Uncle Sam To The Rescue After All: Latest Rumor Sees €600 Billion Bailout Of Italy From US, Pardon IMF
The European desperation is palpable ahead of the EURUSD open in a few hours, which has to deal with the aftermath of the Friday afternoon downgrade of Belgium, the junking of Portugal and Hungary, and the prospect of an imminent downgrade of AAA-stalwarts Austria and France. So what does Europe do instead of actually proposing the inevitable debt repudiation that is the only and final outcome? Why more rumors of course. To wit: last night saw the preannouncement of Welt am Sonntag indicating that in order to bypass the lengthy process of treaty changes, Europe would instead proceed with bilateral agreements that would somehow enforce fiscal stability and convince the market that European states would follow the German leader. Well since that is sure to have absolutely no impact, overnight Italian La Stampa is out with a fresh new rumor which cites "IMF sources" according to which the US-headquartered and funded organization would provide a €600 billion loan to Italy at 4-5%. In other words, Uncle Sam, in his role as primary funding agent of the IMF would lose massive amount of money on the "market to fair value" arbitrage, only to bail out the latest European domino. As a reminder, the whole "under market rates" loan from the IMF was implemented in Greece and worked out just swell: at last check the 1 Year Greek bond was trading with a yield of over 300%. Oh, and La Stampa forgot to mention one thing: any changes to the IMF, which currently is massively underfunded and is why the organization was forced to create two new liquidity facilities: a Precautionary and Liquidity Credit line, since it is unable to fund its New Arrangements to Borrow, have to go through US Congress when it comes to expanding funding capacity. Yup, the most dysfunctional, corrupt and criminal thing in the world - the US House of Representatives, where unless everyone is short Italian CDS, this will never pass. In other words: this rumor is dead in the water.
More from Dow Jones:
The International Monetary Fund could offer Italy between EUR400 billion and EUR600 billion in financial support to give Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti a window of 12 to 18 months to enact reforms sufficient to restore waning market confidence in Italy's ability to repay its debt, Turin daily La Stampa reported Sunday, citing IMF sources.
he IMF "Italy package" would consist of loans at an interest rate of between 4% and 5%, compared with the 7% to 8% the country paid at its most recent bond auctions, the report says.
La Stampa reports that the worsening European debt crisis, which has increased pressure on French and Belgian bonds, and seen a German bund auction undersubcribed, is strengthening the conviction at the IMF that Italy is the nation that urgently needs support to avoid a breakup of the euro.
The IMF wants to give Monti another card to play if his reforms are insufficient to dispel financial speculation, the paper said.
The size of any IMF bailout for Italy would be so large that it must be done in coordination with other insitutions, La Stampa said.
Germany has been against any broadening of the European Central Bank's purchases of Spanish and Italian bonds on the open market to support prices. But German resistance to ECB bond-buying could fade if such funds were extended with oversight from the IMF, La Stampa reported.
The IMF board of governors agreed December  to roughly double quotas from around $375 billion to around $750 billion. But out of the 187 member countries, only 17 have legally accepted the increase, including Japan, the U.K. and Korea. Most of the countries with the biggest quotas, such as the U.S., China and Germany, haven't yet gone through the legal process, such as parliamentary or congressional approval, need to hand over their promised dues.