Next European Leg Down? First Failed ECB Monetization Sterilization, As Central Bank Has E13 Billion Shortfall In Bond Bids
Today, to little fanfare, the ECB managed to obtain just E60.8 billion in tender interest for its most recent 7 Day SMP "peripheral bond monetization" operation, whereby it needed at least E73.5 billion to be able to offload all of its cumulative acquired sovereign bonds to other financial institutions: a de facto sterilization, which is why the ECB has so far been claiming it is not monetizing debt (as it constantly rolls the held balance on other bank balance sheets). That is no more: following today, the ECB is left with just under E13 billion in sovereign holdings and thus are not sterilized. This development follows Monday's announcement, which was reported first on Zero Hedge, that the ECB acquired 100% more in peripheral bonds in the prior week compared to two weeks ago. Another notable development: the number of bidding banks participating in the tender operation dropped to just 41- the lowest since the inception of the program in May when Greece went tits up and all of Europe was supposed to bail each other out in perpetuity. And what is most disturbing is that this complete lack of interest (or telegraphed lack of bank liquidity) happened even as the marginal rate jumped by over 50%, from 0.6% to 1%- the same as the maximum rate allowed on an auction. Should banks not come back with tender takedown interest next week, this could very well be the catalyst for the next leg down in the European crisis. Because despite what ING economist Martin Van Vliet told Reuters, "It has happened before but I wouldn't make too much of a big deal out of it", we would make a big deal out of it, as this has actually not happened before. For confirmation that ING economists may want to take an Excel 101 chart, below is the buffer shortfall in every auction since the program's inception. As is all too obvious, this was the first one that missed by a mile.
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