Wolf Richter

France Torpedoes American Movies, Shoots Itself In Foot

France vetoed the launch of free-trade negotiations between the EU and the US, though France has racked up a big trade surplus with the US and has much to lose. The problem: cultural protectionism. It wants “an explicit exclusion of the audio-visual sector.” A catch phrase for American movies! And a theme that is in the DNA of the French political class.

Bank Of Japan Machinations Crash Into Reality

The Japanese stock market has become a case study of central-bank manipulations, and of what happens eventually as reality cannot be eliminated forever. What you hear is a giant hissing sound. What you get is capital destruction and wealth transfer.

Akie Abe, Shinzo Abe’s Antinuclear Wife

Abenomics has its detractors – in peculiar places – and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must be experiencing some interesting pillow talk. His wife has attacked one of the major components of his economic policies, the nuclear power industry.

Germany Grapples (Again) With The Choice Between Its Constitution And The Euro

During the hearings before the German Constitutional Court, Finance Minister Schäuble, perhaps unwittingly, put his finger on yet another fatal flaw of the Eurozone: a central bank that could bail out speculators and pile the resulting losses on taxpayers of other countries, no questions asked, whenever it felt like it, without controls – “to save the euro,” as it were.

The ECB’s Forked-Tongue Policy To Save The Euro

In theory, Germany’s Constitutional Court could throw a monkey-wrench into the efforts to keep the Eurozone duct-taped together; it could rule against the ECB’s money-printing and bond-buying mechanism, lovingly dubbed OMT, that would create a “brave new Huxley-world of the unlimited debt,” a world where “money is no longer earned but printed.”

The Unthinkable Happens: A Former TBTF Bank Chief Goes to Jail

Contributed by Don Quijones: Just when you thought the concept of universal justice was dead, a courageous Spanish judge, Elpidio José Silva, did what no other judge in the Western world, bar Iceland, dared to do: He refused to grant bail to a former top banker, sending him to prison before facing trial for his alleged role in Spain’s financial crisis.

The Day The Big Fat Junk-Bond Bubble Blew Up

Junk bonds had a phenomenal run. With each truckload of money that the Fed delivered to the markets, valuations soared and yields plunged. Desperate investors, mauled by the Fed’s zero-interest-rate policy, took on risks no questions asked. But suddenly the feeding frenzy turned into a brutal rout – a harbinger of things to come in other markets.

Jobs Barely Keep Up With Population Growth

So, 175,000 jobs were created in May. The gains for March and April were revised down by 12,000. The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.6%, from 7.5%, or as the BLS said in its politically correct manner “was essentially unchanged.” With disturbing racial disparities that we’ve become inured to. A showcase of the dreary impact of the Fed’s policies on jobs!

Fed’s Fisher Hilariously Slams Fiscal-Policy Chaos, Slugs QE, And Throws In Funny Video Spoof of Congress

Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher is one of the funniest – and most disturbing – voices out there in the sea of equivocating central bankers. But this time, he outdid himself in the dreadfulness of his warning and the humor of his presentation.

Japanese Hodgepodge Of Old Ideas And New Contradictions, Stocks Dive In Sympathy

The leaders of Japan Inc. listened politely as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe laid out his master plan, the cornerstone of Abenomics that would fix everything and offer big handouts to Japan Inc. As his words seeped out, the Nikkei dove 5% in a couple of hours. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of his hodgepodge of old ideas and new contradictions.