Yes, Greece is all over the news today, in many ways the people are now expecting a Grexit, the Greek exodus from the Euro. The people are reading more and more about the Greek way and no one is playing nice anymore. Even though readers might disagree with my view, which remains forever valid, let me show you the evidence that brought me to this!
The Centre Party, led by telecoms millionaire Juha Sipilä, must now put together a coalition. And if he invites the Finns into office too (Timo Soini, leader of Finns, who has already vowed to change’s Finland’s approach to Greece), we will see the complication regarding the chances of agreeing a third bailout for Greece. (Source: the Guardian). You see, Finland’s economy not in a great shape and they are now facing austerity. Sipilä had pledged a wage freeze and spending cuts to make it competitive again, which are issues that Tsipras is not addressing, which means that the Finns are no longer playing nice, one less vote that might have been in favour of any third bailout, now lost, the trip from Tsipras playing nice with the Russians did not help either. We now see a direct consequence on inaction where the observing it all are going more extreme, less positive towards the Euro. The Finnish Centrist Party is only a smaller step in the path that UKIP, National Front and the PVV are proclaiming. So, those who were rightfully sceptical of my predictions can now personally see the first of 6 steps fulfilling, the Pro-EU part in Finland lost and the Centrist party now has a staggering 49 seats, they are now in the centre of any coalition, gaining 14 seats. This is the danger I foresaw all along, even if many other parties were blind to this danger.
The second part was seen today when Fabrizio Goria (@FGoria) published the Barclays list on the payments that Greece has to make, these are only repayments and payments on maturity of bonds, the repayments are €1B by May 15th, €1.7B by June 17th, €4.7B by July 20th and €3.6B by August 20th. This brings the total repayments €10.7B before September 1st. Can anyone tell me how they expect to pull this off? Let us not forget that the days of the Onassis shipping fortunes are gone, the nation has a population of 11 million. We could state that it boils down to 970 Euros from every Greek (including the minors and babies), in addition to the taxation they are mostly not paying at present anyway. Add to that that many Greeks are living way below the poverty line.
So when we hear on French TV (iTele) the fact that Moscovici added that “Plan A is for Greece to remain in the Eurozone, and there is no Plan B. But there’s also no time for prevarication“, so in this story of ‘Moscovici the Possum’, playing dead to the realities of finance, where the next bailout of €7.2 billion, does not even cover the bills due before September 1st, which add up to a lot more than the bailout money that might not even come in. When we saw that the last payment was almost not made, when the Greeks pulled it off we saw the some triumphant pose of ‘we did it!‘, whilst we also saw that it cleaned out Greece for the most and that the payment made is only 10% of what is due over the next 18 weeks. This is the future I foresaw, one that could be done by nearly all using Excel or an abacus.
But this is not just about my view, others see it in the same way. Although, there is (as will be) an opposition view too and I do not ignore it. Foremost there is the eminent view of Simon Nixon from the Wall Street Journal. He stated: “One option is that Greece fails to get a deal with its creditors (quite plausible), runs out of cash (ditto) and then defaults on a debt repayment payment. But that wouldn’t immediately trigger Grexit“, which is where I am to some extent. Yet, he adds to that “How things play out after [a default] that will depend on who Greece decides to default on and the reaction of bank depositors. If Athens defaults on a government bond or loan, then the ECB will have to raise the price that banks pay to access emergency liquidity from the Bank of Greece, effectively depriving them of access to fresh supplies of euros. If Athens decides instead to default to its own citizens, perhaps by issuing IOUs to pay pensions and salaries, bank customers may start emptying euros from their accounts. Again, banks would quickly run out of collateral for emergency liquidity. In both cases, Athens would have to introduce capital controls and bank holidays to stop the financial system imploding. Some officials believe Greece could carry on for several weeks if not months in this state of limbo while still technically remaining part of the Eurozone“, I am not denying his view, he has a good grasp of things so he is probably a lot more correct then I am. Yet, my issue now is not whether they remain in the Euro, but the ramifications of Greece remaining in the Euro, regardless of the consequences and through the wheeling and dealing of several players who feel profitable if Greece remains in the Euro. Finland is only the first of 6.
Second is the UK with UKIP, that party is still growing and the Varoufakis rock star tour, as we saw it over the last two months, only agitated people all over Europe, the entire German slamming thing as well as the political statements around the refugee issues did not help either. So as UKIP grows, so will the option (and future) of the Euro diminishing in equal measure, the nightmare that Moscovici will like even less.
Third on the list is France with National Front. They will go on growing and the momentum UIKIP gets will massively benefit National Front, the party that was ignored for way too long has become a voice of power in France. Marine Le Penn has become a global player, another member against the softness for Greece and even less in favour of the Euro power as it diminished the force of France will take a steep change for the worse of the health of the Euro as they gain more momentum.
Fourth is the Dutch PVV, by themselves not that powerful or too influential, but with the like minded views they have to some degree to both UKIP and National Front, PVV will be invited to several tables they were not invited to earlier, even though their favour is falling (especially against the Dutch VVD), they remain a higher placed party (higher than they were before) and should the VVD be unable to create a working dialogue with UKIP and National Front, we will see more growth towards PVV, making them another voice that asks to end the Euro.
Fifth is Germany. Their power is actually twofold, first there is the growing opposition from Bernd Lucke, with his AfD (Alternative for Germany), remains on a forward momentum. And as they are anti-Euro, that ship needs to be closely watched, in addition, some German magazines state that one in two Germans are now in favour of Grexit. And here we get the first major Crux. Should some player overextend their reach by forcing some ‘deal’ keeping Greece in the Euro with a last minute ‘miracle’ solution (with ‘some’ hidden costs down the track of course), then the move towards AfD could be a lot more massive than before, the German player is the biggest one at the moment (in economic regard to the other 5 parties) and they have had enough (especially after the WW2 debacle Tsipras reignited).
Sixth in all this is the wildcard Italy. Here we have several unknowns, yet there is also a glooming danger. You see, the party here is Lega Nord, normally, this party is the one that is not the biggest contender it never was. However, Matteo Salvini is making headway, slowly but surely. Now we get the other side of the Greek issue. Matteo could grow in Italy with Lega Nord, the same way Syriza got Greece under Tsipras. Now we have ourselves a different fight, because Lega Nord is the opposite of Syriza and they are anti-Euro, as well as Anti-immigrant. So the issues pushed on us by Greece that are nagging us, are also growing the powers of Lega Nord. Normally it would not be such a big deal, but with National Front and UKIP being similar minded, Lega Nord will now get a more powerful European voice, together they will also push growth for AfD, or through AfD. I feel that they could grow a ‘symbiotic’ relationship.
If you are scared now, then do not be (unless you are a banker). These issues have been clearly in play and the vocally uttered path from Moscovici is helping these six entities and his speeches might help Moscovici a little less over the coming weeks. By trying to hold onto ‘Status Quo’, Moscovici might be achieving the opposite, who is the nice cuddly Possum now? Actually Possums are regarded as pests in New Zealand, so even as the possum is protected in Australia, is gets shot on sight in New Zealand. So as Moscovici contemplates his value as an asset by some, several nations are regarding the steps of Moscovici to be like a pest. Even though most of these politicians are not into the fair wildlife ‘game’, they will regard his policies and the need for them to be shot down at their earliest convenience. Not by the six I mentioned mind you, but as these issues are reason for growth for the six players mentioned, the other parties in those nations will now slowly more and more accept sacrificing Greece (by holding them to account), for them it is about governing and their chance to do so diminishes with every iteration where Greece remains unaccountable.
So here is as I see it the opposition I see to Simon Nixon from the wall Street Journal. Not because he is wrong (he is not wrong), but because the correct path seems to elevate some political parties to the degree that several political opponents do not want to see, which exasperates the Greek position even further.
This all escalates even further when we consider the news from NBC less than an hour ago. The title ‘Greece requires public sector entities to transfer cash balances to central bank’ should worry many, as it could be the first signal for the population of Greece to make a bank run (at http://www.cnbc.com/id/102601803). The quote “Greece issued a legislative act on Monday requiring public sector entities to transfer idle cash reserves to the country’s central bank, as part of efforts to deal with a cash squeeze” gives a fair view that Greece is trying to collect all the ‘idle’ cash there is. Is that not addressing the very last option? The second quote is “Monday’s act excludes pension funds and some state-owned firms. Cash reserves that are needed by these bodies for their immediate payment needs are also excluded from the regulation”, here we get the part ‘excludes immediate payment needed for pension funds’, yet what is ‘immediate’ here? 4 weeks, 8 weeks? This could possibly imply that those on a pension might not receive anything from June 1st onwards. Perhaps this is just to make headspace (or is it fund space) until May 12th? I do not presume to know the answer, but the Greek acts only confirms how right I was all along (as I see it).
So as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras seems to continue to try to convince sceptical foreign creditors to extend new financial aid, we must ask how successful does Alexis Tsipras consider his chances when the state is collecting all ‘idle’ coins. If it takes all coins just to make the next €1 billion, whilst 9.7 is still required soon thereafter, how much faith will the creditors have? So, the earlier statement that Yanis Varoufakis made (three days ago), when he stated “On the 24th [April] there will not be a solution, there will be progress”, he’ll better wake up now and realise that he finds a decent solution before Saturday, because progress might not be enough and when the creditors state ‘no!’, then the Greek default could be regarded as the next reality. By the way, the quote from Bloomberg (regarding the legislative act of Greece) is: “Central government entities are obliged to deposit their cash reserves and transfer their term deposit funds to their accounts at the Bank of Greece,” the presidential decree issued Monday said on the government gazette website. The “regulation is submitted due to extremely urgent and unforeseen need”, I wonder what unforeseen need they might imply, because there was very little un-foreseeability regarding the strapped cash issue, that part was almost crystal clear when the previous payment was barely made.
The only thing remaining is to keep an eye out on the quotes from Pierre Moscovici for the next 48 hours, it might be interesting to see the ‘swing’ it holds (if it swings).