- This is the solution? - Germany Writing Six-Point Plan for Europe Growth, Spiegel Says (Bloomberg)
- JPMorgan Gave Risk Oversight to Museum Head Who Sat on AIG Board (Bloomberg)
- Vatican bank president Gotti Tedeschi ousted -statement (Reuters)
- Bribery, crime and stupidity pays. From this: SEC Staff Ends Probe of Lehman Without Finding Fraud (Bloomberg)
- To this: Lehman to buy remaining Archstone stake for $1.58 billion (Reuters)
- Governments must restore faith in debt sustainability: ECB's Praet (Reuters) - by issuing more debt
- IMF Helping EU Explore Alternatives to Euro Bonds (WSJ)... such as US-funded bailout bonds?
- China Banks May Miss Loan Target for 2012, Officials Say (Bloomberg)
- Facebook market makers' losses total at least $100 million (Reuters)
- World Bank’s Sri Mulyani Says Asean Is Resilient to Europe Woes (Bloomberg)
- Time to flip "The Scream" - Tiffany Cuts Full-Year Profit Forecast (Bloomberg)
- Definitely Maybe: Italy's Monti says Greece will probably keep euro (Reuters)
The word 'encumbrance' has received a lot of headlines in the last few months - and rightfully so - after we pointed out the impact that LTROs had in subordinating senior creditors of European banks. As Morgan Stanley points out, this is a considerable problem for bondholders as 'in a wind-down scenario, senior unsecured holders have recourse to fewer assets and hence face a higher loss given default (LGD)'. In understanding just how bad things are for European banks, it is important to focus on 'how much loss-absorbing capital there is beneath you in the bank’s liability stack, as this is the capital that will take losses before senior creditors in the event of a bail-in' which means looking at deposits as well as secured encumbrance. What is very apparent from the pictorial representations of banks’ liability structures is that rather than encumbrance from covered bonds/LTRO etc. the bigger issue for encumbrance of senior unsecured investors is the potential threat from depositor 'runs'. The hope of another LTRO is limited by collateral as policy-makers are well aware that, in a world where failing banks are to be resolved through resolution frameworks and senior creditors are to take losses to shield taxpayers’ funds, banks may not have enough ‘bail-in-able’ debt, given their growing reliance on secured funding sources. With deposits increasingly impaired - and/or the potential for contagious bank runs if we see Grexit, Europe's problem is 'all about the bank runs' now and we were told yesterday how far off that is - though the crisis 'event' may bring deposit guarantees (and the implicit exchange of sovereignty for monetary support) sooner.
In a brief though detailed clip, Stratfor's VP Peter Zeihan discusses the risk of contagion from Greece and the 'creative' - if not self-centered - suggestions for a solution to these problems. Earlier in the week we described Deutsche's suggestion of a dual currency - the GEURO - and that is where Zeihan focuses, noting that "The Greek economy is as deliciously non-competitive as the German economy is hyper-competitive" - this mismatch is the core of the crisis. The GEURO (trading as gEUROQQ on the pink sheets) plan doesn't address this mismatch but extends it just a little longer while bailout funds will continue to funneled through Athens to the country's lenders (read European banks) but private capital would be unlikely to flow and without outside capital, they would be unlikely to stimulate the growth they need to regain any kind of solid footing. Greek debt levels to GDP would rise (not fall) under the plan as EUR debts would remain but GEURO incomes (devalued) would be the source of GDP - making a long-term recovery even less likely. The only winners - simple: foreign banks who have exposure to Greece. The Stratfor VP goes on to note that the vast bulk of Greek debt is held by the ECB, IMF, and the Greeks (Greek banks) adding that private losses would not be catastrophic in the event of another Greek default - though we point out that it is the contagion effects (as we have so critically established in the past) that makes the Greek imbroglio so important to watch.
Bank Regulatory Capital has been in the news a lot recently - between the $1+ trillion Basel 3 shortfall, the Spanish banks with seemingly their own set of capital issues, or JPM's snafu. There has been a lot of discussion about Too Big To Fail (“TBTF”) in the U.S. with regulators demanding more and banks fighting it. After JPM's surprise loss this month, the debate over the proper regulatory framework and capital requirements will reach a fever pitch. That is great, but maybe it is also time to step back and think about what capital is supposed to do, and with that as a guideline, think of rules that make sense. Specifically, regulatory capital, or capital adequacy, or just plain capital needs to address the worst of eventual loss and potential mark to market loss. Hedges are once again front and center. The only "perfect" hedge is selling an asset. This "hedge" is also a trade. The risk profile looks very different than having sold the loan and the capital should reflect that.
For the drillers, but....
Wondering what caused the sudden spike in the EUR? Wonder no more, for JPM's Greg Fuzesi merely put into words what everyone else had been speculating since this morning, namely more easing coming from the ECB. To wit: "We suspect the ECB's first response will be in terms of new liquidity measures. The committment to supply unlimited liquidity at the regular refis (1-week, 1-month and 3-month) expires in mid-July and an extension of this should be announced at the June meeting. Whether the ECB will also announce some LTROs (likely of maturites up to one year) at the June meeting is less clear. Its latest commentary suggested that it is not minded to move this early and that it will wait instead for the outcome of an internal review that it is conducting about the effectiveness of its policy tools so far. Waiting until July would also give the ECB a better sense of the political situation in Greece after the election. Hence, we pencil in the announcement of 1-year LTROs for the July meeting. Beyond this we expect the main refi rate to be cut 25bp at the September meeting, with the deposit facility rate remaining at 0.25%. This implies that the ECB will respond very incrementally to the current macroeconomic weakness." To summarize: help us Obi-Mario Draghi, you are our only hope.
Peripheral stock indices underperformed in early trade, with banks under considerable selling pressure amid renewed tensions in credit markets. Wave after wave of poor data from the European PMIs and the German IFOs placed shares under further pressure and talk of macro names selling EUR/USD weighed on the pair. As a result, in the fixed income space, the German 2/5 spread traded at levels not seen since December 2008. However as the session progressed, stocks staged a decent recovery, which coincided with unconfirmed market talk of an asset reallocation trade, together with talk of Asian real money accounts buying French OATs, which in turn prompted sharp tightening in FR/GE 10y bond yield spread. This also supported EUR/USD, which after coming close to making a test on the 1.2500 barrier is now trading little changed. In other news, the ONS reported that the UK economy shrank by 0.3% in the first three months of the year, more than previously thought. The downward revision was due to a bigger contraction in construction output than previously estimated. Despite this, FTSE in the cash has persisted, and is the strongest performing index in Europe today.
PIMCO vs GARY SHILLING - ROUND 1
- Rajoy to ask for ECB assistance, according to reports (Sharecast)
- Bundesbank Suggests Greek Exit From Euro Would Be Manageable (Bloomberg)
- Unemployed Burn as Fed Fiddles in Debate Over Natural Rate (Bloomberg)
- Regulators, investors turn up heat over Facebook IPO (Reuters)
- China to boost private energy investment to bolster economy (Reuters)
- OECD fears euro woe to snap brittle world recovery (Reuters)
- China slowdown threatens Australia - World Bank (Herald Sun)
- Guessing game begins over next Treasury chief (Reuters)
- Italians spurn main parties in local polls (FT)
- A fragile Europe must change fast (FT)
- Spain to outline Bankia plan, may announce bailout size (Reuters)
- China Should Adjust Policy Early - Government Researcher (WSJ)
A quick look at the Fresh-Start Greek Government Bond (GGB2) complex shows that as of this morning it has tumbled to fresh all time lows across the curve, and now trades at a more than 50% loss to the March PSI conversion price. The reason for this dump is not so much on fear of a Greek exit, but once again a reflection of precisely what we expected would happen, and as explained in our January Subordination 101 post. Last week, the fact that a PSI hold out, holding English-law bonds managed to get par recovery while all the other lemmings have so far eaten a nearly 90% loss, has sparked a realization among all the other hold outs that since they have covenant protection, they should all demand the same treatment. And indeed, another one has stepped up, only this time not a holder demanding par maturity paydown, but one who has read their bond indenture and was delighted to find the words "negative pledge." As Bloomberg reports "a holder of Greek bonds that weren’t settled in the biggest-ever debt restructuring said he’ll demand immediate payment unless the government posts collateral against his investment. Rolf Koch, a private investor who says he holds 500,000 Swiss francs ($528,000) of the notes due in July 2013, argued that he’s entitled to equal treatment with Finland, which made getting collateral a condition of contributing to Greece’s second bailout. He wrote to the paying agent, Credit Suisse Group AG, invoking the bonds’ so-called negative-pledge clause, according to the text of a letter seen by Bloomberg News."
There’s been a lot of excitement in the past year over the rise of North American oil production and the promise of increased oil production across the whole of the Americas in the years to come. National security experts and other geo-political observers have waxed poetic at the thought of this emerging, hemispheric strength in energy supply. What’s less discussed, however, is the negligible effect this supply swing is having on lowering the price of oil, due to the fact that, combined with OPEC production, aggregate global production remains mostly flat. But there’s another component to this new belief in the changing global landscape for oil: the dawning awareness that OPEC’s power has finally gone into decline. You can read the celebration of OPEC’s waning in power in practically every publication from Foreign Policy to various political blogs and op-eds.
Back on March 21, Goldman's Peter Oppenheimer released the "Long Good Buy, The Case For Equities", which was Goldman's subversive attempt to rally equity into buying all the stocks that Goldman had to offload, as well as buy all TSYs that GS clients had to sell. Needless to say, Goldman top ticked the market and stocks have tumbled ever since, even as the 10 Year soared from 2.5% to the current ~1.75%. So what? Well, this morning the same analyst, precisely two months on the anniversary of his "once in in a lifetime" stock buying opportunity, has released a new report with the paradoxical header: "Near-term risks are to the downside." But, but... Anyway, that's all the market needed to grasp that Goldman's prop desk is now buying every piece of risk not nailed down hand over fist as the June FOMC meeting is now the D-Day. Futures have soared ever since.