Europe Launches War On Italy’s Fiscal Plans: Warns Of Debt “Explosion”, Threatens Savers

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In the aftermath of Italy’s defiant announcement that it would expand its 2019 budget deficit to 2.4% of GDP, above both the initial proposal from finmin Tria which was 1.6%, and also higher than the European “redline” of 2.0%, the question was how would Europe respond to this open mutiny by Italy.

The answers started to emerge on Friday, when European Parliament head Antonio Tajani said that fiscal targets set by Italy’s eurosceptic government were “against the people” and could hit savers without creating jobs.

“I am very concerned for what is happening in Italy,” said Tajani, who is a center-right opposition politician in Italy and close ally to former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The budgetary plans “will not raise employment but will cause trouble to the savings of the Italians,” Tajani said. Continue reading

British govt report suggests US is currently winning trade war with China

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China has already declared its intent to retaliate against US President Donald Trump’s new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports, a move set to raise prices on consumer goods for both countries.

Several analysts have demonstrated how Trump’s tariffs will blowback on the US economy. Moody’s Investment Service previously warned that the tariffs would reduce US GDP by 0.25 percent in 2019, to about 2.3 percent. The American economy could take an even bigger hit if Trump proceeds with tariffs on $200 bn worth of Chinese products, Moody’s warned. Continue reading

Iran Sanctions Are Damaging The Dollar

Iran

 

Painful sanctions on Iran have demonstrated the long reach of the U.S. Treasury, forcing much of the globe to fall in line and cut oil imports from Iran despite widespread disagreement over the policy. Yet, we are only in the first few chapters of what may ultimately be a long story that ends with the erosion of the power of the U.S. dollar.

The role of the greenback in the international financial system is the reason why the U.S. can prevent much of the world from buying oil from Iran. Oil is traded in dollars, and so much of international commerce is based in dollars. In fact, as much as 88 percent of all foreign exchange trades involve the greenback. Continue reading

Greece’s Bailout May Be Over, but Not Its Economic Woes

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A ripped off Greek national flag flutters in central Athens on July 22, 2015. (Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Underlying obstacles to job creation and entrepreneurship remain

After eight years, Greece has finally exited bailout territory, and the European Union is making a strong case that the program was a success.

While Greece may have ended the bailout process, the underlying issues that wrecked its economy in the first place remain largely intact. Continue reading

The Tectonic Plates of Geopolitics Are Starting to Shift

The United States is currently waging economic warfare against one tenth of the world’s countries with cumulative population of nearly 2 billion people and combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $15 trillion.

These include Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, North Korea and others on which Washington has imposed sanctions over the years, but also countries like China, Pakistan and Turkey which are not under full sanctions but rather targets of other punitive economic measures.

In addition, thousands of individuals from scores of countries are included in the Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals who are effectively blocked from the U.S.-dominated global financial system. Many of those designated are either part of or closely linked to their countries’ leadership…

But in recent months it seems that America’s unwavering commitment to fight all of the world’s scourges has brought all those governments and the wealthy individuals who support them to a critical mass, joining forces to create a parallel financial system which would be out of reach of America’s long arm. Should they succeed, the impact on America’s global posture would be transformational.

– From the recent article: The Anti-Dollar Awakening Could Be Ruder and Sooner Than Most Economists Predict

The peak of American empire has already come and gone, a reality not yet widely appreciated due to the continued dominance of the global financial system by the U.S. dollar, still the world’s preeminent reserve currency. U.S. leaders have always used the USD as a weapon, but it’s only in recent years that geopolitical rivals and long-standing allies alike have started to come to an increasingly vocal understanding that the unipolar role played by the U.S. in the world’s centralized financial system is well past its expiration date. Continue reading

The ingredients for civil war

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Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the US Presidential Election and the Brexit win here in 2016 brought the social divisions of both countries to the fore.

James Bartholomew was quick to highlight the dangers of Britain’s new great divide. In a Spectator article after the EU referendum result, he showed how it had exposed a split Britain – geographically between city and country, and socio-economically between the haves and the have-nots; and one overarching divide: between the metropolitan elite and the rest.

Changes brought about by globalisation and large-scale immigration had affected different classes in contrasting ways. Continue reading

Signs Point to a Global Slowdown

Signs Point to a Global Slowdown

 

As gold has struggled through 2018, (down over 10% from $1,363/oz. on January 25 to $1,215/oz. today), my forecast for a strong year-end for gold has remained unchanged.

This forecast is based on a better-late-than-never realization by the Fed that they are overtightening into fundamental economic weakness, followed quickly by a full-reversal flip to easing in the form of pauses on rate hikes in September and December.

Those pauses will be an admission the Fed sees no way out of its multiple rounds of QE and extended zero interest rate policy from 2008 to 2013 without causing a new recession. Once that occurs, inflation is just a matter of time. Gold will respond accordingly. Continue reading

Maduro admits failure: ‘No more whining . . . We need to make Venezuela’ (great again)

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During a speech in which the power went out while he was on live television, Venezuela’s socialist president admitted his economic model has “failed.”

“The production models we’ve tried so far have failed and the responsibility is ours, mine and yours,” President Nicolas Maduro told his ruling PSUV party congress on July 30. Continue reading

Is CNN Creating a Civil War?

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COMMENT: From Europe, we are looking at your CNN and it really has become just propaganda and fake news. I was not a fan of Trump, but I have to say, he has done a great job probably better than any world leader. He has revised trade and has turned North Korea while your unemployment is now below 4% at 1960s level and you have a GDP growth of 4% while we have unemployment still in the 60% level among the youth and economic growth is at best 2.4%. It is hard to see why CNN turns everything negative. Continue reading

The Road to War: China vs the US

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In 2016 Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, declared that there was no doubt, in his mind, that the US would go to war with China in the South China Sea in the next five to 10 years.

A US-Chinese military conflict would be on top of a vow by Trump in his inaugural presidential address, to not only take on radical Islamic terrorism but to “eradicate it from the face of the Earth.” This would be done by building up America’s already supreme military. “Our military dominance must be unquestioned,” the billionaire businessman, who now controlled the most powerful political office in the world, declared in his first address to the nation.

A year and a half after that speech, the United States is not at war with China, but its economic saber-rattling is arguably the beginning of a confrontation between the world’s largest and second-largest economies. Trump’s tariff threats against not only China but Europe, Canada, Mexico and its other trade partners, are also symbolic of a shift in US foreign policy towards a more isolationist stance – one that may not strictly be due to Trump’s belligerent personality. This article will get into the antecedents of this economic and military showdown and point the way to some possible future scenarios, including a war in space. Continue reading

President Trump Sends NATO Into Meltdown

Note: Please see the video at the source.

 

After threatening to walk away from the alliance over spending issues, he claims the other members have agreed to his demand during an emergency meeting.

After hinting that the U.S. might withdraw from the alliance if NATO’s members won’t adhere to their commitment to spending requirements, President Donald Trump sent the heads of state from all 29 member countries scrambling into emergency session—after which he emerged claiming a new victory.

The president got the ball rolling on the final day of the NATO summit in Brussels by tweeting:

“What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.” Continue reading

Russell Napier: “Trade War Is The Beginning Of A New Global Monetary System”

A Country Matures, An Exchange Rate Declines

After two weeks on the road visiting clients your analyst returns with a better view of the consensus outlook. There is, though, much in the consensus to disagree with. In particular it seems peculiar that the consensus believes the democratically elected government of Italy, with policies entirely contrary to EU membership, will be put through the bureaucratic meat grinder in Rome and Brussels and turned into EU sausage, in a similar process that minced the political representatives of Greece.

While this might well be the case, it is hard to understand that the grinding destruction of this democracy, even if it is only moderate compared to the Greek experience, can be anything but bad for growth and asset prices in the EU. Disciplining these politicians to abandon their manifesto promises and follow the ways of the EU is highly unlikely to be a painless experience, either for Italy or the rest of the EU. Nonetheless, investors are content to believe that a painless disciplining of Italy’s elected representatives is all but inevitable. We shall see.

Perhaps the most prevailing consensus view is that the recent weakness of the RMB represents a Chinese counter-punch in the trade war with the US. Coming when it does, it is easy to see the accelerated decline of the RMB as a tactical and not a strategic move. Comments by the PBOC on July 3rd have probably reassured many investors that the managed exchange rate regime is not at risk and that the RMB will continue to be managed against a basket of currencies. Your analyst does not agree. Continue reading

Why Italians are fed up with Europe

Joep Bertrams

 

The rise to government of Eurosceptic parties is the consequence of austerity policies made in the name of cleaner public finances and of the euro convergence criteria.

Two Eurosceptic forces are now governing Italy. On one hand the 5-Star Movement, the anti-system party of Luigi de Maio founded by the humorist Beppe Grillo. On the other, far-right xenophobic Liga led by Matteo Salvini. How could this have happened? How did one of the European Union’s six founding members, host of Treaty of Rome in 1957, and for a long time the EU’s most Europhile country, give a parliamentary majority to groups so hostile to European integration? Continue reading

Recession Alert: World Headed for Cyclical Slowdown

Note: Please see the source for the rest of the charts.

 

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Despite the U.S. leading economic indicators appearing healthy, the global economy appears to be headed for a slowdown, with only 34% of the 40 countries we track having leading economic indicators (LEI’s) signalling growth ahead, and the actual GDP-weighted Global LEI growth now below zero (click any image to enlarge): Continue reading

Cologne Institute of German Business Warns of Deposit Protection May Not Survive in Europe

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The Cologne Institute of German Business sees in the planned European deposit insurance is simply incapable of proving protection against a bank crash in Europe. The EU deposit guarantee is simply not practical under any concept of austerity. The Eurozone still has inherent significant risks in the balance sheets of European financial institutions. This is primarily because where the USA took the bad loans from the banks and stuffed them into Freddie and Fanny, in Europe, the bad loans are still on the books of the banks. Systemically, this has been the leading problem why Europe has been unable to recover and Quantitative Easing merely robber savers of their income and it failed completely to stimulate the economy. Banks were still reluctant to lend and people would not borrow if they did not have confidence in the future. Continue reading