Last stop, folks … end of the line!
You’ve probably heard that announcement on a subway train before. Now, that’s what Greece’s creditors are saying.
Fed up with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, and the rest of the Greek negotiating team, they’ve put what looks like a final deal on the table.
No more pension or tax goodies.
No more compromises on budget surplus targets.
No more well-choreographed, delicate negotiating dances.
The message coming out of Europe sounds much more like “Take it or leave it!”
Here’s the key right now: Weekend talks between Greek officials and their European counterparts in Brussels reportedly collapsed in just 45 minutes. That leaves a June 18 meeting of finance ministers in Luxembourg as the likely last-ditch opportunity for Greece to secure a deal.
|Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is battling it out with international creditors.|
Failing that, Greece will likely soon default on payments due the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, or both. It will be forced to enact capital controls to keep more money from fleeing the country’s banking system. And it will probably have to exit the euro currency union, with untold consequences at home, throughout Europe, and around the world in financial markets!
I know what you’re thinking. We’ve seen this movie before. We always get down to the last minute. Then the politicians manage to come up with a buzzer-beater save. Those saves never solve the underlying problem of too much debt, too little growth, and too many unreasonable promises made by a series of Greek governments. But they buy some time … until the next deadline.
The difference now is in the language coming out of Europe. Officials are genuinely fed up, and sick and tired of the wheeling and dealing. Greece has to pay 1.6 billion euros to the IMF at the end of June, and 6.7 billion euros to the European Central Bank in July and August. The current bailout program ends on June 30, and European officials won’t release a 7.2-billion euro tranche of aid unless Greece stops playing games.
Indeed, German officials wrote today in an op-ed that “Not only is time running out but so too is patience across Europe. Everywhere in Europe, the sentiment is growing that enough is enough.”
The Belgian Finance Minister warned: “There is no free lunch being part of the euro zone. It requires discipline.”
An unnamed official quoted by Reuters said “This is very disappointing and sad. It was a last attempt to bridge our differences but the gap is too large. One can discuss a gap, but this is an ocean.”
Despite all that “take it or leave it” style talk, the Greeks still haven’t budged. After the latest talks failed, Tspiras retorted: “We will wait patiently until the institutions adhere to realism … We are shouldering the dignity of our people.”
|“I know what you’re thinking. We’ve seen this movie before.”|
The latest Greek chaos comes at a potentially dangerous time for the markets. We’ve already seen key sectors like the transports and utilities break down. We’ve also already seen multiple “Bloody Wednesday”-style selloffs in government bonds.
If we get a real Grexit-driven panic, there’s a lot of air under the broader averages. So stay alert and prepared to take further action at any time – to protect yourself and profit from the consequences of the “Take it or leave it” talks in Europe.
So what are your thoughts? Is this finally the end game, and how does it conclude? Does Greece have a chance to save itself, or are its European creditors ready to give up on the country and its leaders? Let me know over at the website ASAP!
On Friday and over the weekend, many of you weighed in against the trade bills President Obama and his Republican allies of convenience are still trying to push in the wake of Friday’s defeat in Congress. The general consensus? A new Pacific agreement would be bad for America overall.
Reader Mike S. said: “The Republicans (who are supported by Big Business and the Conservative Ultra Wealthy (CUWs) have brought a number of Trade Agreements before TPP … Every one of these have resulted in millions of good-paying, Middle Class jobs being sent off shore
“Because of that, our trade deficit has grown even larger. Why should we trust that this newest Republican trade bill will be any different? Wouldn’t it be unique for the GOP to bring legislation that actually helped the average American citizen?”
Reader Howard said: “In the Great Depression period, protectionism had some positive benefits. In the current crisis, leaders seem to be trying to resolve global issues while ignoring local ones.
“We need to act locally and think globally. What is the point of any deal that harms our local people? All that does is betray common trust. Washington needs to remember whose interests it represents.”
Reader RP M. added: “The TPP trade bill is another toxic piece of unnecessary and harmful legislation. Its purpose, like that of the Patriot Act and Obamacare, is to divest Americans of their freedom to conduct their lives without interference from government or the tight group of crony corporations that curry favor through heavy lobby payments.
“American productivity would go through the roof if only government stopped ‘managing’ our free enterprise system, and simply tended our borders properly.”
Reader John had this to say: “The TPP trade deal’s secrecy cannot be explained by government people as some sort of necessity due to the sensitively of negations between the various parties. It’s clear that the bill contains some features that would be unaccepted by the American public at large, and that is why we have been kept in the dark.
“This is hardly the accepted approach to governing in a free country. There should be dialog and discussion about important bills that will have a large impact on the American people. The president’s efforts to keep the public (and U.S. lawmakers) in the dark about this package raise clear questions about exactly who will benefit from TPP, and why.”
Finally, Reader Rich said: “Trade deals are good for corporations, but deadly for workers. They send jobs overseas and the profits stay there because of taxes if brought back here.
“They are killing the Middle Class here with no jobs and lower wages. They are also killing off their business here because with lower wages, people buy less. Most other countries look out for their own. But that is not the case here, it is all about profit.”
Bottom line: It’s clear that you and your fellow investors here aren’t thrilled at all with the provisions of these trade bills, or the process by which the President is trying to get them passed. The bills aren’t dead yet, though. So we need to stay focused on what’s happening in D.C. in the days ahead.
Anything else on trade that you’d like to weigh in about? If so, please do use the website as your outlet.
Jeb Bush made it official today, announcing his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination at a Miami event. He will then travel to New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina in an attempt to drum up support and separate himself from a crowded Republican field.
Falling demand and a slowdown in government sales helped push Colt Defense LLC into Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday. The famous, 179-year-old gunmaker remains open, and hopes to get a new lease on life by restructuring its debts.
United Technologies (UTX) will exit the helicopter business by selling or spinning off its Sikorsky business unit. Sikorsky makes Black Hawk helicopters, while UTX sells jet engines, Otis elevators, and other aerospace and industrial products.
Known as the Marlboro Man, the One-Eyed, or the Prince, wanted terrorist Mokhtar Belmokhtar was reportedly killed in a U.S. airstrike in eastern Libya. Several cohorts also died in the attack on Belmokhtar, who has a long history of hostage takings and terrorist attacks in north Africa.
Is UTX making the right move? Will this latest anti-terrorism strike help pacify militants in Africa? Any other stories I’ve covered make you want to sound off? Then you can do so at the website here.
Until next time,