No Picture

America’s “Abject Servitude” Is Now Exposed

November 8, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

These are the poisoned fruits of a neofeudal system in which power, wealth and political influence are concentrated in the apex of the wealth-power pyramid.

Stripped of pretense, ours is a culture of rape. Apologists for the system that spawned this culture of rape claim that this violence is the work of a few scattered sociopaths. The apologists are wrong: The system generates a culture of rape.

The engine of our culture of rape is the elevation of the entitled-insider class to untouchability: they are above the law, and more equal than others in their freedom to impose every sick sociopathology known to humanity on the powerless peasants imprisoned in our noxious neofeudal system.

For the true sickness of our society and culture is measured not in the vile crimes of our entitled-insider class: it’s measured by the armies of enablers, protectors, enforcers and apologists who protect the entitled-insider class from exposure and justice. After 25 years of blatant abuse of power and crimes that have yet to enter the court docket, 25 years during which the cream of the American media purposefully ignored his blatant abuses of power, the moldering putrid remains of American journalism has finally emerged from its fetid nests, trembling in the unaccustomed brightness of day, to “report,” 25 years too late to save his innumerable victims, Harvey Weinstein’s Army of Spies (New Yorker).

You know how incestuous and cowardly our entitled-insider class is, and how they operate: for 25 long years, editors in the self-glorifying citadels of American journalism killed every story that would have exposed Mr. Weinstein’s actions to the world.

The same can be said of all the other predators hiding beneath the cloak of secrecy that protects the entitled-insider class from exposure.

Voracious predators like Bill Clinton mastered the fine art of forcing consensuality on their innumerable victims, considering the act of forced sex as little more than a standard perquisite of power, much like having the hotel door opened by servants.

The armies of spies, informers, PR flacks, security guards, attorneys, thugs, sycophants and handlers didn’t just enable predatory exploitation of the peasantry: they actively recruited victims and set them up, just as powerless maids were trapped in the chambers of lords in feudal times.

The truly sick reality of our culture of rape is that nobody involved reckoned they were doing anything wrong. The sociopathological predators reckoned they were simply exercising their droit du seigneur, their right to take any woman they desired as a privilege of belonging to the entitled-insider class.

Every single individual in the vast armies of spies, informers, PR flacks, security guards, attorneys, thugs, sycophants and handlers were simply doing their job, doing what they were told to avoid reprimand or being fired. In other words, every one of these individuals was a good German, pulling the trigger, defending predators from justice, protecting the most vile, sick abusers of power from exposure and attacking any victim who dared speak the truth, because, well, they were paid to do so.

Were there no other jobs in America other than protecting evil predators from exposure and justice? Or did these good Germans secretly revel in their proximity to power, much like the SS reveled in their proximity to Nazi power? All you good Germans who served your overlords so well: please don’t deny the thrill of being close to sociopathological power. Or were you just too afraid of losing your own pretty perquisites?

These are the poisoned fruits of a neofeudal system in which power, wealth and political influence are concentrated in the apex of the wealth-power pyramid, a system so corrupted that predators don’t just get off scot-free, they are celebrated as wunnerful guys because their abuses of power are so well hidden, their victims so well marginalized and their PR flacks so relentless in painting over the rotting flesh of their corruption.

While tens of thousands of men and women rot away in America’s teeming Drug War gulag, the exploiters and predators of our entitled-insider class are free to ruin and rape. It’s time we stop making excuses for the predators of our entitled-insider class, stop accepting the cover provided by the worm-ridden decaying corpse of our corporate media, and stop the armies of Good German executioners who have bludgeoned every attempt to expose the truth of our pervasive culture of rape, exploitation and pillage.

Our abject servitude is now exposed. We are peasants and debt-serfs imprisoned in a deeply corrupt and oppressive neofeudal society. Will we ever tire of worshiping our predatory entitled-insider class exploiters?

*  *  *

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Real Motive Behind Saudi Purge Emerges: $800 Billion In Confiscated Assets

November 8, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

From the very beginning, there was something off about Sunday’s unprecedented countercoup purge unleashed by Mohammad bin Salman on alleged political enemies, including some of Saudi Arabia’s richest and most powerful royals and government officials: it was just too brazen to be a simple “power consolidation” move; in fact most commentators were shocked by the sheer audacity, with one question outstanding: why take such a huge gamble? After all, there was little chatter of an imminent coup threat against either the senile Saudi King or the crown prince, MbS, and a crackdown of such proportions would only boost animosity against the current ruling royals further.

Things gradually started to make sense when it emerged that some $33 billion in oligarch net worth was “at risk” among just the 4 wealthiest arrested Saudis, which included the media-friendly prince Alwaleed.

One day later, a Reuters source reported that in a just as dramatic expansion of the original crackdown, bank accounts of over 1,200 individuals had been frozen, a number which was growing by the minute. Commenting on this land cashgrab, we rhetorically asked “So when could the confiscatory process end? As we jokingly suggested yesterday, the ruling Saudi royal family has realized that not only can it crush any potential dissent by arresting dozens of potential coup-plotters, it can also replenish the country’s foreign reserves, which in the past 3 years have declined by over $250 billion, by confiscating some or all of their generous wealth, which is in the tens if not hundreds of billions. If MbS continues going down the list, he just may recoup a substantial enough amount to what it makes a difference on the sovereign account.”

Then an article overnight from the WSJ confirmed that fundamentally, the purge may be nothing more than a forced extortion scheme, as the Saudi government – already suffering from soaring budget deficits, sliding oil revenues and plunging reserves – was “aiming to confiscate cash and other assets worth as much as $800 billion in its broadening crackdown on alleged corruption among the kingdom’s elite.

As we reported yesterday, the WSJ writes that the country’s central bank, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, said late Tuesday that it has frozen the bank accounts of “persons of interest” and said the move is “in response to the Attorney General’s request pending the legal cases against them.” But what is more notable, is that while we first suggested – jokingly – on Monday that the ulterior Saudi motive would be to simply “nationalize” the net worth of some of Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest individuals, now the WSJ confirms that this is precisely the case, and what’s more notably is that the amount in question is absolutely staggering: nearly 2x Saudi Arabia’s total foreign reserves!

As the WSJ alleges, “the crackdown could also help replenish state coffers. The government has said that assets accumulated through corruption will become state property, and people familiar with the matter say the government estimates the value of assets it can reclaim at up to 3 trillion Saudi riyal, or $800 billion.”

While much of that money remains abroad – and invested in various assets from bonds to stocks to precious metals and real estate – which will complicate efforts to reclaim it, even a portion of that amount would help shore up Saudi Arabia’s finances.

A prolonged period of low oil prices forced the government to borrow money on the international bond market and to draw extensively from the country’s foreign reserves, which dropped from $730 billion at their peak in 2014 to $487.6 billion in August, the latest available government data.

Confirming our speculation was advisory firm Eurasia Group, which in a note said that the crown prince “needs cash to fund the government’s investment plans” adding that “It was becoming increasingly clear that additional revenue is needed to improve the economy’s performance. The government will also strike deals with businessmen and royals to avoid arrest, but only as part of a greater commitment to the local economy.”

Of course, there is a major danger that such a draconian cash grab would result in a violent blowback by everyone who has funds parked in the Kingdom. To assuage fears, Saudi Arabia’s minister of commerce, Majid al Qasabi, on Tuesday sought to reassure the private sector that the corruption investigation wouldn’t interfere with normal business operations. The procedures and investigations undertaken by the anticorruption agency won’t affect ongoing business or projects, he said. Furthermore, the Saudi central bank said that individual accounts had been frozen, not corporate accounts. “It is business as usual for both banks and corporates,” the central bank said.

However, this is problematic: first, not only is the list of names of detained and “frozen” accounts growing by the day…

The government earlier this week vowed that it would arrest more people as part of the corruption investigation, which began around three years ago. As a precautionary measure, authorities have banned a large number of people from traveling outside the country, among them hundreds of royals and people connected to those arrested, according to people familiar with the matter. The government hasn’t officially named the people who were detained.

… but the mere shock of a move that would be more appropriate for the 1950s USSR has prompted crushed any faith and confidence the international community may have had in Saudi governance and business practices.

The biggest irony would be if from this flagrant attmept to shore up the Kingdom’s deteriorating finances, a domestic and international bank run emerged, with locals and foreign individuals and companies quietly, or not so quietly, pulling their assets and capital from confiscation ground zero, in the process precipitating the very economic collapse that the move was meant to avoid.

Judging by the market reaction, which has sent Riyal forward tumbling on rising bets of either a recession, or devaluation, or both, this unorthodox attempt to inject up to $800 billion in assets into the struggling local economy, could soon backfire spectacularly.

Meanwhile, for those still confused about the current political scene in Saudi Arabia, here is an infographic courtesy of the WSJ which explains “Who Has Been Promoted, Who Has Been Detained in Saudi Arabia

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Trump Warns North Korea Of “Grave Danger” In Rousing Speech

November 8, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

President Donald Trump departed for China this morning, the third leg of his 12-day tour of Asia – his first visit to the continent since taking office – but not before delivering a “rousing speech” to South Korean lawmakers where he warned the North not to “underestimate” the US – a sharp change in tone from yesterday, when he encouraged the North to “make a deal” with the US that he said would be in their mutual interest. During his address in Seoul, Trump directed his words at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, warning him that “the weapons that you are acquiring are not making you safer, they are putting your regime in grave danger. Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face.” More details on Trump’s speech from Reuters:

“This is a very different administration than the United States has had in the past,” Mr. Trump said in an address to South Korean lawmakers Wednesday. “Do not underestimate us, and do not try us.”

 

The president called on Mr. Kim to abandon his country’s nuclear-weapons program as he contrasted the successful capitalist economy of South Korea with that of the North, whose economy is many times smaller. Both countries’ output was similar in 1953, when the end of the Korean War left the peninsula divided.

 

“North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned—it is a hell that no person deserves,” Mr. Trump said, referring to North Korea’s founding leader, Kim Il Sung. “We will offer a path to a much better future,” he continued. “It begins with an end to the aggression of your regime, a stop to the development of ballistic missiles and complete, verifiable and total denuclearization.”

Abandoning the conciliatory tone that he briefly adopted on Tuesday, Trump painted a picture of the North as a dystopian hellscape where the state forces couples to get abortions, and where citizens would rather be sold to work as de facto slaves in a foreign country than stay in North Korea.

Using some of his Trump used some of his toughest language yet against North Korea in a wide-ranging address in Seoul that lodged specific accusations of chilling human rights abuses. He called on countries around the world to isolate Pyongyang by denying it “any form of support, supply or acceptance.”

 

“Do not underestimate us and do not try us,” Trump told North Korea as he wrapped up a visit to South Korea with a speech to the National Assembly before heading to Beijing, where he was making his first official visit.

 

Trump painted a dystopian picture of the reclusive North, saying people were suffering in “gulags” and some bribed government officials to work as “slaves” overseas rather than live under the government at home. He offered no evidence to support those accusations.

 

“The world cannot tolerate the menace of a rogue regime that threatens it with nuclear devastation,” Trump said, speaking as three U.S. aircraft carrier groups sailed to the Western Pacific for exercises – a rare show of such U.S. naval force in the region.

For all its bluster, the speech included a few moments of levity. In true Trump fashion, the president, an avid golfer, also praised the success of the South Korean women who finished in the top four spots at the tournament held earlier this year at Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“What you have built is truly an inspiration,” he said.

Going back to North Korea, in his speech, Trump painted a bleak picture of life in North Korea: citizens, he said, bribe government officials to be sold into slavery rather than remain in their own country, and “ethnically inferior” unborn children are aborted, or killed after birth.

That said, Trump, whose strategy has stressed sanctions and military pressure instead of diplomacy, did not spell out any new approach. This is problematic as North Korea has made clear it has little interest in negotiations at least until it develops a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland, something U.S. intelligence officials say it may be just months away from achieving.

North Korea is a country ruled by a cult,” Trump concluded his speech which was interrupted several times by applause and ended with a standing ovation.

Trump’s 35-minute address to the South Korean National Assembly was the last major event of his roughly 24 hours in the country. The president departed shortly afterward for China, the third of five countries he plans to visit on his 10-day swing through Asia.

Following the speech, the US and South Korea released a joint statement, pledging “to maintain close consultation, coordination, and cooperation on North Korea policy.

NEW: Following Pres. Trump’s visit, U.S. and South Korea release joint statement pledging “to maintain close consultation, coordination, and cooperation on North Korea policy.” https://t.co/YbIUI9FNiv pic.twitter.com/CK1X1PwxFB

— ABC News (@ABC) November 8, 2017

After Trump’s speech ended, the North’s Central News Agency responded with a statement accusing Trump of being a “political heretic” and a “lunatic old man”.

North Korea, meanwhile, said it was entirely Washington’s responsibility to control the situation to avoid a “horrible nuclear disaster and tragic doom.”

 

“The world is undergoing unprecedented throes because of Trump, a notorious political heretic,” state-run newspaper Minju Joson said in a commentary Wednesday, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

 

The U.S. must oust the lunatic old man from power and withdraw the hostile policy towards the DPRK at once in order to get rid of the abyss of doom,” it added, using an abbreviation for the country’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Trump left South Korea Wednesday morning and headed to China, where he and Chinese President Xi Jinping continued their “bromance” that began when Xi visited Mar-a-Lago back in April, where the two world leaders famously bonded over a large slice of chocolate cake. Trump and his counterpart share a mutual admiration that is strengthened by the fact that both Trump and his daughter, Ivanka Trump, are widely loved and respected by the Chinese people. In keeping with Xi’s promise to create a “state-visit-plus” for Trump, the two leaders made small talk as they toured the Forbidden City – which was shut down to tourists – with their wives before taking in a Chinese opera performance. While the sprawling palace complex in the political and cultural heart of Beijing is a regular stop for visiting dignitaries, it is rare for a Chinese leader to act as a personal escort.

During his two-day visit, Trump will ask China to abide by U.N. resolutions and cut financial links with North Korea, a senior White House official said on the plane from Seoul. He also plans to discuss with Xi the long-contentious trade imbalance. The two leaders are set to hold formal talks on Thursday, where the issues of containing North Korea and mitigating the massive Chinese trade surplus with the US are expected to dominate the conversation.

China has long encouraged the US and the North to pursue a diplomatic solution, Trump believes any talks with North Korea would require it to reduce threats, end provocations and move toward denuclearization, and that no deal can be achieved without denuclearization. The Trump administration also suspects that China has been continuing its support for the North despite the stringent UN sanctions that China, which has permanent veto power at the Security Council, voted to approve in September following the North’s latest nuclear test.

Trump, Reuters said, will try to convince Xi to squeeze North Korea further by limiting oil shipments and financial transactions. However, it is not clear if Xi, who has just consolidated his power at a Communist Party congress, will agree to do more. Because as much as the North has become a diplomatic nuisance, China believes it must continue to prop up the regime, or else lose its buffer against US forces in South Korea.

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Banks Warn London Facing Brexit “Point Of No Return”

November 8, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

During his trip to London this week, US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, wasn’t only defending revelations in the Paradise Papers that he’d invested in a shipping company with ties to the Putin family. He also attended a “closed-door meeting” with executives from JPMorgan, Goldman, HSBC and other banks. The meeting took place over lunch in the exclusive St James’s District (hedge fund land these days) at Wiltons restaurant. Wiltons, if you’re not familiar with it, started as an oyster stand in 1742 before developing a clientele of English aristocrats and foreign dignitaries and latterly, bankers. Ian Fleming, creator of the James Bond novels and bon vivant,  listed it as one of his top 10 restaurants in the 1950s.

During lunch, the banks warned Ross that time is running out for the UK government. The failure to provide clarity on Brexit means that they will be forced to start moving jobs out of London. According to the FT:

A group of large financial institutions with big London operations, led by Wall Street’s pre-eminent banks, have told the US commerce secretary that Britain’s unstable government and slow progress in Brexit planning may force them to start moving thousands of jobs out of City in the near future. The warnings came on Friday during a closed-door meeting between executives from the banks, which included JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and HSBC, and Wilbur Ross during the US commerce secretary’s visit to London, according to people briefed on the discussions.

 

Those briefed on the talks, which were held over lunch at Wiltons restaurant in London’s exclusive St James’s district, said the banks were particularly concerned by the failure of Britain to provide clarity over whether it will secure a transition deal to smooth the changing regulatory regime after the UK leaves the EU. They warned they had even less clarity over what a final Brexit deal will look like. Absent clarity from the government about post-Brexit plans, the executives said jobs would move back to the US or to other European capitals as banks begin to enact their worst-case contingency plans, the sources said. ”There was broad discussion around the lack of progress in the Brexit talks and some discussion around various political scenarios,” one person briefed on the talks said.

Not surprisingly the banks declined to comment when contacted by the FT, which also discovered that Morgan Stanley failed to show up to the gathering. Shame on it. The FT’s anonymous sources emphasized that bank executives communicated a greater level of anxiety regarding Brexit negotiations than in the past. Decisions on job relocations are imminent, as FT explains:

US banks have been among the loudest critics of Britain’s decision to leave the EU since last year’s referendum, with Goldman boss Lloyd Blankfein recently tweeting he anticipated “spending a lot more time” in Frankfurt post-Brexit. But the recent warnings in private meetings with Mr Ross — as well as similar soundings taken by the City of London Corporation, the capital’s local government, on a fact-finding mission to Wall Street and Washington — included a level of urgency not seen in previous criticisms, those present said. The banks warned Mr Ross that a “point of no return” is fast approaching, when they must start moving jobs, capital and infrastructure in order to meet the March 2019 Brexit deadline if no transitional deal is secured.

In London’s City A.M. financial newspaper yesterday, the City of London’s policy head, Catherine McGuinness, highlighted rising nervousness in the US financial sector about Brexit.

City of London Corporation’s policy chief Catherine McGuinness was told the sector had moved beyond its initial “surprise” and “curiosity” at the events unfolding on this side of the Atlantic, with fear creeping in that no real movement had been made since last summer’s referendum. “The message was that this is taking too long and it may have implications beyond your borders,” McGuinness said. “[They] are becoming nervous,” she said. “It wasn’t just curiosity, it was concern at the lack of progress that we have been making, and nervousness that it had implications beyond Europe’s borders in terms of causing disruption to markets.”

 

While New York expects to benefit from some of the disruption, the overriding sense was that Brexit could cause global ripples if progress failed to materialise, she added. Fears that the UK would simply “crash out” were also growing. She was speaking after a three-day fact-finding mission, where she met US Treasury officials, as well as Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman Chris Giancarlo, and representatives from the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA). McGuinness noted that the recent IRSG report, which set out a blueprint for how financial services might continue to do business after Brexit, had been welcomed in the States. But she acknowledged that progress on the matter back home was painfully slow, saying she had “very little sense” of when – or if – a financial services position paper could be expected from the government.

Back to the lunch between Ross and the bankers, the one positive note which emerged for the UK government is that the prospect of a Labour government headed by Jeremy Corbyn fills them with dread. That’s scant consolation, however, as the banks are believed to have drawn up contingency plans to shift 10,000 jobs out of London in the short-term. This number was confirmed by the Bank of England last week. However, the FT notes a much larger exodus is possible if the government fails to set up a transitional deal as part of Brexit.

Sam Woods, deputy governor (of the Bank of England), said that a longer-term 75,000 job-loss figure cited in a previous report by Oliver Wyman, the consultancy, was “plausible”. Mr Woods also said that a transitional deal was an asset whose value diminished through time, as banks scrambled to get in place for March 2019.

Still, we wonder how sympathetic to London’s Brexit challenges Ross was during the lunch. After all, this is the man who said last December that Brexit was a “God-given opportunity” for other countries to take business away from the UK. Finally, it also crossed our minds as to who picked up the bill? We doubt that it was Ross, or Deutsche Bank, if it was invited. Our guess is Goldman, but what was the catch?

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Goldman’s Asset Arm Takes Big Hit On Venezuelan Bond Bloodbath

November 7, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

The fallout from the Venezuelan bond restructuring has claimed a major victim in Goldman Sachs Asset Management, or rather some of the “muppets” who trusted Goldman to invest their money. However, the route which led Goldman to losing a chunk of client money wasn’t just a case of bad judgement, being riddled with the usual mixture of greed, questionable ethics and government intervention. As we detailed in “Goldman Accused Of Funding Maduro’s Dictatorship”.

Goldman controversially purchased $2.8 billion of 2022 bonds in May 2017 in the state-owned oil producer PDVSA, for about $865 million – or about 31 cents on the dollar. This prompted Julio Borges, President of the National Assembly and head of Venezuela’s opposition, to accuse Goldman of “aiding and abetting the country’s dictatorial regime.” Borges threatened that any future democratic government would not recognise or pay on the bonds. In true Goldman fashion, however, the deal was just too lucrative to pass up, or so it seemed at the time, as Goldman paid a then 30% discount to other Venezuelan bonds with a similar maturity.

 

Goldman’s ”defence” was that it did not buy the bonds directly from PDVSA, consequently it did not transfer funds directly to the Venezuelan regime.

To make matters worse, when the Trump White House extended sanctions against Venezuela over the Summer, including a ban on trading Venezuelan debt, Goldman’s bonds were mysteriously exempt. As we argued here.

“the logic is that if Goldman was forced to liquidate the bonds, or worse was stuck holding them as Venezuela went bankrupt, it would take a huge hit on the nearly $3 billion notional position. As such, Goldman’s advisors to Trump made it quite clear that any sanctions against Venezuela would have to be Goldman Sachs revenue neutral first and foremost. That’s precisely what happened.”

We have to acknowledge, however, that the next comment of ours was only half correct.

“Of course, Venezuela’s default is just a matter of time, but it won’t take place before Goldman dumps its bond holdings to some unwitting retail investor or some German widows and orphans.”

It turns out that Goldman had only dumped part of its holdings prior to the expected default, and is sitting on a sizeable loss, as the FT explains.

Ricardo Penfold, a senior portfolio manager at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, earlier this year swooped on a big slice of a bond issued by PDVSA, Venezuela’s state oil company, people familiar with the matter say. Mr Penfold paid $865m for bonds with a face value of $2.8bn — a price of just under 31 cents on the dollar — reflecting the elevated risks of a default even at the time. While GSAM has since sold off chunks of the bond, it was still listed as the single biggest overall owner of the PDVSA bond maturing in 2022, with a face value holding of $1.3bn at the end of the third quarter. But with Thursday’s announcement that Venezuela would seek to restructure all its foreign bonds, the bond is now trading at 25 cents on the dollar, down from 29 cents at the start of last week. That would translate into a paper loss of $54m in just five days if GSAM has not reduced its stake since the end of the third quarter…

 

GSAM is listed as the single biggest overall owner of PDVSA debts, according to Bloomberg data based on fund filings, with $1.8bn of face value holdings.

 

A Goldman spokesman said: “We are monitoring this situation closely.” The summer deal was particularly controversial, attracting condemnation from the Venezuelan opposition and US senator Marco Rubio, because it in effect constituted a cash infusion for the increasingly autocratic government led by Nicolás Maduro. GSAM bought the bond via an intermediary, but it was sold by the central bank.

As we said, and other analysts agree, Goldman should have seen it coming. From the FT article.

Many investors who had been betting that Venezuela would manage to avoid defaulting are nursing losses. Venezuelan bonds suffered a drubbing in the wake of Mr Maduro announcing plans to restructure the country’s $89bn debt pile. “This has been a well-telegraphed train wreck,” said Robert Koenigsberger, head of Gramercy, an emerging markets-focused asset manager.

 

“There are reasons to expect that prices will go even lower from here.” GSAM and other big Venezuelan bond investors — such as Fidelity, T Rowe Price and Ashmore — could still end up making money from their Venezuelan bond purchases, as analysts expect the ultimate “recovery value” on Venezuelan debt to be higher than where the bonds are trading at now.

While the article suggests the possibility of a more favourable exit for Goldman in due course, the restructuring of Venezuelan debt is not going to be a “plain vanilla” variety. Indeed, it might be more complicated than any previous sovereign debt restructuring. The irony for Goldman, as the FT explains, is that the extension of sanctions by the US Government will make it much harder for the bank to recover its losses.

Venezuela’s plans to restructure its debts are riddled with complications. The mess of bonds issued by the country and PDVSA are hard to disentangle, and oil exports — the country’s sole financial lifeline — are vulnerable to seizures from litigious creditors. However, the biggest wrinkle is the US government’s sanctions on Venezuela, unveiled in August after the GSAM deal. In practice, they prohibit any US institutions from involvement in any Venezuelan debt restructuring.

 

“Sanctions will prevent a conventional exchange offer,” said Lee Buchheit, a senior partner at Cleary Gottlieb, who has represented a series of countries when they restructure their debts. “It’s really not clear what Maduro has in mind, or whether he even has anything in mind.”

 

Venezuela owes about $750m in bond arrears and is facing a further $965m of interest payments over November and December, calculates Patrick Esteruelas, global head of research at Emso Asset Management. If Caracas has run out of money — and Russia or China decline to extend more loans to Venezuela — it will have to default. But as long as US sanctions remain in place, this will push Venezuela into financial purgatory of a protracted, unresolvable debt default. “In a world where you can’t pay and you can’t restructure, all you can do is default,” Mr Koenigsberger said. “Even without the sanction, this would have been an exceptionally tough debt restructuring. It will now be exponentially harder than anything we have seen before. And I don’t think that is priced in yet.”

It will be tragically amusing to watch what extraordinary measures the heavily Goldman-influenced White House takes to bail the bank out of its latest predicament.

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Gold Spikes Above Key Technical Level As USDJPY Tumbles

November 6, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

As European markets closed this morning, all bids disappeared from USDJPY and the pair dropped back below 114.00. In its mirror-like manner, gold reflected this tumble and surged above its 100-day moving average over $1280.
 

 
If you’re loo…

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Saudi ‘Plunge Protection Team’ Rescues Stocks As Riyal Devaluation Bets Surge

November 6, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

As the FX markets came to life last night after a tense weekend in the middle east, it is clear that anxiety about the Saudi Riyal is at the forefront.

Forward bets on devaluation/depegging surged most in 7 months as shares in bin-Talal’s Kingdom Holdings continued their slide to the lowest since Dec 2011.

The round-up risks overwhelming local and foreign investors struggling to get their heads around the rapid changes shaking the kingdom, but for the second day in a row, any selling was met by instant panic-buying as we suggest Saudi’s very own Plunge Protection Team stepped in…

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