Rosenberg Defines European Insanity
The situation in Europe goes from bad to worse. Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg is back to his bearish roots as he remind us that 'throwing more debt after bad debts ends up meaning more debt'. As he notes, the definition of insanity is (via Bloomberg TV):
When you realize that of the potential $100 billion to spend, 22% of that has to be provided by Italy and their lending to Spain is at 3% but Italy has to borrow at 6%. They have to lend to Spain $22bn at 3% - it is just madness. Everybody is getting worried again. The solution that they seem to have come up with seems to be worse than the problem in the first place.
As we have pointed out vociferously over the past few days, even though the assistance is being earmarked for the banks, the Spanish government assumes the responsibility and so this once 'low national debt' sovereign is following in Ireland's footsteps as its debt/GDP takes a 10pt jump to 89% (based on the government's data) and much higher in reality (when guarantees and contingencies are accounted for). As Rosie explains succinctly, this is right at the Reinhart-Rogoff limit of 90% at which debt begins to erode the nation's economic fabric.
It is probably not long before this credit - two notches away from junk and having to raise money at 6.75% when its economy is contracting at nearly a 2% annual rate - is going to require external assistance as it follows Ireland onto the sidelines.
The situation in Europe indeed goes from bad to worse.