The Italian Bond Maginot Line Has Just Been Pushed Back By 100bps
We commented earlier on the precipice of LCH.Clearnet's margin rules for Italian debt and the 450bps spread Maginot Line. Well, as always, there is some wiggle room in here and instead of using what seems 'obvious' as a benchmark (Bunds), LCH uses a blended AAA sovereign benchmark (consisting of Germany, France, and Holland). This makes a significant difference, obviously, and with Bunds massively outperforming today (now 86bps tighter than this archaic benchmark), ITA 10Y bonds ended the day at a spread of 355bps (not 440bps). So as long they keep France or Holland 'weak' then ITA margin calls should be safe for now.
The benchmark used by LCH is increasingly lacking any sense of reality when judged against the only true AAA (for now) nation in Europe. This leads to a notably lower ITA bond spread:
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