Anyone expecting that the events over the last 24 hours will have changed the persistently negative outlook of one of the original skeptics, will be disappointed. The SocGen strategist falls back to that old time-tested principle in complicated situations: math and logic. His summary of events released this morning: "The increasingly frenzied attempts of eurozone governments to persuade financial markets that they can draw a line under this crisis will ultimately fail – even if this week’s measures bring some short-term relief. I have minimal confidence that governments can turn this around within the confines of the eurozone project. You might be surprised though that I feel more bullish! Why? Both Dylan and I have come to the view that the ECB will be forced, by events, to monetise debt in the GIIPS and beyond. And if investors believe the governments in Spain and Italy are bust, then Germany, France, and not forgetting the UK and US, are far, far worse." To be sure, we may see a brief respite as we get the traditional post-TARP knee jerk reaction, only for markets to digest the sad reality of the situation in the proceeding 48 hours. And what will that imply? To Edwards, it will be nothing short of the realization, that even with €1 trillion (or more), the ECB will have no choice but to commence outright monetization as well. And the real question will be whether or not "Germany, will leave the eurozone after being over-ruled on the ECB (again!) and in the face of such monetary debauchery?"
- EU Sets 50% Greek Write-down, $1.4T in Debt Fight (Bloomberg)
- EU pushes banks to find extra €106bn for June (FT)
- Italy's Berlusconi Says No Plans For Early Elections (WSJ)
- U.S. Supercommittee Flirts With Failure (Bloomberg)
- Fed to wrestle with communication policy (FT)
- Investors show interest in foreclosure plan (Reuters)
- Bank's Posen says QE size about right (Reuters)
- Japan's Finance Minister Blames Yen Rise on Speculators (WSJ)
- China Nixes Rapid Yuan Rise (WSJ)
And, as expected, here is ISDA with the most farcical of decisions. From Reuters: "A new voluntary deal for holders of Greek debt to accept deeper losses is unlikely to trigger a 'credit event' that would cause a payout on default insurance, said a top lawyer at the International Swaps and Derivatives Association. Greek bondholders face losses of 50 percent under a plan to lower the country's debt burden and contain the euro zone's long-running debt crisis. The aim is to complete negotiations on the package by the end of the year. But because participation in the deal is voluntary rather than forced, it would typically not trigger payment on CDS contracts. "As far we can see it's still a voluntary arrangement and therefore we are in the same position as we were with the 21 percent when that was agreed," said David Geen, general counsel at derivatives body ISDA, referring to an original deal proposed in July that involved smaller bondholder losses. "The percentage (of losses), as far as the analysis for CDS purposes goes, doesn't change things. typically a voluntary arrangement won't trigger the CDS." Geen said the final decision on whether a credit event has occurred rested with the ISDA determinations committee, which would consider the issue when requested to do so by a CDS market participant." The fact that the decision is "voluntary" under duress from an entire political system which realizes its ponzi structure is collapsing is seemingly irrelevant. Luckily, the market is not all that stupid and the preliminary reaction is as expected, and to paraphrase Willem Buiter, "Failure to trigger Greek sovereign CDS when economic logic indicates this ought to occur would likely be detrimental to financial stability." But that's irrelevant. The EU has kicked the can down the road. Now it is literally a race for the fade to discover who is first to realize that as Zero Hedge and now RBS chimes in, "the EFSF is still too small to restore investor confidence."
When watching politicians on TV, consistently peddling the agenda of their biggest bidder and never, unfortunately, that of the electorate, one often wonders: why do these people not wear the logos and decals indicating who their sponsor is, and how much money changes hands. After all it works for sports personalities of all shapes and sizes: why should politicians be exempt. Granted, the quid pro quo is to influence behind the scenes, and as such an overt act of advertising would be largely counterproductive, but campaign financing is without doubt one of the greatest weaknesses of modern society, and among (or at least should be) the main grievances of the Occupy Something crowd. And while a radical proposal like that would certainly never catch on due to concerns of constant exposure of the sell out nature of America's public representatives (who really merely represent corporations), here is an informative clip from Reuters, with observations on "if presidential hopefuls wore their sponsors on their sleeves, what logos would your contender wear?" The result is quite entertaining.
Fresh from the European Council presses comes the complete 3 whopping page statement to bailout the Eurozone (not to be confused with Hank Paulson's 3 page TARP termsheet). There is nothing at all here, but for those who need a paperweight, feel free to print 200 copies and staple them together or something.
Don't anyone say Italy is not willing to tackle austerity with the determination of a rabid dog: retirement age to be raised by 2 years in 15 years, and an epic €5 billion to be raised from privatizations.
Gold has extended yesterday’s 4% rise in the US, with further gains seen overnight in Asia and consolidation in Europe. Safe haven demand continues due to increasing risk of a failed outcome from the European Union leaders' meeting scheduled later today and due to significant macroeconomic and monetary risks. The cancellation of a European finance ministers meeting and downplaying of expectations by euro-zone officials about the outcome of the EU summit is adding to investor concerns about contagion emanating from the nexus of European banks and large sovereigns including Italy. There are conflicting reports that Berlusconi has agreed to step down. U.S. Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner warned of the “catastrophic risk” posed by the turmoil. The Bank of England dismissed the chaotic efforts to save the eurozone from financial meltdown as a temporary solution to the region’s woes. Governor Sir Mervyn King said long term issues such as towering levels of debt and structurally weak economies still needed to be tackled. ‘The aim of the measures to be introduced over the next few days is to create a year or possibly two years’ breathing space,’ he said. King’s warning follows that of former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan who warned on CNBC two weeks ago that the EU was doomed to fail because the divide between the northern and southern countries is just too great. The key problem facing bureaucrats and bankers of massive swathes of debt in the European and global financial system is not being tackled. They are attempting to rectify a problem of too much debt by further electronic and paper money creation and the creation of even more debt.
- Incoming ECB head gives euro zone pre-summit boost (Reuters)
- Fears Euro Summit Could Miss Final Deal (FT)
- Merkel Puts Rescue Fund to German Vote (Bloomberg)
- Iron ore in record slide as China demand slows (Reuters) BHP, Rio CDS Soar
- MF Global slumps 47% on unexpected loss (FT)
- Bankers fear political moves will kill off CDS (FT)
- EU Banks Warn of Credit Drought in Push for Capital (Bloomberg)
- Analysis: Obama's moves pack political rather than economic heft (Reuters)
About a year ago, we speculated that as part of the ongoing currency warfare between Brazil and the "developed" world, its finance minister Guido Mantega would keep his trade surplus trump card until the moment of biggest impact. That moment has come, after the financial head (with the Playboy-posing daughter) just told Europe to take a hike. "I believe that European countries do not need funds from Brazil to buy bonds. Brazil is not considering it," Mantega told reporters in Brasilia. "They have to find solutions to the European problems within Europe." And with Brazil out, it is certain that China will not step up over fears of appearing weak and needing to provide vendor financing to its biggest export partner. Unfortunately for Europe this means that at least one component of the revised SPIV: that which foresees public investment from third parties into the EFSF (a new twist proposed only last week), can now be safely forgotten, bringing us back to page one and the entire 5x levered CDO structure which as has been explained numerous times, is Dead on Arrival. There is, however, one loophole. "Mantega said Brazil would be willing to provide financial help via the International Monetary Fund." Which is rather laughable considering that by IMF, one typically refers to, at least in polite society, Uncle Sam. Then again, with a French woman (and one who until recently was solely reponsible for the grave French financial condition) in charge, it is easy to lose sight and to be, there is that phrase again, baffled by irrelevant bullshit even as following the bailout money always lead to the same old source.
Is it safe to say that the Goldman love affair with the government is officially over? From Reuters: "Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta will surrender to the FBI on Wednesday to face criminal charges, a person familiar with the investigation said. Gupta was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam's trial earlier this year. He has denied wrongdoing. Rajaratnam was sentenced to 11-years in prison this month. Gupta's attorney, Gary Naftalis, did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment." Perhaps it is also safe to say that the war between Obama and Wall Street is now official. Of course, we give Obama about 24 hours before the economy tanks, the stock market implodes, the great unwashed see their meager 201k's converted into 100.5k's, and decide to #OccupyTheWhiteHouse. In other words, our money is not on the administration on this one. In fact, when the smoke settles, we expect a few extra tentacles from 200 West to penetrate even deeper into the three farcical branches of government of this once non-banana republic.
Over the next 24 hours expect many post of this nature:
- DE JAGER SAYS ITALY NEEDS TO TAKE EXTRA GOVERNANCE MEASURES
- GREEK BONDHOLDER LOSS WILL BE 60%, ANA CITES VERHOFSTADT SAYING
Liesman spin on how 60% losses is not a CDS trigger event coming in 10 minutes.
While the US may have its "committee" decision to every problem in the world, Europe has the "summit meeting" which in the past would kiss and make everything better. No longer. As the following chart from Reuters indicates, annotating the relentless rise in Italian yields (which have about 100 bps in buffer from full out Eurozone collapse: if the 10 Year BTP hits 7.00% it's game over), the half life of the mere meeting in terms of favorable impact is now negligible and in fact, negative. Just like BOJ (and, some would add, Fed) interventions in the market now do more harm than good, so hollow Eurozone meetings without any actual resolution, simply make the Eurozone troubles that much more acute. Keep a close eye on the BTPs. They are already at 6% following last week's tumble first documented on Zero Hedge. If the price drops that much more, that will be it for the EMU experiment.
Newsletter writer Dennis Gartman has done a swift about turn and is now adding to his gold position by buying the metal priced in dollars, pounds and euros, he wrote today in his daily Gartman Letter. Only last Tuesday, Gartman wrote that the gold market is suffering "very real damage." His comments were picked up very widely making headlines in the financial media internationally. Gartman warned that he feared that the rally from September's lows is "now under assault." Today, Gartman said in his newsletter that he was certain gold prices would break upwards sooner rather than later. Gartman said that the EU debt plan would hurt currencies. Therefore, gold will rally as currencies fall. "The authorities have no choice but to inflate their way out of the morass that they’ve found themselves falling into and that shall mean the diminution of currencies generally and the advancement of gold as the only currency not diminished", he said.