Despite the failure of the generous offer of Spiderman towels from the recently 'stress-test'-proof-but-now-busted Bankia, today's market suggests there is still hope. The public estimate of loan losses for Spanish banks stands around EUR225 billion (EUR 125bn known and an additional EUR100bn estimated) which, as Charles Biderman of TrimTabs notes "is so big as to be practically unsolvable" as he details the total and utter lack of trust of Spain and Spanish banks that is spreading not just across Europe but around the world. The installation of six of the largest global consulting firms (and the IMF) to begin audits of the Spanish banks, as Reuters reports today, should tell everyone (especially those who bid them up 7-10% today) just how terrible the situation is. Biderman begins to go ultrasonic as he expects real losses for Spain to be in excess of EUR300 billion and this is just Spain! Who knows how big the losses are for the rest of Europe? He does not believe Germany, or anyone else, will put up the EUR300 billion for Spain (or a trillion for the rest of Europe) and sees at best a 50% chance that the entire Euro banking system will go down leaving a much smaller Euro-zone behind (and a 25% chance of a non-panic mode restructuring).
While the Reuters story, which we noted earlier, and which speculated that a no-strings attached bailout of Spanish banks may be coming courtesy of a German stealth funding of the nearly empty Spanish bank bailout fund, has been making the rounds over and over, the latest incarnation of the underlying narrative, brought to us courtesy of the FT, has a novel twist: "EU officials are also debating the size of the loans needed. Senior Spanish banking executives have put the figure at about €40bn, but EU officials have been looking at plans that are at least double that, according to people briefed on the discussions." In other words, just as we speculated, Goldman's big picture estimate of Spanish bank funding needs was woefully inadequate, and once the dirty truth is uncovered, it will become apparent that losses, which at this point are nothing more than capital shortfalls from deposit runs, are far, far greater than anyone speculated. It also means that the disconnect between the European reality, and what the media and politicians are spoonfeeding the gullible public, has hit unprecedented levels. Finally, once Germans once again realize they have been lied to, what happens then: will they simply fork over the cash as rumored, or will they finally say enough? According to this lead article in German Welt, the answer is not looking too good for the broken European monetary experiment.
With all proposed Spanish bank bailout plans so far either shot down, or found to be inadequate, the question always has boiled down to whether Germany, which as we have noted in the past is the true lender of last resort in Europe, not the ECB, will agree to the trade off of preserving the Eurozone, i.e. temporarily ending the latest Spanish risk flare out, in exchange for the risk of political disgrace domestically, where more and more people are against sweeping European bail outs, due to soaring "contingent liabilities" which increasingly more people on the street are realizing are all too real (see: TARGET2). On the other hand, a direct bank bailout request for Spain using traditional European channels, which would fund the government, would result in a deterioration in the Spanish sovereign leverage, and make the country even riskier, thereby putting more pressure on the banks, and so in a toxic loop. It now seems that this dilemma may have been resolved, at least on paper. As Reuters reports, "A deal is in the works that would allow Spain to recapitalize its stricken banks with aid from its European partners but avoid the embarrassment of having to adopt new economic reforms imposed from the outside, German officials say. While Berlin remains firm in its rejection of Spain's calls for Europe's rescue funds to lend directly to its banks, the officials said that if Madrid put in a formal aid request, funds could flow without it submitting to the kind of strict reform program agreed for Greece, Portugal and Ireland."
- Wisconsin's Walker makes history surviving recall election (Reuters)
- China Labor Shortages in Guangdong Show Stimulus Limits (Bloomberg)
- Oil rises toward $100 ahead of ECB (Reuters)
- China's Property Controls to Stay (China Daily)
- Spain Makes Explicit Plea for Bank Aid (FT)
- Fed Considers More Action Amid New Recovery Doubts (WSJ)
- Noda Sales-Tax Push Confronts Rising Japan Majority Opposition (Bloomberg)
- National Interests Threaten EU Bank Reforms (FT)
When in doubt: crush your "common" currency by keeping your "partners" on the verge of bankruptcy, and export, export, export. After contracting by 0.3% in Q4 for both the Euroarea (of 17 countries) and the EU27, just released data from Eurostat indicated that in Q1, GDP for both "areas", but notably the Eurozone, was flat quarter over quarter courtesy of... strong exports. Which in turns shows just why various countries in the Eurozone (coughgermanycough), namely those who actually are relevant in the GDP calculation, seek to benefit greatly from the perception that Europe is on the brink, and the EUR is sliding as a result, further promoting exports, and thus, growth. As a result, because technically it avoided two consecutive quarters of contraction, the Eurozone has avoided the dreaded recession. For now. Expect further speculation that Europe is imploding, continuing to benefit solely the one export powerhouse of Europe: Germany.
Global gold demand continues to surprise to the upside – especially sizeable demand from the Middle East and China. Confirmation of continuing huge demand in China came yesterday with data showing that Hong Kong shipped 101,768 kilograms of gold to mainland China in April, up 62% on the month - marking the second-highest monthly exports ever. While demand from India continues it has fallen from the record levels recently but demand from other Asian countries is robust with reports of demand in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. A new and potentially significant source of demand is that of demand from Iran. Iran imported a massive $1.2 billion worth of precious metals from Turkey in April alone. Turkish exports of gold, precious metals, pearls and coins to Iran rose to $1.2 billion in April from a tiny $7,500 a year earlier, according to figures released by the state statistics institute in Ankara yesterday. This is a massive increase in demand and suggests that there may be official involvement in the imports from the Central Bank of Iran.
- Spain says markets are closing to it as G7 confers (Reuters)
- Germany Pushes EU Bank Oversight (WSJ)
- Falling Oil Prices Are No Mystery (Bloomberg)
- Aussie Rises After RBA Cuts Rate Less Than Swaps Suggest (Bloomberg)
- Euro falls on Spain worries as market awaits G7 (Reuters)
- Bad News Piles Up for China's Economy (Bloomberg)
- Japan Lawmakers Push to Curb Central Bank (WSJ)
- Lawyer Kluger Gets 12 Years, Bauer 9 for Insider Trades (Bloomberg)
- All eyes on Wisconsin governor's recall election (Reuters)
- The Global Obesity Bomb (BusinessWeek)
And so those lining up at the bailout trough are now 4: remember all those lies Spain spoon-fed the gullible press that it didn't need a European bailout as recently as yesterday? You can now forget them. From Reuters: "Spain said on Tuesday that credit markets were closing to the euro zone's fourth biggest economy as finance chiefs of the Group of Seven major economies were to hold emergency talks on the currency bloc's worsening debt crisis. Treasury Minister Cristobal Montoro sent out the dramatic distress signal in a radio interview about the impact of his country's banking crisis on government borrowing, saying that at current rates, financial markets were effectively shut to Spain. Montoro said Spanish banks should be recapitalised through European mechanisms, departing from the previous government line that Spain could raise the money on its own and and prompting the Madrid stock market to rise. But his comments on Spain's borrowing sent the euro down after the 17-nation European currency earlier hit a one-week high against the dollar on expectations that a conference call of G7 finance ministers and central bankers may hasten bold action." Well, Germany got its wish: it got Spain to admit it is broke. Just as it wanted - because remember: all Germany is, is a true lender of last resort unlike the ECB: after all they are the decision makers. And Germany knows very well that it needs Europe desperate when it is forced to accept any conditions to the German DIP loan that Schrodinger Schauble proposes. Which means forget anything positive will come out of the G7, and certainly forget anything actionable will come out of the ECB's June 7 meeting. If anything, things will first get much worse, before things get better. And finally, don't forget just who benefits the most from EURUSD at parity or lower... That's right: Germany.
Thus we have the world’s three most important Central banks as well as the global economy’s “economic miracle” retreating from aggressive monetary intervention.
All you need to read and some more.
Just in case the epic collapse in the NY ISM (an indicator virtually nobody had heard of until today) which tumbled from 61.2 to a 49.9 contraction, was not enough of a hint that the economic virtuous cycle is a myth, and that CTRL-P'ing will be required, here comes the latest rumor via Reuters:
- G7 FINANCE MINISTERS AND CENTRAL BANK GOVERNORS TO HOLD PHONE CALL ON EUROPE TUESDAY MORNING - CANADA FINANCE SPOKESWOMAN
Will they discuss just any old plan, or DAS MEISTER PLAN? Stop talking about and just do it already. It's not like anyone expects it.
Instead of a "botched" event, the Facebook IPO is actually a total success by Wall Street standard, since concerted effort appeared to have been made to ensure an "acceptable" return for the insiders.
Confused by the latest developments, headlines, stories, counterstories, denials, counterdenials and rumors, but mostly prayers out of Europe? Here is your one stop shop of everything that has transpired in the Eurocrisis most recently.
Ten days ago when presenting the live Reuters polling tracker we said, "just as the most actively watched live update on June 17 will be the Greek parliament seat map as voting is tallied, so each and every day from now until then, everyone's attention will be glued to daily update from Greek election polls." Well, as of end of day Friday, a moratorium to publish polls come into effect which means that for the next 2 weeks Europe will be officially in the dark, clueless as to how the political winds in Greece are blowing.