CDS

CDS

Transatlantic Financial Risk Inverts: European Bank Default Risk Greater Than American For First Time

One of the oddest phenomena over the past two years has been the relative outperformance of European bank CDS compared to their transatlantic counterparts. Well, this peculiar relationship has now ended. European banks are finally, on average, riskier than American ones. Investors have finally realized that "regulatory capitalization" in Europe is an even more ephemeral concept than in the US. Furthermore as JPM pointed out yesterday, not only do European banks use more leverage, but the "the larger size of Europe’s banks argue against using simple GDP weights to assess potential risks to global markets.  Due to a buyer’s strike over the last month, European banks now have 3.5x as much debt to issue than U.S. banks over the remainder of the year." Also, as we have been pointing out every single day for the past week, European banks, or at least those that have excess liquidity, have been storing more and more of their euros with the Central Bank, instead of lending it out. Add to this the relentless rise in EUR Libor, and this trade should have been a no-brainer for months.

Daily Credit Summary: June 9 - Unusually Uncertain

IG is at its widest (on-the-run adjusted) since 5/28/09 today (and we note that the last time IG was here, HY was over 1000bps) - but different portfolios make the comps a little tricky. Across the broad universe of credit, 5Y was pretty much unch on aggregate as 3Y underperformed with APC, RIG, and HAL the worst performers on a DV01-adjusted basis (along with UAL and CONTI). No clear ratings-related theme today as cohorts were very mixed as we saw bond volumes low once again but underperforming where we did see them (smells like Monty Python's Holy Grail - investors bringing out the dead as markets show any appetite for risk). FINLs and Energy were the worst performing sectors by far today with Utilities and Capital Goods the best performers. One day to go til the greatest sporting event in the world (aside from my eldest daughter's U10 Soccer matches) and we have started to prepare ourselves - bets placed (in my home country of course or that would be illegal) and Fantasy Squad selected. Ennngggeeerrrrlaaannnddd.

Goldman Formally Lowers EURUSD Target From $1.35 To $1.15; Time To Go Long

Full blown capitulation from the Goldman FX (strategic not tactical) team: the firm goes from a $1.35 target on EURUSD to $1.15. Score one more golden star for Goldman-Client relations. On the other hand, Thomas Stolper is officially advising clients to sell their euros to Goldman. There is no clearer signal to buy the beaten down currency.

Housekeeping - We Are Back

Update: ok, the 10,000 people that just hit the server didn't help.

We apologize for the extended downtime. European server hosts responsible for the crash will be promptly punished when their sovereign CDS shortly catch up with BP's defaults risk (+108 now to 368bps, 27% implied default probability for 5 Y). We are comforted by the fact that Ben Bernanke sees no future crash for Zero Hedge servers, ever again.

UK And US Among Top 5 Weekly Sovereign Deriskers

The week's biggest (sovereign) CDS movers have been released, and we have some new entrants in the most endangered species list. While by now nobody will be surprised that the UK is a consistent top 2 player (coming in this week with $319 million in net notional derisking, this making it the 8th week or so the country has made the top 3), only behind Italy and its $452 million in net notional, and just in front of last week's #1 Brazil, the presence of the United States at #4 should be a little unsettling. It has been months since the US appeared in the top 5. And just like in the long gold case, the same types of existential questions once again arise when the interest in US CDS picks up: who gets to pay off your contracts in the case of an event of default? Elsewhere, the presence of Korea and Turkey (or Australia) in the top 10 should not come as too surprising. On the other end, short covering was violent in CDS of Spain, Hungary and Portugal - Europe's newest lepers. Is the CDS community concerned the EU can actually pull out a rabbit out of the hat that actually works for once? Hardly. The top 10 reriskers also saw the inclusion of France and long-forgotten insolvent Greece.

Desperate "Risk On" Brigade Gets A Morgan Stanley Reinforcement

The most recent "it's time for risk on" note from Morgan Stanley is pure comedy defined. Jim Caron is now openly fishing to try to get any last remaining greater fools into the HFT shark infested swimming pool. The punchline: "front-end risk metrics remain stable, as 3m Libor sets slightly higher at 0.537, which is actually lower than was expected on Friday. Tactically, as a result, I think the time is ripe to put on risk right now." The salvage attempts by the TBTFs are becoming a surreal Lewis Black skit. Oh well, one always needs to goal seek "better then worst case data" to fit with the imminent risk on reversal. Looks like gold longs got the memo and saw right through it.

As For That Little "Secret" Shindig In Sitges, Spain...

Love them or hate them, they sure know how to pick nice, and soon to be insolvent, resorts. After meeting in Vouliagmeni, Greece in 2009, 6 months before it was uncovered the country is glaringly bankrupt, the Bilderberg group is doing its annual resort camp out in the Barcelona resort town of Sitges this weekend. Regardless of one's opinions of the Logan Act, any meeting that will probably see Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke as its attendees should likely have much more press exposure. Either way, if the Greece "study" is any case in point to the near-term consequences of what one can expect, it may be time to really load up on Spain CDS. And not only - the least subtle headline of the day comes courtesy of the Telegraph, that the "Euro will be dead in five years", and goes on to say: "The single currency is in its death throes and may not survive in its current membership for a week, let alone the next five years, according to a selection of responses to the survey – the first major wide-ranging litmus test of economic opinion in the City since the election." Secret meeting lore aside, one can be certain that the primary topic of discussion in Sitges' Dolce hotel will be what to do with the euro. We would be very wary of whatever kneejerk reaction is provoked in the market come late afternoon when the EURUSD starts trading again.

The Telegraph does a good job of separating the Bilderberg fact from fiction in the following article, and RT has a good video clip summary of this weekend's events for the reading challenged.

Guest Post: TIPS Vs Treasuries

Treasury Inflation Protected Securities are government issued securities adjusted bi-annually for inflation. When the urban consumer price index (CPI-U) increases, the face value and the yield on TIPS also increases. If investors are concerned about inflation, TIPS are one method of protection (you can buy them directly from the government here: http://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/products/prod_tips_glance.htm) given that they are directly tied to inflation. Unlike other investments which “should” appreciate in an inflationary environment, TIPS do appreciate.

Daily Credit Summary: June 4 - More Straws, Less Camels

As a reminder, for anyone considering this a buying opportunity (other than for a swing trade) based on rebalancing or mean-reversion should note two things: fund outflows are picking up for risk assets, and, even more importantly in our view, risk budgets will mean that allocations will be materially lower (in their wondrously pro-cyclical manner) as we note IG's three-month realized vol is its highest since NOV08 and HY's three-month realized vol is its highest since OCT07 (higher still if we adjust for intraday vol)!

Forint In Freefall As Unicredit "Recommends" Hungary Central Bank Intervene

Hilarious. Any time reality kicks in, the bankers (in this case Unicredit, whose CDS looks so fingerlicking good here) have no other recourse than to beg the money printing acolytes of Keynesianism to push things back to the fake trendline of the credit-driven expansion of the past 30 years. We wish them well. Alas, if the CHF is any indication, it is now too late.

Hungary CDS Offerless, 100 Wider At 430 bps

To all those who listened to Hugh Hendry's recommendation to panic a week ago, congratulations- you are well ahead of the market today. Hungary CDS is now offerless as investors are shocked, shocked, that the country (and continent) is actually really bankrupt, as opposed to just make believe. IMF's comments yesterday that it does not have the funds to rescue all of Europe are not helping. Hungary CDS is now essentially bidless last seen 120 bps wider, around 430/460 with the bid/ask spread at 30bps, and only dealers daring to take on any risk exposure as the risk off brigade has kicked the optimists out of the building. The one thing up today so far? Gold. NFP better be north of 100 million or else the stick save today will be a tad problematic.

Europe's Core Is Burning, As Austria Next On The Implosion Radar; German, France CDS Blow Out

Austria, the country most exposed to weakness in Central and Eastern Europe, is back on the radar. After having avoided skeptical investor scrutiny even as the bulk of Europe was collapsing all around it, the country is today's top CDS widener, yet still stunningly trades inside of France and Belgium. Look for this spread to blow out over the next week. Then again, the biggest CDS wideners are precisely the countries formerly seen safe: Austria, France, Germany and Belgium are all the top movers in CDS. So much for the whole North vs South division in Europe.