Afternoon markets continued their slide downward as hopes dim for a Greece accord. The OPEC cartel's latest strategy report forecasts oil prices won't reach $100 and could drop below $40. The U.S. Dollar has traded sideways with a fair amount of volatility while gold dropped 20 points right after the opening, but has recovered half of the loss.
The biggest paradox of the so-called US recovery is that in the same report in which the US Department of Labor reported that the US unemployment has dropped to a depression-low 5.4%, a level suggesting near zero "slack" in the labor force, the BLS also indicated that the number of people not in the labor force rose to a fresh all time high of 93.2 million, keeping the participation rate at a level first seen in 1978.
How does one make sense of this glaring contradiction and paradoxical data, which one one hand suggest the recovery is fully in place, while on the other screams depression?
For the answer we go to the WSJ's report on the curious case of America's vanishing worker.
To be sure, this "curious case" covers nothing new for regular Zero Hedge readers, but may explain to casual observers how it is possible that America's labor metrics have devolved to such a Schrodingerian state in which the US labor market is both alive and dead, depending on whose propaganda one observes.
For the answer, the WSJ tracks the career, or rather lack thereof, of Denny Ryder of Decatur, Illinois, 47 years old, who is one of hundreds of thousands of (former) employees in the industrial Midwest who has been forced to move away, retire or give up on finding a job. As a result, the unemployment rate in this has fallen even as De ...
Earlier today we reported that German FinMin Wolfgang Shaeuble has now suggested that the best alternative for Greece's embattled socialist â€'savior' government may be to put euro membership to a referendum. In Shaeuble's words, Tsipras should "ask the Greek people to decide whether it's ready to accept what is necessary or whether it wants the alternative."
What is "necessary" of course, is the implementation of more austerity measures, as the country's current fiscal reform efforts have fallen well short of what's necessary for creditors to unlock the next tranche of much needed financial assistance. The "alternative" to which Schaeuble refers, is redenomination risk or, more simply, the introduction of a parallel currency which will promptly collapse in value and wreak havoc across the country's already beleaguered economy.
Greeks, of course, aren't even the slightest bit interested in subjecting themselves to further belt-tightening and as the following from Reuters makes clear, Greek citizens are at their breaking point not only with austerity, but with the Germans as well:
A small group of demonstrators occupied the Athens headquarters of German industrial group Siemens on Monday, police and company officials said, in a protest against the austerity policies imposed on Greece by its lenders.
About 30 people entered the building in a northern Athens suburb, occupying the Siemens offices and hanging a banner outside the main entrance ahead of a scheduled rally to the German embassy planned for later this month.
"We are not negotiating with domestic and foreign capitalists," read the banner. The p ...
(Reuters) - A General Electric Co executive said on Monday that the company would be willing to consider concessions in order to win European approval to acquire the power equipment unit of France's Alstom .
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The parent companies or main banking units of as many as five major banks, rather than their smaller subsidiaries, are expected to plead guilty to U.S. criminal charges over manipulation of foreign exchange rates, people familiar with the matter said.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU paymaster Germany suggested on Monday that Greece might need a referendum to approve painful economic reforms on which its creditors are insisting, but Athens said it had no such plan for now and others warned a vote could delay vital aid.
Whether it is more posturing ahead of OPEC's June meeting is unclear but the message from 'sources', according to The Wall Street Journal is "OPEC won't agree to go lower," with regard global market share (which has fallen from more than 50-% to just 32% currently). The cartel's latest strategy report forecasts oil prices won't reach $100 - "$100 is not in any of the scenarios," in the next decade (and could drop below $40) with its most optimistic scenario $76 in 2025 (which only Qatar and Kuwait can cover expenditures with). "If they want to sustain the organization, they have no choice," but to reintroduce production quotas, adding any concession by stronger members would be temporary.
A return to quotas?
As The Wall Street Journal reports,
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries doesn't see oil prices consistently trading at $100 barrel again in the next decade, a pessimistic assessment that has the group considering the return of production limits to influence the market, according to a draft of the cartel's latest strategy report.
The report, seen by The Wall Street Journal, predicts that oil prices will be about $76 a barrel in 2025 in its most optimistic scenario, a reflection of OPEC worries that American co ...
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen Group will break up MAN and transfer its truck and bus businesses, as well as MAN Latin America, into VW's new Truck & Bus Holding GmbH, German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said.
Having briefly tested above 3.00% on Thursday, for the first time since December 2nd, 2014, the post-payrolls reaction continues today with 30Y yields up 9bps and back above the 3.00% Maginot Line. We note, additionally, that as Deutsche reports, net short exposure to Treasuries is back at the extremes of its recent range.
(Reuters) - Comcast Corp on Monday named Carlyle Group LP Co-President Michael Cavanagh as chief financial officer, bringing on a prominent dealmaker after its failed attempt to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc .
As expected, and as tipped here earlier, today's Eurogroup meeting concluded without an agreement between Greece and its creditors as both sides cited "progress" and regurgitated familiar rhetoric around the need for a "comprehensive list of reforms", and a universal desire for a favorable outcome.
The Eurogroup today took stock of the state of play with the ongoing negotiations between the Greek authorities and the institutions. We welcomed the progress that has been achieved so far. We note that the reorganisation and streamlining of working procedures has made an acceleration possible, and has contributed to a more substantial discussion. At the same time, we acknowledged that more time and effort are needed to bridge the gaps on the remaining open issues. We therefore welcome the intention of the Greek authorities to accelerate their work with the institutions, with a view to achieving a successful conclusion of the review in a timely fashion.
The Eurogroup reiterated that its statement of 20 February remains the valid framework for the discussions. Once the institutions reach an agreement at staff level on the conclusion of the current review, the Eurogroup will decide on the possible disbursements of the funds outstanding under the current arrangement.
And from chairman Dijsselbloem:
DIJSSELBLOEM SAYS INSTITUTIONS BRIEFED EUROGROUP ON GREECE
DIJSSELBLOEM SAYS GREECE NEGOTIATIONS HAVE ADVANCED
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