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Monday, 10 February 2014

Feb 10, 2014: News Updates

Eurozone banks face £42bn 'capital black hole’

Government adviser Davide Serra says this year’s stress tests by European authorities are likely to find fresh problems in the eurozone banks.

Feb 10 2014

 Eurozone banks are facing a new capital black hole of as much as €50bn (£42bn), according to one of the UK’s most respected financial analysts.

Davide Serra, the chief executive of Algebris, who advises the Government on banking, said that this year’s stress tests by the European Banking Authority and the European Central Bank were likely to find fresh problems in the eurozone banks.

Barclays launches investigation after customer data leak

By Sarah Young
LONDON Sun Feb 9, 2014 6:05am EST
(Reuters) - Barclays said it had launched an investigation after a newspaper reported that the personal details of 27,000 customers had been stolen and sold, raising the prospect of new fines for the bank.

Confidential information on customers' earnings and health as well as passport details had ended up for sale, The Mail on Sunday reported, citing data provided to it by a whistleblower.

EU to force Britons to publish details of wills and property

A bill being debated in Brussels would force UK citizens to disclose 'reams' of private, financial information on a public register - feb 10 2014

New legislation planned in Brussels is set to heap fresh costs and paperwork on families’ financial planning, as well as leaving their affairs open to unwanted public scrutiny. ...
...But officials in Brussels have widened out the proposals as the bill has evolved, to include trusts. The effect could be to force millions of families to compile elaborate accounts of their assets and financial arrangements including insurance policies, property and bequests made in their wills, for entry into a register. And that register, if legislators get their way, could be made available to any member of the public.

VSome European banks need to 'die in an orderly fashion’– new bank supervisor

Published time: February 10, 2014 11:14
Weak banks need to fail in order for the European Central Banks’ stress tests on lenders to be successful and credible, the new chair of the supervisory arm of the bank Daniele Nouy said. Only "good" banks with strong capital will survive.

“We have to accept that some banks have no future,” Nouy told the Financial Times (FT) in an interview published February 10, 2014. Nouy will serve a five-year term.

Fitch downgrades Ukraine to CCC rating

KIEV, Ukraine, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Financial assessment firm Fitch has dropped Ukraine's credit score to become the third of the three large credit rating firms to do so in the last week.

Why You Shouldn't Trust Europe In One Simple Chart

02/09/2014 18:37 -0500
While China (or Russia) are held up as the world's most corrupt among developed nations among the status-quo-huggers, it would seem there are two other nations that dominate when it comes to getting caught. Europe paid more in fines  (in fact double the US and 10 times China) for price-fixing, bid-rigging, and other anti-trust abuses in 2013.

Bitcoin Just Completely Crashed As Major Exchange Says Withdrawals Remain Halted

Feb. 10, 2014, 5:57 AM   
Bitcoin just completely fell out of bed. ...

Bitcoin Flash Crashes, Drops By 80% In Seconds

 02/10/2014 08:2

Now that Bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox has terminally discredited itself following the latest, and likely last, withdrawal halt announced late last week which sent the value of Bitcoin tumbling by 25%, Bitcoin traders are left with just two exchange options on which to transact: BTC-e and Bitstamp. And for those using the former to buy and sell the virtual digital currency, things went from bad to worse a few short hours ago, when Bitcoin had its very own "Waddell and Reed" moment, when the price of Bitcoin cratered by over 80% in the span of seconds, after a modest block of just under 6000 Bitcoins sent the price plunging from over $600 to $102.

Swiss tight ‘yes’ vote on EU immigration ends free movement within bloc

Edited time: February 10, 2014 10:00
Switzerland has voted 50.3 percent in favor of limiting annual migration from the EU, thus ending the policy of free movement within the bloc that was established in 2002.

Swiss voters narrowly decided that immigration quotas would be reintroduced, thereby overturning the free movement policy introduced in the European Union 12 years ago. Early results showed the country to be very divided in opinion over the 'Stop mass immigration’ initiative.

British MPs want EU laws veto, Brussels slams UK on immigration

Published time: January 12, 2014 10:50

NSA helps CIA assassination program with 'unreliable' tactic

The National Security Agency is using an “unreliable” method to locate targets for the US assassination program, resulting in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people, according to a report.
...The surveillance agency locates the potential targets using controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies, the drone operate and NSA employee noted.

One of the tactics is for the NSA to “geolocate” the SIM card or handset of a suspected target’s phone, enabling the CIA and/or the US military to conduct raids and drone strikes.

UK ‘borrowed’ US drones to carry out unreported strikes in Afghanistan

Published time: February 10, 2014 10:28
The UK has used American drones over 250 times to carry out previously unreported attacks in Afghanistan, the MoD has admitted. The reports prompted a sharp reaction from British rights groups who slammed the lack of transparency in the UK military.

In response to a freedom of information request by British rights group Drone Wars UK, the Ministry of Defense said it had launched 39 missile strikes from unmanned US craft in Afghanistan. This the first time the Ministry of Defense has admitted to the use of American craft in conflict zones to carry out strikes.

US to pump $300mn into Afghanistan to end ‘war economy’ – report

Published time: February 09, 2014 13:26

Washington will announce on Monday a massive aid package to Afghanistan, which it hopes will assist the war-torn country get back on its feet after 12 years of playing host to foreign troops, Reuters has learned.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) will announce three new development programs worth almost $300 million to wean Afghanistan off its 'war economy,' which is heavily subsidized today by opium exports – a trade that had been practically squashed while the country was under Taliban rule.

Lights Out for NSA? Maryland Lawmakers Push to Cut Water, Electricity to Spy Agency Headquarters

NSA nerve center in Fort Meade targeted by bill.  Feb 10 2014
 Eight Republicans in the 141-member Maryland House of Delegates introduced legislation Thursday that would deny the electronic spy agency “material support, participation or assistance in any form” from the state, its political subdivisions or companies with state contracts.

The bill would deprive NSA facilities water and electricity carried over public utilities, ban the use of NSA-derived evidence in state courts and prevent state universities from partnering with the NSA on research.

China's gold demand tops 1,000 tonnes for first time

BEIJING/SINGAPORE Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:21pm IST
(Reuters) - China's gold consumption jumped 41 percent in 2013 to exceed 1,000 tonnes for the first time, an industry body said on Monday, as a sharp slide in prices attracted buyers for jewellery and bullion.

The demand surge has helped China become the No. 1 gold consumer and should support prices, which took a hit last year from expectations of a tapering of commodities-friendly economic stimulus by the U.S. Federal Reserve and a drop in demand in the other major buyer India.

As China Orders Its Smaller Banks To Load Up On Cash, Is The Biggest Ever "Unlimited QE" About To Be Unleashed?

 02/10/2014 11:46 -0500

The Chinese new year may be over which following a last minute bailout of its insolvent Credit Equals Gold Trust product was largely uneventful, but already concerns about domestic liquidity are once again rising to the surface following reports that China’s banking regulator ordered some of the nation’s smaller lenders to set aside more funds to avoid a cash shortfall, which as Bloomberg notes signal rising concern that defaults may climb.
...Of course, the real panic will commence once the financial turmoiling shifts from the small banks to the big ones: "China’s five biggest state-owned banks and 12 national lenders controlled more than 60 percent of the nation’s 148 trillion yuan of banking assets at the end of 2013, according to CBRC data. Other financial institutions including 144 city commercial lenders, 337 rural banks and more than 1,900 rural cooperatives owned the rest."
Talk about "Too Big To Fail."

UK bank standards body should be run by non-bankers - review head

LONDON Mon Feb 10, 2014

(Reuters) - A new standards body for British bankers should be led by people from outside the industry to establish its independence and credibility, the man tasked with setting it up said on Monday.

Britain's biggest banks pledged to set up the body last year after the industry was hit by scandals including the rigging of benchmark interest rates, breaches of anti-money laundering rules and the mis-selling of loan insurance and complex interest rate hedging products.

Canada's trade deficit biggest in a year in December

Thu Feb 6, 2014 12:04pm EST
OTTAWA/TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's trade deficit jumped to the highest level in a year in December, a government report showed on Thursday, the latest in a series of disappointing economic figures that are expected to keep the Bank of Canada from raising interest rates this year.

Better Markets sues Justice Department over JP Morgan settlement

Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:07pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The non-profit group Better Markets filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department on Monday to block what it called an "unlawful" $13 billion settlement with JP Morgan over bad mortgage loans sold to investors before the financial crisis.

The record settlement with the bank, which was reached in November, does not release JP Morgan from potential criminal liability over the mortgages it packaged into bonds.

But Better Markets said it was still appalled that the settlement gave the bank "blanket civil immunity" for its conduct without sufficient judicial review.

REPORT: Top Chinese Regulator Personally Asked Jamie Dimon To Hire A Family Member

Feb. 10, 2014, 5:18 AM   
Reuters) - China's top insurance regulator directly asked JPMorgan Chase & Co <JPM.N> CEO Jamie Dimon to hire a family friend as a "favor", The New York Times reported, citing a confidential email

RBS CEO: We Sold Customers Things They Didn't Need, And We 'Literally And Metaphorically' Put Them At The Back Of The Line

49 minutes ago   
"In the rush for growth and profit, RBS forgot what banking is about. The bank valued least the people it should have valued most: its customers. We sold them products like PPI which many didn't need, and in some cases didn't know they had. Our customers often felt confused by language they found difficult to understand. We wasted their time with needless bureaucracy. We literally and metaphorically put them at the back of the queue."

Netanyahu to talk curbs on Iran with Obama in Washington in March

JERUSALEM Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:20am
(Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has condemned a big power deal with Iran on its nuclear activity, said he would meet U.S. President Obama in Washington next month to further the goal of denying Tehran an atomic bomb capability.

 Feb. 9, 2014, 10:14 p.m. EST

Rich Chinese line up to leave China

Commentary: And why Hong Kong feels anxious

Wealthy Chinese mainlanders are voting with their feet in eye-popping numbers and preparing to emigrate — taking both their money and family with them.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg is top U.S. charitable giver of 2013

February 10, 2014, 8:35 AM

The largest beneficiary of the largesse of Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, was the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, leaped in 2013 into the ranks of the U.S.’s biggest foundations.

Rancho Feeding Corp. recalls year's worth of beef products

Feb 10 2014
A US food company responsible for distributing millions of pounds of diseased animal meat is recalling the products, officials said.

Rancho Feeding Corp., a Northern California company, recalled 8.7 million pounds of beef parts (3.95 million kg) for lack of full federal inspection and processing unhealthy animals, officials at the US Department of Agriculture said Saturday.

NSA helps CIA assassination program with 'unreliable' tactic

The National Security Agency is using an “unreliable” method to locate targets for the US assassination program, resulting in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people, according to a report.
...The surveillance agency locates the potential targets using controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies, the drone operate and NSA employee noted.

One of the tactics is for the NSA to “geolocate” the SIM card or handset of a suspected target’s phone, enabling the CIA and/or the US military to conduct raids and drone strikes.

5th. Wall Street Banker Suicided: Taken Out To Prevent Forex Fraud Transparency ~ U.S. Being Drained.

February 9, 2014
Yesterday we reported that Steve Quayle’s banker source “V” has informed him that the recent rash of banker “suicides” are part of a hit list that includes dozens of bankers including warnings of a high level Citi executive
The banker hits are being done by the bad guys to keep men from singing after they flipped during prosecution investigation.
    All have been working with police teams and continental cops like Interpol.
the implications are that the US was only able to repatriate 5 tons of the Bundesbank’s gold reserves in year 1, and his overall view on the importance of the German gold repatriation request made a year ago, and Willie responded:
    - an entire process was triggered, to drain gold, to slam markets, with publicity given
    - it means the USFed and London and Paris were caught red-handed stealing German gold

Frontrunning: February 10

02/10/2014 07:42 -0500

  • Yellen's first test (Reuters)
  • Let weak banks die, says eurozone super-regulator (FT)
  • Yellen, Carney Face Explaining Policy as Benchmarks Near (BBG)
  • Commerzbank Said Seeking Debt Buyers in $6.8 Billion Spain Exit (BBG)
  • Junk Yield Premiums Soar on China’s Looming First Default (BBG)
  • Millions Trapped in Health-Law Coverage Gap (WSJ)
  • Mandel Tops Best-Earning Hedge Funds for Clients in 2013 (BBG)
  • Swiss Brace for Sour EU Relations After Immigration Vote (BBG)
  • Detroit Bankruptcy Talks to Resume (WSJ)
  • Olympic Diva Shrugs Off Hotel Gripes to Sing Sochi’s Praises (BBG)
  • Toyota to stop making cars in Australia from 2017 (Reuters)
  • Alwaleed’s Kingdom Beats Buffett on Hidden Treasures (BBG)
  • Traders Crying Over Losses Missing HSBC’s Bargains (BBG)
  • How to save France (FT)