In March of 2010, or roughly 2 and quarter years ago, I ridiculed Italy's public proclamations of austerity and fiscal responsibility. I put out a report to my paid subscribers detailing my thoughts therein...
Well, fast forward to today and Bloomberg reports Italy Moves Into Debt-Crisis Crosshairs After Spain (you know, the same Spain that we also warned about in March of 2010):
Italy’s 10-year bonds reversed early gains today in the first trading after the Spanish bailout. Their yield rose by the most in a day since Dec. 8, adding 27 basis points to 6.04 percent. Shares of UniCredit SpA (UCG), the country’s largest bank, had their steepest decline in five months.
“The scrutiny of Italy is high and certainly will not dissipate after the deal with Spain,” Nicola Marinelli, who oversees $153 million at Glendevon King Asset Management in London, said in an interview. “This bailout does not mean that Italy will be under attack, but it means that investors will pay attention to every bit of information before deciding to buy or to sell Italian bonds.”
Investors don't need to focus on Spain's bailout (although there are many common threads). All you need to do is look at Italy's actual numbers and the credibility of thier reporting, as excerpted from BoomBustBlog subscriber document Italy public finances projection:
Back to Bloomberg...
Italy has 2 trillion euros of debt, more as a share of its economy than any developed nation other than Greece and Japan. The Treasury has to sell more than 35 billion euros of bonds and bills per month -- more than the annual output of each of the three smallest euro members, Cyprus, Estonia and Malta.
Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said on June 9 that he would request as much as 100 billion euros in emergency loans from the euro area to shore up a banking system hobbled by more than 180 billion euros of bad assets. Mounting concern about the state of Spain’s banks and public finances drove the country’s borrowing costs to near euro-era records last month, pushing up Italian rates in the process.
Italy’s total debt of more than twice Spain’s has given investors pause, especially in a country where economic growth has lagged the EU average for more than a decade. The euro region’s third-biggest economy, Italy is set to contract 1.7 percent this year, more than the 1.6 percent in Spain, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates.
Italy’s debt load had traditionally led the country to be perceived as a bigger credit risk than Spain. At the start of this year, Italy’s 10-year bond yielded 202 basis points more than that of Spain. As the extent of Spain’s banking woes became more evident and the country was forced to raise its deficit target, that spread reversed and now Spain’s 10-year yields 48 points more than Italy’s.
Debt agency head Maria Cannata last week said that fewer foreign investors were turning up at Italian auctions in recent months and that the country could still finance at yields as high as 8 percent.
Yeah, but for how long? 4 weeks????
The exodus of foreign buyers has left the Treasury more dependent on Italian banks, which in turn have been among the biggest borrowers in the European Central Bank’s three-year lending operations.
And this is the crux of the whole problem.
This why Italy is, for all intents and purposes, simply a gigantic Greece at the end of the day.
I have written about this extensively, and in plenty of time for subscribers and investors to take advantage of said advice. Simply read How Greece Killed Its Own Banks! and remember that this article was written in the beginning of 2010, when the Greek bonds were trading for much more then they were right before they defaulted! Then reference Greece Reports: "Circular Reasoning Works Because Circular Reasoning Works" - Or - Here Comes That Default!!!
Sovereign entities cannot fund themselves by borrowing from the insolvent entities that they actually need to bailout, but somehow they have convinced enough holders of capital that they can. To quote from "Sophisticated Ignorance"...
Again, public states bailing out insolvent private banking institutions simply does not work. The result is simply insolvent states and insolvent banks versus simply having insolvent banks. We have 800 years of experience from which to judge from...
In Dead Bank Deja Vu? How The Sovereigns Killed Their Own Banks & Why Nobody Realizes They're Dead… I have explained this nonsensical methodology in detail. I also warned on the Italian banks back in 2010, for there is truly no new economic profits being produced in bulk - simply a continuation of the Pan-European Ponzi scheme. Subscribers see Italian Banking Macro-Fundamental Discussion Note
Italy returns to markets before Spain does, selling as much 6.5 billion euros of treasury bills on June 13, followed by a bond auction the next day.
“If Italy has a problem with accessing the markets because investors lose confidence in the Italian ability to do the right thing, the ECB will be drawn into the fire,” Thomas Mayer, an economic adviser to Deutsche Bank AG, said in a telephone interview. “That could pose a potentially lethal threat to European monetary union.”
At this point, the ECB must be stuffed with more shit than a broken toilet, reference Over A Year After Being Dismissed As Sensationalist For Questioning the ECB’s Continued Solvency After Sovereign Debt Buying Binge, Guess What. We have been through this with Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and now Italy.
Given the size of Italy’s debt, only the ECB has the firepower to rescue the country and yet deploying that ammunition -- through buying back bonds or making more long-term loans -- may prove unacceptable to Germany and its allies in northern Europe, Mayer said.
“The ECB will probably have to restart buying bonds but there will be a lot of sellers into that of people who are worried that Spain is the next Greece and Italy the next Spain,” said Lex Van Dam, who manages $500 million at Hampstead Capital LLC in London.