Noted for you Friday morning ruminations or procrastination – take you pick.
This is what I read on Thursday and Friday morning in preparation for the day’s action.
- A Dance With Draghi – You can say many things about Mario Draghi; it’s quite possible that he will fail to save the euro, and quite possible that he is making big mistakes; but stupid and crude is not his style. Sure enough, this is a much subtler action that the first headlines suggested. This funding channel is one that Greek banks no longer use very much, and it’s not necessarily to keep them afloat; they can continue to borrow indirectly via the Greek central bank. So this is not a crisis-provoking event.
- What on earth is the ECB up to? – Varoufakis’s comment is undoubtedly a reference to the fact that pulling ELA from Greek banks would cause their sudden disorderly collapse. The ECB has used this trick before: it threatened to pull ELA from Irish banks in 2010, and it actually pulled ELA from Cyprus’s Laiki Bank and the Bank of Cyprus, forcing immediate closure and restructuring. This second piece of brinkmanship resulted in the worst bank bailout decision in the history of the planet, which was (fortunately) subsequently overturned by the Cypriot legislature. Undermining deposit insurance is almost criminally insane.
- The Strong Dollar Just Took a Bite Out of the U.S. Economy – The gap between imports and exports was $46.6 billion in December, up from $39.8 billion in November. A deteriorating trade picture subtracted 1 percentage point from the government’s first estimate of fourth-quarter growth. But with the new data, the subtraction is likely to be even bigger, economists said.
- ECB Said to Allow Greek Banks 59.5 Billion Euros Lifeline – Under the measure, a nation’s central bank can provide liquidity to lenders at its own risk. The ECB will review ELA every two weeks to check whether the funds are being used in a way that doesn’t interfere with monetary policy.
- Denmark Pledges More to Come If Speculators Still Doubt Euro Peg – After cutting the benchmark deposit rate for a fourth time this year, matching Switzerland’s key rate of minus 0.75 percent, Rohde said in an interview today he’s ready to do more to prevent the “unthinkable” outcome that Denmark might lose its euro peg.
- Irish Fighting Bankers Show It’s Not Just Greeks Protesting Debt – “We have been creating mayhem, if by mayhem you mean keeping people in their homes,” said Jerry Beades, a developer who has spent almost a decade in disputes with banks and financial regulators and is now leading the League. “We are reflecting the anger that’s out there about the level of debt that just can’t be serviced.”
- German Industrial Output Rises as Economy Recovers – The Bundesbank predicts that the economy has overcome its weak phase of early last year, as indicated by a 4.2 percent jump in factory orders in December and a third consecutive improvement in business confidence in January. The European Central Bank’s quantitative-easing pledge last month will further bolster the economy through a weaker euro exchange rate that’s making exporters more competitive.
- Greece Hijacks Finnish Politics Again as Government Faces Ouster – The Finns are demanding Prime Minister Alexander Stubb’s government provide answers on the country’s liabilities to Greece and whether it’s prepared for a breakup of the euro area. Stubb defended the rescues on Wednesday, saying the government worked through the crisis to save the common currency. The vote will be held at 1 p.m. in Helsinki.
- Signs falling oil is walloping the energy sector – U.S.-based employers have announced plans to cut 53,041 jobs in the month of January and 40% of those are directly related to oil prices. The energy industry announced a total of 20,193 layoffs in January, according to the report — that is 42% higher than the 14,262 job cuts announced by the industry in all of 2014. A quick gander at the included chart also highlights that energy’s job losses are by far the largest portion of cuts being undertaken.
- New stock market indicator shows 2015 will be profitable – That’s especially so because a recent academic study has created a new indicator that, according to its authors, has a better track record than 14 others that previous research had identified as showing promise. The study, which has been shared in academic circles for a couple of months, was conducted by two finance professors at Washington University in St. Louis (Matthew Ringgenberg and Guofu Zhou) and an economics professor at St. Louis University (David Rapach).