Eurozone

Frontrunning: June 19

  • China cash crunch deepens as PBOC withholds funding (FT), just a week behind ZH
  • Platts in hot manipulated crude again: Traders Try to Game Platts Oil-Price Benchmarks (WSJ)
  • Kabul Suspends Security Talks With U.S., jeopardizing plans to maintain a U.S. military presence (WSJ)
  • Afghan government irked over U.S. talks with Taliban (Reuters)
  • BOJ Kuroda: BOJ to Adjust Policy If Japan Econ Changes (MNI)
  • Google Considering Private-Equity Alliances (BBG)
  • Korean Air Buying 747-8s to End Boeing’s Sales Drought (BBG)
  • Syria's Islamists seize control as moderates dither (Reuters)
  • SEC considers policy shift on admissions of wrongdoing (FT)
  • U.K. Banker Bonuses Face Decade Delays in Industry Overhaul (BBG)

Follow The Bouncing Fed

While all eyes and ears will conveniently and expectedly be on the Fed announcement and press conference in a few hours, the real action continues to take place in China, where the liquidity crunch is becoming unbearable for the local banks (and will only get worse the longer Bernanke and Kuroda keep their hot money policies). The CNY benchmark money-market one-week repo rate was 138bp higher overnight to a 2 year high of 8.15%. The 7 day Interest-Rate swap rose for a record 13th day in a row jumping +10 bps to 4.08%, the highest since September 2011. China sold 10 Year bonds at a 3.50% yield, above the 3.47% expected, and at a bid to cover of 1.43 which was the lowest since August 2012. Moody’s commented that local government financing vehicles (LGFVs) pose significant risks to Chinese banks. LGFVs accounted for 14% of loan portfolios at end-2012 according to Moody’s.

Guest Post: The Real Story Of The Cyprus Debt Crisis (Part 2)

As noted yesterday, and perhspa even more prescient now Anastasiades is back with the begging bowl, the debt crisis in Cyprus and the subsequent "bail-in" confiscation of bank depositors' money matter for two reasons: 1. The banking/debt crisis in Cyprus shares many characteristics with other banking/debt crises. 2. The official Eurozone resolution of the crisis may provide a template for future resolutions of other banking/debt crises. It also matters for another reason: not only is the bail-in a direct theft of depositors' money, the entire bailout is essentially a wholesale theft of national assets. This is the inevitable result of political Elites swearing allegiance to the European Monetary Union.

The Cyprus Bail-In Blows Up: President Urges Complete Bailout Overhaul (Full Letter)

Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades has realized (as we warned was inevitable), too late it seems for the thousands of domestic and foreign depositors who were sacrificed at the alter of monetary union, that the TROIKA's terms are "too onerous." Anastasiades has asked EU lenders to unwind the complex restructuring and partial merger of its two largest banks leaving EU officials "puzzled", according to a letter the FT has uncovered, as "essentially, he is asking for a complete reversal of the program." The EU officials claim that the failure to prepare for the bailout’s impact was partially the fault of Mr Anastasiades’ government, which voted down a first agreed rescue before succumbing to a similar deal nine days later. The FT goes on to note that although the letter does not request it explicitly, Mr Anastasiades is in effect asking for further eurozone loans on top of the existing EUR10bn sovereign bailout – something specifically ruled out by a German-led group of countries at the time. The return of beggars-can-be-choosers we presume - or just token gestures to recover some populist support as the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Guest Post: Rumors Of OPEC's Demise Exaggerated

A mixed picture is starting to emerge from the Middle East in terms of oil production. Several members of the 12-member OPEC oil cartel are embroiled in turmoil or struggling to ensure post-war political gains. Oil production from the Middle East declined by 1.5 million barrels per day in 2009. Production from most Middle East countries has slowed down or leveled off, though gains from Iraq have offset some of those declines. With economic recovery seemingly on the horizon, a new OPEC may be developing from the ashes of the recession.

Guest Post: Gold Is Being Supplied By Western Governments

There has been considerable throughput of gold in western capital markets, with substantial buying from all round the world following the April price crash. The supply can only have come from two sources: the general public, or one or more governments. It really is that simple. Two months later the gold price has only partially recovered, so physical supplies have continued to be made available. Physical demand cannot have been entirely satisfied by ETF liquidations, confirming governments are involved. This article looks at the dynamics of the gold market around this event and the implications.

Guest Post: The Real Story Of The Cyprus Debt Crisis (Part 1)

Why do the debt crisis in Cyprus and the subsequent "bail-in" confiscation of bank depositors' money matter? They matter for two reasons: 1. The banking/debt crisis in Cyprus shares many characteristics with other banking/debt crises. 2. The official Eurozone resolution of the crisis--the "bail-in" confiscation of 60% of bank depositors' cash in an involuntary exchange for shares in the bank (which are unlikely to have any future value)--may provide a template for future official resolutions of other banking/debt crises. In other words, since the banking/debt crisis in Cyprus is hardly unique, we can anticipate the resolution (confiscation of deposits) may be applied elsewhere.

Failed Projections Or Just Another Government Lie? You Judge!

Not so long ago, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said it expected the U.S. government to register a budget deficit in the current fiscal year of $642 billion. But hold on a minute... The budget deficit so far (as of May 31, 2013) has already hit $626.3 billion, and we still have four more months to go in the government’s current fiscal year! The U.S. has been the family that spends more than it earns for many years now. In the short term, spending more than one takes in can work (especially if the Fed just prints new money and gives it to the government to pay its bills). But in the long term, if fundamental changes are not made to the government’s spending habits, financial chaos just starts all over again. Posting a budget deficit year after year is not sustainable. The debt-infested eurozone nations did very much the same; they borrowed to spend. Look where they are now.

Key Events And Market Issues In The Coming Week

In the week ahead, we get the usual middle-of-the-month batch of early business surveys, including the New York Empire, Philly Fed and Eurozone Flash PMIs. The second key focus will be a number of important monetary policy meetings, including the FOMC, as well as the Swiss, Norwegian Turkish and Indian policy decisions. The latter two are particularly interesting in the light of the recent EM weakness. The main event this weak will be the FOMC meeting after the recent market focus on the timing of tapering of the QE3 program. Swings in bond markets related to the FOMC meeting could be the primary source of FX volatility this week.

Pivotfarm's picture

The summit opens today for two days of public display of back-slapping and hand holding, championing the things that the west does best. The summit was preceded yesterday by the parading of 8 life-size puppets with huge heads to draw attention to poverty levels in the world.

The Plight Of Europe's Banking Sector, Its €650 Billion State Guarantee, And The "Urgent Need" To Recapitalize

Since the topic of quantifying how big the sovereign assistance to assorted banks - both in Europe and the US (which Bloomberg calculated at $83 billion per year) - has become a daily talking point, we are happy to read that Harald Benink and Harry Huizinga have reached the same conclusion as us in their VOX analysis, and further have shown that in Europe the implicit banking sector guarantee by the state is a whopping €650 billion. "Europe has postponed the recapitalisation of its banking sector for far too long. And, without such a recapitalisation, the danger is that economic stagnation will continue for a long period, thereby putting Europe on a course towards Japanese-style inertia and the proliferation of zombie banks... Banks are already saddled with ample unrecognised losses on their assets, estimated by many observers to be at least several hundreds of billions of euros and mirrored by low share price valuations, and an additional loss of their present funding advantage will be crippling."

Sprott Group's picture

The Dijssel-Bomb

This past March, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the finance ministers of the eurozone, shocked the markets with seemingly off-the-cuff comments suggesting that the Cyprus banking solution will, “serve as a model for dealing with future banking crises.1 Depositors across Europe took a collective gasp of horror – could banks possibly confiscate depositors’ funds in a form of daylight robbery? Indeed they could, and last week the Bank for International Settlements (“BIS”), the Central Bank's Central Bank, published what we have referred to as ‘the template’; a blueprint outlining the steps to handle the failure of a major bank and the conditions to be met before ‘bailing-in’ deposits.

Gold Surges

Nothing like the smell of a fresh Eurozone (thank you Greece!) crisis in the air, to remind everyone that in an insolvent world, where every counterparty is suddenly once again suspect (and collateral-free), there is only one asset class that has no counterparty risk (although the distinction between paper and physical gold is still a far too complicated lesson for most) - gold.

Europe's EUR500 Billion Quasi-Quantitative Easing

Five Eurozone countries now have loans for half a trillion Euros. These members of the Euro currency union are receiving loans from the one of two bailout funds which are financed by the other 12 Eurozone members. Eurozone members receiving assistance from the two European rescue funds do not pay into it. That means the higher the assistance, the higher the obligations of the healthier countries. Germany already guarantees 27 percent of the loans, France 20 percent and Italy 18 percent. The rescue funds borrow capital, guaranteed by nations of the European Union, in the financial markets and then hand the money to the indebted countries. In doing this they engage in a kind of Quantitative Easing where money is printed based upon the various guarantees. None of these guarantees are counted against the liabilities of any country when the debt to GDP ratios are made public. There is a new scheme underway where bondholders would have to pay for the vast amount of any losses with the money of depositors also in question. There is no agreement yet on this plan. What can be said is that the playing field is being tilted with much more risk now placed in the hands of bond owners and depositors.