European Central Bank
A large number of European countries have effectively quarantined Greece in a bid to minimize the consequences on their credit systems in case of a Greek "accident." As ekathimerini reports, the actions are being taken in order to shield themselves and minimize the danger of contagion in case the negotiations between the Greek government and the eurozone do not bear fruit. This has sparked broad-based selling across global risk assets but particularly in Europe. Stocks from Germany to Spain are having their worst day of the year, European sovereign bond risk is exploding higher (contagion Mr. Schaeuble?), and Greek bank bonds and stocks are getting crushed.
- Euro zone bond yields sink to historic lows (Reuters)
- Clinton Foundation to Keep Foreign Donors (WSJ)
- Russia says U.S. forced it to act on Ukraine (Reuters)
- Bankers to China's Rescue (BBG)
- Saudi Arabia Adds Half a Bakken to Global Oil Market in a Month (BBG)
- Valuations of Hong Kong's stock market operator go interstellar (Reuters)
- Switzerland Attracts Fewer Firms as Politics Hurt Business Image (BBG)
March was a record month for CLO issuance with $15.2 billion in deals coming to market, bringing the YTD total to $29 billion and making Q1 2015 the best first quarter in history for CLO new issue volume. And while a JPM analyst who spoke to Bloomberg says managers “want to get deals done early before risk retention kicks in,” we're confident that it’s all about keeping credit flowing to deserving borrowers and not at all about a desire to keep exposure to 5% of a collateral pool littered with loans to “companies that are of lower credit quality or that do not have a third-party evaluation of the likelihood of timely payment of interest and repayment of principal” off of the books.
Stanley Druckenmiller, the man who achieved the impossible 30%+ annualized returns during more than 30-years period active trading career just gave an interview and shared his market views.
To think it was just recently in September of last year when the S&P, seemingly unaware of the tragic reality facing Greece in just a few months (by reality we meen democratic elections which overthrew the previous regime which was merely a group of Troika picked technocrats), upgraded Greece to B and said "The upgrade reflects our view that risks to fiscal consolidation in Greece have abated." Well, the risks have unabated, and two months after S&P flipflopped and downgraded Greece back to B- on February 6, moments ago it downgraded it again, this time to triple hooks, aka the dreaded CCC+. But, as City AM reports, the biggest news is that the Greek Finance Minister "will on Friday meet with infamous sovereign debt lawyer Lee Buchheit, who has helped numerous countries restructure their debt. Buchheit is a partner at top US law firm Cleary Gottlieb."
Berlin is drawing up contingency plans as Germany prepares for an increasingly likely Greek default, Zeit reports. The new plan purportedly is designed to prop up the Greek banking sector in the event Athens misses a payment, but it's contingent upon the Syriza government acting less "taxi-driver-ish" at the reform negotiating table. In the event Greece will not cooperate, Germany is prepared to let them go but Brussels will help "facilitate" the transition to the drachma (that currency Goldman recently said the country "can't just print").
"Fu$k the Fundamentals!": Negative Rates In EU Will Absolutely Wreck the Very System the ECB Sought to SaveSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 04/14/2015 12:09 -0400
The dude that called the Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis in 2010 is making it clear that the ECB is playing with fire, but will never admit it's getting burned.
Update: as always is the case in Europe, nothing is confirmed until it is officially denied by officials, so here you go: GREEK GOVT OFFICIAL DENIES FT REPORT GREECE PLANNING DEFAULT
It should hardly come as a surprise that after the latest round of Greek pre-negotiation negotiations with the Troika, in which the Greek representative was said to behave like a taxi driver, who "just asked where the money was and insisted his country would soon be bankrupt" and in which the Eurozone members "were disappointed and shocked at Athens' lack of movement in its plans, and in particular its reluctance to talk about cutting civil servants' pensions" that the next Greek step is to fall back - yet again - to square zero: threats of an imminent default. Which is precisely what, according to the FT, has happened "Greece is preparing to take the dramatic step of declaring a debt default unless it can reach a deal with its international creditors by the end of April."
- Nikkei tops 20,000, Europe hits 15-year high (Reuters)
- GE to sell real estate holdings, sets $50 billion share buyback (Reuters)
- Iran’s Middle Class Plans for Life After a Deal (BBG)
- Walgreens to Close 200 Stores as It Expands Cost Cuts (WSJ)
- Hillary Clinton expected to announce presidential run as soon as this weekend (Reuters)
- It will cost $1.5 billion to keep Deutsche Bank Libor Manipulators out of prison (USA Today)
- Police Cameras Bring Problems of Their Own (WSJ)
- Obama says concerned China bullying others in South China Sea (Reuters)
- Investors Revive Appetite for Asian Junk Bonds (WSJ)
As was largely expected, in the first monthly report of ECB Q€ purchases in which the European central bank reported a total of €47.4 billion in purchases, the one country with the largest proportional allottment was Germany, whose €11.1 billion in bond purchases represented a 23.4% of the total monthly purchase. This is somewhat less than the mandated capital key allottment to Germany, which as a reminder, is at 26%, however the remaining balance is where the €5.7 billion in supernational purchases came in.
Greek Minister Slams Troika's "Unbelievable Prejudice" As EU Proclaims Tsipras' Government "Cannot Survive"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/06/2015 08:58 -0400
The rhetoric, threats, and promises continue to increase as Greece, its international creditors (i.e. Troika), and its potential pivot partners from Russia to China to Iran all vie for attention. With EU officials proclaiming "[the Greek] government cannot survive," suggesting Tsipras divorce himself from the extreme left of his party; and with 68% of Europeans polled believing Greece is a drag on the EU economy, Greece's last best hope perhaps remains with a pivot to another Troika (Russia, China, and Iran) as energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis denounced Greece’s international creditors for treating the country with "unbelievable prejudice and as a colony." This all on the day when FinMin Varoufakis 'promises' Christine Lagarde that Greece will repay its IMF loan on April 9th (somehow?).
The swell of anti-Russian propaganda, confrontation and attempted intimidation by NATO has increased, and if it continues to do so it is likely that Moscow will take action, thereby upping the stakes and the danger even more. It is time that NATO’s nations came to terms with the reality that Russia is a major international power with legitimate interests in its own region. Moscow is not going to bow the knee in the face of immature threats by sabre-rattling US generals and their swaggering acolytes. It is time for NATO to forge ties rather than destroy them — and to build bridges rather than glitzy office blocks.
Germany has been kind enough to provide an idea where the foundering Greek "radical leftist" government can find some additional funds: by freezing and raiding the bank accounts of wealthy Greeks. Of course, the legal loophole provision is that only those suspected (not convicted) of tax fraud would be eligible for such an asset freeze, however since in Greece virtually nobody pays the amount of tax they should, this is essentially a carte blanche to freeze and raid the funds of the wealthiest Greeks who have bank accounts in Germany (and soon in all other European nations) no questions asked.
At its core, currency manipulation is any intentional intervention that results in an undervalued currency and a substantial current-account surplus – exactly what the ECB is doing. If the ECB maintains this policy for an extended period, tension with the US is all but inevitable – tension that may obstruct the TTIP’s approval by the US Congress or hinder the treaty’s actual operation, resulting in its deterioration or termination. This runs counter to the popular view, which drove the eurozone’s creation, that Europe needs a single currency to compete with large economies like the US, China, and India.