LTROver

Tyler Durden's picture

It will come as no surprise that the Spanish 'experiment' with the euro is not going well. Spain now relies more heavily on the ECB than at any time and today's bill auction sums up all that is wrong about our financial markets when an event that absolutely should be expected to be a non-event (a sovereign nation selling a small amount of short-dated debt) becomes a catalyst for algorithmic excess. In perhaps the greatest analogy for today's auction, Micheal Cembalest pronounces "throughout my career, central banks having to buy or finance sovereign debt to avoid a debt crisis was like going to the prom with your sister: there’s something very unnerving about it, even though it looks normal from a distance." It did not take long for the honeymoon following LTRO2 to end and despite today's exuberance, Italian and Spanish equity markets (as well as financial credits) have collapsed as Spain's sovereign risk has skyrocketed. While Spanish bank holdings of Spanish govvies, ECB lending to Spanish banks, and Spanish credit risk are surging so is one other much more worrisome fundamental trend - that of corporate non-performing loans. Dismissing the dichotomous relationship between consumer and residential delinquency calmness relative to unemployment's explosion (much as the market has in its pricing of bank stocks), the JPM CIO remains underweight Europe arguing that while contrarian calls are often the most profitable, this time being underweight European equities is the gift that keeps on giving.

 

The 'explosive' moves in Spanish risk and reliance on the central bank...

And the relative collapse in Spanish and Italian equity markets post-LTRO...

But, just as we have the BS BLS and the Census Bureau to deliver non-sensical data to confound the logic of what is going on in markets, the residential and consumer loan delinquency data in Spain seems questionable at best while corporate loans are tracking unemployment in their surge higher...

 

The other thing that’s rocketing higher in Spain: non-performing corporate loans (see chart). Interestingly, as my friends at Hamiltonian pointed out to me recently, consumer and residential delinquencies are flat, despite a surge in unemployment. I recommend taking this data with a giant grain of salt, given what one would normally expect. Markets are doing exactly that, which is why Spanish banks trade at less than tangible book value; a bit less than 1.0x for BBVA and Santander, around 0.5x for the domestically-focused Cajas. Note: Caixabank recently purchased Civica at around 0.35 times book value.