U.S. Issues New Warning to Europe: End Business With Iran or Face Harsh Sanctions

Iran Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meets with representatives of the European Union for Foreign Affairs

Iran Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meets with representatives of the European Union for Foreign Affairs / Getty Images

 

Trump admin, Congress issue warnings that could impact international financial institutions

Congress and the Trump administration are issuing a stern warning to European partners: End all business ties with the Iranian regime or face harsh new sanctions in the coming months, a move that could impact international financial markets and U.S. banks tied to foreign monetary institutions, according to multiple senior U.S. officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about diplomatic efforts to pressure Europe on Iran. Continue reading

The Truth About the Fort Knox Gold

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One of the little-known items on the Fed’s balance sheet is a vital asset it received from the U.S. Treasury a long time ago…

During the Great Depression, in 1933, President Roosevelt issued an executive order requiring anyone with gold to surrender it to a Federal Reserve bank or any member bank of the Federal Reserve system.

The Federal Reserve banks also required the commercial banks to hand over their gold to the Fed. Now, suddenly, the gold went out of the commercial banks into the Federal Reserve Bank. Continue reading

Blockchain Technology – What Is It and How Will It Change Your Life?

  • Blockchain technology – What is it?
  • Latest developments – Royal Mint Gold & CME, Goldman Sachs and Santander
  • Why do we need it? It’s about value
  • Blockchain is an extension of economics
  • Blockchain allows us reduce uncertainty and risk
  • How will it change your life?

For those of you who follow anything to do with blockchain and blockchain technology,  you will know that the space has had its ups and downs in the last couple of weeks.

The exciting news is that two major players in the gold market, the Royal Mint and CME Group have announced a blockchain-backed gold project, and the surprising news is that the R3CEV consortium is apparently under threat. Continue reading

The Beginning of the End for SWIFT Payment System

The Beginning of the End for SWIFT Payment System

 

In a major move to explore the use of digital currency in Singapore, the city state’s central bank plans to launch a pilot project with the country’s stock exchange and eight local and foreign banks to use blockchain technology for interbank payments.

  • Cross-border foreign currency transactions will also be reviewed under the pilot as Singapore’s central bank looks to position the financial center as an important Fintech hub.
  • The effort is supported by the R3 blockchain research lab and BCS Information Systems, Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said at the Singapore Fintech Festival
  • “Under the pilot system banks will deposit cash as collateral with the MAS in exchange for MAS-issued digital currency,” Menon said on Wednesday.

Continue reading

EU’s ZOMBIE banks: ECB is destroying Europe’s finance hubs, warns leading investment bank

EUROPEAN banks are slipping into a terrifying zombie state of decline thanks to the European Central Bank (ECB), a leading investment bank has warned.

Financial firms on the continent are falling victim to a scourge already seen in Japan where firms are considered to be the undead of the world, according to JP Morgan.

Ultra low interest rates inflicted by the ECB have lowered business lending. Continue reading

Deutsche Bank Seeking Alternatives, Reforms to SWIFT

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Duetsche Bank Seeking Alternatives, Reforms to SWIFT A Deutsche Bank logo adorns a wall at the company’s headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany June 9, 2015.

 

Deutsche Bank is calling for a reform of SWIFT, the global financial messaging system which has faced criticism since February’s $81 million heist at Bangladesh Bank.

  • Germany’s flagship lender – which the International Monetary Fund has branded as the world’s systemically most risky bank for its numerous links to other lenders – is one of the biggest users of SWIFT. It is one of the first large banks to publicly urge changes.
  • SWIFT is only as strong as its weakest member, Deutsche Bank’s Chief Information Security Officer Hinrich Voelcker said on Wednesday, adding the bank was in discussions with SWIFT about the consequences of the Bangladesh heist.
  • “If trust in this system breaks down we all have a problem,” he said, without saying which specific reforms he believes are needed.
  • SWIFT is a member-owned cooperative, dominated by large Western banks, including lenders such as Citi , JP Morgan and BNP Paribas , which built the network decades ago.
  • It now connects more than 10,000 different financial firms and industry experts have said all of its users should have to meet a minimum security standard to continue accessing it. Continue reading

China’s Secret Gold Hoarding Strategy

China’s leaders have a clever strategy, and Western financial powers may someday wake up in shock when they realize what has occurred.

 

China, Russia Are Quietly Emerging as World’s Gold Buyers

Chinese officials aim to ultimately to challenge the America’s standing as the world’s superpower. That’s why they’re forming a strategic alliance with Russia, an adversary of the U.S. That’s why both the Russian and Chinese central banks have quietly emerged as the world’s largest gold buyers.

In July, the People’s Bank of China reported that it has added more than 600 tons of gold bullion to its stockpiles since 2009, taking the total to 1,658 tons. That represents a 60% jump in gold assets in just six years.

Continue reading

“The Collateral Has Run Out” – JPM Warns ECB Will Use Greek “Nuclear Option” If No Monday Deal

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.

Continue reading

Deutsche Bank Exodus Continues As Real Estate Chief Leaves For Blackstone

Have you ever wondered which big bank after Lehman Brothers would be next to fall? This is why you see so much shuffling from within and people resigning suddenly and going to work for another institution.

Moreover, with over $72 TRILLIONyes trillion, in derivatives exposure — we have likely found it. To put this tiny bit of risk in perspective, the GDP of Germany itself is a mere humble $2.7 trillion.

This is why Germany is also worried in this high stakes game of chicken. If Greece goes, Deutsche Bank who’s heavily invested will go, and creates the possibility of bringing the country with it. From there you can only see how such a scenario would spread to the rest of the world.

 

Earlier this month, Deutsche Bank’s co-CEOs Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen were shown the door (well, technically they resigned, but with shareholder support plummeting amid skepticism about both financial targets and ongoing legal problems, it’s easy to read between the lines). The bank, which has paid out more than $9 billion over the past three years alone to settle legacy litigation, has become something of a poster child for corrupt corporate culture. Consider the following rundown of the legal problems the bank faced as of the beginning of its 2015 fiscal year:

We are currently the subject of regulatory and criminal industry-wide investigations relating to interbank offered rates, as well as civil actions. Due to a number of uncertainties, including those related to the high profile of the matters and other banks’ settlement negotiations, the eventual outcome of these matters is unpredictable, and may materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition and reputation.  Continue reading

Is Deutsche Bank the next Lehman?

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Looking back at the Lehman Brothers collapse of 2008, it’s amazing how quickly it all happened.  In hindsight there were a few early-warning signs,  but the true scale of the disaster publicly unfolded only in the final moments before it became apparent that Lehman was doomed.

And the rest is history.

Could this happen to Deutsche Bank?

By the time we are aware of a crisis – if one is in the offing — it will already be a roaring blaze by the time it is known publicly.   It is by now well-established that truth is the first casualty of all banking crises.  There will be little in the way of early warnings.   To that end, we begin connecting the dots: Continue reading

The experts who expect bonds funds to crash in 2015

Concerns have been rumbling for some time that bonds – whether issued by companies or governments – are due for a sharp crash.

At the start of 2014 many wrote off bonds and said that private investors should sell their bond funds and move into shares or other assets.

But those who ignored this advice and kept their bonds investments have done well over the past year.

In fact, as a whole, bonds have beaten equities so far in 2014.

So what does 2015 hold? Again, opinion is divided.

Continue reading

Who Is The New Secret Buyer Of U.S. Debt?

On the surface, the economic atmosphere of the U.S. has appeared rather calm and uneventful. Stocks are up, employment isn’t great but jobs aren’t collapsing into the void (at least not openly), and the U.S. dollar seems to be going strong. Peel away the thin veneer, however, and a different financial horror show is revealed.

Employment has been boosted only in statistical presentation, and not in reality. The Labor Department’s creative accounting of job numbers omits numerous factors, the most important being the issue of long term unemployed. Millions of people who have been jobless for so long they no longer qualify for benefits are being removed from the rolls. This quiet catastrophe has the side bonus of making it appear as though unemployment is going down. Continue reading

52 Year-Old French Banker Jumps To Her Death In Paris (After Questioning Her Superiors)

There have been 13 senior financial services executives deaths around the world this year, but the most notable thing about the sad suicide of the 14th, a 52-year-old banker at France’s Bred-Banque-Populaire, is she is the first female. As Le Parisien reports, Lydia (no surname given) jumped from the bank’s Paris headquarter’s 14th floor shortly before 10am. FranceTV added that sources said “she questioned her superiors before jumping out the window,” but the bank denies it noting that she had been in therpapy for several years.

FranceTV and Le Parisien reports,

An employee of the Bred-Banque Populaire has committed suicide, Tuesday, April 22 in the morning at the headquarters of the bank. On her arrival at headquarters, quai de la Rapee, in the 12th arrondissement of Paris…

The incident occurred shortly before 10 am, 200 meters from the Ministry of Finance.

This is the 14th financial services exective death in recent months… Continue reading