Tag Archives: European Central Bank (ECB)

What is Hiding Underwater

What is the reality of surface life? That is the first question that comes to mind when I look at the fallout that Brexit is creating. You see, to comprehend this part I need to take you back to the 15th April 1912, in that year New Mexico and Arizona become part of the Union that is now regarded as the United States of America and the first Balkan War has not yet started, no at this time the titanic sinks. The world gets introduced to the dangers of an Iceberg, the danger s that 90% of an iceberg remains below the surface. A lesson that will reverberate in many ways. This one event changes the rules of safety regulations for ships at sea forever (for the better I might add). The part that has been dramatized again and again is about a ship going down. It would not be until 1997 until someone truly turned this event into a money maker (James Cameron), it would fetch a little over 2 billion dollars, not a bad result for a movie. The reality is, that for most, the unknown fact was that the Titanic was the direct cause of something else. It would be the reason for something that was created in 1914, it was the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). Let me add a little spice here. If the Titanic had not met up with that proverbial ice cube, there is a decent chance that the amount of fatalities from WW1 and WW2 would have been a lot higher.

You see, what lies beneath the surface is an issue, especially when we do not know what is there. We can only arm ourselves with the lessons we are taught and the common sense implementation that our logic allows for. So when I saw two articles today, my mind went into wander mode. The simplest of reasons is that certain events do not make sense. I feel that we are being played. This is a feeling I have and I could be massively wrong at this point. I accept that, but let me tell you about these articles and these facts and it will be up to you to decide.

  1. Construction becomes first casualty of Brexit as housebuilders get jitters‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jul/04/construction-first-casualty-brexit-housebuilders-jitters-eu-referendum).

So there has been a referendum and a vote has been cast. We now read “their stockpiles will reach to the moon and back. That’s the message from private sector house builders, which have looked into the industry’s crystal ball and concluded that there is no reason to expand supply for the next six months“, in addition we get “As the former head of the civil service Lord Turnbull said last week, the industry is extremely sensitive to economic sentiment and will not build a single house more than it believes can be sold” as well as “the industry is unable to build the homes that the nation needs, where it needs them and at a reasonable price“. You see, when we see messages on house shortages, on the fact that houses are absolutely unaffordable, is it not weird that one referendum, a referendum that will take time to sort out suddenly has this effect? As I see it, the prices have been pushed up and up in a bubble and the people have been victims. This is partially sown/proven when we consider “Tony Pidgley, the chairman of Berkeley Group, who pocketed a 42% rise in his take home pay to £23m last year, could not close the supply gap even if he wanted to“, as well as “He needs to make a profit for his hungry shareholders, who have set him a target of generating £2bn in pretax profit over three years from 2015“. So we now see that we have been the play toy of ‘hungry’ (read: greedy) shareholders. Exploitation of an unacceptable level and I wonder why the people at large accept this. Pardon my ‘off grammar’ English when I state “Can we get rid of these bloody shareholders, preferably with extreme prejudice?

You see, when we reread the article in another light we get:

  1. Pity the poor brick makers; Why? Bricks are needed, they have a certain cost and they are always needed.
  2. There is no reason to expand supply for the next six months; why? There is still a housing shortage.
  3. Will not build a single house more than it believes can be sold. Wrong? This is perception of when it will be sold. There is no need to not build, mainly because there is a housing shortage. People need houses.
  4. The industry is unable to build the homes that the nation needs, where it needs them and at a reasonable price. This is now proven to be untrue. This industry has become a vulture driving up prices artificially by reselling a house at times more than once, even before the house is build.

It seems to me that the law can be adjusted, so that a house cannot be sold until 2 years after the house/building has been completed. That takes out the speculative vultures and it would drop house prices to a level where a population at least 15% larger than initial would be able to afford a house. So when I read about Tony Pidgley and his shareholders, I would suggest that if Mr Pidgley desperately needs that 2 billion in profit, he should consider explaining to these shareholders how to make £20 per half hour selling services in areas like Soho? It sounds a bit over the top, but when we see profits that run into billions, we have truly overstated levels of acceptability. Perhaps moving away from the EU forcing another path where 64 million Brits could regain a life that is affordable is truly the best thing to do. Let’s not forget that an affordable mortgage, means that families will spend on quality of life, this implies that commerce will grow and no stimulus (in the way Mario Draghi is applying it) would be required.

The second article is actually a very different channel. The article ‘Standard Life shuts property fund amid rush of Brexit withdrawals‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jul/04/standard-life-shuts-property-fund-post-brexit-withdrawals). The quote here is “The £2.9bn fund, which invests in commercial properties including shopping centres, warehouses and offices, is thought to be the first UK property fund to suspend trading since the 2007-2009 financial crisis, when some of the biggest names in investment management stopped withdrawals because they did not have the money to repay investors” and it makes me wonder what game is on here. The article links to ‘New Star halts property fund withdrawals‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/money/2008/nov/26/new-star-suspends-investor-withdrawals), which was the 2008 meltdown. So now, when we see Standard Life’s property funds referring to “Investors in Standard Life’s property funds have been told that they cannot withdraw their money, after the firm acted to stop a rush of withdrawals following the UK’s decision to leave the EU“, I wonder how many investors, where they are from and the reasoning is behind the withdrawal.

You see, there are two options. The first one, the straight path is the one where we see the links to ‘shopping centres, warehouses and offices‘, these places are still needed, commerce will go on, even if the downturn is stronger, people need food, people need their goods. This will not change. The part that will change is the one we just dealt with. Unacceptable ‘profit margins’, which implies at present that these ‘investors’ are little more than vultures, do we need more of those?

It is the next quote that implies that there is a secondary path: “The selling process for real estate can be lengthy as the fund manager needs to offer assets for sale, find prospective buyers, secure the best price and complete the legal transaction. Unless this selling process is controlled, there is a risk that the fund manager will not achieve the best deal for investors in the fund, including those who intend to remain invested over the medium to long term”, here I wonder if the fund manager has been ‘juicing’ expectations, which could only continue in a ‘Bremain’ world. The fact that the news cycles go wider as the mere intent that the reality of Brexit made the Dow buckle is equally weird (initially).

When we consider the words from Mark Carney, who stated “U.K. banks can be part of the solution, not part of the problem“, in that mindset I can offer a first option. If we get rid of Tony Pidgley and his shareholders, the UK gets to not see these 2 Billion go elsewhere. Now, let’s be fair, the UK would never make that much on it, so if the coffers can accept a mere £200 million as a profit margin, an amount that is most likely more than taxation of the 2 billion, the UK coffers still win and life becomes a little more affordable in the UK for all who buy a house.

I will be the first one to admit that my view is not realistic and too optimistic, yet am I wrong? The housing bubble is only one event that needs to be fought. Taxation loopholes have to be dealt with, dealing with the s a decade overdue and it is one of several reasons that the UK economy is in such a bad slump. Now we get additional news that the EU is in an even worse state than we have been kept informed about. The Australian gives us “Italy’s banking system is in trouble, with about $540 billion of non-performing loans and a desperate need for new capital. Given the dearth of willing alternative capital-providers, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi wants to inject the equivalent of about $60bn of public funding into the system to try to stabilise it. The problem for Renzi and Italy — and the EU — is that the rules of the European Banking Union forbid taxpayer bailouts as the first resort for troubled banks” (at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/stephen-bartholomeusz/italys-banking-crisis-a-bigger-problem-than-brexit/news-story/d4e0c5007fb133db959cc569f9678804), the Italian issue has been known and I have reported on it in the past, yet the fact that banks are still the biggest issue in the EU and they still have not been muzzled to the extent that they need to be remains an issue. An issue that shows on another level that Brexit was not the worst idea. So when we see Reuters stating ‘Draghi could have done more to help Italian banks in 90’s, says PM Renzi‘ whilst this issue has been known for well over a year and for the fact that Italy’s antiquated bankruptcy laws have never been properly dealt with, especially in light of the 2004 and 2008 events makes me wonder where Matteo Renzi got the idea to blame other places, when his office should have made clear priority in these matters and he should have made equal mention that people like Enrico Letta, Mario Monti and Silvio Berlusconi who had been Prime Minister in batches going back to 1994 forgot to deal with that situation, and now we see that the EU is in a state much less healthy than most predicted. I knew about several issues, but not all, it seems that all news on the stat of the EU have been overstated by way too many players in this game and it makes me wonder in equal measure how it was possible for Mario Draghi to spend over a trillion that he is still ready to spend even more.

So in light of all this, how could the UK return to a place that is killing itself, that is allowing for inaction that is not prosecuted in any way. So when you watch Rose Dawson push Leonardo DiCaprio to his icy grave, consider that the EU debt is like that Iceberg, it can sink anything and 90% is kept below the surface, sustaining the tropical life of less than 1,000 banking executives. The people in the UK need their own Safety of Life against Greed (SOLAG). If these players were decently less greedy, none of this would have happened. Perhaps one day we will see a modern European Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and we will accept his book ‘The SOLAG archipelago’ and the wave it brings as a given wisdom.

Time will tell!

 

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And the time is?

They say timing is everything, ‘EU ministers refuse bailout extension for Greece as referendum looms’, gives a clear indication that Greece overextended the timeline they thought they had. The makers of Arkham Knight are realising that they needed a little more time then they gave themselves, and all over Europe people realise that they seem to be running out of time. And as timing goes, the pressure from Greece gave David Cameron the additional time he needed. We now get the quote “David Cameron says he is delighted the process of ‘reform and renegotiation’ of the UK’s membership of the EU is ‘properly under way’” (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-33281019), no matter how this bullet is pushed, the Eurozone will massively change over the next 18 months. With Greece pushing Italy and France over the edge, the UK is considering the safety of pulling out. In the meantime, the UK, to change this options, needs to change several parts of EU laws, so that there is no influence on British common law, if that is achieved, the UK could diminish the negative sides of the EU connection, whilst the pro-EU parts gain strength. This is one option and it is a good strategy, but in all this, Greece remains an issue. If Greece is given too much leeway, the system collapses, which leaves the UK the only option and that is to pull out, damage or no. This will also fuels France’s need to departure, which opposes President Hollande and gives massive visibility to Marine Le Pen, stating ‘we told you so!’ Now the Euro has no options left, whatever diminishing noise you hear, like the noise stated for many weeks, they will all suddenly inflate into stories on ‘how disastrous it all became’, ‘became’ is the operative word, which should be ‘was all along’. Even without Greece, the Euro had been set to become the maximum exploited currency around, which is less of a positive thing, when all over Europe its leaders are increasingly unable to keep a budget, the close to half a trillion that Greece could end up bestowing on them can be missed like a hole in the head.

The EU leaders have decided (as I see it) that there is no more time, no more extensions, either make the call or Greece enters the realm of defaulted nations. The next wave will be about another matter, you see, when Greece defaults, what happens to the outstanding debts? More important, what happens to the Greeks in general? The Greek people will get hurt in all this. Even though I am all about accountability, the Greek people, especially the retirees will get a massive hit in all this, whilst the politicians of previous administrations will have their long term golden years nice and comfy.

But we need to get back to the issue, you see, someone ends up with this bill and even though it might be ‘contained’ for now, the Greeks have squeeze every inch out of the debt they could and with payments due all over the field, this situation moved from worrying to hairy for the Greeks and is now a worrying state for any nation holding on to those debts, not to mention the 80 billion in liquidity overdraft.

So where are we all? What is the time?

The time is getting closer to midnight, as we see two escalations, the first one makes some sense. “The failure of the Greek government to reach agreement with the rest of the Eurozone’s finance ministers has raised fears of the European Central Bank (ECB) rejecting Greece’s request for continued emergency lending to keep its banks afloat“, in addition there is “bailout programme for Greece expires on Tuesday and the referendum has been called for Sunday 5 July“, these are the steps that follow, it does not sound worse than it is, but it really is a little worse than some people think. Even though there is clear frustration in the joke Alexis Tsipras has become, especially when we consider “The calling of a referendum will prolong the political uncertainty that a senior company executive said was “driving us nuts”“, this play was always on the Syriza agenda, but now, as there are no options left, the Greek people got run for 6 months by a rock star and a paper tiger, in the end, they chose poorly. The question becomes: how can this situation move forward? Which is also debate of the next part. This updated quote comes from Austria’s finance minister, Hans Jörg Schelling ““Greece would have to file a request to do so. The other EU countries would have to approve the request. Only then could Greece leave the Eurozone”“, this is regarding leaving the EEC. The question is, why Greece would want to leave the EEC. You see, out of the Euro is one thing, the UK, Sweden and Denmark are not in the Euro either. So Greece will have 3 impossible generations as Greece will try to re-float their way of life, yet those options might deteriorate into 5 or even 6 generations when they leave the EEC. Whatever that choice might be, it will be up to Greece to decide.

Back in the UK, part of the issues that play are:

‘Curb EU immigration by cutting benefits’ and ‘Make the EU more streamlined and competitive’, and to get what it wants the UK believes it will need to rewrite treaties agreed by all 28 EU members. This is part of the joy and the worry.

Consider that the EU setting was never set to be streamlined and competitive enough, why not? What was it about? Social refurbishment, or allowing financial structures and big corporations to get the best solution for THEM? That is a question, not an accusation!

Let’s face it, the UK needs to curb immigration (even though I am trying to get my ancestry visa) and for the most, the UK would not have an issue if these people are all contributing members, but that is part of the issue the UK has as everyone tries to make a new future in London, in its current congested way, London cannot continue. It needs changes, the EEC charter did not allow for that at present. Greece opened that door and it is about to change more. Both France and Germany need to think of both France and Germany and they too need changes, the situation called Greece made sure of that too.

Now we get to the last part in that article: “Downing Street has said the prime minister remains committed to ‘proper, full-on treaty change’ but it has acknowledged this is unlikely by the end of 2017 since it would trigger referendums in other EU countries as well“, this is the move the UK makes, which is a good move, it is fair and it is the proper approach. But that approach now hits another snag, which also has an impact on Greece. You see, both UKIP and National Front are all about nationalism and breaking away from the EEC. I am not condemning or condoning. I always believed that it is the rights of any sovereign nation to choose its path and its future. Greece choose poorly, will France and the UK choose better? I certainly hope so. Yet, this path, now gives UKIP the option to bring messages of ‘delay’ and ‘exploitation of Britain’. That is how Nigel Farage is likely to bring it, because that is how he sees it and that is how his constituents are voiced to see it. That wave is growing, many from the Conservative, some Liberal Democrats and a sizeable chunk of the UK Labour constituents feel more that way every day forward, which is the push UKIP hoped for earlier and it could start to happen over the next 3 months, it all depends on how the financial waves of Greece continue over the next 3 months, that is the impact the people are looking at. It goes beyond the UK, as stated, National Front is on that same ferry route. The push here is that because France is in a much worse state than the UK, the push away is also a lot stronger, depending on how the Greek situation escalates to Grexit and beyond. With France having a lot more on the line, we will see a stronger ‘appreciation’ for National Front and Marine Le Pen. Yet, how the escalation grows cannot yet be predicted, even though the growth of National Front has been stronger and their influence at present in France is a lot stronger than the UKIP has in the UK, so that fact must not be ignored. France add 11 National Front mayors to their nation, that part is influence, strong influence. So as they grow constituents stronger than UKIP can at present, with their presidential campaign happening in April 2017, the UK needs to make a change, because if France pulls out, and the UK is still in the mix, the game changes truly fast. So far, I remain in the view that David Cameron is making the right play for the UK, yet France could change the deadline for the UK. The imperative word is ‘could’, there are several variables in all this and the real game has not started yet, the pawns are placed on the board for the UK and France, the game is about to end for Greece, I hope the Greek people end up in a decent position, which is at present not a given. That part is also essential, the EEC better take a long hard look at that, because with every news of starving retirees as Greek retirement funds loses the value due to Greek bonds, will have a massive impact in driving the local population to their ‘saviour’, whether it is UKIP or National Front will not matter to the player.

We are about to enter a media war unlike any we have seen, because when the news comes of degraded pensions in a greying society, panic will come to the people. At present I have no clear solution, I cannot tell what would be the best way to go; how to go into that direction; too many unknowns at present. I always believe that united is stronger, Greece made me doubt that, because the power players were all about status quo. Now consider the fact that Greece was only 2% of it all, France and the UK are a massive part of the EEC economy, which means we will get carefully phrased words of misinformation soon enough, the question then is from whom and in what direction are they pushing the voters?

So what time is it and when midnight strikes, where will the pieces on the board be and which chess piece is which player, because that dynamic is not a given, not for many months to come.

 

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