Greek Crisis: Blame it on the Bakers

As a student, I lived above a bakery in North London. The owners were Greek.

Like many live-away-from-home students, every now and then I would get a letter from a grandparent with a five or ten pound note stuffed inside.

Except, not all the letters (and therefore, not all the bank notes) made it into my hands.

To this day, I’m convinced — without a single jot of evidence mind you — that the Greek baker took the money.

If I had the foresight at the time, perhaps that should have been a warning of what was to come for the Greek economy.

I was reminded of that sad time in my personal history as I read this in the Financial Times:

Among the many sectors of the Greek economy facing sweeping reforms as part of an agreement to keep the country in the Eurozone, one is a conspicuous oddity: bakeries.

That’s right folks. Amongst other things, one of the big battles between the European Union and Greece has been over the bread industry.

As the Financial Times reports:

In the bread business, the long-running complaint was that small bakeries were protected by rules that prevented the sale of bread in other shops, such as supermarkets. Those restrictions have been dropped but Greece’s international creditors are now likely to push for reforms in two other contentious areas: standardised bread weights and VAT.

Oh my goodness!

Who’d have thought it? Don’t tell me this battle is set to continue over the size and weight of a loaf of bread.

Perhaps. The FT goes on:

Greek bakers have traditionally used standard weights for loaves. Theodoros Dimou, a baker in the Athenian suburb of Aghia Paraskevi, told the Financial Times that he made two weights: 1kg or 500g. He added that his koulouri rings had been standardised at 80g for 30 years.

Don’t people understand the seriousness of this? Imagine a koulouri ring that was only 70g. Or heaven forbid, a gargantuan koulouri ring that weighed in above 100g.

Perish the thought.

This, apparently, is a koulouri ring:

Source: Wikipedia

Click to enlarge

It’s hard to judge the weight in this photo. But to me, it has the distinct look of being more than 80g. The girth of the ring gives it away.

That my friend, could very well be an illegal koulouri ring. Eat it at your own risk.

Let’s look for the next crisis

So, bread business and other matters aside, is that it for Greece as a matter of consequence to the world’s markets?

It seems like it.

But, if you’re in to drumming up a fake crisis or two, I’m sure it won’t be long before something else rears its head.

Any guesses for what could come next?

I like referring to the list below from time to time. I reeled off this list at the World War D conference in Melbourne last year.

I used it to show how the mainstream had drummed up an average of one new ‘crisis’ every three months since the 2008 meltdown:

  • Australian housing collapse
  • China’s housing boom and collapse
  • US debt ceiling
  • US money printing
  • European money printing
  • Italian interest rates
  • Spanish interest rates
  • Portuguese interest rates
  • Greek debt default
  • Dubai
  • Cyprus banking bailout
  • Europe’s alphabet soup of bailout plans
  • Japan’s money printing
  • Japan’s interest rates
  • China’s interest rates (Shibor — a term few used before or have used since the apparent ‘Shibor crisis’)
  • Syria, Libya, and Egypt
  • Emerging markets
  • Argentina’s debt problem
  • Russia and Ukraine
  • China (again)
  • Turkey

Let’s see…we’ve just had the Greek debt default crisis again, so we can scratch that. At the same time a China crisis has hit the headlines…again.

What about Syria, Libya, and Egypt? I guess ISIS is the latest incarnation of that ‘crisis’.

Or, what about Turkey? Things have been quiet there, right?

Maybe it’s time for the mainstream to stir things up a bit, and create a brand new crisis out of nothing. Although, based on commentary from colleague Jim Rickards earlier this year, while it may not develop into a full-blown crisis, Turkey could be heading for trouble.


Kris Sayce,

Editor, Microcap Trader and Tactical Wealth’

Ed Note: This is an excerpt of an article first published in Port Phillip Insider

Kris Sayce, dubbed the ‘Jeremy Clarkson of Australian finance’, began as a London finance broker specialising in small-cap stock analysis on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM). Kris then spent several years at one of Australia's leading wealth management firms. A fully accredited advisor in shares, options, warrants and foreign-exchange investments, Kris was instrumental in helping to establish the Australian version of the Markets and Money e-newsletter in 2005. He is the Publisher, Investment Director and Editor in Chief of Australia's most outspoken financial news service, Markets & Money.

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