Italy: A Brewing Storm Within the EU

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Over the last couple of years, the main challenge to EU cohesion has been Brexit, with the media sharply focused on the negotiations and all relevant developments. Since the release of the draft withdrawal agreement, largely perceived as a victory for the EU, those who support the European project and believe in a strong leadership from Brussels have projected confidence and optimism for the future. According to these voices, the divisions caused by the rise of nationalism and populism in the past years are healing, the relationship between member states is normalizing, while a future of stability and harmony awaits.

However, such a vision might prove naive, as it discounts a much greater risk to the EU than Brexit ever was: the political and economic powder keg that is Italy. Continue reading

China likely hacked US banking regulator – congressional report

WASHINGTON: The Chinese government likely hacked computers at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 2010, 2011 and 2013, according a congressional report on Wednesday that cited an internal investigation by the banking regulator. Continue reading

“De-Dollarization” Deepens: Russia Buys Most Gold In Six Months, Continues Selling US Treasuries

The rumors of Russia selling its gold reserves, it is now clear, were greatly exaggerated as not only did Putin not sell, Russian gold reserves rose by their largest amount in six months in December to just over $46 billion (near the highest since April 2013). It appears all the “Russia is selling” chatter did was lower prices enabling them to gather non-fiat physical assets at a lower cost. On the other hand, there is another trend that continues for the Russians – that of reducing their exposure to US Treasury debt. For the 20th month in a row, Russia’s holdings of US Treasury debt fell year-over-year – selling into the strength.

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Bundesbank calls for capital levy to avert government bankruptcies

Lets be absolutely clear: As history has shown us through repetition, there is no such thing as a “one-off” capital levy, which is a fancy and whitewashed term for stealing from the citizens — yet it is spinned in such a way that the people perceive it as their government working hard in their interests. Once the government has confiscated a piece of wealth, it will consider it a test of the public’s patience, and likely do it again. We saw it in Cyprus, Greece, Hungary and Poland the last few years — and these are only examples during modern times. As the economies continue to plunge, they will take more and more until everything has imploded.

(Reuters) – Germany’s Bundesbank said on Monday that countries about to go bankrupt should draw on the private wealth of their citizens through a one-off capital levy before asking other states for help.

The Bundesbank’s tough stance comes after years of euro zone crisis that saw five government bailouts. There have also bond market interventions by the European Central Bank in, for example, Italy where households’ average net wealth is higher than in Germany. Continue reading