Vulture_Fights_Jackle_in_bubbleBelieve it or not, we actually have a mini-bubble within this bubble crash as vulture investors fight for the scraps disgorged by indebted sovereigns and over-leveraged banks. The time is not ripe just yet and I plan to allow the carrion feeders to price destruct amongst themselves as I await the coming interest rate storm which will truly bring about a once in a lifetime wealth creation opportunity.

Arguably, more millionaire money was made during the Great Depression than at any time in history. Well, if that's true then it looks as if history may be poised to repeat itself. The question is, who will be ready? I will discuss this live on RT's Capital Account show today at 4:30. 

Executive Summary

Asset sales by European sovereign nations, central and private banks have made global investors and speculators scour for cheap assets that have the potential to yield higher than average risk adjusted. However, the search process is not that easy, as sellers are adopting a ‘wait and see’ policy assisted by the European Central Bank’s facilitation of (extremely) cheap financing and liquidity measures. The market now witnesses by too many buyers chasing too few distressed assets. Hence the speculation about future returns has actually caused a mini-bubble in distressed asset prices. Professional subscribers should download the full version 

Asset sale by sovereigns is can be seen in the sale of stakes in government owned infrastructure assets and corporations. However, the approach adopted to dispose of these assets is to make partial sales in tranches in order to participate in any benefits of valuation recovery.

Professional and institutional subscribers should download the full version of this document (File Icon The BoomBustBlog Pan-European Distressed Asset Acquisition Initiative) which outlines investment opportunities in the following nation/banks: UK, Portugal, Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland and Spain.  Our initiative runs the gamut from whole companies and equities, to real estate, infrastructure assets, rare earth and hard tangible assets to IP.

Dispositions by Europeans banks have consisted mostly of foreign assets outside of Europe. Most of these assets had the potential for high returns but are being offered at prices reflecting the perception that future investment performance would be robust. This is why there is so much interest in the private equity and asset management space in scanning for strong deals among those assets. However, the competition among these entities to buy quality assets at reasonable valuations has created a micro bubble of sorts, the type that make profitable vulture investing a very difficult proposition.

Sale of Sovereign Assets

Faced with mounting debt burdens, many European nations are under tremendous pressure to cut fiscal deficits

Related research…

File Icon A Review of the Spanish Banks from a Sovereign Risk Perspective – retail.pdf

File Icon A Review of the Spanish Banks from a Sovereign Risk Perspective – professional

File Icon Ireland public finances projections

File Icon Spain public finances projections_033010

File Icon UK Public Finances March 2010

File Icon Italy public finances projection

File Icon Greece Public Finances Projections

File Icon Banks exposed to Central and Eastern Europe

File Icon Greek Banking Fundamental Tear Sheet

File Icon Italian Banking Macro-Fundamental Discussion Note 
File Icon Spanish Banking Macro Discussion Note



by establishing and expanding austerity measures and reducing interest expenses. These nations include not only those faced with accelerating debt repayment obligations such as Greece, Italy, Spain, etc., but also some of the relatively better positioned countries – namely the United Kingdom and France.

In a bid to reduce accelerating debt burdens, many of these nations are selling their sovereign assets. We will probably see an even greater pool of sovereign asset sales as the futility of serially forced austerity drives the EU into a deep recession.

Even the Greek situation is just getting started, contrary to popular belief and the upcoming distress is not just CRE and RE assets that are available via fire sale, as clearly outlined two years ago in our subscriber (click here to subscribe) report 

File Icon Greece Public Finances Projections see pages 5 and 6 following... (click to enlarge)

 

thumb_Greece_public_finances_projections1_Page_05

 

thumb_Greece_public_finances_projections1_Page_06

 

As a matter of fact, I warn those who do not subscribe to the BoomBust, this song is far, far from over... Beware The Overly Optimistic Greek Speculators As Icarus Comes Crashing Down To Earth!

Greece_Primary_balance

Greece is virtually guaranteed to re-default, with a structural imbalance that literally forbids the country from being able to service its debt, thereby chasing investors and bondholders with even remote access to a spreadsheet or calculator into the hills… Ne’er to return before the 720th fortnight!

It’s not just in the periphery either. The core states have some stress coming their way.


Slide21

Investors seeking safety in Germany, the UK and France may truly be in for a rude awakening!

Slide22

Interest rate volatility, at a bare minimum, is a given – with the potential for stagflation being the base case scenario…

 

Those who wish to download the full article in PDF format can do so here: Reggie Middleton on Stagflation, Sovereign Debt and the Potential for bank Failure at the ING ACADEMY-v2.

Interestingly, Chinese corporations are increasingly interested in European assets. There have already been a number of indicators to prove that while China is not as attracted to European sovereign bonds, there’s material interest in buying infrastructure assets; and interest in perceived attractively valued corporations has increased over the recent past. Seeing profitable investment opportunities, private equity firms and global leading funds have also joined in. This has created a kind of rush to search for attractively valued assets that could yield attractive returns in the years ahead. The current scenarios, as such, have been of  a kind wherein too many buyers are chasing too few assets up for sale, particularly in view of the fact that countries like Italy, the United Kingdom and to a lesser extent Spain, can bargain with time - unlike Greece, to wait for fair valuation of assets before their disposal. This has created a market of buyers and sellers wherein prices for distressed assets are not being determined by fundamental valuation, but are influenced by speculation and demand-supply gap. In essence, what we have amidst this bursting of the sovereign credit bubble is a mini-distressed asset bubble.

Professional and institutional subscibers should download the full version of this document (File Icon The BoomBustBlog Pan-European Distressed Asset Acquisition Initiative) which outlines investment opportunities in the following nation/banks: UK, Portigal, Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland and Spain.  Our initiative runs the gamut from whole companies and eqiuities, to real estate, infrastructure assets, rare earth and hard tangible assets to IP.

Any who are interested in hearing more about this initiative can reach me via email or phone. All others are urged to follow me through my various social media assets:

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Published in BoomBustBlog

We are in the process of updating the very revealing work we performed last year, identifying which banks were most likely to do the "Lehman Brothers" thing. I believe we were the only media source to predict the collapse of Lehman Brothers, CountryWide, WaMu, Bear Stearns, etc. months in advance - with each of these calls being precedent setting calls from both a profit and strategic preparation perspective. The thought process that went into the research and taking speculative positions behind said research against the crowd, resulted in an interesting experience -to say the least. Reference  the introductory paragraph from Is this the Breaking of the Bear? from January 27, 2008, two months before this banks collapse (I gave a similar diatribe for Lehman, several months before their collapse or even mere negative presence in the media as well):

Anybody who follows my blog knows that I am extremely bearish on the global macro environment, particularly risky and financial assets. As I see it, the Doctor(s) FrankenFinance are constantly percolating econo-alchemical brews such as that of the ongoing “Great Macro Experiment,” eliciting undulating waves of joy and elation from amateur speculators such as myself while simultaneously creating risk/reward traps that many a financial and real asset concern may never escape from. While discussing with my team how best to move forward to find a target of our “Macro Experiment” victim analysis in the financial sector, I was queried as to what to look for in creating the short list. Evaluating investment banks, like evaluating the monolines, is not necessarily a straightforward endeavor. No matter how you do it, someone is going to disagree. This is what makes what I do so appealing. All I have to answer to is performance. I just need a profitable result in order to be successful. No corporate politics or conflicts of interests to get in my way. In the end, absolute return is the ultimate criteria, and not whether it is accepted by the ivy league or academia, industry practitioners, sponsors, clients or whether or not XZY bank has been doing it differently for the last 25 years. Investing for your own account enforces a certain code of realism that, at times, may not be shared by others. So, I used that realism as my strength and my focal point to guide the creation of a short list, the ultimate target, and the valuation/risk analysis methodology. I simply said, in the REAL world where I would have to make some money from some REAL assets,throwing off REAL cash flows and REAL market transactions? Using this “Reggie REALity Engine” (so to speak) to power the analysis proved very enlightening. We found banks that counted spread guesstimates as assets. We found banks that could not afford to keep their best employees. We found too many banks that faced insolvency in the very near future. We found a lot. To keep this story short, let’s just say we used the engine to find that truth that nobody really wants to hear. That truth as marked to reality. This resulted in a short list of 2 firms. The first one is Bear Stearns, which we will delve into here. The second one is what I call, “The Riskiest Bank on the Street”, and the blog post and analysis will be out in a few days. Using a Sherlock Holmes style of forensic analysis, we have tried very hard not to leave anything out of our scope of analysis. In the case of Bear Stearns, it was not easy since very little info was available outside of the plain vanilla 10Q, 10K, etc. They also volunteered very little information. Much of this is investigative analysis and it would be much more detailed if we had access to the Bear Stearns inventory. We wrote to Bear Stearns’ investor relations department asking for more information on the company’s exposure to risky assets and their breakup. So far, no word back. No need to be concerned for my health, I’m not holding our breath…

Alas, as I stated earlier, it is that truth that no one wants to hear. So if you are one of those "no ones" that don't want to hear the truth, cover your ears, cause here we go...

Well, here we go again, but this time on a much, much larger level. In addition, the investment portion of the game has become much more complicated for now you don't just have to know what the disease is and who has it, but you have to be able to navigate the fact that our dear Fed Chairman has eliminated all inoculations against said disease (or put more aptly, poked holes in all of our condoms) by artificially suppressing volatility and rates and distorting normal price discovery through market mechanisms, see Did Bernanke Permanently Cripple the Butterfly That Is US Housing? The Answer Is More Obvious Than Many Want To Believe and as excerpted: 

... Do Black Swans Really Matter? Not As Much as the Circle of Life, The Circle Purposely Disrupted By Multiple Central Banks Worldwide!!!, Bernanke et. al. have snipped the chrysalis of the US markets and economy one too many times. He has interrupted the circle of life...

I have always been of the contention that the 2008 market crash was cut short by the global machinations of a cadre of central bankers intent on somehow rewriting the rules of economics, investment physics and global finance. They became the buyers of last resort, then consequently the buyers of only resort while at the same time flooding the world with liquidity and guarantees. These central bankers and the countries they allegedly strive to serve took on the debt and nigh worthless assets of the private sector who threw prudence through the window during the “Peak” phase of the circle of economic life, and engaged in rampant speculation. Click to enlarge to print quality…

 

The result of this “Great Global Macro Experiment” is a market crash that never completed. BoomBustBlog subscribers should reference File Icon The Inevitability of Another Bank Crisis while non-subscribers should see Is Another Banking Crisis Inevitable? as well as The True Cause Of The 2008 Market Crash Looks Like Its About To Rear Its Ugly Head Again, With A Vengeance. All four corners of the globe are currently “hobbling along on one leg”, under the pretense of a “global recovery”.

This brings us back full circle to today, where (despite the protestations of many in the sell side such as "Buy the Euro Banks Goldman" and those in the mainstream media who proclaim that risks are beimgn overblown, Europe's banking system is sitting on the nuclear version of a veritable powder keg that could very well make the Bear Stearns/Lehman days look like a veritable bull market. I plan on delivering an update to our European bank exposure analysis for subscribers:

Take note that this update will include several American banks and the risks they face from writing nearly all of the richly priced CDS purchased by said European banks. This is an interesting and complicated story because all of those IMF/EU bailouts, besides adding more debt to already debt laden countries, have considerably subordinated the claims of the stakeholders involved. The following was written over a year ago, and has proven to be quite prescient:

The year 2013, with a IMF-proclaimed debt ratio of a tad under 150%, is the time when Greece will have to refinance the debt to pay the IMF. However, since the current debt raised by Greece is at fairly high rates, new debt will only be available at much higher rates (as markets should price-in the risk of high debt rollover) unless there is some saving grace of a drastic plunge in world wide interest rates and a concomitant plunge in the risk profile of Greece. At a 150% debt ratio, historically low artificially suppressed global interest rates that have nowhere to go but higher and prospective junk ratings from the US rating agencies, we don’ t see this happening. Thus, the cost of borrowing for in 2013 is likely to be much higher in the market than the nearly five percent for the existing debt. Greece will either be unable to fund itself in the markets at all, and will have to convince the Euro Members and the IMF to extend the three-year lending facility just announced (reference What We Know About the Pan European Bailout Thus Far) or, it will get the debt refinanced at very high rates. In both cases the total debt as a percentage of GDP will continue to rise, and this is not a sustainable scenario over the longer-term. In addition, if it accept the EU/IMF package and there is an event of default or restructuring, the IMF will force a haircut upon the private and public debtors beyond what would have normally been the case. This essentially devalues the debt upon the involvement of the IMF, a scenario that we believe many sovereign bondholders (particularly Greek, Spanish and Irish) may not have taken into consideration. This also leaves the possibility of a significant need for many banks to revalue their sovereign debt – particularly Greek sovereign debt – holdings.

As illustrated above, there is a higher probability for a Greek sovereign debt restructuring in 2013, which will definitely not hurt IMF (since it has a preferred right) but the Euro Members and other investors who will be holding the Greek debt.

image021

LGD: Loss Given Default... ~100%???

We're talking damn near complete wipeouts boys and girls. There are practicaly no entities holding this debt at par that are leveraged under 30x. The starting point in case of default for Greece is between roughly 48% to 52% of par. You've seen the math on BoomBustBlog many a time - Over A Year After Being Dismissed As Sensationalist For Questioning the ECB's Continued Solvency After Sovereign Debt Buying Binge, Guess What!
 

image003

Add forced subordination due to IMF and US imperialitic dictate, and discussion of recoveries may very well be moot. On that oh so cheery note, let's move on to the basis of the refresh of our European bank exposure note for subscribers, who have voted overwhelmingly to have us pursue this venue...
BoomBustBlog
I woild like to take this time to warn those who may have a waning interest in real estate due to the fundamentals defying act of REITs over the two years, that party is likely quite over if and once the Europeans blow up. The real long term risks still sitting on US, Asian and European bank balance sheet are still real asset based, and because it is so labor intensive to hide tons of bricks, dirt and mortar under pulp based ledger sheets using creative yet relatively meek accountants, these chickens are coming back home to roost to.
 

I will end this post with some graphs that show the bubblistic mentality of the German and French banks as they gorged on soon to be 2 for 1 sale sovereign debt at the height of the US induced credit and real asset bubble. You see, many outside of the Americas blame the US for instigating the last world wide crash (and admittedely rightfully so), but this time around the crash will be much bigger, and we all know whose fault it will be (hint: it doesn't rhyme with jaflerican). Remember, these supposedly risk free assets are being accumulated with somewhere between 30x to 72x leverage.

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In preparation for what will probably be a very, very valuable subscriber update, I will start off my next post on this topic with a public display of what we published this time last year regarding French and German banks. In passing, remember: 
  1. The US still has the right to singularly vote down a supermajority in the IMF, and it is the only single state to be able to do that.
  2. We see how well the EU has agreed on things in the past when time was of the essence.
  3. The EU voluntarily took subordinate positions to existing claimholders, that was the purpose of the bailout. The IMF has never inferred such.
  4. The Fed has opened up the swap lines in the past, and didn't do so for charitable reasons. Read my post on FICC risk and bank implosions on my blog. The Fed can't afford for Euro banks to start calling on those faux hedges. That's why the lines are open.
  5. Any haircut you get before adding on a trillion dollars of debt and the IMF standing in front of you for $120 billion is going to be less then the one you get afterwards

As always, may the BoomBust be wth you! Interested parties may feel free to follow me on twitter, email me directly, or register for/subscribe to BoomBustBlog.

Published in BoomBustBlog

Ireland has finally admitted the horrendous condition of its banking system. I actually give the government kudos for this, and await the moment when the US, China and the UK come forth with such frankness. That being said, things are a mess, I have forewarned of this mess for some time now.First, the lastest from Bloomberg: Ireland's Banks Will Need $43 Billion in Capital After `Appalling' Lending

March 31 (Bloomberg) -- Ireland’s banks need $43 billion in new capital after “appalling” lending decisions left the country’s financial system on the brink of collapse. The fund-raising requirement was announced after the National Asset Management Agency said it will apply an average discount of 47 percent on the first block of loans it is buying from lenders as part of a plan to revive the financial system. The central bank set new capital buffers for Allied Irish Banks Plc and Bank of Ireland Plc and gave them 30 days to say how they will raise the funds.

“Our worst fears have been surpassed,” Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said in the parliament in Dublin yesterday. “Irish banking made appalling lending decisions that will cost the taxpayer dearly for years to come.”

Dublin-based Allied Irish needs to raise 7.4 billion euros to meet the capital targets, while cross-town rival Bank of Ireland will need 2.66 billion euros.Anglo Irish Bank Corp., nationalized last year, may need as much 18.3 billion euros. Customer-owned lenders Irish Nationwide and EBS will need 2.6 billion euros and 875 million euros, respectively.

‘Truly Shocking’

The asset agency aims to cleanse banks of toxic loans, the legacy of plungingreal-estate prices and the country’s deepest recession. In all, it will buy loans with a book value of 80 billion euros ($107 billion), about half the size of the economy. Lenihan said the information from NAMA on the banks was “truly shocking.”

...

Capital Target

Lenders must have an 8 percent core Tier 1 capital ratio, a key measure of financial strength, by the end of the year, according to the regulator. The equity core Tier 1 capital must increase to 7 percent.

AIB’s equity core tier 1 ratio stood at 5 percent at the end of 2009 and Bank of Ireland’s at 5.3 percent. Those ratios exclude a government investment of 3.5 billion euros in each bank, made at the start of 2009.

...

Credit-default swaps insuring Allied Irish Bank’s debt against default fell 6.5 basis points to 195.5, according to CMA DataVision prices at 8:45 a.m. Contracts protecting Bank of Ireland’s debt fell 7 basis points to 191 and swaps linked to Anglo Irish Bank’s bonds were down 3.5 basis points at 347.5.

Credit-default swaps pay the buyer face value in exchange for the underlying securities or the cash equivalent should a company fail to adhere to its debt agreements. A decline signals improving perceptions of credit quality.

State Aid

If Allied Irish can’t raise enough funds privately, the state will step in with aid, Lenihan said. It is “probable” the government will then end up with a majority stake, he said.

...

Ireland may not be able to afford to pump more money into the banks. The budget deficit widened to 11.7 percent of gross domestic product last year, almost four times the European Union limit, and the government spent the past year trying to convince investors the state is in control of its finances.

The premium investors charge to hold Irish 10-year debt over the German equivalent was at 139 basis points today compared with 284 basis points in March 2009, a 16-year high.

Ireland’s debt agency said it doesn’t envisage additional borrowing this year related to the bank recapitalization. It is sticking to its 2010 bond issuance forecast of about 20 billion euros, head of funding Oliver Whelan said in an interview.

“The bank losses, awful as they are, represent a one-off hit. It’s water under the bridge,” said Ciaran O’Hagan, a Paris-based fixed-income strategist at Societe Generale SA. [What is the logic behind this statement? Has the real estate market started increasing in value? Are the banks credits now increasing in quality? Will the stringent austerity plans of the government create an inflationary environment in lieu of a deflationary one for the bank's customer's assets???] “What’s of more concern for investors in government bonds is the budget deficit. Slashing the chronic overspending and raising taxation by the Irish state is vital.” [This is a circular argument. If the government raises taxes significantly in a weak economic environment, it will put pressure on the bank's lending consituents and the economy in general, presaging a possible furthering of bank losses!]

 

and...

 

Juckes Says Outlook `Frightening' 
March 31 (Bloomberg) -- Kit Juckes, chief economist at ECU Group Plc, talks with Bloomberg's Linzie Janis about the outlook for Ireland's banks after the government set out plans to revive the country's financial system.

Now, notice how prescient my post of several months ago was, The Coming Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis: 

Ireland has finally admitted the horrendous condition of its banking system. I actually give the government kudos for this, and await the moment when the US, China and the UK come forth with such frankness. That being said, things are a mess, I have forewarned of this mess for some time now.First, the lastest from Bloomberg: Ireland's Banks Will Need $43 Billion in Capital After `Appalling' Lending

March 31 (Bloomberg) -- Ireland’s banks need $43 billion in new capital after “appalling” lending decisions left the country’s financial system on the brink of collapse. The fund-raising requirement was announced after the National Asset Management Agency said it will apply an average discount of 47 percent on the first block of loans it is buying from lenders as part of a plan to revive the financial system. The central bank set new capital buffers for Allied Irish Banks Plc and Bank of Ireland Plc and gave them 30 days to say how they will raise the funds.

“Our worst fears have been surpassed,” Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said in the parliament in Dublin yesterday. “Irish banking made appalling lending decisions that will cost the taxpayer dearly for years to come.”

Dublin-based Allied Irish needs to raise 7.4 billion euros to meet the capital targets, while cross-town rival Bank of Ireland will need 2.66 billion euros.Anglo Irish Bank Corp., nationalized last year, may need as much 18.3 billion euros. Customer-owned lenders Irish Nationwide and EBS will need 2.6 billion euros and 875 million euros, respectively.

‘Truly Shocking’

The asset agency aims to cleanse banks of toxic loans, the legacy of plungingreal-estate prices and the country’s deepest recession. In all, it will buy loans with a book value of 80 billion euros ($107 billion), about half the size of the economy. Lenihan said the information from NAMA on the banks was “truly shocking.”

...

Capital Target

Lenders must have an 8 percent core Tier 1 capital ratio, a key measure of financial strength, by the end of the year, according to the regulator. The equity core Tier 1 capital must increase to 7 percent.

AIB’s equity core tier 1 ratio stood at 5 percent at the end of 2009 and Bank of Ireland’s at 5.3 percent. Those ratios exclude a government investment of 3.5 billion euros in each bank, made at the start of 2009.

...

Credit-default swaps insuring Allied Irish Bank’s debt against default fell 6.5 basis points to 195.5, according to CMA DataVision prices at 8:45 a.m. Contracts protecting Bank of Ireland’s debt fell 7 basis points to 191 and swaps linked to Anglo Irish Bank’s bonds were down 3.5 basis points at 347.5.

Credit-default swaps pay the buyer face value in exchange for the underlying securities or the cash equivalent should a company fail to adhere to its debt agreements. A decline signals improving perceptions of credit quality.

State Aid

If Allied Irish can’t raise enough funds privately, the state will step in with aid, Lenihan said. It is “probable” the government will then end up with a majority stake, he said.

...

Ireland may not be able to afford to pump more money into the banks. The budget deficit widened to 11.7 percent of gross domestic product last year, almost four times the European Union limit, and the government spent the past year trying to convince investors the state is in control of its finances.

The premium investors charge to hold Irish 10-year debt over the German equivalent was at 139 basis points today compared with 284 basis points in March 2009, a 16-year high.

Ireland’s debt agency said it doesn’t envisage additional borrowing this year related to the bank recapitalization. It is sticking to its 2010 bond issuance forecast of about 20 billion euros, head of funding Oliver Whelan said in an interview.

“The bank losses, awful as they are, represent a one-off hit. It’s water under the bridge,” said Ciaran O’Hagan, a Paris-based fixed-income strategist at Societe Generale SA. [What is the logic behind this statement? Has the real estate market started increasing in value? Are the banks credits now increasing in quality? Will the stringent austerity plans of the government create an inflationary environment in lieu of a deflationary one for the bank's customer's assets???] “What’s of more concern for investors in government bonds is the budget deficit. Slashing the chronic overspending and raising taxation by the Irish state is vital.” [This is a circular argument. If the government raises taxes significantly in a weak economic environment, it will put pressure on the bank's lending consituents and the economy in general, presaging a possible furthering of bank losses!]

 

and...

 

Juckes Says Outlook `Frightening' 
March 31 (Bloomberg) -- Kit Juckes, chief economist at ECU Group Plc, talks with Bloomberg's Linzie Janis about the outlook for Ireland's banks after the government set out plans to revive the country's financial system.

Now, notice how prescient my post of several months ago was, The Coming Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis: 

 We have finished our review of the Italian "Austerity" plans to whip its debt load into shape. As with Greece (see "Greek Crisis Is Over, Region Safe", Prodi Says - I say Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!), we have found it wanting. Believe it or not, the biggest issue is the credibility of the government. They stretch the facts, assumptions and gray areas to the point where you tend to doubt everything else. It is almost as if they believe no one will actually read what they have written, which very well may have been partially true in the past. Alas, that was the past and this is the present. Information, and to a lesser extent, knowledge travels through the web at the speed of atomic particles.  On that note, I release to my subscribers the pdf  Italy public finances projection 2010-03-22 10:47:41 588.19 Kb.

For those that don't subscribe, I would like to make clear that my assertions of flagrant and unsubstantiated optimism on the part of European governments stem from how quicly they feel their economies will grow despite the fact that they failed to see this maelstrom coming in the first place.

This is Italy's presumption of economic growth used in their fiscal projections:

 We have finished our review of the Italian "Austerity" plans to whip its debt load into shape. As with Greece (see "Greek Crisis Is Over, Region Safe", Prodi Says - I say Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!), we have found it wanting. Believe it or not, the biggest issue is the credibility of the government. They stretch the facts, assumptions and gray areas to the point where you tend to doubt everything else. It is almost as if they believe no one will actually read what they have written, which very well may have been partially true in the past. Alas, that was the past and this is the present. Information, and to a lesser extent, knowledge travels through the web at the speed of atomic particles.  On that note, I release to my subscribers the pdf  Italy public finances projection 2010-03-22 10:47:41 588.19 Kb.

For those that don't subscribe, I would like to make clear that my assertions of flagrant and unsubstantiated optimism on the part of European governments stem from how quicly they feel their economies will grow despite the fact that they failed to see this maelstrom coming in the first place.

This is Italy's presumption of economic growth used in their fiscal projections:

From Bloomberg: Germany Seeks IMF Role for Greece in Reversal, CDU Lawmaker Meister Says

March 17 (Bloomberg) -- Greece should turn to the International Monetary Fund if it needs aid, the chief finance spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party said, in a reversal that signals a rift with European leadersJean-Claude TrichetJean-Claude Juncker and Nicolas Sarkozy.

“We have to think about who has the instruments to push for Greece to restore its capital-markets access” if ultimately needed, Michael Meister, a lawmaker with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said today in an interview in Berlin. “Nobody apart from the IMF has these instruments.” Attempting a Greek rescue “without the IMF would be a very daring experiment.”

Daring indeed! As my subscribers know, there has been a lot of creativity in coming up with those "austerity" plans (subscribers, see File IconGreece Public Finances Projections). I wouldn't bet the farm on their ability to accomplish their stated goals. For those that don't have a paid subscription, reference my Greek Tragedy in prose: "Greek Crisis Is Over, Region Safe", Prodi Says - I say Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire! Don't forget to notice the optimism...

From Bloomberg: Germany Seeks IMF Role for Greece in Reversal, CDU Lawmaker Meister Says

March 17 (Bloomberg) -- Greece should turn to the International Monetary Fund if it needs aid, the chief finance spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party said, in a reversal that signals a rift with European leadersJean-Claude TrichetJean-Claude Juncker and Nicolas Sarkozy.

“We have to think about who has the instruments to push for Greece to restore its capital-markets access” if ultimately needed, Michael Meister, a lawmaker with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said today in an interview in Berlin. “Nobody apart from the IMF has these instruments.” Attempting a Greek rescue “without the IMF would be a very daring experiment.”

Daring indeed! As my subscribers know, there has been a lot of creativity in coming up with those "austerity" plans (subscribers, see File IconGreece Public Finances Projections). I wouldn't bet the farm on their ability to accomplish their stated goals. For those that don't have a paid subscription, reference my Greek Tragedy in prose: "Greek Crisis Is Over, Region Safe", Prodi Says - I say Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire! Don't forget to notice the optimism...

I am in the process of finishing up the Sovereign Debt Crisis series with a massive global model of the interconnected relationships between sovereign nations. In the building of this model the team and I came to the conclusion that many pundits are truly underestimating the lose-lose situation that the Eurozone, CEE and the UK are in. I have went to lengths to demonstrate the interconnectedness of banks and the risk of global financial contagion that they pose. See this excerpt from "The Coming Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis"

I am in the process of finishing up the Sovereign Debt Crisis series with a massive global model of the interconnected relationships between sovereign nations. In the building of this model the team and I came to the conclusion that many pundits are truly underestimating the lose-lose situation that the Eurozone, CEE and the UK are in. I have went to lengths to demonstrate the interconnectedness of banks and the risk of global financial contagion that they pose. See this excerpt from "The Coming Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis"

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