Archive for the ‘business’ Category

Warren Buffett and his American dollars for Canadian doughnuts

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

My latest at Da Tech Guy Blog, Warren Buffett and his American dollars for Canadian doughnuts, on the newest tax exile, is up.

Please read it and contribute to Da Tip Jar!

Argentina: Enter Soros

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

A new player enters the litigation picture:

Argentina default: George Soros sues US bank in London over $500m payment
Hedge funds take legal action against Bank of New York Mellon for freezing payment by Argentina, which has also banned the lender from operating in the country

The billionaire investor, who famously “broke the Bank of England” after shorting the pound, is joined by Knighthead Master Fund, RGY International and Kyle Bass’ Hayman Capital Master Fund in the lawsuit against Bank of New York Mellon.

According to Bloomberg News, the group owns more than 1.3 billion of euro-denominated bonds.

Bank of New York Mellon said: “The suit is without merit. BNY Mellon has consistently followed the binding court orders that govern its actions as trustee in this matter.”
In a further twist, Argentina banned Bank of New Mellon from operating in the country, arguing that the lender “isn’t complying with its operational objectives”.
Bank of New York Mellon declined to comment on the ban.
Argentina is attempting to replace Bank of New York Mellon as trustee with state-run Banco Nacion

Soros has invested heavily in Argentina, particularly in YPF SA and Adecoagro SA.

Argentina’s shell game

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Argentina tries to sidestep US ruling with debt swap
“Nervous” Argentina president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner announces plan to replace Bank of New York Mellon as trustee with state-run Banco Nacion
, because, of course, that would mean Cristina gets what she’s been after all along.

As for that lawsuit Cristina’s government brought to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, claiming the US had “committed violations of Argentine sovereignty”?

The US government must consent to the ICJ’s jurisdiction before the UN can proceed with the case.

She ought to hire this guy; he’d do a better job,

Brazil: Opposition now has Arminio Fraga

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Arminio Fraga, president of Brazil’s central bank from 1999 to 2002 under the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration, is now back in the game:
Brazil Ex-Insider Returns to Help Oust President
With slow growth and high inflation hurting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s chances of winning a second term, former central banker Arminio Fraga joins the opposition to persuade voters that Brazil needs a new economic steward.

Mr. Fraga appears to be positioning himself as something of an inflation whisperer. As president of Brazil’s central bank from 1999 to 2002 under the administration of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, he helped stabilize the currency and rein in consumer prices. Mr. Fraga supports restrained public spending, tough inflation targeting and a floating exchange rate, policies that became known in Brazil as the “economic tripod.”

He is highly critical of the Rousseff administration’s decision slow inflation by capping gasoline prices and electricity rates, moves he dismissed as “gimmicks.” He’s also alarmed that Brazil’s central bank has been intervening regularly in the currency markets to prop up Brazil’s real against the dollar, a strategy he ridicules a “populist move.”

Mr. Fraga said these are stopgap measures that already are proving unworkable and that Brazil needs to focus on long-term fundamentals like increasing private investment and balancing its books.

The fact that earlier this year Standard & Poor downgraded Brazil´s long term bonds credit rating to one notch above junk doesn’t help Dilma – but you have to remember that, even when Dilma’s the candidate, Lula is the man to beat.

Ecuador: Like bitcoin, but not as solid

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Anyone investing in Ecuador?

Bitcoin-Like Money Is Ecuador’s Latest Dollar-Saving Plan (emphasis added):

After mortgaging most of Ecuador’s oil and gold to finance spending, President Rafael Correa is planning to create virtual money to pay the nation’s bills.

Congress last month approved legislation to start a digital currency for use alongside the U.S. dollar, the official tender in Ecuador. Once signed into law, the country will begin using the as-yet-unnamed currency as soon as October. A monetary authority will be established to regulate the money, which will be backed by “liquid assets.”

What do they mean by “liquid assets”, if it can’t be swapped for government bonds?

How reliable is Ecuador?

Less than six years after repudiating $3.2 billion of its dollar-denominated debt

And don’t forget the 1999 default.

UPDATE:
Since the “currency” is yet unnamed, I suggest we name it bullcoin.


Argentina: Cristina gives bondholders the raspberry

Friday, August 1st, 2014

As I predicted,
Argentine Leader Defies Wall Street for Main Street
Argentines awoke Thursday to find their country was once again a financial pariah after the populist President Cristina Kirchner stared down Wall Street hedge funds and pushed her country into its second default in 13 years.
Very little downside for her, since

Her refusal to settle with bondholders owed $1.6 billion could prove politically expedient in the short term: It distracts from Argentina’s slowly crumbling economy and shores up her support among many working-class Argentines who form the base of her Peronist movement, economists and analysts say.

Higher inflation, deeper recession?

Here in this sprawling capital, Argentines reacted with a mix of pride and disinterest. Pride because Mrs. Kirchner stood up to foreigners, mostly Americans and Wall Street, and disinterest because unlike the country’s record $100 billion default in 2001, this one doesn’t mean Argentina is suddenly broke and on the verge of financial collapse.

It’s all about power, folks.

UPDATE:
Stop spouting ‘half truths’ over default, US judge tells Argentina
South American country’s reaction to second default in 12 years does not alter the fact it has to pay what it owes, judge says


Argentina defaults

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

As predicted,
Argentina Declared in Default by S&P as Talks Fail

Standard & Poor’s declared Argentina in default after the government missed a deadline for paying interest on $13 billion of restructured bonds.

A US judge had set a deadline of 04:00 GMT on Thursday for a deal.

This is the eighth time the country has defaulted:

ARGENTINA’S first bond, issued in 1824, was supposed to have a lifespan of 46 years. Less than four years later, the government defaulted. Resolving the ensuing stand-off with creditors took 29 years. Since then seven more defaults have followed, the most recent this week, when Argentina failed to make a payment on bonds issued as partial compensation to victims of the previous default, in 2001.

En la fuacata!

Ecuador and the ‘straitjacket’

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Many of you approaching retirement age may have read multiple public relations articles touting Ecuador as A Top Retire-Overseas Choice. Among the reasons listed,

– Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar meaning no exchange-rate risk for American retirees.

If that’s a reason for your relocation, don’t get packing yet: Rafael Correa has other plans,
Ecuador Weighs Escape From Dollar ‘Straitjacket’

Congress has until the end of today to vote on President Rafael Correa’s proposal to change the South American nation’s financial laws, which would allow payments in “electronic money.” Lawmakers are debating whether to insist the central bank back the new currency with a one-to-one dollar guarantee.

As a current-account deficit drains dollars from the economy, making it harder for Correa to fund a burgeoning budget gap, a new currency could be used to meet government payments, said Jaime Carrera, a former deputy finance minister and director of the Quito-based Fiscal Policy Observatory. It could also lose its value quickly if not backed by the central bank, he said.

You may recall, seven years ago

Rafael Correa said Ecuador’s economy will remain dollarized during his four-year mandate

Of course that was before he changed the constitution to allow for his “indefinite re-election.”

Much water under the bridge and many debts later,

Correa, who calls the South American country’s use of the greenback an economic “straitjacket,” has already started paying some pension obligations in government bonds, which brokers are refusing to redeem at face value.

Additionally, Correa wants to issue electronic money without explicit public guarantees.

I can’t wait for him to turn to bitcoin.

Too bad Putin didn’t include Correa in the upcoming BRICS bank.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!

Puerto Rico: Default

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Mary O’Grady writes, Puerto Rico’s Borrowing Bubble Pops
Moody’s measure of ‘expected default’ for Puerto Rico is higher than Argentina and Venezuela.

A Puerto Rican default should not surprise anyone. According to Carlos Colón de Armas, acting dean of the School of Business Administration at the University of Puerto Rico, for eight years from 2005 through 2012, government expenses exceeded revenues on average by approximately $1 billion annually. The dean told me by telephone that total commonwealth debt is now around $73 billion and in 2013 it was 101% of the island’s gross national product (GNP) up from 57% in June 2001. (Although gross domestic product is the most widely accepted measure of an economy’s size, it reflects the profits of large multinational corporations booked for tax purposes in Puerto Rico but not retained in the local economy. Therefore, GNP, a measure of what is produced by locals, is a more accurate tool to assess the economy.)

Unlike Luis Fortuño, the previous governor, current governor Alejandro García Padilla

increased expenses by almost $600 million in his first budget. While he is now cutting spending, the cuts are mostly from that increase, according to Mr. Colón de Armas. Some $500 million-$800 million in fat—from subsidies to special interests to funding for political parties—remains untouched in the $9.6 billion budget.

Fortuño lost by 12,000 votes since García Padilla (known as Agapito) promised the moon and the stars.

And there it goes: a certain default.

Added,

Argentina: Pay up, Cristina

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Argentine Consensus Emerges: Pay Off Debt
Argentines, Business Groups and Ruling-Party Lawmakers Say the Government Should Settle Its Bondholder Debt

“The solution is to reach an agreement, and an agreement obviously means paying,” Daniel Scioli, governor of Buenos Aires province and a leading figure in Mrs. Kirchner’s Peronist movement, said in a recent televised interview.

I would not be at all surprised if she decides to default.