Just in case you needed another reason to fear for the worst in Alberta, Moody’s and DBRS are becoming increasingly concerned about crown corporation ATB Financial. “Alberta's debt situation was under the microscope last week, with [the] two rating agencies taking a look at the province's fiscal situation and economy and not liking what they saw,” CBC reports.
Earlier today we showed an amazing schematic courtesy of Citi's Matt King: if one includes the reserve liquidation by various EMs and SWF, and nets it against liquidity injections by DM central banks (and the PBOC), one gets a perfect quantitative, not just qualitative, walk thru on how to trade markets: in other words one can measure, using high frequency data in real-time, just where markets should trade based on liquidity flows and promptly profit from any arbitrage opportunities. But aside from the potential for substantial profits, there are more profound implications. Matt King lays them out as follows..
Moody's took the global energy sector to the woodshed, placing 175 global oil, gas and mining companies and groups on review for a downgrade due to a prolonged rout in global commodities prices that it says could remain depressed indefinitely. Here are the 69 US, 19 Canadian and 13 European companies (the full list of all global companies can be found here) that just Moody's black list, a grand total of 101 companies which now face a downgrade threat on just about $540 billion in total debt.
S&P's Downgrade (By A German Analyst) Is A "Politically-Motivated" Decision Aimed At Polish AuthoritiesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/19/2016 13:50 -0400
The Standard and Poor’s rating agency, notorious for its controversial assessments, has this time bashed Poland in the wake of the anti-Polish frenzy whipped up by the European media. To be more precise, Poland was assailed by a German S&P analyst who lowered Poland’s rating from A- to BBB+, despite the economic data that by no means warrant such an evaluation.
Glencore's 2021 bonds just hit a 5 year low, taking out the September crash levels, and trading at about 64 cents on the dollar. Following the recent junking of Noble Group which has sent its stock price to 12 year lows and hitning that a bankruptcy is now virtually inevitable, we expect Glencore to be junked any minute, with the ensuing cascade of margin and collateral calls testing just how "systematically unimportant" the world's largest commodity traders really are.
As so often happens, whenever there is a political spat in Europe, the rating agencies are quickly involved (thing S&P and Moody's downgrades and upgrades of Greece depending on how well the vassal nation is "behaving"), and moments ago S&P downgraded Poland from A- to BBB+ outlook negative, precisely due to Poland's new media law which has been the topic of so much consternation over the past week. In other words, S&P is now nothing more than a lackey for Brussels, threatening to send Polish yields higher if Poland does not fall in line.
The default of Sherwin Alumina, a US subsidiary of Glencore, refocused the market's attention on the one company which in September was among the hardest hit in the post-China devaluation rout, and the immediate result was that while Glencore stock plunged and is once again approaching all time lows, a more ominous development was that GLEN's CDS spiked to as much as 950 basis points, the highest since April 2009 and suggesting far more pain is in store for the commodity trading giant.
Our balance sheet - the strongest in recent history - represents a significant advantage as we continue to identify high value growth opportunities across the products and geographies we operate in. Maintaining out investment grade rating with the international rating agencies is a vital part of this strategy.
- Noble Group 2014 Annual Report, p. 27
See For Yourself ...
For now Noble refuses to throw in the towel, and overnight released the following statement on the Singapore Exchange where its massively beaten down stock trades.
"Moody's downgrades Noble Group to Ba1; outlook negative.... "The downgrade of Noble's ratings reflects Moody's concerns over the company's liquidity," says Joe Morrison, a Moody's Vice President and Senior Credit Officer. The Ba1 ratings also reflect low levels of profitability and consistent negative free cash flow from core operating activities, which exclude proceeds from asset sales."
"This is a dangerous movie for Wall Street, the government, and the establishment in general. ... cuts through the crap and reveals those in power to be corrupt, greedy weasels who aren’t really as smart as they want you to think they are. The finale of the movie is sobering and infuriating."
Weak earnings performance in marketing operations below the current EBIT guidance of $2.4-$2.7 billion could place negative pressure on the Baa3 ratings in the absence of any mitigating measures. A weakening of the company's liquidity position, delays with the planned divestments in 2016 or a material reduction in its working capital funding capacities by the banks, as well as sustained high leverage with adjusted debt/EBITDA exceeding 4x, will also put negative pressure on the Baa3 ratings."
As new investor liquidity evaporates and as billions are redeemed first from the junk bond universe, then investment grade and then loans, the debt crisis which was unleashed in anticipation of the Fed's rate hike, is about to get much worse, and lead to even more prominent hedge fund "gates" and liquidations.
It appears that a main preoccupation of economists – the self declared “behavioral economists” prominent among them – is to show how dumb people are as consumers and in assessing risks. Drawn to logical conclusion, this implies that economists, advising benevolent dictators are the solution. In ancient Greece people flocked to oracles and sought guidance.; today, Councils of Economic Advisers, IMF, OECD, Nobel prizes sustain perceptions that "macro- strology" and much else of what economists do is "science."