Reggie Middleton at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi

Reggie Middleton at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi

The petrodollar rich nation of Abu Dhabi, outside of having an extremely rich and Arabic culture, is in the possession of the unique opportunity to capitalize on the plight of the EU and affected nations of the coming Eurocalypse. Fresh back from my fact finding trip through the UAE, I noticed the MSM had the headline Abu Dhabi Royals Involved in RBS Talks. In short, RBS, the 83% British taxpayer owned debacle of a bank is again in search of capital, but this time shrouded in the haze of the government selling off a portion of its stake at a significant loss. 

RBS was heavily levered in rapidly depreciating toxic assets as a result of its ABN Amro purchase, and its executives obviously failed to subscribe to BoomBustBlog, for they took a royal (pun fully intended) Greek bathing on their Greek bond investments. Remember, I warned of an explicit Greek default two years ago and like simple arithmetic dictated, defaults came:

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

 

Greece_Primary_balance 

That being said, cash rich nations such as the UAE see gold in them thar hills. Personally, I doubt if the hills are made of gold, but there is definitely some gold buried within, even if it is at $1,700 per ounce. I would instruct my clients to go on an asset buying binge from the banks, developers and asset management funds versus attempting to buy the funds directly, or better yet use structured assets to gain exposure to said troubled assets. Many banks, like RBS, will get hit more than once from borrowers such as Greece. As queried many times on this blog, "What do you think, pray tell, happens when the liquidity starved, capital deprived, over leveraged banks fail to roll over all of that underwater EU mortgage debt?"

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

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Reggie Middleton Featured in Property EU, one of Europe's leading real estate publications

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.

Go to 14:35 in the following video for one such idea...

Spitting the truth regarding Greek bailouts on CNBC (I'm the second guest)...

It's 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...

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The MSM chimed in on this concept two years later... Greece Makes Asset Sales Look Bad, but Are They?

And though all of these countries have felt the heat from the markets, Greece has become almost synonymous with the deep crisis at the heart of the euro zone, which has hollowed out its appeal to investors.

"It is not clear Greece has the luxury of doing anything in an optimal way; they are basically burning the furniture just to get by," Bill Megginson, Professor of Finance at the University of Oklahoma, told Reuters.

"But other countries, especially where the crisis seems to have abated a bit, like Italy and Spain, they could and they probably will." Greece came up with plans for asset sales to convince its lenders it was serious about reforming its uncompetitive economy and also to raise funds to pay down its debt mountain.

But the EU and IMF, which pushed Greece for bolder and more detailed plans as to how it would deliver on its promises, have become increasingly frustrated with the country's repeated failure to meet targets.

Despite a reluctance to sell assets in such poor market conditions, Greece - which aims to raise 19 billion euros ($25 billion) from privatizations by 2015 - has begun ramping up its efforts, including inviting bids for state-owned natural gas company DEPA and the management rights to its Olympic broadcasting complex.

It plans to put stakes in betting monopoly OPAP and refiner Hellenic Petroleumup for sale by May, Greece's chief privatization official said.

But its tight timeframe and ambitious targets, already scaled back from 50 billion euros, suggest it will struggle to meet its price expectations.

Funded by like minded strategic capital sources, there are a plethora of delicious assets for the picking across the EU and UK. Now may be a tad bit premature to jump, but it is a good time to start priming the pump. All who are interested in ideas such as these should feel free to contact me.

Cron Job Starts
Published in BoomBustBlog

Two years ago in "Greek Crisis Is Over, Region Safe", Prodi Says - I say Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire! I compared the then Grecian situation to that of Damocles. Well, things have gotten much worse since then and I believe I was one of the most bearish (and accurate) at that time. Now, Greece resembles Icarus tumbing down from the skies, drenched in Hubris. 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.

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_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

The best analogy I’ve heard for the Grecian situation is the highly indebted family that has binged on credit cards creating huge interest and debt service payments. They then lose the earning power of one of the parents at the same time that a spike in medical bills and household repairs (ex. Murphy’s law) dig deeper into family finances. The family is then forced to continue spending via credit cards to meet these unforeseen expenses.

In short, the main reason for Greece requiring additional funding is its primary deficit but the main reason why this latest (as well as the two rounds before this latest) round of bailout funding won’t work is Greece’s primary deficit.

  • 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.

With the expectation that austerity measures are not going to drastically reduce Greece’s expenditure in the coming fiscal quarters, and the revenue has no visible source of acceleration either, the assumption built into our modeling is that Greece will continue to experience primary and (as a result) fiscal deficit.

Long story, short - anyone who has purchased this latest round of bonds from Greece should expect a very, very nasty haircut before 2016, and likely sooner rather than later. 

Next up I will review our CRE, banking and insurance picks to see how such a re-default will affect them.

I'm in the Dubai/Abu Dhabi area and will meet any readers/subscribers who are local and willling to discuss opportunities.

 

Published in BoomBustBlog

In this followup to Greece Is Trying To Convince Portugal To Make F.I.R.E. Hot I think we should get straight to the point - Anyone who doesn't believe that Portugal is clearly set up to for a bond route, and that it is seriously considering a default is either lying to themselves, believe human nature has changed, and/or really hasn't bothered to review the math. Here's proof of a Portuguese default presented with logic, numbers and pretty colorful graphs. The full spreadsheet behind all of the calculations, scenarios, bond holdings and calculations can be viewed online here (click this link) by professional level subscribers. Click here to subscribe or upgrade.

For one, we are on up to the 3rd Greek Bailout (Portugal has only received one hence it could be getting envious:-)). Portugal has had extreme austerity measures inflicted upon it. So extreme that it has materially and significantly depressed the economy. Portugal's GDP growth contracted even further by 1.3% q/q in Q4. Its HICP Moderated to 3.4% y/y in January. Very high unemployment (currently at 14% and rising), weakening wages, and a total dearth of credit to businesses and households (do you really think bond-busted banks are lending to and within Portugal like the good 'ole days) will lead to a downward spiraling self-fulfilling prophecy that is the antithesis of what appears to be driving all of those rosy estimates behind reports that Portugal won't default. I do mean rosy, see Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse! for examples. Let it be known that instead of growing the economy out of the doldrums, Portugal's austerity measures will push it down the drain.
It's gotten so bad that even the rating agencies are on board the truth train (Rating Agencies vs Reggie Middleton, Part 3). After Moody's downgraded Portugal, all three major agencies have it at junk, of course a year later than said information would have been useful. The massive liquidity injections by the ECB have prevent the market from imploding, but has also failed to rectify the problem, rather they simply feed the appetite of an addicted pig in the form of banks and sovereigns that rely on cheap/free money without the requisite market disciplines of risk wieghting and respect for the cost of capital.

Due to total reliance on funny munny from the ECB, required due to the lack of external financing avialable from the markets (unless Portugal defaults/restructures and starts from scratch, which is inevitable anyway) the Portuguese machine will still be in arrears accumulation mode - a mode which is essentially unsustainable.

Despite what I see as practically unassailable facts, the MSM is still steadfastly and unrealistically bullish, as per Bloomberg, Portugal Bond Rout Overstates Greek Likeness. Well, the Portugal Bond Yield is at 13% Despite Greek Deal - that's right, the 3rd Greek deal and one that include 74% haircut!!! Portugal will default/restructure and there's a very, very strong chance that right behind them will be Spain and then Greece again. That's right, Greece, again! 

Who was right about the Greek default, running against the consensus two years ago? See 2010 posts - Greek Crisis Is Over, Region Safe”, Prodi Says – I say Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire! and then A Comparison of Our Greek Bond Restructuring Analysis to that of Argentina. In The Anatomy of a Portugal DefaultA GraphicalStep by Step Guide ... I walked through the financial tangle that is Portugal about two years ago, as excerpted.

This is the carnage that would occur in the OPTIMISTIC if the same restructuring were to be applied to Portugal today.

Yes, it will be nasty. That 35% decline in cash flows will be levered at least 10x, for that is how much of the investors in these bonds purchased them. A 35% drop is nasty enough, 35% x 10 starts to hurt the piggy bank! As a matter of fact, no matter which way you look at it, Portugal is destined to default/restructure. Its just a matter of time, and that time will probably not extend past 2013. Here are a plethora of scenarios to choose from...

This is Portugal's path as of today.

Even if we add in EU/IMF emergency funding, the inevitability of restructuring is not altered. As a matter of fact, the scenario gets worse because the debt is piled on.

Well, I took said model and updated it with recent historical GDP results as well as projections which incorporated the most recent developments. Do you think things look better or worse?

This is what Portugal's situation looks like today...

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The Portuguese bond yield has spiked since the Greek deal. Methinks Mr. Credit market (who is much wiser than Mr. Eqiuity market, probably due to the increased difficulty in manipulating Mr. Credit's demeanor) seems to agree with Reggie...

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These are the Portuguese bonds used in the calculations. Professional subscribers can access the full model and all of the stuff that went into it via the link at the bottom of this article - Introducing the Not So Stylish Portuguese Haircut Analysis.
Issuer Issue date Maturity Amt Out(M) Interest Due(M) Years to maturity Coupon rate
Portugal Treasury Bill 07/17/09 7/23/2010 4.50 0.00 -1.64 0.000%
Portugal Treasury Bill 09/18/09 9/17/2010 2.75 0.00 -1.49 0.000%
Portugal Treasury Bill 11/20/09 11/19/2010 3.10 0.00 -1.31 0.000%
Parpublica - Participacoes Publicas SGPS 12/16/05 12/16/2010 0.51 0.01 -1.24 2.690%
Portugal Treasury Bill 01/22/10 1/21/2011 2.05 0.00 -1.14 0.000%
Portugal Treasury Bill 02/19/10 2/18/2011 2.35 0.00 -1.06 0.000%
Portugal Treasury Bill 03/19/10 3/18/2011 2.03 0.00 -0.99 0.000%
Portugal Obrigacoes do Tesouro OT 11/16/05 4/15/2011 4.67 0.15 -0.91 3.200%
Portugal Obrigacoes do Tesouro OT 03/13/01 6/15/2011 4.96 0.26 -0.74 5.150%
CP - Comboios de Portugal EPE 02/26/02 2/26/2012 0.25 0.00 -0.04 0.990%
Portugal Obrigacoes do Tesouro OT 02/13/02 6/15/2012 7.64 0.38 0.26 5.000%
Portugal Government International Bond 08/28/09 8/28/2012 0.41 0.00 0.46 2.400%
Parpublica - Participacoes Publicas SGPS 07/08/09 7/8/2013 0.80 0.03 1.32 3.500%
Polo III-CP Finance Ltd 07/29/03 7/29/2013 0.10 0.00 1.38 4.500%
Ana-Aeroportos de Portugal SA 08/28/09 8/28/2013 0.10 0.00 1.46 4.050%
Portugal Obrigacoes do Tesouro OT 05/22/98 9/23/2013 7.16 0.39 1.53 5.450%
Portugal Obrigacoes do Tesouro OT 10/29/03 6/16/2014 6.00 0.26 2.26 4.375%
Polo Securities II Ltd 06/26/02 6/26/2014 0.31 0.00 2.29 2.880%
ANAM - Aeroportos da Madeira SA 07/29/04 7/29/2014 0.05 0.00 2.38 5.340%
Parpublica - Participacoes Publicas SGPS 10/15/04 10/15/2014 0.50 0.02 2.59 4.191%
Portugal Obrigacoes do Tesouro OT 06/03/09 10/15/2014 5.32 0.19 2.59 3.600%
Portugal Government International Bond 11/17/09 11/17/2014 0.08 0.00 2.68 3.064%
Parpublica - Participacoes Publicas SGPS 12/18/07 12/18/2014 1.02 0.03 2.77 3.250%
Refer-Rede Ferroviaria Nacional SA 03/16/05 3/16/2015 0.60 0.02 3.01 4.000%
Portugal Government International Bond 03/25/10 3/25/2015 1.02 0.04 3.03 3.500%
Polo III-CP Finance Ltd 07/29/03 7/29/2015 0.30 0.01 3.38 4.700%
Portugal Obrigacoes do Tesouro OT 07/13/05 10/15/2015 7.64 0.26 3.59 3.350%
Portugal Government International Bond 10/24/86 5/20/2016 0.18 0.02 4.19 9.000%
Portugal Government International Bond 05/20/86 5/20/2016 0.18 0.02 4.19 9.000%
Portugal Obrigacoes do Tesouro OT 07/17/06 10/15/2016 5.00 0.21 4.60 4.200%
Portugal Obrigacoes do Tesouro OT 05/03/07 10/16/2017 6.08 0.26 5.60 4.350%
Portugal Obrigacoes do Tesouro OT 03/04/08 6/15/2018 6.27 0.28 6.26 4.450%
Refer-Rede Ferroviaria Nacional SA 02/18/09 2/18/2019 0.50 0.03 6.94 5.875%
Portugal Obrigacoes do Tesouro OT 03/03/09 6/14/2019 6.86 0.33 7.26 4.750%
CP - Comboios de Portugal EPE 10/16/09 10/16/2019 0.50 0.02 7.60 4.170%
Portugal Government AID Bond 03/08/90 2/25/2020 0.01 0.00 7.96 1.520%
Portugal Obrigacoes do Tesouro OT 02/17/10 6/15/2020 5.26 0.25 8.26 4.800%
Parpublica - Participacoes Publicas SGPS 09/22/05 9/22/2020 0.50 0.02 8.54 3.567%
Parpublica - Participacoes Publicas SGPS 12/28/05 12/28/2020 0.15 0.00 8.80 2.423%
Portugal Obrigacoes do Tesouro OT 02/23/05 4/15/2021 7.08 0.27 9.10 3.850%
Refer-Rede Ferroviaria Nacional SA 12/13/06 12/13/2021 0.50 0.02 9.76 4.250%
Portugal Obrigacoes do Tesouro OT 06/10/08 10/25/2023 6.53 0.32 11.63 4.950%
Refer-Rede Ferroviaria Nacional SA 10/16/09 10/16/2024 0.50 0.02 12.60 4.675%
Refer-Rede Ferroviaria Nacional SA 11/16/06 11/16/2026 0.60 0.02 14.69 4.047%
Parpublica - Participacoes Publicas SGPS 11/16/06 11/16/2026 0.25 0.01 14.69 4.200%
CP - Comboios de Portugal EPE 03/05/10 2/5/2030 0.20 0.01 17.91 5.700%
Portugal Obrigacoes do Tesouro OT 03/22/06 4/15/2037 6.97 0.29 25.11 4.100%
Governo Portugues Consolidado 01/01/40 1/29/2049 0.00 0.00 36.91 3.987%
Governo Portugues Consolidado 02/01/42 2/28/2049 0.01 0.00 36.99 2.997%
Governo Portugues Consolidado 03/15/43 3/29/2049 0.00 0.00 37.07 2.764%
Governo Portugues Consolidado 12/01/41 12/29/2049 0.00 0.00 37.82 3.520%
Published in BoomBustBlog

 

Minutes ago I posted So, What's Next Step Towards The Eurocalypse? wherein I illustrated the folly in believing this CAC-powered Greek bond deal will be the near term sovereign default issues. Following up on those thoughts of serial defaults, I remind my readers and subscribers what was revealed in the post The Biggest Threat To The 2012 Economy Is??? Not What Wall Street Is Telling You... 

European banks are (in addition to borrowing on a secured basis from those customers they usually lend to) also paying insurers and pension funds to take their illiquid bonds in exchange for better quality ones, in a desperate bid to secure much-needed cash from the ECB, which only provides cash against collateral. This may not be as safe a measure as it sounds. First of all, there's trash and then there's real trash. The ECB has lowered there standards to accept some very low quality assets as collateral. The lower the quality of the asset, the more volatile that asset can be said to be in times of uncertainty. This is both common sense and taught in the first year of B School. Is it that no one at the ECB has common sense or went to school? Nah!!!! I doubt that's the case. In the post Greece's Problem Is Shared By Much Of The EU & Can't Be Solved Through Parlor Tricks, via ZeroHedge, it was noted:

This 'Deposits Related to Margin Calls' line item on the ECB's balance sheet will likely now become the most-watched 'indicator' of stress as we note the dramatic acceleration from an average well under EUR200 million to well over EUR17 billion since the LTRO began. The rapid deterioration in collateral asset quality is extremely worrisome (GGBs? European financial sub debt? Papandreou's Kebab Shop unsecured 2nd lien notes?) as it forces the banks who took the collateralized loans to come up with more 'precious' cash or assets (unwind existing profitable trades such as sovereign carry, delever further by selling assets, or subordinate more of the capital structure via pledging more assets - to cover these collateral shortfalls) or pay-down the loan in part. This could very quickly become a self-fulfilling vicious circle - especially given the leverage in both the ECB and the already-insolvent banks that took LTRO loans that now back the main Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese sovereign bond markets.

Of course, it gets worse... What can't be pawned off to the ECB in exchange for harsh margin calls merely days later has been pushed into insurers. Below is a sensitivity analysis of Generali's (a highly leveraged Italian insurer, subscribers see File Icon Exposure of European insurers to PIIGS) sovereign debt holdings.

image004

As you can see, Generali is highly leveraged into PIIGS debt, with 400% of its tangible equity exposed. Despite such leveraged exposure, I calculate (off the cuff, not an in depth analysis) that it took a 10% hit to Tangible Equity. Now, that's a lot, but one would assume that it would have been much worse. What saved it? Diversification into Geman bunds, whose yield went negative, thus throwing off a 14% return. Not bad for alleged AAA fixed income. But let's face it, Germany lives in the same roach motel as the rest of the profligate EU, they just rent the penthouse suite! Remember, Germany is not in recession after a rip roaring bull run in its bonds, and I presume the recession should get much deeper since as a net exporter it has to faces its trading partners going broke. Below you see what happens if the bund returns were simply run along the historical trend line (with not extreme bullishness of the last year).

image005

Companies such as Generali would instantly lose a third of their tangible equity. This is quite conservative, since the profligate states bonds would probably collapse unless the spreads shrink, which is highly doubtful. Below you see what would happen if bunds were to take a 10% loss.

image006

That's right, a 10% loss in bunds translates into a near 50% loss in tangible equity to this insurer, which would realistically be 60% plus as the rest of the EU portfolio will compress in solidarity. Combine this with the fact that insurers operating results are facing historically unprecedented stress (see You Can Rest Assured That The Insurance Industry Is In For Guaranteed Losses!) and it's not hard to imagine marginal insurers seeing equity totally wiped out. On that note, here's some info on a very large, very well respected and very diversified European insurer. Before reviewing this, make sure you have read So, What's Next Step Towards The Eurocalypse? and understand the concepts behind Contagion Should Be The MSM Word Du Jour, in particular the potential and paths for contagion, nominally... What happens when you take the raw public debt exposure and you massage it for reality? Well, BoomBustBlog subscribers already know. Here's a sneak peak of just one such scenario...

(Click to enarge)

 thumb_Sovereign_Contagion_Model_-_Pro__Institutional_demonstration_of_Greek_default

You see, Greece getting away with bondholder murder can easily kick off an interest rate shit storm. If so, it really won't look pretty - not nearly as pretty as Lehman, at least! Ask this big EZ insurer that would immediately get $11B chopped off of equity nearly instantaneously...

Untitled_-__euro_insurere

Subscribers are well served to review this report released in December. This opportunity is driven from the possibility of a Euro sector sovereign meltdown. Thus far, every step leads in that direction. I'm not saying its guaranteed, but everything has been happening according to plan thus far, D day looks to be that much closer...

The same situation is evident in banks and pension funds as well as real estate entities dependent on financing in the near to medium term - basically, the entire FIRE sector in both European and US markets (that's right, don't believe those who say the US banks have decoupled from Europe).

Reggie Middleton Explains the Travails of the F.I.R.E. Sector on CNBC

Related links:

 thumb_Reggie_Middleton_on_Street_Signs_Fire

 

Next up I release the latest (and very interesting) Apple research to subscribers, and the effects of this sovereign stuff on British banks and US CRE.

As is usual, you can reach me via BoomBustBlog or by the following means...

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Published in BoomBustBlog

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Okay, as I have been warning since the first quarter of 2010, Greece has defaulted. What I mean by default is that Greece did not honor the payment terms of its debtor agreements. I really don't care what this or that association decides to call it, if you bought Greek bonds you ain't getting the money that Greece promised when they promised they will give it to you. Just to add something official sounding to it, Fitch has declared it so, Fitch Downgrades Greece From C To Restricted Default. Of course, if you are on BoomBustBlog of following me, your probably smarter than to take these guys words for anything even remotely resembling predictive since they declared default status about three hours before Greece actually made it official they would default - plenty of time for interested parties to do something about it, no? Reference Rating Agencies vs Reggie Middleton, Part 3 and What Is More Valuable, The Opinion Of A Major Rating Agency Or The Opinion Of A Blog? Go Ahead, I DARE You To Answer!

But as I said in Greece = Kaboom! But Now Many Misunderstand The Consequences, the media, pundits, sell side analysts and unfortunately many investors fail to see the forest due to many trees standing in their way. Interestingly enough, Greece used coerce, retroactively applied, unilateral clauses to coerce a voluntary bond exchange! Yeah, it does sort of sound like bullshit doesn't it? I commented on this foregone conclusion last year in The Banks Have Volunteered (at Gunpoint) To Get 50% of Their Money Taken - No Credit Event??? Irrespective of

Subscribers, reference the following sovereign reports 

File Icon Ireland public finances projections

File Icon Spain public finances projections_033010

File Icon Italy public finances projection

File Icon Greece Public Finances Projections 

Online spreadsheet - Portugal's Debt Ridden Finances: An Analysis of Haircuts, Restructuring and Strategy - Professional Analysis

whether CDS are triggered or not, if Greece gets away with walking away from 74% of their debt obligations, what in the hell makes anyone who even remotely resembles a person who has neuron or two to jump start synaptic activity think that Portugal and Ireland will NOT jump in line to stiff their creditors? Come on now, have we suspended the rules of human nature now as well. Greece's Problem Is Shared By Much Of The EU & Can't Be Solved Through Parlor Tricks. The use of said parlor tricks will (have) simply make things worse. I have warned that Contagion Should Be The MSM Word Du Jour… not Greece. As Greece gets away with an economic stick up (at financial gunpoint), Ireland and Portugal are looking for their Glocks! 

I walked through this scenario in explicit detail a year and a half ago in my "Guide to the Beginning of the Largest String of Sovereign Defaults in Recent History" or The Anatomy of a Portugal DefaultA GraphicalStep by Step Guide ...

This is the carnage that would occur in the OPTIMISTIC if the same restructuring were to be applied to Portugal today.

Yes, it will be nasty. That 35% decline in cash flows will be levered at least 10x, for that is how much of the investors in these bonds purchased them. A 35% drop is nasty enough, 35% x 10 starts to hurt the piggy bank! As a matter of fact, no matter which way you look at it, Portugal is destined to default/restructure. Its just a matter of time, and that time will probably not extend past 2013. Here are a plethora of scenarios to choose from...

This is Portugal's path as of today.

Even if we add in EU/IMF emergency funding, the inevitability of restructuring is not altered. As a matter of fact, the scenario gets worse because the debt is piled on.

The free/cheap money is doing more damage than it is good, just Watch As Near Free Money To Banks Fails to prevent European CRE Nuclear Winter… 

As is usual, you can reach me via BoomBustBlog or by the following means...

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Published in BoomBustBlog

The mainstream media is still focusing its attention on leaves while ignoring the danger posed to the entire forest. A quick scan of the big headlines for the day...

ECB Sees Slower Growth, Flags Success of Money Flood - Slower EU growth directly following a devastating EU recession is a very, very bad thing. Combine this with the fact that the ECB felt the need to flood its banking system with a trillion euros of cheap liquidity collateralized by quasi-used toilet paper should make clear that they are terrified of what comes down the pike. Is or is not the writing on the wall?

Roubini: Private Sector’s Greece Deal Is ‘Sweet’ - Yeah, well, 50% is a 100% percent more than nothing - which is exactly what some bondholders may get as they hold out until this time next year. See LGD 100+: What's the Possibility of Certain European Banks Having a Loss Given Default Approaching 100%?

Witching Hour: Will Enough Investors Take Greek Deal? - Does it really matter? The deal doesn't seem to be enough to put Greece on the path to sustainable economic recovery since by our calculations Greece will be forced to come back to the table within two to four years, reference The Ugly Truth About The Greek Situation That's Too Difficult Broadcast Through Mainstream Media. As a matter of fact, what seems to be missed is the greater economic fallout of all of this free money engineering...  Watch As Near Free Money To Banks Fails To Prevent Nuclear Winter For European CRE. This gets even worse. If PSI doesn't go through and CAC is implemented then you have a credit event and CDS market does its job thereby banging those American banks that wrote the CDS. If the CAC is not implemented then the CDS didn't do its job and the premium that was absorbed by CDS will then be applied directly to sovereign debt meaning heavy debt service. The only way out of this is debt destruction, a true default. 

Furthermore, there's the common sense consequence of what the ECB has done that apparently wasn't too commonly perceived amongst those decision makers at the ECB, as reported by ZeroHedge last night:

In what could prove to be the most critical unintended consequence of the ECB's LTRO program, we note that as of last Friday the ECB has started to make very sizable margin calls on its credit-extensions to counterparties. While the hope was for any and every piece of lowly collateral to be lodged with the ECB in return for freshly printed money to spend on local government debt, perhaps the expectation of a truly virtuous circle of liquidity lifting all boats forever is crashing on the shores of reality. This 'Deposits Related to Margin Calls' line item on the ECB's balance sheet will likely now become the most-watched 'indicator' of stress as we note the dramatic acceleration from an average well under EUR200 million to well over EUR17 billion since the LTRO began. The rapid deterioration in collateral asset quality is extremely worrisome (GGBs? European financial sub debt? Papandreou's Kebab Shop unsecured 2nd lien notes?) as it forces the banks who took the collateralized loans to come up with more 'precious' cash or assets (unwind existing profitable trades such as sovereign carry, delever further by selling assets, or subordinate more of the capital structure via pledging more assets - to cover these collateral shortfalls) or pay-down the loan in part. This could very quickly become a self-fulfilling vicious circle - especially given the leverage in both the ECB and the already-insolvent banks that took LTRO loans that now back the main Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese sovereign bond markets.

This huge increase in margin calls can only further exacerbate the stigma attached to LTRO-facing banks - and as we noted this morning (somewhat presciently) both the LTRO-Stigma-trade, that we created, and the potential for MtM losses on the carry-trades that LTRO 'cash' was put to work in could indeed start a vicious circle in European financials, just as everyone thought it was safe to dip a toe back in the risk pool.

Hmmmm... Let's take a more critical look at the potential consequences by reviewing page 9 of the subscriber forensic report for BNP Paribas (click here to subscribe).

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Heavy ECB margin calls on institutions that have abused the ambiguity cover provided by Topic 820 can foresee some significant pain in the near future. Having to sell something for reality's price that you carried on your books at fantasy's price has never proved to be a profitable endeavor.

Subscribers should now review pages 10, 11, and 12 of said document - which will really get your britches in a tear.

It really doesn't look to positive, but that's bullish, right!!!!

Can such a thing really happen? Here's another interesting story from ZeroHedge on the carry trade gone bad...

We know how AIG and MF ended, as of yet we don't know how LTRO will end.

AIG was the ultimate carry trade. They sold massive amounts of CDS for a very small spread. They had no funding cost, no collateral requirements(initially), and no mark to market risk for their own P&L.  The year before AIG blew up, management was spending all sorts of money buying back their "undervalued" shares. Actually they probably bought back a lot of shares in early 2008.  What could go wrong with the trade?  The only thing that could go bad was a downgrade to AIG at the same time as the assets they wrote CDS on went down, because then and only then would they have to post collateral.  Their CDS had massive negative mark to markets long before they were on the verge of collapse. It was the fact that a downgrade to their ratings could enable their CDS counterparties to call for collateral.  It was the threat of collateral calls that ended it for AIG.

LTRO has variation margin.

What happened at MF?  Massive positions in short dated bonds to earn the "carry". All was fine until the size concerned people. They had trouble financing the position. The position was so large the market pushed against them. With so much leverage they couldn't meet the margin calls and selling the bonds would wipe them out.

LTRO has variation margin and the banks have disproportionately large positions in the debt of their country.

Lots of "carry" trades have worked out well, but when they don't, the result is pretty ugly. Many argue that LTCM was also just a giant "carry" trade that unwound when vol and mark to market blew through their ability to post collateral.

In closing, I urge all subscribers to play with the BNP bank run model once again. Remember my admonitions from last summer? 

Saturday, 23 July 2011 The Anatomy Of A European Bank Run: Look At The Banking Situation BEFORE The Run Occurs!: I detail how I see modern bank runs unfolding

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Cheap dollar funding is not going to help BNP anymore than it helped Lehman. I have prepared several models to illustrate such, and are designed to go hand in hand with both our illustrative trading supplements and our forensic research on BNP - namely:

The first model (all are cast in Excel 2010 format [.xlsx]), File Icon BNP Exposures - Free Public Download Version, is available to the public free of charge and is designed to spark the discussion of Whether Another Banking Crisis Is Inevitable? Here are some screen shots.

The Impairment Scenarios: a very important concept that practically the entire European banking systm has somehow forgotten to address.

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Trading and HTM inventory at Level 1,2,3 or fantastical fanstasy?

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For those not familiar with the banking book vs trading book markdown game, I urge you to review this keynote presentation given in Amsterdam which predicted this very scenario, and reference the blog post and research of the same - and then revisit this free model and reapply your assumptions:

The next nugget of knowledge is the File Icon BNP Exposures - Retail Subscriber Download Version. It enables users to simulate an anecdotal bank run - for retail subscribers only of course. In addition to those above, it sports...

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 For those professional investors and institutions, namely hedge funds, asset managers, regulators, high net worth individuals with ties to BNP and family offices, heres to you. This is not a toy, but a tool that can truly communicate why you feel BNP may, or may not be a candidate for a bank run - contingent upon your inputs: File Icon BNP Exposures - Professional Subscriber Download Version. Additional screenshots above and beyond that included above...

Income statement implications of a true bank run...

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Published in BoomBustBlog

Greece_T_4_0Greece will burn economically because of financially engineered, grifted ways and it most definitely will not be the only country in the EZ to do so. I have made this unequivocally clear since February of 2010, over two years ago - reference the Coming Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis.

So who is responsible for such a potentially cataclysmic event and what can be done about it? Well, amazingly, I'll answer it all in one post by combining a little reporting with some hardcore, truly objective, independent financial analysis. Ahhh, I love this new media blogging thingy! From Bloomberg:

Goldman Secret Greece Loan Reveals Two Sinners

Greece’s secret loan from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) was a costly mistake from the start.

You know, one sentence into this Bloomberg piece it already smacks of realism simply by indicating it was a mistake for an unsophisticated party to do business with Goldman. It's a damn shame that such a statement can be so believable on its face without even an ounce of justification provided yet. It goes to show you exactly how many feel, deep down, Goldman actually manages to outperform. It takes money from the foolish, as opposed to earning it by being the so called best of the best. It is the best, but the best had marketing and grifting - not necessarily engineering the best solution for its clients. You see, most of the time the best solution for your clients are antithetical to both your bonus pool and margin expansion.

On the day the 2001 deal was struck, the government owed the bank about 600 million euros ($793 million) more than the 2.8 billion euros it borrowed, said Spyros Papanicolaou, who took over the country’s debt-management agency in 2005. By then, the price of the transaction, a derivative that disguised the loan and that Goldman Sachs persuaded Greece not to test with competitors, had almost doubled to 5.1 billion euros, he said.

I hate to say it, but if you're foolish enough to listen to the most profitable bank tell you not to say thing to anybody else about said deal, then you may deserve what's coming to you. If there are any sovereigns or any other entities reading this and you find yourself in a similar situation, I suggest you simply contact me. For those who aren't familiar with me and my ability to sniff things such as these out, I urge you to ask the question, Who is Reggie Middleton? I'll independently review the deal for you and give you the T-R-U-T-H! You know, its been a while since I've seen that word in articles such as these. Another damn shame. There should be plenty of opportunity for me to discuss this, for Greece is definitely not the only European entity to be diagnosed with a chronic case of Goldman's financially engineered derivative product indigestion, reference Smoking Swap Guns Are Beginning to Litter EuroLand, Sovereign Debt Buyer Beware!  So, I'll be looking forward to hearing from, and visiting you France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Belgium...

Papanicolaou and his predecessor, Christoforos Sardelis, revealing details for the first time of a contract that helped Greece mask its growing sovereign debt to meet European Union requirements, said the country didn’t understand what it was buying and was ill-equipped to judge the risks or costs.

“The Goldman Sachs deal is a very sexy story between two sinners,” Sardelis, who oversaw the swap as head of Greece’s Public Debt Management Agency from 1999 through 2004, said in an interview.

Righhhhht!!! Two sinners... How about an orgy in an economic brothel where financial syphilis was being passed around by the pimp who told all of the excited teenage boys who were about to get their cherry popped that they didn't need condoms, those little rubber things were for wimps. BTW, those pimply faced teenage boys who were convinced to get down without their intellectual/economic prophylactics had a much more diverse selection of accents than this story may lead one to believe - as excerpted from Smoking Swap Guns...

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Moreover, one of the key reasons why such manipulations continued is the apparent ignorance of the EU's Eurostat, which knew enough about these deals to tighten the rules governing their accounting-albeit only after they had served their purpose - the Ponzi! When Italy's then-Prime Minister Romano Prodi miraculously achieved a four-percentage-point improvement in Italy's budget deficit in time to usher the country into the common currency, Italy's use of accounting gimmicks was widely discussed, and then promptly ignored. As at that time, everyone was only too eager to look the other way in the drive to get the single currency up and running.

It wasn't until 2008-a decade after the deals became popular-that Eurostat was able to revise its rules to push countries to include swaps in their debt and deficit calculations. Still, till date too little is known about countries' continued exposure to the deals that are already out there.

Overall, though there is less evidence to support that there are more such swap deals that happened during the late 90's till early part of this decade, the data below showing a sharp decline in interest payments as a percentage of GDP particularly for Belgium (apart from Greece and Italy), hints that there are considerably more of these deals to be discovered. The questions is, will they be discovered before or after the respective sovereign issues record debt to the suckers sovereign fixed income investors.

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Notice the extremely supercalifragilisticexpealidocious reductions Belgium, Greece and Italy have made in their interest payments from 1993 to 2000 in this graphic made pre-2000. If one didn't know better, one would have thought theses countries actually used magic to make such reductions. Italy practically cut their debt service (projected, of course) in half. It really makes one wonder. I'm just saying...

BoomBustBlog subscribers (click here to subscribe) are welcome to download our contagion models which have been quite accurate thus far in mapping out where this has, and quite likely will lead us.

In Contagion Should Be The MSM Word Du Jour, Not Bailouts and Definitely Not Greece! I included sample output from the Model detailing the various paths of contagion that can be taken given default by "XYZ" country..

thumb_Sovereign_Contagion_Model_-_Pro__Institutional_demonstration_of_Greek_default

And back to the Bloomberg article...

Goldman Sachs’s instant gain on the transaction illustrates the dangers to clients who engage in complex, tailored trades that lack comparable market prices and whose fees aren’t disclosed. Harvard University, Alabama’s Jefferson County and the German city of Pforzheim all have found themselves on the losing end of the one-of-a-kind private deals typically pitched to them by securities firms as means to improve their finances.

Goldman Sachs DNA

“Like the municipalities, Greece is just another example of a poorly governed client that got taken apart,” Satyajit Das, a risk consultant and author of “Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk,” said in a phone interview. “These trades are structured not to be unwound, and Goldman is ruthless about ensuring that its interests aren't compromised -- it’s part of the DNA of that organization.”

Nawwww!!!  It can't be! Say it "Ain't True!" For those who haven't seen this VPRO special on how Goldman Sachs looted European countries years ago, it is literally a must see. The mayor of a small Italian village speaks candidly and openly to the audience. All it really takes is to hear it from the horse's mouth. If that's not good enough, you can always hear my 15 minute contribution, or that of Simon Johnson, or even Matt Taibbi. Yes, it's all here, complete with English translations where necessary.

A gain of 600 million euros represents about 12 percent of the $6.35 billion in revenue Goldman Sachs reported for trading and principal investments in 2001, a business segment that includes the bank’s fixed-income, currencies and commodities division, which arranged the trade and posted record sales that year. The unit, then run by Lloyd C. Blankfein, 57, now the New York-based bank’s chairman and chief executive officer, also went on to post record quarterly revenue the following year.

So Greece helped "grease' the FICC bonus pool under Lord Lloyd, eventually catapulting him up to the CEO position. Hmmm... Of course, you don't get something for nothing. Methinks Goldman et. al. may have a couple of bones stuffed up into thier closet as well. Speaking of FICC, reference this excerpt from So, When Does 3+5=4? When You Aggregate A Bunch Of Risky Banks & Then Pretend That You Didn't?...

Banks exposure to interest rate and foreign exchange contracts

With volatility in currency markets exploding to astounding levels (with average EUR-USD volatility of 16.5% over the past year (September 2008-09) compared to 8.9%  over the previous year), commercial and investment banks trading revenues are expected to remain highly unpredictable. This, coupled with huge Forex and Interest rate derivative exposure for major commercial banks, could trigger a wave of losses in the event of significant market disruptions - or a race to the exit door of this speculative carry trade. Additionally most of these Forex and Interest rate contracts are over-the-contract (OTC) contracts with 96.2% of total derivative contracts being traded as OTC. This means no central clearing, no standardization in contracts, the potential for extreme opacity in pricing, diversity in valuation as well as a dearth of liquidity when it is most needed - at the time when everyone is looking to exit. Goldman Sachs has the largest OTC traded contracts with 98.5% of its derivative contracts traded over the counter. With the 5 largest banks representing 97% of the total banking industry notional amount of derivatives and most of these contracts being traded off exchange, the effectiveness of derivatives as a hedging instrument raises serious questions since most of these banks are counterparty to one another in one very small, very tight circle (see the free article, "As the markets climb on top of one big, incestuous pool of concentrated risk... ").

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The table below compares interest rate contracts and foreign exchange contracts for JPM, GS, Citi, BAC and WFC.

JP Morgan has the largest exposure in terms of notional value with $64,604 trillion of notional value of interest rate contracts and $6,977 trillion of notional value of foreign exchange contracts. In terms of actual risk exposure measured by gross derivative exposure before netting of counterparties, JP Morgan with $1,798 bn of gross derivative receivable, or 21.7x of tangible equity, has the largest gross derivative risk exposure followed by Bank of America ($1,760 bn, or 18.1x). Bank of America with $1,393 bn of gross derivatives relating to interest rate has the highest exposure towards interest rate sensitivity while JP Morgan with $154 bn of Foreign exchange contracts has the highest exposure from currency volatility. We have explored this in forensic detail for subscribers, and have offered a free preview for visitors to the blog: (JPM Public Excerpt of Forensic Analysis SubscriptionJPM Public Excerpt of Forensic Analysis Subscription 2009-09-18 00:56:22 488.64 Kb), which is free to download, and File Icon JPM Report (Subscription-only) Final - Professional, orFile Icon JPM Forensic Report (Subscription-only) Final- Retail as well as a free blog article on BAC off balance sheet exposure If a Bubble Bubble Bursts Off Balance Sheet, Will Anyone Be There to Hear It?: Pt 3 - BAC).

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Cute graphic above, eh? There is plenty of this in the public preview. When considering the staggering level of derivatives employed by JPM, it is frightening to even consider the fact that the quality of JPM's derivative exposure is even worse than Bear Stearns and Lehman‘s derivative portfolio just prior to their fall. Total net derivative exposure rated below BBB and below for JP Morgan currently stands at 35.4% while the same stood at 17.0% for Bear Stearns (February 2008) and 9.2% for Lehman (May 2008). We all know what happened to Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, don't we??? I warned all about Bear Stearns (Is this the Breaking of the Bear?: On Sunday, 27 January 2008) and Lehman ("Is Lehman really a lemming in disguise?": On February 20th, 2008) months before their collapse by taking a close, unbiased look at their balance sheet.

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Subscribers, see WFC Research Note Sep 2009 WFC Research Note Sep 2009 2009-09-30 13:01:30 281.29 Kb, ~ WFC Off Balance Sheet Exposure WFC Off Balance Sheet Exposure 2009-10-19 04:25:53 258.77 Kb ~ WFC Investment Note 22 May 09 - Retail WFC Investment Note 22 May 09 - Retail 2009-05-27 01:55:50 554.15 Kb ~ WFC Investment Note 22 May 09 - Pro WFC Investment Note 22 May 09 - Pro 2009-05-27 01:56:54 853.53 Kb ~ Wells Fargo ABS Inventory Wells Fargo ABS Inventory 2008-08-30 06:40:27 798.22 Kb

Of course, this article is about Goldman right? In addition, exposure doesn't necessarily mean that the  shit will it the fan, right? After all, it's different this time!!!

The interest rate storm is coming, that is unless Europe can maintain historically low rates as several countries default. Then again, they never default, right...

Don't believe me, let's look at history...

Again, click the little pics to make big pics...

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So, as I was saying...

Hunting the Squid, Part2: Since When Is Enough Derivative Exposure To Blow Up The World Something To Be Ignored?

Hunting the Squid, Part2: Since When Is Enough Derivative Exposure To Blow Up The World Something To Be Ignored?

Goldman is much more highly leveraged into the derivatives trade than ANY and ALL of its peers as to actually be difficult to chart. That stalk representing Goldman's risk relative to EVERY OTHER banks is damn near phallic in stature!

Click those little pictures to make BIG pictures....

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As opined earlier through the links "The Next Step in the Bank Implosion Cycle???"and As the markets climb on top of one big, incestuous pool of concentrated risk... , this is not a new phenomenon. Quite to the contrary, it has been a constant trend through the bubble, and amazingly enough even through the crash as banks have actually ratcheted up risk and assets in a blind race to become TBTF (to big to fail), under the auspices of the regulatory capture (see Lehman Dies While Getting Away With Murder: Introducing Regulatory Capture). So, what is the logical conclusion? More phallic looking charts of blatant, unbridled, and from a realistic perspective, unhedged RISK starring none other than Goldman Sachs...

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And to think, many thought that JPM exposure vs World GDP chart was provocative. I query thee, exactly how will GS put a real workable hedge, a counterparty risk mitigating prophylactic if you will, over that big green stalk that is representative of Total Credit Exposure to Risk Based Capital? Short answer, Goldman may very well be to big for a counterparty condom. If that's truly the case, all of you pretty, brand name Goldman counterparties out there (and yes, there are a lot of y'all - GS really gets around), expect to get burned at the culmination of that French banking party I've been talking about for the last few quarters. Oh yeah, that perpetually printing clinic also known as the Federal Reserve just might be running a little low on that cheap liquidity antibiotic... Just giving y'all a heads up ahead of time...

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... I'd like to announce to the release of a blockbuster document describing the true nature of Goldman Sachs, a description that you will find no where else. It's chocked full of many interesting tidbits, and for those who found "The French Government Creates A Bank Run? Here I Prove A Run On A French Bank Is Justified And Likely" to be an iteresting read, you're gonna just love this! Subscribers can access the document here:

Okay, now back to that Bloomberg article...

‘Extremely Profitable’

The Goldman Sachs transaction swapped debt issued by Greece in dollars and yen for euros using an historical exchange rate, a mechanism that implied a reduction in debt, Sardelis said. It also used an off-market interest-rate swap to repay the loan. Those swaps allow counterparties to exchange two forms of interest payment, such as fixed or floating rates, referenced to a notional amount of debt.

The trading costs on the swap rose because the deal had a notional value of more than 15 billion euros, more than the amount of the loan itself, said a former Greek official with knowledge of the transaction who asked not to be identified because the pricing was private. The size and complexity of the deal meant that Goldman Sachs charged proportionately higher trading fees than for deals of a more standard size and structure, he said.

“It looks like an extremely profitable transaction for Goldman,” said Saul Haydon Rowe, a partner in Devon Capital LLP, a London-based firm that advises global investors on derivatives disputes.

Disappearing Debt

Goldman Sachs declined to comment about how much it made on the swaps. Fiona Laffan, a spokeswoman for the firm in London, said the agreements were executed in accordance with guidelines provided by Eurostat, the EU’s statistical agency.

Oh yeah, Eurostat! That bastion of Eurofellas who really, really know what they're talking about - as evidenced from Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse!

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Revisions-R-US!

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and the EU on goverment balance??? Way, way, way off.

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“Greece actually executed the swap transactions to reduce its debt-to-gross-domestic-product ratio because all member states were required by the Maastricht Treaty to show an improvement in their public finances,” Laffan said in an e- mail. “The swaps were one of several techniques that many European governments used to meet the terms of the treaty.”

As excerpted from Smoking Swap Guns Are Beginning to Litter EuroLand, Sovereign Debt Buyer Beware!

The Greeks (again)...

According to people familiar with the matter interviewed by China Securities Journal, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. did as many as 12 swaps for Greece from 1998 to 2001, while Credit Suisse was also involved with Athens, crafting a currency swap for Greece in the same time frame.

Under its "off-market" swap in 2001, Goldman agreed to convert yen and dollars into euros at an artificially favorable rate in the future. This helped Greece to use that "low favorable rate" when it recorded its debt in the European accounts-pushing down the country's reported debt load.

Moreover, in exchange for the good deal on rates, Greece had to pay Goldman (the amount wasn't revealed). And since the payment would count against Greece's deficit, Goldman and Greece came up with another twist: Goldman effectively loaned Greece the money for the payment, and Greece repaid that loan over time. And the two sides structured the loan as another kind of swap. So, the deal didn't add to Greece's debt under EU rules. Consequently, Greece's total debt as a percentage of GDP fell from 105.3% to 103.7%, and its 2001 deficit was reduced by a tenth of a percentage point in GDP terms, according to people close to Goldman.

Another action that smacks of Hellenic manipulation, at least to the staff of BoomBustBlog: for years it apparently and simply omitted large portions of its military-equipment spending from its deficit calculations. Though, European regulators eventually prevailed on Greece to count everything and as a result, in 2004, there was a massive revision of Greek deficit figures from 2000 (a budget deficit of 2.0% of GDP in 2000 to beyond the 3% deficit limit in 2004), by then Greece had already gained entrance to the euro. As in my trying to prepare for the coming sovereign debt crisis, timing is everything, isn't it???

File Icon Greece Public Finances Projections

File Icon Greek Banking Fundamental Tear Sheet

Cross-currency swaps are contracts borrowers use to convert foreign currency debt into a domestic-currency obligation using the market exchange rate. As first reported in 2003, Goldman Sachs used a fictitious, historical exchange rate in the swaps to make about 2 percent of Greece’s debt disappear from its national accounts. To repay the 2.8 billion euros it borrowed from the bank, Greece entered into a separate swap contract tied to interest-rate swings.

Falling bond yields caused that bet to sour, and tweaks to the deal failed to prevent the debt from almost doubling in size by the time the swap was restructured in August 2005.

Greece, which last month secured a second, 130 billion-euro bailout, is sitting on debt equal to about 160 percent of its GDP as of last year...

‘Teaser Rate’

The derivative Loudiadis offered Sardelis in 2001 was also complex. Designed to provide a cheap way to repay 2.8 billion euros, the swap had a “teaser rate,” or a three-year grace period, after which Greece would have 15 years to repay Goldman Sachs, Sardelis said. All in, the deal appeared cheap to officials at the time, he said.

“We calculated that this had an extra cost above our normal funding cost on the yield curve of 15 basis points,” Sardelis said....

‘Very Bad Bet’

Sardelis said he realized three months after the deal was signed that it was more complex than he appreciated. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., bond yields plunged as stock markets sold off worldwide. That caused a mark-to-market loss on the swap for Greece because of the formula used by Goldman Sachs to compute Greece’s repayments over time.

“If you calculated that when we did it, it looked very nice because the yield curve had a certain shape,” Sardelis said. “But after Sept. 11, we realized this would be the wrong formula. So after we discussed it with Goldman Sachs, we decided to change to a simpler formula.”

The revised deal proposed by the bank and executed in 2002, was to base repayments on what was then a new kind of derivative -- an inflation swap linked to the euro-area harmonized index of consumer prices. An inflation swap is a financial bet that pays off according to the degree to which a consumer-price index exceeds or falls short of a pre-specified level at maturity.

That didn’t work out well for Greece either. Bond yields fell, pushing the government’s losses to 5.1 billion euros, according to an analysis commissioned by Papanicolaou. It was “a very bad bet,” he said in an interview.

“This is even more reprehensible,” Papanicolaou said of the revised deal. “Goldman asked them to make a change that actually made things even worse because they went into an inflation swap.”

And what the hell were they expecting? Didn't they realize that it was Goldman that was on the other side of the swap? Do you expect a wolf to turn down a pound of meat if he is asked if he wants it?

Confidentiality Requirement

Greece was handicapped, in part, by the terms Goldman Sachs imposed, he said.

“Sardelis couldn’t actually do what every debt manager should do when offered something, which is go to the market to check the price,” said Papanicolaou, who retired in 2010. “He didn’t do that because he was told by Goldman that if he did that, the deal is off.”

Sardelis declined to comment about the analysis, as did Petros Christodoulou, director general of the debt-management agency since February 2010.

It isn’t unusual for dealers to impose confidentiality requirements on clients in complex transactions to prevent traders from using the information to front-run or trade against the bank arranging and hedging the deal, said a former official who analyzed the swap and asked not to be named because the details are private.

Personally, I dont care if it isn't unusual to impose confidentiality on complex deals. If you don't understand the deal, seek qualified, impartial assistance. If you're counterparty doesn't like that, then ever so politely tell them to f@ck off - PERIOD! If you enter into a deal that you don't understand, don't be surprised from that itchy/burning/stretched feeling you're bound to feel in your anus a few months into the deal.

‘Large Number’

Goldman Sachs’s initial 600 million-euro gross profit “sounds like a large number, but you have to take into account what the bank will be setting aside as a credit reserve, the cost to Goldman to fund the loan and the cost of hedging the currency component,” said Peter Shapiro, managing director of Swap Financial Group LLC in South Orange, New Jersey, an independent swaps adviser. “It’s hard to tell what the profit margin would have been.”

Hmmmm... Methinks I could tell that it would have been a lot higher than a plain vanilla loan's profit margin at prevailing rates, no?

The report Papanicolaou commissioned after taking over the agency showed the repayment formula meant that Greece would have to pay Goldman Sachs 400 million euros a year, he said. The coupon and the mark-to-market swings on the swap prompted George Alogoskoufis, then finance minister, to decide to restructure the deal again to limit losses, Papanicolaou said.

Loudiadis and a team of Goldman Sachs advisers returned to Athens in August 2005, according to former Greek officials. The agreement they reached to transfer the swap to National Bank of Greece SA and extend the maturity to 2037 from 2019, gave the Greeks what they wanted, Papanicolaou said.

Oh yeah! That ever so solvent bastion of Greco-intellectual economic capability that I warned about two years ago, see How Greece Killed Its Own Banks! and the File Icon Greek Banking Fundamental Tear Sheet.

‘Squeeze Taxpayers’

The 5.1 billion-euro mark-to-market value of the swap was “locked in,” Papanicolaou said. It was that politically motivated decision to restructure and fix the increased market value that did as much damage as the original swap, said Sardelis, now a board member of Ethniki General Insurance Co., a subsidiary of National Bank of Greece.

“You can’t have prudent debt management if you change all the assumptions all the time,” he said.

Gustavo Piga, a professor of economics at University of Rome Tor Vergata and author of “Derivatives and Public Debt Management,” sees a different lesson.

“In secret deals, intermediaries have the upper hand and use it to squeeze taxpayers,” Piga said in an interview. “The bargaining power is in investment banks’ hands.”

Professor Gustavo Piga is the esteemed fellow who offered the nuggets of wisdom in the VPRO video above.

The nitty gritty on Goldman Sachs that you just won't get anywhere else...

If you haven't already, please do review the first four parts of this series, and if so skip past this break and into the nitty gritty--->

 I'm Hunting Big Game Today:The Squid On The Spear Tip, Part 1 & IntroductionI'm Hunting Big Game Today:The Squid On The Spear Tip, Part 1 & Introduction  

I'm Hunting Big Game Today: The Squid On A Spear Tip

Summary: This is the first in a series of articles to be released this weekend concerning Goldman Sachs, the Squid! In this introduction (for those who do not regularly follow me) I demonstrate how the market, the sell side, and most investors are missing one of the biggest bastions of risk in the US investment banking industry. I will also...

 Hunting the Squid, Part2: Since When Is Enough Derivative Exposure To Blow Up The World Something To Be Ignored?Hunting the Squid, Part2: Since When Is Enough Derivative Exposure To Blow Up The World Something To Be Ignored?  

Hunting the Squid, Part2: Since When Is Enough Derivative Exposure To Blow Up The World Something To Be Ignored?

Welcome to part two of my series on Hunting the Squid, the overvaluation and under-appreciation of the risks that is Goldman Sachs. Since this highly analytical, but poignant diatribe covers a lot of material, it's imperative that those who have not done so review part 1 of this series, I'm Hunting Big Game Today:The Squid On The Spear Tip, Part...

Reggie Middleton Serves Up Fried Calamari From Raw Squid: Goldman Sachs and Market Perception of Real Risks!Reggie Middleton Serves Up Fried Calamari From Raw Squid: Goldman Sachs and Market Perception of Real Risks!

Hunting the Squid Part 3: Reggie Middleton Serves Up Fried Calamari From Raw Squid

For those who don't subscribe to BoomBustblog, or haven't read I'm Hunting Big Game Today:The Squid On The Spear Tip, Part 1 & Introduction and Hunting the Squid, Part2: Since When Is Enough Derivative Exposure To Blow Up The World Something To Be Ignored?, not only have you missed out on some unique artwork, you've potentially missed out on 300%...
 Hunting the Squid, part 4: So, What Else Can Go Wrong With The Squid? Plenty!!!Hunting the Squid, part 4: So, What Else Can Go Wrong With The Squid? Plenty!!!  

Hunting the Squid, part 4: So, What Else Can Go Wrong With Goldman Sachs? Plenty!

Yes, this more of the hardest hitting investment banking research available focusing on Goldman Sachs (the Squid), but before you go on, be sure you have read parts 1.2. and 3:  I'm Hunting Big Game Today:The Squid On A Spear Tip, Part 1 & Introduction Hunting the Squid, Part2: Since When Is Enough Derivative Exposure To Blow Up The World Something To...

Hunting the Squid, Part 5: Sometimes Your Local Superhero Doesn't Look Like What They Show You In The Movies 

What Was That I Heard About Squids Raising Capital Because They Can't Trade?

Reggie Middleton vs the Squid That Can't Trade!

A Few Quick Comments On Goldman's Q4 2011 ... - BoomBustBlog

Reggie Middleton on Realism and being Offensively Honest

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I think I will recap this week in BoomBustBlog postings early since a comment from the British sell side bank Barclay's literally irked the shit out of me. First the comment, then the recap. In my post yesterday, "Does Anyone See This Emergency As An Emergency, Or Is A Half Trillion Euro Pay Day Loan Bullish?", I inquire as to whether the Barclay's strategist weed is actually stronger than ours.

... headline from Bloomberg: Euro-Area Banks Tap ECB for Record Amount of Three-Year Cash

Euro-area banks tapped the European Central Bank for a record amount of three-year cash in an operation that may boost bond and equity markets.

The Frankfurt-based ECB said today it will lend 800 financial institutions 529.5 billion euros ($712.2 billion) for 1,092 days. Economists predicted an allotment of 470 billion euros, according to the median of 28 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. In the ECB’s first three-year operation in December, 523 banks borrowed 489 billion euros.

So, basically, nearly twice as many banks are in trouble now as compared to just three months ago. This is bullish, right???!!!

“The astonishing number this time is the number of banks participating, which signals that a lot more small banks looked for the money and it is likely they will pass it on to the economy,” said Laurent Fransolet, head of fixed income strategy Barclays Capital in London, who estimates about 300 billion euros of the total is new lending. “So the impact may be bigger than with the first one.”

I'm not familiar with the quality and/or strength of the shit they smoke over there in London, but from the looks of things it appears to be potent enough. Let's take this bloke's comment to heart, "it is likely they will pass it on to the economy,” . Okay, now where do I begin? Exactly how much of first LTRO made it into the actual economy versus being hoarded by the banks?

Now, to answer that question, let's jump to a post earlier in the week introducing my interview regarding Greece on RT's Capital Account, Why Greece Bailout Games Will Cause The Rest of the EU to Break Out the Grease…

... If you didn't have a job, you wouldn't be able to pay back your loans. Then again, one way to solve this problem is simply not to give anybody a loan, eh?

Greece_Bank_Lending_To_Households

Alas, we don't have to worry about that since the money spigots are just so turned on to the Greek corporate sector you don't have to worry about a scarcity of jobs. With all of that capital sloshing around the system, Grecian companies are bound to start going on a hiring binge ANY MINUTE NOW!

 Greece_Bank_Lending_to_Corporates

Now, look very carefully at the last two charts, take a big toke, and re-read what that Barclays Bloke had the nerve to speak in a major business rag... 

 ...it is likely they will pass it on to the economy,” said Laurent Fransolet, head of fixed income strategy Barclays Capital in London, who estimates about 300 billion euros of the total is new lending. “So the impact may be bigger than with the first one.”

Damn.... Okay, maybe we are taking this guy out of context. After all, he also said, "The astonishing number this time is the number of banks participating, which signals that a lot more small banks looked for the money". Hmmm, let's take a look at some of the smaller banks, wait a minute... Aren't the Greek banks relatively small???

Then there's the issue of the run on the banks. With all that is going on, I made very clear that multiple runs are imminent, hence the need for 100 bp, junk collateral funding from the ECB. The Barclay's bloke says differently in that the money will not go to cushion runs, but will go to the greater [sic real] economy. Yeah... Pass the blunt! As excerpted from the following reports...

file iconBNP Exposures - Professional Subscriber Download Version

 


image014_copy

I have explored European bank runs in depth, see The Anatomy Of A European Bank Run: Look At The Banking Situation BEFORE The Run Occurs!

 

Note: These charts are derived from the subscriber download posted yesterday, Exposure Producing Bank Risk (788.3 kB 2011-07-21 11:00:20).

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The problem then is the same as the European problem now, leveraging up to buy assets that have dropped precipitously in value and then lying about it until you cannot lie anymore. You see, the lies work on everybody but your counterparties - who actually want to see cash! 

Overnight and on demand funding is at a 72% deficit to liquid assets that can be used to fund said liabilities. This means anything or anyone who can spook these funding sources can literally collapse this bank overnight. In the case of Bear Stearns, it was over the weekend.

In reviewing my post on this topic in January predicting the fall of Bear - "Is this the Breaking of the Bear?", it is actually scary how prescient it actually was...

image018.gif

Book Value, Schmook Value – How Marking to Market Will Break the Bear’s Back

Okay, I’ll admit it. I watch CNBC. Now that I am out of the confessional, I can say that when I do watch it I hear a lot of perma-bulls stating that this and that stock is cheap because it is trading at or below its book value. They then go on to quote the historical significance of this event, yada, yada, yada. This is then picked up by a bunch of other individual investors, media pundits and other “professionals,” and it appears that rampant buying ensues. I don’t know how much of it is momentum trading versus actual investors really believing they are buying on the fundamentals, but the buying pressure is certainly there. They then lose their money as the stock they thought was cheap, actually gets a lot cheaper, bringing their investment down the crapper with it. What happened in this scenario? These investors bought accounting numbers instead of true economic book value. Anything outside of simple widget manufacturers are bound to have some twists and turns to ascertain actual book value, actual marketable book value that is. This is what the investor is interested in, the ECONOMIC market value of book, not what the accounting ledger says. After all, you are paying economic dollars to buy this book value in the market, so you want to be able to ascertain marketable book value, I hope it sounds simplistic, because the premise behind it is quite simple – How much is this stuff really worth?. The implementation may be a different matter, though. I set out to ascertain the true book value of Bear Stearns, and the following is the path that I took...

I urge all to review that post of January 2008 and realize that negative equity is negative equity, and no matter how you want to label it, account for it, or delay and pray, broke is broke! This lesson should not be lost on the Europeans, but unfortunately, it is!

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 So, is this just theory, or do I have a point? Well, I had a point when I applied the theory to Bear Steans in 1/08, three months before they collapsed. It also seemed to work as I warned about the collapse of the Greek banks in 2010, see How Greece Killed Its Own Banks! and the subscription-only File Icon Greek Banking Fundamental Tear Sheet. Was I right regarding large equity drawdowns causing masiive bank runs? Well in "So, Can Europe Nationalize All Of Its Troubled Banks? Place Your Bets Here" I quoted an article from ZH:

 Greek Bank Deposit Outflows Soar In January, Third Largest Ever

According to just released data from the Bank of Greece, January saw Greeks doing what they do best (in addition to striking of course): pulling their money from local banks, after a near record €5.3 billion, or the third highest on record, was withdrawn from the local banking system. As a result, total bank cash has now dropped to just €169 billion, down from €174 billion in December, and the lowest since 2006. This is an 18% decline from a year ago, or €37 billion less than the €206 billion last January, and is a whopping 30% lower than the all time deposit highs from 2007, as nearly €70 billion in cash has quietly either left the country or been parked deep in the local mattress bank.

So, what is the net effect on real estate as thousands of underwater mortgages come up for rollover on depreciating real property?

image035 

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So are there any concrete examples of all of this Reggie style pontification? If course there is. Do you see that chart above where the tiny country of the Netherlands is one of the largest per capita contributors to these bailouts? Well, you don't think all of the expenditure (to be) is free do you? Here are some screenshots of a prominent Dutch property company, on its way down the tubes - subscribers reference (click here to subscribe):

image040 

image045

 My next posts on this topic will delve into US REITS, global (but EU based) insurers and banks who have the exposure to make ideal shorts considering "The astonishing number this time is the number of banks participating, which signals that a lot more small banks looked for the money and it is likely they will pass it on to the economy,” said Laurent Fransolet, head of fixed income strategy Barclays Capital in London, who estimates about 300 billion euros of the total is new lending. “So the impact may be bigger than with the first one.”

Stay tuned!

Published in BoomBustBlog

Today's big headline from Bloomberg: Euro-Area Banks Tap ECB for Record Amount of Three-Year Cash

Euro-area banks tapped the European Central Bank for a record amount of three-year cash in an operation that may boost bond and equity markets.

The Frankfurt-based ECB said today it will lend 800 financial institutions 529.5 billion euros ($712.2 billion) for 1,092 days. Economists predicted an allotment of 470 billion euros, according to the median of 28 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. In the ECB’s first three-year operation in December, 523 banks borrowed 489 billion euros.

So, basically, nearly twice as many banks are in trouble now as compared to just three months ago. This is bullish, right???!!!

“The astonishing number this time is the number of banks participating, which signals that a lot more small banks looked for the money and it is likely they will pass it on to the economy,” said Laurent Fransolet, head of fixed income strategy Barclays Capital in London, who estimates about 300 billion euros of the total is new lending. “So the impact may be bigger than with the first one.”

I'm not familiar with the quality and/or strength of the shit they smoke over there in London, but from the looks of things it appears to be potent enough. Let's take this bloke's comment to hear, "it is likely they will pass it on to the economy,” . Okay, now where do I begin? Exactly how much of first LTRO made it into the actual economy versus being hoarded by the banks? Is the "pass[ing] it on the the economy" the reason why there is now so much liquidity in European CRE? Here's a quick reminder of where I stand on this...

So, it's safe to say that all of those European REITs and real estate concerns with property mortgages coming up for renewal while underwater will definitively see most of that LTRO 2 money, right? Let's all take a deep breath and hold it as we wait for that one to happen. Ready? One... Two... Three...

What do you think, pray tell, happens when the liquidity starved, capital deprived, over leveraged banks fail to roll over all of that underwater Eu mortgage debt?

Slide21Slide21Slide21Slide21

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

Slide22

 

Reggie Middleton Featured in Property EU, one of Europes leading real estate publicatios

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.

Published in BoomBustBlog
Tuesday, 28 February 2012 10:46

Cascade is to Domino as Greece is to Portugal

In 2010 I penned a public post based upon subscriber research called Is Another Banking Crisis Inevitable. In it I presumed that serial and or cascading sovereign defaults will break the European banking system. Aside from calling me "Doom and Gloomer", has anyone really come close to proving me wrong? Short answer? Hell no!

/and in today's news...

Portugal PM Says Economy Behaving As Expected To Austerity

‎Troika officials are expected to give the thumbs up to Portugal's efforts, releasing about EUR15 billion to fulfill financing needs. Including that installment, Portugal will have received 70% of the bailout money since the program began mid-2011.

Pressure on Portugal's rescue program, however, has been growing amid fears the country won't be able to return to the market for financing in September next year as expected.

Last week, Citigroup said in a report that the recession should intensify over the next years, making the country's debt-to-GDP ratio increase more than expected and above the 120% the troika finds sustainable in the long term.

Therefore, Citi economists say, Portugal will require a Greek-like haircut of 50% of its debt.

Hmmm. More massive haircuts? I thought this Grecian move was the solution, not the problem. Then again, why should anyone else pay their bills if Greece is allowed not to pay theirs? Common sense, eh? From the Globe and Mail: "Portugal and Ireland will ask for a similar deal. Why wouldn't they?"

While it is not known whether Portugal has asked for equal treatment, Ireland was hunting for concessions even before Greece and the troika - the European Commission, the IMF and the ECB - confirmed Greece's second bailout after a 14-hour negotiating session that ended early Tuesday morning.

Ireland has been lobbying the ECB to cut the cost to the government of bailing out its banks, whose collapse triggered the Irish rescue.

"If the ECB are prepared to make this kind of concession to Greece, it would encourage me to think that they might be ready to make concessions on the promissory note to Ireland," Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said earlier this month.

The troika, however, has said that Greece's special treatment - notably the bond "haircut" - is a one-off event that was necessary to keep Greece from defaulting and potentially shredding the 17-country euro zone.

Offering the same terms to Portugal and Ireland is not on the table, if only for the sake of the stability of the bond market.

Well, I've warned about this last year and even went so far as to not only issue forensic reports on the banks, insurers and countries which I feel would be most affected, but have even offered downloadable models to allow subscribers (click here to subscribe) and even some of the free readers to calculate their own opinions. Reference the following models with their varying degrees of sophistication...

  1. BNP Exposures - Professional Subscriber Download Version - A full forensic look at both liquidity (funding sources vs liabilities) and solvency (writedowns)
  2. BNP Exposures - Retail Subscriber Download Version Calculates sovereign debt writedowns vs tangible equity
  3. BNP Exposures - Free Public Download Versionhot A freebie that definitely get's the job done.
As you can see from the screen shot below, just putting in today's writedowns, after effective recovery standing behind the ECB and the IMF (yeah, let's not forget to factor in reality), and not even bringing much into the discussion outside of the PIIGS debt, BNP still has a significant tangible equity hit. Now just imagine a cascading default which will assuredly go outside of the PIIGS confines and most definitely ding France something awful and you will find the equity slasher's blade will be bloody.
BNP_Equity_Slashed_by_Defaults
One place to look for pain in the cascading PIIGS default is France, as quoted last summer...

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 minimal) in share price! Most are down ~10% of more today, alone!

I also provided a very informative document for public consumption which clearly detailed exactly how this French bank collapse thing is likely to go down: File Icon French Bank Run Forensic Thoughts - pubic preview for Blog - A freebie, to illustrate what all of you non-subscribers are missing!

BNP Paribas

BoomBust BNP Paribas? as excerpted...

For those not familiar with the banking book vs trading book markdown game, I urge you to review this keynote presentation given in Amsterdam which predicted this very scenario, and reference the blog post and research of the same:

But wait, there's more - much more!

BNP_Paribus_First_Thoughts_4_Page_04

BNP_Paribus_First_Thoughts_4_Page_05

BNP_Paribus_First_Thoughts_4_Page_06

BNP_Paribus_First_Thoughts_4_Page_07

Next up on this topic, we will delve into BoomBustBlog subscriber documents to see who else is carrying exposure somehow overlooked by both the sell side and the MSM.

Published in BoomBustBlog