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Athens believes that Greece could still clinch an agreement with its lenders but probably at the start of June, rather than by the end of this month as it had previously hoped, following the meetings Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras held on the sidelines of the European Union leaders’ summit in Riga, Latvia.

Tsipras met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande for more than two hours on Thursday night. He held talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday. Neither of the meetings produced the kind of political breakthrough or boost that the Greek side had hoped for, leading to officials from Athens stressing that it will be difficult to break the deadlock in talks on the country’s bailout program quickly.

Tsipras said on Friday morning he was “very optimistic” of soon reaching a “long-term, sustainable and viable solution without the mistakes of the past” but Merkel and Hollande made it clear in their comments that the Greek government needs to focus on the technical deliberations taking place in Brussels so it can reach a deal before it runs out of money.

“It was a very friendly and constructive exchange,” Merkel said. “But it is clear, the work with the three institutions has to go on. There is still a lot to do.”

>> Read More

 

MAY 20, 2015 DISCLOSURE NOTICE
The purpose of this notice is to disclose certain practices of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and its affiliates (together, “JPMorgan Chase” or the “Firm”) when it acted as a dealer, on a principal basis, in the spot foreign exchange (“FX”) markets. We want to ensure that there are no ambiguities or misunderstandings regarding those practices.

To begin, conduct by certain individuals has fallen short of the Firm’s expectations. The conduct underlying the criminal antitrust charge by the Department of Justice is unacceptable. Moreover, as described in our November 2014 settlement with the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority relating to our spot FX business, in certain instances during the period 2008 to 2013, certain employees intentionally disclosed information relating to the identity of clients or the nature of clients’ activities to third parties in order to generate revenue for the Firm. This also was contrary to the Firm’s policies, unacceptable, and wrong. The Firm does not tolerate such conduct and already has committed significant resources in strengthening its controls surrounding our FX business.

The Firm has engaged in other practices on occasion, including: >> Read More

 

Even as Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen said she expects the US economy to strengthen, investors expect first-quarter growth to be revised down when the latest data are published next week.

Across the Atlantic the meeting of G7 finance ministers comes into focus, in a holiday-shortened week.

Here’s a preview of what to expect in the coming days.

US GDP

On Friday, markets await the second reading of GDP growth in the US. Wall Street economists expect first-quarter GDP to be downgraded to reflect a 0.9 per cent contraction, compared to the initial reading that reflected 0.2 per cent growth.

“A much wider trade gap and substantially lower inventory building should be the largest sources of downward revision,” Jay Feldman, an economist at Credit Suisse, said.

G7 finance ministers >> Read More

Overnight US Market

23 May 2015 - 8:04 am
 

Stocks ended lower ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reconfirmed that the central bank remains on track to raise interest rates this year.

In an afternoon speech, Yellen said any rate hikes will be done gradually and will depend on an expected economic rebound in the second-quarter.

Market reaction to the speech was fairly muted. The Nasdaq composite, positive for much of the day — and on track for a new closing high — remained above break-even until the end of trading. It finished down 0.3%, losing 1.4 points to settle at 5089.36.

The index remains just shy of its April 26 record close of 5092.09.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.3%, or almost 54 points, to end at 18,232.02. Losing 0.2% was the S&P 500, down 4.8 points to 2126.06.

On Wednesday, in the release of the minutes of its April 28-29 meeting, the Fed suggested that it was “unlikely” that they would hike rates in June. Financial markets began speculating the Fed would delay a rate hike given the weak spate of economic data that has been released recently.

 

The pace at which energy companies are idling their oil rigs has ground to a near halt.

The number of rigs drilling for oil in the US fell by just 1 to 659 in the week to May 22, according to oilfield services company Baker Hughes.

Although this marks the 24th consecutive week of decline, the pace of decline is even slower than last week, when 8 rigs were idled and is a long way off from the nearly 100 rigs that were take offline in one week in January.

After bouncing from a six-year low to hit the highest for the year at the start of May, crude’s rally has stalled in recent weeks as the market has once again focused on the persistent supply glut.

While drillers have curtailed activity the level of oil inventories remains at a record for this time of year.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia continues to ramp up oil production, with output hitting a record high of 10.3m barrels a day in April.

Ahead of the release West Texas Intermediate, the US oil benchmark was 1.6 per cent lower at $59.78 a barrel, while Brent crude, the global oil standard, was 1.7 per cent lower at $65.40 a barrel.

Yellen Speech

 

Traders looking to get an early start on the holiday weekend will have to wait a bit longer today, as Janet Yellen is set to speak to a sold-out audience at the Providence, Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Outlook Luncheon today.

Yellen will discuss the prospects for the economy and will likely parrot the usual talking points about consistent employment gains and a generally positive environment for growth — “transitory” Q1 weakness notwithstanding.

The Fed chief will also likely reiterate that ‘lift-off’ will probably come later this year, because as we learned earlier this week, the BEA and Yellen’s friends at the San Francisco Fed have now given the FOMC the all-clear to ignore Q1 GDP because once the data undergoes a second seasonal adjustment, the economy will be shown to have performed fine after all meaning the rate hike can proceed as planned.

As a reminder, earlier in the session we got a core CPI print that ostensibly indicates that inflation is moving in the desired direction providing further breathing room for the Fed to tighten (although our take on the data was a bit different). 

  • *YELLEN SAYS RATE RISE AT SOME POINT THIS YEAR IS APPROPRIATE
  • *YELLEN SAYS `WE ARE NOT THERE YET’ ON FED’S EMPLOYMENT GOALS
  • *YELLEN SAYS GRADUAL PACE OF TIGHTENING IS LIKELY AFTER LIFTOFF
  • *YELLEN: SOFT FIRST QUARTER LARGELY RESULT OF TRANSITORY FACTORS
  • *YELLEN: FED NEEDS REASONABLE CONFIDENCE ON PRICES FOR LIFTOFF

Key excerpt: >> Read More

European stock market close 22 May 2015

  • FTSE +0.4%
  • Cac flat
  • Dax -0.4%
  • Ibex -0.3%
  • FTSE Mib +0.2%

European bonds

  • Italy 1.85% +1bp
  • Spain 1.77% +1bp
  • Portugal 2.41% +1bp
  • Germany 0.603% -4bp
  • Greece 11.39% +14bp
 

It seems Angela Merkel is working hard to mediate the negotiations over Greece and the FT report that she had a private meeting with Greek PM Alexis Tsipras in which she told him that there would be no deal without the IMF giving it the ok

That’s pretty much to be expected as the IMF are one third tied into Greece alongside the EU and ECB but from reading the article it looks like the IMF is the one taking a real hard line on Greece

The story reports that the IMF are unhappy as they believe that the new Greek government has gone back on reforms and they also want assurances from the EU that Greece can pay what it owes over the next 12 months

Earlier Christine Lagarde said that a deal on Greece couldn’t be “quick and dirty” and that there had to be a comprehensive approach. This apparently has come on the back of IMF staff saying that they will not agree to disburse aid without a comprehensive deal that would start to lower debt levels

There’s been noises of compromise from both Greece and the EU but it looks like the IMF might be sticking to its guns which is ruffling feathers in Greece

Merkel apparently relayed such a message to Tsipras today while an EU official also warned Greece on the IMF’s tough stance;

“They [Greece] have been listening to too many people who think that there may be some partial agreement. There will be no such thing. And there will be no agreement without IMF. And the IMF is super tough.”

It’s another look through the window of the ongoing Greek saga and it tells us how the players are lining up. The ECB seems to be sitting back and waiting to see what comes from the EU and IMF, while it looks like the IMF is going to have a very big say on the outcome

 

In many ways, four months of negotiations between Greece and its creditors can be summed up with the following two headlines from this morning:

  • GREECE VERY CLOSE TO SEALING DEAL WITH CREDITORS: SPOKESMAN
  • GREECE WON’T COMPROMISE ON LABOR REFORMS, PENSIONS: SPOKESMAN

Those came back-to-back believe it or not, which underscores the whole problem: the Greek government wants money but doesn’t want the conditions which come with the money because those conditions entail the wholesale abandonment of the mandate that got them elected in January. 

Despite it all, PM Alexis Tsipras still thought he could effectively secure a deal in Latvia this week by whispering to Angela Merkel on the sidelines of a Eurogroup meeting, a tactic he’s tried before to no avail. Unsurprisingly, these “sideline” talks produced exactly nothing after Tsipras kept Merkel and French President Francois Hollande up until 1 in the morning in Riga, proving that, to quote Jean-Claude Juncker, “Riga just isn’t the place” for eleventh hour bailout negotiations. Here’s more from Bloomberg

>> Read More

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Technically Yours,
Team ASR,
Baroda, India.