Sunday, July 12, 2015

Killing the European Project
Can Greece pull off a successful exit? Will Germany try to block a recovery? (Sorry, but that’s the kind of thing we must now ask.) The European project — a project I have always praised and supported — has just been dealt a terrible, perhaps fatal blow. And whatever you think of Syriza, or Greece, it wasn’t the Greeks who did it.
EU Demands Complete Capitulation From Tsipras In addition to requirements to cut pensions and raise sales tax, which Tsipras accepted last week, the memo demanded that officials from Greece’s creditors return to Athens with full access to government ministers and a veto over relevant legislation, according to the document. Euro-area leaders also want Tsipras to transfer as much as 50 billion euros ($56 billion) of state assets to an independent Luxembourg-based company for sale and make him fire the workers he hired in defiance of Greece’s previous bailout commitments.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: ..
Instead they were confronted with a text from the creditors that upped the ante, demanding a rise in VAT on tourist hotels from 7pc (de facto) to 23pc at a single stroke. Creditors insisted on further pension cuts of 1pc of GDP by next year and a phase out of welfare assistance (EKAS) for poorer pensioners, even though pensions have already been cut by 44pc. They insisted on fiscal tightening equal to 2pc of GDP in an economy reeling from six years of depression and devastating hysteresis. They offered no debt relief. The Europeans intervened behind the scenes to suppress a report by the International Monetary Fund validating Greece's claim that its debt is "unsustainable",..

(This from a country that has never repaid its debts. See Piketty )

Charts are up-to-date

Monday, July 06, 2015


  • The German government signaled a tough line towards Greece on Monday, saying it saw no basis for new bailout negotiations and insisting it was up to Athens to move swiftly if it wanted to preserve its place in the euro zone. With opinion towards Greece hardening in Germany’s ruling coalition. (This from a country that has never repaid its debts. See Piketty )

  •  (Krugman)..even if the creditors were making sense.What’s more, they weren’t. The truth is that Europe’s self-styled technocrats are like medieval doctors who insisted on bleeding their patients — and when their treatment made the patients sicker, demanded even more bleeding.

  •  (Hellenic Shipping News)A new record year in dry bulk demolition under way? The monthly average for the first six months in 2015 is 3.3m DWT. In 2014 the first half year averaged at 1.33m DWT per month. April 2015 saw 5.36 million DWT being retired from active service, which was the highest on record ever for a single month. 
  •  Overall confidence levels in the shipping industry fell during the three months to May 2015 to a level equal to the lowest rating recorded in the past seven years. Respondents complained predominantly about low freight rates and overtonnaging 
  •  The shipping industry is experiencing the biggest dry bulk market recession since the 1980s. The uncertain global economic outlook and the increased imbalance between supply and demand have lead to historical low freight rates .The downturn seems to continue until 2017 if a viable equilibrium is not achieved.. 

  •  China is capable and confident it can maintain the capital market stable and sound, said a commentary of People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China
  •  China's central bank cut both the requirement reserve ratio (RRR), the amount of reserves banks required to hold, and benchmark interest rates on Saturday. The central bank cut the RRR for commercial banks serving rural areas, agriculture and small businesses by 50 basis points (bps). The RRR for finance companies, or non-bank financial institutions, will be lowered by 300 bps, the PBOC announced. Benchmark interest rates have also been cut. Interest rates for one-year lending and deposits are cut by 25 bps to 4.85% and 2% respectively. 
  •  China's economy will grow by 6.93% YoY in the second quarter, said a report by the National Academy of Economic Strategy. 
  •  Surging investment by Chinese companies in U.S. research labs is yielding a fast-growing trove of patents, part of a push to mine America for ideas to help China shift from being the world’s factory floor to a driver of innovation.. 

  •  Previously owned U.S. homes sold in May at the fastest pace since November 2009, driven by first-time buyers and indicating budding momentum in the residential real estate market. 
  • Closings on existing properties, which usually occur a month or two after a contract is signed, rose 5.1% to a 5.35 million annualized rate. 
  •  Home rental prices are climbing across much of the United States " with the biggest gains coming from not from New York or San Francisco but Jackson, Mississippi, and Portland, Maine (Zillow) 

  •  The volume of world merchandise trade increased modestly in the first quarter of 2015, with growth in both exports and imports registering slower growth than over the previous six months 

  • Global carbon dioxide levels break the 400ppm milestone 
  •  India's Poor cannot pay for 150 years of pollution by the West says India's coal minister as India ramps up coal production to reach its target of 1 Billion tons of coal by 2020. 

  •  Some top international doctors and public health experts have issued an urgent prescription for a feverish planet Earth: Get off coal as soon as possible. 

  • EU plans to regulate hormone-damaging chemicals found in pesticides have been dropped because of threats from the US that this would adversely affect negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), according to a report in The Guardian. Draft EU regulations would have banned 31 pesticides containing endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that have been linked to testicular cancer and male infertility. 

  •  Canada’s political landscape has undergone a seismic shift with the election of a left-wing government in oil-rich Alberta. 

  • (Moody's) Company Total Cash $U.S. Billions: 
  • Apple $178.0 Dec. 27, 2014 
  • Microsoft $90.2 Dec. 31, 2014 
  • Google $64.4 Dec. 31, 2014 
  • Pfizer $53.6 Dec. 31, 2014 
  • Cisco Systems $53.0 Jan. 24, 2015 
  • Oracle $44.7 Nov. 30, 2014 
  • Johnson & Johnson $33.1 Dec. 28, 2014 
  • QUALCOMM $31.6 Dec. 28, 2014 
  • Medtronic $31.1 Jan. 23, 2015 
  • Merck  Co. $29.2 Dec. 31, 2014 

  •  A Gallup survey from 2013 found that libraries are not just popular, they’re extremely popular. Over 90 percent of Americans feel that libraries are a vital part of their communities. Compare this to 53 percent for the police, 27 percent for public schools, and just 7 percent for Congress, and you’re looking at perhaps the greatest success of the public sector.
Piketty: When I hear the Germans say that they maintain a very moral stance about debt and strongly believe that debts must be repaid, then I think: what a huge joke! Germany is the country that has never repaid its debts. It has no standing to lecture other nations.