When sharing our perspective last night on why the alleged MF Global crime of commingling client capital with the firm's deficiency capital we asked, "What happens next? Why customers at all other brokerages, all other exchanges, afraid that their money will suffer the same fate as MF, even if they transact with perfect solvent clearers and agents, will proceed to pull their money, as they know they have nobody to trust but their own prudent and forward looking actions. Which in turn will start the kind of liquidity drain that killed not only Lehman, but froze money markets, and with that brought the complete capital markets to a standstill, only to be thawed after the Fed pledged multiples of the US GDP to rescue Wall Street in October of 2008." Sure enough, here it comes. "Reports of short falls of client money ... if true would be a disaster for all the smaller brokers and banks as nobody will trust them anymore," one London trader said. Reuters continues "MF Global filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, putting a sudden end to Corzine's drive to transform the more than 200-year old MF Global into a mini Goldman by taking on more risky bets on euro zone sovereign debt. In Australia, trading in grain futures and options was suspended by bourse operator ASX Ltd , prompting concerns about the integrity of the country's agricultural futures market. "We're sitting out here with risk that we can't cover," said Jonathan Barratt, head of Sydney-based Commodity Broking Services. MF Global was one of the largest participants in the country's agricultural futures market. And it is all only going to get worse as the liquidity outflow avalanche is realized, following the market's most recent distraction with Europe.
Just out from Reuters:
- ANOTHER GREEK RULING PARTY LAWMAKER CALLS FOR ELECTIONS, NATIONAL UNITY GOVT - GREEK MEDIA
And with that the PASOK majority is history.
Prime Minister George Papandreou's shock decision to call a referendum on Greece's bailout drew veiled threats from Germany on Tuesday and hammered markets edgy over the euro zone crisis.
Things in Greece are becoming absolutely surreal after Reuters has disclosed that G-Pap did not even tell his FinMin Venizelos (who earlier was hospitalized with stomach pains... yes, we know) that he was about to announce a referendum. From Reuters: "Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou had not informed his Finance Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, he was going to announce a referendum on the latest EU aid deal, a Greek government official said on Tuesday. "Venizelos had no idea about the referendum. All he knew about was the vote of confidence," a government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "He told Papandreou he should inform foreign partners and a letter was drafted in the early morning hours." What can one say but "coordinated decision-making."
- China PMI in surprise fall, lowest since 2009 (Reuters)
- Fury in Germany after Greek referendum call (Reuters)
- Europe Debt Crisis Threatens Asian Growth (Bloomberg)
- Gang Forms Inside US Debt Panel in Quest for Deal (Reuters)
- Italy's crisis deepens on eurozone slump, bail-out doubts (Telegraph)
- Greek vote would be on euro membership: Finnish minister (Reuters)
- President Hu confident in Europe (China Daily)
- New invoice system to further regulate rare earths industry (China Daily)
- Ministers fear steep rise in job losses(FT)
As in life, so in death. Reuters reports that "U.S. regulators are unhappy with the failure of MF Global Holdings Ltd to provide them with the required data and records, a source close to one regulator told Reuters on Monday. "So far they've been very disappointed with the cooperation in the fulsomeness of records and data from MF," the source said, noting regulators have been working with the firm since late last week. "They were supposed to be able to show us their books and they're supposed to be able to tell us what's what and where their customer funds are and how they've been segregated and protected and to date we don't have the information that we should have," the individual told Reuters." Seriously, as Erin Burnett would say, you are already bankrupt. Just how much worse is it if you even in death you still are hiding secrets? And at this point it should be obvious to everyone: whatever MF is hiding is not something that will hurt it or much less its stakeholders for which the management team obviously never cared one iota. After all the company is already dead. Whatever is on its books has huge impacts to those either behind the corporate veil, read Mr. Corzine, who may or may not have regulatory issues arising from 10(b)-5 "concerns", or more probably, to other banks and Primary Dealers. And with even one simple affidavit still to be filed in Bankruptcy Court, the panic behind the scene is palpable.
What's the LIBOR roll-over for year end?
While household-sentiment measures are at levels typically observed during a recession, an increase in spending during the third quarter boosted growth to the highest level of the year, Commerce Department figures showed Oct. 27. The schism partly reflects consumer ire with the government’s failure to reduce 9.1 percent unemployment or stem rising deficits, said James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Minneapolis-based Wells Capital Management.
- Azumi Pledges More Action After Yen Intervention (Bloomberg)
- Japan to buy more EFSF bonds-Europe fund chief (Reuters)
- Draghi in Battle Mode From Day One at ECB (Bloomberg)
- Berlusconi Stays Defiant as Europe’s Crisis Focuses on Italy Reform Effort (Bloomberg)
- Hu starts key trip to Europe (China Daily)
- Europe will not offer China concessions for aid: Juncker (Reuters)
- Europe Might Have Blown Last Chance to End Its Crisis (Bloomberg)
- Schäuble calls for EU lead on Tobin tax (FT)
- UK faces "economic suicide" if on EU margins – Clegg (Reuters)
It has been just over 48 hours since our call that PIIGS the world over will scramble to demand the same concessions that were just granted to Greece courtesy of its economy being in the toilet and getting worse (thanks to lies to misrepresent the Greek economy as being worse than it really was). We already got Ireland yesterday. Now it is Portugal's turn. Reuters reports that "Portugal asked Mexico on Saturday to tell fellow G20 members next week that the United States should offer "financial help" to resolve the euro zone sovereign debt crisis, describing it as a "systemic and global" problem, a Portuguese government source said." Of course, the "US" is a clear proxy for "everyone else" - that the US, whose politicians can't agree on a fiscal stimulus for the US, let alone for some country by the straits of Gibraltar they have never heard of, will not move an inch to save Portugal is a given. Which means that once Portugal is, as it anticipates perfectly well, shut down by the US it will commence demanding for help from those who at least can grant it - the EMU and the Eurozone. And when those refuse, Portugal will do the glaringly obvious: take a page right out of the Greek textbook and proceed to suicide its own economy. And why not - it worked miracles for Greece. Now: two down and two to go. The only question is when does Italy do precisely the same logical next step, and tell the world that its $2+ trillion in debt, the second most in the Eurozone after only Germany, is unsustainable, and will need a modest haircut. 20% should do it. We wonder, what will that do to French banks (and their "perfectly hedged" US proxies - such as MF Global and others)?
2012 looks like it is going to be an extremely painful year.
The Global Moral Hazard Dawns: Merkel Says "It Must Be Prevented That Others Come Seeking A Haircut" As Ireland Cuts GDP ForecastSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/28/2011 13:27 -0400
Just about 48 hours after it was duly noted as the greatest threat to the Eurozone in the post bailout world, Germany finally grasps the enormity of what global moral hazard truly means. As we said before, the biggest risk facing Europe, and by that we mean undercapitlized French banks (all of them) obviously, is not Greece or what haircut is applied to the meaningless €100 billion in Greek debt when all the exclusions are accounted for. It is what happens when everyone else understands they now have a carte blanche to pull a Greece at will. And while until now we had some glimmer of hope there was a behind the scenes agreement for this glaringly obvious deterioration to not manifest itself, Merkel just opened her mouth and proved our worst fears wrong. As Reuters reports, "Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday it was important to prevent others from seeking debt reductions after European Union leaders struck a deal with private banks to accept a nominal 50 percent cut on their Greek government debt holdings. "In Europe it must be prevented that others come seeking a haircut," she said." Too late, Angie, far, far too late. Because, just as expected, here comes Ireland and literally a few hours ago, launched the first warning shot that will imminently lead to what will be demands to pari passu treatment with Greece. Next up: Portugal, Spain, and, of course, Italy, which however won't be faking its own economic slow down.
We now know that private holders of Greek bonds will be “invited” (seriously–this was the word used in the EU summit statement) to take a write-down of 50%–halving the face value of the estimated $224 billion in bonds that they hold. This will help bring the Greek debt-to-GDP ratio down from 186% in 2013 to 120% by 2020. The big question–apart from how many investors they will get to go along with this, given that they couldn’t reach their target of 90% investor participation when the write-down was only going to be 21%–is whether this will trigger a CDS pay-out. That this is even up for discussion is mind-boggling. These credit default swaps are meant to be an insurance policy in case Greece doesn’t pay the agreed upon interest and return the full principal within the agreed timeframe. If they don’t pay out when bondholders are taking a 50% hit then what’s the point? I call shenanigans. ISDA, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association that wrote the agreement governing most derivatives trades, states clearly that a Credit Event would be triggered under the type of haircut proposed…but only if this haircut is forced on all bondholders. And here’s where it gets interesting.
Earlier today Italy had an extended bond auction in which it sold 3, 6, 8, and 10 year bonds. The auction did not go quite as planned. The reason: far less than the maximum €8.5 billion target was raised, all the Bids to Cover slid and all the yields soared with a particular emphasis on the 10 Year BTP which everyone is following with great interest as it sternly refuses to trade inside of 6% despite all the worthless promises with the word "trillion" in them, lobbed in Italy's general direction from Europe, which knows too well that if the Italian bonds complex goes, so does the rest of Europe. As Reuters summarizes: 'Italy paid the most since joining the single currency to sell new 10-year debt on Friday in the first euro zone bond auction after European leaders agreed new steps to tackle the debt crisis. The auction yield on Italy's March 2022 BTP bond rose to 6.06 percent from 5.86 percent a month ago." So... when is the next "Italy bailout" summit?