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.
Last year Austria's largest bank, Erste Bank, sent shudders of Credit Anstalt through the European Banking System. This year it is Austria's 3rd largest bank that is scaring investors senseless. On the heels of the Swiss National Bank's decision to un-peg from the Euro, Raiffeisen Bank's Swiss-Franc-Denominated mortgage worries have resurfaced (along with Russian/Ukraine writedowns) and nowhere is that more evident than the total collapse of the bank's bonds (from over 95c to 65c today). Even after the ECB Q€ (and some apparent intervention to weaken the Swissy) bonds kept free-falling. Perhaps, The Freedom Party's demands for a bailout will grow louder as the contagion concerns across Europe's banking system explode...
Despite the authorities' best efforts to keep everything orderly, we know how this global Game of Geopolitical Tetris ends: "Players lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the Tetriminos stack up to the top of the playing field. This is commonly referred to as topping out."
"I’m tired of being outraged!"
Europe's banks are vulnerable in 2015 due to weak macroeconomic conditions, unfinished regulatory hurdles and the risk of bail-ins according to credit rating agencies ... Oh what a tangled web, we weave ...
And just like that, the Ebola panic is back front and center, because after one week of the west African pandemic gradually disappearing from front page coverage and dropping out of sight and out of mind, suddenly Ebola has struck at global ground zero. While the consequences are unpredictable at this point, and a "follow through" infection will only set the fear level back to orange, we applaud whichever central bank has been buying futures (and the USDJPY) because they clearly are betting that despite the first ever case of Ebola in New York, that this will not result in a surge in Ebola scare stories, which as we showed a few days ago, may well have been the primary catalyst for the market freakout in the past month.
130 banks are being tested. 12-18 will fail. And on top of that, almost a third of 130, that’s over 40, will pass while still getting their feet wet. That means anywhere between 40% and 44% of Eurozone banks either fail or are in bad shape. If 40% of your banks are either dead in the water or barely floating, I’d say you have a major problem. We all know our world, be it politics or economics, consists almost exclusively of spin these days, but in the face of these numbers we very much wonder how many people will be willing to bet their own money that Europe can get away with another round of moonsmoke and roses come Monday.
Who are they trying to fool? (again)
- Russia Loses Oil Ally in De Margerie After Moscow Crash (BBG)
- Austria's Erste denies report it has failed stress tests (Reuters)
- Sweden gets two new sightings, as hunt for undersea intruder goes on (Reuters)
- Companies Try to Escape Health Law’s Penalties (WSJ)
- Mud and Loathing on Russia-Ukraine Border (BBG)
- NOAA employee charged with stealing U.S. dam information (Reuters)
- Lower Oil Prices Seen Easing Japan’s Trade Pain (WSJ)
- Michigan becomes 5th U.S. state to thwart direct Tesla car sales (Reuters)
- Maglev Train Seen Making Washington-to-Baltimore Trip at 311 MPH (BBG)
Equity Levitation Stumbles After Second ECB Denial Of Corporate Bond Buying, Report Of 11 Stress Test FailuresSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/22/2014 05:57 -0500
If the ultimate goal of yesterday's leak was to push the EUR lower (and stocks higher of course), then the reason why today's second rejection did little to rebound the Euro is because once again, just after Europe's open, Spanish Efe newswire reported that 11 banks from 6 European countries had failed the ECB stress test. Specifically, Efe said Erste, along with banks from Italy, Belgium, Cyprus, Portugal and Greece, had failed the ECB review based on preliminary data, but gave no details of the size of the capital holes at the banks.
Physical gold is migrating to the East (Russia, China) and, with it, power and influence. We see it with China and Russia progressively imposing their will, building consensus with a great many countries that wish to end American domination made possible by their capacity (privilege) of issuing the world reserve currency. The saying, “He who holds the (physical) gold makes the rules”, is truer than ever. The announcement of the creation of the BRICs development bank is just the first cornerstone in the new international monetary edifice. All we have to wait for is the first official announcement from the East of a new means of settlement of commercial trade based on one or more tangible assets, with gold. Afterwards, logically, an announcement of the convertibility of certain currencies into gold, or even the creation of a new currency that would be convertible to gold, should be made.
The problem for the ECB, of course, is that Espirito Santo and Erste are not isolated incidents, any more than Laiki and Fortis and Anglo Irish and WestLB and BMPS and... should we go on? ...were isolated incidents. "...with apologies to Lewis Carroll, here’s the choice facing our modern-day Alice (Mario Draghi) – does (s)he sing a lullaby that keeps the Red King (investors) sleeping for a few more years, albeit at the cost of drinking a terrible potion that will turn her into a hideous giant... or does she let the Red King wake up, shattering the dream and risking the existence of everything, herself included, but preserving the story of her beautiful face and form?" If we were betting men (and we are), we’d wager on Draghi drinking the potion and keeping the dream alive, no matter how complicit it makes him in preserving a very ugly and very politically-driven status quo. But there’s a non-trivial chance that it’s just too much to swallow...
Ever since 2012, when we first revealed that the biggest problem plaguing Europe's financial sector is the $2 trillion+ in bad debt on the books of European banks (not our numbers, the IMF's), it became clear that the only way Europe can avoid a complete financial meltdown coupled with currency disintegration, is if it can constantly keep rolling over said bad debt (obviously the only way to do that would be to create an epic debt bubble leading managers of other people's money to do idiotic things like buy Spanish debt at 2.75%). This is why not only the BOJ launched its mega QE in 2013, but why Draghi also kicked in with NIRP a month ago: the logic - do anything and everything to reflate the biggest credit bubble possible as otherwise European banks will have no choice but to face up to their trillions in bad loans.
It appears concerns over Erste Bank are reducing investor risk appetites in Europe despite Draghi's promise to catch every falling knife forever... EuroStoxx Banks closed down over 2% - their biggest drop in 7 weeks. This led to broad weaknes across European stocks (down 0.5% and closing at their lows led by Spain and Italy; and late weakness in Sweden's OMX). Peripheral bond spreads nudged wider. Perhaps most notably the European financial credit spreads widened modestly but remain dramatically disconnected to financial stocks.
July 4th may be a US national holiday, which means the S&P 500 won't hit a record high on good news and a recorder high on bad, but judging by global trading volumes - already abysmal heading into today - one may as well give the entire world a day off. However, for now, global equities have come off the impressive, and curiously schizophrenic US-data inspired gains of yesterday which sent the DJIA over 17,000 yet which has resulted in an almost unchanged 10Y Treasury print since before the NFP release. Once again bonds and stocks agree to disagree.
Meet XKeyscore - "a computer network exploitation system", as described in an NSA presentation, devoted to gathering "nearly everything a user does on the internet." The German site Das Erste has exposed the shocking truth about the rules used by the NSA to decide who is a "target" for surveillance. While the NSA claims to only "target" a small fraction of internet users, the perhaps unsurprising truth is very different. As Boing Boing concludes, one expert suggested that the NSA's intention here was to separate the sheep from the goats -- to split the entire population of the Internet into "people who have the technical know-how to be private" and "people who don't" and then capture all the communications from the first group.