Islamic State Seen Destroying Mostly Replicas in Mosul Museum

destroA video posted yesterday shows men affiliated with Islamic State violently ransacking the Mosul Museum, the second largest in Iraq, and nearby Nineveh archeological site with sledgehammers, drills, and jackhammers.

The video captures the Islamic State militants pushing over ancient statues (see photo on left) and shattering artifacts that were believed to be several thousand years old and part of Iraq’s cultural heritage.

An Islamic State spokesman makes several accusatory statements overheard in the video, saying that that ancient relics in Iraq are against the teachings of Islam and described them as “idols”.

“The prophet Muhammad commanded us to shatter and destroy these statues” he said. “This is what his companions did later on, when they conquered lands” he added.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York released a statement from Director Thomas Campbell strongly condemning the Islamic State ransacking of Iraq’s ancient antiquities.

Speaking with great sadness on behalf of the Metropolitan, a museum whose collection proudly protects and displays the arts of ancient and Islamic Mesopotamia, we strongly condemn this act of catastrophic destruction to one of the most important museums in the Middle East. The Mosul Museum’s collection covers the entire range of civilization in the region, with outstanding sculptures from royal cities such as Nimrud, Nineveh, and Hatra in northern Iraq. This mindless attack on great art, on history, and on human understanding constitutes a tragic assault not only on the Mosul Museum, but on our universal commitment to use art to unite people and promote human understanding. Such wanton brutality must stop, before all vestiges of the ancient world are obliterated.”

Archeologists have reviewed the video footage and believe that the destroyed artifacts in the video are mostly replicas of the originals.

Archeologists interviewed yesterday on the UK’s Channel 4 said that most of the destroyed sculptures in Mosul being shown in the video were replicas of the originals which were sent to the Iraq Museum in Baghdad in advance of the ransacking to avoid having them destroyed.

Mosul was taken over by Islamic State last June. The United States is currently training around 12 Iraqi brigades to retake Mosul later in the spring.

“In total, we have said from the beginning, we think it’s going to take about 12 brigade equivalents to execute the Mosul operation, and we still kind of stand to that” said a U.S. command official via teleconference from U.S. Central Command on February 19,2015.

Earlier this week Islamic State militants abducted over 220 Assyrian Christians from 11 villages and burned 2 churches in northeast Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Yesterday a U.S. led alliance carried out airstrikes against Islamic State targets in an area in northern Syria where the Islamic State militants are believed to have abducted the 220 Assyrian Christians.

On February 15th Islamic State released a video depicting the beheading of 21 members of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Libya. The Coptic men were previously kidnapped in Libya and were seeking employment.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

Me

 

 

 

Yellen: “Fed Can Be Patient in Normalizing Policy.” Fed Revises Forward Guidance

yellenFed Chair Janet Yellen spoke before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday and explained that the Federal Reserve can be patient in beginning to normalize policy while suggesting that it is unlikely that economic conditions will warrant an interest rate hike for at least the next couple of FOMC meetings.

Yellen said that “considerable progress” has been achieved with job growth.

She cited the 5.7 percent unemployment level for January along with 280,000 job gains created per month during the second half of 2014.

Yellen also admitted that room for further improvement remains, especially with sluggish wage growth and the labor force participation rate showing weakness compared to most estimates of its trend.

Yellen indicated that if economic conditions continue to improve, as the Committee anticipates, the Federal Reserve will at some point begin considering an increase in the target range for the federal funds rate on a “meeting-by-meeting basis” and noted that before then the Fed will change its forward guidance because conditions have improved.

Yellen explained that more incoming labor and inflation data is needed before an interest rate hike decision can be reached by Fed Committee members.

“Provided that labor market conditions continue to improve and further improvement is expected, the Committee anticipates that it will be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate when, on the basis of incoming data, the Committee is reasonably confident that inflation will move back over the medium term toward our 2 percent objective” Yellen stated.

Yellen said that Fed members expect inflation to decline further in the near term before rising gradually toward 2 percent over the medium term “as the labor market improves further and the transitory effects of lower energy prices and other factors dissipate.”

Yellen will be speaking today before the House Financial Services at 10:00 am EST.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

Fed Chair Yellen To Testify Before Congress As Investors Await Clues Of Rate Hike

chairFed Chair Janet Yellen will be testifying on Capitol Hill before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday about Fed policy issues as U.S. lawmakers seek more transparency with the Federal Reserve’s actions and investors await for signs about when an interest rate hike may arrive in 2015 which would be the first rate hike since 2007.

In December 2008 during the depths of the recession, the Federal Reserve took highly accommodative actions and cut the federal funds rate from 1 percent to a range of 0 to .25 percent in an effort to boost lending and to stimulate economic growth.

The move was widely praised and achieved its goal of creating better economic conditions for a global recovery to take hold.

Six years later, the U.S. unemployment rate has fallen to 5.7 percent compared to 7.3 percent in December 2008 and 10 percent in October 2009.

2014 was America’s best year for job growth since 1999.

In the fourth quarter of 2014, U.S. GDP was at 2.6 percent, according to the first estimate from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The two primary economic metrics that the Federal Reserve uses to develop monetary policy is the employment picture and inflation.

Although it’s true that the U.S. employment market has rebounded since the recession in 2008-09′, inflation has not increased substantially over the past 3 years and still remains below the Fed’s 2 percent inflation target due to a confluence of factors such as weaker global growth, plummeting oil prices, and a rising U.S. dollar.

The primary inflation reading that the Federal Reserve uses when determining monetary policy is the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE).

“The committee judges that inflation at the rate of 2 percent, as measured by the annual change in the price index for personal consumption expenditures, is the most consistent over the longer term with the Fed’s statutory mandate” the Federal Reserve wrote.

Inflation as measured by the price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE), has experienced downward pressure over the past 2 months which may complicate the Federal Reserve’s resolve to hike rates in mid-2015, a time period when a majority of economists and investment bankers were forecasting a rate hike.

The latest PCE reading is 1.33 percent for December, lower than 1.40 percent for November, and 1.51 percent for October.

According to the latest Fed minutes from the Fed’s January 27-28th meeting, Fed officials believe that although inflation may dip a little in the short term, it is expected to gradually rebound closer to the Fed’s 2 percent target.

“Inflation is anticipated to decline further in the near term, but the Committee expects inflation to rise gradually toward 2 percent over the medium term as the labor market improves further and the transitory effects of lower energy prices and other factors dissipate” according to the latest Fed statement.

It is also true that Fed officials sounded more dovish in their last January Fed meeting when they emphasized that the Committee can be “patient” about normalizing monetary policy with interest rates and await more economic data.

“Based on its current assessment, the Committee judges that it can be patient in beginning to normalize the stance of monetary policy.  However, if incoming information indicates faster progress toward the Committee’s employment and inflation objectives than the Committee now expects, then increases in the target range for the federal funds rate are likely to occur sooner than currently anticipated” according to the Fed’s last statement.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

It’s Austerity Time For Greece

tsipGreece is expected to submit a list of austerity measures on Monday as a condition of a new bailout extension that Athens requested at the eleventh hour during a Eurogroup meeting on Friday in Brussels.

Eurogroup finance ministers will hold a telephone conference call on Monday after Greece provides a list of its new austerity measures.

The bailout extension that Athens is on track to receive lasts 4 months instead of 6 months and will be supervised by the ECB, EU, and IMF.

The so called “Troika” term that no one really cared for when describing the ECB, EU, and IMF is now officially gone at the request of Athens.

Also discarded is the term “program” or “programme” that is used to describe Greece’s bailout package.

The breakthrough bailout extension request on Friday was fueled by mounting concerns about the viability of Greece’s banking sector that has witnessed a flight of capital in recent days and months.

Deposit outflows in Greece’s banks increased to over €1 billion late last week as Greeks worried about the prospect of capital controls being imposed on them.

Since December when Greece’s leftists Syriza party was forecast to win in January’s election, €20 billion has been withdrawn from Greece’s banks.

Before the bailout extension was approved on Friday, talks circulated about Berlin officials considering to take back €10.9 billion in bailout funds used in Greece’s bank bailout facility that would have been needed if capital outflows continued across Greece.

Germany is the largest EU creditor in the bailout group.

Public opinion in Germany remains deeply opposed to lending money to Athens without implementing austerity measures.

Over in Greece, public opinion favors the country remaining in the euro currency bloc but opposes Athens agreeing to a pathway of austerity measures that many other euro area countries such as Ireland, Spain, and Italy have already undertaken as a condition of their own financial packages.

Newly elected Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addressed the Greek public in a statement on Saturday and used victorious battle terms when describing the showdown with its international creditors in Brussels.

“Yesterday we took a decisive step, leaving austerity, the bailouts, and the troika behind,” Tsipras said.

“We won a battle, not the war. The difficulties, the real difficulties…..are ahead of us” Tsipras added.

Athens won’t be able to receive any bailout loans unless its fiscal reforms centered around austerity and keeping a lid on public spending are adopted with Greek parliamentary approval which may prove to be difficult in Tsipras’ left leaning Syriza party that is becoming more populist but has been described in the past as an “anti-establishment party” consisting of a diverse group of socialists, Euro communists, anti-capitalists, and soft Euro skeptics.

Athens will need to begin negotiation on a new bailout package that has to approved by the end of June in advance of some large debt payments that are due in July and August.

In the meantime, the €11 billion in emergency funds that remained in the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund is transferred to the ECB and the €3.7 billion in financial aid from the expiring bailout is delayed until the end of April when it will become more apparent if Athens can effectively implement fiscal reforms.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

Johnathan1Here is a statement that was released last Friday from the Eurogroup after Athens requested a bailout extension:

The Eurogroup reiterates its appreciation for the remarkable adjustment efforts undertaken by Greece and the Greek people over the last years. During the last few weeks, we have, together with the institutions, engaged in an intensive and constructive dialogue with the new Greek authorities and reached common ground today. 

The Eurogroup notes, in the framework of the existing arrangement, the request from the Greek authorities for an extension of the Master Financial Assistance Facility Agreement (MFFA), which is underpinned by a set of commitments. The purpose of the extension is the successful completion of the review on the basis of the conditions in the current arrangement, making best use of the given flexibility which will be considered jointly with the Greek authorities and the institutions. This extension would also bridge the time for discussions on a possible follow-up arrangement between the Eurogroup, the institutions and Greece. 

The Greek authorities will present a first list of reform measures, based on the current arrangement, by the end of Monday February 23. The institutions will provide a first view whether this is sufficiently comprehensive to be a valid starting point for a successful conclusion of the review. This list will be further specified and then agreed with the institutions by the end of April.  

Only approval of the conclusion of the review of the extended arrangement by the institutions in turn will allow for any disbursement of the outstanding tranche of the current EFSF programme and the transfer of the 2014 SMP profits. Both are again subject to approval by the Eurogroup. 

In view of the assessment of the institutions the Eurogroup agrees that the funds, so far available in the HFSF buffer, should be held by the EFSF, free of third party rights for the duration of the MFFA extension. The funds continue to be available for the duration of the MFFA extension and can only be used for bank recapitalisation and resolution costs. They will only be released on request by the ECB/SSM. 

In this light, we welcome the commitment by the Greek authorities to work in close agreement with European and international institutions and partners. Against this background we recall the independence of the European Central Bank. We also agreed that the IMF would continue to play its role. 

The Greek authorities have expressed their strong commitment to a broader and deeper structural reform process aimed at durably improving growth and employment prospects, ensuring stability and resilience of the financial sector and enhancing social fairness. The authorities commit to implementing long overdue reforms to tackle corruption and tax evasion, and improving the efficiency of the public sector. In this context, the Greek authorities undertake to make best use of the continued provision of technical assistance. 

The Greek authorities reiterate their unequivocal commitment to honour their financial obligations to all their creditors fully and timely. 

The Greek authorities have also committed to ensure the appropriate primary fiscal surpluses or financing proceeds required to guarantee debt sustainability in line with the November 2012 Eurogroup statement. The institutions will, for the 2015 primary surplus target, take the economic circumstances in 2015 into account. 

In light of these commitments, we welcome that in a number of areas the Greek policy priorities can contribute to a strengthening and better implementation of the current arrangement. The Greek authorities commit to refrain from any rollback of measures and unilateral changes to the policies and structural reforms that would negatively impact fiscal targets, economic recovery or financial stability, as assessed by the institutions. 

On the basis of the request, the commitments by the Greek authorities, the advice of the institutions, and today’s agreement, we will launch the national procedures with a view to reaching a final decision on the extension of the current EFSF Master Financial Assistance Facility Agreement for up to four months by the EFSF Board of Directors. We also invite the institutions and the Greek authorities to resume immediately the work that would allow the successful conclusion of the review.

We remain committed to provide adequate support to Greece until it has regained full market access as long as it honours its commitments within the agreed framework.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eurogroup To Consider Greece’s Latest Bailout Proposal

ASNegotiations are underway between Greece and their international creditors with a last minute Eurogroup meeting scheduled for late Friday afternoon in Brussels after the latest 6 month loan extension proposal on Thursday from Athens failed to go far enough to meet key demands from Germany and other Eurogroup finance ministers who are still hoping to extend Greece’s bailout and keep the indebted country from defaulting on their bailout rescue loans.

The German government criticized the latest 6 month proposal from Athens as a “Trojan horse” designed to dodge its commitments.

“The letter from Athens is not a substantive proposal for a solution. In truth, it aims at bridge financing without fulfilling the demands of the programme” Martin Jager, spokesman for the German ministry said on Thursday after reviewing the latest Athens proposal.

Greece’s €240 billion bailout package expires on February 28th.

Athens could run out of cash as early as March unless a new bailout is obtained.

Greece is faced with a surge in debt repayments in 2015.

Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis has attempted to free Greece from renewing many of the fiscal austerity reforms that exist in its bailout current package but remain deeply unpopular in Greece.

Varoufakis has even referred to the current bailout for Greece as “financial waterboarding” and drew comparisons in the past between Greece’s bailout creditors and the mafia.

After reviewing Athens’ latest 6 month loan bailout proposal on Thursday that falls short of Greece’s current bailout plan, loaded with austerity measures, Berlin officials have considered taking back €10.9 billion in bailout funds used in Greece’s bank bailout facility that will likely be needed if banking institutions continue to weaken.

Deposit outflows in Greece’s banks have increased to over €1 billion during the past 2 days as Greeks are concerned about capital controls being imposed.

Eurogroup officials have said that they believe some of the main differences that divide Athens from its bailout creditors could still be reconciled before February 28th.

Eurogroup Finance Chair Jeroen Dijsselbloem has been working to smooth over some of the key differences that separates Athens from its international creditors. Today’s Eurogroup meeting is scheduled for 1400 GMT in Brussels.

The latest Athens proposal still honors debt obligations and places Athens under supervision from bailout lenders and the European Central Bank.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

* Correction-the post from yesterday incorrectly listed the Eurogroup as occurring on Thursday instead of Friday

 

 

 

Greece Asks For 6 Month Bailout Extension; Germany Rejects The Request

EURO RESCUEGreece formally requested a 6 month extension of its bailout program from its international creditors on Thursday but Europe’s largest contributor to the bailout funds, Germany, denied the request ahead of a Eurogroup meeting later today when Eurogroup officials will meet to discuss the new extension proposal from Athens.

German finance ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said in a statement that the proposal from Athens falls short of meeting the eurogroup’s demands that contains fiscal reforms including austerity measures.

“The letter from Athens is not a proposal that leads to a substantial solution. In truth it goes in the direction of a bridging financing, without fulfilling the demands of the programme. The letter does not meet the criteria agreed by the eurogroup on Monday.”

Greece’s current bailout from its international creditors consisting of the ECB, IMF, and EU lasts until February 28th. Greece is at risk of running out of money in March unless their international bailout is extended and approved.

On Monday eurogroup officials met in Brussels and emphasized to Greece finance minister that Greece needs to request an extension of their international bailout that meets the eurogroup demands that includes austerity measures.

The euro is  trading lower on today’s news about the bailout extension.

Johnathan Schweitzer

WSJ: Athens To Request Bailout Loan Extension On Thursday

eu4Investors remain on edge on Wednesday but are holding out hope that the newly elected leftist government in Greece will request an extension of a €240 billion bailout program to keep Greece solvent beyond February 28th after a tense showdown in Brussels on Monday between Eurogroup finance ministers and Athens over the need to keep Greece on its austerity path.

After talks between Greece’s finance minister and the Eurogroup collapsed on Monday with Athens making no new request from its creditors to extend their bailout beyond its February 28th deadline, hopes faded away that Greece was willing to submit to their creditors’ demands and would receive an extension of their bailout program.

But on Tuesday a media report from Reuters said that Athens would make the request for a bailout extension on Wednesday, the same day the European Central Bank convenes to decide if  liquidity funds should be extended to Greek banks through its emergency liquidity assistance program which comes after last week the ECB raised emergency funding by €5 billion.

A new report today from the Wall St. Journal this morning indicates that Greece will wait until Thursday to submit a new loan request, according to Greek government spokesman Gabriel Sakellarides.

The Wall St. Journal reports that Eurogroup finance ministers have agreed to meet on Friday only if a “credibly worded request” for a bailout extension is offered.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

Greek Bailout Talks Fall Apart As Athens Moves Closer To Default

Euro area chief Jeroen Dijsseelbloem discusses with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schuble (right)

Euro area chief Jeroen Dijsseelbloem discusses with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble (right)

A new Greek drama is unfolding in Europe as Greece moves one step closer to defaulting on their bailout loans and exiting the 19 member euro currency area after Greek government officials refused to ask for a bailout extension from their international creditors before Monday’s deadline and as talks between Athens and Brussels abruptly fell apart with both sides digging in their heels and failing to reach an agreement over Greece’s €240 billion  ($272 billion) bailout package.

The Eurogroup meeting of Euro area finance ministers lasted for only 2 hours on Monday.

According to sources, the Eurogroup handed Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis a draft statement at the beginning of the meeting that called for Athens to ask for a bailout extension which sparked fury in the Greek delegation and resulted in the Greeks immediately leaking the draft statement to the media, calling it “unacceptable” and “unreasonable” before reporters while insisting that no deal would be worked out under those terms.

In a bizarre twist, the Greeks were commenting and simultaneously reporting to the press in real time about the impossible terms that were being imposed on them by their international creditors while negotiations were still underway, resulting in frustration from the euro area members attending the meeting which was suspended and later canceled after the Greek delegation refused to offer a counter proposal.

One section of the draft statement in particular mentions that Greek authorities will continue along the path of austerity and fiscal reforms through the “built in flexibility in the current program.”

“The Greek authorities intend to make the best use of existing built in flexibility in the current programme as work commences on the new arrangement. They will work closely with their European and international partners to secure agreed parameters for structural reforms” the statement reads.

During the press conference, Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem told reporters that there was a strong feeling amongst the members that Greece should ask to extend its current bailout which expires on February 28th.

Only after that step is first taken by Greece could the two sides then discuss how Athens could take advantage of the “flexibility” in the bailout program.

Dijsselbloem admitted that an extension of the bailout could look similar to a “bridge program” proposed by Athens but he was clear that it would have to include most of the existing program.

Christine Lagarde from the IMF emphasized that Greece’s next bailout payment can’t be disbursed until Athens is meeting the terms of its current bailout program.

Dijsselbloem told reporters  that another Eurogroup meeting can be held on Friday but only if Greece asks for an extension of their bailout.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egypt’s Military Bombs Islamic State Targets in Libya After Mass Beheading Video

copticsEgypt’s military said in a statement aired on television on Monday that it has bombed Islamic State targets in Libya just hours after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for a meeting of Egypt’s top national security body in response to a released Islamic State video on Sunday showing the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians that were kidnapped from Sirte, Libya.

The statement explained that Egyptian warplanes targeted weapons cashes and training camps in Libya before returning home safely.

“Let those far and near know that Egyptians have a shield that protects them” the statement said.

It is believed that the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Copts were carried out by an affiliate of Islamic State operating in the region.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has said previously that Islamic State fighters in Libya are security threat to Egypt and the entire region.

Thus far the Egyptian air force has not participated in the U.S. led coalition of airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria although several of Egypt’s Arab neighbors have cooperated in the air campaigns.

Security of State John Kerry released a statement condemning the mass killings  in Libya.

“U.S. condemns the despicable and cowardly murder of 21 Egyptian citizens in Libya by ISIL-affiliated terrorists” Kerry said.

The White House also released a statement that echoed a similar message while emphasizing the need for a political resolution to the conflict in Libya.

Here is the WH statement:

The United States condemns the despicable and cowardly murder of twenty-one Egyptian citizens in Libya by ISIL-affiliated terrorists.  We offer our condolences to the families of the victims and our support to the Egyptian government and people as they grieve for their fellow citizens.  ISIL’s barbarity knows no bounds.  It is unconstrained by faith, sect, or ethnicity.  This wanton killing of innocents is just the most recent of the many vicious acts perpetrated by ISIL-affiliated terrorists against the people of the region, including the murders of dozens of Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai, which only further galvanizes the international community to unite against ISIL. 
 
This heinous act once again underscores the urgent need for a political resolution to the conflict in Libya, the continuation of which only benefits terrorist groups, including ISIL.  We call on all Libyans to strongly reject this and all acts of terrorism and to unite in the face of this shared and growing threat.  We continue to strongly support the efforts of the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General Bernardino Leon to facilitate formation of a national unity government and help foster a political solution in Libya

Johnathan Schweitzer

 

 

Greek Bailout Deadline Looms As Euro Area Finance Ministers Meet With Greek Officials

EURO RESCUE

Greek government officials are heading to Brussels on Monday to meet for another round of talks with Euro area finance ministers after discussions last week ended with no new deal for Athens at a time when Greece’s bailout deadline is fast approaching and default concerns lurk on the horizon.

On Sunday nearly 20,000 Greeks took to the streets in front of Greece’s parliament to voice support for the government’s anti-austerity stance which is in direct opposition to the guidelines from Greece’s international creditors established by the European Central Bank (ECB), EU, and IMF.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told Greek newspaper Ekathimerini on Sunday that he expects a deal with Euro area finance ministers, even at the last minute when time is nearly running out for Athens to request an extension of their  €240 billion ($272 billion) bailout package that comes pre-loaded with austerity measures, or structural fiscal reforms, that Athens desperately wants to shake off.

“Developments over the last few days have given me a significant degree of hope that, despite the differences, there is an appetite on both sides for finding common ground between the previous program and a new agreement between Europe and Greece that will put and end to the self-perpetuating crisis and will create a relationship of trust between us and our partners,” said Varoufakis.

Since 2010 Greece has received 2 bailouts totaling €240 billion.

The current deadline for requesting an extension of its current bailout in Brussels is Monday February 16th.

Unless Athens receives a bailout extension by February 28th, Greece won’t be able to service its €320 billion debt and immediately receive €1.8 billion from the euro union’s bailout fund, €1.9 billion in ECB profits from Greek government bonds that Athens has requested of the 7.2 billion bailout tranche, or be eligible to tap into the €11.5 billion of Greece’s bank bailout fund.

Athens has 10 billion ($ 11 billion) in debt repayments over the summer and their tax revenues are currently falling well short of expectations.

Athens is requesting more time accompanied by a temporary funding bridge until May to renegotiate the terms of its bailout package.

But any revisions to the terms or expiration date of Greece’s  €240 billion bailout package will have to be done before Friday February 20th since parliaments in Germany, the Netherlands, and Finland need to approve them in advance.

On Wednesday February 18th the governing council from the European Central Bank (ECB) will convene and discuss Greece’s emergency liquidity assistance program for its weakened banks.

Last Thursday the ECB gave and extra  €5 billion worth of additional emergency finance support to support Greece’s banks through the Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) which is now set at  €65 billion and lasts until Wednesday February 18th when it will be reviewed again.

The move comes after the ECB removed a necessary waiver on February 5th that permitted junk status Greek bonds to be exchanged for liquidity from the ECB.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

Johnathan1