With each passing year the currency fell in value to ever more absurd depths until by November 1923 an ounce of gold - which had cost 170 Marks only five years previously - was trading at 87,000,000,000,000 Marks per ounce. Silver saw similar price gains (see chart) - or rather to put it more accurately silver too remained a store of value and maintained purchasing power as the currency collapsed.
Amid tense negotiations between Greek PM Tsipras, the IMF, and EU creditors, some officials say the chances of an agreement have increased materially since Yanis Varoufakis was sidelined after infuriating his eurozone counterparts in Riga last month. Now, just when there appeared to be some hope that Athens may avert a catastrophic default, Varoufakis has reportedly distributed a new "blueprint" for Greece that has little in common with the plan advanced by the country's reshuffled negotiating team.
According to Bloomberg, the Greek government is €400 million short of the amount needed for payment of pensions and salaries this month, citing a Kathimerini report. Surprisingly, this takes place even as Greece’s IKA, OGA pension funds have been informed by the government that amount needed for payment of pensions will be deposited today, while the Greece’s OAEE pension fund has said payment of pensions won’t be a problem. In other words, someone is not telling the truth: either there is enough money or there isn't. And if the latter case is valid, then either the government or the pensions are now openly lying to the population.
Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling has said repeatedly that the Austrian government isn’t liable to cover Carinthia’s guarantees." Herr Schelling's warning is about to be tested. Yesterday, Carinthia officially asked Vienna for financial support. The spokeswoman said Carinthia would run out of money in June without help, confirming local media reports. No Austrian province has ever gone bankrupt and there is no legislation on how to handle such an event.
Here we are, just barely into our first earnings season without the incessantly added fuel provided by QE and the markets are stumbling. At times on Friday the indexes were hovering near the possibility of posting 2% losses going into the weekend. In today’s media mindset of “everything is awesome.” That’s near – unthinkable. No Fed speaker saved the day; no HFT-induced ramp came to the rescue... Maybe it’s because all ammo (and there has been no silver bullet more powerful of late than a Central Banker press conference) is being reserved for a much larger crisis looming on the horizon (i.e. Greece and all its tenuous implications calling for an “All hands on
printing presses deck, battle stations” response).
Confidence in the system likely hangs by a much thinner thread than is currently widely perceived. Since “risk asset” prices are soaring in much of Europe, the underlying currents of suspicion are well masked, but that certainly doesn’t mean they don’t exist. While we believe that central bank and regulatory interventions in the market are a major reason why so many bond yields have dropped into negative territory, the role played by distrust in the banking system is probably quite large as well – a suspicion that seems to be confirmed by the strength of the euro-denominated gold price.
In a critical disclosure this past Friday which quietly flew under everyone's radar, the Bundesbank director responsible for bank supervision, Andreas Dombret, who is also a member of the board of the European Central Bank’s Single Supervisory Mechanism told Bloomberg in an interview in Johannesburg that "German banks should expect to lose at least half of their investments in bonds of Austrian bad bank Heta Asset Resolution AG and make the appropriate provisions... I think this situation has to be taken seriously by the German banks... if I were to put a number on this I would say it should be a minimum of a 50 percent provision for potential losses."
Emergency legislation can be drawn up over-night. While Austria may be the first in enacting bail-in legislation there is no guarantee that savers, particularly in the peripheral nations, will receive any indication that their deposits may be at risk.
While we wait to see which “well capitalized” bank will be the next to crumble under the weight of mountainous writedowns occasioned by the sudden souring of “riskless” assets, we get to read the DuesselHyp post-mortem, which shows that the bank was effectively AIG’d by Eurex.
"A relatively low-profile entity in Austria – Pfandbriefbank Oesterreich AG (Pfandbriefbank) – is becoming the next critical chapter in the Austrian banking system story." - Daiwa
While the euro itself has recovered a bit from its worst levels in recent sessions, euro basis swaps have fallen deeper into negative territory on par with the epic nosedive of 2011. We are not quite sure what the move means this time around, since there is no obvious crisis situation – not yet, anyway. A negative FX basis usually indicates some sort of concern over the banking system’s creditworthiness and has historically been associated with euro area banks experiencing problems in obtaining dollar funding. This time, the move in basis swaps is happening “quietly”, as there are no reports in the media indicating that anything might be amiss. Still, something is apparently amiss...
Doing what it does best, a month after the fact and long after the black swans have left the stable so to say, Mario Draghi's ECB has finally asked Eurozone banks "to detail their exposure to Austria and provisions they plan to make after the country halted debt repayments by a "bad bank" winding down defunct lender Hypo Alpe Adria," financial sources told Reuters.
Italian Bad Debt Hits Record $197 Billion As Bank Lending Contracts For Unprecedented 33 Consecutive MonthsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/16/2015 13:53 -0400
For the third largest issuer of sovereign bonds in the world, Italy - the country all eyes will focus on once Greece and/or Spain exit the Eurozone - when it comes to NPLs things are going from bad to worse because as Reuters reported earlier, citing ABI, gross bad loans at Italian lenders continued to rise, totalling 185.5 billion euros ($196.5 billion) in January from 183.7 billion euros a month earlier.As the chart below shows, Italy now has over 10% of its GDP in the form of bad debt. And just as bad, even as NPLs rose, total debt issuance contracted once more, lending to families and businesses decreased 1.4 percent year-on-year in February, the 33rd consecutive monthly fall.
It started off as the perfect storm for futures: after Sunday night's latest plunge in WTI, which saw it drop to the lowest price since Lehman, the double whammy that has now forced Deutsche Bank to become the first major institution to forecast no growth for S&P500 EPS in 2015, namely the strong dollar, reared its ugly head and the EURUSD seemed dangerouly close to breaching the all important 1.04-1.05 support level we first noted last week. However, overnight parties tasked with preserving "financial stability" appear to have once again stepped in, and not only has the EURUSD rebounded off 1.05, but crude is now just barely down from the Friday close as all firepower is put to the same use, that sent the Shanghai Composite soaring by 2.3% overnight, and which sent the Dax over 12,000 for the first time ever.
The Austrian Black Swan Claims Its First Foreign Casualty: German Duesselhyp Collapses, To Be Bailed OutSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/16/2015 06:13 -0400
Moments ago we got confirmation that the next domino from the appearance of the Austrian black swan has tipped over, following a Reuters report that Germany's deposit protection fund will take over the property lender Duesseldorfer Hypothekenbank AG (DuesselHyp), which has "run into problems" due to its exposure to Austrian lender Hypo Alpe Adria's "bad bank" Heta.