Amid a fresh escalation in a row over its bailout conditions, Greece’s stubbornly high unemployment rate is showing no sign of improvement.
The country’s jobless rate – which is the highest in the eurozone and has been above 20 per cent for six years – stuck at 23 per cent in November despite a general uptick in its economic prospects at the end of 2016.
It comes as the country’s creditors in the EU and the International Monetary Fund have publicly clashed over their respective forecasts for the state of the economy and the level of austerity attached to Greece’s three-year bailout programme this week.
The IMF has been accused by Athens and Brussels of an “overly pessimistic” view on the Syriza government’s ability to hit a 3.5 per cent budget surplus target over the next decade, which has led it to a wrong-headed forecast on Greece’s “explosive” debt dynamics.
The Fund’s latest report on the Greek economy suggest its debt-to-GDP mountain could reach 275 per cent over the next two decades without major debt restructuring. Unemployment meanwhile will only fall to 21.7 per cent this year, while the country’s long-term growth rate was downgraded to 1 per cent, IMF economists predict.
Japan accounted for $68.9 billion of the U.S. trade deficit on goods in 2016, re-emerging as the second-largest contributor for the first time in three years for a potential flashpoint when the leaders of the two nations meet Friday.
The overall U.S. trade deficit on goods shrank by 1.5% to $734.3 billion last year on a Census basis, according to Department of Commerce data released Tuesday. Exports fell 3.2% to $1.45 trillion on a strong dollar, but imports decreased 2.6% to $2.18 trillion.
The country logged a $247.8 billion surplus on services, bringing the overall U.S. trade deficit to $502.3 billion on a balance of payments basis.
The goods deficit with Japan remained roughly flat and accounted for 9% of the U.S. total. The deficit on motor vehicles and parts — an area in which President Donald Trump claims Japan engages in unfair practices — jumped to $52.6 billion from $48.9 billion in 2015, making up nearly 80% of the total American deficit with Japan.
Japanese automakers are increasing production in North America. But cars sold from Japan to the U.S. tend to be higher-end models, and the average price per unit is rising.
China was the top contributor to the U.S. trade deficit on goods, accounting for $347 billion, or 47%. Germany ranked third and Mexico fourth. Trump, seeking to curb the deficit, has accused Japan, China and Germany of manipulating their currencies. The president also demands a renegotiation of NAFTA with Mexico.
Don’t anyone accuse Brazil’s central bank of not being bold.
In a unanimous decision, the bank cut its policy interest rate by 75 basis points on Wednesday, exceeding the consensus call for a 50bps cut and sharply picking up the pace on an easing cycle it began with two back-to-back cuts of 25bps each in October and November
In a statement, the bank said economic activity had fallen below expectations and that a recovery would take longer than previously anticipated.
It also noted data released earlier in the day showing inflation falling faster than expected to 6.3 per cent in the year to December 31 – the first time in two years it has been within the central bank’s target range of 4.5 per cent plus or minus 2 percentage points. Market economists expect it to end 2017 at 4.81 per cent, according to the central bank’s latest weekly survey.
The size of the cut will be welcomed by many, given the economy’s stubborn refusal to return to growth. The rebound expected by many when congress ditched president Dilma Rousseff last year has failed to happen. GDP contracted by 8 per cent over the past two years under Rousseff’s watch; her pro-growth, market-friendly successor, Michel Temer, was expected to turn things round quickly.
India’s foreign exchange reserves declined by $935.2 million to $359.671 billion in the week to December 23 on account of fall in foreign currency assets, the Reserve Bank said on Friday.
In the previous week, the reserves had fallen by $2.380 billion to $360.606 billion.
They had touched a life-time high of $371.99 billion in the week to September 30, 2016.
Foreign currency assets (FCAs), a major component of the overall reserves, dipped by $933.2 million to $335.970 billion in the reporting week.
FCAs, expressed in US dollar terms, include the effects of appreciation/depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and the yen held in the reserves.
Gold reserves remained steady at $19.982 billion in the reporting week, the RBI said.
The special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund decreased by $0.9 million to $1.427 billion, while India’s reserve position with the Fund too declined by $1.1 million to $2.290 billion, the data showed.
It was just one year ago when the biggest worry for the market – which culminated with a near 10% S&P correction in in early 2016 – was the daily plunge in the Yuan driven by the surging dollar, which in turn prompted China to engage in an unprecedented reserve liquidation (in which it sold both government bonds and equities), leading to a daily selloff in risky assets on days when the Yuan was fixed lower.
Fast forward a year later, when the US Dollar has blown through last year’s highs and is now at levels not seen since 2003, the Yuan is trading at record lows, just shy of 7.00, and yet stocks stubbornly ignore the one catalyst that led to so much headache for the bulls one year ago.
In his daily note, RBC’s cross-asset strategist Charlie McElligott points out that while the market may be oblivious, what is taking place in China is something to be concerned about:
ONE IMPORTANT TACTICAL MACRO POINT WITH REGARDS TO THE NEAR-TERM DIRECTION OF USTs / GLOBAL LONG-END: The yuan ‘slow bleed’ devaluation by the PBoC versus the USD seen since the start of October has without question been tied to at least some of the weakness in the US long-end, as the central bank sells USTs to try and mitigate the depreciation of the yuan against the SDR basket—see here:
Fresh attempts at containing Russia and continuing the empire have been met with countermoves. Russia appears to be building strength in every way. Putin and his country have no intention of being under the American thumb, and are developing rapid resistance as the U.S. petrodollar loses its grip and China, Russia and the East shift into new currencies and shifting world order.
What lies ahead? It will be a strong hand for the countries that have the most significant backing in gold and hard assets; and China and Russia have positioned themselves very well. Prepare for a changing economic landscape, and one in which self-reliance might be all we have.
With all eyes on Russia’s unveiling their latest nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which NATO has dubbed the “SATAN” missile, as tensions with the U.S. increase, Moscow’s most potent “weapon” may be something drastically different.
The rapidly evolving geopolitical “weapon” brandished by Russia is an ever increasing stockpile of gold, as well as Russia’s native currency, the ruble.
Take a look at the symbol below, as it could soon come to change the entire hierarchy of the international order – potentially ushering in a complete international paradigm shift – and much sooner than you might think.
The symbol is the new designation of the Russian ruble, Russia’s national currency.
Reuters reporting yuan bearish bets near 10-month highs 27 Oct
According to the Reuters poll of 21 fund managers conducted between Tuesday and today ( Thursday)
bearish bets on China’s yuan hit a near ten-month high in the last two weeks as the central bank guided it weaker to reflect a firm dollar, and sentiment toward most emerging Asian currencies stayed pessimistic with U.S. interest rates expected to rise.
bearish positions in the Singapore dollar rose to their largest since October last year.The city-state’s currency slumped last week to its weakest level against the dollar since March 3 on bets that the central bank may ease monetary policy amid growing risk of a recession.
Seems like its not only Japan that’s banking its hopes, and trades, om a US rate hike in December. What happens if they disappoint the masses and hold? Share your thoughts in the comments below.