Cyprus bank theft by the EU shocks European Markets

AP | MARCH 18, 2013

Stocks around the world and the euro fell sharply Monday as investors fretted over a plan to tax depositors in Cypriot banks as a way to partly fund a bailout of the Mediterranean island nation.

Although Cyprus accounts for only around 0.2 percent of the economic output of the 17 European Union countries that use the common euro, the tax on depositors was a significant policy shift that has stoked fears of bank runs in other troubled European economies. Cyprus residents already emptied virtually all ATMs on the island in a weekend bank run.

“If European policymakers were looking for a way to undermine the public trust that underpins the foundation of any banking system they could not have done a better job,” said Michael Hewson, senior market analyst at CMC Markets.

Since the European debt crisis began in late 2009, savers have been spared. But the bailout of Cyprus, agreed to early Saturday, foresees a 6.75 percent levy on deposits below (EURO)100,000 ($130,860), rising to 9.9 percent on those above.

The Cypriot Parliament has to back the proposal for it to pass, and lawmakers have called it an unfair blow to small savers, since deposits around the eurozone have been guaranteed up to the (EURO)100,000 level. The vote was postponed for a second time as lawmakers discuss possible changes to the tax rates, with the parliament speaker saying it will now take place Tuesday.

One new proposal would make the tax more graduated: placing a one-time 3 percent levy on deposits below (EURO)100,000, rising to 15 percent for those above (EURO)500,000.

“The bottom line is that it’s very finely balanced and the success of the vote will depend on what tax breakdown goes before Parliament,” said Adam Cole, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

The prospect of further uncertainty weighed on markets.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 1 percent at 6,428 while Germany’s DAX fell 1.5 percent to 7,958. The CAC-40 in France was 1.5 percent lower at 7,955. Cyprus’ stock exchange was closed for a bank holiday.

The euro was taking a pounding too, down 0.8 percent at $1.2950.

If it backs the levy, then Cyprus would be eligible for a (EURO)10 billion ($13 billion) financial rescue from its partners in the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund. It’s the first time that deposits have been tapped to fund an EU nation’s bank bailout.

German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said a “no” vote by Cypriot lawmakers would have huge repercussions in the country.

“Then the Cypriot banks will no longer be solvent, and Cyprus will be in a very difficult situation,” said Schaeuble, who insisted that every country involved in Europe’s debt crisis is different. In the case of Cyprus, he said bank owners and investors had to participate in the rescue.

“It can’t be done any other way if we want to avoid insolvency,” he said.

Cyprus’ banking sector is about eight times the size of the economy and has been accused of being a hub for money-laundering, particularly from Russia. That’s why many European officials wanted to have the banks’ depositors involved in the cost of the bailout.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index slid 2.7 percent to 12,220.63, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 2 percent to 22,082.83.

Wall Street was headed for a retreat at the open too, with Dow futures down 0.6 percent and the broader S&P 500 futures 1 percent lower.

Oil prices were also under pressure, with the benchmark New York rate $1.20 lower at $92.25 a barrel.

Rothschild bets on the Euro zone Collapse

Meanwhile, financial publications forecast a Greece style rescue for Spain.

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | AUGUST 21, 2012

If there was any doubt on anyone’s mind that the Euro zone will collapse, this is the time to change your mind. Not only is the main stream media predicting more financial rescues for EU nations, but one of the most influential bankers from one of the most influential families in Europe has now bet against the recovery of the Euro.

Lord Jacob Rothschild, from the Rothschild banking mob has wager $200 million against the European currency — euro — and with it he is basically expressing his strong belief that the Euro will collapse and so will the euro zone. Lord Rothschild is a member of the dynasty that has, at least in part, ruled the world through powerful banking institutions. It is the same family that has made a killing before, during and after every single major financial crisis by using the asset and power consolidation model first seen when 5 Rothschild children were unleashed around Europe to build and manage the central banking system that rules the planet today.

According to NBC, Lord Jacob, one of the elders of the Rothschild family “has taken the position against the euro through RIT Capital Partners, the 1.9 billion pound investment trust of which he is executive chairman.” The report says that Rothschild’s position on the Euro comes as he sees the currency weakening day after day due to the many problems that European nations face, especially the sovereign debt issue, which are working as separate ailments against the single currency.

Both Italy and Spain have called for “decisive action” from the European Central Bank to curb the current crisis, especially the lack of confidence on those two nations  as their credit worthiness is downgraded by the banker created credit rating agencies. Just as it happened with Greece, Spain is finding it too difficult to pay its debt, and there are now talks emerging about a possible debt forgiving scheme to help beaten up countries remain financially alive. But the government in Brussels has been clear that it will not seek or encourage financial or fiscal amnesty for any nation.

The government in Brussels is the head the banking structure in Europe, where all banking deals are closed for European nations. According to banking sources, the EU government is not contemplating any type of payment forgiveness, because it considers that such action does not produce any revenue while it gives the wrong message about financial responsibility. This is an interesting position to have if one takes into account that the banking institutions are the entities responsible for most of the debt accrued on the debt sheets of the European nations.

Both in Europe and in North America, the rhetoric regarding the real state of the economies has experienced a 360 degree change, even on the main stream press, where both financial experts and teleprompter readers have now confessed that we have been slaves to the banking institutions for a long, long time, and that only a centralized banking entity will have the ability to solve the debt problem.

In an article published yesterday, the Wall Street Journal is assuring the public that Spain will definitely go through a financial rescue the same way that Greece did as the bankers seek to extend the painful economic and financial depression for as long as possible in every nation that belongs to the Euro zone. Editor Mary Anastasia O’Grady said that if the current crisis took too long to be solved, Spain ran the risk of having to be rescued by the central bankers, a scenario widely denied by the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

O’Grady said in her article that Spain needs to become serious about structural changes that she said are necessary to get the economy going, as well as to propose and execute clear policies that promote growth. Spain needs to “liberalize businesses” so that business owners find it attractive to take risks against extreme austerity measures and cuts that the government has implemented, which do not help address “the path of growth.” She added that Spain can recover all the potential it had, but reforms must continue deeply and seriously.

This does not seem to be the scenario envisioned by Lord Rothschild, however, since he has bet big time against the recovery of the Euro. His position contrasts talking points issued by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Central Bank head Mario Draghi, who have said they will do whatever it takes to save the euro. But not all euro members necessarily agree with the “whatever it takes” part of their speech as more divisiveness seems to be growing among European leaders about the way things should be done to save — or not — the countries that are unable to paid the banker created debt.

Chinese companies get out of US Stock Market

Chinese don’t want to be overseen by US auditors

ASSOCIATED PRESS | AUGUST 14, 2012

Just a few years after Chinese companies lined up to sell shares on Wall Street, a growing number are reversing course and pulling out of U.S. exchanges.

This week, Focus Media Holding Ltd., announced its chairman and private equity firms want to buy back its U.S.-traded shares and take the Shanghai-based advertising company private. The deal would value Focus Media at $3.5 billion, according to financial information firm Dealogic.

Smaller companies also are withdrawing from U.S. exchanges. In a sign of official encouragement, a Chinese business magazine said a state bank has provided $1 billion in loans to help companies with listings abroad move them to domestic exchanges.

The withdrawals follow accusations of improper accounting by some companies and a deadlock between Beijing and Washington over whether U.S. regulators can oversee their China-based auditors.

Some Chinese companies say they are pulling out of U.S. markets because a low share price fails to reflect the strength of their business. Withdrawing also eliminates the cost of complying with American financial reporting rules.

Focus Media “has been seriously undervalued on U.S. stock markets” and being taken private will help to promote its “long-term strategic development,” said a company spokeswoman, Lu Jing.

The company, formed in 2003, operates electronic advertising displays in elevators, grocery stores and other locations.

“We haven’t considered whether to list the company on Chinese markets but that possibility has not been excluded,” Lu said.

U.S.-traded Chinese companies faced scrutiny after auditors for several quit and others were accused of accounting irregularities. Concerns about company finances have caused share prices to tumble, costing investors several billion dollars.

“Probably all these companies have some questionable accounting, so they may prefer to move out of the U.S., not to come under too much scrutiny,” said Marc Faber, managing director of Hong Kong fund management company Marc Faber Ltd.

A financial firm, Muddy Waters Research, accused Focus Media last year of overstating the number of its display panels and questioned acquisitions reported by the company. Focus Media denied the allegations and said independent auditors confirmed the size of its network.

This week, Muddy Waters founder Carson Block said in a statement: “The markets are far better off if a few deep pocketed investors own Focus Media instead of mutual funds and other public shareholders.”

The group proposing to take the company private includes its chairman, Jason Nanchun Jiang, and private equity firms Carlyle Group, CITIC Capital Partners, CDH Investments and China Everbright Ltd.

The status of Chinese companies in the United States could be complicated by a dispute between U.S. and Chinese regulators over whether American inspectors will be allowed to examine the work of their China-based audit firms.

Washington wants auditors to hand over documentation on companies that are under investigation but Chinese authorities have barred the release of some information. If a settlement is not reached, the SEC could reject audits by China-based firms, forcing companies to find new auditors.

In May, Beijing took steps to tighten control of local affiliates of major accounting firms by issuing a requirement for Chinese citizens to head those offices.

Dozens of Chinese companies issued shares on Wall Street over the past decade, raising billions of dollars from investors who wanted a stake in the country’s booming economy.

Many were private companies that could not raise money on Chinese exchanges that were created to finance state industry or wanted the higher public profile.

Chinese regulators encouraged the move as a way for entrepreneurs to raise money and speed the development of China’s economy. But in recent years Beijing has encouraged private companies to issue shares in China to help develop its markets and give Chinese households better investment options.

Regulators have made it easier for private companies to join China’s two exchanges in Shanghai and the southern city of Shenzhen, though most listings still are for state enterprises. The Shenzhen exchange created a second board for small companies, imitating the U.S.-based Nasdaq market.

Major state companies such as oil giant PetroChina Ltd. and China Mobile Ltd., the world’s biggest phone company by subscribers, also have issued shares abroad. None has indicated it plans to withdraw from foreign stock exchanges.

The economics also are shifting in China’s favor.

U.S.-traded companies saw share prices plunge following the 2008 global crisis, while economic growth at home, even after a recent decline, is still forecast at about 8 percent this year. Rising Chinese incomes are creating a bigger pool of money for investment.

“Generally speaking, a company’s shares are sold at a higher premium in initial public offerings on Chinese stock markets than on U.S. markets,” said Mao Sheng, a market strategist for Huaxi Securities in the western city of Chengdu.

Also, he said, “If the company’s business is mainly in China, it will be good for its brand promotion.”

Another U.S.-traded company, Fushi Copperweld Inc., announced plans in June by its chairman, Li Fu, and a Hong Kong firm, Abax Global Capital, to take the maker of metallic conductors private.

Muddy Waters cited Fushi Copperweld in April as one of several companies it said dealt with an investment bank that helped enterprises seeking U.S. stock market listings to conceal problems and misrepresent financial information.

Fushi Copperweld denied Muddy Waters’ “vague and nonspecific” claims.

The company said its privatization will be financed with loans from the China Development Bank.

Created to support construction of highways and other public works in China, CDB plays a growing role in its corporate expansion abroad. The bank provides credit to buyers of Chinese telecoms gear and other big-ticket goods and has financed building projects in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

CDB has lent $1 billion “to help Chinese public companies leave the U.S. stock market to return to domestic markets,” the business magazine Caixin said last month.

Employees who answered the phone at Fushi Copperweld said no one was available to comment.

Also in June, China TransInfo Technology Corp., a provider of traffic management technology, announced privatization plans to be financed by CDB’s Hong Kong branch. A company spokeswoman said she could not comment because the plan is not finalized.

In October, Harbin Pacific Electric Co. withdrew from Nasdaq in a share buyback financed by $400 million in loans from the CDB.

Social Immorality is the Root cause of our Crisis

Wall Street executives say unethical behavior is acceptable to get ahead

AFP | JULY 11, 2012

A quarter of Wall Street and British financial executives think unethical or illegal conduct is needed to succeed, according to a survey by law firm Labaton Sucharow released Tuesday.

A full 24 percent of senior managers polled by the New York-based firm said they “may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct in order to be successful.”

And 16 percent admitted they would commit a crime, like insider trading, if they could get away with it.

The survey comes after a string of controversies, legal investigations and denunciations of the financial profession, which is blamed for helping to run the global economy into the ground via the 2008 financial crisis.

“When misconduct is common and accepted by financial services professionals, the integrity of our entire financial system is at risk,” said Jordan Thomas, chair of Labaton Sucharow’s whistleblower representation practice.

The latest controversy to hit the industry has involved allegations that Barclays Bank traders manipulated key inter-bank lending rates that underpin the entire banking system.

The controversy forced Barclays’s chief executive Bob Diamond to step down.

The survey also showed 39 percent of respondents believe their competitors have engaged in illegal or unethical activity.

Thirty percent said their pay or bonuses put pressure on them to violate ethical standards.

One third said securities regulators on both side of the Atlantic are a deterrence.

The survey was conducted in June and included 500 respondents in the Britain and the United States.

Doomsday Economic Collapse is Another Conspiracy Fact

USAToday
February 27, 2012

Behind the mainstream Wall Street happy talk about more stable financial markets and an improving economy are grim warnings of tough times ahead from a small cadre of doomsayers who warn that the worst of the financial crisis is still to come.

Harry Dent, author of the new book The Great Crash Ahead, says another stock market crash is coming due to a bad ending to the global debt bubble. He has pulled back on his earlier prediction of a crash in 2012, as central banks around the world have been flooding markets with money, giving stocks an artificial short-term boost. But a crash is coming in 2013 or 2014, he warns. “This will be a repeat of 2008-09, only bigger, when it finally hits,” Dent told USA TODAY.

Gerald Celente, a trend forecaster at the Trends Research Institute, says Americans should brace themselves for an “economic 9/11” due to policymakers’ inability to solve the world’s financial and economic woes. The coming meltdown, he predicts, will lead to growing social unrest and anti-government sentiment, a U.S. dollar with far less purchasing power and more people out of work.

Celente won’t rule out another financial panic that could spark enough fear to cause a run on the nation’s banks by depositors. That risk could cause the government to invoke “economic martial law” and call a “bank holiday” and close banks as it did during the Great Depression.

“We see some kind of threat of that magnitude,” Celente, publisher of The Trends Journal newsletter, warned in an interview.

Robert Prechter, author of Conquer the Crash, first published in 2002 and updated in 2009, is still bearish. He says today’s economy has similarities to the Great Depression and warns that 1930s-style deflation is still poised to cause financial havoc. Prechter predicts that the major U.S. stock indexes, such as the Dow Jones industrials and Standard & Poor’s 500, will plunge below their bear market lows hit in March 2009 during the last financial crisis. The brief recovery will fail as it did in the 1930s, he says.

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