Former Chief ECB Economist Tells It Is Inevitable Greece Will Leave Eurozone And The Greek Debt Haircut Will Be 50%Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/28/2011 06:13 -0500
While futures soar on whatever the latest rumeur de l'heure is (soon to be refuted by Germany although with month end window dressing to be done, nobody will care) the relevant facts are once again being largely ignored. In this case, Otmar Issing, former chief economist of the massively undercapitalized hedge fund known as the European Central Bank, has told Stern magazine that "Greece will find it “impossible” to get back on its feet even after the country implements austerity measures and it is inevitable that Greece will have to leave the euro-zone. He added that Greece needs a debt haircut of at least 50%, and even so preventing contagion will be very complicated. His biggest warning pertains to the deus ex machina which everyone knows is the last thing up Europe's sleeve: the prospect of issuing Eurobonds (aka the suicide button for any German ruler at the time when these are implemented). To wit: "Eurobonds will prove the gravedigger of a stable euro." Luckily, that is already priced in, as is the subsequent resurrection, which explains why the EURUSD is back to one week highs on nothing but, well, rumors.
The easy way out of turning to bigger, more solvent governments for bailouts has run its course. The chamber is empty.
Is Dick Fuld running this show? The Eurozone bailout, now being referred to as Euro TARP, is doomed to fail. While nothing has been officially announced the markets are rallying broadly on the back of a news article published by CNBC on Monday. The details are lacking as to the actual structure but speculation is already running rampant across the financial markets as to what it might look like. What is presumed is that Euro TARP will follow the proposal originally proffered by Tim Geithner on his European trip recently. That proposal had been widely dismissed by the G20 as they couldn't come to terms on any type of structure. The current idea outlined by CNBC will bypass the G20 entirely and allow the European Investment Bank (EIB), a bank owned by the member states of the European Union, to take money from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and capitalize a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that it will create. The SPV will then issue bonds to investors and use the proceeds to purchase sovereign debt of distressed European states, which will hopefully alleviate the pressure on the distressed states (PIIGS) and the European banks that already own their sovereign debt. If alarm bells aren't already going off they will be in just moment as you get the gist of the rest of this disastrous plan.
FT Report That Greek Bailout Package On The Verge Of Collapse After Surge In Greek Funding Needs Sends Stocks, Euro Plunging From HighsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/27/2011 14:27 -0500
Wondering what just caused the market to slump? Take a wild guess. That's right - Greece. Minutes after Greece passed a vote in which it promised to promise to promise to consider collecting 1998-1999 taxes (even as all of its tax collectors are about to go on permanent strike), the FT was breaking news that while the Troika was "bailing out" Greece in the past years, the country was spending itself into an even greater oblivion. As a result, the terms of the July 21 Second Greek Bailout will most certainly need to be renegotiated, with banks having to take even greater write downs on the bond exchange, and with far more capital having to be injected into the country. The result is the France and the ECB are panicking because as we all know, any additional write downs will expose just how undercapitalized French banks already are (no need to even mention the world's most toxic hedge fund: Trichet et Cie). Should this story pick up traction, look for Europe to open limit down again tomorrow.
And 9:55 am update in which Mantega responds to Valor (and ZH):
- MANTEGA SAYS BRAZIL ISN'T PREPARING ANY MEASURE
So far the only strategic use of "unnamed government officials" has been to leak rumors, whose sole purpose is to test the market's short covering squeeze potential and to discover just how long the half-life of one after another ever more incredulous rumor is. And since the only thing to come out of Europe in the past month in terms of problem resolution (no really: there has not been one policy that has been enacted since the July 21 Greek bailout), this is a useful strategy. Alas, as Europe is about to find out, this works both ways, because as Brazilian financial site Valor Economic reports, none other than perpetual optimist Brazil, the same country that is supposedly according to one set of rumors preparing to bail out all of Europe, with or without the rest of the BRICs, is now preparing for a Greek default within the week. From Valor: "Something must happen. Greece is a few days [from bankruptcy]" said a high official source.
All the markets continue to bask in the glow of the new improved EFSF. From a low of 1115, the S&P futures are now trading at 1175. A pretty impressive 5% move. Stocks in Europe are doing even better and credit is following along. By now I would have hoped to see some details of this alleged new beast that EFSF has morphed into. While I search for detail all I could see, so far, are denials by Germany and Spain, some support from Austria, and additional rumors of what is to come. Every European politician outside of Germany can say this is a great idea, but if the money man doesn’t go along, is there really a deal? This isn’t a democracy, and only Germany controls German money. There was a brief headline that this new plan could cause S&P to downgrade Germany and France. As a back-up plan, there is talk about letting the EIB do the heavy lifting. Just in case the world wasn’t already controlled by enough 3 letter entities, welcome the EIB to the IMF, ECB, and FED party.
- A European official said a detailed plan is being worked on leveraging EFSF money with the plan using some EFSF money to shore up bank capital.
- The Austrian finance minister said Euro-zone officials are to discuss the EFSF leveraging plan on Monday
- German Chancellor Merkel says we are not prepared to implement further stimulus programmes.
- Confirmation of the EFSF leveraging talks sparked outrage in Germany, where opposition politicians threatened to derail the plans by voting against a key amendment to the bail-out fund this Thursday.
"We're not doing this for the Greeks, but for us," said Angela Merkel amidst a cacophony of doomsday scenarios. It's all about propping up German banks and exporters. For the French, however, the European debt crisis doesn't seem to exist.
UBS' Euro Doom And Gloom Team Releases Sequel: "The Eurozone Sovereign Crisis Has Entered A More Dangerous Phase"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/26/2011 18:39 -0500
From the same fine Swiss folks who three weeks ago (and before it was uncovered that when it comes to playing, or at least scapegoating, dangerously, UBS is second to none) brought you, "Under the current structure and with the current membership, the Euro does not work. Either the current structure will have to change, or the current membership will have to change," comes the sequel: "We believe the Eurozone sovereign crisis has entered a more dangerous phase. Financial and banking stresses are plainly evident as concerns about sovereign default grow. Notwithstanding signs from Washington this past weekend that European and world leaders are willing to consider more decisive policies, concrete steps remain elusive. Yet rising uncertainty threatens an already weakened world economy." The Swiss Bank's conclusions? "First, Europe’s politicians and policy makers must do more to shore up the Eurozone and investor confidence more generally. Among others, that probably includes stronger capital buffers in the banking sector, an expanded EFSF/ESM to finance bank recapitalization and support Eurozone bond markets, and further fiscal austerity in ‘at-risk’ Eurozone countries. But these are big asks of Europe’s ‘political economy’. Hence, the second conclusion: The likelihood is that the crisis will intensify before policy can deliver what is required." Reality 1: Strange little "source" voices inside the heads of chief economists of financial comedy cable channels: 0.
Earlier we presented the flowchart of the first part of the Eurozone endgame. While satisfactory, many immediately clamored: "what is part two?" Prompted by this surge in intellectual curiosity, John Lohman has risen to meet the challenge of what the Eurozone's Biggest, Baddest, Sexiest Motherf#%$^* Flow Chart looks like. It needs no commentary, and since it also really ties the ponzi room together, we hope nobody micturates upon it until the plane crashes into the mountain. That said, we do have an accounting question: is "ass rape" a credit or a debit?
Steve Liesman has just broken news of the latest European bail out mechanism which will likely push risk higher for at least a few hours. Why just a few hours? Because what according to Liesman the ECB is about to propose, is nothing short of not just a CDO, but a CDO SQUARED. We are still waiting for more information, but according to his description of what this last ditch bailout bazooka (before Eurobonds of course), is that the ECB will take the debt bought by sovereign governments and will issue EURs against EFSF/ESM bonds as collateral: this is in its simplest definition, a CDO Squared (because as we have described in the past, the EFSF is simply a CDO), which in turn means that the systemic leverage of the Eurozone is about to rise 8-fold. If you thought the capitalization of the ECB was bad before, you ain't seen nothing yet. Expect cubed and quadratic iterations by the end of the week when the half life of this latest bailout rumor dies out. Oh, and expect many more headlines out of Europe talking about bailouts and hyperinflation as noted earlier.
Look at what they are talking about doing. Look at how unsuccessful any of the previous, poorly thought out plans have worked. Contagion has spread. European bank shares are down 50% from a year ago. European stock indices are down 20% from a year ago. Portugal and Ireland are in deep trouble, and Italy and Spain are on the cusp of trouble. Will more bogus plans that don’t really ever get implemented, that fix nothing, but make the system more convoluted really do anything? Wouldn’t we be better off letting some defaults occur and picking up the pieces. Maybe more time and energy should be spent on how to pick up the pieces while some are still independent, rather than further linking everyone to the anchor? Maybe more time should be spent determining if Lehman was “solely” responsible for the problems in late 2008 and early 2009? Maybe the problem wasn’t Lehman defaulting and it was just another piece of a bigger uglier puzzle and we are so busy trying to avoid another “Lehman Moment” that we have lost sight of whether it is that important to avoid a default?