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Blain’s Morning Porridge – Aug 13 – Argentina, Legarde and Europe

Blain’s Morning Porridge – Aug 13 – Argentina, Legarde and Europe


“I’m going down to Yasgur’s farm, gonna join me a rock and roll band.…” 

Global Credibility Under Pressure – We’ve been Tangoed!

This morning’s headlines are screaming how Argentina and President Mauricio Macri have precipitated yet another crisis upon the stressed geopolitical battlefront…  Relax. We are more than used to dealing with Argentina defaults… But, its far more complex than that.  The latest Argentina Dance Macabre is all about Global Credibility.  It’s another Massive Fail! 

What does it say about the credibility of Global Institutions and Policy when Argentina’s whole market collapsed following a primary for an election in December?  Ex-IMF president, and soon to be head of the ECB, Christine Lagarde personally staked her support for President Mauricio Macri’s pro-market government when she steamrollered through the IMF’s biggest ever bailout of $56 billion for Argentina last year. 

It now looks an extremely poor call on Lagarde’s part.  Macri won a mere 32% of the vote, while former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner won 47%.  Don’t Cry for Me Argentina indeed…  Domestic Argentine Politics have left the IMF looking stupid.

There are three major issues to consider here: 

First there is the absolute predictability of what’s just happened in Argentina: 

In return for the 2018 Bailout, the IMF demanded its usual pound of flesh policies: Austerity, Austerity and Austerity, spiced with inflation-targeted monetary policy, fiscal tightening, currency controls, and the keys to the Peso printing presses.  Give Lagarde some credit – she did give lip service to the people with a smattering of minor austerity mitigants in terms of gender equality and social provision.  But, essentially the IMF’s answer to yet another predictable Argentinian crisis was more of the same programme.  You know the definition of madness… 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

IMF Recommends “DEEP” Negative Interest Rates as the Next Tool

IMF Recommends “DEEP” Negative Interest Rates as the Next Tool 

The IMF has continued to assume that the zero-bound on interest rates can be a serious obstacle for fighting recessions on the part of the central banks. The IMF maintains that the zero-bound is not a law of nature; it is a policy choice. The latest in the IMF papers argue that tools are available to allow central banks to create deep negative rates whenever needed to reverse recessions. They claim that maintaining the power of monetary policy in the future to end recessions within a short time will require deep negative interest rates.

It is really quite astonishing how these people with NO REAL-WORLD EXPERIENCE keep trying to maintain the Marxist-Keynesian theory when more than 10 years of negative interest rates have failed.  This is the same theory that dominated medicine for so long. They assumed there was a toxin in the blood, so the cure was to bleed you. If you died, they assumed the reason was that they did not bleed you sooner.

These idiots fail to comprehend that negative interest rates have wiped out pensions. The instruction manual for life was to save for your retirement to be able to live off the interest of your savings. The problem was, those days were based on 8% interest rates. Moving negative will not force people to spend, it merely bankrupts the people.

Signs of recession are hitting Europe. Is its new Central Bank president up for the challenge?

Signs of recession are hitting Europe. Is its new Central Bank president up for the challenge?

If new institutional reform is to come to the Eurozone, it will entail a major paradigmatic shift

We now know that there will be a changing of the guard at the European Central Bank (ECB) in October. The current head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, will succeed current ECB President Mario Draghi at that time.

A known quantity among the political and investor class of Europe, Lagarde seems like a safe choice: she is a lawyer by training, not an economist. Hence, she is unlikely to usher in any dramatic changes, in contrast to current European Central Bank president Mario Draghi, who significantly expanded the ECB’s remit in the aftermath of his pledge to do “whatever it takes” to save the single currency union (Draghi did this by underwriting the solvency of the Eurozone member states through substantially expanded sovereign bond-buying operations). Instead, Lagarde will likely stick to her brief, as any good lawyer does. There’s no doubt that her years of operating as head of the IMF will also reinforce her inclination not to disrupt the prevailing austerity-based ECB ideology.

Unfortunately, the Eurozone needs something more now, especially given the increasingly frail state of the European economies. The Eurozone still doesn’t have a treasury of its own, and there’s no comprehensively insured banking union. Those limitations are likely to become far more glaring in any larger kind of recession, especially if accompanied by a banking crisis. That is why the mooted candidacy of Jens Weidmann may have been the riskier bet for the top job at the ECB, but ultimately a choice with more political upside. An old-line German central banker might have been able to lay the groundwork for the requisite paradigmatic shift more successfully than a French lawyer, especially now that Germany itself is in the eye of the mounting economic storm.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

IMF’s Lagarde Laments “Highly Mysterious” Low Inflation, Says “Everybody” Would Like It To Be Higher

IMF’s Lagarde Laments “Highly Mysterious” Low Inflation, Says “Everybody” Would Like It To Be Higher

Without skipping a beat, IMF Director Christine Lagarde left President Xi’s Belt and Road initiative conference and traveled to sunny southern California to make an appearance at the Milken Institute Conference, where she sat for an interview with former WSJ editor-in-chief (now editor-at-large) Gerry Baker.

Given that Friday’s surprisingly robust (at least on the surface) GDP print has revived speculation among some economists about ‘divergence’ between the US and the global economy, Baker led with a question about whether Q1 GDP had impacted the view on US growth over at the IMF.

Lagarde

While the surprisingly large number will “certainly lead us to reassess our forecast for growth in the US,” which could in turn boost the global economy, Lagarde cautioned that one strong GDP print doesn’t make a trend, and that the global economy remains mired in what she called a “delicate moment.”

Earlier this month, the IMF again slashed its forecasts for global growth, this time to its weakest level in a decade.

Asked if we’re seeing more divergence now.

“We still think that it’s a delicate moment given the still synchronized slowdown for growth…you have about 70% of the global economy which is slowing – but still growing – and we are not expecting a recession and certainly not in our baseline. Everybody including the highest authorities were certainly surprised by the large number in the United States…that will certainly lead us to reassess our forecast for growth for the United States, and clearly given the size of the US economy it will have an impact overall.”

Looking ahead, the upcoming reading on US productivity will be important.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

IMF Hands $4.2 billion in loans for Ecuador for Julian Assange

IMF Hands $4.2 billion in loans for Ecuador for Julian Assange 

The evidence of political pressure on Ecuador is surfacing. The IMF Executive Board Approved US$4.2 Billion  (435% of quota and SDR 3.035 billion) Extended Fund Facility for Ecuador. The Executive Board agreed to this arrangement with strings attached. The Board’s decision enables the immediate disbursement of US$652 million (equivalent to SDR 469,7 million, or 67.3 percent of Ecuador’s quota). This arrangement provides support for the Ecuadorean government’s economic policies over the next three years provided they gave up Julian Assange.

It is very interesting how corruption and bribes grease the world. Every person who ever becomes a whistleblower on government goes to prison.

The USA immediately unveiled its request for extradition on computer hacking charges that carry 5 years. Of course, the US must put on its case to get its hands around Julian’s neck. Once he is extradited to the USA, they will unleash a battery of other charges to ensure he does life.

The rumblings behind the curtain are that the Democrats in league with the Deep State are behind this, hoping to force Assange to say he got Hillary’s emails from Putin as part of a plea deal. The danger of all of this nonsense is simply the plain fact it will bring us one more step closer to world war. What is clearly involved here seems to be a highly coordinated scheme that links the IMF and throwing Chelsea Manning in prison who will conveniently have to testify against Assange who can be eventually charged as was Manning and face the death penalty. By linking this to Russia, they hope to also prevent Trump from granting him any pardons.

This is getting very deep. Tyranny under the Banner of Liberty & Human Rights.

Warnings of an Under Resourced IMF Point to Imminent Economic Downturn

Warnings of an Under Resourced IMF Point to Imminent Economic Downturn

This week the International Monetary Fund host their annual Spring Meetings in Washington DC amidst rising uncertainty over the future relationship between Britain and the EU. Ahead of the gathering, general manager of the Bank for International Settlements, Agustin Carstens, has spoken of the IMF having ‘inadequate resources‘ to respond to a major new economic decline:

This leaves us with the problem of having to improvise in times of crisis. If the Fund cannot do it others will have to do it otherwise the economic costs will be huge.

Carstens was speaking in reference to the IMF’s quota subscriptions. As the institution explains on its website, quotas are the main source of funding for the IMF. Every member of the IMF (currently 189) is assigned a quota, with the largest economies contributing the most.

Up to 25% of a country’s subscription has to be paid in Special Drawing Rights or ‘foreign currencies acceptable to the IMF.’ SDR’s are the IMF’s unit of account, and are made up of the world’s five most prominent currencies – the dollar, the euro, the renminbi, the yen and the pound. The remaining 75% of a nation’s quota must be paid in their own currency.

With the United States being the largest member of the IMF, their quota is the most substantial. As of March 2017, their share was $118 billion. In SDR’s this equates to a value of 82.99 billion. The IMF values SDR’s in dollars – the latest reading shows that the U.S. dollar equivalent of $1 in SDR’s is 72 cents.

According to the IMF, in September 181 members had made all their quota payments, with total quotas standing at $675 billion (475 billion when measured in SDR’s).

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why Dollar Dominance Drops to Lowest Mark Since 2013

dollar losing dominance

Why Dollar Dominance Drops to Lowest Mark Since 2013

According to the IMF, the U.S. dollar is known as the “Global Reserve Currency”. There are a number of reasons for this, but mainly because it’s backed by the U.S. economy.

That economy is fraught with uncertainty at the moment. But that isn’t the only issue plaguing the U.S. dollar’s dominance in the global markets.

Wolf Richter writes that the U.S. dollar’s status as reserve currency is dipping to levels not seen since 2013:

But the amount of USD-denominated exchange reserves ticked down to $6.62 trillion, and the dollar’s share of global foreign exchanges reserves dropped to 61.7%, the lowest since 2013.

This is not good. Last year, pressure on the dollar as global reserve currency was threatened by both Russia and China in “petro-currency” wars. Even smaller countries were attempting to apply pressure on the dollar, including Germany.

As you can see from the chart below, the U.S. dollar may have been slowly losing steam since 2001 with the arrival of the euro (source):

global reserve usd share

But perhaps more alarming is the dollar seems to be slipping down towards 1991 levels, where according to the same chart, it accounted for only 46% of the global reserve.

If the dollar keeps dropping, that could severely impact purchasing power and, under current market tensions, possibly drive inflation out of control.

The Dollar’s “Doldrums” Could Trigger Even More Uncertainty

The Balance explained in a recent article how a decline in the U.S. dollar typically happens:

The U.S. dollar declines when the dollar’s value is lower compared to other currencies in the foreign exchange market. It means the dollar index falls.

But the dollar index (DXY) isn’t declining, at least for the moment. It has remained fairly steady since June 2018 after recovering from a loss of over 4% in January.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Time for a True Global Currency

ocampo33_Alicia Llop_getty images_coins

Time for a True Global Currency

The International Monetary Fund’s global reserve asset, the Special Drawing Right, is one of the most underused instruments of multilateral cooperation. Turning it into a true global currency would yield several benefits for the global economy and the international monetary system.

NEW YORK – This year, the world commemorates the anniversaries of two key events in the development of the global monetary system. The first is the creation of the International Monetary Fund at the Bretton Woods conference 75 years ago. The second is the advent, 50 years ago, of the Special Drawing Right (SDR), the IMF’s global reserve asset.

When it introduced the SDR, the Fund hoped to make it “the principal reserve asset in the international monetary system.” This remains an unfulfilled ambition; indeed, the SDR is one of the most underused instruments of international cooperation. Nonetheless, better late than never: turning the SDR into a true global currency would yield several benefits for the world’s economy and monetary system.

The idea of a global currency is not new. Prior to the Bretton Woods negotiations, John Maynard Keynes suggested the “bancor” as the unit of account of his proposed International Clearing Union. In the 1960s, under the leadership of the Belgian-American economist Robert Triffin, other proposals emerged to address the growing problems created by the dual dollar-gold system that had been established at Bretton Woods. The system finally collapsed in 1971. As a result of those discussions, the IMF approved the SDR in 1967, and included it in its Articles of Agreement two years later. 

Although the IMF’s issuance of SDRs resembles the creation of national money by central banks, the SDR fulfills only some of the functions of money. True, SDRs are a reserve asset, and thus a store of value. They are also the IMF’s unit of account.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

BIS General Manager Outlines Vision for Central Bank Digital Currencies

BIS General Manager Outlines Vision for Central Bank Digital Currencies

The behaviour of central bankers is rarely (if ever) given sustained coverage in the national press. Outside of prominent economic channels, developments from within institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements are seldom remarked upon. Instead, attention is restricted to the latest round of political theatrics which serve to disguise the actions and intentions of globalist planners.

As the furore of Brexit gained in intensity last month, BIS General Manager Agustin Carstens gave a speech at the Central Bank of Ireland 2019 Whitaker Lecture. Under the heading, ‘The future of money and payments‘, Carstens mapped out what has been a long standing vision of globalists – namely, to acquire full spectrum control of the international financial system through the gradual abolition of what Bank of England governor Mark Carney has called ‘tangible assets‘ i.e. physical money.

The ‘future of money‘ narrative is one that both the BIS and the IMF have been actively promoting since the advent of Brexit and Donald Trump’s presidency. Here are some links to speeches made by both Christine Lagarde and Agustin Carstens:

Central Banking and Fintech—A Brave New World?

Winds of Change: The Case for New Digital Currency

Money and payment systems in the digital age

Money in the digital age: what role for central banks?

Central to the vision for a fully digitised global economy is the intent to reform national payment systems. The UK uses the Real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system, which the majority of payments in Britain are facilitated through. The Bank of England’s Victoria Cleland has emphasised on numerous occasions that the ‘fundamental renewal‘ of the system is being carried out through choice rather than necessity. This would indicate that RTGS works fine in its current manifestation, but the BOE (along with the European Central Bank) have been tasked with assuming more control over their respective payment systems.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

De-Dollarization Accelerates: Central Banks Dump Dollar In Q4, Buy Yuan

De-Dollarization Accelerates: Central Banks Dump Dollar In Q4, Buy Yuan

The dollar’s share of global central-bank reserves slumped to the lowest level since 2013 while holdings of the Chinese yuan rose for the fifth quarter in the past six, IMF data showed Friday.

The U.S. currency accounted for 61.7% of global allocated foreign-exchange reserves in the fourth quarter, down from 61.9% and the tenth decline in the past 12 quarters according to the IMF’s Currency Composition of Official Foreign Exchange Reserves (COFER) for Q4 2018 report. The drop occurred despite a 1% jump in the value of the dollar in the fourth quarter. The euro, yen and yuan each gained as a share of allocated reserves. While modest at just 1.9%, reserve allocation to the Chinese Yuan has been increasing rapidly and is now almost double where it was two years ago.

The chart below shows the main takeaways from the report: reserve managers actively decreased their allocation to USD—the share of USD reserves declined despite modest Dollar appreciation—while they actively added to EUR and CNY reserves. According to Goldman calculations, the drop in Q4 USD reserves was equivalent to just over $50 billion in dollar reserves sold.

More specifically, the reported USD share of allocated reserves declined by another 0.3% in Q4. Cumulatively, the USD share has fallen by 3.7% since the end of 2016 and by 1.0% in 2018 (despite supportive Dollar price action). Against this, reserve managers continued to add to their EUR reserves with the reported EUR share increasing by 0.2% this quarter, and by 1.6% on net since the end of 2016. Both in Q4 and 2018 as a whole, reserve managers more than offset a weaker Euro to keep the share of EUR reserves on a rising trend, despite a number of political and growth tensions and concerns.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Global Economic Reset Begins With An Engineered Crash

The Global Economic Reset Begins With An Engineered Crash

For a few years now, since at least 2014, the phrase “global economic reset” has been circulating in the financial world. This phrase is used primarily by globalist institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to describe an event in which the current system as we know it will either die out or evolve into a new system where “multilateralism” will become the norm. The reset is often described in an ambiguous way. IMF banking elites will usually mention the end results of the shift, but they say little about the process to get there.

What we do know is that the intent of the globalists is to use this reset to create a more centralized monetary system and micro-managed global economy. At the core of this new structure would be the IMF along with perhaps the BIS and World Bank.  It is a plan that has been supported openly by both western and eastern governments, including Russia and China.

As noted, the details are few and far between, but the IMF describes the use of open borders and human migrations during the reset as a means to transfer capital from various parts of the world. It is a novel if not utterly insane way to transfer wealth that only makes sense if you understand that the globalist goal is to deliberately conjure a geopolitical catastrophe.

The IMF also asserts that blockchain technology will make capital transfer easier and more efficient in this future environment, which explains the enthusiastic globalist support for developments in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies despite the notion in cryptocurrency circles that blockchain would somehow make the bankers “obsolete”.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

IMF Discreetly Preps Massive Aid Package For “Day After” Maduro’s Fall

IMF Discreetly Preps Massive Aid Package For “Day After” Maduro’s Fall

The International Monetary Fund is reportedly making plans for the “day after” embattled President Nicolas Maduro’s fall, according to Bloomberg. Though there’s been little momentum in military defections following US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido’s offer of amnesty to any army officer that switches loyalties, Washington sanctions have effectively strangled state-owned PDVSA’s access to global markets. News of IMF maneuvering also comes amidst fresh reports the US is amassing aircraft, troops and armored vehicles on the Venezuelan border under the pretext of getting humanitarian aid into the country. 

The only significant cash flow that remains after the oil sanctions is through India, Venezuela’s second-biggest oil market after the United States, which still recognizes the Maduro government, and is now reportedly seeking to avoid purchases through US banks and even financial institutions with a heavy US presence. According to a Reuters report on Friday, “India has asked one buyer of Venezuelan oil to consider paying the South American nation’s national oil company PDVSA in a way that avoids the U.S. financial system, an Indian government source said, after Washington imposed fresh sanctions on Venezuela last month.”

Image source: Bloomberg

If oil buyers pay PDVSA through American institutions, US authorities can seize the funds. But the IMF reportedly sees cash dwindling from oil sales at such a rapid pace that Maduro can’t possibly hold on, even with the staying power of his loyal armed forces. This also comes as the White House mulls a possible next step of blocking foreign entities all together from dealing with the PDVSA. 

Citing an anonymous official due to the sensitivity of the matter, Bloomberg reports the IMF is planning for a near-term Maduro exit bydiscreetly preparing a massive financial aid package to rescue the nosediving economy, for years choked by US-led sanctions and corrupt socialist leadership, following transition of power.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Leaked Wikileaks Doc Reveals US Military Use of IMF, World Bank as “Unconventional” Weapons

Leaked Wikileaks Doc Reveals US Military Use of IMF, World Bank as “Unconventional” Weapons 

This “U.S. coup manual,” recently highlighted by WikiLeaks, serves as a reminder that the so-called “independence” of such financial institutions as The World Bank and IMF is an illusion and that they are among the many “financial weapons” regularly used by the U.S. government to bend countries to its will.

WASHINGTON – In a leaked military manual on “unconventional warfare” recently highlighted by WikiLeaks, the U.S. Army states that major global financial institutions — such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — are used as unconventional, financial “weapons in times of conflict up to and including large-scale general war,” as well as in leveraging “the policies and cooperation of state governments.”

The document, officially titled “Field Manual (FM) 3-05.130, Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare” and originally written in September 2008, was recently highlighted by WikiLeaks on Twitter in light of recent events in Venezuela as well as the years-long, U.S.-led economic siege of that country through sanctions and other means of economic warfare. Though the document has generated new interest in recent days, it had originally been released by WikiLeaks in December 2008 and has been described as the military’s “regime change handbook.”

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

What’s happening with Venezuela? @WikiLeaks‘ publication of US coup manual FM3-05.130, Unconventional Warfare [UW], provides insight

DOS=Department of State
IC=Intelligence Community
UWOA=UW operations area
ARSOF=US Army Special Operations Forceshttps://file.wikileaks.org/file/us-fm3-05-130.pdf …

WikiLeaks’ recent tweets on the subject drew attention to a single section of the 248-page-long document, titled “Financial Instrument of U.S. National Power and Unconventional Warfare.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A World of Debt–Where Are the Risks?

A WORLD OF DEBT – WHERE ARE THE RISKS?

  • Private debt has been the main source of rising debt to GDP ratios since 2008
  • Advanced economies have led the trend
  • Emerging market debt increases have been dominated by China
  • Credit spreads are a key indicator to watch in 2019

Since the financial crisis of 2008/2009 global debt has increased to reach a new all-time high. This trend has been documented before in articles such as the 2014 paper from the International Center for Monetary and Banking Studies – Deleveraging? What deleveraging? The IMF have also been built a global picture of the combined impact of private and public debt. In a recent publication – New Data on Global Debt – IMF – the authors make some interesting observations: –

Global debt has reached an all-time high of $184 trillion in nominal terms, the equivalent of 225 percent of GDP in 2017. On average, the world’s debt now exceeds $86,000 in per capita terms, which is more than 2½ times the average income per-capita.

The most indebted economies in the world are also the richer ones. You can explore this more in the interactive chart below. The top three borrowers in the world—the United States, China, and Japan—account for more than half of global debt, exceeding their share of global output.

The private sector’s debt has tripled since 1950. This makes it the driving force behind global debt. Another change since the global financial crisis has been the rise in private debt in emerging markets, led by China, overtaking advanced economies. At the other end of the spectrum, private debt has remained very low in low-income developing countries.

Global public debt, on the other hand, has experienced a reversal of sorts. After a steady decline up to the mid-1970s, public debt has gone up since, with advanced economies at the helm and, of late, followed by emerging and low-income developing countries.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Venezuela’s US-Backed Coup Leader Immediately Targets State Oil Company, Requests IMF Money

Juan Guaido

Venezuela’s US-Backed Coup Leader Immediately Targets State Oil Company, Requests IMF Money

Unelected US-backed coup leader Juan Guaidó immediately moved to try to restructure Venezuela’s state-owned oil company and seek financing from the neoliberal IMF.

The right-wing opposition leader that the United States is trying to undemocratically install as Venezuela’s president immediately set his sights on the country’s state-owned oil company, which he is hoping to restructure and move toward privatization. He is also seeking money from the notorious International Monetary Fund (IMF) to fund his unelected government.

On January 23, US President Donald Trump recognized the little-known, US-educated opposition politician Juan Guaidó as the supposed “interim president” of Venezuela. Within 48 hours, Guaidó quickly tried to seize control of Venezuela’s major US-based oil refiner and use its revenue to help bankroll his US-backed coup regime.

Guaidó is attempting to fire the directors of Citgo Petroleum, which is owned by Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA, and seeks to appoint his own new board.

Reuters described Citgo as “Venezuela’s most important foreign asset”; Bloomberg calls it “the crown jewel of PDVSA’s assets.”

Citgo is the largest purchaser of Venezuelan oil, although crippling sanctions imposed by the Trump administration have prevented the company from sending revenue to Venezuela, starving the government of funding.

Citing US officials, the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration’s strategy “is to use the newly declared interim government as a tool to deny Maduro the oil revenue from the United States that provides Venezuela virtually all of its incoming cash.”

Move Toward Privatizing Venezuela’s Oil

Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves. But leftist presidents Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro have over the past two decades resisted attempts by US oil companies to exploit the South American nation’s plentiful natural resources.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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