An internal Bundesbank document discovered by Der Spiegel states, in opposition to the comments by Germany's electioneering Chancellor Merkel, that Europe "will certainly agree to a new aid program for Greece" by early 2014 at the latest. As Reuters reports, Frau Merkel has repeatedly played down suggestions Greece will require more aid (or debt relief) in light of German voters major skepticism over moar of their money being flushed into the Mediterranean. The document notes that the risks of the current aid package for Greece are "extremely high" and that recent approval of the tranche payments were politically motivated - directly contradicting Merkel's 'praise' for Greek efforts as the report concludes Athens' performance as "hardly satisfactory." Opposition parties suggest Merkel is throwing "sand in the eyes" of the electorate as the Bundesbank warns "there is no private buffer left that could protect the European taxpayer."
Two upcoming events could prove catalysts for a Japanese sovereign debt crisis.
Back in May 2011, together with forecasting Japan's most epic case of quantitative easing ever unleashed, we presented the absurd, if inevitable, thought experiment of a country that would soon cross into the twilight zone of total sovereign debt numbers that no longer even fit on a simple pocket calculator. The country of course is Japan, and the debt number is one quadrillion. As of last night, the absurd has become real as Japan has officially announced its total government debt rose by 1.7% to ¥1,008,600,000,000,000.00.
It appears, as UBS' Stephane Deo notes, that in a rising rate environment, so-called risk-parity portfolios were susceptible to draw-down as yields 'gap' higher. As it turned out the 'equalization of risk across assets within the portfolio' failed dramatically after the Fed's June 19th FOMC statement which sent rates and stocks higher (and moreover rate volatility considerably higher) - the consequence for some risk parity funds was a significant loss. The question is whether this will happen again, or was this event a one-off? We believe this is a relatively mild foretaste of what is to come... as the 'speed limit' for rising bond yields is smashed.
With all eyes fixed on GDP and unemployment data this week (and all their revised and propagandized unreality) for more hints at if (not when) the Fed will Taper; the dismal reality that few seem willing to admit is that it is when (not if) and that the announcement of a "Taper" has nothing to do with the economy. There are three key factors driving this decision: Bernanke's bubble-blowing and bond-market-breaking legacy, the political 'clean slate' his successor needs, and, most importantly, the fear that QE will be discovered for what it is - monetization. As BoJ's Kuroda admitted last night "if QE is seen as financing debt, this could lead to rise in yields." With deficits falling, the Fed's real actions will be exposed (unless QE is tapered) and as Kyle Bass has explained before, it was out of the hands of the BOJ (or The Fed) and entirely up to market psychology.
At this point the Central Bank has one of two options: 1) Monetize everything OR 2) Let the bond market fall to where it deems rates are appropriate given the new default risk.
‘Vote For Gold’
"You have to choose, as a voter, between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability and intelligence of the members of the government. And with due respect to these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold."
Yesterday, ahead of the monthly update from the ECB, we posted "What Keeps Mario Draghi Up At Night, And Why The European Depression Has A Ways To Go" in which we showed that not only has M3 in Europe terminally broken apart from bank lending to the Euroarea private sector, but that lending to European banks was growing at the slowest annual pace on record. Today, the ECB showed that Draghi's unpleasant dream is becoming a full-blown nightmare with M3 sliding from a 2.9% growth rate in May to just 2.3% in June, suggesting that whatever the ECB is (not) doing is not working and yet another stimulus round is imminent. However, putting into question whether even such a stimulus would do anything, is the fact that actual private sector lending contracted even more, and in June declined from a previous record pace of -1.1% to a new record low of -1.6%. In other words, not only is Europe's Keynesian debt trap getting bigger by the month, but the European monetary plumbing system is completely and perhaps permanently fractured.
Without doubt, Iceland was the canary in the coalmine for the sovereign debt crisis that is unfolding across the world right now. Today, Iceland is held up as the model of recovery. 'Famous' economists like Paul Krugman praise the government for rapidly rebuilding the economy without having to resort to austerity. This morning’s headline from The Telegraph newspaper sums it up: “Iceland has taken its medicine and is off the critical list”. It turns out, most of these claims are dead wrong. Despite being so widely reported by the mainstream financial media, Iceland is not a story of model economic recovery. It’s a story of how to fool people. And for now, it’s working.
The proud Q1 debt-to-GDP outliers, where the local economies are expected to continue plunging and thus send the stock markets (if mostly that in the US) surging, are the following:
- Euroarea: 92.2%, up from 88.2% a year ago
- Greece: 160.5%, up from 136.5% a year ago
- Italy: 130.3%; up from 123.8% a year ago
- Portugal: 127.2%, up from 112.3% a year ago
- Ireland: 125.1%, up from 106.8% a year ago
- Spain: 88.2%, up from 73.0% a year ago
- Netherlands: 72.0%, up from 66.7% a year ago
Sovereign debt is the bonds that are issued by national governments in foreign currencies with the intent to finance a country’s growth. The risk involved is determined by whether that country is a developed or a developing country, whether that country has a stable government or not and the sovereign-credit ratings that are attributed by agencies to that country’s economy.
CEOs have a primary job: manipulating up the stock of their company. But why they now wallowing worldwide in 2009-like gloom about the economy’s future?
"Perhaps the success that central bankers had in preventing the collapse of the financial system after the crisis secured them the public's trust to go further into the deeper waters of quantitative easing. Could success at rescuing the banks have also mislead some central bankers into thinking they had the Midas touch? So a combination of public confidence, tinged with central-banker hubris could explain the foray into quantitative easing. Yet this too seems only a partial explanation. For few amongst the lay public were happy that the bankers were rescued, and many on Main Street did not understand why the financial system had to be saved when their own employers were laying off workers or closing down." - Raghuram Rajan
The ongoing fight between Elliott Capital (et al, i.e., "the holdouts") and Argentina may moved to the backburner recently as the topic of sovereign bond impairment is not as actual today as it was a year ago (it will be again soon once the European double bluff of OMT and Japan's carry trade finally fizzle and European political crises return) nor have any Argentinian ships been confiscated recently by the multi-billion hedge fund, but that does not mean it is any less relevant or has any less implications for the global sovereign debt market. But while global consensus had largely been largely against Argentina in its treatment of holdouts, that may soon change in a very dramatic manner with a new and very unexpected entrant, one supporting the Argentinian position, and for all the wrong reasons too: the US president.
Spain, as you know, and no matter how the story is fabricated, was bailed out by the European Union. The money was lent to the banks so that Spain does not have to count it as sovereign debt even though the country guaranteed the loans. Madrid, however, tells the truth in the same manner as a sardine naturally climbs mountains. Spain has set up a "bad bank" known as Sareb (Sociedad de Gestión de Activos procedentes de la Reestructuración Bancaria). This operation has $66 billion of Real Estate loans and property as their assets we are told. So far they have sold 700 properties and they claim they can achieve an annual return on equity of 13%-14% over its fifteen year tenure. The truth - so far - is unbelievably worse than expected.