From Deutsche Bank, below is a list of key events to watch over the next several weeks – events that could have bearing on how the euro sovereign debt crisis evolves. Of particular note: in the next 6 weeks there are 18 or so days on which Spain, Italy or, yes, Greece will be issuing debt. Have that espresso machine ready.
One European think tank which has been spot on in its skepticism over the past two years, is OpenEurope. Below they share their views on the next steps for Greece.
Relief in the markets, after the worst case scenario from the Greek elections was averted, proved to be decidedly short-lived. Although the pro-bailout New Democracy party came in first with 129 seats (with an additional 50 seat bonus) the markets still await confirmation of an actual working coalition given a caretaker government has been in place now for approximately two months. A degree of uncertainty in regards to the demands the new coalition will place on negotiating the country's bailout terms has resulted in many investors being unwilling to get their toes wet just yet. Away from the election fever, rising Spanish yields continue to spook the market with the 10yr yield breaching the 7% level, prompting aggressive re-widening of the 10yr government bond yield spreads. The move comes at a crucial time for Spain as they look to come to market tomorrow in 12 and 18 month bills followed by three shorter dated bonds to be tapped this Thursday. Meanwhile, the FX markets have reflected the shift in sentiment with EUR/USD well off its overnight highs and the USD index firmly supported by the prevailing flight to quality bid. However, the biggest currency move of the day came in the early hours after the rupee (INR) weakened substantially following the RBI's decision to leave rates on hold, this coupled with Fitch changing the country's outlook to negative from stable has kept the currency under pressure throughout the day.
This weekend, everyone's attention will be on the Greek elections, however it is Spain that has now become the "fulcrum security" of Europe. As such, events in Greece are merely a catalyst that will set off a chain of events that will have an impact not only on Spain, but on all of Europe, and thus, the world. As we pointed out last week after the Spanish bailout announcement, based on a preliminary analysis which had been compiled by Deutsche Bank's europhiles hours before the formal announcement, and one which just happened to be a carbon-copy of what was proposed as the 'final (and failed) Spanish solution', it appears that the events in Europe are if not orchestrated by the largest German bank, then certainly receiving part-time advice. Which brings us to the present, where we find that even Deutsche Bank has given up hope for interim solutions, having realized that the market will no longer accept transitory, feeble arrangements. Instead DB is now formally calling for a big bang resolution, one coming from the ECB. Here is the punchline: "ECB has room for manoeuvre, but needs political cover for a ‘big’ policy" or said otherwise, "A shock is required to get a liquidity response." In other words: Europe's only real hope for even a stop gap solution... is a wholesale market crash, not surprisingly the very same conclusion that Citi reached on May 19 when they warned that only Crossover (XO) at 1000 bps or wider could push Europe into acting... Basically stated, anything less than a controlled market crash, one that finally gets the ECB involved with Germany's persmission of course, merely pushes the market higher on nothing but hope of an intervention that said market lift makes even more improbable, as now both Citi and DB admit, which can and will lead to an uncontrolled market collapse, one from which not even the ECB will be able to extricate Europe.
What makes for a good investment is price. Price is everything. You need to receive value in excess of the price paid. An investment’s value is the amount of real cash its underlying assets can reasonably be expected to deliver to its shareholders in the future, discounted for its risk – period. The investment’s price will either be higher than its value (an uncompensated risk), the same as (neutral) or lower than its value (a compensated risk). But since value is an imprecise measurement, the best one can do is to build in a margin of safety by buying investments that are at deep discounts to a reasonable estimated value. Too many investors let an investment’s short-term price movements, or perceptions of short-term price movements drive their decisions. But since short-term price moves are unknowable, irrelevant and independent of investment merits, this is not worthy of any time spent analyzing. If short-term price moves were knowable, then a cadre of top-performing chartists and market technicians would have far greater net worths than Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger and the Saudi Royal Family. They would need only apply leverage to their process and repeat it a few times in order to accrue hundreds of billions of dollars. Question: How many market technicians occupy the Forbes 400? Answer: Zero. Why? Because successfully guessing future price moves based on charts, MACD indicators or tea leaves is not a repeatable process. Investors who do this generally have poor outcomes because they are pursuing answers to the wrong question.
The right question is: where is the value?
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.
More than 80 institutions with collective assets under management of over $8 trillion attended the event and were polled regarding macroeconomic matters and their outlook for various asset classes. Gold is seen as one of the assets likely to outperform again in 2012 due to risks posed to the euro and longer term risks for the dollar. Those polled by UBS were also positive on emerging market debt. Both asset classes, gold and emerging market debt, were the top pick of 22.5% of the assembly – thereby accounting for 45% of the votes. On gold’s role as a reserve asset, the importance reserve managers attach to the yellow metal has slipped back to 2009 levels, with about 14% having the opinion that it will be the most important reserve currency in 25 years. This marks a decline from the past two years’ surveys wherein over 20% viewed gold to be the most important reserve currency.
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 a welcome development (and probably even more welcome on the other side of the Atlantic) it doesn’t make up for the fact that the explosive price increases during the boom years were never included. And it isn’t just real estate — equities was another market that massively inflated without being counted in official inflation statistics. It would have been simple at the time to calculate the effective inflation rate with these components included. A wiser economist than Greenspan might have at least paid attention to such information and tightened monetary policy to prevent the incipient bubbles from overheating. Of course, with inflation statistics calculated in the way they are (price changes to an overall basket of retail goods) there will always be a fight over what to include and what not to include. A better approach is to include everything.
Just because there aren't enough traumatizing events in the next week to look forward to, the market has already set its sights on the next "big" (let down) event in Europe - the EU summit on June 28/29, which will only benefit just one class - Belgian caterers. But for some odd reason there is hope that Europe will, miraculously and magically, after years of failing at this, come to some understanding over either Eurobonds, a fiscal union, a deposit insurance, banking union, or some or all of the above (expect many daily rumors regarding any of the above to incite small but violent EUR and ES short covering rallies). However, as we have been observing for the past 3 years, and as David Einhorn summarized visually, nothing will come out of this latest summit. JPM explains why the one thing that can save Europe is a non-starter, and will be for years.
Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, thinks Europe needs a unified banking system.
But how can financing be a solution for a Zone with a fatal fundamental flaw? Banking cannot save the euro-Zone. This proposal is only the distraction du jour.
Europe continues be unable and unwilling to look at the core problem in the Zone which has morphed into huge competitiveness differences that are creating havoc.
The easiest fix for this is a break up. For the Zone to survive this will require a lot of cooperation and frankly it does not seem close to doing it.
For those of you that keep waiting for some giant change-the-world event; I invite you to re-gear your perspective. Greece has fallen, Portugal has fallen, Ireland has fallen and now Spain has followed the road into Purgatory. These are significant events that are, in fact, changing the world though none has caused Armageddon to date though they may by their aggregate but not singular importance. This is also why Greece is of such key importance; it has nothing to do with staying in or out of the Euro or of the preservation of the European Union as a political entity. That part of the equation is barely relevant. What is of critical importance though is that if they leave the Euro that they will default on some $1.3 trillion in total debt that can be afforded by no one. That is the rub and you may ignore the rest of the Eurospeak that is bandied about from Brussels to Berlin. A default by Greece will bankrupt and cause re-capitalization at the European Central Bank, it will throw the IMF into a tailspin and it will play havoc with Target2 and the German Central Bank. Do not allow yourself to be taken in and mis-directed; this is THE issue and the only issue of real importance.