Remember when Bitcoin and its digital currency cohorts were slammed by authorities and written off by the elite as worthless? Well now, as the war on cash escalates, officials from The IMF to China are seeing the opportunity to control the world’s money through virtual (cash-less) currencies. Just as we warned most recently here, state wealth control is the goal and, as Bloomberg reports, The PBOC is targeting an early rollout of China’s own digital currency to “boost control of money” and none other than The IMF’s Christine Lagarde added that “virtual currencies are extremely beneficial.”
By way of background, as we explained previously, What exactly does a “war on cash” mean?It means governments are limiting the use of cash and a variety of official-mouthpiece economists are calling for the outright abolition of cash. Authorities are both restricting the amount of cash that can be withdrawn from banks, and limiting what can be purchased with cash.
These limits are broadly called “capital controls.”
You’ve probably read that there is a “war on cash” being waged on various fronts around the world. What exactly does a “war on cash” mean?
It means governments are limiting the use of cash and a variety of official-mouthpiece economists are calling for the outright abolition of cash. Authorities are both restricting the amount of cash that can be withdrawn from banks, and limiting what can be purchased with cash.
These limits are broadly called “capital controls.” Continue reading
Now Berlin’s Troika is gunning for the cash.
Two weeks ago we explained why Greek banks, which Greece no longer has any direct control over having handed over the keys to their operations to the ECB as part of Bailout #3’s terms, are a “strong sell” at any price: due to the collapse of the local economy as a result of the velocity of money plunging to zero thanks to capital controls which just had their 1 month anniversary, bank Non-Performing Loans, already at €100 billion (out of a total of €210 billion in loans), are rising at a pace as high as €1 billion per day (this was confirmed when the IMF boosted Greece’s liquidity needs by €25 billion in just two weeks), are rising at a pace unseen at any time in modern history.
Which means that any substantial attempt to bailout Greek banks would require a massive, new capital injection to restore confidence; however as we reported, a recapitalization of the Greek banks will hit at least shareholders and certain bondholders under a new set of European regulations—the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive—enacted at the beginning of the year. And since Greek banks are woefully undercapitalized and there is already a danger of depositor bail-ins, all securities that are below the depositor claim in the cap structure will have to be impaired, as in wiped out. Continue reading
Tsipras went against 61% of the population and its no-vote referendum, and now Greece has been fully compromised and is in the beginning stages of German/Troika control. Greece is now effectively a vassal state.
It has been one month since Greek capital controls were imposed, and as we explained earlier, Greece is nowhere closer to having its deposit limits lifted. In fact, with several more months of capital controls at least, the Greek banks are likely to suffer ongoing balance sheet impairments which will ultimately result in depositor bail-ins, with Germany already pushing for haircuts on deposits over €100,000.
However, when it comes to banks there is at least still the illusion that Greece has some residual sovereignty. The reality is that it does not, as Greece is no longer an independent nation, and as of July 15, the Greek “In Dependence” day, every Greek decision needs to get pre-approval from both the ECB, Brussels and, naturally, Berlin. Continue reading
Earlier today, John O’Connell, CEO of Davis Rea, spoke to Canada’s BNN from what may be Greece’s top tourist attraction, the island of Santorini, to give a sense of the “mood on the ground.” Not surprisingly, his feedback was that, at least as far as tourists are concerned, nobody is worried. After all, it is not their funds that are capital constrained plus should the Drachma return as the local currency, the purchasing power of foreigners will skyrocket. Continue reading
Several Western countries issued travel warnings for Greece on Sunday, as the Greek government shut down all banks and imposed capital controls following the breakdown of talks between Athens and the European Union. British and American citizens traveling or living in Greece were advised to have enough cash on hand, as ATMs were quickly running out of currency. In a late-night televised address to the nation, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said banks would remain closed until July 6 –the day after Greeks vote in a nationwide referendum on whether to accept the bailout terms proposed to Greece by its creditors. Police tightened security around ATM machines, as lines were reportedly formed in petrol stations in the capital. Continue reading
Greek banks will remain shut for an unspecified time and the country is imposing restrictions on bank withdrawals following a recommendation by the Bank of Greece, the country’s prime minister said Sunday.
Sunday’s move comes after two days of long lines forming at ATMs across the country, following Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ sudden decision to call a referendum on creditor proposals for Greek reforms in return for vital bailout funds. Continue reading
The Greek proposals included higher taxes and welfare charges and steps to curtail early retirement. This is simply more deflationary pressure that will crack Greece apart. However, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is not prepared to cut nominal pension or wage cuts first sought by lenders, which would more likely than not spark revolution. Tsipras was elected in January on a promise to end austerity measures, also appeared to have avoided raising value added tax on electricity or loosening job protection laws. He is not fulfilling the will of the people making his election highly questionable. He refuses to look at the Greek economy or the Euro. All he is doing is trying to now support Brussels over his own country – a VERY BAD MOVE. Continue reading
In Athens on Friday, the ATM lines began to form in earnest.
Although estimates vary, Kathimerini, citing Greek banking officials, puts Friday’s deposit outflow at €1.7 billion. If true, that would mark a serious step up from the estimated €1.2 billion that left the banking system on Thursday and serves to underscore just how critical the ECB’s emergency decision to lift the ELA cap by €1.8 billion truly was. “Banks expressed relief following Frankfurt’s reaction, acknowledging that Friday could have ended very differently without a new cash injection,” the Greek daily said, adding that the ECB’s expectation of “a positive outcome in Monday’s meeting”, suggests ELA could be frozen if the stalemate remains after leaders convene the ad hoc summit. Bloomberg has more on the summit:
Dorothea Lambros stood outside an HSBC branch in central Athens on Friday afternoon, an envelope stuffed with cash in one hand and a 38,000 euro ($43,000) cashier’s check in the other.
She was a few minutes too late to make her deposit at the London-based bank. She was too scared to take her life-savings back to her Greek bank. She worried it wouldn’t survive the weekend.
“I don’t know what happens on Monday,” said Lambros, a 58-year-old government employee.
Greece’s central bank has issued the clearest warning yet that the country is on course to default on its sovereign debt at the end of the month and crash out of the single currency, while finance ministers across Europe also confirmed they are making contingency plans for a messy ending to the crisis.
Athens is due to repay €1.6bn to the International Monetary Fund on 30 June but will be unable to do so unless its creditors release a €7.2bn bailout payment before then. Continue reading
Greece’s spiralling debt crisis saw cash withdrawals total €400m on Monday. While anxiety varies around Athens, few Greeks see benefit in leaving the euro
“Everybody’s doing it,” said Joanna Christofosaki, in front of a Eurobank cash dispenser in the leafy Athens neighbourhood of Kolonaki. “Our friends have all done it. Nobody wants their money to be worthless tomorrow. Nobody wants to be unable to get at it.”
A researcher in the archaeology department at the Academy of Athens, Christofosaki said she knew plenty of people who had “€10,000 somewhere at home” and plenty of others who chose to keep their stash at the office. Was she among them? “If I was, I certainly wouldn’t tell you.” Continue reading
The situation in Greece has escalated meaningfully since last week. After the IMF effectively threw in the towel and sent its negotiating team back to Washington on Thursday, EU and Greek officials agreed to meet in Brussels over the weekend in what was billed as a last ditch effort to end a long-running impasse and salvage some manner of deal in time to allow for the disbursement of at least part of the final tranche of aid ‘due’ to Greece under its second bailout program. Talks collapsed on Sunday however as Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, under pressure from the Left Platform, refused (again) to compromise on pension reform and the VAT, which are “red lines” for both the IMF and for Syriza party hardliners. Continue reading
PANIC has descended on Greece as the debt-stricken country careers out the eurozone – with savers pulling millions in cash while investors continue to flee financial markets.
The Greek Prime Minister today blasted Athens’ European Union creditors who he said were trying to “humiliate” and “strangle” Greece into making proposed spending cuts in return for bailout cash.
Alexis Tsipras confirmed that talks have completely stalled, with the two sides in total stalemate over austerity measures. Continue reading
This was not supposed to happen: by now the Greek insolvency “can” should have been kicked, and the Greek government, realizing the money has run out for both the government and the banking system, should have folded to Troika demands, and allow the Troika money to return repaying obligations to the Troika in exchange for more spending cuts.
Instead, the “game theoretical” approach of bluffing until the end, and beyond, has put both countries in a corner from which neither knows how to escape, and with the “final deal deadline” passing this weekend we now have quotes such as this from the EU:
- OVERTVELDT: GIVING IN TO GREECE WOULD UNDERMINE EU CREDIBILITY
As was reported a month ago HERE.
Two weeks after Greece’s leftwing Syriza party won power at the election in January, Panayotis Fotiades pulled his deposits from an Athens bank.
“I felt certain there’d be a confrontation before long with the troika [of bailout monitors],” said the 55-year-old .
Like other owners of small and medium-sized companies in Greece, Mr Fotiades feared a radical government would resort to capital controls if relations with the country’s creditors deteriorated sharply. Continue reading