Standard & Poor's Ratings Services today placed the 'AAA' long-term sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of Austria on CreditWatch with negative implications....weakening asset quality in Austrian banks' securities and loan portfolios, particularly in Central and Eastern European subsidiaries, could in our view increase the risk of the need for additional capital injections by the Austrian government, or similar interventions.
The CreditWatch placement is prompted by our concerns about the potential impact on France of what we view as deepening political, financial, and monetary problems within the eurozone. To the extent that these eurozone-wide issues permanently constrain the availability of credit to the economy, France's economic growth outlook--and therefore the prospects for a sustained reduction of its public debt ratio--could be affected. Further, it is our opinion that the lack of progress the European policymakers have made so far in controlling the spread of the financial crisis may reflect structural weaknesses in the decision-making process within the eurozone and European Union. This, in turn, informs our view about the ability of European policymakers to take the proactive and resolute measures needed in times of financial stress. We are therefore reassessing the eurozone's record of debt-crisis management and its implications for our view on the effectiveness of policymaking in France....If we change one or more scores, we could lower the long-term rating by up to two notches. Conversely, if the above concerns were mitigated by what we consider to be appropriate policy action, we could affirm the long-term rating at 'AAA'.
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services today placed its 'AAA' long-term unsolicited sovereign credit rating on the Federal Republic of Germany on CreditWatch with negative implications. At the same time we affirmed the 'A-1+' short-term unsolicited sovereign credit rating on Germany.... The CreditWatch placement is prompted by our concerns about the potential impact on Germany of what we view as deepening political, financial, and monetary problems within the eurozone. To the extent that these eurozone-wide issues permanently constrain the availability of credit to the economy, Germany's economic growth outlook--and therefore the prospects for a sustained reduction of its public debt ratio--could be affected. Further, it is our opinion that the lack of progress the European policymakers have made so far in controlling the spread of the financial crisis may reflect structural weaknesses in the decision-making process within the eurozone and European Union. This, in turn, informs our view about the ability of European policymakers to take the proactive and resolute measures needed in times of financial stress. We are therefore reassessing the eurozone's record of debt-crisis management and its implications for our view on the effectiveness of policymaking in Germany.
Just as Europe seems destined to tip into recession and the US growth miracle decouples its reality from perceived global slowdowns, the oil market steps in to balance the equation. With WTI breaking $102 and Brent over $111 this morning, driven by Iran and Syria tensions, it would seem tough for a nation exporting its way to success, that is so dependent on both domestic consumer and energy to grow 'as expected' with energy premia so high - or perhaps the justification is the energy sector will carry the S&P through the next quarter as earnings expectations are cut. Nevertheless, as Reuters points out, the risk of supply disruptions remains high.
#444444; font-family: Verdana, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px;">The new dollar liquidity injection #444444; font-family: Verdana, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px;">from 6 central banks essentially took the urgency out of a much needed decisive resolution. M#444444; font-family: Verdana, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px;">ore crises similar to the one in the Euro Zone popping up to the point of #444444; font-family: Verdana, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px;">one Scary Grandioso#444444; font-family: Verdana, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px;">--No more spare bailout capacity.
Let the banks implode in bankruptcy, clear the worthless "assets" of debt from the books, and let the market price currencies and everything else. The only other choice is debt-serfdom. All the other schemes and proposals are simply variations of one single fantasy: that the feckless leadership can fool the repricing genie with parlor tricks. They can't. Everybody with any understanding of the situation knows that the debt bubble has already burst, an risk and debt cannot be repriced back to fantasy levels. That repricing has already occurred, and cannot be revoked or shoved back in the bottle. The Great European Debt Bubble has already burst, and so now it boils down to a simple choice: debt serfom or open rebellion against the banks that profited so handsomely from the euro-fantasy. There is no middle ground, as the debt cannot be repaid, not now and not in the future. It cannot be reshuffled, masked, or hidden; it can only be renounced. It's your choice, Europe; choose wisely. If you want a model for sanity and growth, look to Iceland. They renounced their unpayable debts and debt-serfdom, and let the market reprice their currency, debt and risk. The nightmare is past for them; they chose wisely. Now it's your turn to choose. The debt-serfdom will fall to you, not the banks or your Elites.
That Commerzbank, effectively Germany most insolvent lender (after the bank that shall not be named because if it falls, so goes Europe) and the first international bank scrambling to demand Discount Window cash from the Fed not in 2008 but all the way back in 2007, is broke is no secret. The only question was when will the bank which is a pseudo-TBTF, be nationalized. According to Der Spiegel the time is rapidly approaching. Specifically, "Germany's government is preparing plans for a potential nationalization of Commerzbank AG, in case the Frankfurt-based lender isn't able to raise additionally needed capital, German magazine Der Spiegel reports Sunday, citing government sources. Germany will reactivate its bank bailout fund, SoFFin, to acquire additional shares in Commerzbank if the bank hasn't raised necessary capital by next summer, according to the report. Germany already took around a 25% stake in Commerzbank to keep it afloat during the financial crisis following its acquisition of Dresdner Bank. According to the report, it is assumed that the majority of new shares would fall to the government in the event of a capital increase for Commerzbank. Germany has ruled out taking over Commerzbank's Eurohypo public finance unit, which it is required to sell to fulfill a European Union restructuring mandate tied to its use of state aid, according to the report." And so the world's most undercapitalized banks as so often demonstrated by Zero Hedge continue dropping like domino. Below we recreate the most recent list of Tier 1 casualties (seen most recently when exposing Credit Agricole as one of Europe's most dire casualties of a USD funding shortage), or banks that have the lowest capitalization, and thus highest leverage ratios in the world. If we were betting people, we would say that Deutsche Bank (and Postbank), Credit Suisses and BNP may well be next...
Guest Post: Furious At Latest U.S. Attack, Pakistan Shuts Down Resupply Routes To Afghanistan "Permanently"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/03/2011 14:05 -0400
NATO recently literally shot itself in the foot, imperiling the resupply of International Assistance Forces (ISAF) in Afghanistan by shooting up two Pakistani border posts in a “hot pursuit’ raid. Given that roughly 100 fuel tanker trucks along with 200 other trucks loaded with NATO supplies cross into Afghanistan each day from Pakistan, Pakistan’s closure of the border has ominous long-term consequences for the logistical resupply of ISAF forces, even as Pentagon officials downplay the issue and scramble for alternative resupply routes. Pakistan, long angry about ISAF/NATO cross border raids, has apparently reached the end of its tether. Following the 26 November NATO aerial assault on two border posts in Mohmand Agency in Pakistan’s turbulent NorthWest Frontier Province, Islamabad promptly sealed its border with Afghanistan to NATO supplies after the allied strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
As rumors and chatter circulate across trading desks, European equity and credit markets are starting to lose their giddiness. European sovereigns are leaking back wider and financials starting to underperform and it is being noted that, as reported by The Hill, that conservatives say they will try to block the IMF from bailing out Italy and Spain. Pointing to the huge bill this could leave at US taxpayer's feet, Republicans are concerned at the secrecy with which Geithner has acted. Sen. Tom Coburn appears to be at the helm of this legislation, noting:
"We're throwing good money after bad down a hole that I think is not a solvable problem. Europe is going to default eventually, so why would you socialize their profligate spending."
As we have been saying all along, with every reincarnation of the idiotic "IMF to bailout [XXX]" rumor, there always is just one snag. A rather substantial one at that: US congressional approval for expanded IMF bailout capabilities.
- Liquidity remains thin as market participants await release of the Nonfarm Payrolls data from the US. Early market talk has been for a number as high as +200k
- The Eurozone 10-year government bond yield spreads remained generally tighter across the board, with the exception of the French/German spread
- Eurodollar and Euribor futures traded under pressure during the European session on continued bank funding fears
- According to reports, EU finance chiefs gave go-ahead for work on central bank loans, and ECB lending via IMF is seen in the EUR 100-200bln range
A week ago, Zero Hedge brought up the last Hail Mary available in Europe's fiscal arsenal: the Redemption Fund. Specifically we said, " There are currently three options being discussed for the Stabilittee bonds - all of which have more than short-term time horizons for any potential implementation and so we suspect, as CS mentions, that the talk of the Redemption Fund from the German Council of Economic Experts will grow louder as an interim step" and quoting Credit Suisse, " One proposal that might be able to co-exist with the Treaties as they are is the recommendation of the German Council of Economic Experts, pooling sovereign debt in a Redemption Fund as we discussed briefly last week. We are quite surprised that the idea does not seem to have generated more traction in the press since it is one of few proposals that actually provides a means for reducing debt (rather than moving it around the euro area) and is aimed not to fall foul of the German Constitution. Something based around this idea might be a contender for a precursor to permanent Eurobonds, buying time while the Treaties are changed." Sure enough here is Reuters showing that it only took Germany one week to catch up to what our readers already knew, from Reuters: "Germany will propose setting up special national funds for euro zone sovereign debt that is over 60 percent of gross domestic product to help build market confidence, the country's finance minister said on Thursday. Wolfgang Schaeuble told reporters that Germany would make the proposal at a European Union summit next week. The funds should be supported by public revenues and dismantled within 20 years, he said." In other words even Europe now admits that the EFSF as even as stop gap measure to fill the void before the ECB acquiesces to print, is dead, and is looking at the last measure available to fix the fundamental problem at the heart of the Eurozone (yesterday's liquidity band aid is just that) which is the rolling of untenable amounts of leverage. Unfortunately, the core provision of Schauble's redemption fund variation which is that the fund is national, "which would get around German concerns about the "communitarization" of debt between European states" means that the idea is hardly unlikely to pick up as it relies on already insolvent countries to fund it. If this is indeed the final backstop to be presented at the European Summit, it may be time to turn bearish on Europe all over again, today's surging sovereign bond prices notwithstanding.
With the European End Game now in sight, the primary question that needs to be addressed is whether Europe will opt for a period of massive deflation, massive inflation, or deflation followed by inflation.