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US Economic Contraction And The Pending Greek Default

This week saw further confirmation of a deteriorating US economy as both the Empire State and Philly Fed surveys continued their reversals and showed outright contraction. What was viewed by many as a soft patch indeed is much deeper.

Additionally retail sales contracted showing the consumer to be weaker than economists and markets had predicted. Of the four GDP components the consumer was the only one showing strength yet as witnessed by the Q1 GDP revision they in fact are not strong.

Global economic risk is at maximum velocity. The volume and magnitude of headwinds is unprecedented. At the same time the available solutions are diminishing. The levels of debt needed to keep the system afloat is outgrowing the credit available.

As we see with housing when supply and demand reach an imbalance price becomes the referee. In the case of global debt that referee will be rising yields, rising debt service and a complete inability to finance the system.

We are witnessing such in Greece. Greece is analogous to Tunisia. Rather than the first shot of the global revolution Greece is the first shot of the credit jubilee. If the solution for Greece was easy and or possible we would already know of its details. Instead we are witnessing riots, finger pointing and complete indecision. All of which are signs that leaders do not know the answer and are accepting the reality that one does not exist.

The eloquently spoken and virally famous Nigel Farage in a recent interview explains in simple terms how the very existence of the ECB is in question. As Nigel states unlike the Federal Reserve the ECB cannot simply print to meet capital shortfalls. After buying Greek, Portuguese and Irish debt to give the appearance of auction strength the ECB has consequently put their balance sheet at great risk.

The capital markets are beginning to smell the famous blood in the streets. Yet this is not the blood that entices one to invest like Buffet and go long risk assets but instead to press risk to the short side.

Should the EU somehow figure out how to implement another round of Greek aid that appeases the citizens of Greece, the EU taxpayers and does not create a CDS credit event then Ireland and Portugal are next. Then there is Spain with a 40% youth unemployment.

The time for a Sunday evening can kicking event has passed. I suspect the rate of deterioration in both the global economy and the Keynesian credit game will be breathtaking.

What Lehman was to the 2008 US recession Greece will be to the subsequent global depression.


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