And so the one thing that was supposed to be set (if only briefly) in stone, the terms of the Greek creditor haircut, has now fallen apart. From Reuters: "The Greeks are demanding that the new bonds' Net Present Value, -- a measure of the current worth of their future cash flows -- be cut to 25 percent, a second person said, a far harsher measure than a number in the high 40s the banks have in mind. Banks represented by the IIF agreed to write off the notional value of their Greek bondholdings by 50 percent last month, in a deal to reduce Greece's debt ratio to 120 percent of its Gross Domestic Product by 2020." And confirming that the IIF has now lost control of the situation, "the country has now started talking to its creditor banks directly, the sources said." And because the NPV is only one component in determining what the final haircut really is, this means that the haircut just got higher or the actual coupon due to creditors will be slashed, a move which will see Sarkozy balking at this overture in which Greece once again sense weakness out of Europe. We can't wait to hear what France says to this latest escalation by Greece, which once again has destroyed the precarious European balance.
This is a holiday week so trading volume will be light. However, recall that it was during Thanksgiving 2009 that the sovereign defaults first started when Dubai asked for an extension on $60 billion in debt it owed. Will we get a European version of the Thanksgiving day collapse this time around with Italy?
Sovereign credit issues have been front-and-center in terms of recent headlines as cost of funds and the balance between growth and austerity becomes unhinged among the once-upon-a-time risk-free entities. What has had less play very recently is the crisis that is going in the banking systems of the world as investors are as loathed to take any exposure to an opaque and clearly insolvent group of organizations. Credit (and to a lesser degree - equity) markets have shown their disapproval as spreads are as bad (if not worse) than at any time before, and yet the ratings agencies have yet to act decisively - especially in the US. All that is about to change as Reuters gently reminds us that S&P is about to update it bank credit ratings framework. The model is complex by nature but as we have seen time and time again, the agencies tend to lag prices (spreads) and in that case, we can expect downgrades as an early Christmas present. The impact of a downgrade can be very significant - aside from simply reducing investor appetite for risk (in its simplest form), it can trigger collateral calls and in a world where liquidity is hard to come by, and with the magnitude of funding (and rolling maturing debt) due over the next few quarters, we suspect this will be the catalyst for another leg down in equity prices as they snap back to credit's reality.
Wondering why the future for housing as an asset is so bleak, why median housing prices continue to tumble and recently saw their biggest three month drop ever, and why there is no bottom in sight? Simple: the American public appears to have woken up to the reality that homes are no longer a flippable asset, and in fact continue to drop in price, an observation that is obvious to virtually all now. So what happens next? Why renting of course. Here is Morgan Stanley explaining (granted in a pitchbook for REITs but the underlying data is quite useful) why the Housing 2.0 paradigm is all about renting.
Mortgage principal writedowns may sound like a political panacea, until we consider the effects not only on borrowers, but on banks, and taxpayers, as well...
Here is the draft document with our thoughts inserted directly into the document. As more actual details or termsheets become available we will attempt to analyze them as well.
So, what can I say? As the lone realist regarding Apple in the Blogosphere/Wall Street/MSM is vindicated, do I get 100s of emails saying I was right (to counter the 100s of hate mail) or do the fanboi investors & consumers continue to ignore facts & math. For those who are interested in actual fact, here's how I see things from this point forward.
Better late .....here is all you need to read.
Hong Kong, the world's third-largest gold trading centre, has become the world's first place to offer gold trading in yuan, further positioning the yuan or renminbi as a potential global reserve currency. Hong Kong’s Chinese Gold & Silver Exchange Society, a century old bullion bourse, has introduced gold trading quoted in Chinese yuan, making it more convenient for Chinese people and high net worth individuals (HNWs) holding yuan to invest in the precious metal and opening a new way to hedge. The move comes amid the continuing push by Chinese authorities for a more international role for its currency and as an alternate reserve currency to the embattled dollar and euro. With gold now traded in yuan, it is only a matter of time before oil is traded in yuan thereby positioning the yuan as ‘petro yuan’ and a rival to the petrodollar’s status as the global reserve currency. The move reinforces Hong Kong’s status as an offshore hub for the Chinese currency and as a rival to New York, London and other cities as a global financial capital. The Chinese Gold & Silver Exchange said that the service, dubbed "Renminbi Kilobar Gold," is targeting retail and institutional investors. The product is among the latest offerings designed to tap the fast-growing pool of yuan deposits within Hong Kong banking system. "By attracting both local and international investors, the Renminbi Kilobar Gold is a significant step towards internationalizing the renminbi," said Haywood Cheung, president of CGSE.
Michael Lewis’ latest piece in Vanity Fair, “California and Bust,” begins with a lengthy defense of Meredith Whitney’s prediction that there would be a wave of defaults in the municipal bond market. I was not planning on writing a response to his article – frankly, defending Whitney’s call at this point is very much like defending Harold Camping’s prophesy on May 22nd, after even the most gullible people have realized that they euthanized their pets for nothing. Who really cares about the intransigent believers that remain, for whom a forceful narrative has always been more relevant than facts?
It's ironic that the police came out in force to protect the institutions whose massive bonus's were derived, in large part, from raping and pillaging professional sheeple pools such as police pension funds. That's the sound of the beast...