Greece

As Legendary Nurburgring Files For Bankruptcy, Broke Greece Launches Its Own Formula 1 Race Track

There is something very wrong with this story. Two months ago, the world's most legendary race track, Germany's Nürburgring filed for bankruptcy. As AP wrote then: "Germany's legendary Nürburgring racetrack and entertainment complex is effectively bankrupt. The circuit—which hosted Formula One's German Grand Prix last year—is to launch insolvency proceedings amid fears that it could run out of cash while the European Commission considers planned government aid. The state government in Rhineland-Palatinate, which owns the financially troubled Nuerburgring GmbH, decided on the move on Wednesday, the dapd news agency reported.... A state subsidy had been in place since a disastrous development plan left the 'Ring organization saddled with more than 350 million euros in debt. While the Nordschleife—the circuit's famous “North Loop” which covers more than 13 miles—generates healthy operating profits, the income does not cover the interest payments on the enormous debt incurred when the state entered into the plan with two developers, Kai Richter and Jorg Lindner." Sadly such is life in a world in which not everyone is bailed out by the government, and when it comes to the "fairness for everyone, bankruptcy for no one" doctrine, Germany has still not jumped on the bandwagon. One country which has is the country which many say is alive only due to German generosity, is Greece. And in what may be the biggest slap in the face to Germany, and its recently defunct race track, is the news that Greece is now "unblocking a subsidy" (a subsidy which came from Germany) for €29 billion to, get this, build a Formula 1 racetrack. The same type of racetrack that just went belly up in Germany and cost countless jobs.

Spot The Odd One Out

There have been a few nations in the world over the last decade or so that have garnered somewhat mind-blowingly negative attention and have been forced to restructure, take losses, or default (semantics) on their debt (or financial system). Three of the best known are Argentina, Iceland, and most recently Greece. The following chart of GDP growth may have a lesson for every investor around the world (especially those in sovereign bonds) - and maybe more importantly for the Greek (and European) leadership. Is there something different about the post-restructuring growth in Greece that did not occur in the other two nations? Perhaps taking your medicine is indeed the right way to go - and enables growth to once again re-emerge - and the constant use of the M.A.D. argument is pure bluff.

Euro-Zone 'Misery' Has Never Been Higher

While the 'Misery' Index in Iran reaches exceptional levels, and the US aggregate of inflation and unemployment peaked last October, Europe's misery has continued to rise in the face of an ever-easing ECB and political jawboning. As SocGen notes today, the UK's misery has turned back higher and the Euro-zone's Misery Index has never been higher. These misery indices clearly reflect deteriorating economic performances in the main G10 countries, with some unsurprisingly weaker performances in Spain and Greece, leading the eurozone index higher. Given recessionary situations expected in some eurozone countries next year, the misery index is unfortunately quite unlikely to edge south significantly.

AVFMS's picture

Getting caught in end of day divergence between recovering Bunds / UST and equities readying up a pre-close squeeze out.Note a rather muted, in line, Credit performance.

No real data anywhere tomorrow, so either the good spirits of recovery keep up their heads up – or not…

Lest We Forget

Leading up to the American Financial Crisis. We all had the data, we all saw the sub-prime mess, we all saw the leverage, we all saw the money handed out for nothing and the non-disclosure documents, we all saw the lack of credible ratings supplied by the ratings agencies and yet we went on like it would all continue forever. We ignored it all. We turned our backs but then; we got scalped and so the prime questions must be asked: Are we wise men or are we fools? Did we learning anything from the last go round? Should we act now before we are scalped again considering we only have one head? Since the American Financial Crisis the world has lived off the largesse of the major central banks. It has been a slippery slope and each capital injection or “save the world” speech has been met by risk-on and higher markets as liquidity floods the system. It is a judgment call on our part but we think we are about done with the effectiveness of moves by the central banks.

Frontrunning: October 1

  • Trade Slows Around World (WSJ)
  • Debt limit lurks in fiscal cliff talks (FT)
  • Welcome back to the eurozone crisis (FT, Wolfgang Munchau)
  • Euro Leaders Face October of Unrest After September Rally (Bloomberg)
  • Dad, you were right (FT)
  • 25% unemployment, 25% bad loans, 5% drop in Industrial Production, and IMF finally lowers its 2013 Greek GDP forecast (WSJ)
  • Global IPOs Slump to Second-Lowest Level Since Financial Crisis (Bloomberg)
  • France's Hollande faces street protest over EU fiscal pact (Reuters)
  • EU Working to Resolve Difference on Bank Plan, Rehn Says (Bloomberg)
  • China manufacturing remains sluggish (FT)
  • Samaras vows to fight Greek corruption (FT) ... and one of these days he just may do it
  • Leap of Faith (Hssman)
  • Germany told to 'come clean’ over Greece (AEP)

Overnight Sentiment Improves On Record Eurozone Unemployment, 14th Consecutive PMI Contraction

After dropping to its 200 DMA, and threatening to breach its recent support level of 1.2800, the EURUSD has seen the usual powerlift over the past 4 hours, on two key events out of Europe: Eurozone unemployment, which came at a record 11.4%, up from 11.3% (which just happened to be revised to 11.4%) but because it was in line with expectations of the ongoing recession, all was forgiven. The other event was Eurozone manfucaturing PMI, which rose by the smallest amount possible from the 46.0 in August to 46.1, on expectations of an unchanged print. That 0.1% "beat" is what has so far set off a near 100 pip rush higher in the EURUSD, which has ignored the Chinese weakness overnight (the SHCOMP is closed for the Chinese Golden Week), as well as the UK PMI which did not share in the European "improvement" and tumbled from 49.5 to 48.4 on expectations of a 49.0 print (so much for that latest BOE easing), and instead is transfixed by headlines proclaiming the strongest PMI in 6 months. What also is being ignored is the components in the Eurozone PMI, with the leading New Order index falling to 43.5 from 43.7. But the data being ignored the hardest is the French PMI which tumbled to 42.7, the lowest print in 41 months, of which as MarkIt's chief economist Chris Williamson said "France is perhaps the new worry, with its PMI slumping to the lowest for three-and-a-half years." Coming at a 3+ year low when France desperately needs its new wealth redistribution budget to be credible, is not the best possible outcome. Bottom line: Europe is in a recession, but maybe not outright depression just yet, so the thinking is - buy the EUR, strengthen the currency, make German exports weaker, and make sure the recession becomes a full on depression. Or something like that.

Key Events In The Weeks Ahead

The following is a comprehensive list of key events to watch over the next several weeks – events that could have very significant bearing on how the euro sovereign debt crisis evolves.

Is The Money-Laundering Driven Real Estate "Boom" Ending?

One by one all the money-laundering loopholes in a broke world are coming to an end. First it was Swiss bank accounts, which for centuries guaranteed the depositors absolute secrecy, and as a result saw money inflows from all the wealthiest savers in the world, who felt truly safe their wealth (obtained by legal means or otherwise) would not be redistributed forcefully. In the ecosystem of finance, Switzerland was the depositor bank. Then 2008 happened, and starting with the US, shortly to be followed by every other insolvent country, demands were issued for a full list of people who had used Zurich and Geneva bank vaults to avoid the risk of asset taxation, capital controls and confiscation on their own native soil. The result was the end of the Swiss banking sector as the ultimate target of all global money laundering. In the ensuing power vacuum, others have sprung up to take its place, most notably Singapore, but its days as a tax-haven are numbered by how long it takes China to fall face first into a hard landing at which point no saving on the Pacific seaboard will be safe.

Now, it is the turn of real estate.

Greek Bad Loans Climb To Record 25% Of Total

It appears that in the past few weeks, the number 25% is strange attractor of bad luck for Greece. First, a month ago we learned that Greek unemployment has for the first time ever reached 25%. Now we get to see the income statement and balance sheet manifestation of a society in socioeconomic collapse - Kathimerini reports that Greek bad loans, or those which haven't seen a payment made in over 3 months, have hit a record €57 billion, or 25% of all bank debt. "With one in every four loans not being repaid for more than three months, the bank system is feeling the pressure, leading to additional capital requirements that are expected to aggravate the state debt further." That was Kathimerini's spin. The reality is that just like in Spain, where between bad loans and deposit outflows, the country has become a protectorate of the ECB, which is now fully in control of its banking system, so too in Greece Mario Draghi's tentacles are now in every bank office. Should Greece repeat the festivities of this summer and threaten to pull out of the Eurozone, the ECB will merely in turn threaten to push the red button and cut off all cash to terminally insolvent Greek banks, which of course would also mean a total halt of all deposit outflow activity. So instead what will happen is the ongoing rise in unemployment, and the increase in bad loans as percent of total, until one day the economy, even with all the money in the world pumped into it from Frankfurt, will no longer move. That day is getting very close.

AVFMS's picture

Bizarrely, and even after slapping my screens several times to make sure things were working, real opening levels in EGBs very quite simply FLAT. All flat! Haven’t seen that in ages!

Had to slap my screens again tonight, given the tons of “unchanged” data in EGBs. Have decorrelated from equities, as has the USD (closing about unchanged).

The Operatic Grandeur Of "More Europe"

Europe is becoming quite strange. The World is becoming quite strange. A politician gets up and speaks and says nothing, no one listens to what he said, then he is roundly congratulated for his bold words that were heard by no one and then everyone disagrees with what they think he might have said. The Continent seems to be in a dream-state where the worse it gets; the better it is because the ECB will be drawn in and provide liquidity like the ever-after will provide Redemption. I am not sure America is any better actually. In the United States we admit we are printing money while in Europe they “print and deny” but the outcome is about the same. Economic and fiscal reality is a thing of the past as the world’s Central Banks will provide manna, sustenance and well-being.

Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: September 28

The "mañana" approach to fiscal management, that Spain is known for, presented what is generally perceived as overly optimistic growth forecasts for 2013 and lacked details on structural reform resulted in another risk off session. As a result, Spanish stocks continued to underperform (IBEX seen lower by over 5% on the week), with 10y bond yield spread wider by around 12bps as market participants adjusted to higher risk premia. The state is due to sell 2s and 5s next week, which may also have contributed to higher yields. As a reminder, Moody’s review on Spain is set to end today, however there is a chance that the ratings agency may extend the review for another couple of months or wait until the stress test results are published to make an announcement. In other news, according to sources, Greece could return to its European partners for a Spanish-style rescue of its banking sector, as the country is looking to ease the burden via another writedown of its debts or a strong recapitalisation of its banks (no official response as yet). Going forward, the second half of the session sees the release of the latest PCE data, as well as the Chicago PMI report for the month of September.

Frontrunning: September 28

  • China accuses Bo Xilai of multiple crimes, expels him from communist party (Reuters), China seals Bo's fate ahead of November 8 leadership congress (Reuters)
  • "Dozens of phone calls on days, nights and weekends" - How Bernanke Pulled the Fed His Way - Hilsenrath (WSJ)
  • Fed won't "enable" irresponsible fiscal policy-Bullard (Reuters)
  • PBOC Adviser Says Easing Restrained by Concerns on Homes (Bloomberg)
  • Data Point to Euro-Zone Recession (WSJ)
  • Fiscal cliff dims business mood (FT)
  • FSA to Oversee Libor in Streamlining of Tarnished Rates (Bloomberg)
  • Monti Says ECB Conditions, IMF Role Hinder Bond Requests (Bloomberg)
  • Japan Heads for GDP Contraction as South Korea Weakens (Bloomberg)
  • Moody’s downgrades South Africa (FT)
  • Madrid Struggles With Homage to Catalonia (WSJ)