Budget Deficit

Fitch Follows S&P, Slashes Spain By 3 Notches To BBB, Only Moody Is Left - Step 3 Collateral Downgrade Imminent

First it Egan-Jones (of course). Then S&P. Now Fitch (which sees the Spanish bank recap burden between €60 and a massive €100 billion!) joins the downgrade party of rating agencies that have Spain at a sub-A rating. Only Moody's is left. What happens when Moody's also cuts Spain from its current cuspy A3 rating to sub-A? Bad things: as we explained on April 30, when everyone has Spain at BBB or less...

Guest Post: War Pigs - The Fall Of A Global Empire

As Americans mindlessly celebrate another Memorial Day with cookouts, beer and burgers, the U.S. war machine keeps churning. As we brutally enforce our will on foreign countries, we create more people that hate us. They don’t hate us for our freedom. They hate us because we have invaded and occupied their countries. They hate us because we kill innocent people with predator drones. They hate us for our hypocrisy regarding democracy and freedom. Just when we had the opportunity to make a sensible decision by leaving Iraq and exiting the Middle East quagmire, Obama made the abysmal choice to casually sacrifice more troops in the Afghan shithole. We have thrown over $1.3 trillion down Middle East rat holes over the last 11 years with no discernible benefit to the citizens of the United States. George Bush and Barack Obama did this to prove  they were true statesmen. The Soviet Union killed over 1 million Afghans, while driving another 5 million out of the country and retreated as a bankrupted and defeated shell after ten years. Young Americans continue to die, for whom and for what? Our foreign policy during the last eleven years can be summed up in one military term, SNAFU – Situation Normal All Fucked Up. These endless foreign interventions under the guise of a War on Terror are a smoke screen for what is really going on in this country. When a government has unsolvable domestic problems, they try to distract the willfully ignorant masses by proactively creating foreign conflicts based upon false pretenses.  General Douglas MacArthur understood this danger to our liberty.

“I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within.”

UBS Cranks Up The European M.A.D.

Building on yesterday's discussion of the lack of an integrated banking system and credible lender of last resort in Europe, UBS appears to have gone thermonuclear this morning. Their lengthy article 'What If Greece Goes?' outlines the contagion risk from an 'orderly' exit as markets, international trading companies, and bank depositors will all anticipate the consequences likely resulting in economic disorder. Their remains a great deal of complacency about the ability of firewalls to prevent this - but as they note - should bank runs begin, even a pan-European deposit guarantee scheme will not stop rational depositors extending bank runs instead of gambling on the probability of policy-maker actions. Laying out Greece's options (renegotiate austerity or default), UBS summarizes the situation more profoundly: "Integrate Or Die" as without a Euro confederation (in their eyes), continental Europe will cry 'havoc' once again.

Forget 'GREXIT'; Meet 'GEURO'

The catastrophe that is Greece that has spawned the term 'Grexit' for its likely self-abdication (or dismissal) from the Euro remains a long way from being solved. Should the next elections go the way the opinion polls suggest, it seems highly likely that a government vehemently opposed to its own bailout terms and further austerity will stretch the patience of its 'core'-supporters to a breaking point - even though they know the gun they hold is squarely pointed at their own forehead. However, Deutsche Bank's economics team see the potential for a third path - that of running a Greek parallel currency to the Euro (which they dub "GEURO") to represent government issued IoUs to meet current payment obligations. This would enable, in DB's view, Greece to engineer an exchange rate devaluation without formally exiting the EMU. With Greece unlikely to meet primary budget surplus targets envisaged by the TROIKA, and political will inside Greece hardly making an effort to do so - perhaps this is the 'compromise' that meets everyone's needs (in a strange way). Initially there would be a large depreciation (which Germany could use politically to claim - see 'they suffered' - and maintain circular support for the financial system implications of GREXIT) but at the same time Greek authorities would reclaim some semblance of control to stabilize or even strengthen (over time) their own GEURO against the EURO - leaving the door open to a return to the Euro at some point.

Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: May 21

At the beginning of the week, European equities are seen modestly higher in the major indices with underperformance noted in the peripheral markets. Markets have sought some solace in the G8 summit over the weekend, with leaders agreeing that the optimal scenario would be Greece remaining within the European Monetary Union, and have furtively agreed that further measures may be necessary to return Europe to growth. The disagreements, however, continue to rollover as leaders fail to commit to a specific growth strategy. The tentative risk sentiment is reflected in the fixed income markets, with the German Bund remaining in negative territory for much of the session and 10yr government bond yield spread between the periphery and the German benchmark tighter on the session. Touted bids by domestic accounts helped support BTPs (Italian paper), especially in the short end of the curve, where the spread between the German equivalent is trading tighter by around 3bps. From Tokyo, comments from Fed’s Lockhart have drawn attention, who commented that with the downside risks emerging from the Eurozone, it would be unwise to take QE3 off the table.

Overnight Sentiment: A Summit Here, A Summit There, A Promise Of Growth And QE Everywhere

In continuing with the 2011 deja vu theme which has become the norm at this point, nearly half way into 2012, the key overnight events driving sentiment and futures higher (if not the EURUSD which despite a record number of shorts appears to have once again decoupled with the US stock market), were a statement following the latest G-8 summit (penned in the brief time when the world leaders were not watching soccer) that Greece should stay in the Eurozone (as opposed to?), and yet another promise from China's Wen Jiabao that the world's fastest growing economy would focus on growth (what a truly radical shift in policy for the country which needs GDP growth over 8% just to avoid riots and civil unrest). And in continuing with the "summit" theme so well exhausted back in 2011, and mocked by David Einhorn (see below), let's recall that there is yet another summit on May 22, this time where the European heads of state will sit down and also decide that, shockingly, they want Greece in Europe, in response to which stocks will surge, then be very confused just why they surged, and promptly tumble. Sadly, by now we have seen it all since 2012 continues to be a carbon copy replica of last year. We can only hope the powers that be infuse at least some originality before we are forced to start recycling headlines from the summer of 2011. In the meantime, futures are green, especially since Dennis Lockhart unleashed the QE bomb hours ago in Tokyo, saying that more easing should not be ruled out amid European risks. Wink wink.