European Central Bank
Greece, which owes €324 billion to the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and euro zone governments, faces a relentless debt payment schedule over the next few months.
There was once a time, perhaps, when unprecedented things happened only occasionally. In today’s financial markets, unprecedented things are commonplace. The Queen in Lewis Carroll’s ‘[Alice] Through the Looking-Glass’ would sometimes believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast. She is probably working in the bond markets now, where believing anything less than twelve impossible things before breakfast is for wimps.
Hence, if and when a genuine price for risk reappears, the effect may be greatly magnified as it was in the US housing market a few years back under not dissimilar circumstances. As Karl Popper noted, volatility can be suppressed in a capitalist system, but it must ultimately reappear. Sooner or later, we will face a good deal of fireworks.
In what seems like a coincidental retaliation for Greece's pivot to Russia (and following Greece's initiation of capital controls), the supposedly independent European Central Bank has decided suddenly that - after dishing out €74 billion of emergency liquidity to the Greek National Bank to fund its banks - as The NY Times reports, the value of the collateral that Greek banks post at their own central bank to secure these loans be reduced by as much as 50%, and the haircut scould increase if negotiations with Europe remain at an impasse. As we detailed earlier, this is about as worst-case-scenario for Greece as is 'diplomatically' possible currently, and highlights an increasingly hard line by The ECB toward The Greeks as the move will leave banks hard-pressed to survive.
Of course no two financial crashes ever look exactly the same. The crisis that we are moving toward is not going to be precisely like the crisis of 2008. But there are similarities and patterns that we can look for. Sadly, most people are not willing to learn from history. Even though it is glaringly apparent that we are in a historic financial bubble, most investors on Wall Street cannot see it because they do not want to see it. This next financial crisis will be strike number three. After this next crisis, there will never be a return to “normal” for the United States.
Mario Draghi said this week that the transmission channels for European Q€ were opening up and crowed how well his cunning plan was working (by well we assume he means stocks are up). Today we get the ultimate test of that 'transmission' as 3-Month EURIBOR fell below 0.00% for the first time ever (likely wreaking havoc on European derivative pricing models). In English that means banks are being paid to borrow from one another in the interbank money-markets (which sounds a lot like a 'glut' of excess cash) seemingly confirming ICMA's de Vidts fears: "We are scared about the [repo] market freezing," as the ECB is "driving without headlights in the dark." Of course this is yet another disturbing distortion on the heels of homeowners being paid to take out mortgages...
If and when Greece finally defaults it will be able to place the blame squarely at the feet of the European elites. If an agreement has not been reached by Friday when the Eurogroup of Finance Ministers meet in Riga it is quite likely that Greece will default.
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While conceding that a Greek exit from the euro would put everyone in “uncharted waters,” the ECB chief says he has the tools to combat contagion and as for shorting the euro, well, perhaps the best way to sum up Draghi’s position is to quote Clint Eastwood: “go ahead, make my day.”
The science of economics has taken a decidedly wrong turn sometime in the 1930s. In the field of monetary science specifically, sober analysis has given way to broad-based support of central economic planning, with both policy makers and their advisors seemingly trying to trump each other with ever more lunatic proposals.
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.
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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."