Bloomberg reports Jobless Claims in U.S. Rise for First Time in Five Weeks, as I ponder how all of those heretofore unemployed MBS traders that Bernanke tried to assist benefit the jobless claims number. As I explained last quarter, Bernanke's squandering of US resources for the benefit of the banking elite will have to be paid for by those who actually seek jobs in this country. The Bloomberg article is excerpted as follows:

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments rose for the first time in five weeks, a sign further improvement in the labor market depends on faster economic growth.

Applications for jobless benefits increased by 17,000 to 361,000 in the week ended Dec. 15, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 360,000 claims, according to the Bloomberg survey median. 

The figures signal the expansion probably needs to proceed more quickly to encourage companies to hold the line on headcounts and step up hiring while Congress debates the nation’s budget and tax rates. The Federal Reserve said last week it intends to keep policy accommodative to invigorate the economy and help sustain a decline in joblessness.

“This number gets us back into the range we’ve been in really since the spring,” said Omair Sharif, a U.S. economist at RBS Securities Inc. in StamfordConnecticut, who forecast claims would rise to 360,000. “We’re not waiting to see much more improvement on the layoff side. We’re just waiting for the hiring side to get going.”

 ZeroHedge adds in as follows:

This week's data remains below the year's average, though not by much, and the trend of claims falling appears to have almost entirely stalled this year from the hope-driven moves of the previous two years.

 

  

Now, if you remember, Benjamin Bernanke was supposed to have aided unemployment by buying hundreds of billions of dollars of MBS securities, right? Yeah, I know.. WTF!!! Let's take a look at how that has worked out histoically...

 thumb image002 copy copy copy copy copy

Not only has it not worked out well historically, but the unemployment numbers spiked as soon as Bernanke admitted the buying as can be referenced in the ZeroHedge chart above, and have not truly showed a trend of abatement since, but then again, one shouldn't expect such looking at the historical trend in my chart above. If you want to see a positive trend, look at the industry that was saddled with bullshit MBS to begin with...

image005 copy copy

And there you have it, MBS purchases by the hundreds of billions that likely drive bank shares through the roof as they are unsaddled of the bullshit which they schemed so hard to peddle in the first place as unemployment restarts its upward climb, devoid of the resources that Bernanke directed towards the banks. For those who don't remember how my rant on Bernanke selling out the working class for the banking class went down, reference the video on the topic below...

And on that note, here's a group of companies (yes, another group) that we expect to get banged by this not-so-stealth bank bailout. Chief among this group is an overpriced gem that is suffering spiking expenses, flat revenue and a sad macro outlooke, for subscribers only (click here to subscribe)... File Icon Specialty Note (Consumer Retail)

image010

There will be several more reports to subscribers before the new year. Stay tuned...

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Lenine Imperialisme stade supreme du capitalismeMonday, I posted As Promised, Greece Guts Naive Investors Once Again… (a must read for those who don't know my extensive history on this topic), and received some very interesting if somewhat unbelievable feedback from the muppets among my readers (for those not versed in Muppets and muppetology, see Goldman Sachs Executive Director Corroborates Reggie Middleton's Stance: Business Model Designed To Rip Off Clients). As hard as it is to believe, there are actually still those who are of the mindset that the events of recent past were somehow solely or at least primarily market driven. Not trying to be facetious, or anything of the sort, but you muppets need to get a grip on reality. I'm going to reintroduce BoomBustBlog research from earlier in the year in three distinct topical sections, all in an attempt to expand the consciousness of the muppets amongst us. Professional and Institutional BoomBustBlog subscribers who don't want the brief in socio-economic theory and history can download our file iconGreek debt restructuring & maturity extension model and just get busy. Everyone else should continue on....

New Age Imperialism = Economic Colonization

As far back as 1920, Lenin explained what is happening to Greece (and likely soon Italy, Portgual, Spain and Ireland), and did so in exquisite detail may I add - as I excerpt from from Wikipedia's Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism:

In order for capitalism to generate greater profits than the home market can yield, the merging of banks and industrial cartels produces finance capitalism — the exportation and investment of capital to countries with underdeveloped economies. In turn, such financial behaviour leads to the division of the world among monopolist business companies and the great powers. Moreover, in the course of colonizing undeveloped countries, Business and Government eventually will engage in geopolitical conflict over the economic exploitation of large portions of the geographic world and its populaces. Therefore, imperialism is the highest (advanced) stage of capitalism, requiring monopolies (of labour and natural-resource exploitation) and the exportation of finance capital (rather than goods) to sustain colonialism, which is an integral function of said economic model.[3][4] Furthermore, in the capitalist homeland, the super-profits yielded by the colonial exploitation of a people and their economy, permit businessmen to bribe native politicians — labour leaders and the labour aristocracy (upper stratum of the working class) — to politically thwart worker revolt (labour strike); hence, the new proletariat, the exploited workers in the Third World colonies of the European powers, would become the revolutionary vanguard for deposing the global capitalist system.

Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1917), by Lenin, describes the function of financial capital in generating profits from imperial colonialism, as the final stage of capitalist development to ensure greater profits. The essay is a synthesis of Lenin’s modifications and developments of economic theories that Karl Marx formulated in Das Kapital (1867).[1]

the highest stage of capitalism, represents the stage at which a country's consumers cannot buy all the products that have been produced, and additional markets must be sought after. The dominant feature of imperialism is the repatriation of invested capital.

Cecil Rhodes and the Cape-Cairo railway project. Rhodes founded the De Beers Mining Company, owned the British South Africa Companyand had his name given to what became the state of Rhodesia. He liked to "paint the map British red" and declared: "all of these stars ... these vast worlds that remain out of reach. If I could, I would annex other planets."[4]

For those of you who don't see the connection yet, let's peruse some sample output from file iconGreek debt restructuring & maturity extension model :

So When It Comes To The Indebted, When Does 2 Euro + 24 Euro = Less Than 2 Euro, or You Can't Solve Insolvency By Piling On More Debt!

The first section of the graphic below shows Greece's funding requirement from the open market after it implements 65% haircuts across the board of its debt and reduces coupon rates in half by substituting existing debt with new debt as a Zero Coupon Bond Roll-up with 20 yr amortization. As you can see, such a plan (if it were doable) puts the country on relatively stable footing. Of course, if it were to do so the markets would extract their pound of flesh in terms of markedly higher coupon rates, which Greece presumably would not be able to afford (presumably). So, what do TPTB do? They push/offer 240B euros of bailout aid in the form of debt - debt that has to be serviced at some time in the short to medium term future since it is understood that Greece will not be able to get this funding from the market (is it understood, or presumed?). This debt is a multiple of what Greece can afford to service. It is a multiple of the debt that it has now, and this is not considering its condition after the still ongoing and draconian austerity measures forced upon it - thus cutting its GDP and revenue generating capability nearly in half (or so-ish).

Looking at the graph below, without adjusting for the austerity effect, Greece is considerably worse off after the bailout package, then before.

 BoomBustBlog Greek Debt Model sustainabilty

When observed over time, all this bailout and default/haricuts/restructuring buys Greece (in terms of time) is one year. In 2014, it's time to pay the piper and default once again as it begs for more bailouts with the overly stringent austerity price tag...

BoomBustBlog Greek Debt Model sustainabilty alt chart  

Now, who is lending this money that can easily be seen with a simple spreadsheet to be IMPOSSIBLE to pay back? It's the Troika, that's who. But these ivory tower beings who reign above us mere bloggers and investors from NYC must have supreme knowledge in the fact that they are assisting the unwashed, profligate masses, right????

Who Are These New Age Imperialists? The New Economic Colonizers Of The Globe???? 

Faithful BoomBustBlog readers should remember the empirical rant, How the US Has Perfected the Use of Economic Imperialism Through the European Union!, wherein the following was preached:

... the Euro members’ loan will be pari passu with existing sovereign debt i.e. it will not be considered senior. Although there is no written, hard evidence to support this claim, it is our view that otherwise there will be no incentive for investors to hold the debt of troubled countries like Greece, which will ultimately defeat the whole purpose of the rescue package. Moreover, there are indications that support this idea. As per Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager, “We are not talking about a special preference for the eurogroup loans, that’s not possible because then you would have the situation that already-existing rights of creditors at the moment would be harmed.” (reference http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-04-16/netherlands-excludes-senior-status-for-greek-aid-update1-.html). Of course, if more investors did their homework and ran the numbers, that same disincentive can be said to exist with the IMF's super senior preference given the event of a default and recoverable collateral after the IMF has fed at the trough.

The ramifications:

IMF’s preferred creditor status coupled with the expensive Euro members’ loans which are part of the rescue package can create a public debt snowball effect that could push the troubled countries towards insolvency when the IMF debt becomes repayable in three years time.

If you look at the output from our BoomBustBlog model, that event is clearly illustrated and articulated using simple (not complex) addition and subtraction (and some minor bond math).

This could be seen particularly in case of Greece (subscribers, please reference Greece Public Finances Projections). Even if all the spending cuts and revenue raising are achieved as planned for Greece, its debt will peak to 149.1% of the GDP in 2013. Please keep in mind that these numbers are based on what we perceived (as does simple math) to be pie in the sky optimism.

Being that this article is well over a year old, that pie in the sky optimism proved to be just that as we now Greek debt to GDP will break 200%!!!

I urge all readers to reference Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse!.

image005.png

Notice how dramatically off the market the IMF has been, skewered HEAVILY to the optimistic side. Now, notice how aggressively the IMF has downwardly revsied their forecasts to still end up widlly optimistic.

 image018.png

Ever since the beginning of this crisis, IMF estimates of government balance have been just as bad…

image013.png

Many of my readers have inquired as to why the IMF has been so inaccurate in their estimates throughout the crisis. I doubt very seriously that it is a case of ineptitude. If one were to be a skeptic, and realize that the IMF charges stringent rates and can (and does) usurp the hierarchy of the claims upon assets upon its entrance, then one can clearly see a motivation in undershooting certain estimates. I am not saying that this is the case, but I would be remiss in failing to broach the topic. Remember, this is not your typical mainstream media publication, It's BoomBustBlog, and nothing is off limits.

IMF Economic Forecasts (%) 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Economic Growth 04 -2.6 1.1 2.1 2.1
Debt as % of GDP 133.3 145.1 148.6 149.1 144.3
Budget Deficit 8.1 7.6 6.5 4.9 3

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 (remember the charts above that show how optimistic the IMF has been historically). 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 accepts 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.

So, now that we know who loses, who actually benefits?

image021

Members' quotas and voting power, and Board of Governors

Major decisions require an 85% supermajority.[19] The United States has always been the only country able to block a supermajority on its own.[20]

Table showing the top 20 member countries in terms of voting power (2,220,817 votes in total):[21]

IMF member country↓Quota: millions of SDRs↓Quota: percentage of total↓Governor↓Alternate Governor↓Votes: number↓Votes: percentage of total↓
United StatesUnited States 37149.3 17.09 Timothy F. Geithner Ben Bernanke 371743 16.74
JapanJapan 13312.8 6.12 Naoto Kan Masaaki Shirakawa 133378 6.01
GermanyGermany 13008.2 5.98 Axel A. Weber Wolfgang Schäuble 130332 5.87
United KingdomUnited Kingdom 10738.5 4.94 Alistair Darling Mervyn King 107635 4.85
FranceFrance 10738.5 4.94 Christine Lagarde Christian Noyer 107635 4.85
People's Republic of ChinaChina 8090.1 3.72 Zhou Xiaochuan Hu Xiaolian 81151 3.66

And there you have it. An encapsulated lesson on global imperialism (or how the US in now colonizing Europe, unlike the first time around during those pre-Boston tea party days). Is this or is this not an interesting way to introduce the concept of Greek bond defaults???

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Last week I warned if readers were tired of hearing me say "I told you so", they should ignore the topic of Greece, and a month ago I warned "As The Year Comes An End The Ability Of Greece To Kick The Can Mirrors The Chances Of A Man With No Feet". Eleven months ago, I publicly displayed the relatively simple mechanics behind a SERIAL Greek default (that's right, multiple bacl to back defaults), both on CNBC and on my blog... This situation will simply get worse, considerably worse, before it get better. I demonstrated in the post The Ugly Truth About The Greek Situation That's Too Difficult Broadcast Through Mainstream Media that anyone who purchased the last set of bailout bonds from Greece will simply lose their money as well (that's right, just like those who purchased the previous set) since Greece is still running deep in structural problems and can't afford the interest nor the principal on its borrowing. It's really that simple. The aforementioned link has an embeeded spreadsheet that walks you throught the scenario as well as my opinion on CNBC.

February 11, 2012, S&P at 1358, (roughly where it is right now on Dec. 3rd)

Yes, it's that easy to see coming - yet..... Here we are after a bond swap and a default, and a stern warning from BoomBustBlog that any who bought the new bonds in the bond swap would be facing redefault in less than three years and we have the following from Bloomberg: Greece Makes $13 Billion Buyback Offer as Merkel Floats Writeoffs

Greece offered 10 billion euros ($13 billion) to buy back bonds issued earlier this year as the bailed-out nation attempts to cut a debt load that may threaten future international aid.

Greek bonds rallied after the so-called modified Dutch auction was announced today by the Athens-based Public Debt Management Agency. PDMA offered an average maximum purchase price for the bonds maturing from 2023 to 2042 of 34.1 percent, based on information in the statement. The offer runs until 5 p.m. London time on Dec. 7.

Success of the buyback is crucial to releasing aid that’s been frozen since June. The offer was part of a package of measures approved by euro-area finance ministers last week to cut the nation’s debt to 124 percent of gross domestic product in 2020 from a projected 190 percent in 2014.

... The bid to ease Greece’s debt curden underscores a move away from austerity-first measures European leaders have embraced since the financial crisis began in 2009.

Because, even the most dense Eurocrat is now realizing that now matter how much you subtract something from zero, you will still get a negative number... Duhh!!!

German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday opened the possibility that Germany may ultimately accept a write-off of Greek debt, previously a taboo in the biggest contributor to euro bailouts.

Because the Germans have no choice but to come to grips with the fact that they are holding a bunch of zero paper (that's zero value, not zero coupon), and sooner or later they'll have to pay the piper.

Greek bonds rose for a third day, pushing the 10-year yield below 15 percent for the first time since the nation’s debt was restructured in March. The yield on the 2 percent securities maturing in February 2023 fell 151 basis points, or 1.51 percentage points, to 14.63 percent at 9:45 a.m. London time, leaving the price at 39.31 percent of face value. 

... Investors who join the buyback will receive payment in six- month bills from the European Financial Stability Facility, the Greek debt agency said.

Oh, they will get paid in that new funny munny paper that was just downgraded itself - EFSF, European Stability Mechanism Ratings Cut by Moody's, after it was downgraded before that - S&P downgrades European bailout fund. Keep in mind that these downgrades are from entities that are playing with kid gloves because, contrary to popular belief, they fear the EU states retribution - reference EU Allowing Rating Agencies To Be Sued For Errors Should Backfire Spectacularly - Cause Massive Downgrades Across The Continent!

The International Monetary Fund set the 2020 debt-cut target as a condition for continuing to fund a third of Greece’s bailout program. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said after the euro-area finance ministers’ meeting that the fund will examine the results of the buyback before deciding whether to approve disbursement of additional aid.

The buyback accounts for 11 percentage points, or more than half of the 20 percentage points of the planned drop.

Yeah, right!!! Like the IMF has any idea what the hell its doing. Once again, as a reminder to the not-so-distant financially historically challenged, I bring you Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse!:

Let's take a visual perusal of what I am talking about, focusing on those sovereign nations that I have covered thus far.

image005.pngimage005.pngimage005.png

Notice how dramatically off the market the IMF has been, skewered HEAVILY to the optimistic side. Now, notice how aggressively the IMF has downwardly revsied their forecasts to still end up widlly optimistic. image018.pngimage018.pngimage018.png

Ever since the beginning of this crisis, IMF estimates of government balance have been just as bad...

image013.pngimage013.pngimage013.png

The EU/EC has proven to be no better, and if anything is arguably worse!

image031.png

 While Greece has gotten pledges for 240 billion euros of aid, the funds have been blocked since June as the government tries to get its bailout program back on track after it was disrupted by two elections and a deepening recession.

 Check this out - "the government tries to get its bailout program back on track after it was disrupted by two elections". That damn democracy bullshit. Get's in the way of debt slavery a bit too much more my taste, eh??? 

Then there's " as the government tries to get its bailout program back on track after it was disrupted by... a deepening recession." Well, my friends, the recession would not be deepening so as much if the χώρα που δεν εξαναγκάζονται σε χρέος που προκαλείται από την υποτέλεια στο όνομα της λιτότητας! You can guess what that says if you don't read Greek!

Keep in mind that this is after the Greeks said they didn't have any problems (Greek Crisis Is Over, Region Safe”, Prodi Says – I say Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!), after I Explicitly Forewarned, Greece Is Well On Its Way To Default, and Previously Published Numbers Were Waaaayyy Too Optimistic!, after an actual default and after a full restructuring. Said restructuing was actually guaranteed to produce another default, as clearly articulated and illustrated in  Beware The Overly Optimistic Greek Speculators As Icarus Comes Crashing Down To Earth! - to wit:

By the 2nd quarter of 2010 I clearly and articulately detailed exactly how Greece would default with specific structures in play- What is the Most Likely Scenario in the Greek Debt Fiasco? Restructuring Via Extension of Maturity Dates. Due to a few institutions who were skeptical, I attempted to make it a bit more real - A Comparison of Our Greek Bond Restructuring Analysis to that of Argentina.

Well, Greece defaulted according to plan, despite all of the "people in the know" saying otherwise -  - from government officials to the EC and IMF - Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse! Even after the default, I made clear that this wasn't over for Greece, for the default actually left Greece worse off fundamentally, not better. Go wonder... I know I did, reference the warning from 5 months ago:

This will be exacerbated by a re-default of the Greek debt that was designed to bail out the defaulted Greek debt. Why will this happen? Greece has severe, rigid structural problems that simply cannot (and will not) be solved by throwing indebted liquidity at it. As a matter of fact, the additional debt simply exacerbates the problem - significantly! This was detailed in the post Beware The Overly Optimistic Greek Speculators As Icarus Comes Crashing Down To Earth!

..Subscribers can download my full thoughts on Greece's sustainability post bailout here - debt restructuring_maturity extension blog - March 2012. Professional and institutional subscribers should feel free to email me in order to receive a copy of the Greek restructuring model used to create these charts and come to these conclusions.

    • Even with the elimination of interest payments Greece will spiral downward.
    • Even with the near total absolution of its debt, as in a 90% haircut of the most recent bonds issued (which were swapped for bonds of which investors took an effective 74% haircut), Greece will spiral downward.
    • That is the likely reason why these newest bonds back by EU/IMF bailout economic capital are already trading 70 points below par and rated CCC.
    • These bonds are almost definitely slated for a 90%+ haircut by 2016

Ponder the excerpts from the news clips above as you keep these two charts in mind, the same charts that I've posted at least twice in the last 45 days. A picture is worth a thousand drachma...

Greece_Primary_balanceGreece_Primary_balanceGreece_Primary_balance

The primary balance looks at the structural issues a country may have.

Government expenditures have outstripped revenues ever since 2007 and have gotten worse nearly every year since, despite 3 bailouts a restructuring, austerity and a default!

Greece_Primary_deficit_copy

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Reggie_VPRO_Ratings_agenciesReuters reports that the EU now has made it easier to sue the ratings agencies for errors they have made, as excerpted:

Michel Barnier, the European commissioner in charge of regulation who helped broker a deal on the new law, said it aimed to reduce the over-reliance on ratings and establish a civil liability regime.

The new rules should make it easier to sue the agencies if they are judged to have made errors when, for example, ranking the creditworthiness of debt.

The agencies came under fire for giving top-notch AAA credit scores to debt that later unravelled and they provoked more criticism by downgrading countries at sensitive moments of the crisis.

The EU PTB need to make up their collective minds. If the agencies are to correct the (purposeful) errors made in giving entities AAA ratings that didn’t deserve them, then those very same entities will (and should’ve) been downgraded at sensitive moments in the crisis. This is the kicker, and the statement really should make the EU officials regret they did this, as well as bring back true returns on fundamental analysis realistic market pricing:

The EU's executive said that the new rules ensured that a rating agency could be held liable in cases of negligence or intent that damaged an investor.

You see, if you can really sue the agencies for being wrong, slow or negligent, then the Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis is a civil litigators 30 year capitalized Christmas present come true (even if they are Jewish). Let’s look at how this would have played out with the Greek debt and banks which should have traded as junk nearly 3 years ago as foretold by BoomBustBlog:

  1. Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse! It was clear all were too optimistic regarding the Greek situation.
  2. Moody’s Follows Suit Behind Our Analysis and Downgrades 4 Greek Banks Moody's downgrades after the fact, and after investor losses are taken - LAWSUITS???!!!
  3. As I Explicitly Forwarned, Greece Is Well On Its Way To Default, and Previously Published Numbers Were Waaaayyy Too Optimistic! Greece's default was a foregone conclusion easil seen on BoomBustBlog, yet the agencies didn't reflect this in ratings. LAWSUITS???!!!
  4. A Comparison of Our Greek Bond Restructuring Analysis to that of Argentina Greece's bond restructuring would have had to have been extreme (as in damn near no recovery) to have had a chance of being effective. Did the agencies tell us this? LAWSUITS???!!!!
  5. This Time Is Different As Icarus Blows Up & Burns Greece's redefault was clearly visible before they even competed their first default. This was not reflected in agencies' opinions, analysis or reporting. LAWSUITS anyone???!!!

Greece's primary balance went long term negative in 2004, save the bubble levitated year of 2006...

Greece_Primary_balanceGreece_Primary_balanceGreece_Primary_balance

The primary balance looks at the structural issues a country may have.

Government expenditures have outstripped revenues ever since 2007 and have gotten worse nearly every year since, despite 3 bailouts a restructuring, austerity and a default! Simple addition and subtraction shows that there's no way in hell Greece can service its debt, defautled debt, or even its redefaulted debt or the round of debt after that. 

Greece_Primary_deficit_copyGreece_Primary_deficit_copyGreece_Primary_deficit_copy

We don't have to dwell in the past to prove this point either. Why hasn't Italy been dramatically downgraded? It's a wonder they finally got around to downgrading France (The Beginning Of The Great French Unwind…), after all of the evidence that I put forth - reference Italy Woes Lead To French Lows. Believe It… Let's stay on topic, about Italy? The 10 page BoomBustBlog report (subscribers, download the full report here File Icon Italy public finances projection, click here to subscribe) excerpted below is approaching 3 years old and it clearly outlined the tumult that is today's Italy and did so well in advance. My analytical staff is small in than Moody's stamp licking staff, yet somehow they fail to warn what I unequivocally cautioned on years ago. What was it did that EU official proclaim? Oh yeah... 

"The EU's executive said that the new rules ensured that a rating agency could be held liable in cases of negligence or intent that damaged an investor."

 Italy public finances projections Page 01Italy public finances projections Page 02Italy public finances projections Page 03

Subscribers (click here to subscribe) can dig in the archives for this still highly relevant and profitable Italy research:

File Icon Italy Exposure Producing Bank Risk
File Icon Italian Banking Macro-Fundamental Discussion Note

icon Sovereign Contagion Model - Retail (961.43 kB 2010-05-04 12:32:46)

File Icon Sovereign Contagion Model - Pro & Institutional

Tell me, why do you have to hear this from me versus the rating agencies? Here's the reason...

What Is More Valuable, The Opinion Of A Major Rating Agency Or The Opinion Of A Blog? Go Ahead, I DARE You To Answer!

There are many areas where ratings agenceis still are not putting enough pressure, a few of which have been pointed out at the blog:

For those who haven't seen this documentary on the rating agencies by VPRO, it is more than worth your time...

Reggie_VPRO_Ratings_agenciesReggie_VPRO_Ratings_agencies

Continuing my rant on the effectiveness (not) of the ratings agencies, I bring to you an interesting documentary on the rating agencies' effect on the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, produced by VPRO Tegenlicht out of Amsterdam. You can see the full video here, but only about half of it is in English. I appear in the following spots: 4:00, 22:30, 40:00...

Reggie Middleton Discussing the Rating Agencies effect on Sovereign Europe

 

 

 

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Wednesday, 28 November 2012 05:49

Italy Woes Lead To French Lows. Believe It!

As a quick reminder, we're still looking out for the Great French Unwind, for it will start as The Pandemic Bank Flu Spread From Italy To France To ... You see, as I see it, the duopoly of those controlling the EU purse strings is far from invulnerable. As a matter of fact, from many perspectives, they have the farthest to fall. All you need to do is sit back and wait... Wait for the time when The Duopolistic Owners Of The EU Printing Presses Disagree On The Color Of The Ink! That's when the stinky brown stuff spatters from the fan blades. France will likely be the first to crack, with Italy as impetus, then recessionary Germany will stand alone, no? Not! For those hopium smoking Eurocrats who feel that Germany still will pull out of this unscathed, I reference the riddle: The Biggest Threat To The 2012 Economy Is??? Not What Wall Street Is Telling You...

I know all of this can get confusing, but it was easily foreseen back in 2010, and we've built a contagion model that helps track possible paths of mayhem. Of course, it's difficult to predict when things will go down or the precise route, but the how is really rather obvious. On with the concept of obvious, as stated many times in BoomBustBlog, French banks, hence the bank bailing socialist French government, is highly levered into Italy and Italian debt, among other porcine based fixed income instruments...

image008

Subscribers can reference French Bank Observations & Focus on...(519.21 kB 2012-06-28 08:36:37).  Part and parcel to this common sense update is recognition of the fact that Italy will bust French banks, causing France to do the socialist bailout thingy. See this chart from the report...

French bank Italian exposure

This exposure leaves France quite sensitive to Italian woes, considerably more so than your typical rating agency may lead you to believe even when downgrading France from AAA status - albeit it a year or so too late (Moody's Actions Add Pressure To The Inevitable In France?). Today, we see the MSM outlet CNBC espousing the obvious regarding Italy: Will Italy Need a Bailout in 2013? As you read this, remember they are essentially talking about France as 2nd derivative:

“We still see as our baseline scenario that Italy will likely be forced to ask for an international bailout at some point in 2013,” said Citi Analyst Giada Giani in a report on the country.

“Italian economic fundamentals have not really improved, despite some improvement in market conditions. The negative feedbacks from fiscal austerity on growth have been severe, as the ability of the private sector to absorb fiscal tightening by lowering its saving rate is limited.”

Economists at other banks and research institutions agreed that Italy’s recession will be deeper than financial markets are currently pricing in.

“The composition of austerity so far — skewed towards increases in taxation rather than cuts in expenditure — and the tight credit conditions, will weigh very negatively on the economy and the market will have to take stock of it,” said Nomura Economist Silvio Peruzzo.

“Weaker growth will have implications for fiscal plans and debt sustainability and could trigger a return of tensions.”

Mark Willis, an economist at Roubini Global Economics, said market focus on Greece’s and Spain’s economic woes had distracted investors from the structural weaknesses inherent in both Italy’s economy, and its political system.

He added that Italy suffered from three “core vulnerabilities” of weak growth, very high levels of public debt and regular bouts of political instability, the latter of which is likely to reappear in the build-up to the spring 2013 general election.

Italian woes lead to French Lows. Believe it! Subscribers are recommended to review the document icon Italy Exposure Producing Bank Risk (788.3 kB 2012-11-28 06:00:45)

As stated in the seminal pieces, The Anatomy Of A European Bank Run: Look At The Banking Situation BEFORE The Run Occurs! and The Fuel Behind Institutional “Runs on the Bank” Burns Through Europe, Lehman-Style!Bank runs are inevitable! 

Excerpted from our professional series File Icon Bank Run Liquidity Candidate Forensic Opinion:

BNP_Paribus_First_Thoughts_4_Page_01BNP_Paribus_First_Thoughts_4_Page_01BNP_Paribus_First_Thoughts_4_Page_01

This is how that document started off. Even if we were to disregard BNP's most serious liquidity and ALM mismatch issues, we still need to address the topic above. Now, if you were to employ the free BNP bank run models that I made available in the post "The BoomBustBlog BNP Paribas "Run On The Bank" Model Available for Download"" (click the link to download your own copy of the bank run model, whether your a simple BoomBustBlog follower or a paid subscriber) you would know that the odds are that BNP's bond portfolio would probably take a much bigger hit than that conservatively quoted above.  Here I demonstrated what more realistic numbers would look like in said model... image008image008image008

Yes, European bank runs are inevitable, but the causes of the bank runs are not. That's the problem. Instead of addressing the root causes of the bank runs, EU decision makers opt to throw more paper money into a gaping furnace to be burned as fast as it can be shoveled. 

Since the problems have not been cured, they're literally guaranteed to come back and bite ass. Guaranteed! So, as suggested earlier on, download your appropriate BoomBustBlog BNP Paribas "Run On The Bank" Models (they range from free up to institutional), read the balance of this article for perspective, then populate the assumptions and inputs with what you feel is realistic. I'm sure you will come up with conclusions similar to ours. Below is sample output from the professional level model (BNP Exposures - Professional Subscriber Download Version) that simulates the bank run that the news clippings below appear to be describing in detail...(Click to enlarge to printer quality)

image014

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Excerpt: You see, pretending you create jobs while waiting for an economic recovery that is still many biz cycle units away is a far cry from actually having real jobs that pay real people real money to buy real, tangible, useful things of value that help the real economy. Don’t hate on me, I’m just keeping it real! Here are the investment sectors and particular companies to look out for…

 bernanke on unemployment

A few months ago I went I Went To The NY Fed To Illustrate The Lies Perpetrated By The Fed Chairman Himself. These lies centered around his purported aid to the general economy and in particular the labor market by pledging to buy $1B USD of mortgage back securities per month.

Now, I’m not going to get into how enriching MBS traders and banks holding fraudulent loans get’s Joe Sixpack a job in this diatribe, but those who are interested can join the conversation via the following:

What I do aim to accomplish in this piece is to illustrate the problems of such potential malfeasance in not only the consumer discretionary sectors (see Reggie Middleton's REALity TV #2 - Bernanke's Bank Bailouts Blow Up Consumer Discretionary) but a side variety of other investment sectors. You see, pretending you create jobs while waiting for an economic recovery that is still many cycle units away is a far cry from actually having real jobs that pay real people real money to buy real, tangible, useful things that help the real economy. Don’t hate on me, I’m just keeping it real!

The BoomBustBlog research team has performed another fundamental/forensic scan to uncover near to medium term Bernanke victims. We identified several main sectors and their primary segments. From that we drilled down into:
• Sub-sectors/segments
• Negative factors and their potential impact: factors driving negative outlooks
• Illustrative companies in each subsector (not the shortlisted ones): These are example Companies, with actual shortlisted companies being released to subscribers later this week via detailed exercise
• News articles/key comments from the sell side and independent analysts - includes supporting articles and key comments

The actual document is available to all paying subscribers here File Icon Economic Recession Short Candidate (Global Macro, Trades & Strategy). As promised, specific shortlisted candidates will be upcoming this week and throughout next week, but be forewarned that we are tweaking and improving the list even as I type this. For those that don't subscribe, here's an excerpt...

re-recession short candidate research

The illustrative companies above are pretty much common sense. Ethan Allen, who can't sell much upper middle class furniture in a recession and a faux housing recovery. Fossil, with trinkets and wares whose demand is generated almost solely by trendy name branding. Fedex, UPS and Ryder - all companies which are literally barometers of global economic commerce and health since they represent commercial purchasing and shipping. Below are some less obvious candidates, though...

transport short candidates

Again, these are simply illustrative companies. Subscribers who are interested in those companies from this exhaustive list who have made it to the initial short list of Bernanke victims that:

  1. have underlying options trading,
  2. are liquid enough to short and
  3. still have enough meat on the bones to feast,

should download this document - File Icon Economic Recession Short Candidate. Casual readers may click here to subscribe

Much more to follow... Don't forget Ruminations on the Fed, the Dollar, ZIRP, QE and Math vs Magic - Hey, Even Harry Potter Has Problems...

 
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 Throughout the last two quarters I have bandied about corny, colloquial, yet highly descriptive articles describing the factual representation of Spain's outlook, such as The Economic Bloodstain From Spain's Pain Will Cause European Tears To Rain or You Have Not Known Pain Until You've Tried To Limit The Borrowing Costs of Spain!!! Well, as humorous as my nascent stand-up routine may appear to be, the facts of the matter should have market participates on edge. 

Fact 1: As revealed in the post, The Embarrassingly Ugly Truth About Spain: The IMF, EC and ALL Major Rating Agencies Are LYING!!! Spain has serious asset/liablity mismatch and extreme issues with NPAs in its banking system. It will NOT be able to grow out of this situation in the near term and this was apparent 3 years ago! 

I warned that Spain was effectively ignoring some very large, bank related and budgetary problems as far back as 2009/10.... Reference The Spain Pain Will Not Wane: Continuing the Contagion Saga:

In the general our analysis Spain public finances projections_033010, the first four (of 12) pages basically outline the gist of the Spanish problem today, to wit here are the first two:

Spain_public_finances_projections_033010_Page_02

Fact 2: These NPAs will get much worse before they get better, detailed in As The Truth Catches Up With Spain, Will Banks Finally Be Forced To Mark To Market? You don't need my analysis to see the light. Spain currently sports more than  than 50% youth unemployment. Greater than 50% - and it's major grading partners are not far behind, or even far ahead!

See this chart from  ZeroHedge:

Data: Bloomberg and Greek Statistics Office

Fact 3: Spain is already on FIRE, yet so few refuse to smell the fumes.

What is FIRE? See Reggie Middleton Sets CNBC on F.I.R.E.!!! and First I set CNBC on F.I.R.E., Now It Appears I've Set...

For more on this, see The F.I.R.E. Is Set To Blaze! Focus On Banks, part 1. A lot of people, even professionals, truly believed that the FIRE malaise would not be European in nature. Whaattt????!!!

Here are some more anecdotal facts fanning the FIRE...

Egypt Pays Less Than Spain for Euros as IMF Talks Persist

Businessweek- Egypt locked in lower borrowing costs than higher-rated Spain in selling a more-than-planned 640.2 million euros ($817 million) of debt, 

Spain's bad loan ratio hits new record of 10.7%: central bank

MADRID -- Spanish banks' bad loans surged to a new record level in September with more than one in ten classed as high risk, the central ...

Spain Sells 4.94 Billion Euros of Debt, Exceeding Maximum Target

Spain exceeded its maximum target at an auction of bills and its borrowing costs were little changed from a month ago as euro region finance ..

To bad the Spanish aren't Egyptians, though... Egypt Pays Less Than Spain for Euros as IMF Talks Persist

Egypt locked in lower borrowing costs than higher-rated Spain in selling a more-than-planned 640.2 million euros ($817 million) of debt, ..

The Spanish heat is not just in real estate and banking, either. Reference this European Insurer That Needs Insurance As $6B Of Its Bonds Are Instantly Subordinated Due To "Spain's Pain". Insurers are very heavy investors in European sovereign debt AND the debt of financial institutions. This is a wonderful place to be when you are recovering from the most expensive natural disaster that hit the US eastern seaboard, eh? But hey, weren't the European financial institutions getting killed by choking on Sovereign debt (reference Dead Bank Deja Vu? How The Sovereigns Killed Their Banks & Why Nobody Realizes They're Dead)? You know the saying, "You can run but you can't hide?" Well, banking officials have been doing a lot of hiding (of NPAs), and soon its going to be time for the running to come into play. In case you missed the pun, European Bank Run Watch: Spaniard Edition

It would be interesting to see who will be in the condition to feast at the Spanish barbecue...

 thumb_Reggie_Middleton_on_Street_Signs_Fire

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Five months ago I posted Moody's Actions Add Pressure To The Inevitable In France? Yesterday we see MOODY'S DOWNGRADES FRANCE'S GOVT BOND RATING TO Aa1 FROM Aaa as well as FRANCE MAINTAINS NEGATIVE OUTLOOK BY MOODY'S. As excerpted from the Moody's press release (emphasis supplied by ZeroHedge)...

Moody's decision to downgrade France's rating and maintain the negative outlook reflects the following key interrelated factors:
1.) France's long-term economic growth outlook is negatively affected by multiple structural challenges, including its gradual, sustained loss of competitiveness and the long-standing rigidities of its labour, goods and service markets.
2.) France's fiscal outlook is uncertain as a result of its deteriorating economic prospects, both in the short term due to subdued domestic and external demand, and in the longer term due to the structural rigidities noted above.
3.) The predictability of France's resilience to future euro area shocks is diminishing in view of the rising risks to economic growth, fiscal performance and cost of funding. France's exposure to peripheral Europe through its trade linkages and its banking system is disproportionately large, and its contingent obligations to support other euro area members have been increasing. Moreover, unlike other non-euro area sovereigns that carry similarly high ratings, France does not have access to a national central bank for the financing of its debt in the event of a market disruption.

Moreover, France's credit exposure to the euro area debt crisis has been growing due to the increased amount of euro area resources that may be made available to support troubled sovereigns and banks through the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the facilities put in place by the European Central Bank (ECB). At the same time, in case of need, France -- like other large and highly rated euro area member states -- may not benefit from these support mechanisms to the same extent, given that these resources might have already been exhausted by then.

In light of the liquidity risks and banking sector risks in non-core countries, Moody's perceives an elevated risk that at least part of the contingent liabilities that relate to the support of non-core euro area countries may actually crystallise for France. The risk that greater collective support will be required for weaker euro area sovereigns has been rising, most for notably Spain, whose economy and government bond market are around twice the combined size of those of Greece, Portugal and Ireland. Highly rated member states like France are likely to bear a disproportionately large share of this burden given their greater ability to absorb the associated costs.

More generally, further shocks to sovereign and bank credit markets would further undermine financial and economic stability in France as well as in other euro area countries. The impact of such shocks would be expected to be felt disproportionately by more highly indebted governments such as France, and further accentuate the fiscal and structural economic pressures noted above. While the French government's debt service costs have been largely contained to date, Moody's would not expect this to remain the case in the event of a further shock. A rise in debt service costs would further increase the pressure on the finances of the French government, which, unlike other non-euro area sovereigns that carry similarly high ratings, does not have access to a national central bank that could assist with the financing of its debt in the event of a market disruption.

Excerpts from my warning 5 months ago, which has a slightly different, although potentially more realistic bent...

As a result Italian yields went up a few days ago - Italian Yields Forced Higher on Rating's Cut Ahead of Debt Sale, and went even higher today as Bund yields were actually issued with negative yields pushing that spread/gap ever wider... Bunds rise as Germany sells debt at negative yields

Italian 10-year yields were four basis points up at 6.07 percent, with two-year debt underperforming, yielding 8 bps more on the day at 3.96

Mish (Mike Shedlock) adds... Italy GDP expected to contract by 2% globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/.../

So, when are the alarms going to be sounded by anybody other then BoomBustBlog for France??? I have made this quite clear in the past, namely in Watch The Pandemic Bank Flu Spread From Italy To France To ... where I simply quoted the arithmetical obvious, then in French Banks Can Set Off Contagion That Will ... where I basically did the same. The French banking problem is woefully unrecognized, although I'm sure the rating agencies will pick up on it this time next year, after the collapse and/or bank run. This is basically the gist behind that hard hitting European documentary on the US rating agencies...

24398 kReggie_VPRO_Ratings_agencies

Continuing my rant on the effectiveness (not) of the ratings agencies, I bring to you an interesting documentary on the rating agencies' effect on the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, produced by VPRO Tegenlicht out of Amsterdam. You can see the full video here, but only about half of it is in English. I appear in the following spots: 4:00, 22:30, 40:00...

Reggie Middleton Discussing the Rating Agencies effect on Sovereign Europe

Subscribers can reference French Bank Observations & Focus on...(519.21 kB 2012-06-28 08:36:37).  Part and parcel to this common sense update is recognition of the fact that Italy will bust French banks, causing France to do the socialist bailout thingy. See this chart from the report...

27765French bank Italian exposure 

French bank Italian Exposure: As Italy pops with outrageous funding yields (just like Greece), France will be forced to bailout its banks once again, leaving the socialist country facing the dilemma of potentially having to ask for a bailout itself. As you may know from my previous writings, the French banking system is bigger than France itself so a true bailout cannot practically come from within.

Another BIG Reason Why BNP Paribas Is Still Ripe For Implosion!

As excerpted from our professional series File Icon Bank Run Liquidity Candidate Forensic Opinion:

BNP Paribus First Thoughts 4 Page 01

This is how that document started off. Even if we were to disregard BNP's most serious liquidity and ALM mismatch issues, we still need to address the topic above. Now, if you were to employ the free BNP bank run models that I made available in the post "The BoomBustBlog BNP Paribas "Run On The Bank" Model Available for Download"" (click the link to download your own copy of the bank run model, whether your a simple BoomBustBlog follower or a paid subscriber) you would know that the odds are that BNP's bond portfolio would probably take a much bigger hit than that conservatively quoted above.  Here I demonstrated what more realistic numbers would look like in said model... 

image008image008image008

To note page 9 of that very same document addresses how this train of thought can not only be accelerated, but taken much further...

BNP Paribus First Thoughts 4 Page 09BNP_Paribus_First_Thoughts_4_Page_09BNP_Paribus_First_Thoughts_4_Page_09

So, how bad could this faux accounting thing be? You know, there were two American banks that abused this FAS 157 cum Topic 820 loophole as well. There names were Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. I warned my readers well ahead of time with them as well - well before anybody else apparently had a clue (Is this the Breaking of the Bear? and Is Lehman really a lemming in disguise?). Well, at least in the case of BNP, it's a potential tangible equity wipe out, or is it? On to page 10 of said subscription document...

BNP Paribus First Thoughts 4 Page 10BNP_Paribus_First_Thoughts_4_Page_10BNP_Paribus_First_Thoughts_4_Page_10

Yo, watch those level 2s! Of course there is more to BNP besides overpriced, over leveraged sovereign debt, liquidity issues and ALM mismatch, and lying about stretching Topic 820 rules, but I think that's enough for right now. Is all of this already priced into the free falling stock? Are these the ingredients for a European bank run? I'll let you decide, but BoomBustBloggers Saw this coming midsummer when this stock was at $50. Those who wish to subscribe to my research and services should click here. Those who don't subscribe can still benefit from the chronology that led up to the BIG BNP short (at least those who have come across my research for the first time)...

Thursday, 28 July 2011  The Mechanics Behind Setting Up A Potential European Bank Run Trastde and European Bank Run Trading Supplement

I identify specific bank run candidates and offer illustrative trade setups to capture alpha from such an event. The options quoted were unfortunately unavailable to American investors, and enjoyed a literal explosion in gamma and implied volatility. Not to fear, fruits of those juicy premiums were able to be tasted elsewhere as plain vanilla shorts and even single stock futures threw off insane profits.

Wednesday, 03 August 2011 France, As Most Susceptble To Contagion, Will See Its Banks Suffer

In case the hint was strong enough, I explicitly state that although the sell side and the media are looking at Greece sparking Italy, it is France and french banks in particular that risk bringing the Franco-Italia make-believe capitalism session, aka the French leveraged Italian sector of the Euro ponzi scheme down, on its head.

I then provide a deep dive of the French bank we feel is most at risk. Let it be known that every banked remotely referenced by this research has been halved (at a mininal) in share price! Most are down ~10% of more today, alone!

Subscribers, see also 

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ZeroHedge reports: EURUSD Soars As Eurogroup Calls IMF Bluff

Whether it is a pure low volume technical run for the 200DMA, or fundamental bias as 'officials' comment that the release of a EUR44bn aid tranche to Greece is expected by December 5th, is unclear. One thing is certain, the Eurogroup is placing the decision squarely back in Madame Lagarde's lap as it appears to be behaving as if the IMF's threat not to disburse funds (due to Greece's unsustainable debt load) does not exist. While Lagarde is unlikely to want to be the trigger for GRExit, the non-European members may have differing perspectives or will they all just continue kicking the can down the road - proving once and for all that all the power lies with the Greeks as their supposed overlords "can't handle the truth".


Yeah, I know no one wants to hear it, but I told you so. This situation was clear from the start, the very day that Greece defaulted the FIRST time. Until the 3rd default, I can simply keep cutting and pasting the following, for a negative Primary Balance simply prevents anyone from sinking money into Greece from getting it back - PERIOD!!!

As The Year Comes An End The Ability Of Greece To Kick The Can Mirrors The Chances Of A Man With No Feet

Despite extensive, self-defeating, harsh and punitive austerity measures that have combined with a lack of true economic stimulus, Greece has (to date) failed to achieve Primary Balance. For the non-economists in the audience, primary balance is the elimination of a primary deficit, yet the absence of a primary surplus, ex. the midpoint between deficit and surplus before taking into consideration interest payments.

Greece_Primary_balanceGreece_Primary_balanceGreece_Primary_balanceGreece_Primary_balance

The primary balance looks at the structural issues a country may have.

Government expenditures have outstripped revenues ever since 2007 and have gotten worse nearly every year since, despite 3 bailouts a restructuring, austerity and a default!

Greece_Primary_deficit_copyGreece_Primary_deficit_copy

 

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Many have asked me if I believe in austerity measures or the Keynsian approach of spending out of recession. I have stated, time and again, that the question is loaded - hence the answer can never be sufficient. When you are trying to go from your home to the market across town in a crowded urban environment, you cannot make the trip successfully by deciding ahead of time that you are just going to make left turns (austerity? Austrian?) or right turns (stimulus? Keynsian?). You come to an intersection and you make the turn that's necessary to get you where you want to go. It might sound overly simplistic and common, but I'll be damned if common sense is one of the most uncommon things I've come across over the last 7 years or so!

On that note, there does appear to be a misunderstanding on how government finances work as compared to finances in the private sector. The government is not a for profit player that competes directly with those in the private sector, but is instead a universal support network that benefits from the success of the private sector. Hence, the government must work in the best interests of the private sector in order to thrive. This sometimes entails taking the other side of the trade to ensure that a trade can take place. One pundit who has done a good job of explaining this through pretty charts that explain the peculiar situation that we are now in (a balance sheet recession), is Dr. Richard Koo of Nomura Securities. See the FT.com article abstract:

In 2008, Barack Obama told the US people the nation’s economic crisis would take a long time to overcome. In 2012, many of those voters are losing patience, because they have not been told why this recession has lasted so long or why his policies were the correct response. Here is the missing explanation – based on not only the US experience, but also that of Japan and Europe. 

when-the-government-tries-premature-fiscal-consolidation-things-get-much-worse-and-debt-goes-higher

Today, the US private sector is saving a staggering 8 per cent of gross domestic product – at zero interest rates, when households and businesses would ordinarily be borrowing and spending money. But the US is not alone: in Ireland and Japan, the private sector is saving 9 per cent of GDP; in Spain it is saving 7 per cent of GDP; and in the UK, 5 per cent. Interest rates are at record lows in all these countries.

For those who may not get the gravity of this statement, it makes no sense to save money with a negative risk/reward proposition, unless of course the saver does not see it that way. One must save if savings are in deficit, and the risk to invest funds is considered greater than the benefit of having said funds in the first place. We are still attempting to wade through the bursting of a massive bubble, and we are playing defensive - not offensive.  In other words, are Americans seeking return OF capital over return on said capital? We are over-leveraged, and to effectively delever you cannot borrow more money or take the risk of aggressive investments. This is so even if investment capital is being offered at zero interest rates. Mr. Koo illustrates the consequences of such behavior eloquently...

However, if someone is saving money or paying down debt, someone else must be borrowing and spending that money to keep the economy going. In a normal world, it is the role of interest rates to ensure all saved funds are borrowed and spent, with interest rates rising when there are too many borrowers and falling when there are too few. 

But when the private sector as a whole is saving money or paying down debt at zero interest rates, the banks cannot lend the repaid debt or newly deposited savings because interest rates cannot go any lower. This means that, if left unattended, the economy will continuously lose aggregate demand equivalent to the unborrowed savings. In other words, even though repairing balance sheets is the right and responsible thing to do, if everyone tries to do it at the same time a deflationary spiral will result. It was such a deflationary spiral that cost the US 46 per cent of its GDP from 1929 to 1933. 

Those with a debt overhang will not increase their borrowing at any interest rate; nor will there be many lenders, when the lenders themselves have financial problems. This shift from maximising profit to minimising debt explains why near-zero interest rates in the US and EU since 2008 and in Japan since 1995 have failed to produce the expected recoveries in these economies. 

For some reason, the Fed doesn't seem to get what Mr. Koo and BoomBustBloggers do!

With monetary policy largely ineffective and the private sector forced to repair its balance sheet, the only way to avoid a deflationary spiral is for the government to borrow and spend the unborrowed savings in the private sector.

Wait a minute! The EU states are definitely borrowing, but they are not redploying the capital back into the private sector, they are simply bailing out banks! In addition, the banks are not deploying the capital into the private sector, they are simply sitting on it, just as Mr. Koo stated they would in the article excerpt above! So, after trillions of borrowing, there's no surprise why there's just relatively pennies making it into the private sector. What Mr. Koo and many who follow Keynsian economic theories seem to forget to include, is that upon borrowing the money to plunge into the private sector, you have to have a plan for paying said monies back. When you borrow said monies and simply waste them (ex. perpetual dead bank bailouts) you create a truly structural problem. Simply ask Greece, or see How Greece Killed Its Own Banks! and then move on to...

As The Year Comes An End The Ability Of Greece To Kick The Can Mirrors The Chances Of A Man With No Feet

Despite extensive, self-defeating, harsh and punitive austerity measures that have combined with a lack of true economic stimulus, Greece has (to date) failed to achieve Primary Balance. For the non-economists in the audience, primary balance is the elimination of a primary deficit, yet the absence of a primary surplus, ex. the midpoint between deficit and surplus before taking into consideration interest payments.

Greece_Primary_balanceGreece_Primary_balanceGreece_Primary_balance

The primary balance looks at the structural issues a country may have.

Government expenditures have outstripped revenues ever since 2007 and have gotten worse nearly every year since, despite 3 bailouts a restructuring, austerity and a default!

Greece_Primary_deficit_copy

On to Mr. Koo's diatribe... 

Recovery from this type of recession takes time because the flow of current savings must be used to reduce the stock of debt overhang, necessarily a long process when everyone is doing it at the same time. Since one person’s debt is another person’s asset, there is no quick fix: shifting the problem from one part of society to another will solve nothing.

The challenge now is to maintain fiscal stimuli until private sector deleveraging is completed. Any premature attempt to withdraw that stimulus will result in a deflationary implosion – as in the US in 1937, Japan in 1997, and Spain and the UK most recently.

Japan’s attempt in 1997 to reduce its deficit by 3 per cent of GDP – the same size as the “fiscal cliff” now facing the US – led to a horrendous 3 per cent drop in GDP and a 68 per cent increase in the deficit. At that time, Japan’s private sector was saving 6 per cent of GDP at near zero interest rates, just like the US private sector today. It took Japan 10 years to climb out of the hole.

when-the-government-tries-premature-fiscal-consolidation-things-get-much-worse-and-debt-goes-higher

Average citizens find it hard to understand why the government should not balance its budget when households and businesses must all do so. It is risky for politicians to explain but, until they make it clear that the economy will implode if everybody is saving and nobody is borrowing, public support for the necessary fiscal stimulus is likely to weaken, as seen during the past four years of the Obama administration.

The US economy is already losing forward momentum as the 2009 fiscal stimulus is allowed to expire. There is no time to waste: the government must take up the private sector’s unborrowed savings, to keep the economy from imploding and to provide income for businesses and households so they can repair their balance sheets. Fiscal consolidation should come only once the private sector has repaired its finances and returned to profit-maximising mode.

I have ventured along these lines several times in the past. Here is the subscription research that I feel is best poised to take advantage of the guaranteed mistakes to be made ahead, simply click your industry/sector for the most recent research (note, non-subscribers will only be able to view free reports, you may click here to subscribe)...

As for whether Mr. Koo is correct in the application of severe austerity when one should be trying to prime the pump....

Greece Is To Pathogen As Cyprus Is To Contagion As Spain Is To Infected...

CNBC reports Greece Austerity Strike Will Hurt GDP Further even as Cyprus Expects Bailout as S&P Cuts Ratings to Junk:

Cyprus said on Wednesday it expected talks to start with lenders on badly needed aid next week, as ratings agency Standard & Poor's pushed it deeper into junk territory, implying domestic political expediency lay behind a delay in clinching a deal. One of the smallest nations in the euro zone, Cyprus sought European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) aid in June after its two largest banks suffered huge losses due to a write-down of Greek debt.

Well, our Contagion Model showed clear paths of the knock on effects of Greek infection, and we haven't even gotten started with the economic pathogen party yet!

 

Although it seems as if Tyler is being a smart ass, he couldn't be farther from the truth. Reference my piece Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse! concerning the accuracy of the IMF's baseline scenarios...

image005.pngimage005.png

And back to the ZH post:

....Breakdown of IMF deleveraging forecasts for the three scenarios, of which the realistic one is highlighted:

  • Under weak policies, the withdrawal of foreign investors accelerates to twice the pace seen since 2009. Periphery spreads widen by about one standard deviation above the baseline.

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