- U.S. Postal Service to Cut 35,000 Jobs as Plants Are Shut (BBG) -Expect one whopper of a seasonal adjustment to compensate
- European Banks May Tap ECB for $629 Billion Cash (Bloomberg) - EURUSD surging as all ECB easing now priced in; Fed is next
- Madrid presses EU to ease deficit targets (FT)
- Greek Parliament Approves Debt Write-Down (WSJ)
- Mentor of Central Bankers Fischer Rues Complacency as Economy Accelerates (Bloomberg)
- Draghi Takes Tough Line on Austerity (WSJ)
- European Banks Hit by Losses (WSJ)
- Moody's: won't take ratings action on Japan on Friday (Reuters)
- Athens told to change spending and taxes (FT)
After months (it seems like years) of trying to avoid a CDS Credit Event, it looks like one is inevitable. The Greek 5 year CDS is at least 70 bid which may be the highest ever. The game plan seems to be that Greece will put in retroactive CAC laws. The PSI will come in below 100%. Greece will trigger the CAC clauses on the Greek bonds, and we will get 100% participation in all those bonds, and we will get a Credit Event. The interesting part is that depending on what they manage to do with English law bonds, the only bonds outstanding (not in the hands of the central bank only bonds, and troika loans) will be the new bonds. If they start CAC’ing each bond, it is possible that there will be no existing bonds outstanding left. Settlement would be based on the new bond (yes, ISDA has a Sovereign Restructured Deliverable Obligation clause – Section 2.16 of the definitions). With the amortization schedule in place (and not including any value attributable to the GDP strippable warrants), I get that the new bonds would trade at 30% of par with a yield of just over 13%. I would be careful paying up for CDS here, because settlement will be against these new bonds, not existing bonds if every old bond is CAC’d. And given the attitude out of Greece late yesterday, and harsh IMF demands, we may well see that.
While all eyes are on Europe and its Greek farce, Japan is advancing at an inexorable pace...
Are we really in an economic recovery or is it a figment of the Fed's quantitative easing? This will be the biggest factor in the 2012 elections.
In his best Lewis Black impression, TrimTabs CEO Charles Biderman succinctly destroys the 'growth' myth behind Obama's budget plan as nothing but a handout and money-printing exercise in futility and drain-circling. Based on the $3.8tn budget plan, the TrimTabs truth-seeker notes that current government tax revenues are about $2.4tn, and growing at no more than $100bn each year, making the math surprisingly simple - we spend around $300bn per month and receive only $200bn with the missing $100bn to pay for the US government's largesse (income shortfall) coming from - 'printing money'. The spin is, of course, that revenues will somehow magically start to grow faster than spending and shrink the budget deficit. With take home pay at $6.3tn for everyone who pays taxes, up $300-400bn from the 2009 low, but still well below the $7.1tn rate from early 2008; Biderman's consternation at the self-hypnosis that a $200bn tax increase in an economy where take-home pay has been growing by only $100bn per year will somehow create anything other than slow-growth at best (or more likely contraction) is palpable. This slow- or no-growth will mean less tax revenue and more spending on safety-nets and thus the Sausalito-savant factually points out that most people do not realize that government spending is simply giving people money whether they do anything useful with it or not and still the governments of the US, Japan, and Europe want us to believe that our economies will grow faster if we keep taking more money from the workers and give that money to the government.
UBS' economics research group do not believe that Greece is saved but hope that it is at best ring-fenced. In an excellent Q&A follow up, Stephane Deo and his team address the role of the EFSF, the IMF package and its austerity measures, the ECB's participation, and finally the likelihood of the PSI being successful and its fallout. As Greek 2Y yields break 200% (obviously price is the critical part but these yields are stupendous) and bridge loan discussions appear for the March 20th maturity, perhaps UBS view of the IMF 'walking away' is more credible if they manage to ring-fence a recap of the banking sector. We would be surprised if contagion was contained and, as we have seen before, that risk leaks out somewhere and unintended consequences (or unknown unknowns) tend to pop up just when we least expect them. Perhaps the FT's note this morning (which incidentally confirms the everything that Zero Hedge warned about almost a month earlier) that deadlines are slipping rapidly is the bright yellow canary in the Piraeus coal-mine as 'time is running out' for a solution here very quickly (as seemingly is the desire).
Moody's Downgrades Italy, Spain, Portugal And Others; Puts UK, France On Outlook Negative - Full StatementSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/13/2012 19:00 -0400
You know there is a reason why Europe just came crawling with an advance handout looking for US assistance: Moody's just went apeshit on Europe.
- Austria: outlook on Aaa rating changed to negative
- France: outlook on Aaa rating changed to negative
- Italy: downgraded to A3 from A2, negative outlook
- Malta: downgraded to A3 from A2, negative outlook
- Portugal: downgraded to Ba3 from Ba2, negative outlook
- Slovakia: downgraded to A2 from A1, negative outlook
- Slovenia: downgraded to A2 from A1, negative outlook
- Spain: downgraded to A3 from A1, negative outlook
- United Kingdom: outlook on Aaa rating changed to negative
In other news, we wouldn't want to be the company that insured Moody's Milan offices.
Earlier today, Obama formally proposed his 2013 budget (link) which sees a $1.33 trn budget deficit in the 2013 fiscal year - more than the $1.296 trillion 2011 budget deficit, which unfortunately indicates that even with rather rosy assumptions, the deficit hole continues to grow, which also means that the debt plug will be higher in the next year compared to the prior, which in turn lends even more credibility to the US debt clock analysis which assumes a nearly 140% debt/GDP ratio by the end of a potential second Obama term. While that will likely end up being an optimistic estimate, for near-term discussion purposes, the probability of even this particular budget passing is slim to none as the GOP reaction in the republican controlled Congress has been swift and brutal. Per the WSJ: "Republicans moved quickly to denounce Mr. Obama's budget plan. "This proposal isn't really a budget at all. It's a campaign document," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said... Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), the chairman of the House Budget Committee, said, "Again the president has ducked responsibility, he has punted again, he has failed to take any notable action on this crisis." "All we're getting here is more spending, more borrowing and more debt that will lead to slower economic growth," Mr. Ryan said on a conference call with reporters. Republicans are expected to offer their own budget plan in the next month. The president's populist message is weaved throughout his proposal. "For many Americans, the basic bargain at the heart of the American dream has eroded," the president said while reiterating a call for nearly $1.5 trillion in tax increases on higher-income Americans over 10 years. He added he is seeing "signs that our economy is on the mend" and that this is a "make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get there." So while this "budget" is not even worth the paper it is printed on (unlike reserves, they actually still use paper for these things) here per the WSJ, are the key charts that form the foundation of the budget forecast.
On Friday, we gave the skinny on some of the more amusing and/or aggressive key assumptions in the president's 2013 budget. Now hear the TOTUS, as presented via the president.
Obama Revises CBO Deficit Forecast, Predicts 110% Debt-To-GDP By End Of 2013, Worse Deficit In 2012 Than 2011Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/10/2012 14:54 -0400
While we have excoriated the unemployable, C-grade, goalseeking, manipulative excel hacks at the CBO on more than one occasion by now (see here, here and here), it appears this time it is the administration itself which has shown that when it comes to predicting the future, only "pledging" Greece is potentially worse than the CBO. WSJ reports that "President Barack Obama's budget request to Congress on Monday will forecast a deficit of $1.33 trillion in fiscal year 2012 and will include hundreds of billions of dollars of proposed infrastructure spending, according to draft documents viewed by Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. The projected deficit is higher than the $1.296 trillion deficit in 2011 and also slightly higher than a roughly $1.15 trillion projection released by the Congressional Budget Office last week. The budget, according to the documents, will forecast a $901 billion deficit for fiscal 2013, which would be equivalent to 5.5% of gross domestic product. That is up from the administration's September forecast of a deficit of $833 billion, or 5.1% of GDP." Where does the CBO see the 2013 budget (deficit of course): -$585 billion, or a 35% delta from the impartial CBO! In other words between 2012 and 2013 the difference between the CBO and Obama's own numbers will be a total of $542 billion. That's $542 billion more debt than the CBO, Treasury and TBAC predict will be needed. In other words while we already know that the total debt by the end of 2012 will be about $16.4 trillion (and likely more, we just use the next debt target, pardon debt ceiling as a referenece point), this means that by the end of 2013, total US debt will be at least $17.4 trillion. Assuming that US 2011 GDP of $15.1 trillion grows by the consensus forecast 2% in 2012 and 3% in 2013, it means that by the end of next year GDP will be $15.8 trillion, or a debt-to-GDP ratio of 110%. Half way from where we are now, to where Italy was yesterday. And of course, both the real final deficit and Debt to GDP will be far, far worse, but that's irrelevant.
Just a week ago we brought readers' attention to the fact that Francois Hollande, the Socialist Party candidate who is leading most opinion polls in the French presidential election, was extending his lead; well the lead is growing, to now 58-42 in the second round. In a must-read discussion this evening, George Magnus of UBS points to the significance of the French elections and how Hollande's victory could unleash 'a new wave of instability and uncertainty, and that the relative calm or optimism in financials markets since the turn of the year would prove short-lived'. Specifically Magnus highlights how the politics of Europe could well trump the liquidity of the ECB as the main determinant of the Euro Area's prospects. While not playing down the role of the initial (and forthcoming second) LTRO, the UBS senior economic adviser has grave concerns of the much bigger and less tangible issues of sovereignty and national self-determination that will not only impact Greece (very shortly) but also Germany, France, and the Euro-zone itself. The French election could be a catalyst for Franco-German (Merkande? Hollel?) divisions which 'would not sit comfortably inside the ECB or in the minds and actions of investors' and is evidently an unpriced and under-appreciated risk in global markets currently.
Luckily they are easy to spot: the demagogues, the manipulators and the hired claqueurs. Unfortunately, there is no lack of media willing to provide a platform to perform their insidious game. “We need more, not less, government spending to get us out of our unemployment trap. And the wrong-headed, ill-informed obsession with debt is standing in its way.”How can a Nobel-prize carrying economist, who is presumably smart, write such nonsense? “He knows better”, says Jim Rickards (author of “Currency Wars”). And that makes Krugman so dangerous. Decision makers will reference his “debt does not matter” mantra over and over again – until it’s over. Thank you, Mayfly. You really understand debt – and how to make others believe it doesn’t matter.
€65 billion—20% of GDP—have been yanked out of Greek bank accounts, and political positioning for the “afterwards” has begun....
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke will testify at House Budget Committee (Chairman Paul Ryan, R-WI) full committee hearing on "The State of the U.S. Economy." The highlight of today's hearing will be watching Bernanke face his nemesis runner up, Paul Ryan, who will surely grill Blackhawk Ben with questions that are far more intelligent than the press corps could come up with during the last FOMC canned remark presentation. Watch the full testimony live at C-Span after the jump.