- Borrowers Face Big Delays in Refinancing Mortgages (WSJ)
- Greek left attacks ‘barbarous’ austerity (FT)
- Would-be suicide bomber was U.S. informant (Reuters)
- Cameron says Euro needs single government: report (Reuters)
- Demonstrators targeting BofA annual meeting (Reuters)
- Moody’s Bank Downgrades Risk Choking European Recovery (Bloomberg)
- Lehman E-Mails Show Wall Street Arrogance Led to the Fall (Bloomberg)
- What Hollande must tell Germany (Martin Wolf) (FT)
- Why France Has So Many 49-Employee Companies (BusinessWeek)
Yesterday it was Fitch setting the groundwork. Today the natural escalation has arrived, with a Handelsblatt report that German coalition lawmakers saying they are open to a Greek farewell. To wit: "Politicians of the CDU-FDP coalition will no longer look on the goings on passively. Given the uncertain political situation in Greece are advocating for a withdrawal of the crisis-Mediterranean Heads of State from the euro zone. "We should offer Greece, leaving the euro zone controlled, without withdrawing from the European Union." For now this is merely posturing, as Greek is doing all it can to make it clear it does not need Germany. Of course, Germany has no other choice but to reply the way it has. The only problem is that the Nash equilibrium is now of mutual defection, which is the worst possible outcome for Europe, and even worse for US taxpayers, whose cash via the FRBNY's FX swaps will be used to rescue Europe when the dominoes finally tumble. But at this point, this it is pretty much a given.
One word: Spain, and more specifically, 6.00%+. That's where Spanish 10 Year bond yields are again, with Spanish CDS soaring to a fresh all time wide of 512 bps (+13.5 bps), and the Spanish-Bund spread blowing out to the widest since November. And to think it was only two days ago that the schizo market interpreted Spain's bank sector nationalization as good news. It may be for the bank sector (for a few days at least), but it sure isn't for the sovereign which would end up onboarding on the risk. Naturally, 48 hours later the market has figured out this fine nuance and is dumping everything Spain related once again. That this is surprising is an overstatement: we have seen all of this before, only last time it was Greece. Hopefully the same playbook works for Spain, and works better. The result - redness everywhere, especially in the aftermath of an implosion, and halt, in Italy's oldest and one of its biggest banks (guess which PIIG is next on the nationalization bandwagon), after Italian prosecutors on Wednesday ordered searches at the headquarters of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena and its top shareholder in a probe over alleged market manipulation linked to Monte Paschi's 2007 purchase of smaller peer Antonveneta. From Reuters: "Prosecutors in Siena, where Monte dei Paschi is based, said in a statement the offices of several Italian and foreign financial institutions based in Italy were also being searched by financial police as well as private homes, without elaborating. They said the searches were part of an investigation into possible market manipulation and obstructing the work of regulators with regard to raising the funds to buy Antonveneta." But probably the worst news comes from Bank of America which summarizes the Greek situation as follows: "If another election takes place, as seems very likely, Syriza could win. Their populist rhetoric is gaining momentum in Greece. Moreover, left voters from the Communist Party of Greece and Democratic Left are likely to vote for Syriza given its chance to win." Which naturally, is Europe's biggest nightmare. Sorry to say, but Europe appears very much unfixed and is about to break even more.
"Once A Liar, Always A Liar": The Incredible (Un)Truth About Italy, Greece, And The Birth Of The EuroSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/09/2012 02:44 -0400
In response to a request by Germany's SPIEGEL, the German government has, for the first time, released hundreds of pages of documents from 1994 to 1998 on the introduction of the euro and the inclusion of Italy in the euro zone. They include reports from the German embassy in Rome, internal government memos and letters, and hand-written minutes of the chancellor's meetings. The documents prove what was only assumed until now: Italy should never have been accepted into the common currency zone. The decision to invite Rome to join was based almost exclusively on political considerations at the expense of economic criteria. It also created a precedent for a much bigger mistake two years later, namely Greece's acceptance into the euro zone. Many of the euro's problems can be traced to its birth defects. For political reasons, countries were included that weren't ready at the time. Operation "self-deception" began in December 1991, and culminated with a plausibly deniable comment of 'not without the Italians' by Kohl who needed them to bring the French along to the Euro party to ensure his successful re-election. A few weeks before the launch of the common European currency, Stenglin's assessment of the situation took on a dramatic undertone, when he wrote: "The question arises as to whether a country with an extremely high debt ratio doesn't risk gambling away the success of its consolidation efforts to date, thereby harming not only itself, but also the monetary union." It was a prophetic remark. Of course, financial data doesn't play much of a role when it comes to war and peace. Italy became a perfect example of the steadfast belief of politicians that economic development would eventually conform to the visions of national leaders.
Just as we warned at the end of today's nonsense, the afternoon ramp is fading fast now as the sad but true reality of a sun that rises in Europe awakening the maddening crowd. EURUSD is at 1.2970 (70 pips off the late-day swing highs already), ES (S&P 500 e-mini futures) are down 10 pts from the closing swing highs (which just happens to coincide with Sunday night's gap-down opening level around 1354.25), Silver has slumped back to the day's lows around $29, Gold back under $1600, and WTI is down around 2% from the day-session close at around $96.50. Treasuries are leaking lower in yield but FX markets seem very active as AUD drops to near parity with USD and carry pairs are generally weak. There are still a few more hours until Europe opens so anything can happen but for an overnight session, markets are not happy.
Today it was widely reported that the CIA thwarted a “plot by al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner using a bomb.” This bomb, which was to be concealed in a pair of underwear, was designed as an improvement over what Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to use to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day of 2009. This bomb was upgraded and designed to specifically avoid metal detectors. At first glance it would appear to be a job well done by the world’s leading domestic affairs meddlers. The truth was finally revealed as the would-be bomber was, in fact, a double agent of the CIA. When considering the nature of the state, this new instance of government supported terrorism is unsurprisingly comparable to previous cases. The alleged Yemen “underwear” bomber was just another fabricated spook in the long line of mounting justifications to keep the war on terror and its profiteers going; no matter the cost. As long as the American people are still easily whipped into a frenzy over forged menaces from afar, their blood and treasure will go on to be squandered on military boondoggles and redundant intelligence agencies. War and fear end up becoming a way of life. And so does the state’s command over what could be a life of peace and tranquility for the nation it supposedly protects. This isn’t conspiracy theory; just a recognition of the various hobgoblins, as H.L. Mencken described them, invented to justify encroaching totalitarianism.
Spain's banking system bailout is quickly becoming farcical. According to the WSJ this evening, Spain is to require its banks to set aside more provisions (between EUR20 billion and EUR40 billion) in an effort to overhaul the country's financial sector. This additional need for reserves (or provisioning) puts yet more pressure on the banks' balance sheets as it comes on top of the already EUR54 billion that has been set aside from February. Interestingly the EUR20-40 billion still falls dramatically short of Goldman Sachs' estimate of an additional EUR58 billion that is needed to cover reasonable loss assumptions. We can only assume that the game is to create as large a hole as is possible without tipping the world over the brink and then fill it with the state funds a la TARP (as Rajoy has indicated will be the case).
We are in the last innings of a very bad ball game. We are coping with the crash of a 30-year–long debt super-cycle and the aftermath of an unsustainable bubble. Quantitative easing is making it worse by facilitating more public-sector borrowing and preventing debt liquidation in the private sector—both erroneous steps in my view. The federal government is not getting its financial house in order. We are on the edge of a crisis in the bond markets. It has already happened in Europe and will be coming to our neighborhood soon. The Fed is destroying the capital market by pegging and manipulating the price of money and debt capital. Interest rates signal nothing anymore because they are zero. Capital markets are at the heart of capitalism and they are not working.
You asked for it, you got it...
The beepers at the BIS crew are going off in unison as the "EURUSD under 1.3000" Code Red has just arrived, and this time it is early. And tomorrow there will be no surprising German economic activity "beats."
Whether it was stocks, credit, gold, silver, oil, EURUSD, or conk shells, the message we were to believe was clear - BTFD today. As if by clockwork, Europe closed and US equity markets surged - seemingly forgetting that Europe will re-open again tonight but should you need any reassurance of what your pre-assigned Pavlovian role in this tragi-comedic dance-with-the-devil is - we suggest the following clip as a reminder.
Taking current trends across all employment indicators, using 12 Month trailing averages in the changes of those employed, unemployed and dropping out the labor force, we can predict, with IMF-level precision, that at the current surge of those leaving the labor force, the US unemployment rate will hit 0.0% in December of 2021 and finally go negative, or -0.1% in January 2022. So there you have it: maybe the BLS can just fast forward us to the end of this thought experiment when everyone will be so fat they couldn't look for a job if they wanted to (recall by 2020 75% of Americans will be obese), but at least the Propaganda Times will be blasting in 24/7 red flashing headlines that, for the first time ever, America's unemployed are now somehow negative, and we can all rejoice while collecting all those welfare stamps bought on negative interest credit funded directly from the uber politburo of the USSA located in the Marriner Eccles building.
Just days after his last live webcast "To QE3 or Not To QE3" DoubleLine's Jeff Gundlach is out once again with his latest presentation and live webcast titled "Deficits Don't Matter" (just don't tell that to the PIIGS). We are confident this is a Regan-referencing joke. Hopefully, in the off case it isn't, Jeff should also make the case why, in that case, taxation is also meaningless and should be abolished. After all, the Federal Government, courtesy of various newfangled economic theories can print its way to gargantuan debt and perpetual prosperity.