Perhaps all of this has gone on for so long, or perhaps because we keep hearing the cries of “Wolf” each week for the last several years, that the markets are impervious to any new cries for help. An odd kind of complacency seems to have set in where nothing matters too much and everything will just be fine. Yesterday’s equity market rally based upon the central banks providing liquidity is just what any serious observer would expect and yet the stock markets rallied as if this was something out of the ordinary which clearly demonstrates either the market’s lack of understanding of real world events or it represents the hype of some hedge fund that was tossed around in the media like it was a new product at Apple. In any event, don’t wake up on Monday morning and think that Greece will have left the Eurozone and returned to the Drachma. That is not how things will play out. In the final analysis it probably all comes down to what price the Germans are willing to pay for dominating Europe.
If yesterday's global intervention rumor was a feeler of market response to the next latest and greatest intervention then we may have big problems: the EURUSD is now unchanged, Spanish bond yields are now unchanged, stocks are doing their quad witching thing which means all stops will be taken out before the day is done, but most importantly the euphoria such an announcement would have created before is now completely gone (as per The Diminishing Returns Of Central Planning). What is actually worse, and how the G-20 rumor may have backfired, is that as we pointed out, suddenly there has been a significant shift in expectations: if Syriza does not have an outright win on Sunday then there will be no immediate central bank response, which was predicted to be "if needed". Remember: for this market, when all that matters is the next 10 minutes of trading, this is the only relevant metric. Which means that suddenly from a Risk On event, Syriza's loss has become Risk Off! Of course, the reality is that Sunday will almost certainly be a replay of the last election, where the parliament continues to be empty, and Greece continues to be "Belgium" - recall from May 3, "Previewing The First Of Many Greek Elections." In either case, as others have suggested holding on to positions over the weekend may not be the most prudent thing.
The announcement by the UK Treasury and BoE to take co-ordinated steps to boost credit and with the central bank re-activating its emergency liquidity facility has resulted in a sharp move higher in UK fixed income futures. GBP swaps are now pricing in a cut of 25bps in the base rate by the end of this year and following on from Goldman Sachs, analysts at Barclays and BNP Paribas are now calling for an increase in QE next month. The new measures have seen the likes of Lloyds Banking Group (+4.3%) and RBS (+7.0%) outperform the more moderate gains observed in their European counterparts. Meanwhile in Europe the focus remains on the possibility of co-ordinated action from the major central banks. However, it would seem more realistic that any new measures will likely come after the Greek election results are known and once ministers have conducted their G20 meetings. Given that there is an EU level conference call this afternoon scheduled for 1500BST the likelihood of rumours seem high but as the wires have indicated already these conversations are purely based upon co-ordination ahead of the meeting which is usual practice. The yields in Spain and Italy have been a lot calmer so far with the 10yr in Spain at 6.88%, off the uncomfortable test of 7% seen yesterday.
While by now virtually everyone around the world is intimately familiar with the nuances of Greek electoral law, knows the names of Greek politicians better than of those at home, and is all too aware of the broader media propaganda that unless Greece does as the banks demand the world as we know it will end, one aspect of the Greek collapse into hell has gotten lost: the complete failure of the Greek healthcare system. As the following Reuters report shows, regardless of the outcome on Sunday, it just may be too late to preserve the future of Greek sickcare, and with that, of the entire population: "The country's state hospitals are cutting off vital drugs, limiting non-urgent operations and rationing even basic medical materials for exhausted doctors as a combination of economic crisis and political stalemate strangle health funding. "It's a matter of life and death for us," said Persefoni Mitta, head of the cancer patients' association, recounting the dozens of calls she gets a day from patients needing pricey, hard-to-find cancer drugs. "Why are they depriving us of life?"" They are depriving of you of life, Persefoni, because in old times, when a given country was enslaved, there was a specific aggressor that the people could revolt against. Now, when the slave-master is debt, and thus one's own desire to live beyond their means, it is far more difficult to look in the mirror and to revolt against what one sees. Which is why, one day at a time, the Greek civilization will continue to suffer the terminal consequences of infinite debt serfdom, until finally, after two thousand years, it no longer exists.
- Greece is Relevant: Central Banks Warn Greek-Led Euro Stress Threatens World (Bloomberg)
- Greece is very Relevant: World Economies Prepare for Panic After Greek Polls (Reuters)
- ECB's Draghi flags euro risks, spurs rate cut talk (Reuters)
- And as usual, beggars can be choosers... Hollande Urges Common Euro Debt, Greater ECB Role (Reuters)
- Wait and flee - Electoral uncertainty sends the economy into suspended animation (Economist)
- The EU Smiled While Spain’s Banks Cooked the Books (Bloomberg)
- Osborne’s £100bn Plan for UK Economy (FT)
- Two Cheers for Britain’s Bank Reform Plans: Martin Wolf (FT)
- BOJ Holds Policy Ahead of Greek Vote with Eye on Global Markets (Bloomberg)
- China Hits Back at U.S. Criticisms at WTO (Reuters)
With Greece preparing to go to the polls this weekend for the second time in a little over a month, BAML's credit strategy group addresses three potential outcomes of the election on a number of asset classes. While they do have concerns about all of the possible post-election scenarios they do not necessarily lead to an exit from the eurozone, at least not in the very short term, and some of them could even lead to an initial market rally that could temporarily strengthen the euro. Their analysis focuses on the near-term (four-week) market implications and assumes that neither Spain nor Italy will have a sovereign crisis during this time frame, though those concerns will likely persist. The three scenarios are: Base case (high probability): election result allows Greece to form a pro-EU government; limited European policy response; Bull case (low probability): election result means Greece does not form a pro-EU government; substantial ECB & European policy response; and Bear case (low to medium probability): election result means Greece does not form a pro-EU government; limited ECB/ European policy response. The one-month asset price response for rates, credit, equities, FX & commodities are detailed below.
There are five problems that need to be resolved within the European crisis and Credit Suisse provides a scorecard for the progress towards these 'risk factors'. The key issues are: growth, peripheral current account balances, solvency of the insolvent, ring-fencing the insolvent, and mutualization of government debt; but what is more worrisome is that while they have raised the average score to 2.0 out of 5 (from 0.6 out of 5 in Nov' 2011), it has not budged now in four months. The lack of growth, fiscal tightening, continuing insolvency concerns and excess leverage in the private sector, and de minimus deleveraging in Spain, Greece, Portugal, and Ireland leaves the vicious circle of progress on the European scorecard much harder from here.
News & headlines from the day
While we await the Moody's downgrade of the Spanish banking system, which we can only attribute to a lack of outsourced Indian talent, since three banks are now rated higher than the sovereign, Moody's decided to give a little present to our Dutch readers by downgrading 5 of their biggest banks: Rabobank Nederland, (2 notches to A2) for ING Bank N.V., (2 notches to A2) for ABN AMRO Bank N.V. (2 notches to A2), and for LeasePlan Corporation N.V. (2 notches to Baa2). The long-term debt and deposit ratings for SNS Bank N.V. were downgraded by one notch to Baa2. And yes, this means that the US banks (looking at your Margin Stanley) are likely next.
With Greece taxing nearly 90% of the price on a pack of cigarettes, perhaps a far more reliable indicator of sovereign health (ironically) than rating agencies is just how much in sin tax a given country withholds. If that is the case, France really should be worried. Also: don't be surprised if the next sauna you go to has a Starbucks outlet.
Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and others besides have fallen into the trap of bribing their electorates with promises that become ever more unsustainable. In each of these states, expectations have been created that cannot be met and that cannot now be undone. This is surely a recipe for social unrest. These will not be the only countries to succumb to failure. The national debt, the unaffordable long-term cost of social security, health care and a myriad other entitlements and the mounting evidence of the insolvent state point to the same outcome for the UK and the US. Failure is ensured; the more pressing question is, what happens next?
"What TPTB do not appreciate are the lessons we are all learning from Greece. We must learn many more lessons though. We must admit to ourselves that there are truly evil geniuses out there, and in most cases these characters have taken control of the power structure (corporations, politics and factions of the military in most of the nations we reside in). The necessary action is not for good people to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that such people do not exist. We must get inside their minds. We must acknowledge and accept their presence as well as their power and then work tirelessly to relieve them of it. As Irish statesmen, author and philosopher Edmund Burke so eloquently stated: “All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.” Let’s just do it already."
Here Comes The Mother Of All Rumors: G-20 Sources Say Central Banks Preparing For Coordinated ActionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/14/2012 14:08 -0500
Update 1: and here comes the revision:
- G20 SOURCES SAY CENTRAL BANKS PREPARING FOR COORDINATED ACTION AFTER THE GREEK ELECTIONS IF NEEDED
So... if Syriza wins, and Greece leave the Eurozone, there will be a response? Unpossible.
* * *
And the mother of all rumors strikes:
- G20 SOURCES SAY CENTRAL BANKS PREPARING FOR COORDINATED ACTION AFTER THE GREEK ELECTIONS
One small problem. Central banks NEVER indicate in advance what they will do. This is merely a desperation attempt to ramp markets into the close, and sucker even more retail into stocks ahead of Sunday. Now we wait for the denial because otherwise some pathetic G-20 leak just made central banks everywhere irrelevant and obsolete: remember what happened to Jamie Dimon when in March he front-ran the Fed...
Just What Is Mario Draghi Hiding? ECB Declines To Respond To Bloomberg FOIA Request On Greek-Goldman SwapsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/14/2012 12:38 -0500
Back in February 2010, in the aftermath of the discovery that none other than Goldman Sachs had facilitated for nearly a decade the masking of the true magnitude of non-Maastricht conforming Greek debt, Zero Hedge first identified the prospectus for a Goldman underwritten swap agreement securitization titled Titlos PLC. We titled the analysis "Is Titlos PLC The Downgrade Catalyst Trigger Which Will Destroy Greece?" because for all intents and purposes it was: at that time a rating agency downgrade of the country would lead to a chain of events which would make billions in assets ineligible for ECB collateral, forcing a massive margin call on the National Bank of Greece, which likely would have precipitated a Greek default there and then. But that is irrelevant for the time being: what is relevant is Titlos itself, and what Bloomberg did after we posted the analysis. It appears that in following in the footsteps of Mark Pittman, Bloomberg sued the ECB under Freedom of Information rules requesting "access to two internal papers drafted for the central bank’s six-member Executive Board. They show how Greece used swaps to hide its borrowings, according to a March 3, 2010, note attached to the papers and obtained by Bloomberg News. The first document is entitled “The impact on government deficit and debt from off-market swaps: the Greek case.” The second reviews Titlos Plc, a securitization that allowed National Bank of Greece SA, the country’s biggest lender, to exchange swaps on Greek government debt for funding from the ECB, the Executive Board said in the cover note. The ECB's response: "The European Central Bank said it can’t release files showing how Greece may have used derivatives to hide its borrowings because disclosure could still inflame the crisis threatening the future of the single currency." Maybe. But what is far more likely is that the reason why the ECB, headed by none other than former Goldmanite Mario Draghi, is desperate to keep these documents secret is for another reason. A very simple reason:
Mario Draghi - 2002-2005: Vice Chairman and Managing Director at Goldman Sachs International
Italy, Spain, and Greece saw their stock markets rally today (with Greece dramatically so - though what exactly is 10% of nothing?). The rest of European stocks are underperforming as equities broadly deteriorate towards credit markets' already less sanguine shifts. In the last hour or so equities and credit did rally modestly into the EU close but investment grade credit remains near one-week wides as stocks remain range-bound. Spanish bonds (cracking over 7% yields) diverged significantly today as Italy managed to rally modestly close to close. Spain's 10Y spread to bunds has risen 90bps from its opening rally on Monday morning and over 55bps from Friday's close (and Italy +22bps on the week).; but Italian stocks are down 3% on the week and Spain up 1.85% on the week. It all makes sense if you blur your eyes and put your fingers in your ears. EURUSD managed to get back over 1.26 (as gold and silver dumped this morning) as we suspect we are seeing more repatriation flows (and TSYs tumbled this morning) but with Swiss 5Y rates almost 5bps negative, Europe remains teetering.