Tag: Greece

  • BEHIND THE SCENES, by François Leclerc

    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell

    There are some sinister goings-on behind the scenes of the European financial system, which are hardly being proclaimed from the rooftops! Even Mario Draghi himself is preoccupied by it, drawing attention to vague manifestations of “fragmentation” which are developing at the heart of the Eurozone. What was he alluding to?

    It is occurring in three stages: an ongoing capital flight from countries on the verge of the abyss, leading to their banks becoming increasingly dependent on ECB loans, with the liquidities then supplied by the latter being used to buy state-issued … Read the rest

  • SURRENDER, YOU ARE SURROUNDED!, by François Leclerc

    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell

    It is not just Italy and Spain causing problems, after the decisions taken during the last summit suffered a setback, in view of the spectacle of great confusion and nervousness we have witnessed with regard to the joint press release – which wasn’t one – from Spain, Italy and France demanding immediate implementation. Simultaneously, Greece is providing an example of the strategic retreat of the European authorities and of the IMF.

    It is now the ECB and the Eurosystem which hold the vast majority of the Greek debt, a fact which … Read the rest

  • QUIET ON THE SET, AND… INACTION!, by François Leclerc

    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell

    Events are moving fast. We were expecting it of Greece, but Spain is overtaking it. Yesterday evening, a human tidal wave invaded Spanish town streets, which these days have become virtually permanent places of mini-demonstrations at midday or after work. Today, at the very moment when the Eurogroup ministers were adopting the bail-out plan for the Spanish banks, the bond rate had edged up to 7.20% and the Madrid Stock Market plunged more than 5%. Instead of falling as had been predicted, the government has announced that the official unemployment rate … Read the rest


    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell

    “I can’t see any time soon when…the pressure will be off” replied David Cameron, the British Prime-Minister, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. He continued, “this is a period for all countries, not just in Europe but I think you will see it in America too, where we have to deal with our deficits and we have to have sustainable debts”. In conclusion, his austerity policies are likely to continue beyond 2020, as the situation is “a lot tougher than the forecasters were expecting”. Georges Osborne, the Chancellor of … Read the rest


    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell

    The European Finance Ministers managed during the course of the night to finalize a minimal agreement, which needs, as usual, to be examined in detail due to its grey areas. They put together a set of nominations to the ECB and the ESM based upon the provisional re-appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker at its head, in the absence of any other solution. Then they reached a “tentative agreement” (another way of saying a broad outline) with regard to the particular case of Spain which needs to be wrapped up for adoption on … Read the rest

  • GUILTY PARTIES WANTED !, by François Leclerc

    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell

    In accordance with the predictable script, the bond market is under pressure again. The cost of servicing Spanish and Italian debt has continued to increase as their financing plans move forward in little measured steps. The effect of all this is to place an additional burden on the budgets, undermining those measures which are intended to reduce the deficits.

    The statistical institutes INSEE (France), IFO (Germany) and ISTAT (Italy) all agree: Europe is sinking into a recession which they describe as ‘technical” in an attempt to make it sound innocuous, but … Read the rest

  • Le Vif/L’Express, « There is ALWAYS an alternative », June 22, 2012

    This is an exclusive preview – in English! – of my column which will be published in the Belgian weekly Le Vif/L’Express this coming Thursday

    The phenomenon is the way in which things manifest themselves to us, and this can be real – either with things appearing as they really are; or it can be deceptive – with things appearing other than they really are – such is the case for optical illusions for example which suggest a false reality. Where the Greek language said phainomenon, latin said apparentia, appearance, with the same two nuances as for phenomenon … Read the rest


    France and the future of Europe

    The fact that Spain seems to have lost all access to the capital markets for the foreseeable future, seeming thus, at first glance, to condemn the entire existence of the Eurozone, was headline news on Paul Jorion’s blog yesterday. Firstly, as discussed in the article ironically entitled “The Greeks have made the right choice”, where I drew attention to the fact that the victory of the right-wing party New Democracy in the elections didn’t seem to have any positive or negative effect on the international markets since the coupon for 10 year … Read the rest


    “The Greeks have made the right choice!”

    Oh blast, the markets see it differently: the 10 year Spanish rate was at 6.82% at opening this morning and now it’s at 7.25% (3:30 PM). Unheard of, one has to say. Damned markets!

    Voting for the Troïka method – it was pretty obvious – was voting to continue the same slow, downward spiral towards Hell, with the members of the Euro zone like a climbing team roped together, whose ropes, one after the other, are working loose.

    Voting against would have brought things to a halt, forcing a rethink of the entire … Read the rest

  • ON THE EVE OF THE GREEK ELECTIONS, by Panagiotis Grigoriou

    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell

    On Thursday 14th June a woman from Crete, aged 32 years old, stole three packs of milk and an ice-cream from a supermarket in Héraklion, causing a loss to the shop of 20.77 Euros. For several days, her four children had been given nothing but plain pasta to eat. Caught in the act, the young unemployed woman was immediately remanded into custody. She has just been released (Friday the 15th June) and the charges have finally been withdrawn, thanks to the mobilization of the town’s workers’ trade union group and also, … Read the rest

  • A BIG BANG, OR NOTHING , by François Leclerc

    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell

    With the G20 meeting being held in Mexico at the start of the week, our perspective will find itself altered, falsely accustomed as we are to only seeing the debt crisis from a European angle. On the 18th and 19th June, the greats of this world are going to gather in Los Cabos, a tourist resort in Southern Lower California, under the double auspices of debt and global recovery.

    To avoid standing idly by whilst confronted by a disaster of its own making, the British Government has just announced a plan … Read the rest

  • AND NOW?

    And now?

    14 juin 2012 par Paul Jorion

    And now? What are we going to do? Now that Spain has lost access to capital markets for its debt?

    True, the downgrading yesterday evening of Spain’s rating by three notches by Moody’s, from an A3 to Baa3 has not helped matters. But after all, it hasn’t taught us anything that we didn’t already know last weekend: with a 10 year sovereign debt rate stuck around the level of 6.75% (*), the game was up anyway when it comes to financing its debt on the capital markets.

    The cause of all this? … Read the rest


    How credit default swaps will have destroyed the Euro

    12 juin 2012 par Paul Jorion

    And what of the CDS (credit-default swap) speculators who don’t pay taxes? Why don’t we hear anything about them? We hear a lot about the Greeks not paying their taxes, and at the moment, due to the tactlessness of some, we hear a lot about international civil servants (more precisely those of the International Monetary Fund) who don’t pay taxes, but, in the case of CDS speculators who pay no taxes, goodness knows why – not a word!

    It has to be said that it … Read the rest

  • WHEN THE WISE MAN POINTS AT THE MOON… (I), by François Leclerc

    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell.

    The chaotic ups and downs of the deleveraging process continue inexorably, affecting not only the debt of the member states but also a European banking system which is now in the same mess. What it had been concealing has now been revealed: it is in a very sick and feeble state.

    In order to subdue and contain this gradual process, new bail-out instruments have had to be put in place – which are the subject of much debate; their effectiveness is limited since they are part of a debt-reduction strategy which … Read the rest


    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell.

    “There is a first assessment, then a second, a third, a fourth…..It’s the worst possible way of doing things because everybody ends up doing the right thing but at the highest possible cost and price”. Who was it speaking so harshly yesterday of banking losses and of the policies of the European leaders? Answer: The ECB president, Mario Draghi, in the course of a hearing before the European parliament.

    With his colleagues from the governing council, he drove home this same point, supporting the creation of the “European banking union” proposed … Read the rest


    Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell.

    I have made the observation here that what leads us to desire change is never the projection of an idyllic image of a new future world to which we aspire, but rather the present moment in which we live become intolerable.

    Irony plays a considerable role in history and it would be particularly pleasing if, where cold and objective reason has not been able to resolve the Greek situation at the heart of the Euro zone or of the conundrum of the Euro zone itself, indignation itself succeeds. Because if the recent remarks … Read the rest


    An English translation by Bernard Bouvet of my post “Les spéculateurs sur la dette grecque, neutralisés”.

    Last Friday’s ruling by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) that the much talked about Greek debt swap, or the so-called private sector initiative (PSI), does not represent a “credit event” and, therefore does not trigger Credit Default Swaps (CDS) payments, constitutes a remarkable victory against the markets, the first real victory in an asymmetric war started exactly five years ago at the height of the subprime mortgage crisis.

    With this decision, sovereign debt speculation is being brought to heel: being effectively … Read the rest

  • Hellenic Securitisation S.A. – Request for Information, by Panagiotis Grigoriou

    Guest post. Translated from the French by Bernard Bouvet.

    This is Athens!

    We are barely able to recover from Memorandum 2 (see the latest entry (Sightseeing Athens) on my blog “Greek Crisis”). The Shock Strategy, when undergone as a…patient, doesn’t give you any respite. Multi-risk, multi-faceted, a total weapon. In the meantime, through the mainstream media, I see that France, self-absorbed in electioneering, is turning its presidential campaign into a political beauty contest, far, far removed from the crucial issues.

    At home, the bankocracy’s advance is measured at the speed of light: the situation is far worse than … Read the rest


    An English translation by Bernard Bouvet of my post: M. Stiglitz n’est pas au courant.

    What caused it? Is it the one year 7% decline in Greece’s GDP in 2011, 16% altogether since the crisis began in 2007? Or perhaps the defections among members of the Greek parliament during Sunday’s vote, followed by exclusions from their respective parties, and to top it all, opinion polls in favour of the Left and the Radical Left? The Greek government giving thus the impression that it doesn’t represent the will of its citizens “anymore”, and so, rendering Sunday’s vote on austerity plan … Read the rest

  • Le Monde – Économie, Monday 8 – Tuesday 9 March 2010

    Here an English translation of La machine infernale, my monthly column for March in Le Monde – Économie.


    Only five years ago, we were led to believe that the advertised model of the economic and financial apparatus represented a system that was finally mature: stable because thoroughly predisposed to self-regulate and practically safe thanks to super-efficient risk-spreading.

    Self-regulation did not happen. Risk, although atomized, was nonetheless concentrated by the more astute players into enormous portfolios of financial products with, influenced by the economic climate, inflated risk premium; an unavoidable downside correction triggered the implosion of the … Read the rest