Posts Tagged ‘EFSF’

Notes From Underground: Bini Smaghi Resigns From ECB Executive Board … What’s It All About?

November 10, 2011

The global markets were on the verge of a failed rally when a news story broke about the resignation of Bini Smaghi. In my mind this is a very significant event as it portends the beginning of a major deal on EFSF funding in the works. WHY? Two weeks ago it appeared that Mr. Berlusconi had castrated President Sarkozy by reneging on an agreement for Mr. Bini Smaghi to resign his ECB position once Mario Draghi assumed the Presidency of the ECB. If SMAGHI retained his seat it meant Italy would occupy two key positions in the ECB and France would have none. Sarkozy supported Draghi only on that basis that the Bini Smaghi seat would go to a Frenchman.


Notes From Underground: When I have Something to Say Sir I Am Going to Say It Now! (Phil Ochs)

November 8, 2011

Yes, all the news about Prime Minister Berlusconi is pure puff and nonsense. The Italian economic situation will not change one iota when Silvio steps aside and, in fact, I would argue that the situation will become more volatile. Italy has seen so many governments come and go since the end of WORLD WAR II that it must be the role model for Japan. Mr. Berlusconi may be a scoundrel but the markets and the Italians know what they have and it seems that Berlusconi the known is better than what may come next. If the present government falls there is a possibility that a more leftist coalition will be formed and it is doubtful if it would be prone to pass an AUSTERITY plan.


Notes From Underground: Was Obama at the G-20? Is Soros daft? Was the G-20 Communique was Drafted By the OWS Scribe?

November 6, 2011

In President Obama’s G-20 press conference the mood was somewhat upbeat as he boasted that the economic powerhouses had made progress on the issues of economic growth. The President also was confident that Europe can meet it challenges as leaving Cannes, he felt that a “solid foundation has been built.” It seems that Obama failed to capture the real mood of the FAILED G-20 meeting as the Financial Times had two very morose articles about the G-20 and a solution on the European debt crisis.


Notes From Underground: Charles Evans Stars In LONESOME DOVE

November 3, 2011

The markets initial reaction to the FOMC statement was perplexing as the financial media reported the FED to be hawkish for there was nothing explicit about a potential QE3 program. Readers of this BLOG were well aware that the consensus was for no change from the FED as it would have been difficult to announce any new program with the G-20 meeting this weekend in Cannes. The BRICs have already accused the U.S. of causing havoc in world currency markets by utilizing its monetary policy as a “stealth devaluation” of the U.S. DOLLAR. It seemed though that the FOMC statement was DOVISH because the previous three dissenters all voted with the majority–there was a lone no vote and that came from Chicago FED President Charles Evans.


Notes From Underground: And The Winner of This Year’s GREENSPAN MORAL HAZARD Award Is … JON CORZINE

November 1, 2011

Another day another crisis in EUROLAND, or the LA LA LAND of Wall Street, which we will know refer to as THE LAND OF MORAL HAZARD. The leaders of the Wall Street establishment have proven again that no risky investment is too big as long it is with OPM (other people’s money). Jon Corzine went all in on a bet on PIIG DEBT in an effort to increase the annual returns at MF GLOBAL. In a ZIRP environment, a clearing house has a difficult time making money because the earnings, which are the overnight float, are so extremely low. In order to generate greater earnings on the FLOAT, greater risks need to be taken so the need to purchase riskier sovereign debt becomes the outlet.


Notes From Underground: Europe Steals A Page From Alan Greenspan

October 27, 2011

It was once reported that Alan Greenspan, the Maestro of solipsistic reasoning, once said, “if you understood what I said, I must have misspoke.” The markets think they understood the basics of the GRAND EUROPEAN PLAN, but after reading through the many releases, I am not sure how the bail concoction actually will be deployed. (more…)


October 26, 2011


Another day and another round of rumors. As the financial markets awaited the EU LEADERS’ statement, the rumor of China agreeing to buy European SOVEREIGN DEBT and EFSF paper provided a boost to a falling EURO and a BID TO the U.S. EQUITY MARKETS. It seems that the market wants to BELIEVE that the Chinese are going to ride to the rescue of the EU and provide the backstop that the Germans are so reticent to bankroll.


Notes From Underground: Europe … The Circle Be Unbroken

October 18, 2011

Round and round the EU goes as it searches for a way to resolve its self-made crisis. As predicted, the Germans and French leaked news to the press–via the Guardian–that a deal had been struck, which would provide the EFSF and the ECB with an equivalent of 2 TRILLION Euros for aiding and abetting the bailout and support of the European financial system. The early afternoon news story gave impetus for the equities to RALLY as well as a SELLOFF in the DOLLAR. The precious metals staged a late recovery after a very severe correction in the morning–GOLD was down almost $50 at its lows.


Notes From Underground: You Put Your IMF in; You take your Geithner Out … That is the Hokey Pokey

October 16, 2011

The G-20 meeting in Paris seemed to yield agreement that the Europeans need to come to a vibrant resolution of the Sovereign debt issue and some plan as to how to recapitalize its problem banks. The G-20 COMMUNIQUE read like an alphabet soup of global regulatory groups (IIF, YNFCCC, MDB, IOSCO, IMF, WEB, FSB, GSIFI, SIFI, BIS … you get the idea). The Communique opens: “We welcome the adoption of the ambitious reform of the European economic governance.” This is a very brazen statement for I have not read where Europe has taken any such measures, such as fiscal unification.

The communique also noted that the G-20 nations agreed, “Those with large current account surpluses will also implement policies to shift to growth based more on domestic demand. Those with large current account deficits will implement policies to increase national savings.” Coupled with this was the vacuous words: “All countries will undertake further structural reforms to raise potential growth.” The concept of growth seemed to have been the most significant issue but when you cut through the platitudes I just cannot imagine from where the growth is going to be generated. If the SURPLUS NATIONS INCREASE DOMESTIC DEMAND WHILE THE DEFICIT NATIONS INCREASE SAVINGS IT SEEMS THAT THE EFFECT TO GLOBAL GROWTH WILL BE NEUTRAL.

The KEYNESIANS in the Obama administration cannot possibly accept this at a time when the push is for greater fiscal stimulus to generate the economic growth that FED policy has been unable to do by itself. Another area of UNCERTAIN AGREEMENT is the issue of SECRETARY GEITHNER pushing for the Europeans to use the ECB as a guarantor of European sovereign bonds. Geithner continues to pursue the Henry Paulson game plan but he fails to realize that the ECB just does not have the same legal authorities as the U.S. Treasury and FED.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard reported that the Geithner push was rejected out of hand. Evans-Pritchard reported that Josef Ackermann, head of Deutsche Bank and the chairman of the IIF, said plans to leverage the EFSF may be illegal. “We cannot allow a rescue fund of this magnitude. The [constitutional] court wouldn’t permit, and nor would the people.” (Sunday’s London Telegraph). The main area of agreement from the G-20 is that the IMF is going to play a very large role in the financial rescue of the peripheries and most probably Spain and Italy. Christine Lagarde was pushing for increased IMF funding but Geithner and other heads of developed nations believed that the $390 BILLION IMF was a large enough war chest to deal with Europe’s problems.

It seems that Geithner believes in the IMF‘s larger role but wants to withhold further funding until the Eurocrats come up with a COMPREHENSIVE PLAN. Geithner let it be known in a Bloomberg interview on Oct. 11 that the European debt crisis is affecting U.S. growth and the “U.S. is going to do everything we can to make it more likely that they move as aggressively as they need to.” The EU is the second largest market for U.S. exports, trailing only Canada. The Obama administration is very worried that a slowing European economy will scuttle all of its economic stimulus plans, making President Obama’s reelection possibility an uphill battle.

Clarification: Readers of Notes From Underground are very aware that I have pushed for the IMF to enhance its war chest by issuing GOLD-BACKED BONDS, thus utilizing its GOLD hoard. Presently, the IMF has 90.5 million ounces of GOLD with a market value of $164.1 billion at market prices on August 31,2011. The IMF does not carry the GOLD on its books at market prices so I am confused by the $390 billion war chest to which Geithner and Lagarde refer.

More important though, under the Second Amendment of theARTICLES OF AGREEMENT IN APRIL 1978, the “IMF DOES NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY UNDER ITS ARTICLES TO ENGAGE IN ANY OTHER GOLD TRANSACTIONS SUCH AS LOANS, LEASES, SWAPS, OR USE OF GOLD AS COLLATERAL…” (from the IMF website). Thus, my proposal is now laid to rest unless the IMF and its member nations wake up to the 21st Century and find a way to utilize all its assets. If the IMF is to become a bigger player in the developed world it needs to become much more creative in how it looks to stabilize the world in times of great systemic risk.

An Aside: THE GERMAN/FRENCH 10-year-note spread widened to a record 92 basis points on Friday, not a healthy sign for France.

On the other side of the world the Chinese 2/10 spread was a positive 32 points and the 2/10 spread in India was +33 points. These are very flat curves in the two largest BRICS, indicating that money is too tight in both those nations. Just something else to keep an eye on as so much uncertainty exists in the world.

Notes From Underground: FOMC Minutes (Upon Further Review)

October 12, 2011

Tonight will be all quick hitters as the big news is sparse, to say the least. The Fed released the minutes of the September FOMC meeting. Besides discussing the idea of QE3, the most interesting read was that Fisher was not as hawkish as his NO VOTE seemed. This makes sense as his speeches this week have been pretty DOVISH and I had thought that he was contradicting himself.