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Macro chatter: Greek recession killing Athens sex business

Around the world: Greek banks get another chance at getting in good with the ECB, but it may be too late to save the Athens' sex shops.
StripperEnlarge
Even strippers say they're having a tough time making ends meet in Greece. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Need to know:
As the US barbecued and relaxed on beaches and boats across the country Monday, Greece was busy setting up some of its largest banks with an 18 billion euro lifeline.

The funds provided to the four banks will allow them to begin borrowing from the European Central Bank again. The ECB, which has become a last-resort lender for many Greek banks, had cut them off.

The banks were dangerously low on capital, a feeling likely somewhat familiar to Greece itself. Greece is running low on funds and may not be able to cover its bills starting next month.

Want to know:
Even the sex business is suffering in Greece.

Athens alone used to be home to about 400 sex shops, but now only 100 remain, Reuters reported. Strippers are suffering, too, as customers increasingly choose to keep what little cash they have in their pockets.

A value-added tax of 23 percent on certain sexual products isn’t helping, Reuters said.

Dull but important:
China and Japan no longer need a middle-man to trade currencies.

The world’s second and third largest economies are scheduled to begin directly trading yen for yuan June 1, the Wall Street Journal said.

The move should help business in Japan and China save money, but it will do so at the expense of the US dollar. It is the latest in a series of actions China has been taking to reduce its reliance on the US dollar for international transactions and could threaten the dollar’s long reign as the world’s reserve currency.

Just because:
Spain is, as Kenny Loggins might say, on the highway to the danger zone.

Spanish borrowing costs were creeping toward fresh records Monday. Investors are becoming increasingly worried about Spain’s ability to deal with troubles in its banking sector.

Spain has been forced to provide a $24 billion bailout to one of its largest banks, and some fear Spain could have to cough up even more cash to keep its banks afloat.

Strange but true:
A memo handwritten by a teenaged Steve Jobs is up for auction.

Jobs wrote the four-page memo in 1974 when he was 19-years-old and working nights at Atari. In it, he detailed his recommendations for improving Atari’s World Cup soccer arcade game and shared a Buddhist mantra.

Sotheby’s expects the memo to fetch between $10,000 and $15,000, but its estimates have been wrong before. Apple documents signed by Steve Jobs and former business partners and Apple co-founders Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne sold for $1.5 million last year — 10 times what Sotheby’s was expecting.

 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/macro/macro-chatter-greece-banks-sex-shops