Everything is rigged. Stock markets, forex, interest rates, gold, silver, oil.... After battling that rigged world all day, you finally get to take that first big gulp of beer to heal the wounds, knowing that it’s the one thing that hasn’t been rigged against you. Or so you'd think.
Entries in Europe - Germany (190)
The word dollar didn’t even come up when the Bundesbank signed the agreement with the People’s Bank of China. President Xi Jinping and Chancellor Angela Merkel looked on. It was serious business. Everyone knew what this was about. No one had to say it.
It took a while. But it had to come, the public warning shot – after some ferocious lobbying behind closed doors. No one in Germany is allowed to get in the way of the sacrosanct exporters. The German economy, to the chagrin of neighboring countries, is based on them.
Danièle Nouy, chair of the ECB’s newfangled bank regulator that doesn’t exist yet, had a term for it: “do whatever has to be done” so that the banking sector “is seen as sound and safe and transparent.” Is seen as.... Smoke and mirrors.
The ECB’s money-printing and bond-buying promise, lovingly dubbed Outright Monetary Transactions, became the bailing wire and duct tape that has kept the Eurozone together to this day. Turns out, it’s illegal under the EU treaties and unconstitutional in Germany.
Not that 2013 was such a great year in Germany, economically speaking, with growth stalling at barely above the zero line. But it was a superb year for extracting taxes from hard-working people. And it shoved Germany deeper into two decades of retail quagmire.
Since 2012, German economic growth has been back where it was when Germany was called the “Sick Man of Europe.” Only this time, Germany has been anointed the model economy for others to follow and admire.
Germany has its own JP Morgan, mired in a swamp of sordid scandals, investigations, lawsuits, and fines. Now a letter by the banking regulator was leaked that blasts Deutsche Bank's internal investigation of the rate rigging scandal as a senior management whitewash.
Apparently, it has been impossible to sell Greece any weapons at all, not even a water pistol, without bribing officials at the Defense Ministry. But it takes two to tango. And in holier-than-thou Germany, the defense industry has been all too eager to dance with Greece.
When Jens Weidmann, President of the emasculated Bundesbank, speaks, central bankers and money printers worldwide stuff wax into their ears. “Caution,” he started out, “the euro crisis is far from over.” Then he committed central-bank heresy.
Today we got another morsel from the German export smorgasbord, along with a beautiful long-term chart from the German statistical agency that says it all.
Suddenly, there’s a solution to France’s economic crisis. Unlike the cacophonous clamor from the far right to drop the euro, this one is attractively presented with graphs and in terms that even a French politician might understand. And it’s not contaminated by partisanship.
Germany has neither a minimum wage nor a government. Someday it might. If not, there will be new elections, and Chancellor Merkel might get pummeled because she’d be blamed for them. So she’s trying to form a coalition with the left-leaning SPD on whose list of campaign promises was a decent minimum wage.
By Scott Belinksi, Oilprice.com: In Germany, where renewable energy has been aggressively pushed, companies may soon lose an exemption from expensive renewable energy surcharges. Business leaders worry this will "destroy Germany's industrial core."
There has been a symphony of calls for American investors to plow their money into European stocks. So, net inflows into European equity funds have set records, driven by euphoria about a presumed recovery. Equities soared. But turns out, reality has bad breath.
While the US government wants to get its hands on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and crucify him properly, the German government remains red-faced and tangled up in its own underwear. Yet among Germans, and their politicians, support for him is surging.
Most powerful person in the world? Putin! Sez Forbes. At least, it wasn’t Merkel, who has been throwing her weight around when she found out that her Handy had been bugged by the NSA, just like our cellphones. We have to take it; she gets to make a big stink and gripe to Obama on the (bugged) phone.
The euro, its dexterous management, the “whatever-it-takes” guarantees by ECB President Draghi, the trillions being shifted around to prop up banks and governments – all these efforts to keep the Eurozone duct-taped together have hit countries differently. Including France and Germany. They’re shooting at each other now, and hitting the ECB.
The Oktoberfest, one of the biggest beer binge events in the world, is closely watched for economic trends. Alas, this year was the second year in a row when, despite Teutonic organizational ingenuity and marketing muscle, the number of visitors and, most crucially, beer consumption “unexpectedly” dropped (as if we didn't have enough bad news already).