European Central Bank

ECB Releases Collateral Schedule, Announces Will No Longer Accept Non-Euro Denominated Collateral

The ECB just disclosed that it will continue accepting sub-A rated debt as collateral post January 1, 2011, as was widely speculated, merely to facilitiate funding needs of countries which are getting increasingly lower-rated by the rating agencies. Furthermore, the ECB has made it clear that this whole exercise is merely for optical purposes: "The new haircuts will not imply an undue decrease in the collateral available to counterparties." What is notable, however, is that the ECB has highlighted it will no longer accept non euro-denominated collateral after 2010. This is not good for countries which plan on syndicating dollar-denominated debt, as has been recently the case for Portugal, and, currently, Greece. Although in Greece's case we tend to think the country doesn't give a rat's behind about whether new issuance will be eligible, andis much more focused on just avoiding default.

Four Largest Greek Banks Ask For Aid As Funding Crisis Becomes Full-Blown Liquidity Fiasco, Bundesbank Gets Cold Feet Over Bailout

Here is the latest on the Greek collapse, straight from Reuters: "Greek banks have asked for access to the remaining part of a 28 billion euro state support package, highlighting pressure on the sector from the country's recession and spiralling borrowing costs." So take €17 billion in immediate liquidity needs and couple this with the outflow of deposits, which we have been pounding the table on since February: "Data also showed Greek bank deposits had fallen 8.4 billion euros, or 3.6 percent of the total, since December." Add to this the unsustainable yield (and at this point financial and corporate) curve which is indicative of endgame, and you have the reason why Athens realizes it is now in a full-blown liquidity crisis. The fact that the funding crisis has forced banks to resort to shoring up short-term liquidity in the form of immediate "financial crisis" assistance highlights just how serious the situation is. Indeed, as Reuters summarizes, "The banks' request for aid could help the lenders face possible liquidity problems in the short term but would not reverse a grim outlook."With all this to ponder, it is no surprise that the Bundesbank has just realized throwing money in a bottomless pit may not be the most prudent use of capital: the bank has suddenly gotten cold feet on the whole Greek bailout. In fact, events from the last few days have even gotten Goldman's always cheerful Erik Nielsen to say that things in Greece will likely get even worse.

Greece Rebels, Does Not Want IMF Participation In Bail Out; Fears IMF's "Intolerably Stringent Conditions"

The soap opera that just refuses to die, is just getting better and more bizarre by the day. The latest lunacy out of Greece, as reported by Market News, is that the near-bankrupt country is now imposing its own conditions on the bailout, saying it wants to amend the deal struck recently by Eurozone lenders, and wants to bypass the IMF's financial contribution, and eliminate the role of the IMF entirely, as it is "concerned that intolerably stringent conditions would be imposed by the International Monetary Fund in exchange for aid." Did anyone over in Athens even bother to read the fine print of what austerity means? It is good of the nation to finally wake up before suckering in US taxpayer dollars that, of course, would have never been repaid. And with that America, and the IMF, should wash their hands off the whole offer, and throw the ticking time bomb squarely into Merkel and Sarkozy's court where it belongs, together with the $1.5 trillion in Club Med bank claims that the Eurozone is on the hook for if, and certainly when, things go sour.

PIMCO Is Long CAD, AUD And CNY; Short EUR, GBP And JPY, And Other Disclosures By Paul McCulley

More insight from a just released interview with Pimco's Paul McCulley. Nothing that McCulley has not said before but sheds some additional light on PIMCO's specific portfolio exposure currently. Of course, as Goldman has taught us all too well, anyone talking their book who is as big (and smart) as Pimco, could just as easily hld the other side of the trade, and just be looking for willing lemmings, of the variety that stood 24 hours in line for a big and blendable iPod.

Greece [Will/Will Not] Issue 6%+ Debt This Week, Even As Evans-Pritchard Summarizes It Best: "Greece Is Drowning"

Something funny happened on the road to a Greek bailout: nothing. Well, a few exceptions: Germany and the ECB are now enemies, nobody knows what the hell the Maastricht rules really are, the ratings agencies are discredited beyond repair as even the ECB says its own internal bureaucrats can do a better job at modelling the Greek AAA rating... Yet Greek debt is still yielding 6%+. If anyone will recall, the primary concern that various administration George Pap[...]'s had, was that Greek debt was "unfairly" yielding double where German debt is. So yeah, lots of talk, more non-bailout bailouts, and in meantime, Greek default risk is pretty much where it was two months ago. Which is why speculation that emerged toward the end of last week that Greece will promptly issue new debt, is now being squashed by G-Pap (fin min or FM, not to be confused with the prime min or PM). In the end, it is all irrelevant: as Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says, the end is close for Greece.

Chopshop's picture

Before delving into an ECB speech chock full of insight, a deflationist rant 'Through the Looking-Glass' of social mood as per:

[1] the management of inflation expectations;

[2] the implications within central bank (CB) exit strategery; and

[3] 'what Alice is likely to find' in Mr. Market's immediate future. If you think Bernanke an idiot and see hyperinflation-a-coming, you probably don't wanna read this.

Draft Greek Bailout Agreement: Welcome IMF

As part of a package involving substantial International Monetary Fund financing and a majority of European financing, euro area member states are ready to contribute to coordinated bilateral loans.

This mechanism, complementing International Monetary Fund financing, has to be considered ultima ratio, meaning in particular that market financing is insufficient. Any disbursement on the bilateral loans would be decided by the euro area member states by unanimity subject to strong conditionality and based on an assessment by the European Commission and the European Central Bank. We expect euro member states to participate on the basis of their respective ECB capital key.

UST-Bund Spread At Three Year Wides As ECB Warns IMF Involvement Would Be Beginning Of End For Eurozone

The spread between the 10 Year and the Bund has surged today to a 3 year wide. After hitting an intraday slide of 14 bps (a massive move in a world in which each basis point is leveraged thousands of times), the UST-BUND is now at 73 bps. The risk aversion trade in Europe has made 10 year Geman bonds yield just over 3%, even as the near-failed 5 Year auction in the US has spooked the bond market, and an unexpected drill has forced the Primary Dealers out of hiding and into purchasing everything past 5 years to prevent a full out rout in bonds. And all this is occurring as the ECB just warned that IMF involvement in the overhyped and two-month delayed Greek bailout will be the beginning of the end for the euro and will throw the Eurozone's economy, "which has shown fresh signs of recovery, into renewed turmoil."

Jean-Claude Trichet Makes A Moody's Downgrade Of Greece Irrelevant, Says ECB Will Ease Collateral Rules In That Case

Presented is the full text of speech by ECB head Jean-Claude Trichet before the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament in Brussels. While the speech itself has nothing new to say, further entrenching the bubble mentality of the Bernanke Put, some of the comments by JCT in the Q&A are rather relevant, namely that the ECB will once again look at the "collateral issue" of government bonds. Just in case Moody's grows a conscience, here is how the ECB will deal with it: "The European Central Bank does not expect Greek government bonds to be downgraded again, but if they are it might have to reconsider its plan to revert back to pre-crisis collateral rules at the end of this year." This is amusing because earlier today Alphaville posted a research note by UniCredit which shows just how increasingly impaired by "rubbish" the collateral provided by European banks to the ECB has become. This is inline with extended disclosures provided on Zero Hedge about how our own Fed has recently allowed total crap to be lent against in both its discount window and the Primary Dealer Credit Facility. Another amusing soundbite: "High government bond spreads don't justify emergency loans." Oh, so the CDS speculators won't be summarily executed after all, even despite all the disclosure by BaFin and everyone else that CDS speculators had no impact whatsoever on blowing up bond spreads? What an anticlimactic development.

What Bailout? IMF, aka American, Involvement Now Appears Certain As Europe Throws Greece To Lions

A smattering of the relevant headlines which are causing Greek spreads to widen as investors realize they have been lied to once again.

04:51 03/18 GREEK PM: GREECE WILL NOT DEFAULT
04:51 03/18 GREEK PM: NOT LOOKING FOR PARALLEL NATIONAL CURRENCY
04:50 03/18 GREEK PM: OFFER OF HELP ON TABLE WOULD HELP FIGHT SPECULATORS
04:50 03/18 GREEK PM: WOULD PREFER A EUROPEAN SOLUTION
04:49 03/18 GREEK PM: GREECE IS TALKING TO THE IMF
04:49 03/18 GREEK PM: MUST PURSUE REFORMS TO INCREASE COMPETITIVENESS
04:45 03/18 GREEK PM: IF NO SUCH PLAN IN PLACE, GREECE MAY NEED IMF HELP
04:44 03/18 GREEK PM: IMF-STYLE HELP COULD BE OFFERED ON "AD-HOC" BASIS
04:44 03/18 GREEK PM: EUROPE MUST BE PREPARED TO OFFER IMF-STYLE HELP
04:43 03/18 GREEK PM: GREEK NOT IN NEED OF IMF LOAN
04:32 03/18 GREEK 10-YR SPREADS WIDEN 6 BPS TO +306 BPS AS GREEK PM SPEAKS
05:40 03/18 GREECE PM:IMF SAYS OUR PLAN QUALIFIES US FOR IMF AID IF NEEDED

Morning Musings From Art Cashin - St. Patrick's Day Edition

Market pundits scrambled to fill up air time by attributing the market movement to this data or that comment. The market rally catalyst was quite singular however. As rumors spread of a firmed up Greek rescue package, and the S&P suggested it was shifting Greece out of ICU, the Euro soared. It spiked 0.7% which is a significant move in the currency arena. The result was immediately evident and dramatic. Gold spiked $20 and oil shot up over $2. Those moves came long before the FOMC statement. Those moves were not influenced by some piece of economic data. Those moves were not the result of some shift on the outlook for the President’s health plan. Those moves were the direct result of the jump in the Euro and the correspondent weakening of the dollar. We believe that the Euro/Dollar move was also the primary catalyst in the stock market. Given the action in gold and oil, the stock market’s reaction was rather mute. With such a strong tailwind, you might have expected something like a 100/150 point move in the Dow. The real question on stocks was what was holding stocks back given the currency boost.

Sprott's Last Decade Retrospective: It’s Déjà Voodoo Economics... All Over Again - This Weekend's Must Read

If you’re of a certain age, chances are you remember exactly where you were when JFK was assassinated. Similarly, if you’re from Canada or the United States and have an even remote interest in hockey, it’s highly likely that you remember exactly where you were when ‘Sid the Kid’ scored the winning overtime goal in the Olympic gold medal game. These were both "significant events", albeit for different reasons. We wonder, however, if any of you recall where you were on September 18th, 2008? Do you remember that day? We can’t seem to recall it either, which is strange, because it was one of the most important days of the decade. October 7, 2008 is another day that should stick out in our memories, but we’re sure you don’t remember that day either – and we’re in the same boat. How is it, then, that we can’t recall where we were or what we were doing on the two days the entire financial system almost collapsed?!? It boggles our mind. These dates should have been emphasized in every "review of the decade" written at the end of 2009, but we’ve been hard pressed to find them mentioned in any mainstream publication. This is troubling to us, and makes us wonder if people are even aware of the incredible events that took place on those fateful days only eighteen months ago. - Eric Sprott And David Franklin