Tag Archives: International Monetary Fund

One economy crises a day

Yes, it is the Guardian that alerts us to: ‘World economy at risk of another financial crash, says IMF‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/oct/03/world-economy-at-risk-of-another-financial-crash-says-imf). So as we see: “Debt is above 2008 level and failure to reform banking system could trigger crisis“, we think that this is a small issue, but it is not, it is however not the real dangers, merely a larger factor. The quote “With global debt levels well above those at the time of the last crash in 2008, the risk remains that unregulated parts of the financial system could trigger a global panic, the Washington-based lender of last resort said” gets us a little closer to it all, yet it is the phrase ‘Washington-based lender of last resort’ that is a little more at the core of it all. This, or in a roundabout mention towards the US federal reserve is not the only part in this. It is the ECB with its quantative easing setting, now at 3.7 trillion, which in light of the Bloomberg article in 2017 (a year ago now) mentioning ‘Some ECB Members Identify 2.5 Trillion-Euro QE Limit‘ becomes a larger issue. With the US national debt at $21.5 trillion the ECB at an estimated €2.4 trillion bonds as per June ($2.7 trillion), we are going off the deep end soon enough. So as people were all in such a state that I was wrong, it would not happen again and that the economy is great. Consider that I warned about this danger several times between 2016 and the latest in May 2018 with ‘Milestones‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/05/05/milestones/). Yet all the parties are stating that I was wrong, and several hours ago, the Guardian treats us to: “The growth of global banks such as JP Morgan and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to a scale beyond that seen in 2008, leading to fears that they remain “too big to fail”, also registers on the IMF’s radar“. Yes, ‘too big to fail’, or should that be ‘to big too fail‘?

So when we see Gordon Brown getting quoted with: “former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said last month that the world economy was “sleepwalking into a future crisis,” and risks were not being tackled now “we are in a leaderless world”“. I found his response slightly moronic as there is no leaderless world, there are merely elected officials who know that they are merely in temp positions and they are paving the way for really nice paid futures. There is a distinct difference there. And in that I am still modestly awaiting my honour degree from the London School of Economics, in a pinch one from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania will do too.

So when we see both “Christine Lagarde was concerned that the total value of global debt, in both the public and private sectors, has rocketed by 60% in the decade since the financial crisis to reach an all-time high of $182tn“, as well as “the build-up made developing world governments and companies more vulnerable to higher US interest rates, which could trigger a flight of funds and destabilise their economies. “This should serve as a wake-up call,” she said“. My response will be: “No Christine, you are wrong! The entire setting of a wake-up call is already 3-4 years too late. You have been unable to nurture the ECB, keep governments awake to get spending under control and the fallout will be huge and the people get to pay for it all“. The one benefit is that too large a population will be going through two depressions wiping out all their savings soon enough and in that there is an actual chance of a new civil war that would spread all over Europe. At that point the life of any politician will be £0.02 at best, once that starts, there will be not merely a Brexit, it will herald the end of the EU and it will impact the US in a most disastrous path, not merely wiping economies out, there will be a lack of trust between the US and the EU that will surpass the distrust levels between the USA and CCCP at the height of the cold war. It will redraw global economic maps to the larger degree. That is also seen in the part when we recollect the June 23rd article called ‘They are still lying to us‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/06/23/they-are-still-lying-to-us/). There we were treated to “Greece is once again becoming a normal country, regaining its political and financial independence“, remember that part? So how normal is that country as we are treated to ‘Greek Bank Stocks Tumble Amid Concerns Over Capital, Bad Loans’ by the Wall Street Journal a mere 8 hours ago? So when we see “Investors appear to have completely lost confidence in Greek banks,” economists at HSBC said in a research note. The four main banks— National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank, Eurobank Ergasias and Piraeus Bank—recently submitted ambitious plans to rid themselves of more than half of their soured loans by 2021 to the banking-supervision unit of the European Central Bank, several bank officials said. Under the new plans, which the ECB is considering, the banks would commit themselves to reduce their nonperforming loans to 15%-21% of their total loans, compared with today’s levels of 40.7%-54.7%“. the article (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/greek-bank-stocks-tumble-amid-concerns-over-capital-bad-loans-1538584978) gives us a lot more, but it shows that the banks are trying to shed the bad loans in as creative ways as possible and in this the governments are as I personally see it part of the problem, they were never part of any solution and the people will get to pay for it all as they were treated last quarter to: “as elderly Greeks face losing up to €350 ($416) per month when new pension cuts are implemented as of Jan. 1, 2019“, I believe that as the Greek banks collapse to the larger degree, as the Greek banks are shedding over 50% of outstanding loans, their value would also collapse as will their prospects and the loss of confidence will only increase the pressures. All whilst payments will still be due and cannot be met as it is staged to be at present. So there is a chance that Greeks will lose 50% more than they are currently losing at present in the next quarter, so we will see that the Greeks will start the year in utter poverty and the rest of Europe is not far behind. The ECB with its badly conceived QE plan has achieved that, so when the people are given that danger and handed the loss of retirement funds, utter rage will not be far away after that.

It was one of the reasons why I kept close eyes on Salini Impregilo. Even as Europe is going proverbially down the drain Salini Impregilo has been making headway on a global scale, foremost in Saudi Arabia and as their projects are kicking off, the infrastructure needs for Saudi Arabia grow. Their needs for dash boarding, reporting and data analytics will rise over the next two years and will require more and more knowledge and infrastructure with any additional building they are assigned. The entire project of the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) drew it even further to the foreground, merely because the required concrete levels that can be delivered seem to be at 30%-40% of what is required soon enough. It is an opportunity for Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but also optionally for Egypt. All these shortages ignored for now, yet when we see the image from 2012 and what was required then, and we consider that Neom will require close to 15 times that, where will the concrete come from? And it is not merely the availability; it will be about the proper planning of resources. Even as Salini Impregilo is merely a larger player of several projects, they in the end all need their concrete and where will that come from? So at this rate I expect to see the delays making the forefront news from 2020 onwards. Even as some places are increasing as much as they can afford. I expect it to fall short by a larger degree soon enough and when we are introduced to the heart of the matter. Smart cities will need smart infrastructure and the wiring will be well over 20 times what the entire Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet required and that is a lot. the skills, the training to get the amount of people fuelling this is short on every level as I see it, so as Europe collapses with the debt, Saudi Arabia gets the option to buy staff cheaply soon enough. No merely getting the knowledge they need. Yet the brain drain to that extent has never been seen before anywhere in the world and that is where the ECB will suddenly realise that the fuel required to fix any acts of stupidity in the last 10 years will no longer be available and at that point Wall Street will wake up getting to live the perfect nightmare. It is not merely that there will suddenly be a boost of economy because there is no unemployment, getting the people trained up will take decades, stopping economic growth right quick and for much too long.

And as other players open up the doors for a guaranteed decent lifestyle, the setting is changing. We see that in the European Pensions last July, a mere 2 months ago when we were given: “European pension schemes are becoming increasingly attracted to the high returns and diversification benefits offered by frontier markets” This is the setting of: ‘more developed than the least developing countries, but too small to be generally considered an emerging market‘, yet as the high returns are estimated, the risks are also higher and there seems to be the risk ‘risk premiums are more greatly affected by political, economic, and financial factors‘ that is seemingly ignored to a larger extent. We see that part when we consider both “MSCI Frontier Market Index is the most widely used benchmark for equities. However, even this is highly concentrated in certain markets and sectors – financial stocks make up 46 per cent and the top three countries make up 53 per cent“, as well as “Argentina, which makes up around 22 per cent of the index, and Vietnam, 15 per cent“. So, now consider that the very same Christine Lagarde treats us to: “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to increase a lending package with Argentina by 7.1 billion US dollars (£5.3 billion), seeking to calm markets over the country’s ability to meet its debt amid growing economic turmoil” a mere week ago. Do you still think that I was kidding or merely trying to kick the dead donkey? I am not stating that this is the fault of Argentina. I am speculating that too many parts of Wall Street are banking on the failure of others and it opposes the setting of returns on those seeking success, in this setting the pensions will lose, optionally they will lose every time without fail and the people are left with an empty bag not worth the price of that empty bag. Do you think that people will sit down and accept that? No, they will be beyond furious and the setting of Johan de Witt and Cornelis de Witt blamed and lynched in The Hague, the rioters were never prosecuted. So, there will be enough motivation on more than one level. It is something for the current European politicians to keep in mind, because this could happen again and the setting that the people face over the next 10 years is a lot worse than the ones that the population faced then. At that point, when this starts, I truly hope that those politicians will have the option of a quick getaway out of Europe, because they will not know safety ever again in that place.

So whilst we see the distancing of politicians on all fields whilst trying to drench themselves in non-accountability, whilst they will try the path of ‘It was a miscommunication and we were given the wrong advice‘, the people will no longer accept that as the evening news. They will want their pound of flesh and a bucket of blood and the regard of the value of politicians at that point will have been degraded to zero, and their ‘post life’ Facebook profile image might optionally look similar to the painting of the brothers De Witt as it was in 1672. You might think that it is mere speculation and it is, yet the trigger is not my speculation, it is the message of economic crises after economic crises as the governments are not acting against the banks and the exploiters that hide behind ‘too big to fail‘. The people all over Europe, if not on a global setting as they are mistreated to overly optimistic futures that cannot be met and have not been met for over a decade, you see, if that was actually true debts would have been receding, would they not? The only ones that did that harshly were the Germans and they are indeed in a much better place. It is the difference between being popular and doing what needs to be done and in that Angela Merkel was not about being popular, yet now those Germans are in a much better place than most other nations. It is something for you to consider as you notice your pension is gone and you want to take it out on someone.

so whilst we consider the final line in the Guardian, which was: “Without a rise in investment economies remain vulnerable to financial stress“, we need to consider that the setting is not merely about ‘investment economies‘, it is about the setting where large corporations come in and use that setting to ‘invest’ whilst draining away the gained momentum, so the economy that once was in that stage has been drained and those momentum profits are relocated to other places where ever those boards of directors are fuelling their personal wealth accounts, leaving those nations in a post investment era that is now merely regarded as a consumer fuelled economy whilst those people never gained the better economic standing to spend the money fuelling it further.

A setting where the equilibrium of economics fails as there was never a state of balance, merely a stage of relocating available wealth and the frontier markets are no help, they are merely an optional stage not unlike the CDO issues of 2008, in my view a way to avoid taxation and move whatever they could to a non-reporting nation. Or as one source stated: “the smarter operators no longer use filthy lucre but instead employ modern financial devices such as Interest Rate Swaps (IRS) and Total Return Swaps (TRS) to evade tax“, a setting where some take a 4% loss to avoid 26% taxation, it still wins them 22% and many had to live of a bonus a lot more shallow then that and from a base amount massively smaller than the one moved away.

One crises a day, I wonder what the bad news we will get treated to next week.

#HappyWorldAnimalDay

 

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A haircut before the guillotine

That is how we sometimes see life. We are all dressed up, all ready, smooth shave and a decent look, all on route to the main event where we are the guest of honour at a dinner party hosted by Joseph-Ignace Guillotin. Yes, we are the person on the chopping block. When death is all you look forward to, the way getting there will mean the most to anyone.

So out comes the master of coiffure, to make sure that the shave and the haircut were done to levels of excellence that you never considered before. Master tailor Marc de Luca will come and see you to make sure that the suit is one that Versace will look at with utter envy, the people on Saville Row will look with utter amazement on just how perfect a suit can be, because you must look your best on route to that once in a life time dinner party with Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, all the elements mattered the most on this one day.

So there is the setting you see when we consider ‘EU says Greece can ‘finally turn the page’ as bailout ends‘. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/20/eu-greece-bailout-ends-pierre-moscovici) gives us “Greece has turned the page to become “a normal” member of the single currency“. Yes in that regard it is nice to know that a mental health setting of ignorance when it comes to the economy, is still riding high with too many individuals. I mentioned it over 3 years ago in the article ‘Dress rehearsal (part 1)‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/07/01/dress-rehearsal-part-1/), where I stated ““Greece would face an unsustainable level of debt by 2030 even if it signs up to the full package of tax and spending reforms demanded of it, according to unpublished documents compiled by its three main creditors“, the reason that I call it questionable, is because Greece is what I call a 3G nation, which means it will take three generations for this debt to become close to manageable. So, with that I imply that the debt is still a massive form of pressure in 2061, there is no escaping it“. That part we now see with “Greece has the highest government debt in the EU, 177% of gross domestic product, and is forecast to be repaying loans until 2060“. WOW! I was off by one year and that was me using my fingers and an abacus over three years ago. Now we see that it will be all done by 2060, which is actually not a certainty. I took a few setbacks in consideration that are likely to be missing here, so considering that this started 8 years ago, we see that in the end it will take another 42 years, making my ‘three generation‘ prediction spot on. Yet the good news is not yet done. When we consider that the debt is 177% of gross domestic product, the fact that youth unemployment remains at 43.6%, as well as a few setbacks, there is merely one stupid act of starting another bonds plan and it all goes south really really fast.

The first is that with “Athens will face more exacting checks than any other Eurozone member, so Brussels can monitor whether the government’s budgets are in line with EU stability and growth targets” Greece will still be bound by some factors. The setting is a given if Greece decided to try the Goldman Sachs strategy again, the future will start to look extremely dim again at that point, with little to no hope on resolving it ever. There will always be politicians that play the fast and loose card whenever they are in a pickle, which will soon thereafter become the ‘fast and lose‘ scenario, especially for the Greek population.

Even now we see the quote: “Many analysts believe it will take a decade before Greece returns to pre-crisis living standards following a slump in which its economy contracted by 25% and unemployment peaked at 28%“, I am not convinced that it will be that quick. It might be if serious investors can be found to pump up the Greek economy like a Google space, an Apple hub and an IBM data centre. Those steps will be a turn for the good for Greece, but without a really large player opening the field, Greece keeps on lagging behind and a decade will not be enough to set the economy back on track to the pre-crises degree stated. Furthermore, there is the consideration of “levels of extreme poverty jumped. The population has fallen by 3% because of emigration and a lower birth rate“, you see, the levels of extreme poverty also slows the recovery setting and the loss of population will not merely mean that there are less jobs required, it also means that a continuation of certain aspects can no longer happen. So the setting of parent to child implies that more and more businesses die over time lowering the GDP further, which in turn shoves the debt up by 5%-10% more than previous. So it is not the percentage, it is the €336,900,000,000 that is due its interest and that amount is not shifting merely due to the shifting GDP percentage. It is rising because 336 billion implies 6-9 billion euro of interest a year and with a population of less than 11 million, whilst we get the slightly over enthusiastic “By 2023 unemployment is forecast to fall to 14%“, yes, I’ll accept that when I see it. You see, last October it was 20.7 percent. This now give us that close to 2.5 million Greeks are not paying tax. So exactly how are they not merely getting the infrastructure paid for, but in addition to that pay for the 6-9 billion in annual interest? From my point of view the picture we are given is a rosy coloured setting of ‘Bull dung and grapes’, at which point the grapes are not that appetising anymore.

The final part is seen with “As a condition of getting debt relief, Athens agreed to the EU’s demand to run a budget surplus of 3.5% of GDP until 2022 and thereafter 2%. However, the International Monetary Fund, a co-funder of the bailouts, has long argued this goal is too onerous for a country that has endured years of belt-tightening“. That shows part of the imbalance, or merely the gross injustice to the Greek population. There is close to no way to live with the ‘a budget surplus of 3.5% of GDP until 2022‘, unless you cook the books that is, which is a purely personal speculated option. It merely seems more than an impossible task and agreeing towards demands that are unrealistic is just not acceptable and utterly inhumane.

Forbes is on my side in this. The article (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/francescoppola/2018/08/20/lessons-for-the-eurozone-from-the-greek-debt-crisis) gives us: “Fiscal austerity is on the menu for generations to come. Furthermore, if GDP takes a nosedive – as both business cycle theory and economic history tell us is almost certain to happen at some point during that time – further cuts will be necessary to meet primary surplus targets. In the light of this, the IMF has expressed serious reservation about the sustainability of Greek finances. If it is right, then the Greek crisis is not ended. It will be back with a vengeance in a decade or so“, I actually believe that ‘a decade or so‘, is a little optimistic. When we correct for Murphy (anything that can go wrong will go wrong), the tie line will shove the entire situation to the foreground by the year 2025.

The article is a really good read, mainly because it gives us in short the history on how it happened, which was essential in all this, because the danger of “in 2009 the Greek government lied about the true state of its finances, and that the pre-crisis boom had resulted in a fiscal deficit of 15% of GDP and debt/GDP of well over 100%” is a setting that is not unlikely to return in the 2023-2025 years, for a few reasons, especially when the Greeks are set in a stage of what is humanly called to be in a stage ‘without a pot to piss in‘. there will be overreactions and that is when things go from bad to worse and in that time, when there is still 35 years to go, a lot of people will re-enter new (read: even more harsh) levels of austerity.

So even when we think that the bailouts have ended, we also need to consider that this is academically correct, yet the truth is that we need to realise that in a little less than 16 months “the expensive debt to the International Monetary Fund, some 2.6 billion euros of which is due by the end of 2019” (source: Bloomberg), apart from the interest, posts like the maturing bonds come out to play and that is in this case well over 2.6 billion, also we need to consider ‘the interest Greece has to pay on bonds is still too high at about 4.2 percent‘, there we see that the additional pressures that Greece gets from refinancing all those bonds come at a huge cost. In addition to that part, we also need to notice ‘National Bank of Greece issued international bonds (XS1698932925) with a 2.75% coupon for EUR 750.0m maturing in 2020‘, so where will that money be coming from? We accept that seven hundred and fifty million Euros is not a lot when you say it fast, but in lieu of the outstanding debts, the budget surplus as well as bond maturities, all that whilst the economy is not on track and will not be anywhere near that in 2020, my prediction of a new stage of defaulting by 2025 might have been slightly too optimistic.

Personally I really hope that we can find a decent solution for Greece, a solution that allows for a growing economy because Greece is an awesome place and for the most Greeks are awesome (unless you’re German at that point you’re on your own). The good news is not there yet and I personally believe that some players are still stacking the cards in a way that suits them and not Greece. I am referring to the message: ‘S&P Global Ratings upgrades Foreign Currency LT credit rating of National Bank of Greece to “B-” from “CCC+”; outlook stable‘. It was given to the people on June 6th 2018. I personally do not believe it to be correct or better stated ‘justified’. Bloomberg gave us those goods an hour ago with: ‘Greek Bad Loans Are a Drag Even after Crisis Shrank Bank Sector‘. Basically an hour ago we were treated to “the problem she saw 12 years ago lingers on — Greece’s banks are still weighed down by bad loans. That’s making them cautious about new lending, which the country’s cratered economy needs to grow again after its European bailout ended on August 20th“. Basically hidden ghosts still rock the financial cadaver of Greece and there is more to come. Do you really think that ‘stable’ is the correct word? When we consider the S&P definitions we end up getting “An obligation rated ‘B’ is more vulnerable to non-payment than obligations rated ‘BB’, but the obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation. Adverse business, financial, or economic conditions will likely impair the obligor’s capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitments on the obligation“, if the entire setting relies on ‘currently‘ I end up with the consideration that this could revert to a more negative stage by years end and then we see that the costs will increase whilst the maintenance of a budget surplus is close to a nil percent possibility at that point.

If we see that this is going on and the stage is set in several ways against Greece, who was the message ‘Greece can ‘finally turn the page’‘ for? Was it for the EU and European, was it for Greece (as an optional setting of false hope) or was this as the starting signal for Wall Street? In my mind the question becomes, who exactly was The European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, Pierre Moscovici catering for? Perhaps it is less complicated, perhaps he was merely acting as the maître des cérémonies for Joseph-Ignace Guillotin. To set the stage, where in the old days, executions by guillotine were a popular form of entertainment that attracted great crowds of spectators (their version of the Roman bread and games). Perhaps that is what is needed in Europe and for now the Greek government is unaware that their status has been elevated from underdog to the proverbial ‘guest of honour’.

Yet in all this, we need to be more then sceptical, there is much doubt and most of it based on common sense. We need to realise that the setting of Greece remains close to unacceptable, these levels of austerity will have to continue not for a decade, but for several decades, mainly because until the economy gets an actual boost, the options of budget surplus seem to be so unrealistic that whatever was signed was basically signed under duress. If the CIA and others stopped torturing a terrorist because the issue was too inhumane and the intelligence was never reliable, why would you transfer such levels of inhumane economic pressure to a European ally?

In the entire Greek economic setting that one part never ever made any sense to me.

 

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They are still lying to us

There is a piece that the Guardian gave us less than 12 hours ago. The title ‘Greece ‘turning a page’ as Eurozone agrees deal to end financial crisis‘ should worry you. You are getting played! The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/22/eurozone-greece-financial-crisis-deal) is giving a dangerous situation as it is downplayed on nearly every level. Now, to set the stage, we need to understand that government budgets are complex. No one is denying it. Yet, what is complex about: “Eurozone member states reached an agreement on the final elements of a plan to make its massive debt pile more manageable, ending an eight-year bailout programme“, can you tell me that? You see in the heart of this is ‘its massive debt pile more manageable‘, we all see that. Yet do we understand it?  €328 billion, the interest on that small sucker is well over €500 a second! The debt is around 180% of GDP, it was 178% last year. These are issues that matter, because it gives Greece no options. Then the Guardian gives us the bit that matters a lot more. You see, in part one we consider “The plan allows Greece to extend and defer repayments on part of its debt for another 10 years and gives Athens another €15bn (£13.2bn) in new credit. Tsakalotos said it marked “the end of the Greek crisis … I think Greece is turning a page.”“, so an option to get even MORE DEBT. When was that a good idea? Now consider that the interest on the current loan is €640 million a year, so how does raising the debt by 5% help? You see, we see the game played, because the next elections are 20 October 2019. This is the beginning of an election stunt and the Eurozone is happy to help only if the current government does what the Eurozone tells them to. How is that for an option?

The next pack of non-truths is given by PM Alexis Tsipras with “The prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, told a meeting of MPs: “Greece is once again becoming a normal country, regaining its political and financial independence.”” I hope you understand that financial independence will not happen until 2045. The debt is that severe. The banks are not willing to be soft any longer, when the access to the markets are given it will merely take one screw up, one act of short sighted stupidity and people all over Europe will rally to demand the barring of Greece from the markets for decades. So when we are presented within: “The plan allows Greece to extend and defer repayments on part of its debt for another 10 years and gives Athens another €15bn (£13.2bn) in new credit“, you see this is what the beginning of slave labour looks like, a debt that cannot be repaid, a setting where €15 billion is merely a smoke screen and the coming years when you think your life is getting better, the truth is merely that your options are taken away. That is how you enter into slave labour. And the Eurozone will be nice and humane about it, they will not call it slave labour, they will call it new zero hour contracts and with the definition “Any individual on a zero hours contract who is a ‘worker’ will be entitled to at least the National Minimum Wage, paid annual leave, rest breaks and protection from discrimination” and the Greeks will realise too late that this government AFTER its election will set the stage where because of the high debts the National Minimum Wage would optionally have to be lowered by 20%, until the debts are better dealt with. So there you are sitting on a terrace having your last pita gyros with an Ouzo realising that you can no longer afford to do that, your income got cut by 20%. The opposing party reacted to the credit buffer with ‘Kostis Hatzidakis said it reflected the lack of faith international creditors had in Athens’ ability to successfully return to capital markets.‘ And in this Kostis is right, the international markets have zero faith in their return, they rely on a small thing called mathematics and the clarity there is that the scales are not in the favour of the Greeks. The financial market is hailing the success, especially those making money of every trade, and until the money is gone, some parties on Wall Street will love the Greek, give parties in their honour. The parties behind this were shown in the NY Times last week (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/19/business/economy/greece-europe-bailout.html). Here we see “To play it safe, Greece won’t start selling bonds until well after it exits the bailout. Instead, the government, which is being advised by Paris-based Rothschild & Company, will pick a moment in the next two years when market conditions seem favourable. A cash buffer of up to €18 billion, funded by creditors, may help Greece secure the liquidity it needs in the meantime“, so now the credit makes a lot more sense, does it not? A credit to pay the bills until there is one more fish to cook for Wall Street ending the existence of Greece. Well, actually the Greek elected officials will do that all by themselves. Because it will be there choice (through whispers) that benefits could be gained through 10 year bonds giving 10 more years of relief. Yet those billions come at a cost, a 2% cost which goes to the traders, they will cash in millions at the expense of a few parties costing them mere thousands, after which they switch off their phones, walk away and it is no longer their problem. For them it was merely good business, the direct application of a mere fool and his money getting parted.

Yet, this is not the only part. In what I would regard to be a direct outright lie, we see the actions from Pierre Moscovici as we are treated to: “Greece had received €275bn in financial support from its international creditors over the past eight years and twice came perilously close to being kicked out of the Eurozone group, the EU commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, said, adding: “There have been enormous sacrifices. But at last Greece will be capable of moving on its own two feet.”“. This is what I personally see an outright lie! Let me explain why I think that this is as bad as such. The documentation gave us (I already published it before). It is a paper from 2009 from the ECB and I gave light to it in my article on July 1st 2015, yes, almost 3 years ago. The article was ‘Dress rehearsal (part 1)‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/07/01/dress-rehearsal-part-1/), the original paper is there at the end. It is called ‘Withdrawal and expulsion from the EU and EMU some reflections‘, a paper written by Phoebus Athanassiou. Here we see “The idea that the treaties should explicitly provide for a possibility of expulsion was discussed in the 2001-2003 Intergovernmental Conference responsible for drafting the ill-fated Constitutional Treaty, but was abandoned“, on page 32 it gives the premise that greed driven politicians did not consider that expulsion should be an option. In addition, the EU observer gives us in 2011 ““Neither exit nor expulsion from the euro area is possible, according to the Lisbon treaty under which participation in the euro area is irrevocable,” he added, referring to the European Union’s rule-book.” and there is May 2012, where we get “The Mechanics of Eurozone Withdrawal, It has frequently been stated that the EU Treaties contain no legal framework for a withdrawal from the Eurozone.  This is true and, indeed, the Treaties make it clear that the process of monetary union was intended to be “irreversible” and “irrevocable”“. The last we got from Locke Lord LLP, a Texas Lawfirm. So I now need to revert to my original Dutch Diplomatic self stating: ‘Moscovici, you stupid fuck! There is 9 years of documentation from people better educated than me stating that kicking out of the Eurozone was not an option in any way. So get a fucking grip on your stupidity and amend it or resign your post, your choice!‘ (Sorry, I needed to get that off my chest, I feel a little better now).

The final straw for my ego is found in the Guardian quote “But it means the left-led government in Athens will have to stick to austerity measures and reforms, including high budget surpluses, for more than 40 years. Adherence will be monitored quarterly“, when we consider that my setting was without the ‘discount’, the proven setting that the debt will be a 3G debt, it will push hardship on three generations. A setting I was able to prove with an abacus is now finally recognised by those less fortunate as they were not able to get basic calculus done. I am happy for me being correct, but not for the hardship that the next generation of Greeks face, they never had any choice in the matter, merely have to clean up after grandpa’s bad political choices, to them it is massively unfair.

The final part if given with: “At almost 180% of GDP, Greece is burdened with the highest debt load in Europe. The €320bn debt mountain is widely recognised as the single biggest obstacle to economic recovery. The International Monetary Fund had resolutely refused to sign up to the country’s latest bailout unless Eurozone creditors agreed to a restructuring that would ultimately make the debt sustainable“, most will not recognise the miswording that is used here. With ‘widely recognised as the single biggest obstacle to economic recovery‘, which is actually ‘Greece has no options to recover from a debt that high, not ever‘. Which leads to ‘International Monetary Fund had resolutely refused to sign up to the country’s latest bailout‘ and ‘make the debt sustainable‘, which needs to be read as: ‘the IMF cannot allow the support of a debt that cannot be paid off, lower it!‘, yet when is the setting for sustainable made? Making it longer by setting the €328 billion in three stages of 26 years each? Who will sign up for that? How many forward pushing bond programs will it require and we understand that among the banks (read: financial institutions), they are willing to do that as long as it is set in 25% profit stages, giving light to the fact that the additional pressure beyond the debt is the Greek population paying an additional €78 billion in sustainable bonus. If you’re Greek, would you want your child to inherit a €75 billion invoice at birth? That was what I predicted three years ago and I have been proven correctly and I have been conservative, when you consider the cost of the bonds, the interest paid to the people buying the bonds as well as the impact of devaluation of a nation that cannot fund its infrastructure. It is a mess and when you consider Forbes on 28th Jan 2017, where we see: “The IMF projects Greek debt will reach 170 percent of GDP by 2020 and 164 percent of GDP by 2022 but will rise thereafter, reaching around 275 percent of GDP by 2060” (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2017/01/28/amazingly-yes-the-imf-is-still-saying-that-the-greek-debt-problem-is-not-yet-solved), we see that they were off last year by close to 10%, so the prospect for Greece is even worse than the IMF predicted (I admit a slight overbearing assumption at present).

To illustrate that, I will revert to a source that I cannot vouch for, yet they give (at https://www.thenation.com/article/goldmans-greek-gambit/) “As a result, about 2 percent of Greece’s debt magically disappeared from its national accounts. Christoforos Sardelis, then head of Greece’s Public Debt Management Agency, later described the deal to Bloomberg Business as “a very sexy story between two sinners.” For its services, Goldman received a whopping 600 million euros ($793 million), according to Spyros Papanicolaou, who took over from Sardelis in 2005“, a fee closing that surpassed half a billion euros.

So in the end, the news, the papers the quotes, it will be up to you to decide how Greece is given a fair go, yet they themselves have mostly only themselves to blame. You see, in all this, how many Greek politicians went to prison? How many got their assets taken from them? Or are we all agreeing that there was no legal option? Now wonder if the legal options exist at present, if not. Then this is the bed of hardship that the Greeks made for Greece.

So, are the Greeks still being lied to? If that is so who exactly is presenting their version of the ‘facts’ to the Greeks?

 

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Milestones

We all hope to make certain milestones, some through fantasy, some through luck and some through anticipation. Your first threesome, the moment you joined the mile high club and for governments they have their own achievements, for example when they join the 100% debt club. So when we realise that Japan has well over 200% of GDP in debt, the US has passed the 100% marker and it joins those they looked down on for the longest of times. Italy, Iceland, Granada, Eritrea, Greece, Jamaica and Lebanon, all members of that 100% debt club, so when we see the Arabian Business (at http://www.arabianbusiness.com/politics-economics/395741-100-debt-club-set-to-get-new-member-from-oil-rich-gulf), treat us to the facts that Bahrain will soon join Libya and the Sudan as their debt exceeds their 100% GDP. We see more and more messages at present and even the IMF is setting a different atmosphere. We see part of that in equities.com. There we see “IMF (Page 10): Against a backdrop of mounting vulnerabilities, risky asset valuations appear overstretched, albeit to varying degrees across markets, ranging from global equities and credit markets, including leveraged loans, to rapidly expanding crypto assets.
MY TRANSLATION: In the last two major bubbles, the problems were mostly contained to dot-com stocks and housing. That is 100% not the case now. Almost every single asset on the planet – from stocks to bonds to loans and more – is wildly overpriced. There is zero room for error with prices at such dizzying heights
“. This is merely one setting; the field is expanding on a larger field and in all this, the nations that are passing the debt bar. France is set at 99%, so if they cannot contain the debt growth they will pass it this following financial year, leaving only Germany as one of the four large economies that is in a containable situation and there is where we get a partial ‘I told you so!‘ You see I wrote on part of this 5 years ago. (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/05/15/a-noun-of-non-profit/), I made a reference in regards to Brexit, but the setting of it all was a lot larger than merely Brexit. So as you get to contemplate “Consider a large (really large) barge, that barge was kept in place by 4 strong anchors. UK, France, Germany and Italy. Yes, we to do know that most are in shabby state, yet, overall these nations are large, stable and democratic (that matters). They keep the Barge EU afloat in a stable place on the whimsy stormy sea called economy. If the UK walks away, then we have a new situation. None of the other nations have the size and strength of the anchor required and the EU now becomes a less stable place where the barge shifts. This will have consequences, but at present, the actual damage cannot be easily foreseen. Any claim that there is no consequence and they predict no issues, remember this moment! The Barge (as is), will lose stability and the smaller members thinking they are on a big boat are now thrown left to right then left again as the storm rages on. The smaller nations will get damaged and in addition, the weaker ones (Cyprus and Greece) could still collapse, especially if the UK takes a non EU gander“, this was predominantly regarding Brexit. Yet the implications are larger as I stated. The UK is taking on Brexit and now we see that the German anchor it the only anchor giving some stability, the UK is taken away, Italy has lost its footing as it surpassed the 100% debt and now France is pushing that boundary as well. All because it was easier to play the popular fool than taking a hard stance on their debts, France is not alone, Italy and the UK are all there, the smaller ones have no options to give strength to the large 4 and as the UK figured out that going it alone is much better for the economy, we see a dangerous setting.

Even now, when we merely consider Spain in all this (not the smallest economy), we see (at https://www.southeusummit.com/europe/spain/spanish-economy-returns-grade/) that Standard & Poor’s is still playing (what I personally see) as ‘their little game’. Perhaps you remember ‘S&P reaches $1.5 billion deal with U.S., states over crisis-era ratings‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-s-p-settlement-idUSKBN0L71C120150203) the one quote (one of many) needs to be considered “S&P parent McGraw Hill Financial Inc MHFI.N said it will pay $687.5 million to the U.S. Department of Justice, and $687.5 million to 19 states and the District of Columbia, which had filed similar lawsuits over the ratings“. So when I see “S&P notes that Spain’s overall economic and budgetary performance has not been hampered by political tensions in Catalonia, as many had feared. The country’s GDP increased by 3.1% in 2017 and last week the Bank of Spain raised its economic forecast for this year to 2.7%, up from a December forecast of 2.4%“, you see, the numbers are not really in question, yet when we see the image below (source: Trading Economics).

When we realise that none of the EU nations has a grasp on their debts, in addition, the GDP for Spain went down whilst it is still below the numbers of 2016 and before, there is actually no reason to see the credit rating for Spain go up. I am personally speculating that the EU will be so much more hardship when France hits the 100% debt marker. It matters, because this will soon become the academic exercise that the question: ‘What is the difference between cooking the books and creating a false positive wave through inflated credit scores?‘ I actually do not have the answer here, but I guarantee you that the quality of life in Europe is not moving forward any day soon, not until some issues are seriously reconsidered. In addition, the US-China trade war isn’t helping anyone, not even the Europeans so that will also become a factor of debate soon enough. It partially relates to “We have revised upwards our GDP forecasts, with an intense rate of employment creation and an economic model based on the external competitiveness of our companies. With this scenario, we will achieve our objective for 20 million employed people by 2020“, the issue is that it is misrepresentation, you cannot rely on the unemployment figures and then state we will have 20 million employed, because on a population of 46 million, he might be implying that the unemployment numbers will skyrocket from 17.4% in 2017 to 56%, that would be crazy, yet that is what we are told, is it not? The best lies (read: miscommunications) are done through statistics, so that the feather matches the bird one would say. Still, back to my speculation, I believe that Spain is not the only nation in this setting; I think that some numbers in pretty much every EU nation are beefed, weighted and set to make Europe (or basically themselves in the European setting) look much better, so when the UK leaves they will not look as weak and feeble as they have actually become. It is a setting that is way too dangerous. There is no way that Mario Draghi is not part of this, so when we look at the Financial Times of last week we see ‘Mario Draghi acknowledges ‘moderation’ in Eurozone growth‘ (at https://www.ft.com/content/3e20b49e-4939-11e8-8ee8-cae73aab7ccb). So with “Analysts said that Mr Draghi’s guarded language suggested that the ECB may wait until July — a month later than previously expected — to provide the markets with updated “forward guidance” on its plans to phase out the crisis-era stimulus“. I am a little less optimistic in regards to the quotes, and when we see ““Better safe than sorry was the motto of the day,” said Dirk Schumacher, economist at Natixis“. I personally tend to see that as:

Better safe than sorry
It allows for another day without worry
As we pile the worries and woes
To a stack we can blame on crows
Those at the London Tower are best
Because when they leave the EU we can make them the jest
And when our barge is no longer secure
We move to Wall Street where we can endure

You might think that I am merely making light of all this. The issue is that people in Europe seem to ignore that over €2,000,000,000,000 was printed without the validation of treasuries or consent of the people whose funds got devaluated even further. Do you think that printing money has no cost? It is money that the EU never had, so why did you think it came without consequence?

This partially (and I mean partially) is seen in different ways when we look at an article from Reuters merely two weeks earlier (at https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ecb-policy-draghi/stock-volatility-no-big-factor-for-ecb-so-far-draghi-idUKKBN1HG1VR) ‘Stock volatility no big factor for ECB so far – Draghi‘, now I agree that volatility will come and go, so the ‘so far’ part is perfectly fine. When we see ““While we remain confident that inflation will converge towards our aim over the medium term, there are still uncertainties about the degree of slack in the economy,” Draghi said in the ECB’s annual report“, now I can agree with that. There will always be a certain amount of uncertainty, that is all good, no issues there, but it is set on a certain premise. When we see that Spain (the only visible one) suddenly in opposition of what I see as real has its credit score increased and as such we see the start of an optional bubble, when others do the same we see the forecast on unreal values, so we see the bubble is not set to the reality of the actuality, at that point, when a lot more start realising that some numbers do not make sense, the uncertainty grows and the closer the UK is to leaving the stronger that uncertainty becomes. At that point we see a run and a total collapse, when that happens, when the people realise that pensions before 78 is no longer optional, do you think that the people will remain calm? When they realise the impact of €2 trillion printed cash is impacting the 26 nations, how much value decline will they face? When that happens, how will people react in all this? Now we get to two elements, one is the mention in the Financial Times where we see: “But the weak economic data for the first quarter have triggered increasing speculation that the first interest rate rise will be delayed until later in 2019. A smaller number of analysts are expecting the bank to continue QE into the new year“, the second is that the entire stimulus was to set the economy right, which did not happen, now set that against inflated credit scores, inflated economies and the downturn that follows, that will happen, it can no longer be contained, merely delayed to some extent. When it does hit Europe would not have a penny left to balance against and it will leave the bulk of Europe destitute. There would be no defence against the next downturn and that is when disaster will truly strike. So as the story is pushing towards ‘protectionism’ and ‘patent values’, we should also consider that impact. Now, as a University graduated Master on Intellectual Property rights, I do comprehend some of the issues, yet I am not a patent attorney, so there are parts that I will ignore or not look at. Consider that a national economy is now more and more dependent on the national patents and the represented value that they hold. Now we get European Patents, the Unified Patent Court (UPC) allows for a simpler way to get it all registered and to some extent enforced. So it is a good thing overall, there was never too much fuss about that side, yet the one strong economy (Germany) is now setting the stage to oppose the UPC, we see this (at http://www.ippropatents.com/ippropatentsnews/europenewsarticle.php?article_id=5725), where we also see “Alternative für Deutschland (AFD) has called for the repeal of the convention on a Unified Patent Court (UPC). AFD “rejects the EU patent law reform”, according to the German Bundestag, which announced the motion on 7 March“, I believe that overall the UPC is a good thing, but there will always be small interests that are not perfect, no EU setting is 100% positive, yet overall, to get one filing for all EU nations, in light that even the UK agreed (and ratified) is a good thing. So when we see “It was based on three grounds, mainly how the UPC Agreement violates EU law, the majority requirements of basic law, and does not comply with the rule of law principle related to judicial impartiality. The complaint was scheduled to be heard in 2018 by the second Senate, appearing as the 11th item on its agenda. In Germany’s 2017 federal election, the AFD won 12.6 percent of the vote and received 94 seats, the first time it had won seats in the Bundestag“, there is an academic setting, yet with 12.6 of the council in hands of the AFD, a very Brexiting minded party, or is that Berlout or Deutchleave, we need to realise that the patent issue is a lot more biting in Germany and that cannot be ignored, as they give rise to uncertainties. So when we get back to the uncertainty there, as well as other uncertainties, and whilst we saw Mario Draghi accept that uncertainty results in stagnation, how much more stagnations are required for the next downturn, even a short term one, whilst the economic reserves have been already been drained.

Now we have a much larger setting, the EU was never about everyone agreeing on everything and the economic setting that requires that to happen at present is also making the dangers of waves that sinks the barge called EU. Now, that seems like an exaggeration, but when you realise that the German anchor is the only one giving stability, you can see the dangers the EU faces and more important, the dangers of no reserves and an utter lack to keep proper budgets in place, a setting now in more danger for the reasons that I gave supported by the economic views of many others. I believe some are downplaying the impact, yet when we realise that EVERY European Union government is downplaying the economic impact (as every nation always wants to look as good as possible, which is a PowerPoint setting of the human ago) we get a much more dangerous setting. We accept that the smaller nations have a negligible impact on the whole, but on a ship that can only remain truly stable with four anchors, losing three is a much bigger disaster than anyone realises, and that downplay will hurt all the players that are part of the EU, so when the downturn starts, we will see kneejerk movements from all the nations, all the big players and we can only speculate the fear mongering speculations that the IMF will treat the European audience to. I have no idea what form it will take, but when it happens I will take a deeper look. In a setting where every negative economic milestone could lay waste to whatever reserves its citizens wrongfully thought they had in the first place.

 

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Waking up 5 years late

I have had something like this, I swear it’s true. It was after I came back from the Middle East, I was more of a ‘party person’ in those days and I would party all weekend non-stop. It would start on Friday evening and I would get home Sunday afternoon. So one weekend, I had gone through the nightclub, day club, bars and Shoarma pit stops after which I went home. I went to bed and I get woken up by the telephone. It is my boss, asking me whether I would be coming to work that day. I noticed it was 09:30, I had overslept. I apologised and rushed to the office. I told him I was sorry that I had overslept and I did not expect too much nose as it was the first time that I had overslept. So the follow up question became “and where were you yesterday?” My puzzled look from my eyes told him something was wrong. It was Tuesday! I had actually slept from Sunday afternoon until Tuesday morning. It would be the weirdest week in a lifetime. I had lost an entire day and I had no idea how I lost a day. I still think back to that moment every now and then, the sensation of the perception of a week being different, I never got over it, now 31 years ago, and it still gets to me every now and then.

A similar sensation is optionally hitting Christine Lagarde I reckon, although if she is still hitting the party scene, my initial response will be “You go girl!

You see with “Market power wielded by US tech giants concerns IMF chief” (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/19/market-power-wielded-by-us-tech-giants-concerns-imf-chief-christine-lagarde) we see the issues on a very different level. So even as we all accept “Christine Lagarde, has expressed concern about the market power wielded by the US technology giants and called for more competition to protect economies and individuals”, we see not the message, but the exclusion. So as we consider “Pressure has been building in the US for antitrust laws to be used to break up some of the biggest companies, with Google, Facebook and Amazon all targeted by critics“, I see a very different landscape. You see as we see Microsoft, IBM and Apple missing in that group, it is my personal consideration that this is about something else. You see Microsoft, IBM and Apple have one thing in common. They are Patent Powerhouses and no one messes with those. This is about power consolidation and the fact that Christine Lagarde is speaking out in such a way is an absolute hypocrite setting for the IMF to have.

You see, to get that you need to be aware of two elements. The first is the American economy. Now in my personal (highly opposed) vision, the US has been bankrupt; it has been for some time and just like the entire Moody debacle in 2008. People might have seen in in ‘the Big Short‘, a movie that showed part of it and whilst the Guardian reported ““Moody’s failed to adhere to its own credit-rating standards and fell short on its pledge of transparency in the run-up to the ‘great recession’,” principal deputy associate attorney general Bill Baer said in the statement“, it is merely one version of betrayal to the people of the US by giving protection to special people in excess of billions and they merely had to pay a $864m penalty. I am certain that those billionaires have split that penalty amongst them. So, as I stated, the US should be seen as bankrupt. It is not the only part in this. The Sydney Morning Herald (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/how-trump-s-hair-raising-level-of-debt-could-bring-us-all-crashing-down-20180420-p4zank.html) gives us “Twin reports by the International Monetary Fund sketch a chain reaction of dangerous consequences for world finance. The policy – if you can call it that – puts the US on an untenable debt trajectory. It smacks of Latin American caudillo populism, a Peronist contagion that threatens to destroy the moral foundations of the Great Republic. The IMF’s Fiscal Monitor estimates that the US budget deficit will spike to 5.3 per cent of GDP this year and 5.9 per cent in 2019. This is happening at a stage of the economic cycle when swelling tax revenues should be reducing net borrowing to zero“. I am actually decently certain that this will happen. Now we need to look back to my earlier statement.

You see, if the US borrowing power is nullified, the US is left without any options, unless (you saw that coming didn’t you). The underwriting power of debt becomes patent power. Patents have been set to IP support. I attended a few of those events (being a Master of Intellectual Property Law) and even as my heart is in Trademarks, I do have a fine appreciation of Patents. In this the econometrics of the world are seeing the national values and the value of any GDP supported by the economic value of patents.

In this, in 2016 we got “Innovation and creative endeavors are indispensable elements that drive economic growth and sustain the competitive edge of the U.S. economy. The last century recorded unprecedented improvements in the health, economic well-being, and overall quality of life for the entire U.S. population. As the world leader in innovation, U.S. companies have relied on intellectual property (IP) as one of the leading tools with which such advances were promoted and realized. Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are the principal means for establishing ownership rights to the creations, inventions, and brands that can be used to generate tangible economic benefits to their owner“, as such the cookie has crumbled into where the value is set (see attached), one of the key findings is “IP-intensive industries continue to be a major, integral and growing part of the U.S. economy“, as such we see the tech giants that I mentioned as missing and not being mentioned by Christine Lagarde. It is merely one setting and there are optionally a lot more, but in light of certain elements I believe that patents are a driving force and those three have a bundle, Apple has so many that it can use those patents too buy several European nations. IBM with their (what I personally believe to be) an overvalued Watson, we have seen the entire mess moving forward, presenting itself and pushing ‘boundaries’ as we are set into a stage of ‘look what’s coming’! It is all about research, MIT and Think 2018. It is almost like Think 2018 is about the point of concept, the moment of awareness and the professional use of AI. In that IBM, in its own blog accidently gave away the goods as I see it with: “As we get closer to Think, we’re looking forward to unveiling more sessions, speakers and demos“, I think they are close, they are getting to certain levels, but they are not there yet. In my personal view they need to keep the momentum going, even if they need to throw in three more high exposed events, free plane tickets and all kinds of swag to flim flam the audience. I think that they are prepping for the events that will not be complete in an alpha stage until 2020. Yet that momentum is growing, and it needs to remain growing. Two quotes give us that essential ‘need’.

  1. The US Army signed a 33-month, $135 million contract with IBM for cloud services including Watson IoT, predictive analytics and AI for better visibility into equipment readiness.
  2. In 2017, IBM inventors received more than 1,900 patents for new cloud technologies to help solve critical business challenges.

The second is the money shot. An early estimate is outside of the realm of most, you see the IP Watchdog gave us: “IBM Inventors received a record 9043 US patents in 2017, patenting in such areas as AI, Cloud, Blockchain, Cybersecurity and Quantum Computing technology“, the low estimate is a value of $11.8 trillion dollars. That is what IBM is sitting on. That is the power of just ONE tech giant, and how come that Christine Lagarde missed out on mentioning IBM? I’ll let you decide, or perhaps it was Larry Elliott from the Guardian who missed out? I doubt it, because Larry Elliott is many things, stupid ain’t one. I might not agree with him, or at times with his point of view, but he is the clever one and his views are valid ones.

So in all this we see that there is a push, but is it the one the IMF is giving or is there another play? The fact that banks have a much larger influence in what happens is not mentioned, yet that is not the play and I accept that, it is not what is at stake. There is a push on many levels and even as we agree that some tech giants have a larger piece of the cake (Facebook, Google and Amazon), a lot could have been prevented by proper corporate taxation, but that gets to most of the EU and the American Donald Duck, or was that Trump are all about not walking that road? The fact that Christine has failed (one amongst many) to introduce proper tax accountability on tech giants is a much larger issue and it is not all on her plate in all honesty, so there are a few issues with all this and the supporting views on all this is not given with “Lagarde expressed concern at the growing threat of a trade war between the US and China, saying that protectionism posed a threat to the upswing in the global economy and to an international system that had served countries well“, it is seen in several fields, one field, was given by The Hill, in an opinion piece. The information is accurate it is merely important to see that it has the views of the writer (just like any blog).

So with “Last December, the United States and 76 other WTO members agreed at the Buenos Aires WTO Ministerial to start exploring WTO negotiations on trade-related aspects of e-commerce. Those WTO members are now beginning their work by identifying the objectives of such an agreement. The U.S. paper is an important contribution because it comprehensively addresses the digital trade barriers faced by many companies“, which now underlines “A recent United States paper submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) is a notable step toward establishing rules to remove digital trade barriers. The paper is significant for identifying the objectives of an international agreement on digital trade“. This now directly gives rise to “the American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law also requested that the new NAFTA require increased protections in trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, and patents“, which we get from ‘Ambassador Lighthizer Urged to Include Intellectual Property Protections in New NAFTA‘ (at https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ambassador-lighthizer-urged-to-include-52674/) less than 10 hours ago. So when we link that to the quote “The proposals included: that Canada and Mexico establish criminal penalties for trade secrets violations similar to those in the U.S. Economic Espionage Act, an agreement that Mexico eliminate its requirement that trademarks be visible, a prohibition on the lowering of minimum standards of patent protection“. So when we now look back towards the statement of Christine Lagarde and her exclusion of IBM, Microsoft and Apple, how is she not directly being a protectionist of some tech giants?

I think that the IMF is also feeling the waters what happens when the US economy takes a dip, because at the current debt levels that impact is a hell of a lot more intense and the games like Moody’s have been played and cannot be played again. Getting caught on that level means that the US would have to be removed from several world economic executive decisions, not a place anyone in Wall Street is willing to accept, so that that point Pandora’s Box gets opened and no one will be able to close it at that point. So after waking up 5 years late we see that the plays have been again and again about keeping the status quo and as such the digital rights is the one card left to play, which gives the three tech giants an amount of power they have never had before, so as everyone’s favourite slapping donkey (Facebook) is mentioned next to a few others, it is the issue of those not mentioned that will be having the cake and quality venison that we all desire. In this we are in a dangerous place, even more the small developers who come up with the interesting IP’s they envisioned. As their value becomes overstated from day one, they will be pushed to sell their IP way too early, more important, that point comes before their value comes to fruition and as such those tech giants (Apple, IBM, and Microsoft) will get an even more overbearing value. Let’s be clear they are not alone, the larger players like Samsung, Canon, Qualcomm, LG Electronics, Sony and Fujitsu are also on that list. The list of top players has around 300 members, including 6 universities (all American). So that part of the entire economy is massively in American hands and we see no clear second place, not for a long time. Even as the singled out tech giants are on that list, it is the value that they have that sets them a little more apart. Perhaps when you consider having a go at three of them, whilst one is already under heavy emotional scrutiny is perhaps a small price to pay.

How nice for them to wake up, I merely lost one day once, they have been playing the sleeping game for years and we will get that invoice at the expense of the futures we were not allowed to have, if you wonder how weird that statement is, then take a look at the current retirees, the devaluation they face, the amount they are still about to lose and wonder what you will be left with when you consider that the social jar will be empty long before you retire. The one part we hoped to have at the very least is the one we will never have because governments decided that budgeting was just too hard a task, so they preferred to squander it all away. The gap of those who have and those who have not will become a lot wider over the next 5 years, so those who retire before 2028 will see hardships they never bargained for. So how exactly are you served with addressing “‘too much concentration in hands of the few’ does not help economy“, they aren’t and you weren’t. It is merely the setting for what comes next, because in all this it was never about that. It is the first fear of America that counts. With ‘US ponders how it can stem China’s technology march‘ (at http://www.afr.com/news/world/us-ponders-how-it-can-stem-chinas-technology-march-20180418-h0yyaw), we start seeing that shift, so as we see “The New York Times reported on April 7 that “at the heart” of the trade dispute is a contest over which country plays “a leading role in high-tech industries”. The Wall Street Journal reported on April 12 that the US was preparing rules to block Chinese technology investment in the US, while continuing to negotiate over trade penalties“, we see the shifted theatre of trade war. It will be about the national economic value with the weight of patents smack in the middle. In that regard, the more you depreciate other parts, the more important the value of patents becomes. It is not a simple or easy picture, but we will see loads of econometrics giving their view on all that within the next 2-3 weeks.

Have a great weekend and please do not bother to wake up, it seems that Christine Lagarde didn’t bother waking up for years.

 

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Did UKIP get it right?

That is a question that is slowly growing within the minds of Britons and non-Britons alike. Some will be in denial over it all, some will ignore their inner voice and some will ponder it. You see, once the banter and the mudslinging stops and people are sitting down thinking over a year in political waves, we are slowly getting the aftermath news and suddenly things are a lot less gloomy. Bloomberg gives us “There’s dwindling talk of a recession caused by the vote the leave the European Union, and British politicians are wondering if a “hard Brexit” option –rapid withdrawal from Europe without a new trade agreement – might be feasible. The answer is no. Such views rest upon bad economic reasoning and the cost of Brexit remains high, albeit mostly invisible for the time being“, is part of the news. You see, the scaremongers are now out of the view and the negative impacts, the ones we knew about are showing to be less negative than the scaremongers proclaimed. I agree and always did agree that the cost would be high. Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England had stated it, and in addition stated that there were elements that could not be forecasted. Which is also a truth. They are the invisible costs that will come and come again. The issue in my mind has always been, will it in the end be worth it (are the costs not unaffordable high) and I leaned more and more towards the Yes side!

You see, one of the main reasons for leaning towards Brexit was Mario Draghi. The trillion plus stimulus plans he had were too unfounded. Japan and the US are showing that there had been no clear increase whilst we hear opposite claims. The issue is actually brought to light by Bloomberg last week (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2016-09-08/ecb-s-mario-draghi-downplays-more-stimulus), where we hear at 00:39 that there is an impact on the markets, but no real impact on the economy, which was my issue from the start. Politicians casually mixing both up in their speeches were playing, as I see it a flim-flam artist dictionary game, trying to make us think it is one and the same, yet they all know that it is not. So no real impact yet will over a trillion deeper in debt, only those on the financial markets, only some of them got a big payday out of all of it, the rest just has to assist in paying off the invoice. It is one of the pillars UKIP had!

Now we see even more issues, especially when we see additional issues in City A.M. (at http://www.cityam.com/249335/christine-lagarde-and-mario-draghi-call-politicians-do-more), with the quote “Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB) said governments and institutions needed to make sure their policies did not leave the poorest members of society behind, and called for structural reforms to help share the spoils of economic growth“, the failure of the European Community laid bare! You see, the people on EEC incomes have been meeting and not getting anywhere for almost 15 years now! The fact that tax laws and Corporate laws required revision even before 2004 as a requirement and after 2004 as a given is shown that none of this has been adequately done. The fact that the US played its cards in the Summit in the Netherlands in 2013, we all knew how that ended, so as we see that some are now crying cockroach, whilst littering food all over the floor only have themselves to thank for this situation. This all reflects back on the initial issue UKIP gave, ‘let’s make Britain about the British’. This is not racism, this is nationalism (read: nationalistic pride). An issue that neither Christine Lagarde nor Mario Draghi could resolve as they have been setting a neutral pose in aid of large corporations for far too long.

The next issue is the economic plan B that is now all over the news. The powerful monetary tool (TLTRO) that at 1:37 comes with the quote “that nobody has really fully understood or analysed“, and that is the plan B they are now grasping for!

TLTRO?

It is not a cereal or breakfast solution. It is a Targeted Long-Term Refinancing Operation. The ECB states “provide financing to credit institutions for periods of up to four years. They offer long-term funding at attractive conditions to banks in order to further ease private sector credit conditions and stimulate bank lending to the real economy“, that sounds nice on paper, but if we know that the impact is not understood, has never been analysed to the effect it is, this all whilst we know that taxation laws are failing and corporate laws are not up to scrap, the ECB quote could be translated to “provide financing to credit institutions for periods of up to four years. They offer a refinanced the current outstanding debts to banks, guaranteeing large bonuses by resetting bad debts and revitalising the conditions of what were supposed to be written off debts, giving a false incentive to a dangerous presented economy at present“, you see, I am almost stating the same whilst the intent completely changes, the markets are now getting a boost via the other side. This is a reality we could face!

You see, the view is given with “All the new operations will have a four-year maturity, with the possibility of repayment after two years” (at https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/pr/date/2016/html/pr160310_1.en.html), yet like the US, Greece and Japan, it is almost a given (speculation from my side) that these maturities will be paid with new debts. When we see the quote “Counterparties will be able to repay the amounts borrowed under TLTRO II at a quarterly frequency starting two years from the settlement of each operation. Counterparties will not be subject to mandatory early repayments” gives way to the thought that it is entirely possible that when the debts mature, they could be replaced be a new debt. Giving weight to the dangers. The fact that the option ‘not subject to early repayments’ is clearly included gives ample weight to the solution, whilst not preventing additional debts from this rephrased stimulus. In the end, the economy will not prosper, the rise of the debt will. Whilst under the debts the UK already is, these arrangements are as I see it too dangerous, all this as the increase of debts only give rise and power to non-governmental institutions to grow their influence via corporations over nations. One of the better players (Natixis), had this quote “Natixis Asset Management ranks among the leading European asset managers with €328.6 billion in assets under management” (source at present intentionally omitted), with the TLTRO in play, depending on the rules of the game (which were not available to me at present), it is entirely possible that once really in play, banks can indirectly refinance risky debts in additional loans via the applicant and as such get themselves a boost. It could potentially allow Natixis to grow its asset management part up to 20%. The ECB states (at https://www.ecb.europa.eu/mopo/implement/omo/tltro/html/index.en.html) “The TLTROs are targeted operations, as the amount that banks can borrow is linked to their loans to non-financial corporations and households“, so basically companies in hardship can get relief, whilst the banks will still get their cut (aka administration and processing fee). Consider that Wealth Management is many things and Estate planning is one, now consider that Natixis has Credit and counterparty risks amounting in excess to 295 billion euro’s. Now there is a Draghi solution, one that no one seems to have ‘analysed’ that allows for solutions to non-financial corporations. Natixis is that, but their clients are not, and they can apply for the shifted funds, offsetting their loans, paying of the loans towards Natixis, who now have a massive amount of freed up cash that they can now pour into all kinds of solutions and endeavours. So do you still think that my view of 20% is oversimplified? And in 4 years? Well at that point, when things go south, Natixis and parties alike can jump in and possibly help out, ‘but at a price’ (which is fair enough).

This now reflects back to UKIP and Brexit!

The Guardian had an opinion piece (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/14/ttip-deal-british-sovereignty-cameron-ukip-treaty), that gives us the following, remember this is September 2014! “If you are worried about the power of corporations over our democracy, be very afraid: ISDS in effect grants multinationals the same legal position as a nation-state itself, and allows them to sue sovereign governments in so-called arbitration tribunals on the grounds that their profits are threatened by government policies. Is this scaremongering, as TTIP supporters claim?” So far there have been many voices who seem to be over the moon that the TTIP is now a failure and that the issues within the EU would have been far more reaching that many players were willing to admit to before the signing. Politico.eu reported “U.S. diplomats are sketching out a last-ditch plan to salvage core sections of the EU’s moribund trade deal with Washington“, that with the added “U.S. and Italian officials are now weighing the option of a “Step 1” deal to lock in elements that can be finalized by December, possibly including joint testing regimes and mutually agreed upon standards for cars, pharmaceuticals and medical devices“. It is clear that the US want to lock in Pharmaceuticals and cars, yet how is such a niche nothing more than a path trying to ditch the title ‘total loser government’ regarding the current administration. In addition “The idea has sparked immediate scepticism in the European Commission and in some EU member countries, which argue that any form of a downgraded deal will be very hard to sell politically, particularly after French Trade Minister Matthias Fekl and German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel turned hostile on the negotiations” gives way that BMW, Mercedes, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Peugeot, Citroen and Sanofi are none too pleased with such a one sided piece of paper. The idea that such set benefits would be allotted at this point gives even more weight to some of the UKIP statements in the past.

If 2 out of the many projection come true, you are not suddenly a better prognosticator, mainly because that title is reserved for the likes of Punxsutawney Phil, Queen Charlotte and Shubenacadie Sam. Let’s face it, it is the title worthy of a groundhog! But some of these steps were clearly seen, because this is where everything was headed, the more forward you look, the easier the prediction could come true is not wrong, but only if you are travelling on a straight road. A road that corporate greed depends on I might say!

In my view, there is not enough to state that UKIP got it right, yet there are also enough facts and questions in play that UKIP did not get it wrong. We might listen those who keep on shouting that Brexit was wrong and see them as the people trying to reinvent the vote, but overall people are starting to realise that the US (read Wall Street) has been trying to give people a bad deal to benefit their own greed. The fact that this is going on at this very minute is equally a worry. This is on both sides of the isle, yet we can understand that Labour needs to clean house and they have decided on the method of accidentally leaking names. How will that solve anything? If Labour was on the ball, than they would steering towards real economic improvements, not bickering minors trying to decide who should be the number two, and soon thereafter remove the number one (read: allegedly attempt to). Actions that are totally counterproductive as the Conservatives are governing until the next general elections. It seems like such a waste of energy to me.

Now we see a new escalation. It seems (at http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/jean-claude-juncker-proposes-new-european-military-hq-worj-towards-eu-army-1581391). So the quote “The president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has called for a European Union military headquarters to work towards an EU-controlled army. Juncker made the proposals during his State of the Union address to MEPs in Strasbourg on Wednesday (14 September)“, which automatically makes me wonder how this correlates with Nazi Germany as this was how they resolves their bad economic times. It is a harsh history lesson to learn, but in that I am actually less afraid for a ‘new’ Nazi Europe. My issue is that many nations have their Cyber plan not in hand and any actions here give rise to the dangers that this would open up data for the Chinese Cyber groups to learn a lot more than they bargained for. You see, no matter how much denial we see, the facts are simple, Ren Zhengfei is the Huawei CEO and a former officer for the PLA. Now this does not mean that he is now still committed to the PLA, yet Huawei does business with the Chinese government and as such, they have all the specs and as such, they have all the weaknesses  of these devices too, meaning that governments all over Europe are in a possible place of Cyber Scrutiny. This does not mean that I am willing to just blindly accept the NSA report, but ties like that, when you are on these levels talking to the ruling members of Chinese government, you need to be networking on a massive scale and if both the Chinese military and Chinese Intelligence (MSS) gives you the thumbs up, you have been playing the game they want you to play, plain and simple. By the way, this is not a rant, or a side step into the matter, this is a direct factual response. Nigel Farage addressed the EU on an EU Army opposing it on valid points, and he got a few more hands clapping than his opponents are comfortable with. Now this was about opposition of the EU army as a whole, but underneath is the need for any military organisation to be secure and have systems in place, systems that could be compromised. In this Huawei could validly give the same argument that all Cisco Systems are compromised by the CIA and NSA. As we cannot prove either side, or perhaps even both sides, how to proceed? Both sides would be fair enough and it only makes a case strong enough to not proceed with any EU Army, which is no solution to any existing threat, will cost massive amounts of money (and that just the initial infrastructure) and with the current upcoming changes to the EC as a whole. Especially as Marine Le Pen has vowed to hold the French referendum if she is elected, this whilst several European magazines are now stating that France can no longer avoid Frexit (at https://www.letemps.ch/economie/2016/09/12/france-ne-pourra-eviter-frexit), which I stated was a growing realistic danger if Brexit would commence, in addition, Italy is seeding its own departure later this year, but no given certainty exists at present.

All these parts I gave visibility to almost 2 years ago, the press still largely in denial and additional players are now coming out to (as I personally see it) fill their pockets as fast as possible because when this comes to town and the referendums do fall, certain people will have to give account of their actions. The fact will remain that the Credit Card that Mario Draghi used will be spread over several nations, most of them with no option to get into deeper debt. So they have this to look forward to. In Italy there seems to be a plus side, as the larger players are now looking towards the option of as referendum, the act as such seems to be taking the wind out of the sails of Matteo Salvini, head of the far-right Lega Nord, which is regarded as a relief in many European nations. They seem to regard Matteo Salvini the same way that they regard the French Newspaper Minute, too far to the right and not really that readable. I cannot confirm that (as my French does not surpass the ability to read a menu), but I understand the sentiment as there have been Dutch papers on the other side of the political isle receiving similar accusations.

In the end Europe is about to take economic steps with large implications, the fact that they are trying to push it through regardless of whatever consideration it required, which makes me worried on the fact that the impact on the European populations have been ignored for too long. The weird thing is that any action should have been in support of the European population and their needs, giving weight to more than one statement from the side of Nigel Farage.

I would suggest you ponder those facts before blindly moving into the Bremain field in the near future, because there are several issues that no one can answer and they come with obscenely high price tags!

 

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The Next Nail

This is not the first nail, this is not the second nail; this is merely the next nail that is set upon the top of a coffin. We can argue that this was the last nail that was produced in Scunthorpe as Tata Steel sheds one in six jobs in the UK. This is only the beginning of an onset that many, including me had predicted this in some form. Yes, it is only in some form, because there were too many parameters that could fit the situation and as the levels change the combination resulted in different elements to shut down. Yet, this is not about steel, not about those steelworkers, or about Tata Steel. It is merely a facet in all this. Consider the two articles. The first ‘The Eurozone needs a strong French economy‘ from October 8th (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/oct/08/the-eurozone-needs-a-strong-french-economy), the second ‘Italy budget: Renzi risks Brussels battle‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/oct/15/italy-budget-renzi-risks-brussels-battle) and the third ‘ECB meeting to be closely watched for stimulus talk‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/oct/18/ecb-meeting-to-be-closely-watched-for-stimulus-talk-qe) from October 18th. The articles are not related, but they show the continued path people should have been warned against. People should have been warned because those in charge are spending the little leeway they had to leave a mess for many others to clean up. Let’s take a look at my reasoning, because if that is at fault, than so are the conclusions.

You see, new rounds of stimulus are set to ward of deflation as it is hinted at in the third article. So basically, Europe will print more money this money is spend on all kinds of things, this in time when the treasury coffers of nearly EVERY European nation cannot afford it. Let’s take a little step back in time. Let’s take a look at Germany 1920’s, at this time inflation was growing at an alarming rate, but the government simply printed more and more banknotes to pay the bills. So, bills were printed to fight inflation perhaps? I actually remember holding one of those banknotes, for 15 seconds I felt rich, then I realised no one would touch that money, which is pretty much the feeling the people in those days had. The actions behind this were the Treaty of Versailles and the 1921 London Schedule of Payments. We can ‘paraphrase’ that into ‘debts’. So as we now see that governments have debts and that more and more money is printed, is the difference not merely cosmetic at best?

The next part is shown in the second article. The subtitle gives us the power part. ‘Italian prime minister unveils business-friendly tax cuts and rise in spending despite EU warning plans may breach austerity rules‘, another government that has decided to change the rules as it befits them. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is showing Italy and others a budget that they cannot afford. The line “Renzi said €5bn (£3.7bn) of tax cuts would include the abolition of a wealth tax on the main residence of all Italians, worth around €200 a year to most homeowners” gives us the first worry. Even though at 73% home ownership seems high, but is that the same in places like Venice, Milano, Rome and the larger cities? Or will that show that the 25% not owned by the tenant is still owned by someone, which would be giving massive benefits to the ‘Amici di Silvio Berlusconi‘ perhaps?

The next quote is “This year not only are the taxes not going up but they are coming down”, which sounds great to the people of Italy and they are welcome to it, yet the reality is not that great. In 2010 the debt was 2.4 trillion, or well over 110% of GDP. In 2013 it had risen to 130% of GDP, and even though the debt seemed to go down, these short sighted actions would show soon enough that Italian debt will increase, what happens then? Consider that the debt has grown to the effect that the due interest is almost 2,500€ per second. Yes, per second! So, in which universe is stopping reducing the debt a good idea? According to some sources, the wealthy of Italy has moved almost 200 billion away from the Italian shores. So that part will not get taxed any day soon. Another quote that matters is “Alessandro Zattoni, an economics professor at the LUISS business school in Rome, said the EU commission is concerned that the deterioration in world trade following the slowdown in China could hurt the Italian economy, hitting tax revenues and further widening the budget deficit“, I cannot deny that this is a factor, yet what other shores could Italy approach? It seems that the UK, the bulk of the EEC and a few others are considering China to be the economic oil of salvation. Yet, how realistic is that? My issue comes from the last part. “The Eurozone’s return to negative inflation is driven by cheaper energy costs, which fell 8.9% year-on-year following the tumble in oil prices“, well is ‘negative inflation’ not deflation? Seems a little ‘wankish’ to hide behind a double negative, doesn’t it? And how about the other part, ‘driven by cheaper energy cost’, in my view, cheaper energy means that  the people keep a little more in their pockets, it could be used for lowering their debt or even buying consumer items. Perhaps that money is needed to pay for the 1.4% increase for food. So many options, yet if governments are depending on the revenue from their energy systems, what other mistakes are they making? Profit from energy to corporations? Could be, but how much revenue would that be?

So as we see this news, when we hear that the ‘Risk of global financial crash has increased, warns IMF‘, which gives us the first paragraph “The risk of a global financial crash has increased because a slowdown in China and decline in world trade are undermining the stability of highly indebted emerging economies, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)“, which is what I proclaimed for a long time. I never proclaimed that China’s economy would slowdown. This is because I had no decent numbers to compare this against, yet the need for manufacturing was a known and in that Europe has been in decline for some time. In addition, CNN reported ‘More cracks are showing up in America’s economy‘, with the quote “The Fed worries about negative inflation, which is associated with weak economic conditions and a symptom that prices and perhaps wages could be falling“, which is the second entity that seems to be ‘debutanting’ towards governments by avoiding the ‘deflation’ word. Which gets us to the quote “The September jobs report on October 2 was nothing short of disappointing. The U.S. added only 142,000 jobs in September. It stood in sharp contrast to the previous 12 months when the U.S. economy added an average of 256,000 jobs per month. Wages haven’t grown either. Job gains in July and August were also revised down“. This is the start of the issues that will also hit Europe. We will not notice this immediately as the US has to deal with Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas. This gives us a slightly better ‘time’ according to the economists, yet as Italy makes their changing and as the people in Europe will get more stimulus, the overall balance becomes less and less. This gets us to the final quote by CNN “As the global economy worsens, it appears the U.S. economy might not have the strength to prop up its peers. Instead, it might be getting dragged down by them“, which seems to be a mere exercise in simplicity when we look at cause and effect of the situation.

So how does France fit into all of this? Well, with Germany down and Italy taking a dive only the UK and France remain to keep the mess afloat, the two nations that are now in the process of dealing with an exit from all of this forced through its population. There is no guarantee it will be solved, there is absolutely no guarantee that either will remain within the Euro even within the EEC is a stretch at this time. All because proper financial legislation and better budgeting was something none of these governments seemed to have taken on, now there are little to no options left.

The quote “Whenever someone proposes turning the Eurozone into a transfer union, as France’s economy minister, Emmanuel Macron, recently did, the presumption is that Germany will carry everyone else on its shoulders. But why should only Germany have that responsibility? France’s economy is roughly three-quarters the size of Germany’s” is adamant here. France has the export article the entire world needs, and loves (fermented grape juice). Beyond that the bigger items (Cheese) has its own survivability, yet is that enough? Well, that is the question, more important none of these articles make the top 5 of export for France.

  • Machines, engines, pumps: US$66.3 billion (11.7% of total exports)
  • Aircraft, spacecraft: $57.7 billion (10.2%)
  • Vehicles: $47.6 billion (8.4%)
  • Electronic equipment: $44 billion (7.8%)
  • Pharmaceuticals: $35.2 billion (6.2%)

So Even as we get the following part “Progressive economists love the French government for spending a staggering 57% of GDP, compared with government expenditure of 44% of GDP for Germany“, yet there is also a problem, as far as I was able to find (apart from the presentation at the end of this blog), France, like several nations are setting their budgets against GDP, yet when the GDP goes down, spending does not go down, the debt just increases. It is one of several factors that show the inability to properly hold any level of budgeting ability. So as we look at the top 5 mentioned earlier, they represent 44.2% at 250 billion, giving us 566 billion, when we consider that France had a GDP of $2.8 trillion, we end up seeing that Export makes up slightly more than 20% of GDP, which is too low. What does speak for France is the fact that their economy seems to be decently diversified. So the negative impact of one industry is not as intense as some other countries face. Still with 5.7 trillion in debt, the French have quite the uphill battle to face, I honestly cannot say whether within the EEC or not, within the Euro or not is the best solution, but as European rules get ignored more and more, as governments are setting ‘new’ targets, we see that within either the Euro or the EEC is not ever going to be a solution. As several countries are trying to get cosy with China and as we now see statements that ‘7% growth is not set in stone’, we must all realise that every nation in the world is matching bad news management with the need to be seen as in ‘deflating’, so negative inflating it is. Who are they kidding?

This all comes to blow with the final Guardian article (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/24/india-rather-than-china-target-of-britains-charm-offensive) titled ‘Perhaps India, rather than China, should be the target of Britain’s charm offensive‘, which is a fair statement by Ian Jack, yet I have been advocating for a stronger Commonwealth link for a long time. Will it be the better deal? That is a separate question, yet in all this, stronger Commonwealth ties also means and implies that overall a stronger Commonwealth would be the result. A thought that should benefit many people within the Commonwealth.

 

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