European FX Swap Line Usage With NY Fed Rises To Fresh Multi-Year High As More Banks Demand More DollarsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/08/2012 - 11:42
While the disclosure of New York Fed's FX swap line usage with the ECB continues to be between 1 and 2 weeks delayed, courtesy of our ECB friends/Goldman alumni, who post swap line usage in real time, we find that in the week starting with tomorrow's settlement, the total swap line usages has risen yet again in the past week, this time to a fresh multi-year high of $89.7 billion, an increase of $400 million compared to last week, and the highest since July 2009. The reason for the increase is that the 7 Day swap line for $3.73 billion maturing tomorrow and used by 10 banks, and at a cost of 0.59% has been replaced with a fresh 7 Day swap line for $4.13 billion and at a higher cost of 0.61% and used by 11 banks. We do realize that this fact goes 100% against the prevailing flawed meme that European bank liquidity, especially in USD, has been restored (why, just look at BBA member bank self-reported 3M USD Libor - it is declining - by Jupiter, it means all is well!). For that we apologize profusely.
While we wait, and wait, and wait for the neverending story out of Athens to finally end, we present some comic relief. Not even sure where to start with this headline du jour from Bloomberg, there is just so much 101% concentrated #win here...
- GOLD WILL RISE TO $1,250 IF EURO ZONE ENDS, ECONOMIST SAYS
Ph.D, baby. Ph.D.
The concept of social fractals can be illustrated with a simple example. If the individuals in a family unit are all healthy, thrifty, honest, caring and responsible, then how could that family be dysfunctional, spendthrift, venal and dishonest? It is not possible to aggregate individuals into a family unit and not have that family manifest the self-same characteristics of the individuals. This is the essence of fractals. If we aggregate healthy, thrifty, honest, caring and responsible families into a community, how can that community not share these same characteristics? And if we aggregate these communities into a nation, how can that nation not exhibit these same characteristics? If this is so, then how do we explain the complete corruption of America's financial and political Elites? What else can you call a nation that passively accepts financial predation, looting, robosigning, etc. by protected cartels as the Status Quo but thoroughly corrupt?
Gold Increased In Value In Both Extreme Inflationary And Deflationary Scenarios - Credit Suisse & LBS ResearchSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/08/2012 - 10:42
Mohamed El-Erian, CEO and co-chief investment officer of bond fund giant PIMCO, said investors should be underweight equities while favoring "selected commodities" such as gold and oil, given the fragile global economy and geopolitical risks. Over the long term gold will reward investors who own gold as part of a diversified portfolio. Trying to time purchases and market movements is not recommended – especially for inexperienced investors. New research from Credit Suisse and London Business School entitled ‘The Credit Suisse Global Investment Returns Yearbook 2012’ continues to be analysed by market participants. The 2012 Yearbook investigates data from 1900 to 2011 and looks at how best to protect against inflation and deflation, and how currency exposure should be steered. The chief findings are that bonds do well in deflation and benefit from currency hedging, and equities are not a perfect inflation hedge, but benefit from international diversification. The report shows that gold offers a timely inflation hedge and long term holders of gold should expect a positive correlation to inflation – gold is one of only two assets since 1900 to have positive sensitivity to inflation (of 0.26). Only inflation-linked bonds had more - 1.00, as expected. By contrast, when inflation rises 10%, bond returns have fallen an average 7.4%; Treasuries fell 6.2%, and equities lost 5.2%. Property fell by between 3.3% and 2%. Importantly, gold managed to increase its value across both extreme inflationary and deflationary scenarios. The academics from LBS analysed 2,128 individual years in 19 major countries (1900-2011), finding gold rose 12.2% in the most deflationary years - when average deflation was 26%.
Yesterday we dedicated a quick post to the glaringly obvious - the complete decimation-cum-implosion of the Greek economy. Today we learn that the obvious apparently continues, following a Reuters report that according to an Italian source, Q4 GDP declined more than the 0.2% drop in Q3, and that there was no improvement in Q1 of 2012. In other words, Italy's economy is now contracting at an at least 0.3% annualized run rate. More as we get it, but it's not like any details will make the news any less bulllish, because this is obviously great news: the accelerating recession is far better than the "priced in" apocalyptic depression that the market was expecting. In other words, by simple inversion worse than expected is better than unexpected. Or something.
Think the ECB announcement to do undergo a pseudo OSI impairment is a done deal? Not so fast - Germany may yet throw a wrench in there. According to Bloomberg, next week German lawmakers will conduct three votes on Greece among which:
- the €130 billion Greek bailout package... Wasn't it €145 billion by now?
- the empowerment of the EFSF to guarantee Greek government bonds held by the ECB
- the guarantee of Greek government bonds held by private sector after the debt swap
So while according to "sources" the ECB has already reached an "agreement in principle" to provide Official Sector debt relief, Germany may once again come out of left field with a blocking veto after German taxpayers realize that once again the ECB is throwing money down the drain on its Greek bond holdings, because as pointed out earlier, someone sure is taking a loss on those very same Greek bonds, no matter how convoluted the ECB-EFSF non-arms length and incestuous relationship.
European stocks advanced today following reports that the ECB is said to be willing to exchange Greek bonds with EFSF. In addition to that, although a vast majority of officials remain adamant that no haircuts will be applied, WSJ report indicated that the concession by the ECB will contribute to the Greek debt reduction, and the concession depends on the overall debt agreement being set. However it remains to be seen what effect using the EFSF for such spurious purposes will have on the demand for EFSF issued bonds in the future. Still, the renewed sense of optimism that debt swap talks are nearing an end depressed investor appetite for fixed income securities, which in turn resulted in further tightening of peripheral bond yield spreads. The stand out was the 10-year Spanish bond, amid a syndicated issuance from the Treasury. Going forward, Greek PM is scheduled to meet party leaders on a loan deal at 1300GMT, while other reports have suggested that the Troika is keen on meeting Greek parties individually. There is little in terms of macro-economic data releases today, however the US Treasury is due to sell USD 24bln in 10y notes.
Setting a precedent of official sector losses would raise huge questions over whether Portugal and Ireland will request similar treatment. However there are now no easy options. The current course of a second Greek bailout could just as easily have knock-on effects in the form of a second round of taxpayer-backed rescues. We have always argued strongly against taxpayers taking losses but, unfortunately, this is one of the few plausible options we’re now left with.
While hardly new to anyone who actually has been reading between the lines, and/or Zero Hedge, in the past few months, the Greek endspiel is here, and as a note by Goldman's Themistoklis Fiotakis overnight, the Greek timeline, or what little is left of it, "allows little room for error." Furthermore, "Due to the low NPV of the restructuring offer it is likely that part of this investor segment may be tempted to hold out (particularly owners of front-end bonds). How the holdouts are treated will be key. Paying them out in full would probably send a bullish signal to markets, yet it would be contradictory to prior policy statements about the desirability of high participation both in practical terms as well as in terms of signalling. On the other hand, forcing holdouts into the Greek PSI in an involuntary way would likely cause broad market volatility in the near term, but could be digested in the long run as long as it happens in a non-disruptive way (as we have written in the past, avoiding triggering CDS or giving the ECB’s holdings preferential treatment following an involuntary credit event could cause much deeper and longer-lived market damage)." Once again - nothing new, and merely proof that despite headlines from the IIF, the true news will come in 2-3 weeks when the exchange offer is formally closed, only for the world to find that 20-40% of bondholders have declined the deal and killed the transaction! But of course, by then the idiot market, which apparently has never opened a Restructuring 101 textbook will take the EURUSD to 1.5000, only for it to plunge to sub-parity after. More importantly, with Greek bonds set to define a 15 cent real cash recovery, one can see why absent the ECB's buying, Portugese bonds would be trading in their 30s: "Portugal will be crucial in determining the market’s view on the probability of default outside Greece... Given the significance of such a decision, markets will likely reflect concerns about the relevant risks ahead of time." Don't for a second assume Europe is fixed. The fun is only just beginning...
According to the WSJ, the “ECB is willing to forego profits on their Greek bonds”. That statement strikes me as one of the scariest things that a central banker could say (and there is some tough competition for that one). Forego profits? Here is the chart of a typical Greek bond over the past 2 years. The ECB started buying Greek bonds in May 2010, and stopped sometime in 2011. How do they possibly have “profits” to give up? They have “profits” because they live in an accrual accounting world. They buy bonds, don’t mark them, and accrue the interest. The accrued interest counts as “profit”. That is the carry trade. That is what everyone is so excited about for the banks. Banks can buy bonds, not mark them, and book the interest accrual (and payments) as profit. The problem with accrual accounting is when a sale is forced. Whatever the reason for the sale (in this case, a restructuring/default by Greece), the accrual accounting game is over and you have real profit or loss. The “profit” is the total proceeds received for the sale, versus total purchase price, plus any coupon payments received, minus costs of carrying the position. Some entity is taking the real world loss.
- Greek Premier to Seek Bailout Consensus Amid Political Quarrels (Bloomberg)
- Merkel makes case for painful reform (FT)
- Bernanke Cites Risks to Progress of Recovery (WSJ)
- Proposed settlement with banks over foreclosure practices dealt a setback (WaPo)
- Merkel Approval in Germany Climbs to Highest Level Since 2009 Re-Election (Bloomberg)
- Francois Hollande will spark next euro crisis (MarketWatch)
- China’s Central Bank Pledges Support for Housing Market (Bloomberg)
- Italy Pushes for Europe Growth Policy (Bloomberg)
- Santorum bounces back in Republican race (FT)
- China 'Big Four' Banks Issued CNY320 Billion New Yuan Loans In Jan (WSJ)
- Gasoline and diesel prices raised (China Daily)