Saturday, December 14, 2019

Committee Forming to Establish Indian Spot Gold Exchange


by Peter Schiff, SchiffGold:

The World Gold Council has announced plans to form a committee that will help set up India’s first physical gold exchange. Officials say they hope to have the exchange up and running in 12 to 18 months.

The committee will not actually set up the exchange, but will provide guidance. WGC Indian operations managing director PR Somasundaram told Bloomberg the council is in the process of creating an industry committee of jewelry trade associations, dealers, miners, regulators, foreign and Indian banks, and eventually some consumers.

Indians have a love affair with gold. The country ranks as the second largest consumer of the yellow metal in the world. It’s not just a luxury. Even the poor buy gold in India. The yellow metal is interwoven into the country’s marriage ceremonies, and cultural and religious rites. Indians also value gold as a store of wealth, especially in poor rural regions. According to the World Gold Council, Indian households hold over 22,500 tons of gold.

Two-thirds of India’s gold demand comes from these areas, where the vast majority of people live outside the official tax system.  Owning gold provides a vital economic lifeline, especially for Indian women. It allows them to gain access to cash, and even goods and services, during difficult times.

The exchange would allow retail investors to bring their physical gold to formal financial channels and make it easier to monetize it. According to the WGC report, a physical exchange would enable jewelers, retailers, refiners and banks to trade over a regulated platform.

While banks’ widespread network and trust factor are essential to facilitate retail investors to bring their gold to formal financial channels, the spot exchange can be a key enabler for the success of these efforts.”

Only China consumes more gold than India. But officials say despite the size of the Indian market and its significant global position, it can’t realize its full potential. Officials say a formal exchange will boost transparency and streamline bullion trading. The goal is to ensure standardization, facilitate better price discovery, bring unorganized players into the formal sector, and to give consumers better access to supply. According to the WGC report, “Given the broad push for greater transparency and appetite for reform, the time is opportune to introduce structural reforms.”

How average Indians will view a formal exchange remains to be seen, especially in rural areas. Large segments of the Indian economy operate underground. The government has aggressively pushed stop it.

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Futility at its Finest: Spanish Court Blocks Catalan Parliament from Declaring Independence; Civil War?

by Mish Shedlock, MishTalk:

What’s the point in telling someone they cannot do something, you know full well they will?

Prime minister Mariano Rajoy said there would be no Catalonia independence referendum. He lied. Despite sending in 10,000 troops to stop the referendum, there was a vote and it was 90{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in favor of kissing Spain goodbye.

On Thursday, the Spanish Court Blocked the Catalan Parliament from Declaring Independence. Wanna bet?

Spain’s constitutional court has moved to stop the Catalan government making a unilateral declaration of independence by suspending the regional parliament session in which the results of Sunday’s referendum were due to be discussed.

The court warned that any session carried out in defiance of its ban would be “null”, and added that the parliament’s leaders could face criminal action if they ignored the court order.

The Madrid government has refused to rule out invoking article 155 of the constitution. The article, which has never been used, makes provision for the central government to step in and take control of an autonomous region if it “does not fulfill the obligations imposed upon it by the constitution or other laws, or acts in a way that is seriously prejudicial to the general interest of Spain”.

However, given the heightened tensions in Catalonia and the huge protests seen across the region this week, the move could prove counterproductive, and Puigdemont has already warned that the triggering of the article would be the Spanish government’s “ultimate mistake”.

Catalonia ‘Civil War’

The Telegraph reports Catalonia ‘civil war’ warning as independence declaration fears grow.

The EU’s budget commissioner has warned of the risk of “civil war” in Catalonia, as fears grew over a looming independence declaration and major banks prepared to relocate their headquarters.

As another day passed with no sign of dialogue and pro-independence parties pushed for the declaration of a Catalan Republic as early as Monday, Gunther Oettinger, the budget commissioner, urged the two sides to talk.

“The situation is very, very disturbing. A civil war is planned in the middle of Europe,” Mr. Oettinger said in Munich.

Bank Attack

Reuters reports Spain to make it easier for firms to move base from Catalonia as business alarm deepens.

Spain’s government will issue a decree on Friday making it easier for firms to transfer their legal base out of Catalonia, two sources said, in a move that could deal a serious blow to the region’s finances as it considers declaring independence.

The decree is tailor-made for Spanish lender Caixabank, sources familiar with the matter said, as it would make it possible for the bank to transfer its legal and tax base to another location without having to hold a shareholders’ meeting as stated in its statutes.

“The government is working on changing the law so that it’s no longer need to have a shareholders’ meeting, which would delay a change of the legal base in a case of emergency,” one of the sources said.

The board of Caixabank will meet on Friday to study a possible transfer of its legal base away from Catalonia due to the political uncertainty in the region, a source familiar with the situation said.

Caixabank is Catalonia’s biggest company by market value and accounts for around 50 percent of the region’s banking sector.

Another Catalonia-based bank, Sabadell, Spain’s fifth-biggest lender, decided on Thursday to move its base from Catalonia to Alicante, on Spain’s eastern coast.

Early next week, it’s highly likely Catalonia will tell Rajoy and the Spanish court where to go.

Then what?

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Debunking Russian Hacking Myth Pushed By Democrats: Interview w/ Disobedient Media’s Elizabeth Vos

by Elizabeth Vos, Disobedient Media:

Disobedient Media’s Associate Editor Elizabeth Vos spoke earlier this evening with journalist, author and columnist HA Goodman about the debunking of the Russian hacking narrative, the recent crackdown in Catalonia, and the hypocrisy of establishment Democrats.

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Russia Again Says US Is Helping ISIS in Syria, Threatens to Put an End to It

from Russia Insider:

Russia claims ISIS took advantage of the US exclusion/occupation zone in southern Syria in staging its recent counter-offensive

The US support for terrorists is the main obstacle for routing the Islamic State terrorist grouping (outlawed in Russia) in Syria, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said on Wednesday.

“US colleagues’ support for terrorists and pandering to them rather than terrorists’ combat efficiency is the main obstacle for completing the rout of the ISIL [the former name of the Islamic State],” the general said.

Russia’s Aerospace Force is ready to totally halt any actions of the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria passed off by the United States as ‘coincidences’, he went on. 

The general told reporters about several offensives against Syrian government troops launched from the 50-kilometer area around the locality of al-Tanf near the Jordanian border, where “a US military mission” is headquartered.

“If US officials view such actions as unforeseen ‘contingencies’, Russia’s Aerospace Force is ready to begin the complete elimination of such ‘coincidences’ in the area of their control,” he said.


“In all appearances, success of the Syrian army with the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces, as well as a swift liberation of Euphrates River Valley from IS (Islamic State, outlawed in Russia) runs counter to plans of the US colleagues,” said the major general.

Attack on government forces

Terrorist attacks over government forces in Syria on September 28 were made from a zone controlled by the US military, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

Overnight into September 28, dozens of off-road vehicles carrying about 300 Islamic State (IS, a terror organization outlawed in Russia) militants advanced towards the town of al-Qaryatayn, Homs Governorate, from the community of Rukban, he said. Notably, militants successfully skirted all covert posts of the Syrian army, “having direct coordinates at hand that can be acquired only through aerial reconnaissance studied by specialists and then carefully presented for execution of terrorist sabotages,” Konashenkov said. Another IS unit carried out a series of coordinated attacks over other Syrian army posts located along the strategically important Palmyra – Deir ez-Zor highway.

“One thing unites the specified terror attacks: All of them were carried out from a 50km zone around the community of At Tanf on the Syrian-Jordanian border, the one where ‘the US military mission’ is stationed and that the Syrian forces chasing terrorists were kept off at gunpoint by Americans,” Konashenkov stressed.

To all appearances, the success of the Syrian army with the support of the Russian air task force, and also the swift liberation of the Euphrates River valley from the IS run counter to the plans of US colleagues, the spokesman said.

“A terrorists’ attempt to carry out an attack coordinated by its time and place in the rear of the Syrian troops at the end of last week served as a new example of this. Overnight to September 28, about 300 ISIL gunmen advanced in a dozen of cross country vehicles towards the town of Al-Karatein in the province of Homs from the settlement of Rukban,” the Russian general said.

According to the general, a large detachment of terrorists successfully bypassed all hidden posts of the Syrian troops in the communities of Harbat Ash-Shkhemi and Al-Basiri “not due to fortune but because they had completely exact coordinates that can be obtained only thanks to air reconnaissance data processed by specialists” and transferred to terrorists for carrying out terrorist acts.

“At the dawn, this terrorist detachment attempted to seize the dominant terrain around the settlement of al-Karatein,” the general noted.

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Oil, Arms and Nuclear Energy: Overview of Saudi King’s Landmark Visit to Russia

from Sputnik News:

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s talks in Moscow have resulted in a number of political, economic and military deals. Moscow and Riyadh are eyeing cooperation in the oil market, on nuclear energy, space exploration and infrastructure. Riyadh for its part is also reportedly interested in Russia’s S-400 missile defense systems.

Towards a Stable Relationship

King Salman arrived in Moscow on Wednesday, for the first ever visit of a reigning Saudi monarch to Russia.

“This is the first visit of the King of Saudi Arabia to Russia in the history of our relations, which in itself is a very significant event. Our relations have a fairly lengthy history,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a meeting with the king.

In addition, the Russian president described the talks with King Salman as “very substantive, informative and very trusting.”

According to Grigoriy Kosach, Moscow-based professor and specialist in modern Eastern studies, Russian-Saudi relations have seen numerous upturns and downturns and this visit gives hope that they will stabilize and continue to develop.

“The visit of the Saudi delegation to Moscow indicates that Riyadh is interested in developing ties with Moscow. Saudi Arabia needs Russia,” Leonid Savin, an analyst with the Center for Geopolitical Expert Studies, told RT.

Syrian Problem

According to the expert, the Syrian crisis was the key political issue on the agenda of the talks. Riyadh has supported Syrian opposition groups in the ongoing conflict; however King Salman said that his vision of the Syrian settlement coincides with the position of Moscow.

During his meeting with Putin, the Saudi monarch stressed that Riyadh intends to achieve the resolution of the Syrian crisis in accordance with the Geneva decisions and UN Security Council resolutions.


“As far as the Syrian crisis is concerned, we seek its termination in accordance with the Geneva-1 decisions and UN Security Council Resolution 2254. [We want] to reach a political settlement that would guarantee security, stability and Syria’s territorial integrity,” King Salman said.

According to Kosach, differences between Moscow and Riyadh on the situation in Syria remain. First and foremost this regards Russia’s cooperation with Iran, which is of great concern to Saudi Arabia. At the same time, Savin pointed out that Riyadh’s support for the Astana negotiating process indicates a bilateral rapprochement on the issue.

Political Cooperation

The political agenda of the talks also included the situation in Qatar, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, the Israeli-Palestine settlement as well as the state of affairs in the Middle East as a whole, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference.

Lavrov and his Saudi counterpart Adel Jubeir reiterated their commitment to dialogue in the resolution of those problems.

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Catalonia Shows the Danger of Disarming Civilians


from The Anti Media:

October 1 showed the US why we need civilian guns.

(FEE— Since the tragic murder of 59 peaceful concertgoers in Las Vegas Sunday, I’ve heard well-intentioned Americans from all political corners echoing heartbroken and tempting refrains:

Can’t we just ban guns?

Surely we can all get together on the rocket launchers.

Things like this would happen less often.

We have enough military.

While victims were still in surgery, some took to television and social media to criticize the “outdated” and “dangerous” Second Amendment to the Constitution. They have lived so long in a safe, stable society that they falsely believe armed citizens are a threat to life and liberty for everyone.

Those who claim to see no necessity or benefits of individual gun ownership need only look to the rolling hills of Catalonia, where a live social experiment is currently unfolding.

Unarmed Patriots

Just hours before an alleged lone gunman opened fire from the Mandalay Bay casino, the citizens of a small region surrounding Barcelona, Spain, cast a vote for their regional independence. Catalonia’s citizens have a unique language, culture, and history, and consider Spain a neighboring power, not their rightful rulers. So as America’s Continental Congress heroically did (and as Texans and Californians occasionally threaten to do) Catalonia wished to declare independence and secede.

Polling stations in Catalonia were attacked by heavily armed agents of the state with riot gear and pointed rifles. Spanish National Police fired rubber bullets and unleashed tear gas canisters on voters, broke down polling center doors, disrupted the vote, and destroyed enough ballots to throw results into serious doubt.

Exceedingly few of those would-be patriots were armed.

In Spain, firearm ownership is not a protected individual right. Civilian firearms licenses are restricted to “cases of extreme necessity” if the government finds “genuine reason.” Background checks, medical exams, and license restrictions further restrict access. Licenses are granted individually by caliber and model, with automatic weapons strictly forbidden to civilians. Police can demand a citizen produce a firearm at any time for inspection or confiscation. Spain has enacted, it would seem, the kind of “common sense restrictions” American gun-control advocates crave.

But of course, that doesn’t mean that Spanish citizens don’t buy guns. In fact, Spanish taxpayers maintain an enormous arsenal of weapons, which are all in the hands “professional armed police forces within the administration of the state, who are the persons

Those agents of the state weren’t “providing security to the population” of Catalonia on Sunday — they were pointing guns at would-be founding patriots who had challenged the rule of their oppressors.

“If somebody tries to declare the independence of part of the territory — something that cannot be done — we will have to do everything possible to apply the law,” Spain’s justice minister said in a public address.  While many polling places were closed or barricaded, 2.3 million voters (90{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in favor of independence) were permitted to vote, he claimed, “because the security forces decided that it wasn’t worth using force because of the consequences that it could have.”

The consequences of a government using force to control those it is sworn to protect must be high. When citizens are armed, the consequences for tyranny rise and its likelihood falls.

Armed Tyrants

Americans have grown too trustful of the State, too ready to assume bureaucrats have only our best interests at heart. Even with a maniacal man-child in the Oval Office, many are seemingly eager to turn over individual liberty to those who promise to manage our lives for us. The United States was designed to be the smallest government in the history of the world, with no standing army, and little right to intrude in the private activities of its citizens. Instead, we have the most powerful and intrusive government in human history, with 800 permanent military bases in 70 countries, unfathomable firepower, and staggering surveillance capabilities. Unchecked abuses of power are routine and tolerated.

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Keiser Report: Is Economy Recovering? (E1133)

from RT:

In the second half, Stacy interviews Ellen Brown, author of Web of Debt, about the state-owned bank proposal for Los Angeles. They also discuss the newly discovered $14 trillion in debt previously hidden in the global derivatives market and whether or not that could happen in a blockchain-based financial world.

Update on the Deflating Housing Bubble in Toronto


by Wolf Richter, Wolf Street:

Missing Chinese money? Hardest hit is the priciest segment: detached houses.

Home sales in the Greater Toronto Area plunged 35{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in September compared to a year ago, to 6,379 homes. The plunge in volume was spread across all types of homes. Even condos got hit:

  • Detached houses -40.4{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}
  • Semi-detached houses -30.2{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}
  • Townhouses -34.4{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}
  • Condos -27.5{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}.

As total sales plunged, new listings of homes for sale rose 9{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} year-over-year to 16,469, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). And the total number of active listings of homes for sale soared 69{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} year-over-year to 19,021.

While Toronto’s housing market is still not drowning in listings, the plunge in sales volume and the surge in listings combined is a major change in market direction. And prices have followed.

The report tried to brim with industry hope: “The improvement in listings in September compared to a year earlier suggests that home owners are anticipating an uptick in sales activity as we move through the fall,” And it grabbed at straws: “Consumer polling undertaken for TREB in the spring suggested that buying intentions over the next year remain strong.”

Alas, “in the spring” – precisely in April – Toronto’s housing bubble peaked with a final and phenomenal melt-up of home prices: The average price had soared 30{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}  year-over-year to C$920,761! And the mood of the housing market was at its most buoyant.

So how did the plunge in volume and the surge in listings impact prices?

The average price of all homes in the Greater Toronto Area, at C$775,546 in September, is down 16{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} from the crazy peak in April. Year over year, the average price is now up only 2.6{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}.

That’s a lot of backpedaling from a 30{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} year-over-year increase in April. To cool the housing market euphoria – and the risk it poses to lenders and homeowners – and to put a lid on ballooning affordability issues, the Ontario government introduced a laundry list of measures on April 20, including a 15{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} transfer tax on nonresident foreign speculators. That appears to have done the trick.

What has gotten hit the hardest is the most expensive segment: The market for detached houses. As sales volume plunged 40{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in September, the average price plunged 16{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} from the April peak to C$1.015 million, which is still very high and still makes Toronto one of the most inflated housing bubbles in the world, but it’s now flat year-over-year – after having been up 33.4{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} year-over-year in April.

On the other end of the spectrum, the average condo price in September edged down only 2.1{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} from its peak in May to C$520,411 and is still up 23{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} year-over-year.

After the surge in the first seven months of the 12-month period, the growth in average prices by segment still looks mostly positive, but a lot less positive than just a few months ago:

  • Detached: 0{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}
  • Semi-detached: 7.4{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}
  • Townhouse: 7.1{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}
  • Condo: 23.2{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}

The TREB’s special concoction, the “benchmark price,” fell 0.6{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in September from the prior month and is now down 8{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} since May, but is still up 12{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} year over year.

The TREB refuses to publish median selling prices. Median price means half sell for more, half sell for less. It’s one of the standard measures in the US housing market. But the TREB, which has the data, doesn’t want this measure to circulate.

Canadian real estate site Zolo, however, publishes the median price for the Greater Toronto Area, and it’s down 17{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} from the April peak of C$800,000 to C$665,000 in September.

That sales and prices of detached houses – the most expensive segment – have been hit the hardest so far doesn’t necessarily mean that high-income Canadians who can afford to buy these homes have suddenly run into a rough spot. It’s more likely a consequence of the policies by Ontario, announced on April 20, that attempt to tamp down on wild speculation, particularly on speculation by nonresident foreign investors, which in Toronto is largely Chinese money.

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Las Vegas Killer’s Brother Does Total 180, Is He Being Manipulated?


from Infowars:

Laura Loomer joins Alex Jones live via Skype to dissect statements made by Stephen Paddock’s brother, Eric Paddock, on consecutive days following the Las Vegas shooting.

Round 2: Hungary PM Orban Launches New Offensive Against ‘Mafia’ Boss George Soros

by Joshua Caplan, The Gateway Pundit:

The Hungarian government is set to launch another offensive against liberal billionaire George Soros. Orban’s “national consultation,” will include new billboards and television spots highlighting Soros’ Open Society activities in the country. 

Bloomberg reports;

The Hungarian government has resumed its campaign against Hungarian-American billionaire philanthropist George Soros and his support for migration.

The government’s “national consultation” includes a survey sent to Hungarian households about a so-called “Soros Plan” — which the government says is being carried out by the European Union — as well as billboards and television ads.

Goran Buldioski, director of Soros’ Open Society Initiatives in Europe, says Soros and his foundations support “more coherent and humane policies for helping to resettle migrants fleeing oppression and violence in their homelands” but that “there is no such thing as a global conspiracy against Hungary.”

Soros has been in the news this week as unredacted 2015 tax forms were leaked to the Washington Free Beacon, revealing mega donors to a leading anti-Trump ‘resistance’ group. The usual suspects cut sizable checks to the group, such as George Soros’ The Open Society Foundation and The Ford Foundation, which gave over $2 million.

FOX News reported:

The Free Beacon has obtained the group’s unredacted 2015 tax forms that shed light on its funders, who provide millions of dollars in assistance. The group appears to rely heavily on a few major liberal foundations, organizations, and unions.

The Center for Community Change’s largest contribution was $3,000,000 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which was initially created by Will Kellogg, the food manufacturer and founder of Kellogg Company. The Ford Foundation, which was first created by the founders of the Ford Motor Company, added a $2,350,000 donation. The Open Society Foundation, a foundation run by liberal billionaire mega-donor George Soros, gave $1,750,000 to the Center for Community Change.

Other donors to the organization include the California Endowment, which gave $524,500; the Marquerite Casey Foundation, which gave $515,000; Fidelity Charitable Gift, which donated $505,100; and the National Immigration Law Center, which gave $316,000.

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Spanish Banks Hit Panic Button As Independence Odds Soar But ‘Stall’ Rumor Sparks Buying-Panic


from ZeroHedge:

Catalonia’s bid to separate from Spain had prompted investors to dump bonds issued by the region’s two biggest lenders, CaixaBank SA and Banco de Sabadell SA. Today, in a signal that the banks are taking thelikelihood of Catalonia independence very seriously, Sabadell has called a board meeting to approve a change of headquarters outside of the region.

The last few days’ drop in Catalonia’s biggest bank bonds has prompted an even more serious reaction by the banks themselves.

Sabadell notified the Spanish stock regulator CNMV that it will hold a board meeting today at 5pm local time on the possible change of location of its corporate HQ.

Bloomberg reports that the move was prompted by “uncertainty” from the challenge presented by independence movement, citing unidentified people in the market.

Sabadell officials offered no denial, saying HQ change would be to guarantee the legal safety that’s currently provided by the European Central Bank.

And as is clear, this is having a positive impact on the bonds (albeit modest).

Furthermore, Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos told Bloomberg this morning that Catalan banks have indicated that if this process goes on, they are totally open to relocate their headquarters to other places in Spain.

Speaking on Thursday in a Bloomberg Television interview, de Guindos slammed the Catalan administration for its illegal actions and said independence is out of the question. Spain has nothing to discuss with the secessionists until rule of law is restored, he said. The instability may persuade Catalan banks to shift out of the region, he added.

“They have indicated that if this process goes on, they are totally open to relocating their headquarters to other places in Spain,” de Guindos said.


“This is a clear indication of how insane is the regional government of Catalonia.”

The bottom line indication from these moves is simple – the banks (and the government) are increasingly convinced that Catalan independence is going to happen.

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