Thursday, December 31, 2015

FCA Cancels Report Into Banking Culture

Why has the FCA cancelled its report into banking?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hello Kitty Hacked

Another day, another hack!

Let's face it, computer databases and systems are security disasters waiting to happen.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Europe Isn't Working

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Diamonds Aren't Forever

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Bank of England Talks Big Mortgage Numbers

Friday, December 04, 2015

The Cloud Doesn't Have a Silver Lining

Despite Microsoft's marketing hype, the Cloud sometimes does not have a "silver lining".

The Telegraph reports:
"Microsoft's Office 365 services - which provide online access to Word, Excel and Outlook, among other software - was offline for many users across Europe on Thursday due to a problem with Microsoft's cloud computing service, Azure. 
Many users reported being blocked from accessing the Office 365 portal, with Down Detector, a website that tracks outages, seeing a spike in reports. Many appear to be related to problems signing in to Outlook, Microsoft's email portal."
Stick to desktop applications, and beware sharing data on a shared resource such as the Cloud.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Greek Bailout Delayed

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Alleged Greek Agreement Reached

All very well and nice, except that it's not in Dijsselbloem's gift to judge the validity or otherwise of any "agreement" made; it's down to the Quadriga.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

UK Banks Pass Stress Test

The Bank of England has, for the second year running, conducted stress tests on seven major UK banks.

All passed.

However, Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered were the weakest and were found not to have enough capital strength. They both took steps to raise capital, and as such were not told to come up with a new plan.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Greek Bank Hack Confirmed

FBI Assisting In Greek Bank Hack

Unconfirmed Greek Bank Hack

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Anarchists Detonate Bomb in Athens

Anarchists protesting about the bailout are believed to be behind this morning's bomb explosion in Athens, smashing windows at the Federation of Greek Enterprises.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Greece's Tax Debt

Until Greece brings its taxation system into the first world, it will never resolve its economic problems.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Greek Government Wins Bailout Vote - Barely

The Greek parliament approved a reform bill on Thursday to secure further bailout funds from the Quadriga.

However, Syriza's majority shrank to three seats after two dissenting lawmakers were expelled.

The bill, outlining regulation on tax arrears and home foreclosures, paves the way for the disbursement of 2 billion euros to pay state arrears and a further 10 billion euro to recapitalise Greece's top four banks.

This victory will not be the end of the story.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Greek Bailout Vote Hangs In The Balance

Yesterday I wrote the following:
"In theory the Greek parliament will pass the remaining legislative measures on Thursday. This will then pave the way for the cash release by the end of the week.

What could possibly go wrong?
Regarding what could go wrong, here is the answer as per Keep Talking Greece:
"Syriza lawmaker and former government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis submitted his resignation on Thursday morning, hours before the Parliament would be called to vote for the bill of prior actions and new austerity measures.

“Sakellaridis raised objections to the bill,” Greek media report adding that it was Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who asked the government spokesman of the first Syriza government and ex Mayor candidate for Athens to resign.

Sources from the PM’s office allege that Sakellaridis was not going to attend the voting tonight, after his requests for some modifications on the multi-bill were turned down.

Important to note that Sakellaridis returns his parliamentary seat to SYRIZA with the effect that the ruling party will keep the existing number of seats (145).

In the Parliament, Sakellaridis will be allegedly replaced by a Alternate Minister for Administrative Reform Christoforos Vernadakis who did not manage to enter the Parliament in September elections.
However, media stress that “there is not time for the new MP to take an oath today” so that probably the coalition government will go voting with minus one vote, that is with 144 MPs from SYRIZA and 10 MPs from Independent Greeks in a Parliament of 300 seats.

It is not clear whether there will be more rebels in SYRIZA or ANEL during the day.

The government needs at least 151 votes to pass a bill."
Will the Greek government get its 151 votes today?

Don't hold your breath!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Greece To Receive €12bn, Probably

Greece has reached an agreement to unlock the first major tranche of rescue money as per its €86bn international bailout programme.

Athens, seemingly, has successfully passed the 48 "milestones" demanded by the Quadriga, freeing up €12bn.

€2bn will go to the government, and €10bn will be used to try to recapitalise the country's banking system.

In theory the Greek parliament will pass the remaining legislative measures on Thursday. This will then pave the way for the cash release by the end of the week.

What could possibly go wrong?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Osborne Comments on -0.1% Inflation

UK CPI Remains At -0.1%

Monday, November 16, 2015

Greece Having Problems Implementing Program

It is hardly surprising that Greece is having problems implementing the Quadriga's imposed program.

Wise Financial Advice

Friday, November 13, 2015

£13BN of Northern Rock Mortgages Sold To US

The Government has sold £13bn of the mortgage assets it acquired after rescuing Northern Rock during the financial crisis.

The mortgages have been sold by UK Asset Resolution (UKAR) to US private equity firm Cerberus.

A total of 120,000 residential mortgages are included in the transaction, with an average outstanding balance of roughly £100,000.

The Treasury said in a statement that UKAR had sold the mortgages for £280m more than their book value. The sale means UKAR can pay back £5.5bn of its loan from the government.

Given how banks repackage debt and sell it on (the cause of the last banking crisis), we should not be surprised to see these debts back on the books of a British bank in the coming years.

Schaeuble Reveals Stubborn Streak - Surely Not?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Greece Goes On Strike

Syriza Calls For Strike Against Syriza

Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

UK Unemployment Falls

The ONS reports that the unemployment rate fell to 5.3% in the three months to September, down from 5.6% in the previous three months and the lowest rate since April 2008.

Employment rose by 177,000 over the quarter, meaning there are now 31.2m people in work, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Britain's working age employment rate now stands at 73.7%, Britain now has the highest employment rate and level since records began in 1971.

As with all statistics from the ONS, be aware that they are out of dated and invariably subject to revision.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Greece Fails To Impress Quadriga

Unsurprisingly the wheels are falling off the Greek bailout again, as Greece battles to secure the release of €2bn in bail-out cash.

Despite assurances over the weekend, based on hope rather than reality, by Greece that the tranche of money would be released, it hasn't.

It seems that Greek finance ministry officials have failed to convince Greece's creditors that their plans added up, delaying disbursement for at least another week.

One of the main sticking points centre around laws to ease the process of home repossessions for indebted Greeks. The Quadriga are demanding that Greek residences valued above €120,000 be subject to the country's foreclosure laws, from the current level of €200,000.

However, Syriza has resisted the demand for fear of exposing thousands more people to the threat of losing their property.

Additionally, Greece does not want to impose a 23% tax on private schools and other issues surrounding VAT.

As Pascal Saint-Amans, director of tax policy at the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD), warned there are no “quick fixes” for Greece's endemic tax avoidance problems. He is also very sceptical about Greece's ability to reform its third world tax system.

He is quoted by the Telegraph:

"The challenges in Greece are so big.

It's about the complete lack of compliance, it's about a very weak tax administration, it's about the fact that paying taxes remains something that people don't want to do because they don't see how the money is spent.

Very often as tax people we lose sight of the fact that tax is just a means to fund a society. The reforms must take both into account”
Thus until Greece fundamentally reforms its tax collection system, it hasn't got a hope in hell's chance of moving forward. That will require a radical change of mindset by the Greek people, something they are probably not prepared to do.

Friday, November 06, 2015

#ManOnTheMoon - John Lewis Christmas Advert Tops Twitter

Kudos to John Lewis for successfully managing to trend on Twitter today with their Moon On The Moon Christmas advert, which was released (after much media hype and teasing with an earlier hashtag #OnTheMoon) at 8:00AM today in the UK.

The advert is schmaltzy to say the least, but does make a good point that Christmas can be lonely for many people (especially the elderly). John Lewis' message that it is important to let your loved ones know you're thinking of them this festive season.

John Lewis has also partnered with Age UK in the campaign, to raise awareness that many elderly people will be lonely this Christmas.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

The Price of The UK's Green Energy Fetish - Blackouts

As per the Telegraph Britain was forced to rely on new "last resort" measures to keep the lights on for the first time on Wednesday, after coal power plants broke down and wind farms produced less than one per cent of required electricity.

National Grid used a new emergency scheme to pay large businesses to cut their electricity usage, resulting in dozens of large office buildings powering down their air conditioning and ventilation systems between 5pm and 6pm.

The scheme, which is paid for through levies on consumer energy bills, was introduced last year but had never been called upon before.

For why was Britain on the verge of a blackout?

"Multiple plant break downs” among Britain's ageing coal-fired power plants, coupled with wind farms contributing bugger all power as a result of low wind.

This situation is not sustainable, there needs to be a radical rethink wrt Britain's green fetish.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

#VWGate - Fake Emissions Scandal Spreads To Petrol Cars

As if things were not already bad enough for Volkswagen it appears, not unsurprisingly (given that one fraud often begets another), that the fraudulent manipulation of emissions data was not just confined to diesel cars but now also appears to have affected petrol cars as well.

Shares in VW have fallen 10% this morning after it reported "irregularities" in carbon dioxide emissions levels, which could affect around 800,000 cars in Europe.

The firm said the problem could cost about €2bn (£1.4bn).

Brands including VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat could be affected. Whilst the issue mainly affects diesels, it could also include petrol models.

As yet Volkswagen has not said whether or not it believes those irregularities were caused by deliberate action, and it also has not specified which models are affected.

Whilst VW is currently feeling the heat, I would wager good money that other car manufacturers also fiddled their data emissions.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

#VWGate - Porsche Dragged Into Scandal

Unsurprisingly Porsche has been dragged into #VWGate, after environmental regulators confirmed they had found suspected "defeat devices" on a new engine range.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has told the Volkswagen Group that it is now looking at a 3.0 litre engine which is shared between Porsche, VW and Audi.

In a "Notice of Violation" posted on its website, EPA said it had discovered 2014 to 2016 models have equipment to turn off emissions systems when the are not being tested.

The end of diesel is nigh!

How The Chinese Breach China's Capital Controls

An interesting case study in avoidance techniques!

Monday, November 02, 2015

IMF Insists On Greek Debt Restructuring

Those of you who thought that the Greek tragedy had melted away are wrong.

The IMF is sticking to its guns that the eurozone must commit to a formal restructuring of Greece’s debt before the IMF will lend anymore money to Greece.

Bloomberg quotes David Lipton, the IMF’s first deputy managing director, as saying that pledges to review Greece’s debt servicing won’t be enough unless they’re accompanied by specific terms for paring back the borrowing burden.

Greece received an 86 billion-euro bailout in August from the eurozone, which now wants the IMF to provide further support.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has requested a new IMF program, which would replace a dormant one that will expire in March.

Germany, and other eurozone nations, wants the IMF to play a financial and technical role in shoring up Greece’s economy and restoring the nation’s access to financial markets. Unfortunately the IMF won't play ball until there is debt restructuring, which is an anathema to the eurozone.

The result will be stalemate, until Greece is on the edge of financial collapse again!

Friday, October 30, 2015

US Avoids Debt Default - For a While

Bloomberg reports that Congress has passed a two-year bipartisan budget plan that avoids a default on U.S. debt, increases spending on domestic and defense programs and ends months of turmoil among House Republicans.

The deadline was 3 November, as such political shenanigans took this up to the wire.

President Barack Obama has a bill that will extend U.S. borrowing authority until March 2017, after he leaves office.

Thus the can has been kicked down the road for a little while longer, and Obama's successor will have to deal with the financial mess that the USA is in.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Septic Bladder Admits Rigging 2022 World Cup

Sepp Blatter is quoted by Business Insider:
It was agreed that we go to Russia because it’s never been in Russia, eastern Europe, and for 2022 we go back to America. And so we will have the World Cup in the two biggest political powers.
The vote was rigged.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Volkswagen Reports €3.5BN Q3 Loss

Volkswagen have reported a €3.5BN operating loss in Q3, analysts had expected €3.3BN. In the same period in 2014 they had reported a profit of €3.2BN.

The loss is due to the costs (€6.7BN) of recalling 11 million vehicles due to the emissions scandal (aka #VWGate).

Matthias Müller CEO of Volkswagen said of the results, rather incongruously:
The figures show the core strength of the Volkswagen Group on the one hand, while on the other the initial impact of the current situation is becoming clear. We will do everything in our power to win back the trust we have lost.
Volkswagen has a long and hard road to travel ahead!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

GDP Dips To 0.5%

As per the ONS:
"Change in gross domestic product (GDP) is the main indicator of economic growth. GDP is estimated to have increased by 0.5% in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015 compared with growth of 0.7% in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2015."
However, as I have noted many times before, statistics from the ONS are out of date and invariably revised. Therefore do not attach much weight to these figures.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Toyota Take Pole Position Ahead of Volkswagen

Toyota has outstripped Volkswagen in terms of global sales, in the wake of the ongoing emissions scandal aka #VWGate.

Toyota has sold 7.49 million vehicles in the first nine months of the year, compared to the 7.43 million that Volkswagen sold.

In fact, as the Telegraph reports, the results include less than two weeks of sales reporting by Volkswagen since #VWGate became public.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Greece Crisis Resurfaces

Greece is kicking off again!

Get Safe Online Week - #TalkTalk

There's irony for you!

Sadly, it should be assumed that all digital data is at risk of a hack and that at some stage it will be hacked.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Britain Backs China

Retail Sales Rise 6.5%

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Quadriga Cometh!

China's Growth Falls to 6.9%

Many countries would kill for a growth of 6.9%.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Germany Blackmails Greece

Advice To The Apprentice Candidates

You are not the "Swiss army knives of business", nor are you Alexander The Great!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

#VWGate - FTC Launches Investigation

Things are going from bad to worse for Volkswagen, as it is now under investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for advertising claims for cars that were marketed as “clean diesels,” but were actually rigged to pass pollution tests.

Justin Cole, a spokesman for the agency, said the FTC is coordinating with the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, which opened their own formal investigations into Volkswagen last month.

Bloomberg reports that Volkswagen is is delaying or canceling non-essential projects to limit spending, having realised that the $7.4 billion set aside to address the scandal won’t be enough.

Volkswagen also faces more than 280 class-action lawsuits, and some of its executives may face charges.

The FTC has authority to investigate unfair and deceptive practices by companies against consumers and generally seeks refunds on their behalf.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Unemployment Falls To 5.4%

Unemployment in the UK fell by 79,000 between June and August to 1.7 million.

Meanwhile in the eurozone, rampant unemployment is tearing society apart!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

CPI Turns Negative

Britain’s inflation rate has turned negative, for only the second time since 1960 in September.

Annual consumer prices (CPI) fell by 0.1% after stagnating in August, the Office for National Statistics said today. Economists had forecast stagnation.

Prices last declined in April, which was the first sub-zero reading since 1960.

However, the Retail Price Index remained positive; dropping from 1.1% to 0.8%.

What does this mean?

It means interest rates are not going to rise anytime soon, as I have repeatedly said on this site.

Monday, October 12, 2015

State Pension Top Up

Over seven million Britons are being offered the chance to top up their state pensions.

Men over the age of 65 and women over the age of 63 can get up to £25 a week extra on their state pension, in return for a one-off payment.

The size of the top up depends on age and how much extra a week (maximum £25) they want.

The offer is open to existing pensioners and anyone who will reach state pension age before April 2016.

The top-up payments will rise with inflation, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).

In addition, spouses or civil partners will, in most cases, be able to inherit some of the payments. They will get between 50% and 100% of the cash. The rules for passing on the payments are the same as they are with the additional state pension.

Those wanting to apply will now have 18 months to do so. Unlike pensioner bonds, there is no limited pot of money.

Here is a link to the pension top up calculator.

Friday, October 09, 2015

#VWGate - Michael Horn and Cronies Knew Nothing

The CEO of Volkswagen USA, Michael Horn, claims cheat software was introduced by "two software engineers" without management knowledge.

Cogitate on the likelihood of that for the rest of the day!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Beware The Poisonous Triad - $3 Trillion Credit Crunch

The IMF, in its Global Financial Stability Report, is warning that governments and central banks risk tipping the world into a fresh financial crisis.

Emerging market companies have "over-borrowed" by $3 trillion in the last decade. The oncoming wave of defaults that will imperil an already weak global economy.

Add in a combination of lingering debt burdens in advanced economies, and vanishing market liquidity and you have the "perfect storm".

The IMF wants the Federal Reserve to hold off on its first interest rate hike in nine years, and for the authorities in the eurozone and Japan to continue with unprecedented stimulus measures.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

#VWGate - It's Not Just The Software

Volkswagen has said up to 11 million vehicles worldwide across several of its brands contain the diesel engine with the software used to cheat emissions tests.

Matthias Mueller, Volkswagen's CEO, is quoted by Post Online Media:
"It will hopefully be fewer, but in any case still far too many."
The recall will begin in January 2016:
" goes before speed. If everything goes as planned, we can start the recall in January. 
All the cars should be in order by the end of 2016."
Volkswagen will have to fix the EA 189 diesel engine "in combination with various transmissions and country-specific designs. So we don't need three solutions, but thousands."

A software update will suffice to fix the problem in most cases, but some vehicles could need new injectors and catalyzers. Volkswagen may need to set up temporary specialist workshops to deal with the more complex cases.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

China Bloody Good 6.8% Growth

The IMF has warned/advised China that it must consign its three decades of “extraordinarily rapid growth” to the past, if the economy is to avoid a hard landing.

The IMF is concerned that using debt-financed investment to boost growth is unsustainable.

Changyong Rhee, director of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department, warned of the “dangers of excessive leverage” that were highlighted by China’s recent stock market crash and the risks linked to using investment and credit to lift the economy.

As per the Telegraph:
Since the financial crisis, growth in China has relied heavily on investment and credit, with the biggest build-up of leverage going to state-owned enterprises, the real estate and construction sectors, and weaker corporates. This created growing vulnerabilities which — while still manageable — cannot continue to accumulate.”

That being said, the growth prospects for China (compared to the rest of the world) are still bloody good. The IMF believes China will expand by 6.8% this year and 6.3% in 2016 as the economy moves towards consumption-driven output.

Monday, October 05, 2015

£2BN Lloyds Spring Sale

The government will be offering ordinary investors bonus shares and a 5% discount, as part of the £2bn Lloyds share sale in Spring 2016. This will mark the final stage of Lloyds Banking Group’s return to the private sector.

UK Financial Investments, the Government's vehicle for holding assets acquiring during the financial crisis, has already cut its stake in Lloyds from 40% to less than 12% through a series of sales to institutional investors.

Members of the public will be given a 5% discount to the trading price, and one bonus share for every 10 shares they hold for more than a year - up to a maximum of £200 worth of bonus shares.

Priority in the sale will be given to individuals applying for less than £1,000-worth of shares.

Friday, October 02, 2015

#VWGate - Sales of 4,000 UK Vehicles Suspended

Volkswagen is suspending the sale of 4,000 vehicles in the UK in the wake of the emissions scandal.

It seems that the vehicles may be equipped with the device that cheated emissions tests in the US. This will affect vehicles across the VW group including the VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat brands.

In theory this is a temporary measure, until a technical fix is found.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

#VWGate - 1.18 Million UK Cars To Be Recalled

As the clusterfuck of #VWGate grinds on, it is now apparent that almost one in 10 diesel cars (ie 1.18 million) on the UK's roads may need to be recalled.
The Telegraph states that they are mostly passenger cars, including; 508,276 VWs, 393,450 Audis, 76,733 Seats and 131,569 Skodas, as well as 79,838 vans.

VW said it would contact owners over the next few days to correct the problem, and has set up an online portal where customers can check to see if their vehicles contain the emissions-rigging software.

The group said that it would present "technical solutions and measures to the relevant authorities" in October.

That's all very well and good. However, the sharp eyed amongst you may be pondering, if there really is a viable technical solution why was this not employed at the time thereby avoiding the need for wholesale global fraud?

There is a strong possibility that if there is no viable solution, then the next best alternative for the consumer is to be given a replacement car that does actually meet emissions standards.

We shall see what the outcome really is. However, whatever the outcome, one thing is clear this is going to cost Volkswagen an arm and a leg!

Monday, September 28, 2015

#VWGate - Volkswagen Warned Not To Fix Test Results


Despite Volkswagen's Board ongoing claims that they knew nothing about the company's emission test fraud, Reuters reports that Volkswagen's own staff and one of its suppliers warned years ago about software designed to thwart emissions tests.

VW technicians had warned about illegal emissions practices in 2011. No explanation was given as to why the matter was not addressed then.

Separately, Bild am Sonntag newspaper said VW's internal probe had turned up a letter from parts supplier Bosch written in 2007 that also warned against the possible illegal use of Bosch-supplied software technology.

Cynics might ponder that the denials by board may have something to do with the fact the Winterkorn, and his soon to depart cronies all want to leave with their pensions and annual company car allowances intact.

Friday, September 25, 2015

#VWGate - Ignorance Is Bliss for Winterkorn

Martin Winterkorn

Those of you who worry about the future of Martin Winterkorn, now that he has been forced to quite as CEO of Volkswagen, should not fret.

Thanks to the fact that he "knew nothing" about Volkswagen's global emissions fraud, he will be entitled to walk away with a pension pot of around $32M. Also, and remember German's don't do irony, he will be entitled to a new company car every year!

Ignorance truly is bliss, for if he had known about the fraud (or the Board had admitted that he had known about the fraud) he would have been entitled opt none of the above.

Do remember that some/all of those board members who have allowed him the bliss of ignorance, will themselves soon be leaving with fat exit packages.

There's irony for you!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

#VWGate - Winterkorn Knew Nothing?

In the ongoing clusterfuck known as #VWGate, Volkswagen's chief executive Martin Winterkorn quit on Wednesday saying he accepted responsibility for "irregularities found in diesel engines". However, he claimed that he had not been aware of any wrongdoing.

As per Sky News, he said:
"I am shocked by the events of the past few days. 

Above all, I am stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group."
In the event that he really did not know anything about this, serious questions arise about the corporate governance within Volkswagen.

Software was purchased/developed that was designed to be used to fraudulently pass emission tests. The software had to be installed in cars in various countries. Both these actions/processes would have required executive approval and sign off.

Who signed off on this, and where are the records?

Volkswagen then spent a considerable time fencing with US authorities, when the data was first questioned by the US, trying to avoid admitting that it had committed fraud on a global level.

Were senior executives unaware that the US authorities were questioning the validity of the data? Somewhat unlikely surely?

I find it very hard to believe that the board knew nothing about this, if it genuinely did not know then VW's corporate governance sucks!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Greek Banks Are Fucked

Nothing at all surprising in this, it had been predicted (but ignored by the foolish) that the banks would need at least Euro20BN.

Volkswagon Is Fucked!

Volkswagon continues to implode, having admitted that 11 million vehicles worldwide could have been fitted with software which misled regulators. The United Nations said that the scandal was ‘deeply troubling’.

As various countries launch investigations into the Volkswagon fraud, shares in the company are now down 41% since news of the scandal broke.

Whilst the media are suggesting that this could be the end of the diesel car, there are suggestions that the fraud also relates to petrol cars.

At some stage the shares will represent a good trading opportunity (albeit for a dead cat bounce). However, the question is when will they hit bottom? 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Volkswagon Implodes

Volkswagon continues to implode, as now ROK will be investigating possible emission rigging results.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tsipras Wins - Greece Loses

Tsipras is a canny politician, but a lousy financial leader of his country.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Private Education Is a Great British Export

Pueri Alleynienses!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

NS&I Interest Rate Notification Invalid

Margaret Thatcher To Feature On $10 Bill

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

UK Unemployment Down

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

HM Treasury's View of Zero Inflation

UK Zero Inflation

UK annual inflation (CPI) falls back to zero in August from 0.1% in July.

Core inflation falls to 1% from 1.2%.

The fall is primarily due to lower prices on fuel, food and drinks.

Whereas house prices are rocketing:

Monday, September 14, 2015

National Savings Cuts Rates By 0.25%

China Stocks fall

China’s stocks continue to fall, the Shanghai Composite Index is down 2.7% today, following data over the weekend that indicates that the economic slowdown is deepening.

Industrial output rose 6.1% in August from a year earlier, compared with the 6.5% growth expected by the markets. 

China intends to try to privatise failing state enterprises to put some life into the economy.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Flat Earthers Believe Rates Will Rise

There was a time when everyone thought that the world was flat.

Just because a large number of people "think" something will happen, it doesn't mean to say that it will happen.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Greece Isn't Working

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

China's $236Bn Failed Rescue Bid

Monday, September 07, 2015

Europe Isn't Working

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Greece To Miss 2015 Assets Sales Target

Unsurprisingly, in the delusional fantasy that is Greece's bailout deal, at least one KPI (assets sales) will be missed.

Reuters reports that Greece will miss its revenue target from assets sales this year, due to delays in a 1.2 billion euro airport deal.

As part of its commitments Greece aims to raise 1.4 billion euros from privatisations this year.

Stergios Pitsiorlas, head of its privatisation agency, said reaching the 2015 figure was also now "unfeasible".

Notwithstanding that all too predictable failure, he spun the delusion that 2016 will be fine:

"On the other hand, I think it is realistic that we achieve the 2016 targets."

This is utter delusional fantasy, eagerly lapped up by the europhiles and those intent on conning European taxpayers out of billions more in bailouts!

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

NatWest Crashes Again!

NatWest’s payment system has crashed, leaving customers unable to transfer funds even to other accounts within the bank.

Online Banking

We're sorry but the service is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

If you continue to experience this situation, further assistance can be found in Support Centre.
Simply ask the question, I'm getting the message service is temporarily unavailable, what should I do?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ukrainian Finance Ministry Mistaken/Lying

Ukraine claims that it has reached a deal with its creditors.

According to Bloomberg:
"Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko reached an accord with a Franklin Templeton-led creditor committee that includes a 20 percent writedown to the face value of about $18 billion of Eurobonds, the first of which matures in less than a month.

The agreement also pushes back redemption dates by four years and sets interest at 7.75 percent on all maturities, according to an e-mailed statement from the Finance Ministry and the creditor committee.

Russia is being offered the same terms as private bondholders."
All very nice and dandy, except that Russia (its main creditor) has in fact rejected the deal.
The Ukrainian Finance Ministry is either speaking in error, or it is lying.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Greece Continues To Fail To Collect Taxes

Nick Leeson Distances Himself From China

Guess Who's Not Coming To Dinner?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

China Cuts Rates

Chinese one year lending and deposit rates just cut by 25 bps.

China Continues To Crash

China continues to seek the bottom.

Meanwhile the Chinese government, powerless to stop the rout, is seeking to blame everything from "malicious short selling" to "underground banks".

The fact is, as I have noted many times before, markets are not rational they are governed by a herd mentality powered by greed and fear.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Zerohedge Crashes

Maintenance Mode

Site is temporarily unavailable. Please try again shortly.

Dow Drops 1,000

A real DOWner today!

All Major US Equity Indicators Halted

NASDAQ Halted Three Times

Three times the charm!

China's Black Monday

Chinese stocks have plunged 8.5% today, sending global markets into a tailspin.

The fall is despite the fact that the People’s Bank of China was gearing up to inject some stimulus, likely by reducing the level reserves banks are required to hold and thus unleashing more liquidity, and the fact that the Chinese pension fund is to be allowed to invest up to 30% of its funds in the market.

China is learning, what every other government in the world knows (or has learned through bitter experience), namely that the markets cannot be tamed by grand one off gestures when they are in panic mode.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Greece Isn't Fixed!

Barely two days ago Merkel said that the "uncertainty" over Greece had ended.

Newsflash for Merkel:

The "uncertainty" has returned with a bang!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Greece's Circular Funding

Greece paid Euro3.2BN to its creditors yesterday, using money that its creditors lent it to pay them back.

Meanwhile Energy Minister Panos Skourletis said:
"The political landscape must clear up. We need to know whether the government has or does not have a majority."
I wonder when the Greek people will wake up to the fact that the bailout funds are not for them, but for their creditors?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Germany Says Ja!

Greek Bank Deposit Bail Ins Coming In 2016

As Greek bank depositors work out where to hide their cash, before their deposits are "bailed in" next year, a solution of sorts is being worked on.

Bitcoin ATMs are being installed in Greece.

This is marked improvement on the current barter system being used by many to get around the capital controls, given that cheese is not really a terribly easy "currency" to convert!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Varoufakis Summarises The MoU

"Greek sovereignty is being forfeited wholesale"

Read the annotation in full via this link.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Greek Debt Unsustainable

Greece will receive up to €86bn in loans over the next three years, if Germany et al approves the bailout.

However, the US controlled IMF has decreed that Greek debt had become unsustainable and that Greece needed significant relief.

Over to you Germany!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Greece Approves Bailout Deal

Greece has approved the third bailout deal.

However, this approval comes at the cost of fracturing Syriza. Therefore early elections are likely which in turn will put the stability of the "deal" into question.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Greece Reneging on Bailout "Deal"

Meaning that Greece has no intention of honouring their commitments, and will change the terms and conditions as they go along.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Delusional Greek Bailout

It is utter delusion to believe that Greece will quickly sell anything!

The bailout MoU is nothing more than delusional fantasy that hasn't got a hope in hell of succeeding!

The Currency Wars Begin

Whilst the ongoing Greek farce has provided a massive distraction for the media and those who take an interest in financial matters, China's 2% devaluation of the Yuan this week has caught everyone's attention.

For why?

It heralds that start of currency wars, as countries rush to devalue in order to maintain the menisci of their respective financial bubbles.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Greece's "Small Issues"

Greece's finance minister, Euclid Tsakalotos,claims that a broad agreement has been reached with the Quadriga....except that:.

"Two or three small issues" are yet to be resolved with lenders.

It is always the "small" issues that destroy the alleged deals with Greece!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Draft Greek Deal

Allegedly the Quadriga and Greece have drafted a bailout deal that they are happy with.

Now ALL that remains to be done is for the Greek parliament and members of the eurozone to agree to it.

Finland has accepted it with a few words of reality, namely that it doesn't think it will work and that the best option is still Grexit!

The algos will feed well in the coming days, as contradictory headlines spew forth!

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Ignore The Greek Hype and Lies

As I have repeatedly stated, there is no way on earth a bailout deal can be done before December!

Those that claim otherwise are either deluded or lying.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Greece Needs Euro100BN Bailout

Those who would have us believe that bailout deal will be agreed by 20th August are lying.

Greece needs Euro100BN, and there is no way that Germany and the IMF will ever agree to that!

Germany Nixes Delusional Deal Done Optimism

Greek Banks Continue To Fall

Unsurprisingly Greek bank shares have continued to fall.

Ekathimerini reports that Piraeus Bank SA and Alpha Bank AE plunged at least 29% today, while Eurobank Ergasias SA plummeted 15%. While about half of the 60 stocks listed on the benchmark ASE Index climbed, the banks' losses dragged the index lower.

The falls will continue, as the banks are in effect bust and will require massive recapitalisation and depositor bail ins (despite what the lying politicians are telling the media).

The falls would have been greater, but for the emergency curbs put in place amid capital controls. A stock’s trading will be halted if it rises or falls by as much as 7% in 10 minutes, while daily moves are limited to 30%. 

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Greece Has Loads of Money

Apparently, if Reuters sources are to be believed, Greece is unlikely to ask for an increase in emergency funding from the European Central Bank for weeks.

For why?

It has loads of money!

The sources claim that Greece's liquidity buffer has risen from Euro1BN to Euro5BN, thanks to two Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) increases from the ECB, tax and tourism inflows, and pension payments.

Let us trust that this buffer isn't squandered!

Monday, August 03, 2015

Greek Stock Market Crashes

Greece's stock market reopened today and, not unsurprisingly, has crashed.

The overall index is currently down around 23%, with bank/finance shares are down 30%.

However, where there is volatility there are profits to be made. Canny traders will find a way to make money out of this.

Those that are not so canny, beware the dead cat bounce!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Tsipras Backs Varoufakis

Fearful of what might happen if Yanis Varoufakis is charged with treason, Tsipras has given him some protective cover.

The questions are:

- Will this be enough, and

- What happens of Tsipras is also charged with treason?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Greek Bond Market To Collapse

Greece Reverts To Barter Economy

It seems that despite the "benign" intentions of the Quadriga, Greece is slipping back into a barter economy.

This will not end well!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Varoufakis The Traitor?

A week is a long time in politics and, having outed himself as planning a surreptitious hack of the Greek tax system in order to create a parallel currency, Yanis Varoufakis now faces the very real prospect of being tried for treason.

It is not without irony that the Quadriga (nee Troika), having overridden the Greek referendum result and turned Greece into a vassal state, is now looking around for "traitors" in order to publicly punish them:

"pour les encouragement des les autres".

Step forward Yanis Varoufakis, whose head will soon adorn the eagle headed spear of the Quadriga!

Oh, and for the record, the European commission has denounced as “false and unfounded” claims by Greece’s Varoufakis that the Quadriga had exclusive control over Greece’s tax system.

All clear then?!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Troika Morphs Into Quadriga

It seems that the Troika s simply not larger enough to deal with Greece's third bailout negotiations. As such an extra member has been added, namely the ESM.

Thus the Troika has been officially renamed the Quadriga.

What is a Quadriga?

It is a chariot of the gods drawn by four horses.

As Zerohedge points out, the finest example of a Quadriga sits astride the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

There's irony for you!

Lamont Assesses Varoufakis's Plan

Lamont was the Chancellor who took Britain out of the ERM in 1991 (or rather "managed" it crashing out of the ERM).

Monday, July 27, 2015

China Is Crashing

Troika Arrives - Confusion Reigns Supreme In Athens

As the Troika starts to arrive in Athens (even though its safe house has yet to be arranged), there is some confusion over what happens next.

The Greeks say no further prior actions will be taken prior to an ESM loan:

Yet the Troika, according to ekathimerini, expect the Greek government to draft another bill with prior actions so it can be passed through Parliament in the next two or three weeks.

As ever with this ongoing car crash confusion reigns supreme!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Greek Capital Controls To Continue For Months

Reuters reports, not unsurprisingly, that Greek capital controls are going to remain in place for months until Greece is bailed out again.

The ongoing capital controls are strangling the economy and thus increasing the amount that Greece will need as a bailout. The banks alone will require Euro25BN at the very least to be recapitalised.

I wonder if anyone seriously believes that a third bailout, given the amount and restructuring required, will actually ever come to fruition?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Return of The Troika

The Troika are set to return to Athens.

However, their return is currently being delayed (and thus the start of bailout negotiations are also delayed) because of security fears. A safe house needs to be found for the group of technocrats, lest the local population try to do them some harm.

Such is the state of affairs within the eurozone!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Third Greek Bailout Causing Fractures

As the third bailout negotiations are set to begin in Athens, there are rumours of a SYRIZA split. Unsurprisingly, the Germans are none to happy about things either.

Additionally, as if things were not bad enough, people are not best pleased about providing Greece with a second bridging loan (as bailout negotiations are unlikely to be concluded - positively or negatively - before December).

For why?

A complete and utter lack of trust!

As per MNI, a top Commission source said the idea of more bridge financing for Greece was "not finding fertile ground among many Eurogroup members."

That's putting it mildly!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Greece Needs Another Bridging Loan

Despite the delusional belief held by some that Greece is "fixed", the reality is that it is far from "fixed".

Negotiations about the next bailout (estimated to be around Euro85BN) are expected drag on until December. In the meantime Greece needs more money to fund its ongoing IMF payments, as last week's bridging loan of Euro7BN has already been swallowed up on IMF/ECB payments.

Thus the European Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM) will probably be tapped again next month, and creditors' money will  be used to pay the self same creditors.

Circular funding at its best and most ludicrous!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tsipras Wanted To Bring Back The Drachma

It seems that Tsipras really did want to Grexit and bring back the Drachma.

Greek media report that Tsipras asked Putin for Euro10BN to underwrite the currency. However, Putin said no.

However the fact that, had Tsipras still opted for Grexit, he would have got a Euro50BN handout from Schaeuble raises serious questions as to why he bottled it and opted for a deal that will destroy Greece.

Toshiba's False Profits

It seems that 30% of Toshiba's "profits" in the past 7 years were fabricated!

An independent panel appointed by Toshiba said that the firm had overstated its operating profit by a total of £780M.

Toshiba's chief executive and president Hisao Tanaka has resigned. Eight senior executives have now resigned after the independent report found that senior management were involved in a scheme to inflate profits over several years.