As of this morning China has migrated from a purely symbolic European White Knight to an actual one. While overnight trading action was set to recreate the panic from September 15, 2008, suddenly something changed. That something? China. Per Dow Jones: "Bunds give up nearly all of Tuesday's early gains with the September contract just 12 ticks higher on the day at 129.26 after making a spike at 130.91, a gain of 177 ticks from the open. The latest, unconfirmed, rumor pushing bunds lower is that China is behind the supposed ECB enquiries for peripheral debt prices. As yet no official confirmation from market sources of any central bank buying. In the cash space, the 2-year yields 1.235% and the 10-year 2.65%." As China has been actively buying up EURs over the past two months and is now massively underwater on a cost position that may be in the hundreds, but is certainly in the tens of billions of dollars, the ongoing collapse in the EUR currency will now force the PBOC to resort to increasingly more drastic measures to protect its strategic investment. The irony of this is that the Swiss National Bank, which this morning had to watch in horror as the EURCHF plummeted to 1.15 and for the longest time has been fighting the Fed (which loves a strong EUR) has been joined by the PBOC, which is now also trading on its behalf. The First Central Bank War is now officially on.
And some other observations on why nothing can prevent the rout, since the euro zone is now actively contemplating a Greek bankruptcy:
The euro zone acknowledged for the first time some form of Greek default may be needed to cut Athens' debts, but markets seized on the lack of a deadline for action and a lukewarm response from the IMF to heap pressure on Italy and Spain.
Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager said on Tuesday euro zone finance ministers had effectively accepted that if they wanted to have the private sector involved in a second bailout of Greece, a selective debt default was likely, despite the European Central Bank's vehement opposition to such a move.
"We have managed to break the knot, a very difficult knot," he told reporters as he arrived for a second day of talks.
Asked about whether a selective default was now likely, he replied: "It is not excluded any more. Obviously the European Central Bank has stated in the statement that it did stick to its position, but the 17 (euro zone) ministers did not exclude it any more so we have more options, a broader scope."
Participants said both a buy-back of Greek debt on the secondary market and a German proposal for a bond swap for longer maturities were under consideration after a complex French plan to roll over bonds made no headway.
Both would likely be regarded by ratings agencies as a default, or at best a selective default, which could have profound repercussions for financial markets.
The lack of immediate action and the increased likelihood of some form of default sent European bank stocks and debt markets into a spin and propelled the euro sharply lower against the dollar.
h/t London Dude