About a month ago Belgium's biggest bank, and as is now well known one of the most active borrowers at the Fed's discount window in the days following the Lehman crisis, issued €3.2 billion in FRNs with a two year maturity that had an odd feature: an ultra short term put feature (as the Bloomberg screen shows below, puttable June 26, 2011 at par) which can be exercised up to 33 days ahead of the put day (underwritten by Barclays, Citi and MS) or in other words, today. Well, as our source has told us, following recent downgrades of virtually all banks with Greek exposure (a topic further pursed by the below IFR article), the two largest investors in the bond: Blackrock, which owns the bulk or about €2.6 billion, and Barclays (among others) have exercised their put option. The speculation is that "either someone knows something or had a very rapid change of heart" and concludes that "this should make the whole funding thing relevant again" especially since banks continue to rely on the ECB exclusively for short-term liquidity needs. Also possible a jump in Fed Discount Window borrowings if the ECB is unable or unwilling to cross-collateralize even more Greek debt exposure. The advice: "start watching Libor/Euribor and the Forwards basis" for some near-term volatility. If this is confirmed, look for any/all other comparable short-term put deals to suddenly spring the investor option to pull their capital, and the domino avalanche to set off in earnest.
EU: "Greek Eurozone Membership Is At Stake" And Greece Must Agree On Tough Measures Or Return To DrachmaSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/25/2011 08:24 -0500
The loudest warning to date. From Reuters:
- EU Commissioner Damanaki says Greece's Eurozone membership is at risk
- EU Commissioner Damanaki says Greece must agree on tough measures or return to Drachma, according to state news agency
Incidentally, Greece would like nothing more than to return to the Drachma. And here are the next steps...
The European Gold Confiscation Scheme Unfolds: European Parliament Approves Use Of Gold As CollateralSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/25/2011 06:04 -0500
Wonder why Europe is pressing so hard for Greece (and soon the other PIIGS) to collateralize its pre-petition loans on a Debtor in Possession basis? Here is your answer: "Yesterday’s unanimous agreement by the European Parliament’s Committee
on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) to allow central counterparties
to accept gold as collateral, under the European Market Infrastructure
Regulation (EMIR), is further recognition of gold’s growing relevance as
a high quality liquid asset. This vote reinforces market demand for a greater choice of assets that can be used as collateral to meet margin liabilities." Luckily for Greece, it has 111.5 tons of gold in storage (somewhere at the New York Fed most likely). Looking down the road, Portugal has 382.5 tons, Spain 281.6, and Italy leads the pack with 2,451.8 tons.
Europe’s debt crisis has seen gold prices climb to new record highs in euros and British pounds at EUR 1,087.80/oz and GBP 944.93/oz respectively. Contagion concerns are mounting due to the failure of the ECB, the IMF and respective governments to tackle the sovereign debt crisis.
The scale of the debt crisis effecting Greece, Ireland, Italy, Belgium, Portugal and Spain is leading to growing concerns of a knock on deleterious impact on European banks and the global banking system. Gold should also be supported today by the OECD’s warning regarding the U.S. and Japan’s very poor fiscal situations and their lack of credible plans to tackle high and spiraling budget deficits. Silver’s fundamentals remain even stronger than gold’s and the recent paper driven sell off due to a series of margin calls and heavy selling on the COMEX appears to be over.
"The ECB Would Like To Thank The Academy" - Here Is What Happens After Greece Defaults: (The PG-13 Theatrical Version)Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/24/2011 18:00 -0500
A few days ago we presented a realistic, if somewhat somber, outlook of what would happen when (not if) Greece finally pulls the plug on its vegetative existence, and its paralyzed body will no longer serve as a breeding ground for maggots of the financial innovation variety. Today, we present a far more comedic one, courtesy of the ECB's Christian Noyer, who makes it all too clear: Europe is not in it to bail out itself and its banks which would topple like a house of undercapitalized, under-MTMed, and uber mismarked cards, but only to protect those poor sad souls of Greece from the "Horror" that would be unleashed when a Greek free fall bankruptcy finally arrives. Truly, the humanist ECB is doing god's work on earth. Try not to laugh while reading this.
Greece Reports: “Circular Reasoning Works Because Circular Reasoning Works” – Or – Here Comes That Default!!!Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 05/24/2011 12:40 -0500
Greece says it will not default because it has made a perfectly circular argument against default, and we all know that Circular Reasoning Works Because Circular Reasoning Works Because...
Greece is Guaranteed to Default. It's shouldn't even be up for debate since it is simple math: 2+2=4, not 3. I've laid it all out for you below, complete with the requisite advanced mathematical formulae (2+2...)
- French government says China backs Lagarde for IMF (Reuters)
- ...but, China has actually not backed Lagarde (WSJ)
- “You Americans Are Funny” — You Start an IMF (Forbes)
- Norquist Emerges as Barrier to U.S. Debt Deal (Bloomberg)
- Scarcity, Usefulness, and Getting an Edge (Hussman)
- Bullard Says Fed May Keep Rates, Balance-Sheet Steady to Assess Economy (Bloomberg)
- For Global Steel Industry, China Poses Guessing Game (WSJ)
- Goldman Finding Third Time a Charm in Russia (Bloomberg)
- Greece Will Accelerate State Asset Sales to Stem Debt Crisis as Bonds Drop (Bloomberg)
- It can go wrong? It will go wrong (WaPo)
The Greek bankruptcy, pardon, sovereign liability management exercise, pardon reprofiling, is once again front and center in the news this morning, after Moody's had some words of caution about a broad spillover effect in Europe should Greece file. From Reuters: "A Greek debt default would hurt other peripheral euro zone states and could push Portugal and Ireland into junk territory, Moody's said on Tuesday, warning it would classify most forms of restructuring as a default. "A Greek default would be highly destabilising and would have implications for the creditworthiness of issuers across Europe," Moody's Investors Service's chief credit officer in the region, Alastair Wilson, told Reuters in a telephone interview. "This would result in more highly polarised credit worthiness and ratings among euro zone sovereigns, with the stronger countries retaining very high ratings and the weaker countries struggling to remain in investment grade." And yet a Greek bankruptcy seems increasingly more inevitable after a brand new fissure has now appeared in the government, after the chief opposition, New Democracy, party leader Antonis Samaras said he would oppose the latest round of austerity which, nonetheless, must pass in order for Greece to not run out of funds in 2 months, as we previously reported, and finally set off the dominoes. While the political bickering will likely hit fever pitch, and result in new and increasingly more violent protests in Athens, it is likely that austerity will pass as western banks are licking their chops at acquiring Greek "privatized" assets, at least when it comes to infrastructure and real estate, banks not so much, at below cost prices.
Economists from the Left and the Right Agree: Neither the U.S. Nor Europe Is Dealing With the Real ProblemSubmitted by George Washington on 05/23/2011 19:58 -0500
And Moody's will issue a big credit warning on 14 of the UK's 18 biggest banks tomorrow ...
Co-Founder Of Reaganomics, Paul Craig Roberts, "There Is Probably More Democracy In China Than There Is In The West"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/23/2011 18:29 -0500
Paul Craig Roberts: "The west prides itself that it is the standard for the world, that it is a democracy. But nowehere do you see democratic outcomes: not in Greece, not in Ireland, not in the UK, not here, the outcomes are always to punish the innocent and reward the guilty. And that's what the Greeks are in the streets, protesting. We see this all over the west. There is no democracy, there are oligarchies, some of these smaller European countries are not even run by their own governments, they are run by Wall Street... There is probably more democracy in China than there is in the west. Revolution is the only answer... We are confronted with a curious situation. Throughout the west we think we have democracy, we hold ourselves up high, we demonize China, we talk about the mafia state of Russia, we talk about the Arabs and so on, but where is the democracy here?"
Cash is not our enemy right now - cash is your friend.
Certainly no one should expect Europe’s banks to suffer their own losses after making idiotic loans to corrupt governments. It’s much easier to stick the people with the bill by establishing a trillion dollar bailout fund with taxpayer money. Problem is, people in Europe are starting to wake up and get it. The anti-euro “True Finn” party in Finland recently surged in the polls to become the country’s third-largest political party and a major obstacle for any European bailout. This weekend, Spain’s ruling Socialist party was hammered with losses as voters voiced their utter disgust with the current government’s handling of the economy. In Germany, this year’s state election results are showing that voters are sick and tired of shouldering the financial burden for the rest of Europe. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling party is losing miserably, though in a pathetically desperate move, some local governments are changing suffrage limits and allowing 16-year olds to vote. This is the strongest indicator yet of how bad the situation in Europe has become: German banks are so over-exposed to the PIIGS sovereign debt that, in the face of political revolt all across Europe, German politicians have resorted to recruiting the Justin Bieber crowd to maintain the status quo.
What a difference a year makes. It was just over a year ago that Greece received its first (and certainly not last) $1 trillion + bailout package from the EU, the ECB and the IMF. Just over 12 months later, all those who peddled Greek bonds to the rest of the world (ahem Germany) are now furiously backtracking, having finally realized what we, and everyone else with half a brain realized from the beginning: it's over for the euro. But fine, let's kick the can down the road for a few more months, which will allow banks, with access to interest-free central bank capital, to literally steal Greece's soon to be privatized assets for pennies on the dollar, and then send the carcass, now picked dry, to the international bankruptcy court. In the meantime, we would like expose all the idiots who like various anchors on Comcast's bubblevision channel, pitched Greek paper to hapless investors, only to see losses (this is not some speculative asset - this is fixed income) of over 40% in one year, and for some reason continue to have a podium from which to spread their lunacy, greed and outright stupidity.
Well, it's all Greek to us, but even if we understood it, the informational value of this presentation (net of lies) is zero at best. It does have some pretty charts.
Greek CDS-Buying Villain Hellenic Postbank To Be First Casuality Of Hellenic "No Bid" Privatization RealitySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/23/2011 08:56 -0500
A little over a year ago, when the Greek CDS scapegoating campaign was in full swing (you see, the reason why the first $1 trillion Greek bailout failed is because of those evil, evil CDS traders: it had nothing to do with Greece being, well, bankrupt), one of the most hilarious discoveries was that among the chief speculative villains was none other than the state-owned Hellenic Postbank. That's right: the government of Greece was profiting by betting on its own demise even as it was making a stink about others doing the same. Well, justice for the insolvent is short, swift and quite poetic. According to Reuters, the first entity to fall to Greece's privatization ambitions will be the very same bank. (Granted, this is not really news: Greek Reporter noted this some time ago, see below). What will be funny is when Greece puts up its insolvent banks on the block and discovers that nobody wants to come within 10 feet of them, unless, of course, it is JP Morgan buying it up with the assistance of Maiden Lane IV, also known as My Big Fat Greek Bailout Taxpayer Funded Conduit, for 2 drachmas per share.