We heard from several central banks in the last few days, and what they had to say was just one more reminder that we are in a Hill Street Blues financial world. So, hey, let’s be careful out there - and then some!
So if you were sitting then in the turmoil of the economic upheaval and had to get on the phone to the one person that was likely to get you through the mortgage rates hikes and the jobless rates or the spiraling debt and inflationary pressure, then who would you immediately think of?
It feels like not a single soul is worried about the increasing amount of negative interest rates around the world. Ignorance or indifference?
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.
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."
"We believe such a scenario would have the potential to 'burst the corporate bond bubble' as bond yields would rise with inflation, corporate confidence would run high and a releveraging/deterioration in credit metrics would materialise resulting in bond fund outflows. The lack of liquidity in corporate bond markets would make the process particularly painful," UBS says, reiterating the perilousness of a secondary market lacking ample liquidity amid voracious investor demand for new issuance.
Our current faith in central banks' ability to "make the economy all better, all the time" is horrendously misplaced.
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
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.
"I'm not sure [European QE] is going to do anything - certainly, nothing that's good. The fundamental problem here, as I see it anyway, is that the European banking system is still broken... I think, increasingly, bankers are discomforted more than anything else (it's not just the ex central bankers but increasingly the people that are still holding the levers)... they are starting to ask whether they have somehow been backed into a place where they don't really want to be.... Unfortunately, [it] is getting bigger and bigger. There is a possibility at least that this whole exercise could end very badly."
In light of the social and economic devolution of the world, it should hardly come as a surprise that as SocGen attempts to quantify the biggest Black Swans risks (and hopes) of 2015 (yes, a foolish endeavor since nobody can actually envision what a black swan may be, by its very definition an event that was predicted by no one), it notes that "political and financial risks now outnumber real economy risks."
"I was having lunch with a very dear friend of mine yesterday, who is also a very successful financial planner and advisor, who stunned me with an obvious question: 'Has the dumb money become the smart money?'"
Debt, Distraction, Currency Wars, Itchy Fingers
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.