PIIGS Come To Market: Greece With €5 Billion In Ten Year Notes, Spain With €4.5 Billion Five Year BondSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/04/2010 08:07 -0400
Greece has finally come to market with a 10 year bond, catching the very end of the offering window, through a €5 billion bond issue, which according to Petros Christodoulou-spread rumors, is nearly 3 times oversubscribed. Underwriters Barclays, HSBC, NBG, Nomura and Piraeus Bank are alleged to have collected nearly €14.5 billion in bids. We wonder how much of that is merely basis trades being fillled on the cash side. "We are very happy with the bid because the re-entry into the market is always challenging. It went very well," Petros told Dow Jones Newswires. Greece has cut price guidance on the bond from 310 bps over mid-swaps to 300 bps, with books closing at 11am GMT. Pricing is expected later today. Assuming this bond offering closes successfully, Greece will have enough money to last it for at least 30 days, joining such other illustrious countries as the United States, in living bond auction to bond auction.
An early glimpse at the detailed "Volcker Rule", which is expected to be released this afternoon, indicates that not just bank holding companies are going to be targeted by the prop trading ban. The WSJ reports that "the White House's push to limit, or in some cases ban, certain risky trading activities at financial companies also would affect companies that don't own bank subsidiaries, according to a summary of proposed legislative language prepared by the administration." This probably means that life for those pesky hedge fund scapegoatees is about to get even more unpleasant. And as for trading sovereign CDS, we suggest you novate all positions promptly.
- China's hidden debt to reach 96% of GDP, compared to the IMF's estimate of 22% (Bloomberg)
- Here come the idiots - Banks summoned to EU to discuss sovereign CDS market (Bloomberg)
- Upwardly biased ADP continues longstanding tradition of prior downward revisions (Bloomberg)
- US said to tell hedge funds to save euro records (Bloomberg, first reported on Zero Hedge)
- SEC supervisor surfed tranny porn to cope with stress [and self-loathing from working for an incompetent bureaucracy] (Dealbreaker, h/t plastic man)
- Europe's original sin (WSJ)
- Rumors of Ukraine's default to become certainty: Tymoshenko loses Ukraine vote, moves into opposition (Bloomberg)
- Greece in no rush to sell bonds, debt chief says (Bloomberg)
- Greece puts bond sale on hold as it hopes bail out will let it borrow at sub-7% (Guardian)
- Banks raise pay as U.K. efforts to cut bonuses fail (Bloomberg)
- John Crudele: Hey Washington! Economy has us very worried (Post)
- Hedge funds move to euro after Greek CDS trading is the now the "old trade" (Reuters)
- Sovereign CDS trading to be probed by EU (Bloomberg) as shorting euro is now borderline illegal
As of last night, a variety of financial firms have received subpoenas seeking information on collusion to short the euro. We are currently pursuing more information and will post once we get it. Certainly sovereign CDS traders can not be far behind (especially those who traded with a less than bullish bias over the past month) from the wrath of the Greek, Spanish and British secret services, and now - various US legal and criminal administrations, which are currently convinced that it is just speculators who are at fault for 15 years of fraudulent eurozone budgetary presentations and countless bond offerings based on fake financials, finally coming to the fore. Seriously, sell anything, and you will soon be facing the business end not of misdemeanor, but real-deal felony charges, and possibly with sprinkles of treason to boot.
Dear Mr. Bernanke, dear idiots at the SEC (to paraphrase an extremely observant Harry Markopolos), and dear everyone else who is just an empty chatterbox and a mouthpiece for other conflicted interests, who claim baselessly that it is all the CDS traders' fault that Greece is about to be flushed down the toilet. We present to you the ratio of cash to synthetic (CDS) exposure. As Bloomberg points out, the "maximum amount on the line if 10 government defaulted, $108 billion, is 0.98% of their combined $11 trillion in sovereign debt." So these less than 1% marginal players are now blamed for the end of civilization? How about blaming sellers of cash bonds? Or, here's an idea, how about actually looking at the root cause, like for example governments, who with the assistance of Goldman Sachs, have lied for a decade about the true state of their finances, and have misrepresented on sovereign prospectuses all their economic exposure for years, which was subsequently signed off by countless auditors and lawyers. The corruption goes to the very top, and the SEC idiots are now investigating CDS traders? There will be no end to the insanity and lunacy, until there is a revolution in this country, or until CNBC allows a rational and objective person to talk on its network, whichever comes first.
- The deflationist: a profile of Paul Krugman (New Yorker)
- China new village makes Chanos see Dubai times 1,000 (Bloomberg)
- Goldman cranks up p.r. engine to turn sinner into saint (Post)
- Hey recovery.gov, The "stimulus" actually raised unemployment (IBD)
- Another one jumps on the bandwagon - Nathaniel Rotschild calls for ban on sovereign CDS (Les Echos (in french), via DealBook)
- Euro worst to come as Greece hammerlocks ECB on rates (Bloomberg)
Many have wondered just what it was about the past month that has woken up the bond vigilantes from their euro zone slumber, prompting them to suddenly and aggressively punish deficit transgressors. After all, it is not like the massive deficits appeared overnight. Surely had the sovereign bond and CDS widening been more gradual the European authorities would have had no recourse to blame cash and CDS "speculators", whose actions have merely forced the market fundamentals to catch up with reality. Yet due to the sudden move, chaos is rampant, and any minute now 6 scapegoats are expected to be named, in an attempt to deflect anger away from fiscal blunders by various administration officials, whose incompetence is the primary cause for the PIIGS crisis. Morgan Stanley's explanation for the sudden and dramatic move has to do not so much with endogenous fiscal constraints, but more with the ever more prevalent opinion that the giant liquidity pump is coming to an end. Is the market merely pricing in the removal of liquidity and striking at those who will be impacted first when the tide finally starts to recede?
Paulson & Co Dec. 31 2009 13-F Released, Major Additions To Citigroup And Suntrust, Six New Names In Top 20 HoldingsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/16/2010 19:14 -0400
Paulson & Co's December 31, 2009 13-F was just released. The disclosure for the fund's equity long (shorts are not disclosed, neither are credit cash nor CDS and other holdings) reveals $19.8 billion in positions. The fund's top position continues to be GLD at a value of $3.4 billion (unchanged from September 30). Notable is the addition of 206.7 million shares to the fund's Citi position which is now worth approximately $1.7 billion. Other notable financial additions include SunTrust Bank, in which Paulson added 28.8 million shares, Wells Fargo, a new 17.5 million position worth $472.3 million, JPMorgan common, in which the fund added 5 million shares to 7 million for $291 million, as well as JPM Warrants worth $250 million (a new position). Other new positions in the top 20 include Comcast (44 million share), XTO Energy (10 million shares), IMS Health (18 million shares), and Pfizer (15.6 million shares). A primary reduced holding is the fund's exposure in Bank Of America - Common stock, which declined by 8.8 million shares to 151 million, or $2.27 billion. This was offset by the purchase of 13.8 million BAC "Units" worth $205 million.
All You Ever Wanted To Know About The Current Sovereign CDS Market But Were Afraid To Ask: The CDS-Bond Basis, CDS Curve Flattening, Volatility Skews And MoreSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/14/2010 14:11 -0400
Now that sovereign CDS traders are about to reprise the role of Jason Bourne, and be hunted by international intelligence agencies just because under the not so wise advice of their prime brokers and preferred CDS salespeople, they dared to buy a minimum amount of $5 million in 5 year CDS of [Spain|Portugal|Greece], it is worthwhile to expose this sovereign CDS "thingy" once and for all. The following BofA research report will introduce not only the basics, but get into some of the more arcane concepts for those who feel that the need to roundhouse Spanish intelligence officers is about to reach boiling point (call it 30-bp spread induced synesthesia).
As reported earlier, some more CDS trader talk:
I m hearing and being asked from a few sources that the CDS markets in the sovereign (Greece, Dubai. Etc) nations are going to “banned “ from trading to avoid a BSC or LEH like collapse. I personally have no idea if there is any truth to the story but it seems to be just going around in the last half hour. Obviously Greece is on the forefront of traders minds and I don’t know if a “ban” in trading this stuff is a good or bad for the markets (trades seem to think would be a huge positive)…. But I would appreciate any insight.
Of course, the fact that the mechanics of this "ban" are so inconceivable as to make the rumor beyond ridiculous, is precisely why everyone is terrified it will be true. After all this is precisely the kind of galactic stupidity/insanity we have grown to expect out of the 3 neurons shared between Bernanke/Bair/Shapiro/Geithner.
Remember "That" Crisis? Dubai CDS Rises Above 600 bps For First Time Since November 2009, Up 40 bps On The DaySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/12/2010 10:18 -0400
Rumor: Nakheel may be going into administration. And an even ghastlier rumor: we are about to see an announcement restrictring all sovereign CDS trading. Time to reevaluate that "Dubai is contained" thesis. Just sayin'... Got Dubai CDS, bitches? Keep them while the government tells you to sell.
As we look forward, we ask, who now determines the variation margin on Greek CDS (and Portugal, and Dubai, and Spain, and, pretty soon, Japan and the US), the associated recovery rate, and how much collateral should be posted by sellers of Greek protection? If Greek banks, as the rumors goes, indeed sold Greek protection, and, as the rumor also goes, Goldman was the bulk buyer, either in prop or flow capacity, it is precisely Goldman, just like in the AIG case, that can now dictate what the collateral margin that Greek counterparties, and by extension the very nation of Greece, have to post on billions of dollars of Greek insurance. Let's say Goldman thinks Greece's debt recovery is 75 cents and the CDS should be trading at 700 bps, instead of the "prevailing" consensus of a 90 recovery and 450 spread, then it will very likely get its way when demanding extra capital to cover potential shortfalls, since Goldman itself has been instrumental in covering up Greece's catastrophic financial state and continues to be a critical factor in any future refinancing efforts on behalf of Greece. Obviously this incremental margin, which only Goldman will ever see, even if the CDS was purchased on a flow basis, will never be downstreamed on behalf of its clients, and instead will be used to [buy futures|buy steepeners|prepay 2011 bonuses|buy more treasuries for the BONY $60 billion Treasury rainy day fund].
In essence, through its conflict of interest, its unshakable negotiating position, and its facility to determine collateral requirements and variation margin, Goldman can expand its previous position of strength from dictating merely AIG and Federal Reserve decision making, to one which determines sovereign policy! This is unmitigated lunacy and a recipe for financial collapse at the global level.
In the pre-math of the Greek collapse, conspiracy theories are swirling about who keeps blowing Greek CDS spreads wider. The answer, so far completely unconfirmed, is that a large US investment bank (we "wonder" just which US investment bank dominates the sovereign CDS market), and two major hedge funds are behind the CDS "attacks" on Greece, Portugal and Spain. According to Jean Quatremer, and his Coulisses de Bruxelles, UE blog, the plan involves blowing spreads to record levels, and is prompted by the hedge funds' anger at not having been allocated substantial amount of the recent €8 billion GGB issue, in order to lock in profits from their CDS long exposure. Being thus unhedged with a short bias, their alternative is to continue buying protection else risking to mark losses on their extensive CDS short risk exposure.
The key lesson from the ERM crisis of 1992 and the Asian crisis of 1997 is that contagion can emerge quickly and often in unpredictable ways. Unwinding of leveraged positions by distressed market participants, herding behaviour among investors, and loss of liquidity that gives way to general flight to quality can all lead to heightened correlations between markets and, in extremely circumstances, set off a self-filling crisis on a regional/global scale. There have been clear signs over the past week that the distress in the Greek government bond market is increasingly being felt in other euro area countries such as Spain and Portugal. The most likely explanation of this development is the “demonstration effect” – the Greek crisis is likely to have caused investors to re-evaluate the fundamentals of these countries. Spain and Greece may not have strong financial or economic links, but their fundamentals have a lot in common.
The possibility of contagion of the Greek crisis may not end with Spain. There is a presumption among investors that in the worst case scenario (and we are not there yet) the EU will give Greece financial assistance. If this is an isolated event, the effect on the overall public finances of the EU is unlikely to be substantial. However, a bailout of Greece may make aid to other countries in similar situations more likely (moral hazard). A series of open-ended bailouts would not only undermine the fiscal positions of core euro area countries such as Germany and France but, more dangerously, would weaken their political commitment to the continuation of the euro area project.