Germany is openly saying what we all really know, Greece is probably !@#!$%. The problem is, how can Greece go down without pulling half the Euro zone with it? The Greek tragedy saga is much worse than the mainstream media is making it out to be. Reference my annotation on today's Bloomberg article...
S&P Sells Out (Again), Confirms Greece At BBB+, Removes Greece From CreditWatch Negative, Sends Market HigherSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/16/2010 10:09 -0500
In case you were wondering what just sent the market and commodities higher, and killed the dollar, look no further: S&P just released a note confirming Greece at BBB+, and removing the country from CreditWatch negative, presumably a major euro positive, a major dollar negative, and today's nitrous boost to stocks... Here is the forest for the trees: the market is again dependent on the moronic filth spewed forth by rating agencies. As to what turbo austerity will do to Greek GDP, ah, who cares. S&P will cross that bridge when Greek GDP plummets 10%.
German opposition crumbles, as a Greek bailout plan is now official. We expect Portugal, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Austria, and, finally, the UK, to line up next at the trough. And for all of you cynical bastards who thought that G-Pap was full of methane when we claimed he was not looking for aid... You were right. So now, under the wise tutelage of Goldman, make sure to plough all your money into the Euro. After all there are at least a few months before the next bailout has to be effected.
More postcards from a post-austerity Greece where 10,000 protesters take to the streets. Pick the CDS speculators out.
European Commission To Back CDS Trading Ban As Second Round Of Strikes Cripples Greece; Greek GDP Now Expected To Miss Worst Case ScenarioSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/10/2010 22:35 -0500
The Washington Post reports that the next "Lehman-sized" event may be just around the corner, as the European Commission is now supporting a ban on trading sovereign CDS. While we are in process of tracking down whether this is actual news or just some exaggeration based on semantics, we will caution, once again, that the consequences of a CDS trading ban will be severe and very likely result in the opposite of what the EC intends on achieving. Keep in mind that everyone expected the Lehman bankruptcy to be contained as it was at best a fringe cog in the financial system. The result was a systemic collapse as one interlinked component of the financial fabric imploded after another. The rush to unwind CDS positions ahead of a ban will be massive and have unpredictable consequences. But the biggest threat is what happens to bond prices, which once basis trades are made impossible, will be promptly unwound, leading to pervasive selling of the cash leg not by speculators but by plain vanilla mutual fund idiot money. What scapegoaters seem to forget is that the vast majority of existing sovereign CDS notional is tied into perfectly boring insurance "basis" trades, in which the bond is held in combination with associated CDS. Once there is an inability to have hedged cash sovereign exposure, the demand for European sovereign paper will plummet, achieving precisely the opposite of what the CDS ban is attempting to accomplish.
Headline which tells you all you need to know:
15:32 03/09 GREEK PRIME MINISTER ENTERS MEETING WITH US TSY'S GEITHNER
Sorry, Merkel, Papanderou et al. BaFin finds that there is no sign that CDS speculation is involved when it comes to Greek government bonds, even as the volume in cash bonds has spiked. As a reminder - selling bonds has the same effect as buying CDS. And guess what: the real Greek cash-CDS basis is negative 112 bps (for "experts" this is swap-clean basis, i.e., Greek CDS minus German CDS compared to GGB minus Bunds). This means that cash bonds are far and ahead a leading indicator, and much more dominant when it comes to determining actual price/yield levels. So does this mean that GGB sellers will now be demonized with the same ferocity as those meddling CDS traders? Hopefully, this will finally be the end of the CDS as satan's spawn topic.
While we are not sure how Betty Liu feels about Rogers' invitation to come eat some Wienerschnitzel, what is certain is that Greek PM Papandreou is not too happy with the commodities pundit right about now. When asked should Europe bail out Greece, Jim says: "No, of course not, they should let Greece go bankrupt. It would be good for the euro, it would be good for Greece, it would be good for everybody." Alas, more true words have rarely been spoken. And with every financial professional already on the same side of the boat as Rogers, politicians are now left on their own to do what they know best: i.e., the wrong thing...and over and over again, and if someone can be blamed (evil, evil CDS speculators come to mind), so much the better. Also, should anyone wish to take a brave foray into the political arena (which appears is now the best paying job in the world, incidentally, just after Goldman CDS traders, hehe) on the crest of the anti CDS bashing, now is the time. It appears quite a few have risen to the challenge.
Full Speech By Greece PM Papandreou Before Brookings: "Speculators Now Threaten The Entire Global Economy"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/08/2010 11:01 -0500
To paraphrase the 20-page speech: it is still just the speculators' fault, who are now "threatening not only Greece, but the entire global economy" so burn them all post haste before they can read all the declassified GS prospectuses, and scour the footnotes thus uncovering the truly deplorable state of all European budgets, also please ignore this huge corruption problem we have, it's under control, oh, and it is time our globalization "partners" realize that we are critical in the future of the free world, and bail us out, even though we have repeatedly said we need no steenkin' bail out, or else global financial crisis v2 - here we come. Now show me where Ben Bernanke's office is.
Uri Dadush Of The Carnegie Endowment: "It Is Virtually Inevitable That Greece Will Default Or Need A Bailout"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/08/2010 09:55 -0500
Some amusing headlines appearing elsewhere today, proclaiming the Greek crisis is over. Hardly: Uri Dadush of the Carnegie Endowment, and formerly of the World Bank says that "it is virtually inevitable that Greece will either default or need a bailout of some sort." Dadush, who a week ago wrote a provocative op-ed in the FT titled "End this inflation fundamentalism", in which he noted that "what happens in Greece will not stay in Greece" also says that "over and beyond the Greek bailout we have to do some thinking about our approach to overall fiscal and monetary approach in Europe." What? Visiting Ben Bernanke every 6 months is no longer sufficient? Oh wait, when everyone is undergoing austerity measures (now coming to Portugal, soon Italy, UK, Germany, Japan, and, lastly the, US), just who is it that will importeveryone else's exports? Why China of course. But hold on, isn't China a net exporter? Oh who cares about facts...The market's mind is already made up. Uri's conclusion will make Hugh Hendry proud: "I think under any circumstance we are going to see a significantly lower euro. I think we are going to see slower growth in Europe over several years, and I think there is a serious risk that the eurozone will implode unless there is a sea-change in the way fiscal and monetary policies are conducted."
The appearance of the Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, Elizabeth Warren, on Charlie Rose is a must watch. In addition to an in depth discussion of the the consumer protection agency, which despite all valiant attempts to the contrary, will likely end up under the Fed's jurisdiction, thereby making the world's most powerful cabal even more powerful, Warren touches on a variety of other issues, including the sovereign debt situation, commercial real estate, and the one concept at the heart of it all: the lack of impairments by stockholders (and certainly by debtholders) in what was a bankrupt financial industry. The world would not have ended had banks been forced to readjust their balance sheets: the outcome would have been far simpler - all those who had their collective net wealth associated with the balance sheets, and specifically the equity tranche, of firms like Goldman, JPM, Citi, BofA and Wells would have been wiped out. But why do that when not just they, but the entire government were willing to make it seems that a balance sheet reorganization is equivalent to liquidation. Once again, those at the top were more than happy to take advantage of the stupidity of the morts (whose great desire to be distracted by stupidity like primetime TV is well known to the financial-media complex) and in the process make themselves even richer, and more powerful. Now, we expect yet another blogger to come out with yet another book discussing this and every other deadbeaten horse issue out there. And with time amoral hazard itself will slowly become illegal, as everything, and we mean everything, succumbs to the decision making of the Federal Reserve's Politbureau. In the meantime nothing will change until democracy itself is reignited in this country.
The turf war to (not) bail out Greece is on. Even though nobody wants to do it, yesterday's announcement by the IMF that it is willing to lend the troubled country a hand (and a few billion drachmas) has put Jean-Claude Trichet on edge. And even assuming today's bond deal gets done without too many glitches, Greece has at best bought itself breathing room for a month or so.We expect the volume on bailout speculation to go down at best by a couple of notches. In the meantime, the ECB has made it clear that Greece's problem are Europe's and Europe's alone, thank you IMF and America. This was made quite explicit in Trichet's post-ECB rate press conference earlier, when he said that he does "not trust that it would be appropriate to have the introduction of the IMF as a supplier of help through stand-by or through any other such help."
PIIGS Come To Market: Greece With €5 Billion In Ten Year Notes, Spain With €4.5 Billion Five Year BondSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/04/2010 07:07 -0500
Greece has finally come to market with a 10 year bond, catching the very end of the offering window, through a €5 billion bond issue, which according to Petros Christodoulou-spread rumors, is nearly 3 times oversubscribed. Underwriters Barclays, HSBC, NBG, Nomura and Piraeus Bank are alleged to have collected nearly €14.5 billion in bids. We wonder how much of that is merely basis trades being fillled on the cash side. "We are very happy with the bid because the re-entry into the market is always challenging. It went very well," Petros told Dow Jones Newswires. Greece has cut price guidance on the bond from 310 bps over mid-swaps to 300 bps, with books closing at 11am GMT. Pricing is expected later today. Assuming this bond offering closes successfully, Greece will have enough money to last it for at least 30 days, joining such other illustrious countries as the United States, in living bond auction to bond auction.
The only thing worse than a no news day, is a day like today, when every piece of news/rumor contradicts the prior one. An hour ago Moody's was praising new Greek initiatives to increase the retirement age to 100, decrease wages by 100% and mortgage the Acropolis. This was promptly followed up by the just released announcement, in which Moody's said it has put five Greek banks, most notably among them the National Bank of Greece (which as we first disclosed is still ashamed of disclosing the Titlos prospectus on its website). Should the NBG's, which currently has an A2 sub debt rating, be notched lower, we expect some interesting collateral calls to occur in the very near future (see our analysis on the Titlos SPV situation). Of course, we are not sure how an independent downgrade of the NBG would occur without Greece itself being downgraded in tandem. Which fits perfectly with the ever increasing confused chatter emanating out of all parties doing whatever they can to bail out Greece, without actually bailing it out.
Goldman Offers Olive Branch To Greece, Praises Country For "Tough Actions" (Words, Technically), Awaits Further CDS BashingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/03/2010 10:17 -0500
Goldman's chief Euro strategist Erik Nielsen is out with another note, this time one of praise and wild-eyed adoration for the increasing desperation in Greek polemics (note, not actions: those tend to be more of the semi-violent police clashing, people striking variety). Well, duh, of course Greece will promise it will take out a second-lien on the Parthenon (and a first on the Acropolis): the country will be out of money in two weeks for Pete's sake! Aside from the pandering desire to be next in line as lead underwriter on the next Greek multi-billion swap (and receive fees, millions of dollars in juicy fees), Nielsen does provide a good narrative that ties in the Greek bail out, and the recent anger against CDS "Speculators" who will at the end of the day be the validation for why Europe will have "no choice" but to bail out Greece, as it is solely through their vile scheming that GGBs are trading so much lower compared to where they should be trading. Because taking a cue straight from the US market, none of this bankruptcy stuff is relevant at all when dealing with capital markets.