As many of us were expecting, the EU has come together for their 54th meeting to discuss their 9th solution to the problems that were contained in just Greece, which were over two months ago, just as Greece said they didn't want and were not looking for any aid - which was good since the Germans said they would never give any aid as France said any inclusion of the IMF would be the end of the Euro - as the IMF offers aid right before this big meeting that arranges a nearly trillion dollar package of more promises that pushed the STOXX index up over 7%. Wheww!!! Even with a 4 line run-on I could barely get all of the non-functional BS in. Let me excerpt this one line from a recent Bloomberg story that sums it all up:
“It might temporarily calm nerves but questions will come back later on how they will pay for this package when all of them need fiscal consolidation,” Anantha-Nageswaran also said.
It appears that "politciians" will never be able to solve this economic problem of the state, for they are too constrained by politics (I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt in assuming they truly recognize the problem). For those that don't get it, I will try to express it simply.... You cannot cure issues of over-indebtedness and insolvency by lopping humongous amounts of debt onto the problem. All that does is exacerbated the issue, with the immediately calming, but eventually scalding realization that all you have done was kicked the can down the road (and adding lead to said can which makes it both heavier and more toxic). The ailing countries at hand need significant structural change and equity in some form or fashion. Adding more debt simply makes them more indebted.
ECB policy makers said they will counter “severe tensions” in “certain” markets by purchasing government and private debt, and the bank restarted a dollar-swap line with the Federal Reserve.
QE, right on schedule. The ECB will load up on this stuff which will eventually devalue, and then what???? The will look just like the Federal Reserve, minus the reserve currency... Don' t get me wrong, I'm all for significant action to be taken, but it must be in a logical definable form. Just spending money replicates the actions that got us here in the first place. Back to the original questions, "How will it be pad for when nearly all of the contributing states are facing some form or fashion of austerity of their own?" and "Where is equity to counterbalance all of this debt?".
“This truly is overwhelming force, and should be more than sufficient to stabilize markets in the near term, prevent panic and contain the risk of contagion,” Marco Annunziata, chief economist at UniCredit Group in London, said in an e-mailed note. “This is Shock and Awe, Part II and in 3-D.”
Yeah, okay! More like spend and borrow, the indebted edition... The US "Shock and Awe" was an EQUITY package, not a loan package!
As Greece, and Portugal, and recently even Spain bask in the spotlight of the bond vigilantes, I want to remind my subscribers to be prepared for Italy's turn to dance. Subscribers should reference Italy public finances projection 2010-03-22 10:47:41 588.19 Kb for the skinny on Italy's "realistic" prospects, and
Italian Banking Macro-Fundamental Discussion Note for a list prospective candidates to monetize this view in the banking industry. As of the last time I checked, the market hasn't hammered them yet... Complacency???
Spain is due to hit the capital markets tomorrow. This is far from an opportune time: Spain's Borrowing Costs to Rise at Debt Sale as Zapatero Confronts `Abyss'
May 5 (Bloomberg) -- Spain’s borrowing costs may climb tomorrow at the country’s first debt sale since its credit rating was cut last week on concern the fiscal crisis pummeling Greek bonds will spread to fellow euro-region countries.
The Treasury may sell as much as 3 billion euros ($3.89 billion) of five-year notes to yield 3.34 percent, according to the median estimate of seven analysts and investors in a Bloomberg News survey. The yield was 2.84 percent when Spain auctioned 4.5 billion euros of the same securities on March 4...
Standard & Poor’s lowered its ranking for Spanish debt one step to AA on April 28, saying more downgrades are possible if the government’s “budgetary position underperforms to a greater extent than we currently anticipate.” Spain, which has the euro-region’s third-largest deficit, has pledged to reduce it to within the EU limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product in 2013, from 11.2 percent last year.
Bloomberg has as a headline: Greek Quarantine Tested as Spain Vows to Combat Euro Contagion `Madness':
Investors are already testing the euro region’s efforts to contain the Greek crisis.
Greek bond yields rose yesterday above their level before the government agreed on a European Union-led bailout on May 2 as escalating protests cast doubt on its ability to drive through austerity measures. Spanish and Portuguese bonds also renewed last week’s slide as investors question their ability to cut budget deficits that are among the highest in the euro area.
The equity destroying capability of this occurrence should not be underestimated. Referencing " How Greece Killed Its Own Banks!", you can see that at just 10x leverage (about 1/3rd what most European banks are currently sporting), any holder of Greek bonds are underwater (if not insolvent) on those particular purchases at offer - and that is using last weeks numbers, which look much better than the reality today!
Anybody who has been following for the last fiscal quarter or so (or has seen my Spanish bank work in 2009) knows that I believe that the EMU as it stood in 2009 would probably be non-existent by the end of 2010. All of the pundits who proclaimed that the European debt crisis was over with the mere declaration that Greece may receive some additional debt either were abjectly lying or truly didn't understand the gravity of the situation. To be honest, there are a lot (and I mean a whole lot) of data points, angles and contingencies to grasp thus it is not necessarily easy. Then again, isn't that what these market professionals get paid for.
Very early in the year, I virtually guaranteed that the Greek banks would fall, or at least have to be rescued (a 2nd time) before they fell. I practically promised it. In the news today...
Lagarde to discuss Greece support with banks: French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde will meet with bank leaders on Wednesday to discuss how its banks could participate in the Greek rescue package. Lagarde told the French parliament the country's banks will reiterate their support for the rescue process on Wednesday but she said tomorrow's meeting could lead to them taking on a more active role, along the lines of what German banks have done. French banks have so far not been asked by the government to participate directly in the Greek rescue package, two sources in France's banking sector said earlier on Tuesday. They have only been asked to maintain their exposure to Greece and have agreed to do this, the sources said. "Nothing beyond this has been requested by the government," one of the sources told Reuters. France has overall the highest exposure to Greek debt, with about $75.2 billion worth of assets in total, according to Bank of International data as at end-2009. Germany's top banks and insurers offered support on Tuesday mainly by keeping open credit lines to banks and by agreeing not to sell Greek bonds for the duration of a wider IMF-led bailout. Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that German financial firms had agreed to buy bonds issued by state controlled bank KfW as a way to help finance the bailout. Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Josef Ackermann said it was important to extinguish the fire in Greece and pledged to help the country. Ackermann is helping to coordinate efforts by the private sector to support the Greek rescue package.
I suggest one references my post, How Greece Killed Its Own Banks!.
I have updated the latest Ireland research (released yesterday) and urge all to review the additions, as well as our overview of Ireland's fiscal difficulties:
We fear Ireland is on the verge of considering a massive Ponzi Scheme, if which avoided, will possibly result in a fiscal deficit approaching 20%, dwarfing the beleaguered Greece by several leagues.
Non-subscribers should reference Financial Contagion vs. Economic Contagion: Does the Market Underestimate the Effects of the Latter?, for the underlying premise of this in depth article described the upcoming situations with prescience.
Sovereign Risk Alpha: The Banks Are Bigger Than Many of the Sovereigns
The Pan-European Sovereign Debt Dominoes start to fall "precisely" as anticipated...
From the Wall Street Journal:
Standard & Poor’s downgraded Spain’s long-term credit-rating to double-A with a negative outlook just one day after roiling global markets with downgrades for both Greece and Portugal.
“We now believe that the Spanish economy’s shift away from credit-fueled economic growth is likely to result in a more protracted period of sluggish activity than we previously assumed,” S&P credit analyst Marko Mrsnik said.
The move sent the euro to a fresh one-year low against the dollar of $1.3129; the 16-nation currency had briefly bounced higher as fears about Greek debt contagion eased. Spain’s IBEX index extended earlier losses, oil prices fell and U.S. stocks briefly turned negative.
This follows a downgrade of Portgual and Greece (to one of junk). The Actionable Intelligence Note of last week was quite timely. Up until a few days ago the options on many of these banks were quite cheap, on relative basis (even the Greek banks, at least on a relative basis though IV was high). Notice the explosion in both implied volatility and intrinsic value leading to a 100% to 200% gain...
It would pay to review all of the relevant European bank research. The market seems to have realized the perilous linkages throughout the EU and is taking many (if not all) of the researched banks down. This research came out early enough for all subscribers to have been able to take advantage of it. Of particular note should be:
As was literally guaranteed by the BoomBustBlog analysis, Greece is well on its way to default, or at least the acceptance of significant aid in an (probably futile) attempt to avoid default. For a refresher, see “Greek Crisis Is Over, Region Safe”, Prodi Says – I say Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!. Subscribers should reference the Greece Public Finances Projections. Of particular note is how accurate we have been in forecasting the nonsensical optimism embedded in the Greek Government's economic numbers, see Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse!. Now, let's peruse the news of the morning...
April 22 (Bloomberg) -- The euro area’s budget deficit widened to more than double the European Union’s 3 percent limit in 2009, led by Greece and Ireland. I explicitly warned that these two countries were at the top of the risk chain throughout the year, culminated with a forensic report on Ireland. See Many Institutions Believe Ireland To Be A Model of Austerity Implementation But the Facts Beg to Differ! Subscribers should reference Ireland public finances projections. Ireland is in a particularly precarious position, potentially more so that Greece!
The total budget gap for the 16-nation euro region widened to 6.3 percent of gross domestic product last year, the biggest since the introduction of the euro in 1999, from 2 percent in 2008, the EU’s Luxembourg-based statistics office said today. At 14.3 percent of GDP, Ireland had the largest shortfall, while Greece’s deficit was 13.6 percent. I'm not going to say I told you so!
I know I'll raise my hand to the aforementioned question. The issue is, as I huffed and puffed about how overvalued GS is, particularly considering the amount of risk that it faced, I got a lot of blow back. The same blow back I got in early 2008 when I shorted GS from $180 to $75 (see Reggie Middleton on Risk, Reward and Reputations on the Street: the Goldman Sachs Forensic Analysis). Well, I guess we can all see the risk that I was referring to, right???
When the Patina Fades... The Rise and Fall of Goldman Sachs??? Tuesday, 16 March 2010
I have warned my readers about following myths and legends versus reality and facts several times in the past, particularly as it applies to Goldman Sachs and what I have coined "Name Brand Investing". Very recent developments from Senator Kaufman of Delaware will be putting the spit-shined patina of Wall Street's most powerful bank to the test. Here is a link to the speech that the esteemed Senator from Delaware (yes, the most corporate friendly state in this country). A few excerpts to liven up your morning...
On December 8th of last year, I penned "Reggie Middleton vs Goldman Sachs, Round 1"wherein I challenged all to take a critical look at exactly how much money was lost by Goldman Sachs' clients. Well, here comes round 2, which is directed at Goldman (over)valuation.