Tags: Greece | crisis | market | risk

Will Greek Crisis Be Contained or Will Markets Nosedive?

By    |   Tuesday, 07 July 2015 07:45 AM

Axel Merk, president and CIO of Merk Investments, puts the Greek circumstance in perspective, calling it a “non-event,” because the debt is owned by “super-national institutions that are spending other people’s money” that is little more than “a bruise to the ego” for Germany’s Angela Merkel and the IMF’s Christine Lagarde.” This writer wonders whether the Obama administration and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen might also be bruised before this is over. Merk observed, “No one outside of Greece is going to change their lifestyle.” Here this writer would note that the ongoing, permanent financial crisis has indeed affected the lifestyles of millions of Americans who will end up paying for the excesses of zombie banks backed by the federal safety net. Yet Merk has said, and reiterated here, that he thinks there is “too much complacency in the market, and it might as well be Greece that is the catalyst for investors to consider the glass to be half empty.” This writer would suggest, to the contrary, that investors might be relieved if Greece turns out to provide the justification for the Fed to continue to postpone raising rates and to back financial markets with the Yellen put. Merk warned further that the authorities may be losing control, that “Risk premia have to expand; asset prices have to come lower.” Merk recommends gold, which investors know has not performed well.

Next, conservative University of Maryland Business School Professor Peter Morici calls it “a bold leap of faith” to expect that a new round of austerity will help get the Greek economy moving where the last one led to a 25% contraction. Morici singled out ECB head Mario Draghi for raising collateral requirements for banks in the face of a “liquidity crisis.” He added, “The banks are already living with a lot of nonperforming loans, and the conditions that Draghi, Merkel, and Lagarde have imposed on Greece are locking Greece up in a debtor’s prison” to avoid granting relief to Italy, Spain, and Portugal. He warned of a “humanitarian crisis” as Greeks give up children they can’t afford to feed. Morici recalled that Merkel had been motivated “to clean up the books of her banks, which had Greek exposure.”

Francisco Torralba, senior economist at Morningstar, remarked that the market reaction to the threat of a Grexit can be interpreted as confidence or indifference. This writer would add that the confidence could be lodged in the knowledge that the U.S. authorities are supporting the financial markets. Torralba warned of the potential for a Graccident because the tone of the negotiations has become more personal rather than focusing dispassionately on the economics. Despite confidence the crisis is contained, Torralba allowed that markets could still go into “panic mode,” because there might be more losses to come.

Finally, turning to an issue other than Greece, Dennis Gartman, of The Gartman Letter, comments on the plunge in oil in anticipation of more than half a million barrels a day of Iranian crude coming onto a market already storing surplus oil in tankers, if the U.S. signs an agreement Gartman and most conservatives consider “terrible,” so that Secretary Kerry can “get his Nobel Prize.” Gartman pointed out that the Saudis will continue to defend their market share. He called oil a “bear market in dire straits” and predicted the price will go to 45 before we see 60. He concluded, “Things could get very ugly; there’s 50 tankers out there right now.” He suggested tanker stocks might be a vehicle to play this circumstance – Navios Maritime (NNA), Teekay Tankers (TNK), and Nordic American Tankers (NAT).

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In the first clip, Axel Merk, president and CIO of Merk Investments, puts the Greek circumstance in perspective, calling it a "non-event."
Greece, crisis, market, risk
Tuesday, 07 July 2015 07:45 AM
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