Greece in “Great Depression,” says Prime Minister

Source: Reuters

(Reuters) – Greece is in a “Great Depression” similar to the American one in the 1930s, the country’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told former U.S. President Bill Clinton on Sunday.

Samaras was speaking two days before a team of Greece’s international lenders arrive in Athens to push for further cuts needed for the debt-laden country to qualify for further rescue payments and avoid a chaotic default.

Athens wants to soften the terms of a 130-billion euro bailout agreed last March with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, to soften their impact on an economy going through its worst post-war recession.

By the end of this year Greek GDP is expected to have shrunk by about a fifth in five consecutive years of recession since 2008, hammered by tax hikes, spending cuts and wage reductions required by two EU/IMF bailouts. Unemployment climbed to a record 22.6 percent in the first quarter.

“You had the Great Depression in the United States,” Samaras told Clinton, who was visiting Greece as part of a delegation of Greek-American businessmen. “This is exactly what we’re going through in Greece – it’s our version of the Great Depression.”

Athens must reduce its budget deficit below 3 percent of GDP by the end of 2014, from 9.3 percent of GDP in 2011 – requiring almost another 12 billion euros in cuts and higher taxes on top of the 17 billion successive governments have cut from the budget shortfall.

Greece wants its lenders to give it two more years to achieve the budget goal to avoid an even deeper economic slump but its lenders have opposed the idea because it would imply even more financial aid.

Highlighting growing frustration with Athens, German magazine “Der Spiegel” reported on Sunday, citing high-ranking representatives in Brussels, that the IMF may not take part in any additional financing for Greece.

The German and Greek finance ministries declined to comment on the report, which suggested additional support required for Athens could range from 10-50 billion euros.

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Officials have already indicated there would be a shortfall on the current bailout. How much is likely to depend on the extent by much Greece continues to miss its fiscal targets and the extent of support needed to keep its major banks afloat.

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John Embry: “This [Barclay's thing] actually affects about $360 trillion worth of the world’s financial transactions.”

MUST READ KWN JOHN EMBRY INTERVIEW

Today John Embry gave King World News an extraordinary interview. Embry, who is Chief Investment Strategist of the $10 billion strong Sprott Asset Management, discussed market manipulation, the crisis today vs the 70s, inflation and where we are headed.  Here is what Embry had to say:  “I’m fascinated by this whole Barclays situation, in the sense that they have been accused, and have admitted as such, that they have been manipulating Libor.  This actually affects about $360 trillion worth of the world’s financial transactions.”

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Greek government hit by fresh resignation as Giorgos Vernicos departs | The Independent

SOURCE: The Independent

A Greek cabinet member has resigned, the latest casualty for the crisis-hit country’s new conservative-led government.

State television reported that Giorgos Vernicos, deputy minister for merchant marine, announced his resignation today.

He did not give a reason for his departure, but the opposition has recently accused him of a conflict of interest.

Yesterday, the designated finance minister resigned due to illness. New Prime Minister Antonis Samaras himself is recovering from a weekend eye operation.

2 TRILLION Bailout package coming from Europe – Jeffrey Saut

Jeffrey Saut via King World News

With tremendous volatility in global markets, today King World News interviewed one of the savviest guys in the business, Jeffrey Saut, Chief Investment Strategist for Raymond James.  Saut surprised KWN by saying that Europe is about to launch “a two trillion euro bailout package.”  He also stated that this “puts our Federal Reserve into a box whereby they will have to provide some kind of liquidity event in order to keep the US dollar from spiking higher.”  Saut also discussed gold, but first, here is what he had to say about the crisis in Europe:  “Having worked inside the Washington DC beltway, I have a pretty good working knowledge of politicians, bureaucrats and bankers.  They are the same in Europe as they are in this country.  They do not want to lose their power, and if the EU busts apart, they all lose their power.”

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