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Grisis, Granks Grosed, Grexit Grossible

Just think … someday we’ll be able to have a little chuckle as we look back at the long-running Greek financial crisis and marvel at what policy makers were able to accomplish within a dysfunctional system that should never have allowed Greece to join it, the nation only being able to do so thanks to some Goldman Sachs financial engineering.

From Martin Rowson at The Guardian.

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What Greece Owes the IMF

One of the more interesting graphics about the looming (but, on Tuesday, probably actual) Greek debt default via this item at the Council for Foreign Relations:

Of course, Greece hasn’t defaulted on anything yet and it’s still possible they’ll kick the can down the road again somehow. Nevertheless, this is an impressive pile of debt that will have to be reckoned with someday, perhaps starting tomorrow.

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This story at The Nation about Baltimore’s economic ills that have led to this city being the country’s latest hotspot on police conduct and inequality points to a Pew Research poll from a couple of years ago that provides the following take on how vastly different household assets and debts are between blacks and whites in the U.S.

Note that these are averages, not medians, and the latter would show a much more accurate picture of the “typical” black or white American.

Nonetheless, the asset-to-debt ratios and the components of each offer compelling evidence of just how broad the economic/financial divide currently is between races.

Another Stunning Long-Term Chart

From a recent presentation(.pdf) by Agustín Carstens, Bank of Mexico governor and chairman of the IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee, via this item at Wolf Street comes the chart below that, once again, reminds us all how far removed the global financial system is from anything that could be considered “normal”.

Carstens doesn’t oppose recent interest rate and QE policies by central banks, but he is quite concerned about how it all turns out, summing things up rather nicely by noting:

The crux of the matter is that financial risk-taking has been far more responsive to unconventional monetary policies than real risk-taking has been.

This would be less troubling (well, at least a little less troubling) if not for the fact that the world’s most important central bankers in general (and former Fed Chief Bernanke in particular) have never acknowledged that “the reach for yield” even exists.

Easing is Easy, Hiking is Hard

The recent weakness in major U.S. equity indexes (that now appears ready to continue for the fifth straight day) has surely not escaped the attention of Federal Reserve officials who have been attempting to “prepare markets” for the eventual end of super-accommodative monetary policy but, as shown below via this item at The Fiscal Times the other day, we’ve been down this road many times before since the 2008 financial crisis.

On a completely unrelated note, see this Friday Funny at reason.com that weighs in on the Ted Cruz presidential campaign announcement in The Next Political Messiah.

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