"Millions of people in ex-Communist Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Serbia and Romania have deposits in banks owned by Greek lenders, putting this corner of south-eastern Europe in the frontline if there is contagion from the Greek crisis."
Earlier today, as the exchange between Greece and its creditors got increasingly belligerent, Estonian Prime Minister Taavi said that "Greece’s debt would still remain outstanding and creditors would expect this money back." So did this latest antagonism change the Greek mind? According to a flash headline by the WSJ released moments ago, not all. In fact, Greece just made it official that it would default to the IMF in just over 24 hours: "Greece won't pay IMF tranche due Tuesday, government official says"
Late Friday night a solid blow was struck for sound money, free markets and limited government by a most unlikely force. Namely, the hard core statist and crypto-Marxist prime minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras. He has now set in motion a cascade of disruption that will shake the corrupt status quo to its very foundations.
Four months after the UK opened the membership floodgates and dealt Washington a humiliating political blow, China has officially launched the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
It’s all so very 1914-ish. Draghi’s cap on bank-supporting Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) is the modern day equivalent of Czar Nicholas II’s troop mobilization. Good luck walking that back.
Having concluded last night that Puerto Rico debt is "unpayable," and that his government could not continue to borrow money to address budget deficits while asking its residents, already struggling with high rates of poverty and crime, to shoulder most of the burden through tax increases and pension cuts, Padilla confirmed tonight that: PUERTO RICO TO SEEK "NEGOTIATED MORATORIUM", 'YEARS' OF POSTPONEMENT IN DEBT PAYMENTS. Likening his state's situation to that of Detroit and New York City (though not Greece), Padilla concluded, the economic situation is "extremely difficult," which is odd because just a few years ago when they issued that bond - everything was awesome?
Having told the citizens of Greece that the European leaders will not kick them out of Europe because "the cost of throwing them out is too high, enormous," it appears Greek PM Tspiras has another plan to ensure - no matter what the outcome of the forthcoming referendum - that there is no actual Grexit. As The Telegraph reports, Greece has threatened to seek a court injunction against the EU institutions, saying "we are taking advice and will certainly consider an injunction at the European Court of Justice. The EU treaties make no provision for euro exit and we refuse to accept it. Our membership is not negotiable."
On Wall Street, a vital skill is the ability to sell something that you know is completely worthless. Goldman Sachs did it when it sold ABACUS 2007-AC1 to investors while hedge fund manager John Paulson was betting against it. Paulson paid Goldman $15 million to peddle this junk, which was a collateralized debt obligation that would make money when millions of people lost their homes. The SEC charged Goldman with fraud, and they eventually settled for $550 million. If you're an enterprising Wall Streeter who wants to make a name for himself without breaking the rules, you can operate a tantalizing scheme that investors can't resist. It's called Shubik's Dollar Auction.
Spin revolving door, spin...
Whether, or not, a Greek exit from the Eurozone or a potential debt default is "the thing" that sparks the next major correction in the markets is unknown. Historically, such a widely "known" event is generally already factored into the markets and has much less of an impact when that event eventually comes to fruition. As Art Cashin suggested this morning: "I think China may be more important than Greece. Stick with the drill – stay wary, alert and very, very nimble."
It seems Goldman Sachs' conspiracy theory was right all along...
ECB'S COEURE SAYS ECB IS EVEN READY TO USE NEW INSTRUMENTS, WITHIN ITS MANDATE
GREECE COULD EXIT EURO, COEURE SAYS IN LES ECHOS INTERVIEW
This is exactly what The ECB wanted all along (and their leaders overlords) - all they needed was an 'excuse'. Or, in the parlance of Rahm Emanuel's times, "Let no Greek default crisis go to QE waste."
Because the central government is ultimately responsible for guaranteeing local government debt, and because yields on the new muni bonds are so close to those on treasurys, the newly issued local government bonds are really just treasury bonds, meaning that, in essence, the supply of Chinese government bonds is set to jump by CNY2 trillion in the coming months. If all of the local government debt ends up being refinanced, the end result will be the equivalent on CNY20 trillion in additional treasury supply.
The unanticipated recent Greek political news flow and consequent market stress are addressed in our portfolio construction by the resilience we built into higher volatility scenarios and unexpected sources of turbulence. Indeed, the risk is not so much Greece but the structural illiquidity of the market which will exacerbate any moves up or down which should be part of the equation.