Just how much will Draghi cut Europe's growth outlook? Just what measures will the Goldmanite take to lower the EUR this time? Just how short will the laflife of any such "unconventional measures" program be this time around? Just what assets would the ECB use as collateral for another "contingent" LTRO in a continent that has long since run out of unencumbrable assets? When is the non-existent OMT's term sheet finally coming? All these questions and more will hopefully be answered by Mario Draghi at the ECB's press conference set to start any second.
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- Joe Biden condemns China over air defence zone (FT)
- Tally of U.S. Banks Sinks to Record Low (WSJ)
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Europe Unveils Its Latest Deus Ex Machina Growth Bazooka: Encourage Debt-Cutting "Reform" With Even More DebtSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/22/2013 10:00 -0500
Just out from Reuters:
- EURO ZONE COUNTRIES CONSIDERING CHEAP LOANS AS INCENTIVE FOR GOVERNMENTS TO ENACT ECON REFORMS-DOCUMENT
- TO QUALIFY, COUNTRIES WOULD HAVE TO DRAW UP LEGALLY BINDING PLAN FOR REFORM APPROVED BY MEMBER STATES-DOC
- LOANS WOULD NOT BE LINKED TO COST OF REFORM BUT MEANT AS GENERAL SUPPORT FOR THE ECONOMY-DOCUMENT
- LOANS FOR REFORMS WOULD NOT BE AVAILABLE TO COUNTRIES RUNNING EXCESSIVE MACROECONOMIC IMBALANCES OR UNDER BAILOUT-DOC
In other words, "encourage" debt-cutting reforms by dangling the carrot of even more debt. But the punchline:
- NO FIRM PLAN YET HOW TO FINANCE THE LOANS, WHICH COULD BECOME THE NUCLEUS OF A EURO ZONE BUDGET-DOC
As was long predicted and foreshadowed (and analyzed here previously with the proposed FRN term sheet shown half a year ago), after nearly two years of foreplay with the idea of issuing inflation-friendly floating rate notes, moments ago as part of its refunding announcement, the Treasury announced the first floater issuance in history would take place on January 29, 2014, will have a 2 year tenor, and will amount to between $10 and $15 billion.
Nearly exactly five years after Hank Paulson appeared before Congress dangling a 3 page term sheet ultimatum warning it was his way or the apocalypse, it is time for the sequel. Since we all love the smell of a good Mutually Assured Destruction spectacle in the morning. Which is why we can't wait for Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's presentation before the Senate Finance Committee discussing the Debt Limit, in which he will rain fire and brimstone on anyone who suggests that the Treasury can enter the X-Date without a debt ceiling deal in place, and will most certainly seek to crucify anyone who points out the logical, namely that payments can be prioritized and interest expense is a fraction the revenue the Treasury brings in, and that the end of the world would be nigh should the US actually be forced to live within its means.
Italian bank holdings of Italian debt: €400 billion, an all time high. Oops.
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TRQ stock price is 80% lower today than it was a few years ago, yet the OT project is further along and now shipping concentrate..?
As largely expected, the ECB just announced that all three of its key rates remain unchanged.
At today’s meeting the Governing Council of the ECB decided that the interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will remain unchanged at 0.50%, 1.00% and 0.00% respectively.
The President of the ECB will comment on the considerations underlying these decisions at a press conference starting at 2.30 p.m. CET today.Since the announcement itself is never that exciting, attention as usual shifts to the 8:30 EDT press conference by Mario Draghi in which he will indicate, once more, just how non-existent the OMT's legal term sheet is, and thus how the European deus ex machine, the OMT, continues to be merely a jawboning-inspired mirage (even though Portugal will need it quite soon).
Moments ago, the following headline hit the tape:
ASMUSSEN SAYS ECB HASN'T SEEN NEED TO PUBLISH OMT LEGAL TEXT
That's right: the ECB is trying to get the German Constitutional court to pass the OMT (i.e., On Merkel's Tab) bond purchasing program, and yet there still is no legal term sheet. The photo below captures the reaction by the Karlsruhe Kardinals upon hearing this unmitigated idiocy.
As we got closer to June 11/12, the date when the German Constitutional Court will conduct a public hearing on the various challenges to the ESM and OMT, the ECB would have no choice but to disclose more details about the real terms of the OMT to assure smooth passage of the OMT, and not to jeopardize the tenuous balance in Europe where things are once again going bump in the night with bond yields suddenly blowing wider on fears the Japanese bond carry trade is set to unwind... The first such notable detail comes courtesy of the FAZ this morning, which "in fear of the judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court, the European Central Bank (ECB) has revealed for the first time the boundaries of their controversial bond buying program... ECB President Mario Draghi announced last year, if necessary, that unlimited government bonds of distressed euro countries would be monetized to save the euro. Meanwhile, however, the central bank has limited this program to a maximum volume of €524 billion and also communicated this to the court." This is the maximum allowable purchases of Spanish, Italian, Irish and Portuguese bonds.
Despite some concerns that the ECB would lower rates (and maybe go negative on deposits) at today's meeting, it was certainly not the consensus. And for once, the consensus was right. Form the ECB:
At today’s meeting the Governing Council of the ECB decided that the interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will remain unchanged at 0.50%, 1.00% and 0.00% respectively. The President of the ECB will comment on the considerations underlying these decisions at a press conference starting at 2.30 p.m. CET today.
Look for Mario to not touch on this issue at today's press conference in 45 minutes if indeed there is much disagreement among the governing council, and instead to focus on what plans the central bank has to spur European private lending which as we showed last week, just hit record lows. If any of course. We, on the other hand, are still hoping to finally get the OMT term sheet that supposedly saved Europe last summer. Because it looks kinda stupid if market participants continue to get duped by an "instrument" that officially and unofficially doesn't exist.
Succinctly summarizing the positive and negative news, data, and market events of the week...
With the ECB's rate cut decision already wreaking havoc on logic and common sense everywhere, pushing the EUR much higher, and the USd and JPY lower, one can't wait just what non-standard measures Mario Draghi will come up with next to send the EUR to record highs, providing a boon to German IMports. Wait, but the GDP calculation said that net imports are... oh, nevermind. Perhaps Not so super Mario will announce a free Forex trading account for every unemployed European, with half functionality allowing only purchases of EUR, not sales. Look for that, and for further confirmaion from the former Goldmanite that the bailout mechanism at the heart of Europe's "sustainability", the OMT, still does not exist and never will, as it is simply impossible to actually agree on a legal term sheet which will govern it.
- *DRAGHI: CREDIT CONDITIONS FOR SMALL, MEDIUM-SIZED FIRMS TIGHT
- *DRAGHI SAYS ESSENTIAL TO REDUCE FRAGMENTATION FOR TRANSMISSION
As we reported well over a year ago coupled with some subsequent thoughts on what the inevitable launch of floating rate notes (FRNs) by the US Treasury means for the US bond market, we now learn that the launch of FRN Treasurys is imminent and the first US FRN note may come to the public as soon as a few months from now. As the Treasury's refunding statement issued moments ago announced, "we plan to issue a final rule on floating rate notes in the coming months, with the first FRN auction estimated to occur in either Q4 2013 or Q1 2014. This timeframe reflects Treasury's best estimate for implementing required auction regulations and IT systems modifications. Treasury will provide additional information regarding the timing of the first auction at the August refunding."