Sovereigns

Saxo Bank's 10 "Outrageous Predictions" For "2012: The Perfect Storm"

As we wind down 2011, the time for predictions for what is to come as nigh. Having posted what UBS believes their biggest list of surprises for 2012 will be earlier, we next proceed with out long-term favorite - Saxobank's list of "Outrageous Predictions" for what the bank has dubbed "2012: the Perfect Storm." Mostly proposed tongue in cheek (unlike predictions by other pundits who actually believe their own delusions), the list of 10 suggestions represents nothing less than an attempt to force people "out of the box" and look at the world with a set of "what if" eyes. Because if there is anything 2011 taught is, it is not to discount any one event from happening. As Saxo says: "Should one, two or three of our Outrageous Predictions come to pass, it would make 2012 a year of tremendous change. This may not necessarily be a negative thing either - and given the  structure and uncertainties in the marketplace here at the end of 2011, we would suggest that even if none of our predictions come to pass, equally important and totally unanticipated events will. Sometimes we need to get to a new starting point before we can gain the right perspective. We hope 2012 will be the year where we start on the long march towards re-establishing jobs, growth and confidence." Naturally, the best outcome for 2012 would be the end of the broken status quo model, and a global fresh reset... but not even we are that deluded to believe that the quadrillions in credit money (real or synthetic) will allow such a revolutionary event to occur in such a brief period of time. At least not before everything is thrown at the intractable problem unfortunately has just one possible long-term outcome. In the meantime, here, to help readers expand their minds, is Saxo Bank's list of "Outrageous Predictions" for 2012.

Fitch Revises French Outlook To Negative

We spoke to soon: it appears suicide is painless after all, as Fitch just changed the French outlook to negative.The punchline: "The Negative Outlook indicates a slightly greater than 50% chance of a downgrade over a two-year horizon." As for the line that will finally shut up France in its diplomatic spat with the UK: "Relative to other 'AAA' Euro Area Member States, France is in Fitch's judgement the most exposed to a further intensification of the crisis." And now, the market shifts its attention to non-French rating agencies, who will downgrade France in a "slightly" shorter timeframe... more like 2 hours according to some rumors.

And The Euro Downgrade Hits Just Keep On Coming, This Time Fitch

Never a dull Friday when dealing with continents that have a terminal solvency, pardon, liquidity crisis.

  • FITCH PLACES BELGIUM, SPAIN, ITALY, IRELAND, SLOVENIA AND CYPRUS ON RATING WATCH NEGATIVE

Shockingly, French-owned Fitch has nothing to say about... France.

ECB Liquidity: Back-Door Bazooka Or Suspension Of Democracy, BARCAP Opines

The market's reaction to Draghi's comments over the last week have been visceral in its schizophrenia. While his 'temporary' provisions, three-year LTROs specifically, provide a life-line of liquidity (a la TLGP - and how is that working out for the US banks having to roll now?), they hardly address the real underlying problem of the vicious circle between sovereign debt's now-risky nature and financial balance sheets bloated with zero-risk-weighted re-hypothecated peripheral bonds. The last week has seen a roller-coaster of Senior-Sub debt decompression and compression, liquidation-like drops in commodities, lower correlation across European sovereign debt, and significant dispersion in high- and low-beta equity and credit markets (notably as we have previously discussed, some of which will have been driven by index roll technicals). The issue comes down to whether this is the Bazooka (buy-buy-buy) or not enough (fade-the-rallies) and BARCAP's macro sales and European Banks' research team have, like the rest of the market, been exchanging views on this perspective. While their take on the liquidity explosion is that it doesn't solve the almost unsolvable solvency problem but it the deeper insight that perhaps it is not the actual mechanics of this liquidity bazooka but the perception that democracy itself has been suspended in favor of bank and sovereign survival that interests us more. Furthermore, they do an excellent job on breaking down the mythical carry trade potential of these LTROs and mutual sovereign financing benefits since near-term (carry-trade) profit potential would be offset by additional sovereign risk - meaning that funding markets could stay closed for longer. Once again the issue of collateralization, risk-weightings, and deleveraging are front-and-center as bank 'managers' and politicians may be at loggerheads on the carry-trade-savior potential and the ECB's status on the balance sheet only serves to further subordinate existing bondholders.

Market Snapshot: European Dispersion And The CDS Roll

Next week, credit derivatives will roll from December to March maturities. The last couple of days have seen increasing dispersion across sovereign, and corporate equity and credit markets in Europe. The modestly bullish bias to credit index moves, while not totally dismissible as optimism, is likely to have a number of technical drivers implying that investors should not read too much into the compression. Liquidity has dropped notably in both single-name and index products recently and credit derivative dealers have increased the spread between the bid and the offer accordingly - this means the roll adjustment may be even more expensive this time around and for traders with a book full of single-name CDS, positioned more short, the bias will be to sell index protection to 'hedge' some of that roll-adjustment. The other technical is the indices swung once again from rich to cheap into the middle of this week (meaning the indices trade on a cheap basis to the cost of the underlying components) and so heading into a roll, arbitrageurs will want to rapidly take advantage of this - especially in the high-beta XOver and Subordinated financials space. So, all-in-all there has been some optimism in credit markets the last two days but as-ever we pour some sold water on the excitement as all-too-likely this is driven by roll and arb technicals, as opposed to a wall of risk-hungry buyers.

Fitch Downgrades 8 Global Banks Including BNP, SocGen, BofA, Deutsche, And Morgan Stanley

Every day after close it is one endless downgrade parade in which any of the permutations of rating agencies and either European sovereigns or banks get up and start playing musical chairs with each other. Then proceed to sit down for the overnight session. One of these days all the chairs will have been pulled. The banks cut in some capacity, either via long-term IDR or viability rating, are Bank of America, Barclays, BNP, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Societe Generale. Now we know that even creditors do not want to trigger any ratings downgrade covenants because it would offset what is likely a terminal margin call, but at some point someone will need to do through the various bond docs and find out just who (ahem Bank of America) will need to post far far higher collateral as a result of all these relentless downgrades.

David Rosenberg Discusses The Market With Bob Farrell, Sees Europe's Liquidity Crisis Becoming Solvency In Q1 2012

For the first time in while, Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg recounts his always informative chat session with Bob Farrell and shares Farrell's perspectives on the market ("his range on the S&P 500 is 1,350 to the high side and 1,000 to the low side. He was emphatic that there is more downside risk than upside potential from here. His big change of view is that we have entered a cyclical bear phase within this secular downtrend (he sees the P/E multiple trough at 8x). Rosie also looks at Europe and defines the term that we have been warning against since May of 2010: "implementation risk" namely the virtual impossibility of getting 17 Eurozone countries (and 27 broader European countries as the UK just demonstrated) on the same page when everyone has a different culture, language, history and religion... oh, and not to mention animosity to everyone else. So yes: Europe in its current format is finished, but what will it look like in its next reincarnation? And why does he think the European liquidity crisis will become a full blown solvency crisis in Q1 2012? Read on to find out.

Art Cashin On The "Rumormonger Convention" And Why Traders Have Put Santa's Picture On A Milk Carton

With fundamentals, technicals, and now even headlines out of Europe largely irrelevant, it only leaves one market-moving thing: rumors. And yesterday was a terrific example of precisely this. Art Cashin does a "rumor by rumor" expose of the key "events", however unfactual, that moved stocks yesterday. If history is any indication, and it is, today will likely see the rumor brigade unleashed all over again shortly. 

Abysmal Liquidity And Other Things to Watch

It is only December 14th. We are all so exhausted it may feel later than that, but the reality is it is only December 14th. The market is providing liquidity like it is 3 pm on December 31st. So no, it is not normal. It also seems that the new spread is adopted by all the dealers. As far as I can tell, there is no entrepreneurial trader out there trying to make a name for him or herself by providing tighter execution levels. That would be typical. So no, this isn’t a normal behavior for this time of year. If CDX Indices were cleared, or better yet, exchange traded, they could continue to trade with tight bid/offer spreads. S&P futures continue to trade actively and e-minis had an exceptionally busy day yesterday. It is at times like this, that the failure to get CDX indices on exchanges (or even properly cleared) is most felt by the market.

The "Neutron Bomb Of Capital Calculations" And A Kyle Bass Refresher

In a double-whammy of downbeat dystopian discussions, GMO and Kyle Bass are active on the inevitability of Europe's demise. Perhaps that is too strong but the two are focused directly, in separate pieces, on the huge need for capital and the dire dearth of it available. GMO's central focus on the direct capital needs of the European banking system in the case of a recovery (but under Basel III) and under stress scenarios. Dismissing the EBA's efforts, and recognizing that the problem is capital/solvency (if there were more, the market would not be worrying about liquidity and deposit flight), their 'neutron bomb' scenario where sovereign debt is recognized as a 'risky asset' (which seems more than plausible to us), the capital needs are almost EUR300bn with Spanish and French banks dominant but Italian and German banks are close behind. As Kyle Bass notes "There is no savior large enough with a magic potion of capital to stave off this unfortunate conclusion to the global debt super cycle.". This leads to only a bad and worse outcome for Europe, as the cataclysm plays out because the banks do have an alternative to raising capital – shrink the balance sheet. Deleveraging is already going on in a number of countries, with loan-to-deposit ratios dropping in recent months in Portugal, Spain, and Italy. This reduces the capital needs of banks, but fairly quickly starts to cut into the muscle of the financial system. The banks have little alternative but to keep holding sovereign debt in the short term, since it is the collateral for their borrowing needs. And as we have been so vociferously explaining recently, should they be forced to delver even more, and sell reduce these sovereign assets, then the daisy-chain effect of de-hypothecation on shadow banking will not end well for anyone.

S&P Warns Of Increased Corporate Bond Downgrade Risk Following Sovereign Action

As we said last week, when the S&P, in desperate hope that the Euro summit would achieve something, anything, to avoid an eventual downgrade of Europe, called Europe's bluff... and Europe was found to hold 2-7 offsuit. Now, when it has no choice but to downgrade the EuropeAAAn-club, S&P is practically apologizing for its action, and is today saying that since nothing happened to change its opinion, it will have no choice but to proceed with pervasive downgrades, only this time not only sovereigns (which it is expected to conclude on shortly) but also corporates of all shapes and sizes. Unless of course it doesn't, at which point the rating agency can just tell the last guy to turn the lights out on their way out.

Art Cashin On The Clash Of Market Reality With Post-Summit H[o/y]pe

It is always amsuing to listen to market narratives, however goal seeked they may be, when presented by market veterans such as Art Cashin, who in this case deconstructs the violent clash between reality and post-summit hype as represented by yesterday's amusing market action.

Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: December 13

  • Moody's placed the ratings of eight Spanish banks on review for a possible downgrade
  • A solid 3-month T-Bill auction by the EFSF supported appetite for risk
  • OPEC and IEA trimmed their oil demand growth forecasts
  • Talks between Greece and private bondholders have ended without a deal, although consultations will continue, according to a banker involved
  • According to BoE’s Dale, there is certainly scope for the central bank to increase QE if needed

Six Tail Scenarios That Deutsche Bank Are Watching For Next Year

Jim Reid and his team from Deutsche have produced another magnificent compendium of information and prognostication in their 2012 Credit Outlook and while their up-in-quality preference (non-financial) may not be earth-shattering strategically, their timing view is of note. Instead of viewing the looming refi-ganza among European sovereigns and financials in H1 2012 as a reason for doom and gloom, they see it as the necessary evil to drive the ECB into the markets in size only for the latter half of the year to disappoint significantly as the reality of the underlying problems rear their ugly head once more. The down-then-up-then-worse-down perspective on markets for next year hardly sounds optimistic but it is the following six scenarios away from European woes that keep them up at night. From the positivity of a US housing rebound or Election year cycle to much more extreme downside risks such as geo-political concerns and non-European sovereign risks, their views on China, QE-evolution and Inflation concerns are noteworthy.