Thursday, December 22, 2016

Record Capital Outflows Push Euro Toward Parity With Dollar

Higher interest rates in the U.S. are drawing money out of the eurozone

The Wall Street Journal

Updated Dec. 20, 2016 5:32 p.m. ET

More money has left eurozone financial markets this year than at any time in the bloc’s history, helping drive the euro toward parity with the dollar for the first time in 14 years.

The eurozone had its largest-ever net outflows in the 12 months to September, data from the European Central Bank showed Tuesday.

Eurozone investors bought €497.5 billion ($516.5 billion) of financial assets, such as stocks and bonds, outside the bloc in that period. Global investors, meanwhile, sold or let mature €31.3 billion of eurozone assets during the year. Together, that adds up to a net outflow of €528.8 billion, the most since the single currency was introduced in 1999.

Tunisian Migrant Investigated for Suspected Terror Ties Is Sought in Berlin Truck Attack

Revelation that authorities sought and failed to deport asylum seeker stokes criticism of Angela Merkel’s refugee policy

The Wall Street Journal

Updated Dec. 21, 2016 7:31 p.m. ET

BERLIN—Anis Amri, a Tunisian migrant whom authorities previously investigated for suspected terror ties and tried to deport, became Germany’s most wanted man as the new prime suspect in the capital’s deadly truck attack.

The revelation that the asylum seeker had been able to remain in Germany despite efforts to expel him stoked a furor over what many politicians called dangerous gaps in the country’s immigration policy and escalated the political crisis facing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government.

Greece’s New Year of Living Dangerously

Tsipras is antagonizing creditors again, setting the stage for a new bailout showdown and an election.

The Wall Street Journal

Dec. 21, 2016 3:05 p.m. ET
If last year was the year of upheaval and survival for Alexis Tsipras, this year has been the year of the slow grind. As we near the end of 2016, Mr. Tsipras finds himself squeezed—by Germany and the International Monetary Fund, by Turkey and the refugee crisis, by his false promises and collapsing popularity—to the point of political extinction.

Euro zone lenders confident on quick solution on Greek debt spat: source

Wed Dec 21, 2016 | 1:57pm EST


Greece's euro zone lenders are confident a solution can be found shortly on reactivating short-term debt relief measures that were suspended after Athens decided to make an unexpected payout to poor pensioners, a euro zone source said on Wednesday.

Lenders said last week they were suspending a deal clinched earlier this month to offer Greece short-term debt relief after leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he would grant low-income pensioners a pre-Christmas payout.

Greece's Debt Problem Has Reached A Dangerous Point

DEC 21, 2016 @ 07:12 PM

John Mauldin ,   CONTRIBUTOR
I write about how you can make sense of unpredictable markets

Before the Italian banking crisis and referendum, before Brexit… there was Greece. Greece’s debt crisis was really the first public crack in the European Union’s armor and one that has yet to be repaired.

Readers who want to understand why anti-EU sentiment and nationalism have developed in many of these countries don’t have to look at migration or other controversial topics. Simply look at Greece and how it has fared after adopting the EU’s austerity terms.

The Greek experience with austerity-linked financial support from the EU has been painful and—making matters worse—rather ineffective. While Greece is on the periphery, its problems are hardwired into the entire EU, and those problems are spreading.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

German Finance Minister tells paper euro zone will fall apart if don't follow rules

 Tue Dec 20, 2016 | 4:52am EST


German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, asked about Greece's plans to pay pensioners a Christmas bonus while it is in the midst of a bailout program, told Die Zeit paper that the euro zone would fall apart if countries did not stick to the rules.

Germany’s Merkel Says Full Force of Law to Bear in Berlin Attacks

by Patrick Donahue
December 2016, 1:12 μ.μ. EET

  • Germans in mourning after ‘horrific and unimaginable’ attack

  • Anti-immigration AfD party lays blame at Merkel’s door

Chancellor Angela Merkel said that German authorities were working on the assumption that the deaths of 12 people after a truck plowed into a Christmas market were a terrorist attack, and pledged to use the full force of German law to bring the perpetrators to justice.

In a nationally televised statement in Berlin, Merkel said that people across Germany were mourning after the “horrific and unimaginable” deaths and injuries sustained in the capital on Monday evening. She said she planned to tour the scene of the attack later on Tuesday.

Russian Ambassador Killed in Turkey by Gunman Invoking Syria

by Benjamin Harvey  and Selcan Hacaoglu
20 December 2016, 6:35 π.μ. EET


Russia’s ambassador was shot dead in the Turkish capital on Monday in an assassination apparently linked to Syria’s civil war, heightening tensions over a conflict that’s drawn in almost all the region’s main powers.

Andrey Karlov was shot in the back at an art exhibit in Ankara on Monday and died from his injuries, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry. “Allahu akbar,” the gunman shouted, and then “don’t forget Aleppo” -- a reference to the Syrian city where mostly Islamist rebels have been defeated this month by Russian-backed government troops. The attacker, who was killed by security forces, was a 22-year-old active-duty police officer. His possible connection with organized groups is being probed, Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said.

Political Risks Leave Euro-Pound Analysts Most Divided on Record

by Anooja Debnath  and Charlotte Ryan
20 - 12 - 2016, 9:54 π.μ. EET


For analysts trying to plot the course of the pound against the euro in 2017, the key decision is judging which side of the English Channel will see greater political turbulence.

Strategists are trying to pinpoint whether the U.K.’s exit process from the European Union or the rise of populism in the rest of Europe carries the bigger risk. The dichotomy is evident in Bloomberg’s survey of currency analysts, where the range between the highest and lowest year-end forecasts for euro-sterling is the widest going into a new year since at least 2006.

Greece’s Long Winter

An early election would signal how much reform voters will support.

The Wall Street Journal

Dec. 19, 2016 7:11 p.m. ET
Europe has a packed election schedule for 2017, and it’s set to grow more crowded if Greece holds another vote. The snap parliamentary poll that looks increasingly likely won’t solve the country’s economic problems, but at least the exercise would have the virtue of clarifying for Greeks and the rest of the eurozone how much reform Athens will be able to undertake.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Opinion: Europe is failing, and Merkel can’t save it

Published: Dec 16, 2016 3:04 a.m. ET

Market Watch

Germany is at the center of both austerity economics and the refugee crisis


Europe may well have reached its tipping point and could now decline at an accelerated pace.

On top of economic stagnation from obtusely misguided austerity policies, the fabric of the European Union has been frayed by Britain’s vote last summer to exit the bloc and by Italian voters’ rejection this month of an overly ambitious constitutional reform, leading to the fall of the government and a fragile political situation.

France puts weight behind Greece in debt dispute

The Washington Post

By Associated Press December 15 at 9:06 AM
BRUSSELS — French President Francois Hollande has come to the defense of Greece after European creditors pulled a recently announced debt relief package for the country.

Hollande said ahead of Thursday’s summit of European Union leaders that “it is out of the question to ask for further additional efforts from Greece or prevent them from taking a number of sovereign measures that respect the commitments” that Greece previously took.

Greece Pushes Forward With Measures Opposed by Creditors

Eurozone froze debt-relief offer over plans for pensioner benefit and suspension of sales-tax rise

The Wall Street Journal

Updated Dec. 15, 2016 1:12 p.m. ET

ATHENS—Greece refused to back down in its rapidly escalating conflict with creditors, as lawmakers on Thursday passed measures to loosen the purse strings in a move that has angered Germany.

The fiscal largess, including a Christmas bonus for 1.6 million low-income pensioners and the suspension of a sales-tax increase on Aegean islands that have received refugees, led the eurozone to freeze debt-relief measures for Greece on Wednesday. Eurozone officials have criticized Athens for breaking promises to consult creditors before making any fiscal moves that could affect Greece’s bailout goals.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

German leader ‘insults’ Saudi Arabia by refusing to wear hijab

Von der Leyen 2010.jpg

By Jamie Schram December 14, 2016 | 11:43am

The New York Post

Germany’s defense minister refused to wear a traditional head covering during her visit with a Saudi Arabian prince, arguing that women have as much right as men do to wear whatever they choose.

Ursula von der Leyen declined to wear a hijab — a veil traditionally worn by Muslim women — or an abaya, a full-length robe, when she met with Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al Saud in the Saudi capital of Riyadh last Wednesday, according to Sputnik International news.

“The right to choose your own clothing is a right shared by men and women alike. It annoys me, when women are to be pushed into the Abaya,” Das Bild reported Leyen as saying.

Eurozone Suspends Short-Term Debt Relief for Greece Amid Growing Friction

Move comes in response to Tsipras’s surprise fiscal gifts for pensioners and other Greeks, which creditors say run afoul of Athens’s bailout commitments

The Wall Street Journal

Dec. 14, 2016 12:18 p.m. ET

BRUSSELS—Greece’s European creditors suspended proposed debt-relief measures for the country after the Greek government surprised them by announcing it would boost welfare benefits for low-income pensioners, a sign of escalating tensions over the country’s bailout.

The moves come as Athens and its international creditors—which include the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund—are struggling to conclude their latest review of the country’s rescue plan of as much as €86 billion ($92 billion) in loans.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

U.S. ready to confront Beijing on South China Sea: admiral

Wed Dec 14, 2016 | 3:48am EST


By Colin Packham | SYDNEY
The United States is ready to confront China should it continue its overreaching maritime claims in the South China Sea, the head of the U.S. Pacific fleet said on Wednesday, comments that threaten to escalate tensions between the two global rivals.

China claims most of the resource-rich South China Sea through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Neighbors Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

The United States has called on China to respect the findings of the arbitration court in The Hague earlier this year which invalidated its vast territorial claims in the strategic waterway.

As Brexit approaches, signs of a gathering economic storm for Britain

The Washington Post

By Griff Witte December 13 at 5:16 PM
LONDON — From a modest office in a small town in northeastern England, Elliott Peckett’s family stocked the world with costumes.

Billowy white Marilyn Monroe dresses. Red velvet Santa caps. Rhinestone-studded Elvis jumpsuits.

They were shipped out by the millions to 42 countries across the globe, and they brought the profits of countless Halloween parties, Carnival parades and Christmas wonderlands back home to England.

But thanks to Brexit, not anymore. After 122 years, Peckett’s costume company, Smiffys, is moving its headquarters to the Netherlands.

Too big to fail: China maps out its Trump strategy

Wed Dec 14, 2016 | 2:15am EST


By Ben Blanchard and Christian Shepherd | BEIJING
When Donald Trump becomes U.S. president next month, one issue above all others could force his new administration to work closely with China and underscore why he and Beijing need each other - North Korea.

A nuclear armed North Korea, developing missiles that could hit the U.S. west coast, is clearly bad news for Washington but also Pyongyang's sometimes-reluctant ally Beijing, which fears one day those missiles could be aimed at them.

Greece Heads Toward New Crisis in Debt Saga as Support for Tsipras Slumps

The ruling Syriza party is considering calling snap elections in 2017, as it loses hope of winning concessions on debt relief or austerity from Greece’s creditors

The Wall Street Journal

Dec. 12, 2016 1:48 p.m. ET
ATHENS—Greece’s crisis is approaching a potential breaking point after a year of relative calm, as a government with declining political stamina confronts creditors’ unyielding demands.

The ruling left-wing Syriza party, grappling with slumping popularity, is considering the option of calling snap elections in 2017, as it loses hope of winning concessions on debt relief or austerity from the eurozone and International Monetary Fund.

No decision for elections has been made, said Greek officials, who added that they would review the state of negotiations in January, after pressing creditors again to show more flexibility.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The IMF is Not Asking Greece for More Austerity

Posted on December 12, 2016 by iMFdirect
By Maurice Obstfeld and Poul M. Thomsen
Versions in عربي (Arabic); Français (French); Deutsch (German); ελληνικά (Greek); and Español (Spanish)
Greece is once again in the headlines as discussions for the second review of its European Stability Mechanism (ESM) program are gaining pace. Unfortunately, the discussions have also spurred some misinformation about the role and the views of the IMF. Above all, the IMF is being criticized for demanding more fiscal austerity, in particular for making this a condition for urgently needed debt relief. This is not true, and clarifications are in order.

Inside China’s Global Spending Spree

By Scott Cendrowski
Photograph by Teru Onishi for Fortune
DECEMBER 12, 2016, 6:30 AM EST


“One Belt, One Road,” China’s $3 trillion infrastructure-building campaign, could be a windfall for some Western companies and investors.

The high-rise coastal city of Dubai plays host to all kinds of luxury oddities: indoor ski slopes, gold-bar vending machines, vast artificial archipelagoes shaped like palm trees. But six miles inland, something just as unusual, if far less gaudy, is taking shape—the first coal-fired power plant in the Middle East.

Turkey Moves to Crush Kurdish Party After Deadly Bombing

Jared Malsin/Istanbul @jmalsin  Dec. 12, 2016    

Turkish government makes hundreds of arrests


Turkish authorities arrested at least 291 officials and members of a major parliamentary opposition party on terrorism charges Monday, following a deadly twin bomb attack in Istanbul that killed at least 44 people.

The arrests marked the continuation of government reprisals against the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (known by the Turkish acronym HDP), which controls the third-largest bloc in Turkey’s parliament. The arrests come in the context of a broader crackdown on critics of the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has moved to shore up his own power after surviving a deadly military coup attempt last July.

Trump draws rebukes after saying U.S. isn’t bound by one-China policy

The Washington Post

By Emily Rauhala December 12 at 9:43 AM
BEIJING — Donald Trump is talking about Taiwan again — and so is China, in angry and mocking ­comments Monday that questioned whether the president-elect grasps a core ­element of ­relations between the world’s top economic powers.

In an interview broadcast Sunday, Trump said the United States would not necessarily be bound by the one-China policy — the diplomatic understanding that underpins ties between Washington and Beijing and that leaves China’s ­rival Taiwan on the diplomatic sidelines with the United States.

Rex Tillerson’s Company, Exxon, Has Billions at Stake Over Sanctions on Russia


The New York Times

MOSCOW — Now that President-elect Donald J. Trump has chosen Rex W. Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, to be the next secretary of state, the giant oil company stands to make some major gains as well: It has billions of dollars in deals that can go forward only if the United States lifts sanctions against Russia.

As head of America’s largest oil company, Mr. Tillerson has earned a friendship award from Russia and voiced skepticism about American sanctions that have halted some of Exxon Mobil’s biggest projects in the country.

Monday, December 12, 2016

International migrant-smuggling ring dismantled in Greece

The Washington Post

By Associated Press December 12 at 10:20 AM
ATHENS, Greece — Greek and British authorities say they have dismantled an international ring suspected of smuggling hundreds of migrants to Britain and other European countries using falsified travel documents.

A Greek police statement says that 24 suspects were arrested last week in the Athens area, and another nine in Glasgow, Northampton and Manchester in Britain.

Greece Needs Fiscal Breathing Room

We’ve exceeded our targets and ended up with a surplus. The wise thing to do would be to give it back to the citizens.

The Wall Street journal

Dec. 12, 2016 3:17 p.m. ET
This will be the second year in a row that Greece has beaten its primary fiscal targets. In contrast to the pessimistic projections of its creditors, Greece’s authorities have proved themselves capable of delivering on the country’s promises.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Prime Minister Announces Handouts as Strike Cripples Greece


The New York Times

ATHENS, Greece — As thousands of Greeks protested against government spending cuts during a general strike that crippled the country Thursday, struggling Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced one-off measures to ease the burden on pensioners and island residents.

Tsipras said the government would distribute a total of 617 million euros this Christmas to some 1.6 million low-income pensioners, replacing a holiday bonus scrapped by Greece's bailout creditors.

In a nationally televised address, Tsipras said the cash would come from a larger-than-expected surplus in Greece's primary budget, which excludes the cost of servicing the country's crippling debt.

Tsipras has seen his popularity plummet after a series of income cuts and tax hikes demanded by creditors. His left-wing Syriza party trails the main opposition conservatives by more than 10 percentage points in opinion polls.

Βερολίνο: "Οι εξαγγελίες Τσίπρα δεν συζητήθηκαν στο Eurogroup"

Άγνοια των παροχών Τσίπρα είχε το γερμανικό υπουργείο Οικονομικών και το Eurogroup. Ως επικοινωνιακή φυγή προς τα εμπρός λόγω των εσωπολιτικών πιέσεων βλέπουν γερμανοί αρθρογράφοι τις χριστουγεννιάτικες παροχές του.

deutsche welle

Ούτε το γερμανικό υπουργείο των Οικονομικών, αλλά ούτε και το Eurogroup γνώριζε για τις χθεσινοβραδινές εξαγγελίες του έλληνα πρωθυπουργού σχετικά με τις παροχές προς τους χαμηλοσυνταξιούχους και το πάγωμα του ΦΠΑ στα νησιά των Αιγαίου με μεγάλη προσφυγική ροή. Σε ερώτησηπου απηύθυνε η Deutsche Welle προς την εκπρόσωπο του γερμανικού υπουργείου Οικονομικών, εάν είχε γνώση των εξαγγελιών Τσίπρα το υπουργείο της, η Φρεντερίκε φον Τιζενχάουζεν μας απάντησε ως εξής: «Όχι, το θέμα δεν συζητήθηκε ούτε και στο Eurogroup της περασμένης Δευτέρας. Αλλά είναι υπόθεση των θεσμών να αξιολογούν τέτοιου είδους μέτρα».
Ο γερμανικός τύπος κάνει αναφορά στο αιφνιδιαστικό, όπως το χαρακτηρίζει, διάγγελμα του έλληνα πρωθυπουργού προς τον ελληνικό λαό με παροχές προς τους συνταξιούχους και τους κατοίκους νησιών με πολλούς πρόσφυγες. Ορισμένοι αρθρογράφοι εκφράζουν έκπληξη για αυτήν την κίνηση του κ. Τσίπρα σε μια κρίσιμη περίοδο έντονων αντιπαραθέσεων και αγώνα δρόμου προκειμένου να κλείσει η δεύτερη αξιολόγηση.

Greece, Not Italy, Still Poses Biggest Challenge to Eurozone

A crisis in one country only becomes a crisis for the whole eurozone when a collective European response is required, Simon Nixon writes

The Wall Street Journal

Dec. 7, 2016 3:27 p.m. ET
Not for the first time this year, the doom-mongers have been confounded. The Italian referendum over the weekend resulted in a resounding defeat for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who promptly announced his resignation. Yet the sky didn’t fall in, the euro dipped and then rallied, and Italian bonds and bank stocks barely budged. Other European assets were also largely unmoved.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Give Greece Credit, Even Just for Treading Water

25DEC 6, 2016 1:23 AM EST
Mark Gilbert

Here are two things I'll bet most people don't know about Greece. The country's just-appointed minister of economy and development, Dimitri Papadimitriou, was lured away from his position as head of the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College in America. He's not a member of the ruling Syriza party. And the man appointed secretary general for public revenue in January is Giorgos Pitsillis, a professional tax lawyer. He's not a party member, either.

Europe's Still Dithering Over Greece

Editorial Board
DEC 7, 2016 12:30 AM EST
This week, the European Union’s finance ministers granted some new debt relief to Greece. The new “short-term” measures are better than nothing -- but they’re less than a convincing solution to a problem that has dragged on far too long.

The deal, sketched out and agreed to in principle earlier this year, should help the Greek government convince voters to keep accepting much-needed domestic reform. That’s good. It isn’t enough, though, to put the country’s debts and budget plans on a sustainable footing. That’s why the International Monetary Fund, whose support will be necessary to achieve that larger goal, isn’t yet on board. After years of muddling through, the issue still isn’t resolved.

EU Offers Greece Near-Term Debt Relief, Demands More Reforms

by Nikos Chrysoloras , Corina Ruhe , and Jonathan Stearns
December 5, 2016 — 2:59 PM EST December 5, 2016 — 4:12 PM EST
Regling says steps may cut debt by 20 percentage points of GDP
Debt measures ‘very promising,’ says Greece’s Tsakalotos

Euro-area finance ministers agreed to measures that will help ease Greece’s debt burden, while insisting that the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras adopt “serious” reforms that will ensure the nation maintains a proper fiscal record after the end of its current bailout.

Finance ministers from the currency bloc meeting in Brussels clinched steps that could cumulatively reduce Greece’s debt by 20 percentage points relative to gross domestic product through 2060, Klaus Regling, managing director of the European Stability Mechanism, said Monday. The measures include easing the repayment schedule of bailout loans, waiving a coupon penalty that would amount to about 200 million euros ($215 million) and swapping debt to mitigate interest rate risk.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Greece gets short-term debt relief from eurozone

By Pan Pylas | AP December 5 at 4:14 PM

The Washington Post

BRUSSELS — Greece won some short-term debt relief from European creditors on Monday even though it failed to clear the latest hurdle in its bailout program that has prevented the country going bankrupt and crashing out of the euro.

At a meeting of the 19 eurozone finance ministers in Brussels that was largely overshadowed by the Italian referendum result that forced Premier Matteo Renzi to offer his resignation, Greece’s creditors offered some immediate help to the cash-strapped Greek government.

Eurozone Finance Ministers Agree to Some Debt Relief for Greece’s Bailout

Maturities extended and interest rates locked on some Greek debt but no agreement yet on IMF participation

The Wall Street Journal

Updated Dec. 5, 2016 4:10 p.m. ET

BRUSSELS—Eurozone finance ministers, seeking to get the International Monetary Fund to participate in Greece’s bailout, agreed on a package of short-term measures that could ease the country’s debt load by around a fifth in 2060.

The ministers, gathering in Brussels for their monthly meeting on Monday, had hoped to move closer to agreeing on a set of overhauls Greece must enact under its bailout—which could reach €86 billion ($92.3 billion)—as well as a series of debt-relief measures from its European creditors. Both steps are required to get the IMF to participate in the bailout.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Fearing abandonment by Trump, CIA-backed rebels in Syria mull alternatives

The Washington Post

By Karen DeYoung and Louisa Loveluck December 3 at 6:03 PM
Three years after the CIA began secretly shipping lethal aid to rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, battlefield losses and fears that a Donald Trump administration will abandon them have left tens of thousands of opposition fighters weighing their alternatives.

Among the options, say U.S. officials, regional experts and the rebels themselves, are a closer alliance with better-armed al-Qaeda and other extremist groups, receipt of more sophisticated weaponry from Sunni states in the Persian Gulf region opposed to a U.S. pullback, and adoption of more traditional guerrilla tactics, including sniper and other small-scale attacks on both Syrian and Russian targets.

China says Trump clear about Taiwan, in touch with his team

Mon Dec 5, 2016 | 5:20am EST


By Ben Blanchard and Roberta Rampton | BEIJING/WASHINGTON
U.S. President-elect Trump is clear about China's position on the Taiwan issue and China has maintained contacts with his team, the foreign ministry said on Monday, as Trump took to Twitter to complain about Chinese economic and military policy.

Trump's unusual call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday prompted a diplomatic protest on Saturday, though U.S. Vice President-elect Mike Pence played down the telephone conversation, saying it was a "courtesy" call, not intended to show a shift in U.S. policy on China.

Markets stabilise after Italian referendum


The euro was hit after Mr Renzi announced his intention to resign. At one stage the euro hit $1.0505, its lowest level against the US currency since March 2015.
But it rebounded from that low to stand at $1.0634, a fall of just 0.3%.
Shares in Italian banks opened lower before recovering ground.
The troubled Monte dei Paschi was down by more than 5% in the first few minutes of trade, but then rebounded and had edged into positive territory. Shares in Unicredit and Intesa also fell sharply at first before recovering.

Greece sees final solution on debt crisis amid euro uncertainty

Sun Dec 4, 2016 | 12:22pm EST


Political uncertainty in Europe has created fresh momentum for a "comprehensive and permanent" solution to the Greek debt crisis before the year ends, a government spokesman said on Sunday.

Euro zone finance ministers will meet in Brussels on Monday to discuss short-term debt relief for Greece, and Germany's Wolfgang Schaeuble said it must implement reforms instead of hoping for further debt forgiveness.

Greece remained optimistic for a final debt deal, however, just as Italians are voting on a constitutional referendum on Sunday and a victory for the opposition 'No' camp may push the euro zone toward fresh crisis.

Greece and Its Creditors Get Back on a Collision Course

Greece’s woes oblige the eurozone to do something it has rarely appeared capable of doing: take a collective political decision, Simon Nixon writes.

The Wall Street Journal

Updated Dec. 4, 2016 1:44 p.m. ET
In a continent beset by multiple crises, Greece remains the cradle of European dysfunction. The country may have dropped out of the headlines in recent months, its multiple challenges seemingly buried under a tide of bailout cash. Yet it still presents the greatest risk to the survival of the eurozone. That is because Greece’s circumstances oblige the eurozone to do something it has so far appeared incapable of doing, except under conditions of extreme financial stress: take a collective political decision.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


A crunch summit with creditors begins Monday.
BY JOSH LOWE ON 12/3/16 AT 2:59 PM


It was late November in Athens, and the city felt empty. A string of surprise thunderstorms kept people imprisoned indoors and outside the Greek parliament in Syntagma Square—where anti-austerity protests raged throughout the summer of 2015—was bare but for a few brave tourists and one quizzical-looking stray dog watching the Evzones guards perform their distinctive, shuffling shift change routine, complete with pom-pom shoes and kilts. With so much unrest elsewhere in Europe, it would be easy to think Greece is heading toward relative quietude.

The coming weeks could change all that. On December 5, the finance ministers of the Eurozone will meet in Brussels for their last scheduled summit of the year. On the agenda is the ongoing second review of Greece’s bailout program, which since 2015 has allowed the country to receive financial assistance from European creditors that will eventually total €86 billion ($91.7 billion) in exchange for carrying out reforms including shrinking the public sector, reining in government spending and raising taxes.

Greece needs reforms, not debt relief: Germany's Schaeuble

 Sat Dec 3, 2016 | 6:30pm EST


Structural reforms rather than debt relief will help Greece to achieve sustainable growth and stay in the euro zone because rates and repayment are putting hardly any burden on its budget, Gerany's finance minister was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Euro zone finance ministers will meet in Brussels on Monday to discuss short-term measures to lighten Greece's debt burden and to assess Athens' progress in reforms required within its third bailout program.

Asked in an interview by Bild am Sonntag newspaper whether it might be time to tell German voters that a debt cut for Greece was inevitable, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said: "That would not help Greece."

Friday, December 2, 2016

Eurozone Bailout Fund Proposes Short-Term Debt Relief for Greece

ESM proposes extension on some maturities and locking in the interest on some loans to ease Greece’s debt load

The Wall Street Journal

Updated Nov. 30, 2016 7:57 a.m. ET
BRUSSELS—Confidential proposals drawn up by the eurozone’s bailout fund could reduce Greece’s debt load by about a fifth in 2060.

A six-page document, dated Nov. 25 and seen by The Wall Street Journal, was produced by the European Stability Mechanism, the Luxembourg-based eurozone bailout fund. It outlines measures that could be taken in the near future to reduce Greece’s large debt load.

The paper proposes to ease Greece’s debt load by extending some maturities and locking in the interest on some of Greece’s loans to shield it from future interest-rate increases.

The Latest, Greatest Threat to the Euro: Populism

Elections and referendums in the year ahead pose a far different challenge from the financial crisis of recent years

The Wall Street Journal

Updated Nov. 30, 2016 11:32 a.m. ET

The euro has survived sovereign default, recessions, banking crises and bailouts. It may not survive populism.

In the coming year, the eurozone will host at least five elections or referendums that could bring a populist, euroskeptic party to power. In effect, the common currency is about to play multiple rounds of Russian roulette.

The populist threat is qualitatively different from the financial crisis that first erupted in Greece in 2009 and eventually engulfed half the region. In that case, what worried private investors was that a country, or its banks, would default on its debt and be forced to leave the euro. Investors fled, driving interest rates sky-high and plunging the continent into recession.

Tired of Syriza, Greece embraces a mainstream party

The centre-right New Democracy party is dull, technocratic and leading the polls
Dec 3rd 2016 | ATHENS

The Economist

THE headquarters of New Democracy, a centre-right political party, is in an unexpected part of Athens. The building, surrounded by warehouses, housed a branch of a Japanese technology firm before standing derelict for years. Few other political types are nearby. The rent, at €9,800 ($10,400) a month, is a tenth of what the party’s old office used to cost. Yet the relocation, which happened in August, is also symbolic. As the opposition party has moved to a cheaper part of town, so too does it hope that it can present itself to the public as a new, improved alternative to the Greek government. With Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister (pictured, on the left), growing less popular, New Democracy may well have a chance.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Eurogroup should be 'realistic' on Greece fiscal targets: Dijsselbloem

Tue Nov 29, 2016 | 4:45am EST


The chair of the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers said on Tuesday that European lenders should be "realistic" in the fiscal targets they set for Greece after 2018, when a program of financial aid will end.

"We need to be realistic," Jeroen Dijsselbloem told the economic affairs committee of the European Parliament, saying that the International Monetary Fund has a point when it says "running a primary surplus of 3.5 percent for a very long time is a huge thing to ask".

Greece can meet 2017 primary surplus, must conclude bailout review- cenbanker

Tue Nov 29, 2016 | 3:25am EST

Nov 29 Greece can achieve a primary budget surplus of 2 percent next year, the head of the country's central bank said on Tuesday, warning that the main risk for the economy would be a failure to conclude a crucial bailout review.

"Despite the positive projections ... serious risks remain," Yannis Stournaras told a conference in Athens. "The main risk would be the eventuality of failing to reach agreement on the second bailout review and any delays in implementing the programme or backtracking."

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Trump nominates two prominent GOP women: DeVos as education secretary, Haley as U.N. ambassador

The Washington Post

By Jerry Markon, Robert Costa and Emma Brown November 23 at 4:08 PM

President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday selected two prominent Republican women for Cabinet-level positions, adding diversity to an inner circle that was already coming under fire for being composed mostly of white men.

In a potentially controversial choice, Trump intends to nominate billionaire philanthropist Betsy DeVos for education secretary, turning to a conservative activist who has forcefully pushed for private school voucher programs. Her nomination is expected to face strong opposition from public school advocates, who oppose her efforts to funnel taxpayer dollars from public to private and religious schools.

Weak Tea After Brexit

The May government’s additional spending won’t spur growth.

The Wall Street Journal

Nov. 23, 2016 8:47 p.m. ET

Theresa May’s government delivered another budget statement Wednesday, and we’re pleased to report that not all of the proposals are bad. But whether not-so-bad is good enough to give the economy the boost it will need to power through Britain’s exit from the European Union is another question.

Regarding the good, the best headline to come out of Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement is that the government intends to stick to its schedule for corporate tax cuts, with rates falling to 17% in 2020 from 20% today. That’s down from 28% under Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown and would be roughly half the rate paid by companies in France and Germany. Mrs. May has also indicated she’s prepared to come down below 15% if necessary.

Turkey and E.U. Near Breaking Point in Membership Talks


The New York Times

ISTANBUL — The European Parliament is likely to vote on Thursday to suspend negotiations to bring Turkey into the European Union, infuriating Ankara and possibly hastening the end of a long and troubled process.

While the vote is advisory rather than binding, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is smarting from European criticism of its crackdown on opponents and on the news media after a failed coup attempt in July. So it has suggested that, in any event, it may pull out of the process altogether if there is no progress by the end of the year. Such progress now seems improbable.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

RPT-INSIGHT-Euro zone nations turn to hedge funds to meet borrowing needs

Tue Nov 22, 2016 | 2:00am EST


(Repeats story published on Monday)

* Belgium, Italy and Spain see spike in hedge fund take-up

* Bankers warn trend could exacerbate market volatility

* Risks stir memories of euro zone's sovereign debt crisis

* Long-dated bonds sustain heavy losses in recent sell-off

By Abhinav Ramnarayan and Helen Reid

Greece to continue bailout talks, aiming to finish before December 5

Tue Nov 22, 2016 | 1:42pm EST


Greece will continue talks with international creditors on fiscal and labor reforms, aiming to wrap up the second review of its bailout program by early next month ahead of a euro zone finance ministers' meeting, government officials said on Tuesday.

Mission chiefs of the creditor institutions overseeing the program's implementation - the euro zone's ESM rescue fund, the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission - left Athens on Tuesday, leaving remaining issues to be resolved by technical staff and via teleconference.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Euro, Dollar Flirt With Parity

Trump outlook and Fed’s likely move are strengthening dollar, and ECB may not help stop euro’s fall

The Wall Street Journal

Updated Nov. 20, 2016 10:00 p.m. ET

A 10-day losing streak for the euro against the U.S. dollar is rekindling an old debate: Will the common currency reach parity with the dollar?

In the last two weeks, the euro has fallen 4% against the dollar, hitting $1.06, a level last seen 12 months ago.

The sharp shift in expectations for U.S. interest rates and economic growth since the American presidential election has refueled the euro’s fall against the greenback. If the Federal Reserve increases rates, expectations are the dollar would rise further by drawing money to the U.S. looking for higher returns.

Here's When the Dollar and the Euro Are Expected to Hit Parity


by  Lucinda Shen  @ShenLucinda  NOVEMBER 21, 2016, 10:59 AM EST

Good news for dollar bulls. Bad news for the global economy.
The euro and the U.S. dollar could be trading one-for-one next year as Europe struggles with political uncertainty and the U.S. is expected to go on a fiscal splurge.

In a note late last week, a team of analysts from Goldman Sachs predicted the two currencies will reach parity by the fourth quarter of 2017. The dollar has risen 4.4% against the euro, and 2% against a basket of world currencies since Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election Nov. 8. The euro is currently trading at $1.06.

Monday, November 21, 2016

EU’s position in Brexit negotiations does not make sense, Philip Hammond says

The Chancellor accepted that negotiations could create uncertainty for the British economy
The Independent
Jon Stone Political Correspondent

The EU’s hardline stance against the UK in the upcoming Brexit negotiations “doesn’t make a lot of sense”, the Chancellor has said, as he warned that the talks will bring uncertainty to the British economy

A Falling Euro Is Neither A Collapse Nor A Disaster - It's The Solution

NOV 20, 2016 @ 05:35 AM

Tim Worstall ,   CONTRIBUTOR
I have opinions about economics, finance and public policy.

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

The Express is getting rather overeager to tell us that a falling euro/dollar exchange rate is a collapse, an imminent disaster. When, of course, a change in exchange rates is the cure for what ails economies. That’s rather the point of having them in the first place rather than just the one world currency. So that if one economic area is doing differently than some other we can let the exchange rate take the strain of adjustment, rather than having to do that internal devaluation. You know, as the euro itself has forced Greece and Finland to do?

Friday, November 18, 2016

EU Sees ‘Smooth Sailing’ If Greece Implements Needed Reforms

 Richard Bravo

 Matthew Miller

November 18, 2016 — 11:15 AM EET Updated on November 18, 2016 — 11:35 AM EET

Greece and the institutions managing its bailout, currently negotiating policy reforms in Athens, could clear the way for discussions next month to ease the terms of the nation’s debt burden, which could presage a successful resolution of its rescue program, according to the head of the euro area’s Economic and Financial Committee of finance deputies.
“You need to do the reforms and that will bring back growth and that will then unlock those measures which in reality we’ve already agreed on,” Thomas Wieser, head of the Euro Working Group, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “I’m very positive by the end of this year we’ll be there then it should be comparatively smooth sailing for the rest of the program.”

May's changing vocabulary signals shift from 'hard Brexit'

Nov 18, 2016 | 7:48am GMT


By Elizabeth Piper | LONDON
There is a recognisable repetition in Theresa May's speeches about Britain's decision to leave the European Union: "Brexit means Brexit", making "a success of it" and getting "the best deal" for Britain are some of her stump phrases.

But a closer look at her speeches suggests her position on key aspects of Brexit has evolved since she took office in the aftermath of the June 23 vote to leave.

Together with public comments by ministers in her Conservative government, the changes appear to suggest May has shifted from favouring a "hard Brexit" - a clean break with the EU's single market of 500 million consumers - to supporting continued membership of that market if possible.

Who rules? Euro zone budget tensions surface

Thu Nov 17, 2016 | 11:51am EST


By Alastair Macdonald and Jan Strupczewski | BRUSSELS
Berlin's brusque "Nein" on Thursday to a call from Brussels for it to loosen its budget to help the euro zone's struggling south exposed tensions over who should control the currency union and police its rules.

Wolfgang Schaeuble, whose German finance ministry rejected the European Commission's call for it to spend more, went public last month to say the EU executive had become too "political" to act as impartial enforcer of euro zone fiscal rules and should hand the role to a new supervisor.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Another Financial Warning Sign Is Flashing in China


  Bloomberg News
November 15, 2016 — 11:00 PM EET

Add another credit indicator to the financial warning signs flashing in China.
The adjusted loan-to-deposit ratio, which includes a range of off-balance sheet items and is an indicator of the banking system’s ability to weather stress, climbed to 80 percent as of June 30, according to S&P Global Ratings. For some smaller lenders, the ratio has already topped 100 percent, S&P estimates.

Obama Urges Europe to Address Its Debt Crisis

Leaders should favor growth over austerity in response to rising populism, president says

The Washington Post

Updated Nov. 15, 2016 12:14 p.m. ET
ATHENS—President Barack Obama urged Europe to resolve lingering issues from its debt crisis, saying on Tuesday that leaders should favor growth over austerity, as part of their response to the rising populism in Western countries exemplified by the election of Donald Trump.
Mr. Obama made the appeal after meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who said it is time for Greece to receive significant debt relief from Europe.

Obama Keeps Hope Alive for Crisis-Ridden Greece


 Marcus Bensasson

 Eleni Chrepa


When a U.S. president last visited Greece, the economy was booming, Athens had been awarded the Olympics and the country was preparing to join the euro.
That was in 1999, and as Barack Obama gives his keynote speech on Wednesday defending democracy in its birthplace, the spotlight will inevitably fall on Greece’s deterioration. Its journey to the brink of bankruptcy, dragging down financial markets worldwide, was among the defining international events of Obama’s eight years in office and few places better show the ensuing forces of populism that ultimately brought in Donald Trump to replace him.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Japan economy: Exports help faster-than-expected growth


Japan's economy expanded at a faster-than-expected rate between July and September, due to higher exports.
Gross domestic product rose at an annualised rate of 2.2% in the three months to September, the third consecutive quarter of expansion.
Japanese firms have relied on overseas sales to make up for lacklustre domestic demand.
There are concerns a Donald Trump US presidency will hurt Japan if anti-free trade rhetoric became a reality.

Trump shapes White House, hires establishment figure, firebrand

 Mon Nov 14, 2016 | 1:34am EST


By Susan Cornwell and Alana Wise | WASHINGTON

President-elect Donald Trump was weighing contenders for other top jobs in his administration after choosing Washington insider Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff and firebrand outsider Stephen Bannon as senior counselor.

Less than a week after his upset win over Democrat Hillary Clinton in last Tuesday's presidential election, Trump's choice on Sunday of Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman and friend of House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, could help him repair his strained relations with members of the Republican Party establishment.

But Trump also named Bannon, the combative former head of the right-wing website Breitbart News, as his strategist and senior counselor. The statement said Bannon and Priebus would be "working as equal partners to transform the federal government."

Trump shift puts euro markets back on edge as elections loom

Mon Nov 14, 2016 | 1:07am EST


By Dhara Ranasinghe | LONDON
Anti-establishment votes in Britain and the United States have roiled markets twice this year and investors are determined not to be caught off guard again.

In 2017, voters in the Netherlands, France and Germany - and possibly in Italy and Britain too - will vote in elections that could be colored by the triumphs of Donald Trump and supporters of Brexit, and the politics that drove those campaigns.

A litmus test for Europe is around the corner in Italy's referendum on constitutional change on Dec. 4. On the same day, Austria holds a re-run of a presidential election in which one of the two candidates is from the far-right.

Barack Obama calls for 'meaningful debt relief' for Greece

US president says it is in world’s interest for Greece to stay in eurozone and praises EU as ‘one of greatest political and economic achievements of modern times’

The Guardian

The US president, Barack Obama, has signalled he will use a critical two-day visit to Athens this week to step up calls for the country to be given “meaningful debt relief”.

Weighing in on the potentially explosive issue of how best to revive the European Union’s most financially strained member state, the outgoing president said debt forgiveness would play a pivotal role in giving people hope. “I am a strong believer that to make reforms sustainable, people need hope,” he told the Greek newspaper Kathimerini before the trip, which will be his final state visit before leaving office. “The International Monetary Fund has said that debt relief is crucial to put Greece’s economy on a sustainable path and set the stage for a return to prosperity.”

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Is the White House already changing Donald Trump?

The Washington Post

By Kathleen Parker Opinion writer November 11 at 7:12 PM
Witnesses who tuned in to Donald Trump and Barack Obama’s post-election get-together can’t have missed the change in the president-elect’s demeanor and affect.

Quiet and reserved, he seemed almost chastened. Dare I say, humble and deferential to the man whose citizenship he challenged for years leading up to his candidacy.

The real estate tycoon best known for ego, insults and invective seemed almost sensitive and earnest, as well as appropriately respectful toward the president and the rare circumstances in which he found himself.

It was . . . odd.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Trump sees Japan's Abe as ally in push back against China: adviser

 Fri Nov 11, 2016 | 2:16am EST


By Tim Kelly | TOKYO
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's meeting next week with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may mark the start of talks to garner Japan's support for a push back against China's growing influence in Asia, a security adviser to Trump said.

Trump's campaign comments, including a demand Japan pay more for the upkeep of U.S. forces on its soil, have worried Tokyo about a rift in a security alliance with Washington, in the face of a rising China and a volatile North Korea, that has been the bedrock of its defense since World War Two.

A tougher stance against China, however, and a call for Japan to play a bigger security role through a Trump-Abe axis would however fit with Abe's hawkish policies that include allowing the military to operate more freely overseas.

Sterling soars to 6-week high against weakening euro

Thu Nov 10, 2016 | 12:54pm EST

By Jemima Kelly and Patrick Graham | LONDON
Sterling surged 1.5 percent to a six-week high against the euro on Thursday, as investors unwound short positions against the pound amid uncertainty about the fallout from the U.S. election and focused on upcoming European political risks.

The pound's almost 20 percent slide since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June has been the main currency story on developed markets in the months that have followed, and investors have built up record short positions against it on the view that it has further to fall.

But the fog of uncertainty created by Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential vote, after a campaign that included a range of potentially disruptive policy pledges, from building a wall between the United States and Mexico to declaring China a currency manipulator, could provide a different set of impulses over the next few months.

Greece Establishes Independent Media Authority to Handle TV Licenses

Court had previously struck down ruling party’s auction of broadcast permits

The Wall Street Journal

Nov. 10, 2016 2:41 p.m. ET
ATHENS—Greece’s government and opposition late on Thursday broke an impasse toward the regulation of the country’s television sector, after they formed an independent media watchdog that will now take responsibility for organizing the new licensing procedure.

The presidents of the parliament reached a cross-party consent in the appointment of the nine-member body of the National Council for Radio and Television. The number of the licenses that will be auctioned will be decided by the new independent authority.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Greece to ease capital controls soon, needs debt measures: Stournaras

Thu Nov 10, 2016 | 5:50am EST


By George Georgiopoulos and Balazs Koranyi | ATHENS
Greece will soon ease capital controls further but full liberalization will depend on progress in easing the country's debt burden, which is also a precondition for entering the ECB's asset buying scheme, central bank chief Yannis Stournaras said.

Propped up by three successive bailouts, Greece hopes to emerge from a long recession next year. But much of its outlook depends on getting a long-sought reduction of its huge debt pile, easing capital restrictions and inclusion in the ECB's 1.74 trillion asset buying scheme.

What explains the speed of recovery from banking crises?

Christian Ambrosius 

Freie Universität Berlin, School of Business and Economics/Institute for Latin American Studies,


While a large body of research has explored the causes and effects of banking crises, less is known about what determines recovery from banking crises, despite large variations in post-crisis performances across countries. In order to identify local and global factors that determine the length of recovery (i.e. the time it takes until countries reach their pre-crisis level of per capita GDP), this exploratory paper employs event–history analysis on 138 incidents of banking crises between 1970 and 2012. Regarding domestic factors, the simultaneous occurrence of currency crises, large financial sectors, overvalued currencies and large primary deficits are associated with later recovery, whereas higher debt-to-GDP ratios or inflation levels do not exhibit a negative effect on post-crisis performances. Regarding external factors, a low growth of world trade as well as indicators of uncertainty in financial markets are correlated with later recovery. Global interest rate shocks are particularly harmful for the speed of recovery among middle-income countries with a strong reliance on external capital. The results are similar when using the length of recessions as an alternative indicator of post-crisis performances.

To see full article:

Greece's Golden Dawn says Trump win a victory for ethnically 'clean' states

Wed Nov 9, 2016 | 4:18am EST


Nov 9 Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party hailed Donald Trump's election as president of the United States, calling it a victory against "illegal immigration" and in favour of ethnically "clean" nations.

Golden Dawn, Greece's third-largest party, took its first seats in parliament in 2012 on a backlash against austerity policies in Greece, which has received three international bailouts since 2010.

Greece's bank fund may call for NBG shareholder meeting

Wed Nov 9, 2016 | 1:35pm EST


Greece's bank rescue fund said it might call a special shareholder meeting at National Bank of Greece (NBGr.AT) after voting against the appointment of a new chairman.

The rescue fund, known has HFSF, which holds a 40 percent stake in NBG, said in a statement on Wednesday that it might call an extraordinary shareholders meeting on the issue.

"HFSF... is contemplating calling an extraordinary general meeting taking into account that the smooth cooperation between the board of directors of NBG and the controlling shareholder is essential," the fund said.

DEUTSCHE BANK: It's hard to tell what Trump's election means for the euro

Business insider UK
Will Martin

Predicting which way the dollar will go against the euro now that Donald Trump will become the 45th President of the United States is near impossible, according to economists at Deutsche Bank.

Writing in a special report on the implications of Trump's victory in the euro area, a team led by Senior Economist Marco Stringa argues that the way the greenback will move against the euro — one of its most important crosses — in the medium term is "ambiguous."

On Wednesday morning, the euro initially surged against the dollar, picking up almost 2% in early trading, before paring its gains, and ending up in negative territory in early afternoon trade.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Trump promised Brexit ‘times five.’ He delivered.

The Washinhton Post

By Adam Taylor November 9 at 11:22 AM

As Donald Trump's campaign progressed, Britain's June 23 vote to leave the European Union was clearly on his mind.

“They will soon be calling me MR. BREXIT!” Trump tweeted in August, prompting a somewhat confused response. He soon upped the ante — telling supporters at rallies in October that the U.S. presidential election would be “Brexit plus” and “Brexit times five.”

It was certainly possible to see the similarities in the two campaigns. Both Trump fans and Brexiters tended to be people who scorned the status quo and held negative views about globalization, immigration and political correctness. Often they wanted to upend the system and evinced a desire to bring their respective countries back to greatness.

First Grexit, Then Brexit, Now Trump?

Bryan Rich ,   CONTRIBUTOR


As we head into the election, everyone involved in markets is trying to predict how stocks will perform on the results. When the Clinton e-mail scandal bubbled up again, the stock market lost ground for nine straight days, the longest losing streak since 1980. Since the probe has allegedly ended, stocks have been up.

Does it mean Clinton is good for stocks and Trump is bad for stocks? Not likely.

Big institutional money managers think they have a better understanding of what the world will look like under Clinton than Trump, and therefore feel more compelled to go on with business as usual heading into the event (i.e. allocating capital across the stock market) with the expectation of a Clinton win, and conversely, they’re not as compelled to do so with the expectation that Trump might win (i.e. they sit tight and watch).

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Dollar strengthens as election seen swinging toward Clinton

Mon Nov 7, 2016 | 3:10pm EST


By Dion Rabouin | NEW YORK
The dollar rose on Monday after the FBI decided that U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will not face criminal charges, which was seen as a boost to her chances of winning Tuesday's contest with Republican rival Donald Trump.

The greenback gained 0.75 percent against a basket of currencies .DXY after getting hammered last week when FBI Director James Comey said the agency was looking at another large batch of Clinton emails, strengthening chances of a Trump victory, an outcome that was seen as likely to send shock waves through financial markets.

Brexit Feels Like a Very British Coup

NOV 8, 2016 1:01 AM EST


Mark Gilbert
There's a joke doing the rounds on Twitter:

Brexit walks into a bar. "Why the long farce?" asks the barman.
Unfortunately, it's too close to the truth to be truly funny. Post-referendum Britain feels oddly different to the pre-plebisicite United Kingdom; less united, certainly, and also somewhat diminished as a kingdom.

Less than five months after the surprise U.K. vote to leave the European Union, and at least four months before exit negotiations will officially begin, the acrimony surrounding Brexit is intensifying.

Euro founding father Otmar Issing warns about project's future

By Colletta Smith and Mark Syred
BBC 5 Live
7 November 2016

BBC News

Prof Otmar Issing told the BBC's Wake up to Money that faultlines across the eurozone remain, citing economic weakness in Greece, Portugal and Italy.
The European Central Bank's first chief economist also warned about the impact of negative interest rates.
And he said political pressures threatened central banks' independence.
Prof Issing told the BBC that structural problems in the eurozone and dwindling public support in some countries were still major problems.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Mosul battle: 'IS leader Baghdadi' urges no retreat


The so-called Islamic State group has released an audiotape which it says is from its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
If true, it would be the first public message from him in about a year and would dispel rumours that he is dead.
The voice on the audio calls on Iraqis to defend the city of Mosul against the Iraqi army, which is attempting to re-take it from the militants.
Baghdadi's whereabouts remain unknown. Some officials have said he may be inside Mosul alongside IS fighters.
It has not been independently verified that the voice in the audio belongs to Baghdadi. There have been repeated rumours of his death through the years, including last year when the Iraqi military said it had hit his convoy.
Mosul, the last IS urban stronghold in Iraq, is where Baghdadi declared a caliphate two years ago.

Brexit: High Court judges to give legal verdict


Senior judges heard a challenge last month from campaigners who argue Prime Minister Theresa May does not have the power to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty without MPs' approval.
The PM has promised to trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017.
Its author, Lord Kerr, has told the BBC he believed it was "not irrevocable".
Judges are set to give their verdict at 10:00 GMT.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Brexit so complex it could overwhelm politicians, warn senior academics

Independent group says leaving EU will test constitution and legal framework to their limits and ‘possibly beyond’

The Guardian

Managing Britain’s exit from the European Union is such a formidable and complex challenge that it could overwhelm politicians and civil servants for years, senior academics have warned.

Theresa May has announced she will trigger article 50 – the two-year process of negotiating a separation from the EU – by the end of March next year. The government will also publish a great repeal bill, which will transfer all EU-originated laws into British law, so that MPs can decide how much they want to discard.

After another release of documents, FBI finds itself caught in a partisan fray

The Washington Post

By Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Sari Horwitz
November 1 at 9:04 PM

The surprise tweet from a little-used FBI account came about 1 p.m. Tuesday, announcing that the agency had published on its website 129 pages of internal documents related to a years-old investigation into former president Bill Clinton’s pardon of a fugitive Democratic donor.

The seemingly random reminder of one of the darkest chapters of the Clinton presidency a week before the election drew an immediate rebuke from Hillary Clinton’s campaign — with its spokesman tweeting that the FBI’s move was “odd” and asking whether the agency planned to publish unflattering records about Republican candidate Donald Trump.

An economist who was in the middle of the storm recounts Greece’s financial crisis

The Boston Globe

By Jonathan Schlefer
When economist George Papaconstantinou returned to Greece after working for a decade at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, he settled into a series of comfortable government and academic jobs. Then, to his surprise, PASOK, the social-democratic party, asked him to run for Parliament. He lost the first time but won in 2007. He also began advising the party leader, George Papandreou, on economic issues. Named PASOK’s press spokesman, he helped give the party a fresh, young image, contributing to its landslide election victory in 2009.

For Greeks, property equals debt

2 Nov 2016

Nikos Konstandaras Contributing Writer

The New York Times

People are turning their backs on what used to be a pillar of the country’s economy and society: real estate.

At law courts throughout Greece, people are lining up to file papers renouncing their inheritance. Not necessarily because some feckless uncle left them with a pile of debt at the end of his revels; they are turning their backs on what used to be a pillar of Greece’s economy and society: real estate. Growing personal debt, declining incomes and ever higher taxes as Greece’s depression grinds on have turned property and the dream of easy money into dread of a catastrophic burden.

Greece Defies EU, U.S. on Sanctions for Iran’s Bank Saderat

Athens bucks allies by vetoing renewal of sanctions against bank U.S. accuses of financing terrorism

The Wall Street Journal

Updated Nov. 1, 2016 4:28 p.m. ET

Greece has defied its European allies and Washington by blocking European Union sanctions on an Iranian bank the U.S. accuses of financing terrorism, officials familiar with the move say.

Athens’s action last month marked the first time a European country has picked apart the sanctions regime meant to remain in place following the July 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran. The regime is designed to constrain Iran’s ability to resume illicit activities and pressure it to stick by the agreement.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Turkey calls for end to NATO's migrant mission in Aegean

Thu Oct 27, 2016 | 8:34am EDT


By Robin Emmott and Sabine Siebold | BRUSSELS
Turkey is seeking an end to NATO's counter-migration mission in the Aegean Sea and it is telling the U.S.-led alliance that the sharp drop in refugees trying to get to Greece means there is no longer a need for warships to patrol its coast.

Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik told other NATO defense ministers on Wednesday that Ankara no longer saw a need for the mission to continue beyond the end of December, according to two people briefed on the exchanges, despite strong support across the alliance for the mission.

"This was a temporary mission, and the goal has been reached in this temporary mission. There is no need to extend it further," Isik told reporters in Brussels on Thursday.

Why India Is A Better Investment Bet Than China

OCT 26, 2016 @ 08:14 PM 5,942 VIEWS


Panos Mourdoukoutas ,   CONTRIBUTOR,
"I cover global markets, business and investment strategy  "

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

China may be the world’s largest emerging economy, beating India in many economic and financial indicators. But India is beating China in an indicator that matters the most to emerging market investing: financial market development. This means that India is less prone to a financial crisis than China, and therefore, a better investment than China.

China Gets Desperate About Debt

OCT 26, 2016 5:00 PM EDT

By Christopher Balding


With its debts surging and growth sluggish, China has hit on a new strategy to revitalize its ailing economy. It’s the same as the old strategy. Only this time, it won’t work.

Earlier this month, China’s State Council released guidelines for a new swap program, in which companies can exchange troubled debt with banks in return for equity. The government hopes this will give the firms a chance to restructure on favorable terms, and avoid the prospect of “zombie companies” propped up indefinitely by state-owned lenders.

Euro zone lending growth levels off, keeps ECB on toes

Thu Oct 27, 2016 | 4:46am EDT


Growth in loans to euro zone companies and households is leveling off, European Central bank data showed on Thursday, keeping the pressure on the ECB to maintain its aggressive stimulus policy for months to come.

Lending to companies grew by 1.9 percent year-on-year in September while household loans rose by 1.8 percent, keeping the steady but slow pace seen since the start of the summer

UPDATE 1-Greece names Total-led consortium preferred bidder for offshore gas drilling

Wed Oct 26, 2016 | 1:05pm BST


Oct 26 Greece named on Wednesday a consortium of France's Total, its biggest oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum and Italy's Edison as the preferred bidder for an offshore gas drilling block in the west of the country.

Greece, which signed up to a third bailout last summer, has made several fruitless attempts over the last 50 years to find big oil and gas reserves. Its debt crisis and important findings in neighbouring countries has prompted the country to step up those efforts.

Greece’s Syriza Defiant After Judges Annul Key Policy

Country’s supreme administrative court rules government acted unconstitutionally by licensing TV broadcasters itself

The Wall Street Journal

Updated Oct. 27, 2016 4:27 a.m. ET

ATHENS—Greece’s ruling Syriza party vowed on Thursday to continue fighting for its radical agenda after judges struck down its plan to revamp Greece’s media sector, the culmination of a weekslong power struggle that produced allegations of blackmail and “fascist” methods.

Greece’s supreme administrative court, the Council of State, ruled late Wednesday that the government, led by the left-wing Syriza party, acted unconstitutionally by licensing TV broadcasters itself, a power that the constitution reserves for an independent media regulator.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Greece awaits Obama trip amid tough bailout talks

The Washington Post

By Derek Gatopoulos | AP October 25 at 12:08 PM
ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s government says it was facing pressure from the International Monetary Fund to aggressively scale back union powers and employment rights, as the White House confirmed Tuesday that U.S. President Barack Obama will pay a post-election visit to Athens.

Obama’s Nov. 15 trip could boost efforts by the left-wing government in Athens to press for debt relief from European bailout lenders, as the country’s national debt approaches 180 percent of Greece’s stagnant gross domestic product. Obama will travel on to Germany after his Greek visit.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Euro Gripes Threaten Economic Recovery as Populism Advances

Alessandro Speciale
October 25, 2016 — 7:00 AM EEST


Anti-establishment parties are gaining ground in the heart of the European Union, and they may pose a bigger challenge to the region’s economy than any of those that have drawn support in the periphery over the past years.
While populists in Spain or Italy are revolting against restrictive fiscal policies and a weakening of social safety nets, the backlash in France and Germany focuses on monetary union itself. Parties openly advocating a break from the euro are building momentum ahead of a year of election across the region and politicians skeptical about EU integration are already twisting policy decisions. Belgium’s Wallonia region blocked a trade deal with Canada just last week.

Greece Set to Receive Fresh Loans Under Bailout Agreement

Eurozone bailout fund officials expected to sign off on disbursement Tuesday

The Wall Street Journal

Oct. 24, 2016 2:45 p.m. ET
BRUSSELS—Greece’s creditors are expected to approve €2.8 billion in fresh loans for the debt-ridden country after it completed a set of key economic overhauls, three eurozone officials said Monday.

The disbursement of the next slice of financial aid, to be officially signed off by the eurozone bailout fund on Tuesday, marks the formal end of the first review of Greece’s up-to-€86 billion bailout, which was agreed to in August last year.

The loans will comprise of €1.1 billion to be used for debt servicing and €1.7 billion to repay arrears owed to domestic contractors.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The threat from Russia

How to contain Vladimir Putin’s deadly, dysfunctional empire
Oct 22nd 2016

The Economist

FOUR years ago Mitt Romney, then a Republican candidate, said that Russia was America’s “number-one geopolitical foe”. Barack Obama, among others, mocked this hilarious gaffe: “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the cold war’s been over for 20 years,” scoffed the president. How times change. With Russia hacking the American election, presiding over mass slaughter in Syria, annexing Crimea and talking casually about using nuclear weapons, Mr Romney’s view has become conventional wisdom. Almost the only American to dissent from it is today’s Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

What is China’s plenum and why does it matter?

Oct 23rd 2016, 23:27 BY J.P. | BEIJING

The Economist

THE 200-odd highest-ranking members of China’s Communist Party—its central committee—meet only once a year. The closed-door gathering is called a plenum. This year’s starts today, October 24th, in Beijing and runs until the 27th. The agenda does not sound consequential. It will discuss, in the unlovely words of the official announcement, “the norms of political life within the party…and a revision to an intra-party supervision regulation.” So why does it matter?

China Deal Watch

(for full article with interactive plots see

Chinese companies are buying up overseas assets at a faster pace than U.S. buyers for the first time on record. This graphic, updated weekly, takes a close look at what China is acquiring, and where. The numbers reveal a lot about the country’s growing global ambitions.

On Oct. 18, China Life Insurance Co Ltd agreed to buy select-service hotel portfolio from Starwood Capital Group LLC for $2 billion. Here’s how this deal compares to China’s other overseas acquisitions:
Rank 17th largest foreign acquisition by a Chinese company this year
2016 Total $206.6B in foreign mergers and acquisitions
Growth 212% increase from the same period in 2015

Brexit Bulletin: Bankers Threaten Exodus

Bankers threaten early exodus, while PM May tries to head off a constitutional crisis


Emma Ross-Thomas

Banks will start moving operations out of the U.K. late this year and early next as they anticipate a hard Brexit. That's according to  Anthony Browne, chief executive officer of the banking lobby group BBA, writing in the Observer newspaper on Sunday.

International banks’ “hands are quivering over the relocate button,” he wrote. “Many smaller banks plan to start relocations before Christmas; bigger banks are expected to start in the first quarter of next year.”
Without identifying any banks by name, he said lenders can’t wait until the last minute and have to “plan for the worst,” especially because “public and political debate at the moment is taking us in the wrong direction.”
Handily, some real estate companies are already finding them new digs.  A property company managed by Schroders Plc is bidding for an office building in Frankfurt, joining CBRE Global Investors LLC and Standard Life Plc, which are seeking to purchase office space in cities from Dublin to Amsterdam.

Opinion: Appearance and reality in Greece

Greece's euro crisis has disappeared from the headlines, but the problem has still not been resolved. And since nothing much is changing in Athens, it will soon be a hot topic once again, says Spiros Moskovou.

Deutsche Welle

"I hereby declare the nonprivatization of the state electricity company DEI to be one of Syriza's key political concerns," Energy Minister Panos Skourletis announced at the governing party's conference in Athens last weekend. Yet last May, the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, together with the Greek parliament, approved an initial list of state-owned businesses for privatization.
An important point here is the sale of a quantity of shares in DEI. The whole privatization package is intended to bring in revenue of 2.5 billion euros ($2.7 billion) for the Greek treasury by the end of the year.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Monetary Policy And Political Problems To Drive The Euro Lower

OCT 22, 2016 @ 11:57

Stephen Pope ,   CONTRIBUTOR


Over the past week, foreign exchange markets have been offered opposing views on the next play in European and American monetary policy. The differences are wider than the Atlantic Ocean.

In Europe, the Bank of England (BOE) faces many problems as the falling level of Sterling threatens to ignite inflation from its current 1.0% at a time when the economy is struggling to accommodate the uncertainty over the terms of Brexit.

A larger dilemma faces the European Central Bank (ECB). With a tepid economy, GDP growth just 0.3% and unemployment of 10.1% coupled to a fragile banking system it is obliged to hold open the door for further monetary stimulus in December and maintain that accommodation deep into 2017.

Scotland demands to be equal partner in Brexit negotiations

The lead Scottish minister in the process is concerned that the UK is heading for a hard Brexit

The Independent

David Hughes, Lucinda Cameron

The Scottish Government has demanded to be treated as an “equal partner” by Theresa May in the Brexit negotiations, as the Prime Minister called for a “grown up” relationship with the devolved administrations.

The Prime Minister will host the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on Monday to discuss the Brexit process and her Government's economic plans.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Rodrigo Duterte’s impetuous pivot

Image result for south china sea map claims

Is the Philippines, until now a staunch American ally, falling into the Chinese camp?
Oct 19th 2016 | Asia

The Economist

EVEN in a year of extraordinary reversals, few would have expected it. In July China reacted with fury when an international tribunal upheld a complaint from the Philippines and rubbished China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. This week it is rolling out the red carpet for the mercurial Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte. He is being feted in a four-day state visit, with 400-odd businessmen in tow. Rub your eyes: America’s strongest ally in South-East Asia appears to be plopping like a ripe mango into China’s hands.

Greece Might Just Get a Boost From an Unlikely Source

The cash-strapped nation stands to gain a lift to demand from the aid effort for refugees


Nikos Chrysoloras

October 20, 2016 — 7:01 AM EEST

As European Union leaders gather in Brussels on Thursday with the refugee crisis on the agenda, some of them may repeat the claim that their economies can't bear the cost of aiding people fleeing war and persecution. Greece ought not to be one of them.
After all it has been through in the past six years, the arrival of tens of thousands of refugees from across the Aegean may in fact be giving the country a mild, short-term stimulus.
Hundreds of millions of euros have been spent so far to provide shelter, provisions, and support to migrants and asylum seekers, in a period when government-funded spending has taken successive cuts.

World’s Fourth-Biggest Currency Trader Sees Euro Decline Ahead

Lananh Nguyen


Deutsche Bank AG is sticking with its weaker euro call.
The currency dropped to the lowest in almost three months and the world’s fourth-largest foreign-exchange trader says it’s got further to fall. The bank sees the shared currency declining to $1.05 by year-end, more bearish than the $1.10 median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Traders will be watching the European Central Bank’s policy-setting meeting Thursday for signals about its monetary stimulus efforts, which haven’t prevented the euro from climbing this year.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Saudi Arabia to Offer International Investors $17.5 Billion in Bonds

Gulf countries are increasingly raising funds through international markets

The Wall Street Journal

Oct. 19, 2016 7:27 a.m. ET
DUBAI—Saudi Arabia plans to raise up to $17.5 billion by selling bonds for the first time to international investors this week, two people aware of the transaction said Wednesday.

The kingdom also tightened its pricing guidance for the potential multi-tranche issue, which along with the estimated issue size reflects a strong appetite for the potential issue, bankers say.

For the five-year tranche, Saudi Arabia said it would pay around 140 basis points above U.S. Treasurys, compared with an initial guidance of around 160 basis points above U.S. Treasurys.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Turkey will fight Isis in Mosul, President Erdogan says

Bitter row between Ankara and Baghdad over role of Turkish troops in battle to retake Mosul threatens future of operation, US says

Bethan McKernan Beirut


It is “out of the question” for Turkish troops to stay out of the US-backed Iraqi army offensive to retake the northern city of Mosul from Isis, the Turkish president has said.

“We will be in the operation and we will be at the table,” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated in a televised speech on Monday. “Our brothers are there and our relatives are there. It is out of the question that we are not involved.”

Mr Erdoğan's comments came as Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi announced that the long-awaited operation to reclaim the city has begun.

The Iraqi army begins the liberation of Mosul

Even with backing from Kurds, Shia militias and an American-led international coalition, the campaign will be hard
Oct 17th 2016 | Middle East and Africa

The Economist

“THE time of victory has come…today I declare the start of these victorious operations to free you from the violence and terrorism of Daesh [Islamic State].” With these words, broadcast at 2am on October 17th, Iraq’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, announced the start of the long-awaited offensive to liberate Mosul, the country’s second-biggest city, which was seized by IS in June 2014, and is the only significant place in Iraq that the jihadists still hold. Mr Abadi added: “The Iraqi flag will be raised in the middle of Mosul and in each village and corner very soon.” Across the rest of Iraq, following a series of victories this year, it already has been.

Will Italy Leave the Euro? Follow the Money

30 OCT 17, 2016 1:31 AM EDT
By Mark Whitehouse


Will Italy follow the U.K.'s example and leave the European Union? Far-fetched as it may seem, capital flows suggest that some people aren’t waiting to find out.

To keep the euro area's accounts in balance, Europe's central banks track flows of money among the members of the currency union. If, for example, a depositor moves 100 euros from Italy to Germany, the Bank of Italy records a liability to the Eurosystem and the Bundesbank records a credit. If a central bank starts building up liabilities rapidly, that tends to be a sign of capital flight.

'Brexit' May Hurt Britain Where It Thrives: Science and Research

OCT. 17, 2016

The New York Times

LONDON — When Adam Durant started his company analyzing climate-related threats to aircraft, he and his team of researchers symbolized the possibilities offered by the European Union.

Soon after graduating from college, Mr. Durant received a prestigious European Union grant to study atmospheric chemistry and conduct climate-related research. When he started his business, he hired staff members from Belgium and France without having to sponsor their visas.

But since Britain voted in June to leave the bloc, Mr. Durant has become the archetype of something very different: a nervous entrepreneur, unsure about future funding and even considering leaving the country.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Global Economy Week Ahead: China GDP, U.S. Industrial Production, ECB Meeting

Inflation data are due from the U.K. and the U.S., as well as retail sales from China

The Wall Street Journal

Oct. 16, 2016 3:00 p.m. ET
The week’s economic calendar provides insight into how the world’s two largest economies are faring. It kicks off with a gauge of U.S. industrial activity, followed by a round of economic data out of China. From Europe comes a report on consumer confidence and a policy decision from the European Central Bank.

Nine Things You Need to Know About a ‘Hard Brexit"


 Simon Kennedy

October 17, 2016 — 7:00 AM EEST

Just when you finally grasped the meaning of “Brexit,” the subject grows more complicated. In London and the capitals of continental Europe, political leaders are preparing to discuss the terms and conditions of the U.K.’s coming separation from the European Union. Two broad options are being shorthanded as "hard Brexit" and "soft Brexit," with the U.K.’s prime minister, Theresa May, thought to lean toward the "hard Brexit" camp.

Kurdish Troops Advance on ISIS-Held Villages East of Mosul


The New York Times

BADANA PICHWK, Iraq — Kurdish forces on Monday morning began advancing on a string of villages east of Mosul, the start of a long-awaited campaign to reclaim Iraq’s second-largest city from the Islamic State, which seized it more than two years ago, officials said.

About 4,000 Kurdish pesh merga troops are involved in the operation to retake 10 villages, the opening phase of a battle that could take weeks or months and could involve nearly 30,000 Iraqi and Kurdish troops, with American warplanes providing air support. Iraqi counterterrorism forces, which work closely with American Special Operations commandos in Iraq, are also expected to join the Kurdish forces in the coming days.

Greece's lenders to launch new review as Athens digs in on debt relief

Sun Oct 16, 2016 | 4:06am EDT


By Michele Kambas and Lefteris Papadimas

Greece and its creditors start a fresh round of talks this week on reforming its labor market, a tricky task for a leftist government sliding in opinion polls but needed if the recession-hit state can ever win debt relief.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was re-elected a year ago promising to fight to revive collective bargaining and resist reforms that may lower the minimum wage. But he also needs a swift conclusion of the review to achieve Athens's primary goal of restructuring a mountain of debt, the highest in the euro zone, and mollifying an increasingly jaded public worn by years of austerity and unemployment.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Brexit means…higher prices

The economic impact of devaluations
Oct 13th 2016, 10:29 BY BUTTONWOOD

The Economist

THE economic arguments for and against Brexit in the course of the referendum campaign were quite esoteric and confusing to the average voter. Similarly, sterling’s decline in the currency markets might seem like the kind of thing that only concerns City traders.

So the row that has broken out between Tesco, Britain’s biggest supermarket chain, and Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch multinational, has made the story concrete in ways that were not apparent before. Unilever wants to raise prices across a range of goods to reflect the fall in the pound, which has dropped from around $1.50 on the day of the referendum to less than $1.22 at the time of writing. Similar falls have been seen against the euro; indeed travellers who change their money at the airport are getting less than a euro per pound.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

U.S. says foreign forces in Iraq should be there with Baghdad's approval

Tue Oct 11, 2016 | 4:36pm EDT


Foreign military forces in Iraq should be there with the approval of the Baghdad government and under the umbrella of the anti-Islamic State coalition, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday.

Turkey and Iraq disagree over the presence of about 2,000 Turkish troops at a base in northern Iraq, as the coalition prepares for an attack on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul.

4 more Turkish servicemen lose asylum claim in Greece

Published October 11, 2016

Fox News

THESSALONIKI, Greece –  A state asylum service in Greece has rejected claims by four more Turkish military servicemen who fled in the wake of their country's failed coup attempt in mid-July.

Eight servicemen fled to the Greek border town of Alexandroupolis by helicopter, and all remain in police custody in Athens. Seven have now had their asylum claims rejected, following the latest decision announced Tuesday, with a decision pending for the eighth.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

EU Sagas of Greece, Transaction Tax Back in Focus: Brussels Beat

Jonathan Stearns
October 10, 2016 — 1:00 AM EEST


Two European Union financial sagas return to the spotlight this week. One is Greece. The other is the financial transaction tax being pursued by 10 EU governments.
During much of last year, it would have been reasonable to bet that the FTT initiative had a better chance of succeeding than Europe’s efforts over half a decade to keep Greece in the euro area. Concerns about the health of Deutsche Bank AG and other European lenders add to the reasons why that’s no longer the case -- and just how far the tables have turned will be on display when EU finance ministers gather in Luxembourg on Oct. 10-11.
Euro-area finance chiefs will decide on Monday whether Greece, in its third international rescue program since 2010, qualifies for another disbursement of aid. At stake is a 2.8 billion-euro ($3.1 billion) payout tied to Greek overhauls in areas in such as pensions, bank governance and the energy market.

On Greece's Lesbos, migrants remain in limbo in squalid camps

by Reuters
Monday, 10 October 2016 15:20 GMT

Thomson Reuters

The flow of new arrivals has slowed to a trickle, but thousands of migrants remain in limbo on Greece's islands, in grim camps they liken to prisons
* Nearly 15,000 refugees languish on Greek islands

* Tents unheated, sanitation poor as winter approaches

* Local people say crisis has hurt tourism

By Karolina Tagaris

Less than one euro to the pound at many UK airports

By Ian Pollock
Business reporter, BBC News
10 October 2016


The continued fall in sterling's value means that the average rate available at 17 airport bureaux de change is now just 99 euro cents to the pound.
The worst rate is currently 88 euro cents at Moneycorp at Southampton airport and the best is €1.06 from the Change Group at Glasgow Prestwick.
Since the UK's Brexit vote in June, the pound has fallen sharply in value.
The average US dollar rate at the airports is down to $1.08 to the pound.
What's the pound exchange rate near you? Please tweet your pictures of currency exchange rate boards to @BBCBusiness and let us know
The survey of airport bureau de change currency rates was carried out by travel money firm FairFX on Monday morning.

Greece Clears Hurdle Toward Another Round of Bailout Aid

Greek economic overhauls win approval from eurozone finance ministers; $3 billion more in aid coming

The Wall Street Journal

Oct. 10, 2016 2:03 p.m. ET

LUXEMBOURG—Greece has completed a set of key economic overhauls, eurozone finance ministers agreed Monday, marking the end of the first review of its fiscal bailout and clearing the way for disbursement of new loans to Athens.

The ministers, who were here for their monthly meeting, gave their blessing to €2.8 billion ($3.12 billion) in the next stage of financial aid, but they stopped short of signing off on it immediately. Instead, they said the country would receive the funds at the end of the month, when data on repayments Greece has made to domestic contractors should also be available.

While the next slice won’t be made immediately available, the fact that Greece’s creditors agreed that all the economic overhauls have been implemented essentially completes the lengthy first review of the country’s third bailout, which could amount to €86 billion

Monday, October 10, 2016

IMF says still engaged with Greece, no decision yet on bailout role

Sun Oct 9, 2016 | 12:21pm EDT


The International Monetary Fund said on Sunday it is still fully engaged in talks to join the Greek bailout program and has not yet decided on what role it will take.

The IMF's comment came after two sources with direct knowledge of the Greek bailout talks told Reuters on Saturday that negotiations for the fund to commit financial resources to the program are making little headway and the IMF likely would accept a special advisory status with limited powers.

"We remain fully engaged, with the aim of reaching agreement on a program that the fund can support with a new arrangement, as requested by the authorities," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said in an emailed statement on Sunday. "In this regard a mission team will visit Athens soon."

EU Sagas of Greece, Transaction Tax Back in Focus: Brussels Beat


  Jonathan Stearns

October 10, 2016 — 1:00 AM EEST

Don't Miss Out — Follow Bloomberg On

Two European Union financial sagas return to the spotlight this week. One is Greece. The other is the financial transaction tax being pursued by 10 EU governments.
During much of last year, it would have been reasonable to bet that the FTT initiative had a better chance of succeeding than Europe’s efforts over half a decade to keep Greece in the euro area. Concerns about the health of Deutsche Bank AG and other European lenders add to the reasons why that’s no longer the case -- and just how far the tables have turned will be on display when EU finance ministers gather in Luxembourg on Oct. 10-11.

Friday, October 7, 2016

London Won’t Easily Surrender Role as Euro Clearinghouse, Hammond Says

Chancellor of the Exchequer says the City should keep the business after Brexit

The Wall Street Journal

Oct. 6, 2016 1:37 p.m. ET

The City of London won’t quietly relinquish its central role in derivatives trading even after the U.K. completes its exit from the European Union, a British official said Thursday.

Philip Hammond, the chancellor of the Exchequer, said firms in London will continue to handle transactions on euro-denominated derivatives. The location of clearing, in which funds are transferred from one account to another, and of settlement, in which financial institutions agree on account balances, has emerged as a key issue in Britain’s departure from the bloc.

London is home to some of the region’s biggest clearinghouses, which are intermediaries that stand between buyers and sellers of financial instruments and act as a buffer should one side fail to hold up its obligation. A threat to the clearing and settlement business could strike at the heart of the city’s large financial industry.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Dollar flat after U.S. data, euro rises with bond yields

Wed Oct 5, 2016 | 3:30pm EDT


By Richard Leong | NEW YORK
The dollar was little changed against a basket of currencies on Wednesday as encouraging data on the U.S. services sector offset a weaker-than-expected report on private-sector job growth, while the euro was broadly higher in step with a rise in higher euro zone bond yields.

U.S. services industries grew at their fastest pace in 11 months in September, reinforcing the view of a steady economic expansion which would allow the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates later this year, analysts said.

Wednesday's upbeat snapshot of the services sector from the Institute for Supply Management followed perceived hawkish remarks from regional Fed presidents Loretta Mester and Jeffrey Lacker earlier this week.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Greece’s 2017 Budget Plan Sticks With Robust Growth Forecast

But analysts say austerity and tight credit conditions are likely to weigh on economy

The Wall Street Journal

Oct. 3, 2016 11:21 a.m. ET
ATHENS—Greece’s budget plan for 2017 sees the economy rebounding strongly after a seven-year slump, but analysts say continued austerity and tight credit conditions are likely to weigh on its recovery prospects amid uncertainty over the country’s public debt.

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos submitted a draft copy of the budget to parliament on Monday that is expected to be finalized in coming weeks after the country resumes talks with lenders on its reform program.

The 53-page budget sticks with Greece’s previous forecasts that the economy is expected to contract by 0.3% this year before growing by 2.7% in 2017. Many see these targets as too optimistic, saying the economy is now entering a period of stagnation, rather than growth, having shrunk by more than 25% since the debt crisis erupted in 2010.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Sterling hits three-year low versus euro as Brexit deadline set

Mon Oct 3, 2016 | 4:31am EDT


By Jemima Kelly | LONDON
Sterling slid to a three-year low against the euro and a three-month low versus the dollar on Monday, after a March deadline was set for the start of the formal process that will split Britain from the European Union.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May told her Conservative party's annual conference on Sunday that she was determined to move on with the process and win the "right deal", in a move to ease fears inside her party that she may delay the divorce.

To fix Greece, get your figures straight

 10/01/2016 12:29 pm ET
The Huffington Post

Michael G. Jacobides
Sir Donald Gordon Chair of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, London Business School
Greece has been making headlines again - and for all the wrong reasons. Egged on by government propaganda, the judicial system has allowed a rather grotesque case to be made against Mr Andreas Georgiou, former president of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT). His alleged crime was using applicable international rules to report the Greek government’s budget deficit, which had the effect of increasing it by just under 3% to a whopping 15% of GDP. Confusing cause and effect, some hot-headed Greek prosecutors claim that Georgiou’s un-sugarcoated report caused financial and social damage, leading to the EU/IMF Memorandum. Several commentators have already pointed out that shooting the messenger is a spineless, head-in-the-sand attitude. Now we have to accept that only accurate, internationally comparable figures can begin to save Greece from its financial woes.

What’s Derailing Greece’s Plan to Sell State Assets? Its Own Government

The ruling Syriza party must privatize chunks of the country’s infrastructure to meet bailout terms. Many of its ministers are standing in the way

The Wall Street Journal

Updated Oct. 3, 2016 12:09 a.m. ET

ATHENS—The day that Christos Spirtzis became responsible for much of Greece’s ambitious privatization program, he vowed to ensure it failed.

Greece’s leftist infrastructure minister has resisted every sale of roads, airports and trains, even though he and his government have promised to raise €50 billion from privatizations as part of the country’s international bailout.

“I hope the deal will not bear fruit,” the combative, chain-smoking former labor unionist said after his government, under pressure from Greece’s creditors, confirmed the sale of 14 regional airports to a German investor. He backed calls for local referendums to scuttle the deal. When he finally had to sign the contract, he did so “with a great deal of pain,” he told Greek radio listeners in a trembling voice.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Greece’s Least Wanted Man Lives in Maryland

Andreas Georgiou fixed the country’s fake stats, now he faces criminal charges.
 Robert Schmidt
  Bloomberg Businessweek

For 21 years, Andreas Georgiou worked in relative obscurity as an economist at the International Monetary Fund in Washington. When the European debt crisis hit and his home country of Greece began teetering toward bankruptcy, Georgiou felt a patriotic urge to help. In early 2010 he applied online to run a newly created office designed to clean up Greece’s much maligned economic statistics. He got the job, and in August 2010 he moved to Greece for a five-year term as president of the Hellenic Statistical Authority.

Greece says Erdogan's remarks on islands 'dangerous' to relations

Fri Sep 30, 2016 | 12:07pm EDT


Greece on Friday accused neighboring Turkey of endangering ties between the two NATO allies by questioning the wisdom of an almost century-old treaty that established the modern boundaries between the two countries.

At a speech in Ankara on Thursday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the Treaty of Lausanne, a 1923 peace accord which forged modern Greece and Turkey's borders, was essentially a defeat for Turkey because it "gave away" islands to Greece.