Greece

Suddenly, Nobody In Europe Wants The ECB Bailout

It took the ECB a year of endless behind the scenes Machiavellian scheming to restart the SMP program (which was conceived by Jean-Claude Trichet in May 2010, concurrent with the first Greek bailout). The markets soared with euphoria that this time will be different, and that the program which is a masterclass in central planning paradox, as it is "unlimited" yet "sterilized", while based on "conditions" none of which have been disclosed, and will somehow be pari passu for new bond purchases while it retains seniority for previous purchases of Greek and other PIGS bonds, will work - it won't, and the third time will not be the charm as we showed before. Yet it has been just 48 hours since the "bailout" announcement and already Europe is being Europe: namely, it turns out that nobody wants the bailout.

A Bright Future For Greeks:"Now I Clean Swedish Shit"

One look at the short squeeze in the EURUSD, coupled with the endless jawboning out of Europe, and one may be left with the faulty impression that Europe has been magically fixed and that Greece couldn't be more delighted to remain in the Eurozone. One would be wrong. This is what is really going on in Europe: "As a pharmaceutical salesman in Greece for 17 years, Tilemachos Karachalios wore a suit, drove a company car and had an expense account. He now mops schools in Sweden, forced from his home by Greece’s economic crisis.“It was a very good job,” said Karachalios, 40, of his former life. “Now I clean Swedish s---." That more or less explains everything one needs to know about the "fixing" of Europe.

When Unlimited Has Limits

In very real terms the ECB is now no longer an independent institution. The ECB has promised not to act unless the EU assents. The ECB is now totally subject to the whims of the politicians in Europe and whether the markets ignore this for the moment or not that is the truth of it. In promising redemption the ECB has also traded away its ability to act on its own and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

The Post Globalized World Part 2: Why The PIGS Are (Still) Out Of Luck

A world of ongoing global integration leads to rising global trade and to rising competition between companies from different countries and to some degree also between the countries themselves. Some countries have benefited from rising global trade and strengthened their positions, expressed by rising trade surplus; other countries have come under pressure, expressed by rising trade deficit. These global trade imbalances are a consequence of competitive differences. Deutsche Bank note that investors invest in companies and the countries are the platform of the companies. Therefore, an understanding of global competiveness of countries is key for investors. It is most helpful to look at the combination of competiveness and hourly wages. The more competitive a country is, the higher its wages can be justified. There is a clear relation between the two variables. Countries below the regression curve have a strong competiveness rank relative to their labour costs while countries above the curve have a lower competiveness rank relative to their labour costs. Greece is one of the most extreme outliers, but Italy, Spain, and Argentina are also above the curve. They have a long way to go to get close to competitive - but then again - why would they care?

The One Chart To Explain Why Draghi's Blunt Tool Can't Fix Europe

The monetary policy transmission mechanism is broken in Europe; we all know it and even ECB head Draghi has admitted it (and is trying to solve it). As Bloomberg economist David Powell noted though, Draghi may have to address the economic fragmentation of the euro area before undoing the financial fragmentation of the region. The latter may just be a symptom of the former. The Taylor Rule, a policy guideline that models a monetary authority’s interest rate response to the paths of inflation and economic activity, highlights the drastically different monetary policies required across the various EU nations as a result of their variegated domestic economic conditions. This variation creates concerns over sustainability and the rational (not irrational as Draghi would have us believe) act of transferring deposits to 'safer' nations for fear of redenomination. As Powell notes: Draghi will probably have to convince market participants of the economic sustainability of the monetary union before the financial fragmentation of the region is ended. The large-scale extension of central bank credit to potentially insolvent countries is unlikely to accomplish that - as economies remain hugely divergent.

Santelli And Grant Explain The ECB Reality

While illiquid short-dated Spanish bond yields plunge and short-sale-banned Spanish stocks (IBEX) surge back above their 200DMA the most in 16 months, one could be forgiven for falling into the age-old CNBC-trap of "well the market is up so it must be good" belief. Rick Santelli and Mark Grant, in a brief few minutes attempt to get below the surface of the actual words and perception of today's Draghi statement and explain just how the conditionality and size/roll constraints make this supposed unlimited "we'll fix it all" scenario rather ridiculous in that "The ECB is never going to be allowed to do anything." Perhaps just as IBEX fell 17% in 3 weeks after rallying 5.6% on EUR Summit-day hope, we will see some sense of reality sink back in to the circularity of this support.

The Bundesbank Replies To The ECB

Did the German Bundesbank roll over and die as Die Welt suggest, by yielding to the will of the ECB and Goldman? Or is it merely setting the stage for the inevitable German referendum? Many claim the Italian head of the ECB won today in his ever escalating confrontation with the last remaining German on the ECB governing council, although in reality he is merely doing what he has already done twice before. The outcome will be the same: abject failure to contain the crisis which will not be resolved until and if Europe succeeds in creating a united, Federal state, with one bond issuance authority. That will never happen: after all, 17 European states will never hand over their sovereignty to a third party, especially one which is backstopped by German cash. But it can pretend. In the meantime, Buba will not quietly go, instead it has already stated what it thinks, and what it thinks is that what the ECB is doing (once again) is "tantamount to financing governments by printing banknotes" and that monetary policy is now subjugated to fiscal policy. Full text of the Buba's response below.

Desperate Maladies Require Desperate Measures

One of the primary purposes of a government, any government, is to sustain itself. In its final hours it will do almost anything possible for its self-preservation. While everyone stares at Frankfurt and the last ditch effort of Mr. Draghi there have been other events which are part of this play and merit your attention. Austria has come out and stated quite succinctly that no more Austrian money will be used for other countries; any other countries. Yesterday the Netherlands stated in absolute terms that no more of their money will be used for Greece. If the condition of any ECB funding is to be the approval of the EU and the use of their Stabilization Funds then what Mario Draghi is proposing may never come to pass, may never happen and may just be a rhetorical exercise in wand waving. To us, the world seems askew at present. China is in serious decline, Europe is in a virtual recession as Eurostat releases the numbers today and points to a -0.2% contraction of the EU-17. The markets rally based upon the supposed three Saviors of the world, the central banks of the United States, Europe and China and so the worse that it gets the larger the rally as the central banks will ease and ease again until some kind of wall is hit.

Wall Street Analysts Respond To Mario Draghi

Confused by the implications of Draghi's pre-leaked speech? Don't worry, you are not alone. As the following sampling of opinions by Wall Street experts via Reuters confirms, opinions range from the positive to the negative, to the completely clueless.

ECB Releases SMP2.0 Aka Outright Monetary Transactions Details

The ECB has released the details of its SMP 2.0 program, aka the OMT program, which will be pari passu, unlike the SMP 1.0. The full details are a whopping 472 words. Furthermore, we hope that it is quite clear to Greece that if the ECB has bought Greek bonds under the new SMP 2.0 program instead of SMP 1.0, its debt would now be about €100 billion less.

From the ECB:

In Greece, It's The Police Vs The Riot Police

As unemployment (broad and youth) goes from the sublime to the ridiculous in the troubled nation, Reuters is reporting that tensions are rising - even among the Police themselves. "They make us fight our own brothers," one riot-policeman urged with regard the Greek police protesting austerity cuts and preventing riot-police from leaving to secure other demonstrations this weekend. The government plans to slash police pay in a new round of spending cuts worth nearly EUR12bn over the next two years, which the police, firefghter, and coast guards will be prtesting later today in Athens. How soon before TROIKA demands 8 days a week and 99% taxation - as the hair-trigger on the gun they are holding to their own head becomes more and more sensitive.

This Is Economic Death: Greek Unemployment Rises By 1% In One Month

The chart below needs no commentary, neither does what it represents. In May Greek unemployment, pre revision, was 23.1%. It was subsequently revised higher to 23.5%, but this is merely to make the jump to the June number more palatable. What was June? 24.4%. In other words, no matter how one looks at it, the unemployment rate rose by 1% in one month.

The Post Globalized World Part 1: Why The PIGS Are Out Of Luck

There are three key factors to modeling trade flows - or relevance - in a post-globalization world. While competitiveness is important, countries gain from being generally 'Technology-rich', 'Labor-rich', and/or 'Resource-rich'. The following chart, from Deutsche Bank, shows where the world's countries fit into the Venn diagram of give-and-take in a post-globalization market. The red oval highlights where Italy, Greece, Portugal, and Spain (and Argentina sadly enough) do not fit into this picture. Two words - Euro-sustainability?

For Spain, The Beginning Of The End Arrives As Bank Of Spain Starts Using ELA

As we described in detail yesterday, things are going from worse to worserer as the problems in Spain - more specifically in its banking sector - are deepening as deposit flight accelerates, and "the private sector is leaving the banking system." But the Bank of Spain isn't leaving anything to chance. The WSJ disconcertingly highlights that last month the central bank appears for the first time to have activated an emergency lending program that will enable its banks to borrow from the Bank of Spain directly, bypassing the ECB's relatively tough collateral demands. That would make Spain at least the fourth euro-zone country - following Greece, Ireland and Portugal - to use the ELA, which generally is reserved for situations when banks have exhausted all other financing options. As we pointed out yesterday, this would appear to confirm a "full-blown bailout" is imminent, as the collateral problems mount.