Greece

Next Up For A "Recovering" Europe: A 30-50% Collapse In Wages In Spain, Italy And... France

Europe is supposedly fixed and/or well on the path to being competitive and "rebalanced." Or so they say every day. What they don't say, is that to complete the process of rebalancing, in the absence of external devaluation mechanisms under a currency union, is that wages in countries such as Spain, Italy and even France, will have to drop by another 30%-50% for internal imbalances between the Eurozone's nation states to be evened out. What they certainly don't say is how this could ever possible be achieved...

Yanis Varoufakis On Greece's Destruction And Europe's Bogus Growth Pact

On November 27th, 2012, the Eurogroup (comprising the Eurozone’s finance ministers) reached a decision on Greece. Its essence is a guarantee that Greece will remain in the Eurozone (and therefore off the Northern European agenda) for another ten to twelve months; at the very least until the German federal political cycle has seen through the election of a new Bundestag. The repercussions of this short-sighted agreement are grave not only for Greece but for the Eurozone, and indeed the European Union, more broadly. The fact that the markets’ expectation of some OMT assistance for Italy and Spain are keeping their bonds’ yields low, for the time being, does not alter the fact that the vicious contagion dynamic is gathering strength. Beyond this ‘small’ matter, Rome, Madrid and, indeed, Paris must now reckon with a Eurogroup decision that demonstrates how bogus all talk of a Growth Pact really has been. The fact that the Eurozone’s finance ministers declared, without the slightest hesitation, that substantial growth will come to depression-hit Greece without an iota of a smidgeon of a hint of fresh public investment reveals that Europe is truly blind to what it will take to deal with the recession it faces in aggregate and with the various depressions in its Periphery. So, what will come of Greece, given the latest Eurogroup ‘decision’? It is my fear, and belief, that the country is becoming a version of Kosovo – a protectorate in which the euro remains the currency, sovereignty is minimal, the population is ruled over by a glorified kleptocracy with strong links with Berlin and, last but not least, a permanent migratory flow is established that sees the young and the skilled move to northern Europe and beyond.

Mark J. Grant: It's Me Baby, With Your Wake-Up Call

One of the best bond traders on Wall Street said this recently:  “Get ready for The Great Bond Shortage in North America.  If it has a cusip and it is rated, it is going higher/tighter.” The compression in bond spreads since the Fed started all of their “made-up/newly printed money for free” antics is the root of all of this and we do not expect a change anytime soon. There are various estimations for the 2013 net new issue supply in all sectors of Fixed Income but I peg it around $400 billion.  Around $800 billion will be paid to bond holders during the year in coupon payments and, if reinvested, will cause a supply deficit of about $400 billion for the year.  Exacerbating all of this is the Fed, who will buy around $500 billion in MBS this year and perhaps the same amount in Treasuries which could take $1 trillion out of the market all by itself. Consequently we face a lack of bonds denominated somewhere between $900 billion and $1.4 trillion, depending upon the Fed, which will increase the rolling train of compression, lower interest rates further in all likelihood and cause great angst for investors who will find very little of value left in the Fixed Income markets. Safety; yes but yield; no. Inflation and Deflation, it should be noted, only work in operative systems; but it is not Inflation or Deflation that are going to matter in the short run, though it will later; it will be the lack of bonds of any sort to purchase and a stock market that may be dangerously out of sync with the fundamentals opening the possibility of a crash. If so much money is printed and so little regard is placed upon fundamental economic principles then the Real Estate crash of several years ago will look like child’s play by comparison. “Systemic Breakdown” would be the functioning words.

AVFMS's picture

Hey, this was cuddle time-week! A big Hug for everyone: Bonds, Equities, Periphery, ah, Periphery bonds! Greece…

As Super Mario said himself on Friday, albeit in a different context: “We were living in a Fairy World”. Cute way of spelling it out.

Fairies, rainbows, wonderful world…  Let’s put IZ on the case!

"Somewhere Over The Rainbow" (Bunds 1,38% -6; Spain 5,30% -30; Stoxx 2580 +1,1%; EUR 1,301 +50)

Greece Shows What Happens When The Welfare Ponzi Ends

When no more money flows in, to fund outflows, then the jig is up for the pension fund ponzi. This, as evidenced by the 'punching, kicking, and tearing at clothes' that a Greek pension fund manager endured recently, is exactly what has begun in Greece. As Reuters reports, the fund manager "enraged" here audience when she asked the Greek journalists to 'double their contributions' to their social security fund, and spent the night in hospital for her efforts to keep the ponzi alive. It was a brutal sign of the fury many Greeks feel at the way the country's debt crisis has dashed hopes of a comfortable old age. As New Democracy's leader noted: "From July 2010 it was obvious that a debt restructuring would be inevitable. While foreign banks were unloading their Greek government bonds, no one moved to tell Greek pension funds to do something, that a haircut was coming." Under a law passed in 1997 and refined in 2007, pension funds have to place 77% of any surplus cash in a pool of 'common capital' which must be invested only in Greek government bonds or Treasury bills (T-bills). So the PSI saved German and French banks but crushed Greek pensioners...

Frontrunning: November 30

  • Turns out no free lunch after all: Greeks rage against pension calamity (Reuters)
  • Athens banks told of debt buyback ‘duty’ (FT)
  • U.N. Gives Palestinians 'State' Status (WSJ)
  • Obama's Cliff Offer Spurned (WSJ)
  • Republicans Reject Obama Budget as He Sells It to Public (Bloomberg)
  • Macau Gangster Who Missed Boom to Be Freed After 14 Years (Bloomberg)
  • China Economic Optimism Returns in Poll as Xi Beats Hu (Bloomberg)
  • Spain May Escape European Bailout, Former ECB Board Member Says (Bloomberg)... but they won't
  • After a bashing, BOJ weighs "big bang" war on deflation (Reuters)
  • Recession Left Baby Bust as U.S. Births Lowest Since 1920 (Bloomberg)
  • Japan unveils second Y880bn stimulus package (FT)

Greek Banks List Conditions Under Which They Will Agree To Be Bailed Out

One of the indirect beneficiaries of the German generosity which allowed a token EUR44 billion to be released for Greece, with the bulk of the proceeds used to pay off hedge fund and Western Europe bank creditors, are Greek banks, who will fight for the remaining scraps and use them to plug their massively underwater balance sheets. However, as we reported yesterday, the same Greek banks not only want their cake, but they now have a set of conditions that must be met for them to eat it too.

German Bundestag Approves Third Greek Bailout Package

With a vote of 473 in favor, 100 against, and 11 abstentions in the German Bundestag, Europe's AAA-club gets the formal green light to pay off hedge fund holders of Greek bonds, and to preserve the solvency of Deutsche Bank, also incorrectly known elsewhere as "the third Greek bailout." As for Greece, we expect a 4th "bailout" within 3-6 months. In fact after today's spectacular collapse in Greek retail sales which plunged 12.1% in October, make that 2-5 months.

Europe's Recessionary Collapse Beating Even Most Optimistic Expectations

There was some confusion as to why yesterday various Eurozone consumer confidence indices posted a surprising jump and beat expectations virtually across the board: turns out Europeans had an advance warning of today's horrendous economic data among which we learned that Eurozone October unemployment just hit a record 11.7%, up 0.1% from September (we are trying to get data if the Eurozone is gaming its unemployment number the way the US does by collapsing its labor participation rate), with Italy unemployment surging to 11.1% from 10.8%, on expectations of a 10.9% print, French consumer spending in October was down 0.2%, compared to an unchanged reading in September, but far more troubling was that German retail sales imploded at a rate of 2.8%, the biggest monthly collapse in 4 years, and worse than even the most bearish forecast. Do we hear "Sandy's fault."

Guest Post: Paul Krugman's Dangerous Misconceptions

In a recent article at the NYT entitled 'Incredible Credibility', Paul Krugman once again takes aim at those who believe it may not be a good idea to let the government's debt rise without limit. In order to understand the backdrop to this, Krugman is a Keynesian who thinks that recessions should be fought by increasing the government deficit spending and printing gobs of money. Moreover, he is a past master at presenting whatever evidence appears to support his case, while ignoring or disparaging evidence that seems to contradict his beliefs. Krugman compounds his error by asserting that there is an 'absence of default risk' in the rest of the developed world (on the basis of low interest rates and completely missing point of a 'default' by devaluation). We are generally of the opinion that it is in any case impossible to decide or prove points of economic theory with the help of economic history – the method Krugman seems to regularly employ, but then again it is a well-known flaw of Keynesian thinking in general that it tends to put the cart before the horse (e.g. the idea that one can consume oneself to economic wealth).

AVFMS's picture

Looks like yesterday put into practice: Let’s thank everyone to turn around markets, when they sink. Nothing to break the barn stomp in Periphery bonds (but themselves). Italy brilliantly stuffed its primary dealer at a 2-year low. Core EGBs holding quite steady, given ROn in Risk and Periphery. Strong US GDP revision – but, as expected anyway. Given the actual level in Risk, good numbers are seen as given. Nothing weak, no more, never. Swimming in a Sea of (Risk) Love. Watch the Event / Headline risk on FC (& Greece. The math still seems quite odd…). Hard Periphery (especially Spain) slap-back in the afternoon, though.

"Sea Of Love" (Bunds 1,37% unch; Spain 5,32% +1; Stoxx 2579 +1,3%; EUR 1,298 +50)