We view the proposed restructuring as one that would amount to a "distressed exchange" under our criteria because, based on public statements by European policymakers, the debt exchange or rollover is likely to result in losses for commercial creditors, and the objective of the debt exchange/rollover is to reduce the risk of a near-term debt payment default. Under our criteria, we characterize a distressed borrower as one that would--in the absence of debt relief--fail to pay its debt on time and in full. While no exact date has been announced to initiate Greece's debt restructuring, we understand that it will commence in September 2011 at the earliest. Our recovery rating of '4' for Greece remains unchanged, indicating an estimated 30%-50% recovery of principal by bondholders.
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As anyone who follows the restructuring process (and religiously reads debtwire) will tell you, the first sign of smoke is when a creditor retain legal bankruptcy counsel, promptly followed by financial, which in turn, or at least 95% of the time, leads to a dropping off of bankruptcy docs at the local bankruptcy court, or Southern New York. And where there's smoke, there's Alabama fire. According to blog al.com, the Jefferson County Commission has just retained the services (at $975/hour) of Ken Klee, of LA-based Klee Tuchin, best known for advising Orange County on its Chapter 9 filing back in 1994. And with this the probability that Jefferson County will conclude that the time to file its own Chapter 9 in two days, is virtually a certainty (and sorry, no bankruptcy lawyer will advise his clients not to file for bankruptcy. Hourly retainer, remember?). And with the US debt situation still unlikely to be resolved within 48 hours, the last thing the market needs is to worry not only what known on effects this mega-municipal bankruptcy case will end up generating, but who else will file after. That said, we are confident the market will surge even more as it digests these news. Why? Two words: Bernanke Put.
Greece Is Fulfilling Our Predictions Of Default Precisely As Predicted Well Over A Year Ago - Yet EU States Are Still UnpreparedSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 07/25/2011 11:18 -0500
You know, it's downright frightening how clearly this was able to be anticipated well over a year ago, yet it appears as if the EU politicking behind the bailout bonanza STILL leads down the road to perdition.
Only now, after three years of roller coaster markets, epic debates, and gnashing of teeth, are mainstream financial pundits finally starting to get it. At least some of them, anyway. Precious metals have continued to perform relentlessly since 2008, crushing all naysayer predictions and defying all the musings of so called “experts”, while at the same time maintaining and protecting the investment savings of those people smart enough to jump on the train while prices were at historic lows (historic as in ‘the past 5000 years’)....Those who instead listened to the alternative media from 2007 on have now tripled the value of their investments, and are likely to double them yet again in the coming months as PM’s and other commodities continue to outperform paper securities and stocks. After enduring so much hardship, criticism, and grief over our positions on gold and silver, it’s about time for us to say “we told you so”. Not to gloat (ok, maybe a little), but to solidify the necessity of metals investment for every American today. Yes, we were right, the skeptics were wrong, and they continue to be wrong. Even now, with gold surpassing the $1600 an ounce mark, and silver edging back towards its $50 per ounce highs, there is still time for those who missed the boat to shield their nest eggs from expanding economic insanity. The fact is, precious metals values are nowhere near their peak. Here are some reasons why…
The debt ceiling debate that has dominated the headlines over the past month has been thoroughly infused with a string of unfortunate misconceptions and a number of blatant deceptions. As a result, the entire process has been mostly hot air. While a recitation of all the errors would be better attempted by a novelist rather than a weekly columnist, I’ll offer my short list.
Considering how enormous the U.S. debt load currently is (roughly $14.5 Tn), higher interest rates would add a crippling burden to an already high burden.
Here is my take on the Greek "bailout" and what it means for the rest of us...
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Proof That Europe Is Primed For A Lehman Brothers-Style Bank Bust, But Likely On A Much Larger Scale!!!Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 07/21/2011 12:24 -0500
Recent history shows us what happens when you borrow short and lend long against assets that have been halved in value, hasn't it? Guess who hasn't been to (very recent) history class...
For what it's worth, and probably not much, here is Goldman's Francisco Garzarelli on why it is "Decision Time or bust" for Europe. With the just commenced summit, the market has very high expectations of a favorable outcome. Should the proposed resolution end up being disappointing, and it likely will upon a close read between the lines as it can not possibly be anything more than merely another can kicking exercise, look for the EUR to tumble after this final relief rally. From GS: "We said at the start of the week that Euro-zone bond markets would be volatile, caught between attractive valuations and expectations of a deal, and the uncertainties surrounding PSI. On light flows, some of the sell-off has reversed over the past 48 hours. If our baseline case above plays out, we would expect more upside and almost all of the widening in intra-EMU spreads seen since Moody’s downgrade of Portugal could be corrected. We doubt we will see more upside than that, at least for a while. It will take some time for the new policies to be articulated and implemented, and all decisions taken today will need to be put before national Parliaments, probably at the start of September. Moreover, concerns over the pace of global growth remain in the background weighing on weaker borrowers. Last but not least, investors have been heavily affected by recent events and thus may want to reduce risk in a recovering market."
Economics Professor: "[We’ll Have] a Never-Ending Depression Unless We Repudiate the Debt, Which Never Should Have Been Extended In The First Place"Submitted by George Washington on 07/20/2011 11:01 -0500
There's regular debt honestly incurred - which people shouldn't be deadbeats on. We should be responsible and repay our debts! Tut then there's "odious" debt ... a different animal altogether
While we politely disagree with David Rosenberg on what is the ultimate flight to safety "security" (in our insolvent day and age perhaps the very word at the heart of capital markets needs to be changed), with him believing in bonds, predicated by a fear of an eventual deflationary crunch, while we ignore any instrument that is used a policy tool by the central planners and instead prefer precious metals, we always are impressed by his ability to synthesize reality in a few succinct bullet points (even if according to Eni's Recchi itself is irrelevant after saying that "Italy’s bond yields don’t reflect reality"). That is most certainly the case today when in his latest Breakfast with Dave letter to clients, Rosie summarizes the 7 reasons why "we should be worried."
The picture portrayed by last week’s EBA’s stress test results on the European banks failed to re-ignite appetite for risk today, as many market participants questioned the validity of the tests, which ignored a potential Greek default scenario. Moreover, markets remained apprehensive about any concrete outcome from the Eurozone leaders’ summit this Thursday, and together with concern surrounding the successful passage of a raft of supply from Eurozone countries, such as Spain, later this week promoted risk-aversion. This prompted European equities to trade under pressure, led by financials, whereas marginal widening was observed in the Eurozone peripheral 10-year government bond yield spreads. Elsewhere, strength in the USD-index weighed upon EUR/USD, GBP/USD, and commodity-linked currencies. Moving into the North American open, the economic calendar remains thin, however the TIC flows data and NAHB housing market report from the US are due later in the session. Markets also look ahead to corporate earning results from IBM, whereas in fixed-income, French T-Bill auctions are scheduled for later.
Why The Latest European Bailout, Aka "The Debt Buyback" Plan Is Also DOA, And Why The CDO At The Heart Of The Eurozone Is About To Become Extremely ToxicSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/17/2011 19:26 -0500
Over time many have wondered why the ECB, in order to "extend and pretend", does not simply do an episode of QE and monetize bonds outright? Well, in addition to Germany's flashbacks to hyperinflation which have so far kept Trichet from pursuing an all too aggressive bond buyback program in the primary market, the ECB does have the Securities Market Programme (SMP) which however since inception has bought only €74 billion (this week the number is expected to rise, or, if it doesn't, it confirms that now China is directly buying European bonds in the secondary market). The problem with the SMP is that it was conceived as a modest marginal debt buying program, never intended to surpass much more than a few dozen billion in debt. Alas, by now it is becoming all too clear that the ECB will need to monetize hundreds of billions of insolvent PIIGS debt in order to extend and pretend forcefully enough so that a new bailout is not needed every other week. But how to do it without monetizing debt on the ECB's books? Enter the EFSF, or the off-balance sheet CDO "at the heart of the eurozone" which according to the latest iteration of the European rescue package (Remember that most recent DOA plan to rollover debt? Yep - that's dead) is precisely the mechanism by which Europe's own open market QE is about to take place. "European Central Bank Executive Board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi suggested the EFSF be allowed to provide funds for a buy-back of bonds from the market, where prices have in some cases fallen 50 percent from levels at which the debt was issued. "This would allow the private sector to sell bonds at market prices, which are currently below nominal value. At the same time, the public sector could benefit monetarily," Bini Smaghi told Sunday's To Vima newspaper in an interview." Translated: another market clearing perversion courtesy of the same structured finance abominations that brought us here. The problem, unfortunately, is that Moody's announced nearly two and a half years ago that the whole distressed debt buyback approach is... a dead end, and will lead to the same "event of default" outcome that all the prior bailout plans would have achieved as well (we correctly surmised that Bailout #2 was DOA, about a month before the "efficient" market did). Here is why.