We are just about 16 hours away from Jamie Dimon's sworn testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, which even has the theatrical name: "A Breakdown in Risk Management: What Went Wrong at JPMorgan Chase?" Will anyone learn anything? Of course not: Jamie Dimon has been well-schooled in not disclosing critical trading information, and will certainly use the "proprietary position" and "more shareholder losses" excuse for any directed question asking how big the JPM CIO loss has become. Because while the hearing could have been productive, if indeed its purpose was to seek to prevent future massive losses of scale such as the suffered by the JPM prop trading unit and its hundreds of billions in CDS notional position, the last thing anyone will care about tomorrow is market efficiency and actual regulation. First and foremost: grandstanding and posturing, in the case of the politicians, and not disclosing anything, without saying too many "I don't recall"s in the case of Dimon. Which is why we have little hope to get anything out of tomorrow's formulaic 2 hours of largely meaningless droning. That said, considering we have already covered the topic of the JPM loss from a mechanistic standpoint more than any other media outlet, there is one more chart we would like to share with readers.
In case of 'Helicopter Ben' failure, we are again reminded that there is a Plan Z. Recall that none other than the Chairman said in 2002: "Keynes ... once semi-seriously proposed, as an anti-deflationary measure, that the government fill bottles with currency and bury them in mine shafts to be dug up by the public." Below, courtesy of William Banzai is an artist's impression of what said scavenger hunt would look like. Will there be an 'app' for that? Maybe AAPL's new 3D Maps will enable the national treasure hunt? Long Shovels.
For those of you that keep waiting for some giant change-the-world event; I invite you to re-gear your perspective. Greece has fallen, Portugal has fallen, Ireland has fallen and now Spain has followed the road into Purgatory. These are significant events that are, in fact, changing the world though none has caused Armageddon to date though they may by their aggregate but not singular importance. This is also why Greece is of such key importance; it has nothing to do with staying in or out of the Euro or of the preservation of the European Union as a political entity. That part of the equation is barely relevant. What is of critical importance though is that if they leave the Euro that they will default on some $1.3 trillion in total debt that can be afforded by no one. That is the rub and you may ignore the rest of the Eurospeak that is bandied about from Brussels to Berlin. A default by Greece will bankrupt and cause re-capitalization at the European Central Bank, it will throw the IMF into a tailspin and it will play havoc with Target2 and the German Central Bank. Do not allow yourself to be taken in and mis-directed; this is THE issue and the only issue of real importance.
Over the past 24 hours, Zero Hedge covered the various key provisions, and open questions, of the Spanish bank bailout. There is, however, much more when one digs into the details. Below, courtesy of Deutsche Bank's Gilles Moec is a far more nuanced analysis of what just happened, as well as a model looking at the future of the pro forma Spanish debt load with the now-priming ESM debt, which may very well hit 100% quite soon as we predicted earlier. Furthermore, since the following comprehensive walk-thru appeared in the DB literature on Friday, before the formal announcement, it is quite clear that none other than Deutsche Bank, whose "walk-thru" has been adhered to by the Spanish government and Europe to the dot, was instrumental in defining a "rescue" of Spain's banks, which had it contaged, would have impacted the biggest banking edifice in Europe by orders of magnitude: Deutsche Bank itself.
Gradually, the key open items from yesterday's Spanish bailout are getting some closure. First, we learned that Ireland, as speculated, will demand a comparable retroactive bailout renegotiation, an act which also puts the Greek elections a week from today in play. Then, we got definitive confirmation that the Spanish loan, coming at ~3% or half Spanish GGBs, is a priming loan, subordinating existing creditors. Finally, we learn that the ESM - the bailout mechanism at the heart of all current and future European bailout plans, and which still has not been ratified by Germany, is in danger of being scuttled by none other than the German opposition. The reason? According to a Reuters report, "A [Spiegel] report that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is not serious about implementing a European financial transaction tax threatens to undermine an initial deal struck last week with the opposition over the EU's planned fiscal pact... The Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens are insisting on a plan for a transaction tax and measures to boost growth."
Nobody on the Buy Side wants to sue JPM, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley et al for securities fraud on the more problematic deals of the past decade.
Well that didn't take long. The ink on the #Spailout is not dry yet (well technically there is no ink, because none of the actual details of the Spanish banking system rescue are even remotely known, and likely won't be because when it comes to answering where the money comes from there simply is no answer) and we already have an answer to one of our questions. Recall that mere hours ago we asked: "We also wonder how will Ireland feel knowing that it has to suffer under backbreaking austerity in exchange for Troika generosity, while Spain gets away scott free." We now know. From the AFP: "Ireland wants to renegotiate its rescue plan to benefit from the same treatment as Spain, which looks set to win a bailout for its banks without any broader economic reforms in return, European sources said on Saturday." And with Ireland on the renegotiation train, next comes Greece. Only with Greece the wheels for a bailout overhaul are already in motion and are called a "vote of Syriza on June 17." And remember how everyone was threatening the Greeks with the 10th circle of hell if they dare to renegotiate the memorandum? Well, Spain just showed that a condition-free bailout is an option. Which means Syriza will get all the votes it needs and then some with promises of a consequence free bailout renegotiation. In other words Syriza's Tsipras should send a bottle of the finest champagne to de Guindos - he just won him the election.
The wind picked up across the plains, the windmill began to turn and “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha” rode out once more to do battle. The ever faithful Sancho Panza, not wishing to be left behind, was in attendance and the windmills were now the banks and the regional debt of the country. You see, the Troubadour, Mariano Rajoy, does not wish the country to take any responsibility. It is to be the banks, not to injure the pride of the nation, that are the culprits and the banks, run by the empanada consortium, who are to be blamed. The IMF has released a statement claiming the banks need about $46bn which is the typical posture of the IMF these days; underestimating liabilities and then finding that more money is needed later; which they already knew of course. “Under estimate the liabilities and over estimate the assets” is the mantra sung at the IMF these days at the morning prayers as their credibility is as certain as the stature of the giants fought by Don Quixote. The extra money, suggested in the IMF report to ring wall the banks, is another gust of wind as it is directed to the regional debts of course which no one wants to mention as the faceless Men in Black ride into Madrid to claim their latest victim. The beating of chests can be heard in Andalusia as there is no ESM; it does not yet exist regardless of the panderings of the savants that ride the airwaves. Germany has not even voted on it yet so that that ballyhoo that the ESM is the “Saving Grace” is the stuff and fluff from which nonsense is composed.
The European financial ministers' meeting started at 4:00 pm CET. What are they discussing? According to the WSJ, nothing short of "a commitment to provide as much as €100 billion ($125 billion) in support for Spain's ailing banking sector." At least we now know that that Spanish bank trot so widely avoided by the mainstream media was just a little more kinetically-charged than previously expected, because for Spain to actually demand the money, even if implicitly, it means it has a capital shortfall, which can only arise from an outflow of liquidity, as mere real estate impairments do not have any impact on liquidity. So far so good. There is only one problem: Spain has yet to formally request the money! According to newspaper ABC, "Spain wants to convince European partners that IMF shouldn’t participate in aid for country’s banks because of potential stigma. Aim of talks taking place today is to agree legal framework and conditions for a potential rescue, newspaper says." Potential rescue you see: not an actual one. Just because, as we explained patiently to the 5 year old algos out there, Spain will have none of this "conditionality" that would be imposed on it by Germany, and the IMF, should it actually be formally a bail out target. Which of course would also have the unpleasant side effect of pushing its spreads tighter for a few hours, then blowing them out parabolically once carbon-based investors out there realize what has just happened. As for the ultimate question: just where will €1 of money come from in this broke continent, let alone €100 billion... why, better not to bother with details.
First we got Spain miraculously announcing late at night local time, but certainly after close of market US time, that the bailout so many algorithms had taken for granted in ramping stocks into the close may not be coming, because, picture this, Germany may have conditions when bailing the broke country's banks out, and Spain is just not cool with that, and now, after the close of FX and futures trading, we get Moody's giving us the warning the after Egan-Jones, S&P, and Fitch, it is now its turn to cut the Spanish A3 rating."As Spain moves closer to the need for direct external support from its European partners, the increased risk to the country's creditors may prompt further rating actions. The official estimates of recapitalising Spain's banking system have risen significantly and the country's indirect reliance on European Central Bank (ECB) funding via its banks has been growing. Moody's is assessing the implications of these increased pressures and will take any rating actions necessary to reflect the risk to Spanish government creditors. Moody's rating on Spain is currently A3 with a negative outlook." Moody's also warns, what everyone has known for about 2 years now, that Italy could be next: "However, Spain's banking problem is largely specific to the country and is not likely to be a major source of contagion to other euro area countries, except for Italy, which likewise has a growing funding reliance on the ECB through its banks." Of course none of this is unexpected. What will be, however, to the market, is when all 3 rating agencies have Spain at BBB+ or below, which as ZH first pointed out at the end of April will result in a 5% increase in repo haircuts on Spanish Government Bonds, resulting in yet another epic collateral squeeze for the country which already is forced to pledge Spiderman towels to the central bank.
The S&P 500 gained over 3.5% this week (with a dip-and-rip today on dismal volume). This is the best week of the year amid the lowest volume of the year (ex-holiday weeks). Gold, Stocks, Treasury yields, and the USD all recoupled from last Friday's decoupling and limped higher, ending at the top of the day's range today. Financials and Tech outperformed - up over 1.1% - with the majors best as financials won on the week +4.8%. Treasuries close to close were dull but intraday saw rather notable vol as 30Y yields dropped over 10bps before round-tripping back to its high yields of the day. All-in-all, broad risk assets did leak higher today but nothing like as exuberantly as stocks which was somewhat surprising into a weekend likely full of equity dilution for Spanish banks (and more burden for Spain) - or none at all. The USD rallied into the European close and sold off after for the fifth day in a row. HYG outran stocks on the day and maintained the bid (ES closed at overnight highs) but IG and HY credit lagged on the day - though are al better on the week. Cross asset-class correlations dropped notably into the close, as implied correlation dropped and VIX was very stable given the rally into the close, holding above 21% - even as S&P 500 e-mini futures ended the day more than 2 sigma above VWAP (as we suspect futures roll effects kept some out into the weekend). Lastly, this push higher today in stocks saw a major drop in average trade size - certainly not offering the kind of follow through to yesterday's (or the week's) gains that one would expect on a new bull leg.
Update 2: In her own words - dispelling rumors of new instruments: "In view of the current difficulties, it’s important to emphasize that we have created the instruments of support in the euro zone, that Germany is ready to work with these instruments whenever that is necessary and that this is an expression of our firm desire to keep the euro area stable,”
Update: here is the counterrumor, just as expected courtesy of the summer and fall of 2011: Merkel willing to back use of EXISTING Euro-area instruments... Where Euro-Bonds just happen not to figure.
Just out from Bloomberg:
- MERKEL SAYS GERMANY READY TO BACK USE OF EURO-AREA INSTRUMENTS
Ignore that it is unclear what instrument is mentioned (not Euro Bonds as Merkel made very clear 48 hours ago), she probably just is referring to the Redemption Pact, which she would of course be in favor of, as noted before, and where Europe funds its loan-loss exposure with gold. We look forward to the PIIGS agreeing to hand over their gold to Das Deutsche Pawn Shop.
Well, risk is on. Not so much because of the ECB, or BOE, both of which did nothing, but because everyone is hoping and praying that in two weeks the Princeton professor will unleash the 4th round of quantitative easing in the US (yes, Twist was a flow-shifting operation and thus QE3). And the reminder that China is not immune, and did its first rate cut since 2008 only validated the realization "that they have every idea just how bad it is", as Cramer would say. Sure enough, risk is ripping, although considering the world's 2nd largest economy just joined the monetary easing pants party, the 10 point ES response is oddly subdued. Where the reaction is yet to manifest itself is in gold: we expect the PBOC will take a little longer before it announces its meager 1000 tons of gold holdings have at least doubled following 100 ton/month gold imports as recently announced. But announce it will. In the meantime, China's aggressive step likely means that unless we get a global coordinated intervention at 9 am today, as was the case on November 30 after the last notable move by the PBOC, which was the first reserve cut also since 2008, there will be none this time around and Bernanke will be on his own. God save the markets if he does not deliver, either today at the JEC testimony at 10 am or at 2:15 pm on June 20, as the S&P has now priced in at least 75 points of NEW QE intervention.
Fed Vice Chair Yellen Says Scope Remains For Further Policy Accommodation Through Additional Balance Sheet ActionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/06/2012 20:08 -0400
That former San Fran Fed chairman Janet Yellen would demand more easing is no surprise: she used to do it all the time. That Fed Vice Chairman, and Bernanke's second in command, Janet Yellen just hinted that she is "convinced that scope remains for the FOMC to provide further policy accommodation either through its forward guidance or through additional balance-sheet actions", and that "while my modal outlook calls for only a gradual reduction in labor market slack and a stable pace of inflation near the FOMC's longer-run objective of 2 percent, I see substantial risks to this outlook, particularly to the downside" is certainly very notable, and confirms everyone's worst dream (or greatest hope assuming they have a Schwab trading platform or Bloomberg terminal) - more cue-EEE is coming to town.