Harry Potter, Twilight, And The EU

Neither Harry Porter nor the Twilight series felt that one movie could bring proper closure, so both did the “final movie” in 2 parts. The EU has adopted that tradition and is already pushing the focus to the next Summit in March which really will be the grand finale. They also seem to have stolen from the Twilight series and only work in the middle of the night and have to hold press conferences before the sun comes up. They haven’t yet taken to calling us muggles, but they themselves certainly seem to believe in magic words like IMF while shorts live in fear of the “bazooka” with many names. With the Summit having reached a conclusion, we now wait on a few final scenes to play out. The plot started falling apart on Thursday with Draghi’s testimony, but by forming a circle, holding hands, and chanting IMF and G-20 over and over, the market was placated, at least for a day.

Eric Sprott Fights PM Manipulation Fire With Fire: Calls Silver Producers To Retain Silver Produced As "Cash"

In what is likely the most logical follow up to our post of the day, namely the news of the lawsuit between HSBC and MF Global over double-counted gold, or physical - not paper - that was "commingled" via rehypothecating or otherwise, we present readers with the monthly note by Eric Sprott titled "Silver Producers: A Call to Action" in which the Canadian commodities asset manager has had enough of what he perceives as subtle and/or not so subtle manipulation of the precious metal market, and in not so many words calls the silver miners of the world "to spring to action" and effectively establish supply controls to silver extraction to counteract paper market manipulation in the paper realm by treating their product as a currency and retaining it as "cash". To wit: "instead of selling all their silver for cash and depositing that cash in a levered bank, silver miners should seriously consider storing a portion of their reserves in physical silver OUTSIDE OF THE BANKING SYSTEM. Why take on all the risks of the bank when you can hold hard cash through the very metal that you mine? Given the current environment, we see much greater risk holding cash in a bank than we do in holding precious metals. And it serves to remember that thanks to 0% interest rates, banks don’t pay their customers to take on those risks today." And the math: "If silver miners were therefore to reinvest 25% of their 2011 earnings back into physical silver, they could potentially account for 21% of the approximate 300 million ounces (~$9 billion) available for investment in 2011. If they were to reinvest all their earnings back into silver, it would shrink available 2011 investment supply by 82%. This is a purely hypothetical exercise of course, but can you imagine the impact this practice would have on silver prices?" And there you go: Sprott 'reputable' entity to propose to fight manipulation with what is effectively collusion, which in the grand scheme of things is perfectly normal - after all, all is fair in love and war over a dying monetary model. Who could have thought that the jump from "proletariats" to "silver miners" would be so short.

Put Some Lipstick On This Pig And Sell-It - The EU Statement

Nothing really new here or unexpected or earth shattering or even approved.  The bilateral loan thing is new (subject to confirmation) but something about that seems too bizarre to get excited about.  If they have the EUR 200 billion lying around to lend, why use the IMF. In the end I don’t see much here.  I cannot imagine we are going to get any new support from the ECB on the back of this.  I don’t think this is enough to get the rating agencies to take the countries off of watch.  Nothing has been really agreed to.  I’m not even sure that if everything is implemented it is enough to avoid some countries getting downgraded. Since I started reading this, markets have improved a bit, but once again, as people read more and get past the headlines and the lipstick, this is very disappointing.  The UK has taken a further step away from the EU and may have opened the door for more countries to take that step over time since everything that was “agreed to” still needs to be ratified and implemented and defined.

Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: December 8

  • Reports suggested that the G20 is considering USD 600bln lending programme for the IMF to help the Eurozone, however the news was later denied by the IMF and Japanese officials
  • According to sources, the EU is discussing EUR 200bln loan to the IMF with EUR 150bln from the Eurozone, and the  Eurozone is negotiating lifting EUR 500bln cap on the EFSF and ESM lending
  • Le Monde wrote, French banks need EUR 7bln of additional capital, however recapitalisation can be done without any state aid. Later, French ACP financial regulator declined to comment on the report
  • The Bank of England kept its key benchmark interest rate and asset purchase target unchanged at 0.50% and GBP 275bln respectively

Frontrunning: December 8

  • Germany insists on new treaty for Europe (FT)
  • Banks Prep for Life After Euro (WSJ)
  • Bank Values in Europe Fail to Lure Buyers (Bloomberg)
  • Banks' Ratings Reliance Nears End (WSJ)
  • BOE’s King Waits to See Europe Crisis Response (Bloomberg)
  • Accelerating U.S. Economy Eases Pressure for Further Fed Asset Purchases (Bloomberg)
  • Government acts on payday loan worries (FT)
  • Hong Kong May Loosen Property Curbs: Tsang (Bloomberg)

S&P Warns It May Cut Most European Banks, European Union Itself

Not sure why the market is surprised by this, but it is.

  • S&P PLACES LARGE BANK GROUPS ACROSS EUROZONE ON WATCH NEG - BNP, SocGen, Commerzbank, Intesa, Deutsche... pretty much everyone.
  • EUROPEAN UNION'S AAA RATING MAY BE CUT BY S&P - you KNOW Barroso, Juncker and Gollum are going to take this very personally
  • In short: Commerzbank AG, Natixis S.A., Credit Agricole S.A., Eurohypo, Deutsche Bank L-T counterparty credit rating, Deutsche Postbank AG, Intesa Sanpaolo,Societe Generale L-T counterparty credit, UniCredit SpA, Credit Du Nord L-T counterparty credit, Comapgnie Europeenne de Garanties et Cautions, Credit Foncier de France, Locindus S.A., Rabobank Nederland, CACEIS, Banca IMI SpA, Ulster Bank, Banque Kolb, Bank Polska Kasa Opieki S.A. ratings may be cut by S&P.

Basically, S&P just told Europe it has two days to get the continent in order or else. Said otherwise, it just called Europe's bluff. The problem is Europe is holding 2-7 offsuit...

Rotten Contagion To Make Landfall In Denmark: CDS Set To Soar As Hedge Funds Target Country

Misquoting Shakespeare before the market open may seem like blasphemy but in a follow-up confirmation of a thesis we proposed back in July, Luxor Capital expands on the idea that something rotten is ahead for the state of Denmark. As with many of these crises, the heart of the Danish problems lie in a commercial and residential real estate boom and looming bust and with the capital/equity remaining so low in the Danish banking system (and a pitiful funding profile), it seems increasingly evident that public balance sheet support will become necessary (and perhaps not sufficient). How ironic that we pointed out, back in July, the probability that Germany will need two insolvency funds, a South-facing and now a North-facing one. Having traded in the mid 20s during H1 2011, CDS now stands at 106bps (off its September peak of 158bps) and given the interest we are seeing from hedge funds in this relatively lower cost short, we suspect this week's modest decompression will accelerate.

S&P Puts EFSF's Critical AAA Rating On Downgrade Review, Can Cut By Up To Two Notches

From the full release: "We could lower the long-term credit rating on EFSF by one or two notches if we were to lower the 'AAA' sovereign ratings, which are currently on CreditWatch, on one or more of EFSF's guarantor members. Conversely, we could affirm the 'AAA' ratings on EFSF and its issues if we affirm the rating on all six of EFSF's guarantor members currently rated 'AAA'. We could also affirm the ratings if we were to lower the current 'AAA' ratings on one or more guarantor members, but had evidence that the EFSF guarantor members were implementing further credit enhancements that were in our view sufficient to mitigate the relevant guarantor members' reduced creditworthiness."

Full Text Of S&P Warning On AustriAAA

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services today placed the 'AAA' long-term sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of Austria on CreditWatch with negative implications....weakening asset quality in Austrian banks' securities and loan portfolios, particularly in Central and Eastern European subsidiaries, could in our view increase the risk of the need for additional capital injections by the Austrian government, or similar interventions.

Full Text Of S&P Warning On FrAAAnce

The CreditWatch placement is prompted by our concerns about the potential impact on France of what we view as deepening political, financial, and monetary problems within the eurozone. To the extent that these eurozone-wide issues permanently constrain the availability of credit to the economy, France's economic growth outlook--and therefore the prospects for a sustained reduction of its public debt ratio--could be affected. Further, it is our opinion that the lack of progress the European policymakers have made so far in controlling the spread of the financial crisis may reflect structural weaknesses in the decision-making process within the eurozone and European Union. This, in turn, informs our view about the ability of European policymakers to take the proactive and resolute measures needed in times of financial stress. We are therefore reassessing the eurozone's record of debt-crisis management and its implications for our view on the effectiveness of policymaking in France....If we change one or more scores, we could lower the long-term rating by up to two notches. Conversely, if the above concerns were mitigated by what we consider to be appropriate policy action, we could affirm the long-term rating at 'AAA'.