Posts Tagged ‘Enough Money’
Sunday, August 5th, 2012
From Grant Williams’ latest Things That Make you Go Hmmm
Remember late-2010? When Spain wasn’t a problem, but merely a potential problem? I do:
(FT, November 17, 2010): For some of the world’s biggest hedge funds, typically regarded as the savviest traders in the market, there is now one big question facing the eurozone: what is going to happen to Spain?
While Europe’s politicians are grappling with the crisis unravelling in Ireland, hedge fund managers are already turning their attention to the issue of how – and if – a peripheral crisis in Ireland could leap via Portugal and Spain to become a systemic crisis for the eurozone as a whole.
“The Irish problem will be contained,” says Guillaume Fonkenell, chief investment officer at Pharo, one of Europe’s biggest and most successful macro funds, which specialises in trading on macroeconomic events and trends. “For us contagion is the issue … If the market loses confidence in Spain, then all bets are off. Spain is too big to bail.”…
Back then, the general opinion was that if the contagion spread to Spain the game was over because there wasn’t enough money with which to bail out an economy the size of The Kingdom of Spain. I’m not sure exactly what happened— maybe I wasn’t paying attention—but suddenly, almost two years on and in an environment where even the rich nations of Europe are seeing an undeniable slide towards recession, there is no talk about Spain being ‘too-big-to-bail’ anymore.
Did somebody repeal the laws of mathematics?
Presumably, if the contagion reaches Italy that would be OK too now, I guess.
As it first hit the headlines as a potential problem, Spain made a presentation to potential investors that highlighted how strong the country actually was despite the conjecture amongst market participants. The presentation is highly educational and can be found in full HERE, but as a taster, here’s one particular slide that caught my eye:
Oh, to hell with it… here’s another:
* * *
Tags: Bets, Chief Investment Officer, Conjecture, Contagion, Enough Money, Eurozone, Grant Williams, Guillaume, Hedge Fund Managers, Hedge Funds, Kingdom Of Spain, Macroeconomic Events, Market Participants, Mathematics, Paying Attention, Pharo, Politicians, Recession, Systemic Crisis, Taster
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Monday, July 30th, 2012
by Seth Masters, Chief Investment Strategist, AllianceBernstein
Individual and institutional investors alike have been shifting their capital from stocks to cash and bonds at a rapid rate in recent years, despite extraordinarily low interest rates. But if investors stop to weigh the importance of two different types of risk, they’ll see they still need stocks.
It’s tempting to give up on stocks after more than a decade of high volatility and low returns from stocks—and lower volatility with higher returns from bonds. But we think that 10 years from now, investors who do so will wish they had stayed in stocks—or added to them.
That’s not to say we think investors don’t need bonds. Despite extremely low current yields, we think bonds should still play their usual roles in the portfolios of most long-term investors: providing income, preserving capital and providing protection in times of stock-market distress (because bond prices tend to rise at such times). Bonds will be especially important if the market outcomes are at the extreme low end of our forecast range of potential outcomes.
But most investors are likely to need stocks to feel confident that they will have enough to live on, despite the high volatility of recent years. Remember that volatility isn’t the only type of risk. There’s also shortfall risk: not having enough money to meet your spending requirements. Investors must weigh both types of risk when making strategic asset-allocation decisions.
If you’re just thinking about market volatility, bond-oriented portfolios may look very appealing, especially today. We estimate there is less than a 2% chance that a portfolio with a 20% allocation to stocks and an 80% allocation to bonds will suffer a 20% peak-to-trough loss at some point over the next 10 years, compared with the 15% chance of such a loss for a portfolio with 60% in stocks (Display, left), as the left side of the display below shows. But if you’re just thinking about shortfall risk, a portfolio with 60% in stocks looks more attractive (Display, right).
We estimate that a 65-year-old retired couple planning to withdraw only 3% of their portfolio, grown with inflation, has a 12% chance of running out of money if they invest in the portfolio with 60% in stocks. That may not sound great, but it is materially better than the 24% odds of running out of money if they invest in a portfolio with 20% in stocks.
Today, uncertain macroeconomic conditions make large stock-market drops more likely than usual, and very low bond yields provide a thinner cushion. As a result, market risk can’t easily be avoided. And trying to avoid market risk is not a good strategy if it increases shortfall risk too much. A 20% loss is certainly painful, but it doesn’t hurt as much as running out of all of your money. Many investors who are currently focused on market volatility should be paying at least as much attention to shortfall risk.
The views expressed herein do not constitute research, investment advice, or trade recommendations and do not necessarily represent the views of all AllianceBernstein portfolio-management teams.
Seth J. Masters is Chief Investment Officer for Asset Allocation at AllianceBernstein and Chief Investment Officer of Bernstein Global Wealth Management, a unit of AllianceBernstein.
The Bernstein Wealth Forecasting System,SM driven by the Capital Markets Engine, uses a Monte Carlo model that simulates 10,000 plausible paths of return for each asset class and inflation and produces a probability distribution of outcomes. The model does not draw randomly from a set of historical returns to produce estimates for the future. Instead, the forecasts (1) are based on the building blocks of asset returns, such as inflation, yields, yield spreads, stock earnings and price multiples; (2) incorporate the linkages that exist among the returns of various asset classes; (3) take into account current market conditions at the beginning of the analysis; and (4) factor in a reasonable degree of randomness and unpredictability.
Copyright © AllianceBernstein
Tags: Asset Allocation Decisions, Bond Prices, Bonds, Chief Investment Strategist, Current Yields, Enough Money, Institutional Investors, Low Interest Rates, Market Outcomes, Market Volatility, Portfolios, Rapid Rate, Seth, Shortfall, Stock Market, Stocks, Strategic Asset Allocation, Term Investors, Trough
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Thursday, July 19th, 2012
by John Nyaradi, Wall Street Sector Selector
Investors are on their own and cannot count on the Federal Reserve to save their portfolios.
Global markets seem to be pricing in a new round of quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve. Dr. Bernanke and his colleagues will likely comply sometime between now and December. However, even with more quantitative easing, investors can’t count on the Federal Reserve to rescue the stock market and their portfolios. We are on our own, and here’s why:
1. Europe’s Debt Crisis
Europe is the crisis that just won’t quit, with Spain, Italy, Greece, ad nauseam , all running out of money. There is simply no solution to this problem as there is simply not enough money in Europe to save Italy and Spain. When the piper finally demands to be paid, no central bank on earth will have the firepower to stop the global financial avalanche that this crisis could trigger.
Second-quarter earnings season is shaping up as a weak affair with downgrades coming from most every sector. As we all know, stock prices eventually are based on earnings, and no amount of monetary policy, low interest rates or quantitative easing can add profits to corporate bottom lines. Monetary policy can set the stage for, but cannot create, demand.
3. Global Recession
This item is part and parcel of Items #1 and #2. Recession is quickly spreading across Europe. China’s economy, while still growing briskly by developed world standards, is rapidly slowing. The United States limps along with a 1.9% growth rate and recent GDP estimates have been sharply revised downwards. Like antibiotics for a sick person, Dr. Bernanke and his Fed can help but the disease must run its course and the patient must have the physical strength to survive on his own.
4. Diminishing Returns of Quantitative Easing
Each round of quantitative easing has smaller impact and brings greater risks for the global economy. Last week’s interest rate cuts by the European Central Bank, the People’s Bank of China and more quantitative easing from the Bank of England were largely ignored by global markets which, in the “good old days,” would have rallied hard on this sort of same-day global intervention. Like antibiotics fighting a virus, quantitative easing is losing its effect as the virus grows immune and mutates to offset continued attacks.
5. The Dreaded Fiscal Cliff
Dr. Bernanke has made it quite clear in recent testimony to Congress that the “fiscal cliff” coming up in December is too big for him to manage and that it needs to be resolved to avoid a significant economic shock. The hit to GDP from the fiscal cliff would likely trigger another recession in the United States (See Item #3)
ETF strategies for difficult days
So what are we supposed to do as we try to protect capital, prepare for retirement and secure our financial futures? Several options come to mind:
A. Cash: Cash is king, particularly in deflationary, depression-like environments. The U.S. dollar, represented by PowerShares DB Bullish Dollar ETF (NYSEARCA:UUP) is up some 5% since early May as capital seeks the perceived safety of the U.S. dollar. Cash doesn’t have to be U.S. dollars, either, as Swiss francs have been on a roll, along with the Japanese yen (NYSEARCA:FXY)
B. U.S. Treasury Bonds: Like the dollar, the U.S. is still seen as the safest harbor in an uncertain world and U.S. Treasuries are near record low yields and high prices as money flocks to the perceived safety of Uncle Sam. The biggest moves will probably come in the long end of the curve and iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEARCA:TLT) is up some 14% since early April. iShares Barclays 7-10 Year ETF (NYSEARCA:IEF) has gained more than 5% in the same time frame. One day, the “short” bond trade will be the position of a lifetime, but that day does not look like today.
So now it’s summertime, but the living is not likely to be easy, at least for awhile. (apologies to George and Ira Gershwin, “Porgy and Bess”) We can’t count on Dr. Bernanke and his Federal Reserve to save us from what lies ahead but we can use the power and versatility of exchange traded funds to navigate through these challenging times. We are all alone.
Disclosure: Wall Street Sector Selector actively trades a wide range of exchange traded funds and positions can change at any time. Wall Street Sector Selector holds a position in (TLT)
Copyright © Wall Street Sector Selector
Tags: Ad Nauseam, Bernanke, Bottom Lines, Debt Crisis, Diminishing Returns, Downgrades, Earnings Season, Enough Money, Firepower, Gdp Estimates, Global Economy, Global Markets, Global Recession, Interest Rate Cuts, Italy Greece, Low Interest Rates, Physical Strength, Second Quarter Earnings, Sick Person, Stock Prices
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Friday, July 6th, 2012
We’ve mentioned the past few years how one ‘high growth’ area in the economy is the renters market. [May 24, 2011: Troubled Home Market Creates Generation of Renters] [Apr 8, 2011: Apartment Vacancies Drop to 3 Year Low, as Rents Rise] With many former home “owners” (I use the term sparingly since many of the 2004-2007 ilk had 100-120%+ type loan to value!) locked out of the market, and many young people with not enough money in their pocket to create a down payment, renting has come back with much vigor. Also keep in mind this recession caused a massive drag to household formation. [Apr 8, 2008: Recession Causes Relatives to Move in Together & Sharp Drop Off in Divorces] [Apr 9, 2010: 1.2 Million Households Lost in Great Recession - Through 2008] One net positive in the next 4-8 quarters should be a “building boom” of sorts in apartments ….
This WSJ story takes a look at some recent data:
- Landlords boosted apartment rents to record levels in the second quarter as demand from tenants sitting out the home-buying market pushed vacancy rates to their lowest point in more than a decade, according to a report to be released Thursday.
- Despite the sluggish economy, average rents increased in all 82 markets tracked by Reis Inc. a real estate data firm. Average rents are now at record levels in 74 of those markets and now top $1,000 a month on average in 27 of them, including Miami, Seattle, San Diego, Chicago and Baltimore. ”The market is in a very tight position,” Reis said in a research report. “There is a paucity of available units.”
- The nation’s vacancy rate fell during the quarter to 4.7%, its lowest level since the end of 2001, Reis said. That’s down from 4.9% in the first quarter of this year and from 8% in 2009, when millions of would-be renters were doubling up or living with family. [Sep 16, 2011: 7.5M More Americans Living in "Double Up" Situations versus 2007]
- With the economy slowly recovering, more people are looking for their own places. But many are opting to rent rather than buy due to tighter lending standards—including higher down payments—and because of concerns about job security.
- Reis said that this is only the third quarter in over three decades that the vacancy rate has been below 5%.
- Values of apartment buildings are soaring, contrasting sharply with the single-family housing market. In some cities, investors are now surpassing peak prices for rental property buildings. Analysts point out that the apartment sector may lose steam if the economy weakens further and tenants begin doubling up again or put up more resistance to rent hikes.
- Demand for rental apartments also may fall if some builders succeed with appeals to move renters into the market for single family homes. Another risk: construction. Developers are racing to deliver new apartment supply, particularly in hot markets including Washington, D.C, and Seattle. Zelman & Associates expects 235,000 units to be started this year, followed by 285,000 in 2013and 320,000 in 2014.
Tags: Apartment Rents, Apartment Vacancies, Divorces, Enough Money, First Quarter, Home Buying, Household Formation, Households, Ilk, Landlords, May 24, Paucity, Recession, Reis Inc, Second Quarter, Sluggish Economy, Vacancy Rate, Vacancy Rates, Vigor, Wsj
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Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
by Peter Tchir, TF Market Advisors
In the movies there are these great battles fought out between the transformers and decepticons. As cool as the battles are, there must be some innocent bystanders wondering what the heck is going on amid all the destruction. That to me is how the credit markets are trading right now.
None of the core stories have changed. Europe is a mess and has gotten weaker. The U.S. economy is doing okay, and ZIRP is here to stay even if QE3 isn’t imminent. Into that already complex world we have thrown the JPM trade into the mix. There seems to be a battle between JPM and those against JPM. That battle is causing carnage across the credit markets. We are seeing big and weird moves on a regular basis. IG gaps out while stocks do nothing. MAIN goes wider while XOVER is tighter, only to go back to moving in lock-step. JNK saw its single biggest share redemption. Both HYG and JNK chug along all day only to have big fades late into the day. MUB has a steep drop only to bounce right back. Whatever battle between the big guys is going on drags everyone else into it. Stop losses are being hit. The price move is causing concern that this is just like 2011 again.
It isn’t like 2011 right now for a couple of key reasons. The transformers and decepticons aren’t battling over the fundamentals, they are battling over positioning. That is real and has consequences, but once that battle is over, the market will look at the fundamentals. So that is one key difference, that in addition to the usual fight between the bulls and the bears, this massive unwind, or potentially fake unwind, or unwind of the hedge of the alleged unwind, or something, is adding to the volatility and making the fixed income market seem more scary than it is.
LTRO is the other big difference. For all the talk about LTRO being a “carry” game to buy sovereign debt, LTRO at its core was designed to ensure that banks have enough money. While the debate rages about what Greece will do, and how bad the situation in Spain and Italy is, there is virtually no talk about banks not being able to fund themselves. People can look at 2 year swap spreads for signs of stress, and they are there, but be careful not to over-react. LTRO is there so that we don’t see a “run” on the banks. I doubt another LTRO would be created merely to try and support sovereign debt, but if there is a need to get money to banks, the ECB will do that. The ECB, without a doubt, is lender of last resort to banks, and is happy and able to fulfill that functions, so that is a big difference between now and 2011.
Greece leaving the Euro would be a big deal because of what it would do for all the corporate loans that have been made. That is yet another reason that leaving the Euro will take more time than people want to think. Even if it was easy at the sovereign level, which it isn’t, and the corporate level it has the potential to cause immense confusion. All of this can be addressed over time, but real plans need to be put in place and solutions to problems thought out, and some resources set aside to deal with unexpected problems. While that preparation is going on, look for the ECB, and the Troika to soften their tone as they decide that they cannot easily deal with the losses they would face on their own Greek exposure.
So, I would be looking to add exposure to credit, particularly U.S. high yield, and possibly in IG, as I think the market has been driven around too much by noise of this alleged unwind (I still think there is a real possibility that prior to the press conference JPM prepared themselves well for the obvious market reaction and is benefitting greatly from the widening and the volatility).
The fact that we tried to rally and then failed yesterday is a sign of how tenuous the overall market is, but right now I can’t help but think the same stories will have less of an effect, and that we are close to the point where Europe manages to take some steps that at least seem to help the problems, if not resolve them.
Tags: Big Guys, Carnage, Credit Markets, Decepticons, Enough Money, Fades, Fixed Income Market, Great Battles, Hyg, Innocent Bystanders, Jpm, Key Reasons, Mub, Price Move, Sovereign Debt, Steep Drop, Transformers, Volatility, Weird Moves, What The Heck
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Monday, May 30th, 2011
by Trader Mark, Fund My Mutual Fund
Much like FPA’s Robert Rodriquez (highlighted yesterday), another of the world’s brightest financial minds, Templeton’s Mark Mobius says we wasted a crisis, and nothing really has been fixed – the same thoughts this humble writer offered in 2008 and 2009 as bailout after bailout was granted, with no fundamental change to the system. While Mobius says it is “around the corner” I have great faith than the world’s central banks will be able to print enough money to keep the balls juggling for quite a while more. Much like Rodriquez I have no idea when the proverbial manure hits the fan, but the seeds of said crisis are sown nicely. We can however be assured that a Fed who under Greenspan and Bernanke knows how to do nothing but create bubbles while kicking cans… and then crater the system, while being the bank’s drug dealer in chief, will have another mess (of their own making) to clean up in due time. And just like this last time around when the house comes burning down, The Bernank (or maybe easy money Yellen by that moment) will race to the scene of their crime, pour water on the burning system and tell everyone to thank them for rescuing us! And no one will ask why we keep having the same problems, and who is the nexus of them all.
Until then we dance!
- Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Asset Management’s emerging markets group, said another financial crisis is inevitable because the causes of the previous one haven’t been resolved. “There is definitely going to be another financial crisis around the corner because we haven’t solved any of the things that caused the previous crisis,” Mobius said at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo today in response to a question about price swings. “Are the derivatives regulated? No. Are you still getting growth in derivatives? Yes.”
- The total value of derivatives in the world exceeds total global gross domestic product by a factor of 10, said Mobius, who oversees more than $50 billion. With that volume of bets in different directions, volatility and equity market crises will occur, he said. The global financial crisis three years ago was caused in part by the proliferation of derivative products tied to U.S. home loans that ceased performing, triggering hundreds of billions of dollars in writedowns.
- “With every crisis comes great opportunity,” said Mobius. When markets are crashing, “that’s when we’re going to be able to invest and do a good job,” he said.
- The freezing of global credit markets caused governments from Washington to Beijing to London to pump more than $3 trillion into the financial system to shore up the global economy.
- The largest U.S. banks have grown larger since the financial crisis, and the number of “too-big-to-fail” banks will increase by 40 percent over the next 15 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “Are the banks bigger than they were before? They’re bigger,” Mobius said. “Too big to fail.”
Copyright © Trader Mark, Fund My Mutual Fund
Tags: Bailout, Bernanke, Central Banks, Due Time, Easy Money, Emerging Markets Group, Enough Money, Executive Chairman, Financial Crisis, Foreign Correspondents Club, Fundamental Change, Great Faith, Humble Writer, Kicking Cans, Mark Mobius, Price Swings, Robert Rodriquez, S Central, Templeton Asset Management, Yellen
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Wednesday, April 27th, 2011
by Michael ‘Mish’ Shedlock, Global Economic Trends Analysis
In spite of the massive stock market rally starting March of 2009, worries over retirement are up sharply from 2002. Please consider In U.S., 53% Worry About Having Enough Money in Retirement
A majority of nonretired Americans do not think they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement, up sharply from about a third who felt this way in 2002. Nonretired Americans now project that they will retire at age 66, up from age 60 in 1995.
Younger Americans Most Positive
Younger Americans are the most optimistic about having enough money to live comfortably when they retire. They are also the least likely to say they will rely on Social Security as a source of income when they retire. This suggests that young Americans are looking optimistically toward other sources of income in retirement.
Nonretired Adults Now Project a Retirement Age of 66
Nonretired Americans now project a higher retirement age than in previous years. When Gallup first asked nonretired adults in 1995 when they expected to retire, 12% said they would retire after age 65. That percentage is now up to 37%. The percentage saying they will retire before age 65 is down from 47% in 1995 to 28% today.
Implications of Boomer Retirement Plans
Note the deflationary aspect of the survey results. Those who fear not having enough money for retirement have a strong incentive to spend less and save more.
Also note the number who expected to retire after age 65 has risen from 12% in 1996 to 37% today. In isolation, this would put upward pressure on the participation-rate and therefore unemployment. However, boomer demographics are such that it will take a decreasing number of jobs to hold unemployment constant.
In 2000 it took about 150,000 jobs a month to hold unemployment steady. Currently Bernanke expects it takes 125,000 jobs a month to hold the unemployment rate steady.
I expect that by 2015 it will only take 90,000 to 100,000 jobs a month to hold the unemployment rate constant.
However, there are millions of individuals who want a job and do not have a job but the BLS does not count as unemployed because they stopped looking for a job. Should those workers start looking for jobs, this too would put upward pressure on the participation rate and unemployment rate.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
Tags: Demographics, Enough Money, Gallup, Global Economic Trends, Isolation, Market Rally, Massive Stock, Michael Mish, Mish Shedlock, Participation Rate, Previous Years, Retirement Age, Retirement Plans, Social Security, Spite, Stock Market, Survey Results, Unemployment Rate, Upward Pressure, Worries
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Sprott: The Banking Crisis Turned Into A Sovereign Debt Crisis, And Now It’s Turning Into A Banking Crisis Again
Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
This article is a guest contribution from Joe Wiesenthal, of The Business Insider
Courtesy of John Mauldin’s mid-week Outside The Box newsletter, Eric Sprott touches on one of the lesser-discussed aspect of the Greece crisis, namely its effects on the country’s banks.
What’s interesting is that in the standard formulation — the one that’s gained currency thanks to Ken Rogoff — it’s sovereign debt crises that follow banking crisis (which is what we’re experiencing right now).
Sprott brings it full circle.
Here’s part of it:
One aspect of the Greek situation that has been obscured by all the recent political wrangling is the crisis’ impact on the Greek banks. Although the banks were supposed to be rock solid after all the government-injected capital they received (not to mention zero-percent interest rates and generous lending terms from the European Central Bank), data shows that Greek bank deposits have fallen 8.4 billion euros, or 3.6 percent, in two months since December 2009. With no restraints on capital flows within the European Union, Greek savers are free to transfer their assets elsewhere. Given that bank deposit guarantees in Greece are the responsibility of the national government rather than the European Central Bank, we suspect Greek citizens are pulling money out of their banks because they question their government’s ability to honour its domestic deposit guarantees. We envision Greek depositors asking themselves how a government that can’t raise enough money to stay solvent can then turn around and guarantee their bank deposits? It’s a fair question to ask.
The Greek bank stocks have been thoroughly punished throughout the crisis. Chart A plots an index consisting of the four largest Greek bank stocks and shows an average decline of 47% since November 2009. The deposit withdrawals from these banks have been so damaging to their respective balance sheets (remember bank leverage?) that the Greek banks have asked to borrow 17 billion euros left over from a 28 billion euro support program launched in 2008.3 You see the connection here? Greece experienced a financial crisis, followed by a sovereign crisis, followed by another financial crisis. There is no doubt that the Greek crisis has helped drive the gold spot price to its recent all time high in euros. Gold is a prudent asset to own in times of crisis, and it’s possible that a portion of the Greek deposit withdrawals were reinvested into the precious metal. The fact remains, however, that if the Greek government cannot stem the outflows of deposits soon, the EU will have no other choice but to undertake a real sovereign bailout with all its bells, whistles and arduous protocols.
Once again, the question is: Is Greece Europe’s Bear Stearns:
It’s a vicious spiral from financial crisis to sovereign debt crisis to banking crisis, and there is no reason it can’t spread to other European countries suffering from similar fiscal imbalances. With Spain and Portugal next in line with their own sovereign debt issues, we can expect depositors in these countries to make similar runs to the bank for their cash. “Guaranteed by Government” is truly beginning to lose its potency in this environment. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) seems to be preparing for such a scenario with its recent announcement of a tenfold increase in its emergency lending facility. The IMF’s New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB) facility is designed to prevent the “impairment of the international monetary system or to deal with an exceptional situation that poses a threat to the stability of that system.” The NAB facility has grown from US$50 billion to US$550 billion with the mere stroke of a pen. Does the IMF know something that the market doesn’t?
Tags: Balance Sheets, Bank Deposits, Bank stocks, Banking Crisis, Business Insider, Capital Flows, Debt Crisis, Depositors, Enough Money, Eric Sprott, Gold, Greek Bank, Greek Banks, Greek Citizens, John Mauldin, National Government, Restraints, Solvent, Sovereign Debt, Wiesenthal, Withdrawals
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