shah, global strategist at IFR Markets.
Suki Mann, head of credit strategy at Société Générale in London, said the result was something of a “non-event” and said only a figure at either extreme of consensus forecasts would have had a bigger affect on the markets.
“You can reasonably assume that any major short-term funding issues have now been alleviated and the market can move on,” said Mr Mann. “The fact that more banks participated is a result of the collateral rules being widened.”
The euro weakened compared with the dollar on the news, dropping 0.4 per cent. The FTSE Eurofirst was up 0.4 per cent.
With about €700bn of debt maturing during 2012, a chunk of the funds from both LTRO are likely to be used by lenders to refinance debt.
Banks, particularly those in Spain and Italy, are thought to have already used the first round of cheap money from the ECB to buy their governments’ sovereign bonds, helping to drive borrowing costs lower. Recent figures from the ECB show that Italian and Spanish banks increased their holdings in sovereign bonds by 13 per cent and 29 per cent respectively over a two-month period between December and January.
Since the first three-year emergency funding operation in December, there has also been a noticeable rise in the amount of cash being held at the ECB’s daily facility.
Many expect the second LTRO to be used to refinance debt, buy sovereign bonds and act as a liquidity buffer. However, it remains to be seen how much of that money is filtering down to the real economy in the form of loans to companies.
Some have warned that eurozone banks risk becoming addicted to the cheap funding from the ECB and that it may not be long before the central bank has to commit to a third LTRO.
However, Mario Draghi, the ECB’s president, stressed earlier this month that the measures were temporary and the central bank would not pre-commit to making them a permanent feature of monetary policy.

By Mary Watkins

source FT

B)Iran Sanctions Conducive to Weak Dollar and Spiralling Gold Prices

We are trying to figure out the best way to describe the banking and oil sanctions against Iran, which are blatant acts of war. Just look back in history at similar situations and you will see what we are referring too. It is simple incompetence or is the allied plan a false flag feint in order to distract attention away from debt problems?

A month ago when the US was trying to terrorize Syria and Iran with oil and banking sanctions we said they did not have a chance of winning. Iran’s nations that are friendlies, such as China, India and Russia are major nations that will assist in the circumvention of some 70% of those sanctions. As we predicted all the excitement in the Straight of Hormuz was just that, another distraction. This week the USS Abraham Lincoln, an aircraft Carrier, went through the Straight, which tells us as we said earlier, it was all just a game. That relieved pressure of financial markets in Europe, the UK and US.

Most people forget an agreement has been in place for more than a year between Russia and China, so the precedent has been set and it works. To simplify things India wants to use gold in exchange for oil, a very simple and novel idea.

What does all this add up too? The basic common denominator is a growing existence of the US dollar and of the world financial system. What Washington has done has expedited the end of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Worse yet for the dollar deals like this are in the works all over Asia. Alliances are forming as we speak and it is only a matter of time before it happens. We believe this will take place over the next two years, accompanied by higher interest rates. These countries are proceeding at their own pace and will soon have major agreements in place.

The movement toward an alternative trade, a monetary and financial system is underway and the US is trying to force dollar usage on everyone, like it or not. If the US doesn’t come up with an alternative soon they may be ejected out of world trade, because few will want their currency. These engineered events just make the US look weaker in the long run. Foreigners are already euro sellers and T-bill buyers.

Again, we return to the unnatural and unbalanced trade situation between Germany and the remainder of the EU. The gap in competitiveness between the industrial north and the south is enormous.

If the  EU and euro zone had been properly set up as a political and fiscal union that might have succeeded. There was no political union – only a financial and trade union, which we wrote in 1992, could never work and it did not work as we are observing. What this has turned out to be and we predicted it, and that is an unending transfer of wealth from the north to the south. If you look at the pluses and minuses Germany should exit the euro zone. The euro has been used to stay close to France due to the experiences of the past. That is very difficult because the German culture is much different than that of other countries like France, England or the US. You have to live there in those countries and speak their languages to truly understand how they think and why they are the culture that they are.

In addition to culture problems we have a group of Illuminists, who always happen to be appointed to the positions of power to further the aims and goals of world government. Today Mr. Draghi at the ECB is a prime example. All that was accomplished by previous ECB management has been cast to the 4-winds – a complete turnaround by following orders from London and NYC to crank up money and credit creation. This obviously is the only way these elitists know how to temporarily make an economy run. All they have done has saved the financial sector and done little for economic recovery. Why should anyone expect any different result?
           
Italy is buried in debt, as is Spain and they are uncompetitive. Spain’s real estate collapse is worse then that of the US. In Spain you also have to too big to fail syndrome, which means bank nationalization in both countries, as in England and in other various European countries. Spain has to go bankrupt. Real estate has not as yet hit a bottom. Spain and Italy are already caught up in a deflationary debt spiral and will eventually have to default and leave the euro. There was no vigilance. Few paid attention to their performance and plight, and now you are seeing the result of that.

We are now faced with tremendous deficit spending, that money and credit being supplied by the Fed, which, of course, will never be repaid.

While euro squabbles over the euro and sovereign debt the US is finding out that he who has the gold makes the rules. Rumors abound that India may pay for part or all of its oil purchases from Iran with gold. If this does become reality it will end up being negative for the dollar.

Iran is to be punished because they supposedly want to make nuclear weapons. These sanctions are on oil and its sale to others and being shut out of the world banking system. From our viewpoint these sanctions have already been a failure. These moves by the US, UK and Europe have only served to put more downward pressure on the US dollar. The petrodollars have been on their way for sometime but actions such as these two embargos will prove to be even more disastrous for the dollar. It shows the use of dollars can be circumvented. That also means those countries that had been buying US Treasuries may start to reduce buying and other currencies and perhaps gold will be used as alternatives. That has been happening over the past few months. Obviously, America’s problems are having a cumulative effect and those dollar sales are moving to other currencies and are a reflection of a staggering world super power. America no longer deserves its dollar reserve privileges - it has squandered them away. We see, zero interest rates for three years, QE 3 on the way and the Fed lending $1 trillion, or is it a fractionalized $10 trillion. The situation is not getting better, but getting worse and that means we have a solid three years or more of climbing gold and silver prices.

by Bob Chapman

SOURCE GLOBALRESEARCH.CA

C)What Ails Europe?

Things are terrible here, as unemployment soars past 13 percent. Things are even worse in Greece, Ireland, and arguably in Spain, and Europe as a whole appears to be sliding back into recession.
 Why has Europe become the sick man of the world economy? Everyone knows the answer. Unfortunately, most of what people know isn’t true — and false stories about European woes are warping our economic discourse.
 Read an opinion piece about Europe — or, all too often, a supposedly factual news report — and you’ll probably encounter one of two stories, which I think of as the Republican narrative and the German narrative. Neither story fits the facts.
 The Republican story — it’s one of the central themes of Mitt Romney’s campaign — is that Europe is in trouble because it has done too much to help the poor and unlucky, that we’re watching the death throes of the welfare state. This story is, by the way, a perennial right-wing favorite: back in 1991, when Sweden was suffering from a banking crisis brought on by deregulation (sound familiar?), the Cato Institute published a triumphant report on how this proved the failure of the whole welfare state model.
 Did I mention that Sweden, which still has a very generous welfare state, is currently a star performer, with economic growth faster than that of any other wealthy nation?
 But let’s do this systematically. Look at the 15 European nations currently using the euro (leaving Malta and Cyprus aside), and rank them by the percentage of G.D.P. they spent on social programs before the crisis. Do the troubled GIPSI nations (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy) stand out for having unusually large welfare states? No, they don’t; only Italy was in the top five, and even so its welfare state was smaller than Germany’s.
 So excessively large welfare states didn’t cause the troubles.
 Next up, the German story, which is that it’s all about fiscal irresponsibility. This story seems to fit Greece, but nobody else. Italy ran deficits in the years before the crisis, but they were only slightly larger than Germany’s (Italy’s large debt is a legacy from irresponsible policies many years ago). Portugal’s deficits were significantly smaller, while Spain and Ireland actually ran surpluses.
 Oh, and countries that aren’t on the euro seem able to run large deficits and carry large debts without facing any crises. Britain and the United States can borrow long-term at interest rates of around 2 percent; Japan, which is far more deeply in debt than any country in Europe, Greece included, pays only 1 percent.
 In other words, the Hellenization of our economic discourse, in which we’re all just a year or two of deficits from becoming another Greece, is completely off base.
 So what does ail Europe? The truth is that the story is mostly monetary. By introducing a single currency without the institutions needed to make that currency work, Europe effectively reinvented the defects of the gold standard — defects that played a major role in causing and perpetuating the Great Depression.
 More specifically, the creation of the euro fostered a false sense of security among private investors, unleashing huge, unsustainable flows of capital into nations all around Europe’s periphery. As a consequence of these inflows, costs and prices rose, manufacturing became uncompetitive, and nations that had roughly balanced trade in 1999 began running large trade deficits instead. Then the music stopped.
 If the peripheral nations still had their own currencies, they could and would use devaluation to quickly restore competitiveness. But they don’t, which means that they are in for a long period of mass unemployment and slow, grinding deflation. Their debt crises are mainly a byproduct of this sad prospect, because depressed economies lead to budget deficits and deflation magnifies the burden of debt.
 Now, understanding the nature of Europe’s troubles offers only limited benefits to the Europeans themselves. The afflicted nations, in particular, have nothing but bad choices: either they suffer the pains of deflation or they take the drastic step of leaving the euro, which won’t be politically feasible until or unless all else fails (a point Greece seems to be approaching). Germany could help by reversing its own austerity policies and accepting higher inflation, but it won’t.
 For the rest of us, however, getting Europe right makes a huge difference, because false stories about Europe are being used to push policies that would be cruel, destructive, or both. The next time you hear people invoking the European example to demand that we destroy our social safety net or slash spending in the face of a deeply depressed economy, here’s what you need to know: they have no idea what they’re talking about.

By PAUL KRUGMAN

SOURCE NYT

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