Forex Market Commentaries - Greeks Protest Austerity Measures

Greeks Refuse To Lie Down And Take The Austerity Medicine

Feb 22 • Market Commentaries • 2792 Views • Comments Off on Greeks Refuse To Lie Down And Take The Austerity Medicine

How does that phrase go again; “you can fool some of the people some of the time, not all of the people all of their time”? Ah-ha! Here it is; ” You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” Apparently it’s attributed to Abraham Lincoln the 16th president of USA (1809 – 1865)..

The day after the ink has dried on the overall troika deal as the Dutch finance minister finally found his swipe card to get into his ensuite room, raid the mini bar and get to the airport, the small matter of the remainder of the inter generational crisis management can now be left to the troika ‘lite’. The body he insisted on being there permanently as part of the overall deal. But the Greek populace, unlike the troika, the IMF and Euro Group, is not waking up from a congratulatory back slapping party, their sobriety has been unbroken throughout this three year ordeal and their day to day reality has been made much harsher by the revised austerity measures recently put in place as part of the overall deal.

Evidence of the unrest is everywhere, the Greeks are not receiving the same sanitised perception managed news reel the rest of Europe, the UK and the USA is being force fed in order to believe that the tortuous financial engineering has provided a solution. There are already stark warning signs for ‘ordinary’ Greeks as to the impact and immediate power of austerity.

According to the statistics bureau ELSTAT, more than three million of Greece’s population of 11 million, or 27.7 percent, were close to poverty or social exclusion in 2010, at the very start of the crisis. Things have become much worse since…

Klimaka, a non-governmental group formed in 2000 and backed financially by the health, foreign affairs and labor ministries, aims to help those who have lost the most. In Athens, the profile of a homeless person has changed with the economic crisis, said Effie Stamatogiannopoulou a professional nurse of Klimaka;

Before, the categories of people on the streets were immigrants, alcoholics and drug addicts. In the past two years however our data show a 25 percent increase of homeless people who have no such problems but are simply unemployed.

The latest figures confirm this trend: 20 percent of the active population is unemployed and almost half of those, 48 percent, are younger than 25. Klimaka estimates that 20,000 people live in the streets of Athens nowadays. Prior to the crisis homelessness and ‘street living’ was a rarity in Athens.

Today various rallies and protests are taking place in Athens and Thessaloniki.

  • The two biggest unions in Greece ADEDY and GSEE unions have called a rally set for 16:00 EET (2pm GMT) outside Parliament in Athens.
  • Insurance Fund employees to rally at 12:00 EET (10am GMT) outside OEK Patission and Solomou in Athens.
  • PAME Communist workers group will begin a rally at 17:00 EET (3pm GMT), starting from Omonia and converging with union protest outside Parliament in Athens

A second rally is being organised in Thessaloniki begins at 18:30 EET (4.30pm GMT) at the Venizelos statue.

Polish Solidarity
Grzegorz Kolodko, the former deputy prime minister and minister of finance of Poland, has come out firmly against the rescue package. Kolodko teaches at Kozminski University in Warsaw and argues that Greece’s economy cannot possibly return to strong growth in the face the measures that are being applied. Greek Society is being pushed to its limits and Kolodko advocates wiping out 80% of Greece’s external debt, combined with an EU loan at zero interest rate;

“In three years of austerity Greece’s debt has risen from 113 per cent of gross domestic product to 163 per cent. Homelessness has jumped by 25 per cent. Unemployment has risen to 21 per cent, among the highest in the industrialised world, with 48 per cent of young people out of work. It is naïve to think they will watch TV, not demonstrate or fight in the streets. This policy is senseless.

The easiest solution would be for the European Central Bank to buy new issues of Greek government bonds, but its hyper-liberal statutes and German ethos will not allow it to do so. The ECB has off-balance sheet resources of €3.3tn, equivalent to the current value of its seniority. If it is only used properly, the issue of eurozone sovereign debt can be resolved.”

Market Overview
China’s manufacturing could shrink for a fourth month in February, indicating the world’s second biggest economy is vulnerable to a deeper slowdown as Europe’s crisis caps exports and the housing market cools. The preliminary 49.7 reading of an index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics published today compares with a final 48.8 in January. A number below 50 points to a contraction..

European stocks fell for a second day and commodities declined after data was published showing that the region’s services and manufacturing output shrank. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index had lost circa 0.6 percent at 9:30 a.m. in London. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.1 percent. Copper retreated 0.6 percent. The German 10-year bund yield decreased three basis points to 1.95 percent, snapping a four-day advance. The dollar appreciated as much as 0.7 percent to 80.30 yen.

A gauge of euro-area services and manufacturing output dropped to 49.7, London-based Markit Economics said, below the 50.5 forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey. The Dollar Index rose 0.2 percent, while the yen weakened versus all 16 most-traded peers monitored by Bloomberg, falling 0.5 percent against the euro. Copper dropped for the first time in three days. Oil in New York declined 0.4 percent to $105.82 a barrel, the first drop in a week.


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Market Snapshot
Asia-Pacific markets enjoyed positive returns in the early morning session. The Nikkei closed up 0.96%, the Hang Seng closed up 0.33% and the CSI closed up 1.37%. the ASX 200 closed up 0.04%. European bourse indices have fallen marginally in the early part of the European session. The STOXX 50 is down 0.63%, the FTSE is down 0.27%, the CAC is down 0.35% and the DAX down 0.81%. The Athens exchange the ASE is down 2.81% down circa 51.66% year on year. ICE Brent crude is down 0.41% this morning still at over $121 per barrel. Comex gold is down $3.20 an ounce. The SPX equity Index future is currently down 0.08%.

Commodity Basics
Oil has traded close to its highest level in nine months on speculation that Iran will disrupt supplies, countering concern that global demand will falter. Futures were little changed after sliding as much as 0.5 percent. The International Atomic Energy Agency said talks over Iran’s nuclear program failed, while an Iranian general threatened military action. U.S. oil stockpiles climbed 1.5 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

Brent oil for April settlement was down 18 cents at $121.48 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark contract’s premium to New York-traded West Texas Intermediate was at $15.09. It reached a record $27.88 on Oct. 14.

Forex Spot-Lite
Futures traders increased wagers that the euro will decline against the dollar, figures from the Washington-based Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed last week. The difference in the number of wagers by hedge funds and other large speculators on a decline in the euro compared with those on a gain (net shorts) was 148,641 on Feb. 14, compared with 140,593 a week earlier.

The dollar rose to a seven-month high of more than 80 yen on speculation signs of growth in the U.S. economy will reduce the case for more so-called quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve. The dollar rose 0.6 percent to 80.24 yen at 9:12 a.m. London time, after trading at 80.30 yen, the strongest level since July 12. The greenback is poised for its longest series of daily advances since April. The euro advanced 0.5 percent to 106.07 yen, after reaching 106.33 yen, the highest since Nov. 14. The 17-nation currency was little changed at $1.3222.

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