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11 Red Flag Events That Just Happened As We Enter The Pivotal Month Of August 2015

Red Flags - Public DomainAre you ready for what is coming in August?  All over America, economic, political and social tensions are building, and the next 30 days could turn out to be pivotal.  In July, we saw things start to turn.  As you will read about below, a major six year trendline for the S&P 500 was finally broken this month, Chinese stocks crashed, commodities crashed, and debt problems started erupting all over the planet.  I fully expect that this next month (August) will be a month of transition as we enter an extremely chaotic time in the fall and winter.  Things are unfolding in textbook fashion for another major global financial crisis in the months ahead, and yet most people refuse to see what is happening.  In their blind optimism, they want to believe that things will somehow be different this time.  Well, the coming months will definitely reveal who was right and who was wrong.  The following are 11 red flag events that just happened as we enter the pivotal month of August 2015…

#1 Puerto Rico is going to default on a 58 million dollar debt payment that is due on Saturday.  Even though this has serious implications for the U.S. financial system, Barack Obama has said that there will be no bailout for “America’s Greece”.

#2 As James Bailey has pointed out, the most important trendline for the S&P 500 has finally been broken after holding up for six years.  This is a critical technical signal that will likely motivate a significant number of investors to sell off their holdings in the weeks ahead.

#3 The IMF is indicating that it will not take part in the new Greek debt deal.  As a result, the whole thing may completely fall apart

Leaked minutes of the fund’s latest board meeting, which took place on Wednesday, showed staff “cannot reach agreement at this stage” on whether to take part in the new €86bn (£60bn) bailout for Greece. The document said there were doubts over the capacity of the Athens Government to implement economic reforms, as well as the over the sustainability of the country’s sovereign debt pile, which is now projected to hit 200 percent of GDP.

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, only sanctioned a new Greek deal earlier this month on the condition that the IMF takes part.

#4 Italy is going down the exact same path as Greece, but Italy is going to be a much larger problem for Europe because it has a far, far larger economy.  This week, we learned that youth unemployment in Italy has reached a 38-year high of 44 percent, and Italy’s debt to GDP ratio has now hit 135 percent.

#5 The Canadian economy has officially entered a new recession.  This is something that was not supposed to happen.

#6 The price of oil plummeted close to 20 percent during the month of July.  It was the worst month for the price of oil that we have seen since October 2008, which just happened to be during the height of the last financial crisis.

#7 Commodities just had their worst month in almost four years.  As I have written about previously, we witnessed a collapse in commodity prices just before the stock market crash of 2008 too.

#8 Thanks to Barack Obama, the U.S. coal industry is imploding, and some of the largest coal producers in the entire country have just announced that they are declaring bankruptcy

On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that the biggest American producer of coking coal, Alpha Natural Resources, could file for bankruptcy as soon as Monday.

Competitor Walter Energy filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, and several others have done the same this year.

#9 For the month of July, the Shanghai Composite Index was down 13.4 percent.  Despite unprecedented government intervention to prop up the market, it was the worst month for Chinese stocks since October 2009.

#10 A major red flag that a recession in the United States is fast approaching is the fact that Exxon Mobile just announced their worst earnings for a single quarter since 2009.  Compared to the same time period one year ago, Exxon Mobile’s earnings were down 51 percent.

#11 Chevron is another oil giant that has seen earnings plunge.  In the second quarter of this year, Chevron’s earnings were down an eye-popping 90 percent from a year ago.

And in this list I didn’t even mention the economic chaos that is happening down in South America.  For full coverage of that, please see my previous article entitled “The South American Financial Crisis Of 2015“.

To a certain extent, I can understand why most Americans are not alarmed about the months ahead.  The relative stability of the past several years has lulled most of us into a false sense of security, and the mainstream media is assuring everyone that everything is going to be just fine and that brighter days are ahead.  At this point, many believe that it is patently absurd to suggest that we could see an economic collapse in 2015.  But of course even though the signs were glaringly apparent, very few of us anticipated the financial crisis of 2008 either.

A few weeks ago, I authored a piece entitled “The Last Days Of ‘Normal Life’ In America“, and I stand by every single word of that article.  I truly believe that the era of debt-fueled prosperity that we have been enjoying for so long is coming to an end, and our standard of living will never again get back to this level.

Just yesterday, I had the chance to go over and stock up on some emergency supplies at a dollar store.  It always astounds me what you can still buy for a dollar.  The combined cost of raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, shipping and retailing most of these items shouldn’t be less than a dollar, but thanks to having the reserve currency of the world we are still able to go to these big box stores and fill up our carts with lots and lots of extremely inexpensive merchandise.

Unfortunately, this massively inflated standard of living is going to come crashing to a halt.  This next financial crisis is going to destroy the system that is currently producing such comfortable lifestyles for the vast majority of us, and that will be an extremely painful experience.

So enjoy this summer for as long as it lasts.  Even though August threatens to be pivotal, it is going to be nothing compared to what will follow.

Fall and winter are coming.

Prepare while there is still time to do so.

Now Is The Time – Fear Rises As Financial Markets All Over The Planet Start To Crash

Fear - Public DomainCan you feel the panic in the air?  CNN Money’s Fear & Greed Index measures the amount of fear in the financial world on a scale from 0 to 100.  The closer it is to zero, the higher the level of fear.  Last Monday, the index was sitting at a reading of 36.  As I write this article, it has fallen to 7.  The financial turmoil which began last week is threatening to turn into an avalanche. On Sunday night, we witnessed the second largest one day stock market collapse in China ever, and this pushed stocks all over the planet into the red.  Meanwhile, the twin blades of an emerging market currency crisis and a commodity price crash are chewing up economies that are dependent on the export of natural resources all over the globe.  For a long time, I have been warning about what would happen in the second half of 2015, and now it is here.  The following is a summary of the financial carnage that we have seen over the past 24 hours…

-On Sunday night, the Shanghai Composite Index plunged 8.5 percent.  It was the largest one day stock market crash in China since 2007, and it was the second largest in history.  The Chinese government is promising to directly intervene in order to prevent Chinese stocks from going down even more.

-Over 1,500 stocks in China fell by their 10 percent daily maximum.  This list includes giants such as China Unicom, Bank of Communications and PetroChina.

-Ever since peaking in June, the Shanghai Composite Index has dropped by a total of 28 percent.

-Even Chinese stocks that are listed on U.S. stock exchanges are being absolutely hammered.  The following comes from USA Today

The 144 China-based stocks with primary listings on major U.S. exchanges have erased nearly $40 billion in paper wealth since the Shanghai Composite index peaked on June 12. It’s an enormous destruction of wealth that in effects wipes out the market value of a company the size of cruise ship operator Carnival.

-The Chinese stock market crash pushed European stocks significantly lower on Monday…

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally closed 2.1 percent lower, while the Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC closed respectively 2.4 percent and 2.5 percent lower.

The U.K.’s benchmark FTSE outperformed its euro zone peers, but still closed unofficially down 1.0 percent.

-Overall, European stocks have been falling steadily since the beginning of last week.  To get an idea of how much damage has been done already, just check out this chart.

-As I mentioned above, an emerging market currency crisis is causing havoc for economies all over the planet.  The following comes from an article that was published by the Telegraph

The currencies of Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey have all crashed to multi-year lows as investors flee emerging markets and commodity prices crumble.

The drastic moves came as fears of imminent monetary tightening by the US Federal Reserve combined with shockingly weak figures from China, which stoked fears that the country may be sliding into a deeper downturn and sent tremors through East Asia, Latin America and Africa.

-The government of Puerto Rico has announced that it does not have enough cash to make a scheduled debt payment of 169 million dollars on August 1st.  The Obama administration says that there are no plans in the works to bail out Puerto Rico.

-On Monday, the Dow was down another 127 points.  It was the fifth day in a row that the Dow and the S&P 500 have both declined.

-Overall, the Dow is now down more than 650 points since July 20th.

-480 stocks on the New York Stock Exchange have hit new 52-week lows.  Many analysts consider this to be a very, very ominous sign.

-I have repeatedly written about the danger of the commodity collapse that we are currently witnessing, and the Bloomberg Commodity Index fell another 1.22 percent on Monday to a fresh low of 92.1493.

-On Monday, the price of U.S. oil hit a 52-week low of $46.92.

-So far, the price of U.S. oil has fallen about 20 percent this month.

-Back in June 2014, the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude was above 107 dollars.  Since then, the price of U.S. oil has fallen an astounding 56 percent.

-Thanks in large part to the collapse in energy prices, junk bonds are cratering.  This is something that happened just before the financial crisis of 2008, and now it is happening again.  The following comes from Wolf Street

Among the bonds: Cliffs Natural Resources down 27.6%, SandBridge down 30%, Murray Energy down 21.2%, and Linn Energy down 22.3%, according to Bloomberg.

For example, Linn Energy 6.25% notes due in 2019 were trading at 78 cents on the dollar at the beginning of July and at 58 on Friday, according to LCD. There was bloodshed beyond energy, such as AK Steel’s 7.625% notes due in 2021. They were trading at 62 cents on the dollar, down 22% from the beginning of July.

“The performance is a disappointment to investors who purchased about $40 billion of junk-rated bonds from energy companies this year, thinking that the worst of the slump was over,” Bloomberg noted.

This is exactly what we would expect to see during the early stages of a financial crisis.

Of course global financial markets may bounce back somewhat tomorrow.  If you will remember, some of the largest one day gains in stock market history happened right in the middle of the stock market collapse of 2008.  So don’t get fooled by what happens on any one particular day.

With so much fear in the air, literally anything could happen in the weeks and months ahead of us.  One month ago, I issued a red alert for the last six months of this year.  I warned that a major financial crisis was imminent and that people needed to start protecting themselves immediately.

As I write this article on Monday evening, financial markets are already opening up over in Asia.  Japanese stocks are already down 251 points even though the market has only been open for about an hour over there.

We have entered a time when what is happening to global stock markets will once again be headline news.  We are right on the precipice of another great financial crisis, only this one is going to ultimately end up being much worse than the last one.

Now is the time.

Please get prepared while you still can.

The President Of France Wants Eurozone Members To Transfer Their Sovereignty To A United States Of Europe

EU Poster Tower Of BabelThe President of France has come up with a very creative way of solving the European debt crisis.  On Sunday, a piece authored by French President Francois Hollande suggested that the ultimate solution to the problems currently plaguing Europe would be for every member of the eurozone to transfer all of their sovereignty to a newly created federal government.  In other words, it would essentially be a “United States of Europe”.  This federal government would have a prime minister, a parliament, a federal budget and a federal treasury.  Presumably, the current national governments in Europe would continue to function much like state governments in the U.S. do.  In the end, there may be some benefits to such a union – particularly for the weaker members of the eurozone.  But at what cost would those benefits come?

When I first learned that French President Francois Hollande had proposed that the members of the eurozone should create their own version of a federal government, I was quite stunned.  But I shouldn’t have been surprised.  For the global elite, the answer to just about any problem is more centralization.  The following comes from a Bloomberg article that was posted on Sunday…

French President Francois Hollande said that the 19 countries using the euro need their own government complete with a budget and parliament to cooperate better and overcome the Greek crisis.

“Circumstances are leading us to accelerate,” Hollande said in an opinion piece published by the Journal du Dimanche on Sunday. “What threatens us is not too much Europe, but a lack of it.”

So precisely what would “more Europe” look like?

Hollande envisions a central government that has both a parliament and a federal budget

“I have proposed taking up Jacques Delors’ idea about euro government, with the addition of a specific budget and a parliament to ensure democratic control,” Hollande said.

His remarks touched on what analysts have seen as a major flaw in the euro.

Under the 1992 Treaty of Maastricht, countries which share a common currency must obey rules on borrowing and deficit spending.

But the Greek crisis saw one of the 19 eurozone members notch up successive worsening deficits and amass a mountain of debt. The problems were only addressed by bailouts from the European institutions and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Critics say the problem stems from a lack of centralised control over national fiscal policies, which today are jealously guarded areas of sovereignty.

In addition, this eurozone government would have its own prime minister.  In essence, he would be the European version of the president of the United States.  The following comes from the Independent

There would be a eurozone government with its own prime minister, the officials said. This government would have its own budget – separate from the EU budget – to aid and invest in more fragile countries, It would try to harmonise corporation and pay-roll taxes to ensure fair competition in the eurozone.

Of course Hollande is not the only one calling for more centralization.  Last month, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem proposed a plan that would create a shared European treasury

Draghi called for the creation of a shared treasury within 10 years in a joint proposal with politicians including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem last month.

I don’t anticipate that we will see any of these things implemented immediately.

However, what is important is the fact that this is where the European elite plan to take Europe.  And when the next great European financial crisis erupts, these proposals will be offered as the “solutions” necessary to end the crisis.

During times of emergency, the elite are often able to push things through that they would never be able to accomplish under normal circumstances.  At the moment, it would be extremely difficult to get everyone to agree to a full-blown “United States of Europe”.  But if things were to start spinning wildly out of control and people were suddenly desperately clamoring for solutions, the environment would be quite different.

What that time arrives, the key will be to get Germany and France to agree on what a “United States of Europe” should look like.  If Germany and France can agree, it is inevitable that most of the other members of the eurozone would ultimately fall in line.

One potential hurdle for the creation of this new government would be the euro.  The current treaty agreements concerning the euro are quite complicated and quite restrictive.  If Germany and France decided that they did want to create a “United States of Europe”, they might have to create an entirely new currency in order to accomplish that.

I know that sounds kind of crazy right now, but at one time the concept of “the euro” sounded really crazy too.

For the moment, the debt crisis in Europe just continues to get even worse.  Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Belgium and France are all drowning in debt.  Whether or not we see a “Grexit” in the short-term, I fully expect that European bond yields will continue to rise and European stocks will take quite a tumble in the months ahead.

I believe that we are right on the verge of a very significant European financial crisis.  In particular, keep on eye on the big banks.  Just like in the United States, the “too big to fail” banks in Europe are massively overleveraged and are tremendously exposed to derivatives.

In fact, the bank with the most exposure to derivatives on the entire planet is Deutsche Bank.  It has been reported that Deutsche Bank has a whopping 75 trillion dollars worth of exposure to derivatives, their co-CEOs were recently forced to resign, and there are all sorts of rumblings about troubles going on behind the scenes at the bank.

What do you think would happen if the biggest and most important bank in Germany suddenly became the next Lehman Brothers?

That is something to think about.

Meanwhile, the euro continues to fall.  For a long time, I have been repeating my prediction that the euro would fall to parity with the U.S. dollar.

One year ago, the EUR/USD was sitting at 1.35.

Today, it has come all the way down to 1.08.

There will be more ups and downs, but we are almost there.

A time of great chaos is coming to Europe, and the eurozone will be deeply shaken.

But whether or not there is a break up of the eurozone in the short-term, in the long-term the goal of the European elite is even more integration and even more centralization.

So even though there will be significant bumps in the road, I fully expect to see the “United States of Europe” that French President Francois Hollande has proposed.

Do you agree?

What do you think the future holds for Europe?

Please feel free to join the discussion by posting a comment below…

The Bankruptcy Of The Planet Accelerates – 24 Nations Are Currently Facing A Debt Crisis

Dominoes - Public DomainThere has been so much attention on Greece in recent weeks, but the truth is that Greece represents only a very tiny fraction of an unprecedented global debt bomb which threatens to explode at any moment.  As you are about to see, there are 24 nations that are currently facing a full-blown debt crisis, and there are 14 more that are rapidly heading toward one.  Right now, the debt to GDP ratio for the entire planet is up to an all-time record high of 286 percent, and globally there is approximately 200 TRILLION dollars of debt on the books.  That breaks down to about $28,000 of debt for every man, woman and child on the entire planet.  And since close to half of the population of the world lives on less than 10 dollars a day, there is no way that all of this debt can ever be repaid.  The only “solution” under our current system is to kick the can down the road for as long as we can until this colossal debt pyramid finally collapses in upon itself.

As we are seeing in Greece, you can eventually accumulate so much debt that there is literally no way out.  The other European nations are attempting to find a way to give Greece a third bailout, but that is like paying one credit card with another credit card because virtually everyone in Europe is absolutely drowning in debt.

Even if some “permanent solution” could be crafted for Greece, that would only solve a very small fraction of the overall problem that we are facing.  The nations of the world have never been in this much debt before, and it gets worse with each passing day.

According to a new report from the Jubilee Debt Campaign, there are currently 24 countries in the world that are facing a full-blown debt crisis

■ Armenia

■ Belize

■ Costa Rica

■ Croatia

■ Cyprus

■ Dominican Republic

■ El Salvador

■ The Gambia

■ Greece

■ Grenada

■ Ireland

■ Jamaica

■ Lebanon

■ Macedonia

■ Marshall Islands

■ Montenegro

■ Portugal

■ Spain

■ Sri Lanka

■ St Vincent and the Grenadines

■ Tunisia

■ Ukraine

■ Sudan

■ Zimbabwe

And there are another 14 nations that are right on the verge of one…

■ Bhutan

■ Cape Verde

■ Dominica

■ Ethiopia

■ Ghana

■ Laos

■ Mauritania

■ Mongolia

■ Mozambique

■ Samoa

■ Sao Tome e Principe

■ Senegal

■ Tanzania

■ Uganda

So what should be done about this?

Should we have the “wealthy” countries bail all of them out?

Well, the truth is that the “wealthy” countries are some of the biggest debt offenders of all.  Just consider the United States.  Our national debt has more than doubled since 2007, and at this point it has gotten so large that it is mathematically impossible to pay it off.

Europe is in similar shape.  Members of the eurozone are trying to cobble together a “bailout package” for Greece, but the truth is that most of them will soon need bailouts too

All of those countries will come knocking asking for help at some point. The fact is that their Debt to GDP levels have soared since the EU nearly collapsed in 2012.

Spain’s Debt to GDP has risen from 69% to 98%. Italy’s Debt to GDP has risen from 116% to 132%. France’s has risen from 85% to 95%.

In addition to Spain, Italy and France, let us not forget Belgium (106 percent debt to GDP), Ireland (109 debt to GDP) and Portugal (130 debt to GDP).

Once all of these dominoes start falling, the consequences for our massively overleveraged global financial system will be absolutely catastrophic

Spain has over $1.0 trillion in debt outstanding… and Italy has €2.6 trillion. These bonds are backstopping tens of trillions of Euros’ worth of derivatives trades. A haircut or debt forgiveness for them would trigger systemic failure in Europe.

EU banks as a whole are leveraged at 26-to-1. At these leverage levels, even a 4% drop in asset prices wipes out ALL of your capital. And any haircut of Greek, Spanish, Italian and French debt would be a lot more than 4%.

Things in Asia look quite ominous as well.

According to Bloomberg, debt levels in China have risen to levels never recorded before…

While China’s economic expansion beat analysts’ forecasts in the second quarter, the country’s debt levels increased at an even faster pace.

Outstanding loans for companies and households stood at a record 207 percent of gross domestic product at the end of June, up from 125 percent in 2008, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

And remember, that doesn’t even include government debt.  When you throw all forms of debt into the mix, the overall debt to GDP number for China is rapidly approaching 300 percent.

In Japan, things are even worse.  The government debt to GDP ratio in Japan is now up to an astounding 230 percent.  That number has gotten so high that it is hard to believe that it could possibly be true.  At some point an implosion is coming in Japan which is going to shock the world.

Of course the same thing could be said about the entire planet.  Yes, national governments and central banks have been attempting to kick the can down the road for as long as possible, but everyone knows that this is not going to end well.

And when things do really start falling apart, it will be unlike anything that we have ever seen before.  Just consider what Egon von Greyerz recently told King World News

Eric, there are now more problem areas in the world, rather than stable situations. No major nation in the West can repay its debts. The same is true for Japan and most of the emerging markets. Europe is a failed experiment for socialism and deficit spending. China is a massive bubble, in terms of its stock markets, property markets and shadow banking system. Japan is also a basket case and the U.S. is the most indebted country in the world and has lived above its means for over 50 years.

So we will see twin $200 trillion debt and $1.5 quadrillion derivatives implosions. That will lead to the most historic wealth destruction ever in global stock, with bond and property markets declining at least 75 – 95 percent. World trade will also contract dramatically and we will see massive hardship across the globe.

So what do you think is coming, and how bad will things ultimately get once this global debt crisis finally spins totally out of control?

Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…

The ‘Greek Debt Deal’ Is Already Starting To Fall Apart

Puzzle Pieces - Public DomainThe “deal that was designed to fail” has already begun to unravel.  The IMF, which was expected to provide a big chunk of the financing, has indicated that it may walk away from the deal unless Greece is granted extensive debt relief.  This is something that the Germans and their allies have resolutely refused to do.  Meanwhile, outrage is pouring in from all over Europe regarding what the Greek government is being forced to do to their own people.  Most of this anger is being directed at the Germans, but the truth is that without German money the Greek banking system and the Greek economy will completely and utterly collapse.  So even though Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras admits that this is a deal that he does not believe in, he is attempting to get it pushed through the Greek parliament, and we should know on Wednesday whether he was successful or not.  But even if the Greek parliament approves it, we could still see either the German or the Finnish parliaments reject it.  It seems as though nobody is really happy with this deal, and these negotiations have exposed very deep divisions within Europe.  Could this be the beginning of the end for the eurozone?

The Germans appear to believe that they can push the Greeks out of the eurozone and that everything will be okay somehow.  This is something that I wrote about extensively yesterday, and it turns out that a lot of other prominent voices agree with me.  For example, just consider what Paul Krugman of the New York Times had to say about this.  I am kind of amazed that he finally got something right…

Suppose you consider Tsipras an incompetent twerp. Suppose you dearly want to see Syriza out of power. Suppose, even, that you welcome the prospect of pushing those annoying Greeks out of the euro.

Even if all of that is true, this Eurogroup list of demands is madness. The trending hashtag ThisIsACoup is exactly right. This goes beyond harsh into pure vindictiveness, complete destruction of national sovereignty, and no hope of relief. It is, presumably, meant to be an offer Greece can’t accept; but even so, it’s a grotesque betrayal of everything the European project was supposed to stand for.

Greece desperately wants to stay in the euro, and they desperately want money from the rest of Europe to keep coming in.  At this point, they will agree to just about anything to keep from getting booted out of the common currency.  That is why the Germans and their allies had to make the deal so horrible.  They were attempting to find some way to make things so harsh on the Greeks that they would finally choose to walk away.

And to a certain extent it seems to be working.  Even some members of Syriza are publicly declaring that they are going to vote against this package.  The following comes from the Washington Post

Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, who leads a hard-line leftist faction within Syriza, said in a statement Tuesday that the country’s creditors had “acted like cold-blooded blackmailers and economic assassins.”

Yet he also took indirect aim at Tsipras, calling on the Greek prime minister to reverse himself and tear up the agreement, which he described as a violation of the party’s ideals.

Even if Tsipras can pass the deal in Parliament, as he is expected to do, Lafazanis vowed that the Greek people would “annul it through their unity and struggle.”

Right now, the vote looks like it could be quite close.  Even though Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras has publicly admitted that this is a deal that “I do not believe in“, he is really pushing hard to get the votes that he needs.  In fact, according to Reuters he has been actively reaching out to opposition parties to secure votes…

Having staved off a financial meltdown, Tsipras has until Wednesday night to pass measures tougher than those rejected in a referendum days ago. With as many as 30-40 hardliners in his own ranks expected to mutiny, Tsipras will likely need the support of pro-European opposition parties to muster the 151 votes he needs to pass the law in parliament.

But even if this deal gets through parliament, it is highly questionable whether Greece will actually be able to do what is being required of them.  For instance, the 50 billion euro “privatization fund” seems to be something of a pipe dream

Privatisation agency Taiped has put out to tender assets with a nominal value of 7.7 billion euros since 2011, but has cashed in only just over 3.0 billion euros, according to 2014 figures.

On June 26 even the International Monetary Fund (IMF), one of Greece’s creditors, raised eyebrows over the idea of raking in lots of money from privatisations.

It stressed that the sale of public banking assets was supposed to raise tens of billions of euros but it was “highly unlikely that these proceeds will materialise” considering the high levels of nonperforming loans in the banking system.

It said that realistically only 500 million euros of proceeds were likely to materialise each year — at which rate it would take around 100 years to reach the 50 billion euro goal.

For the moment, though, let’s assume that the Greek parliament agrees to these demands and that by some miracle the Greek government can find a way to do everything that is being required of them.

And for the moment, let’s assume that this deal is approved by both the German and Finnish parliaments.

Even if everything else goes right, this deal can still be killed by the IMF

The International Monetary Fund has sent its strongest signal that it may walk away from Greece’s new bailout programme, arguing in a confidential analysis that the country’s debt is skyrocketing and budget surplus targets set by Athens cannot be achieved, reports FT.

In the three-page memo, sent to EU authorities at the weekend and obtained by FT, the IMF said the recent turmoil in the Greek economy would lead debt to peak at close to 200 percent of economic output over the next two years. At the start of the eurozone crisis, Athens’ debt stood at 127 percent.

In order for the IMF to participate in this new Greek bailout, the IMF must deem Greek debt to be sustainable.  And at this point that does not appear to be the case

Under its rules, the IMF is not allowed to participate in a bailout if a country’s debt is deemed unsustainable and there is no prospect of it returning to private bond markets for financing. The IMF has bent its rules to participate in previous Greek bailouts, but the memo suggests it can no longer do so.

But the Germans made it very clear that there would be no bailout unless the IMF was involved.

So what would satisfy the IMF?

The IMF study seems to indicate that massive debt relief for Greece would be required.  The following comes from Reuters

The study, seen by Reuters, said European countries would have to give Greece a 30-year grace period on servicing all its European debt, including new loans, and a dramatic maturity extension. Or else they must make annual transfers to the Greek budget or accept “deep upfront haircuts” on existing loans.

Needless to say, those kinds of concessions are anathema to the Germans.  There is no way that anything like that could ever get through the German parliament.

But to be honest, the Germans never intended for this deal to be successful anyway.  Just consider what German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble told reporters on Tuesday

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble made clear in Brussels on Tuesday that some members of the Berlin government think it would make more sense for Athens to leave the euro zone temporarily rather than take another bailout.

This is what Schauble and his allies have wanted all along.  This entire “deal” was crafted with the intent of creating conditions under which Greece could be forced out of the euro.

By this time tomorrow, we should know what the Greek parliament is going to do.  However, that won’t be the end of the story.  One way or another, the Germans are going to get their wish.  But once they do, I think that they will be quite surprised by the chaos that is unleashed.

3 Big Reasons Why The ‘Greek Debt Deal’ Is Really A German Trap

Trap - Public DomainGreece is saved? All over the planet, news headlines are boldly proclaiming that a “deal” has been reached which will give Greece the money that it needs and keep it in the eurozone.  But as you will see below, this is not true at all.  Yesterday, when I wrote that “there never was going to be any deal“, I was not exaggerating.  This “deal” was not drafted with the intention of “saving Greece”.  As I explained in my previous article, these negotiations were all about setting up Greece for eviction from the euro.  You see, the truth is that Greece desperately wants to stay in the euro, but Germany (and allies such as Finland) want Greece out.  Since Germany can’t simply order Greece to leave the euro, they need some sort of legal framework which will make it possible, and that is what this new “deal” provides.  As I am about to explain, there are all kinds of conditions that must be satisfied and hurdles that must be crossed before Greece ever sees a single penny.  If there is a single hiccup along the way, and this is what the Germans are counting on, Greece will be ejected from the eurozone.  This “deal” has been designed to fail so that the Germans can get what they have wanted all along.  I think that three very famous words from Admiral Ackbar sum up the situation very well: “It’s a trap!

So why is this “Greek debt deal” really a German trap?

The following are three big reasons…

#1 The “Deal” Is Designed To Be Rejected By The Greek Parliament

If Germany really wanted to save Greece, they would have already done so.  Instead, now they have forced Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to agree to much, much harsher austerity terms than Greek voters overwhelmingly rejected during the recent referendum by a vote of 61 percent to 39 percent.  Tsipras has only been given until Wednesday to pass a whole bunch of new laws, and another week to make another series of major economic changes.  The following comes from CNN

Greece has to swiftly pass a series of new laws. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has until Wednesday to convince Parliament to pass the first few, including pension cuts and higher taxes.

Assuming that happens, Greek lawmakers have another week, until July 22, to enact another batch of economic changes. These include adopting European Union rules on how to manage banks in crisis, and do a major overhaul to make Greece’s civil courts faster and more efficient.

Can Tsipras actually get all this done in such a short amount of time?

The Germans are hoping that he can’t.  And already, two of Syriza’s coalition partners have publicly declared that they have no intention of voting in favor of this “deal”.  The following is from a Bloomberg report

Discontent brewed as Tsipras arrived back in the Greek capital. Left Platform, a faction within Syriza, and his coalition partners, the Independent Greeks party, both signaled they won’t be able to support the deal. That opposition alone would wipe out Tsipras’s 12-seat majority in parliament, forcing him to rely on opposition votes to carry the day.

The terms of the “deal” are not extremely draconian because the Germans want to destroy Greek sovereignty as many are suggesting.  Rather, they are designed to provoke an overwhelmingly negative reaction in Greece so that the Greeks will willingly choose to reject the deal and thus be booted out of the euro.

And this is what we are seeing.  So far, the response of the Greek public toward this deal has been overwhelmingly negative

Haralambos Rouliskos, a 60-year-old economist who was out walking in Athens, described the deal as “misery, humiliation and slavery”.

Katerina Katsaba, a 52-year-old working for a pharmaceutical company, said: “I am not in favour of this deal. I know they (the eurozone creditors) are trying to blackmail us.”

On Wednesday, the union for Greek public workers has even called a 24 hour strike to protest this “agreement”

Greece’s public workers are being called to stage a 24-hour strike on Wednesday, the day their country’s parliament is to vote on reforms needed to unlock the bankster eurozone plan agreed to by Greek Prime Minster Alex Tsipras.

Their union, Adedy, called for the stoppage in a statement issued today, saying it was against the agreement reached with the eurozone.

The Greek government is not guaranteed any money right now.

According to Bloomberg, the Greek government must pass all of the laws being imposed upon them by the EU “before Greece can even begin negotiations with creditors to access a third international bailout in five years.”

The Germans and their allies are actually hoping that there is a huge backlash in Greece and that Tsipras fails to get this package pushed through the Greek parliament.  If that happens, Greece gets ejected from the euro, and Germany doesn’t look like the bad guy.

#2 Even If The “Deal” Miraculously Gets Through The Greek Parliament, It May Not Survive Other European Parliaments

The Greek parliament is not the only legislative body that must approve this new deal.  The German and Finnish parliaments (among others) must also approve it.  According to USA Today, it is being projected that the German and Finnish parliaments will probably vote on this new deal on Thursday or Friday…

Thursday/Friday, July 16/17: Eurozone parliaments must also agree to the plan for Greece’s $95 billion bailout. The biggest tests may come from Finland and Germany, two nations especially critical of Greece’s handling of the crisis. Berlin has contributed the most to Greece’s loans.

Either Germany or Finland could kill the entire “deal” with a single “no” vote.

Finnish Finance Minister Alexander Stubb has already stated that Finland “cannot agree” with a new bailout for Greece, and it is highly questionable whether or not the German parliament will give it approval.

I think that the Germans and their allies would much prefer for the Greeks to reject the deal and walk away, but it may come down to one of these parliaments drawing a line in the sand.

#3 The Deal Makes Implementation Extraordinarily Difficult

If Greece fails to live up to each and every one of the extremely draconian measures demanded in the “deal”, they will be booted from the eurozone.

And if you take a look at what is being demanded of them, it is extremely unrealistic.  Here is just one example…

For instance, the Greek government agreed to transfer up to 50 billion euros worth of Greek assets to an independent fund that will raise money from privatization.

According to the document, 25 billion euros from this fund will be poured into the banks, 12.5 billion will be used to pay off debt, and the remaining 12.5 billion to boost the economy through investment.

The fund will be based in Greece and run by the Greeks, but with supervision from European authorities.

Where in the world is the Greek government going to find 50 billion euros worth of assets at this point?  The Greek government is flat broke and the banks are insolvent.

But if they don’t find 50 billion euros worth of assets, they have violated the agreement and they get booted.

This whole thing is about setting up Greece for failure so that there is a legal excuse to boot them out of the euro.

And it actually almost happened very early on Monday morning.  The following comes from Business Insider

As the FT tells it, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras rose from their chairs at 6 a.m. on Monday and headed for the door, resigned to a Greek exit from the euro.

“Sorry, but there is no way you are leaving this room,” European Council president Donald Tusk reportedly said.

And so a Grexit was avoided.

For the moment, Greece has supposedly been “saved”.

But anyone that believes that this crisis is “over” is just being delusional.

The Germans and their allies have successfully lured the Greek government into a trap. Thanks to Tsipras, they have been handed a legal framework for getting rid of Greece.

All they have to do now is wait for just the right moment to spring the trap, and it might just happen a lot sooner than a lot of people may think.

Germany Never Intended For Greece To Stay In The Euro

No Deal - Public DomainThere never was going to be any deal.  All along, Germany has been seeking to establish conditions that would never be met so that they could force Greece out of the eurozone.  But the Germans had to do this subtly so that they would end up looking “reasonable” and would not turn the rest of the eurozone against them.  So why does Germany want to get rid of Greece?  Well, to be honest, it is because the Germans are sick and tired of paying for Greek mistakes.  In Germany, there is an obsession with having a balanced budget.  They even have a term for it – “the black zero“.  So it absolutely infuriates the Germans that the Greeks can never seem to get their act together and that German citizens have to keep paying for it.  At this point, the amount of money that Germany has already poured into Greece breaks down to more than 700 euros per citizen, and now Greece is going to need a new bailout of somewhere between 82 billion and 86 billion euros over the next three years.  Needless to say, the Germans are fed up with pouring money down a financial black hole, and they know that if they keep bailing Greece out that it is only a matter of time before they will have to bail out Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, etc.

So, no, it hasn’t been the Greeks holding up a deal all this time.

It has been the Germans.

And now that we have reached the endgame, the Germans are pushing for what they have always wanted from the very beginning

The German government has begun preparations for Greece to be ejected from the eurozone, as the European Union faces 24 hours to rescue the single currency project from the brink of collapse.

Finance ministers failed to break the deadlock with Greece over a new bail-out package, after nine hours of acrimonious talks as creditors accused Athens of destroying their trust…

Should no deal be forthcoming, the German government has made preparations to negotiate a temporary five-year euro exit, providing Greece with humanitarian aid while it makes the transition….

The Germans are sick and tired of having the Greeks be so financially dependent on them.  So the Germans would really like to cut them off and have them go fend for themselves.

So that is why the EU laid out such draconian conditions for the Greeks over the weekend.  The following is how Zero Hedge summarized where things currently stand…

For those who missed today’s festivities in Brussels, here is the 30,000 foot summary: Europe has given Greece a “choice”: hand over sovereignty to Europe or undergo a 5 year Grexit “time out”, which is a polite euphemism for get the hell out.

As noted earlier, here are the 12 conditions laid out as a result of the latest Eurogroup meeting, which are far more draconian than anything presented to Greece yet and which effectively require that Greece cede sovereignty to Europe, this time even without the implementation of a technocratic government.

  1. Streamlining VAT
  2. Broadening the tax base
  3. Sustainability of pension system
  4. Adopt a code of civil procedure
  5. Safeguarding of legal independence for Greece ELSTAT – the statistics office
  6. Full implementation of autmatic spending cuts
  7. Meet bank recovery and resolution directive
  8. Privatize electricity transmission grid
  9. Take decisive action on non-performing loans
  10. Ensure independence of privatization body TAIPED
  11. De-Politicize the Greek administration
  12. Return of the Troika to Athens (the paper calls them the institutions… for now)

Greece has been given until Wednesday to pass all of the legislation necessary to implement all of those conditions.

And if Greece does somehow get all that done, it still won’t get them a deal.  All it will do is allow them to come back and restart negotiations.

Needless to say, the Greeks are steaming mad at this point.  This new “deal” is being called “very bad” and “insulting” by Greek politicians.

But what they may not understand is that Germany does not actually want any deal to happen.  Instead, they are working very, very hard to get the Greeks booted out of the euro.  The following comes from the Washington Post

The simple story is that Germany and the other hardline countries don’t trust Greece’s anti-austerity Syriza party to actually implement, well, austerity. And so rather than coughing up another 60 or 70 or 80 billion euros, they seem to want to push to kick Greece out of the common currency instead. That, at least, was the plan that leaked on Saturday. And now it’s part of the actual plan on Sunday. Indeed, it’s tentatively been included in the European finance ministers’ latest joint statement. This isn’t just what Germany is considering. It’s what Germany is trying to get the rest of Europe to go along with.

If anyone still doubts what the Germans are trying to do, here it is in black and white…

And this is not an idea that is new.  In fact, some hardliners in Germany have been pushing for a “temporary Greek exit” since at least 2012

This weekend’s events in Europe have clarified who is really running the show across the ‘union’. Hans-Werner Sinn, Chairman of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, vehemnt euroskeptic, and head of the so-called ‘five wise men’ advising the German government and specifically Angela Merkel, confirmed his call from 2012 for a “temporary grexit from the euro.” The right wing economist previously explained “Greece and Portugal have to become 30-40% less expensive to be competitive again. This is being attempted through excessive austerity measures within the euro zone, but it won’t work. It will drive these countries to the brink of civil war before it succeeds. Temporary exits would very quickly stabilize these countries, create new jobs and free the population from the yoke of the euro.”

The Germans absolutely hate having to open up their wallets for someone else’s mess.  And they know that if they endlessly bail out Greece that it won’t end there.  Eventually, much of the rest of the continent will come to them for bailouts too.  I think that Nigel Farage nailed it when he summed up what Germany is thinking this way…

“The German thinking is: ‘Let’s get rid of this mess,'” Farage said. Expressing what he thought Germany was thinking about other troubled peripheral euro zone economies, he added: “‘let’s send a message to Italy, France, Spain and Portugal that actually, if you’re members of this club, you got to abide by our rules.'”

But I believe that Germany is greatly, greatly underestimating the damage that a “Grexit” is going to do to Greece and to the rest of the members of the EU.

In Greece, the banking system is already on the verge of total collapse.  We are being told that capital controls will remain in place “for at least six months”, and now Greek politicians are even talking about “a possible forced ‘bail-in’ of depositors”

Capital controls will stay in place at Greek banks for at least six months, senior officials in Athens warned yesterday, as the government fights to keep lenders afloat.

Leaders of the four main banks and finance ministry officials will meet tomorrow to discuss how to save the banking system from collapse after a run on deposits.

Options under consideration include a consolidation of four main banks down to two, creation of a “bad bank” to house toxic loans, and a possible forced “bail-in” of depositors.

Hmmm – I seem to recall someone warning about this exact scenario nearly two months ago: “Are They About To Confiscate Money From Bank Accounts In Greece Just Like They Did In Cyprus?

The economic depression in Greece is about to accelerate.  But things are also going to get hairy for the rest of the continent as well.  As I have warned about so many times, the euro is going to plunge like a rock, European stocks are going to crater, European bond yields are going to soar, and eventually we are actually going to see “too big to fail” banks all over Europe start to fail.

This is the big flaw in the German plan.  They truly believe that they can remove the “cancer” of Greece without causing any lasting damage to the rest of the eurozone.

Sadly, they are dead wrong.

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