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Greek Holdouts Buoyed By Overnight Argentina Bond Precedent

As the week's panacea event (no, not iPad3) draws ever closer, overnight news our of Argentina may be critical for any fence-sitting Greek PSI holdouts. As Reuters reports, a US judge has ruled in favor of a holdout creditor forcing Argentina to pay $650mm interest and principal on their long-forgotten defaulted/restructured debt. Argentina defaulted on $100bn bonds in 2002 and has yet to return to the international capital markets. While the Argentinians continue to litigate holdouts, the judge's decision in favor of these so-called 'vulture funds' (an affiliate of Elliott Management) offers renewed confirmation of considerable payouts in time for Greek bond PSI holdouts. Argentina's whiny reasoning that "bondholders who did not take part in the 2005 and 2010 debt swaps do not deserve full recovery because it is unfair to bondholders who accepted less" sums up the perspective of cram-downs and forced action that sovereigns will try to take. The vulture-fund litigation (and successful precedent here) blocks any new debt operations by Argentina until settlement is reached. This coincides with Bingham McCutchen's committee of Swiss-law Greek bond holders who look set to holdout or 'protect the rights of bondholders' as there appears to be several investors actively considering all of their options, including litigation - but as noted above, litigation can take years (though returns could conceivably be very large given par payouts of bonds trading sub-20% currently).

Overnight Sentiment Improves Modestly, If Not Greek 1 Year Bonds Which Slide To Record 1114%

Following yesterday's broad risk off day, some positive sentiment has returned to markets despite ugly economic data from Germany, and an odd indefinite halt of trading of Greek bonds on the Milan Borse. As BAC notes, for the third straight day, Asian equity markets sold off, as investors are concerned about a Greece debt-swap deal. The regional MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.9%, to finish at its lowest close in a month. The worst-performing market was the cyclical-sensitive Korean Kospi. Its economy, along with many other emerging Asia economies, is highly dependent on exports, so yesterday's data that showed that the Euro area's economy contracted in the fourth quarter added to the bad news. The Hang Seng also lost 0.9%, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.7%. Japan's Nikkei lost 0.6% and the Indian Sensex fell 0.2%. In Europe, equities are rebounding from their biggest drop since November. Part of the rebound is investors returning to equities to buy the dip, while investors are also expecting a strong ADP employment report later in the day - at 8:15 am. In the aggregate, European equities are up 0.4%. At home, futures are pointing to a solid opening later today. The S&P 500 is set to open 0.5% higher. Elsewhere, German factory orders plunged -2.7% M/M on expectations, from a +1.6% December print, driven by a total collapse in orders from outside the Eurozone which imploded by 8.6% down from +12.1% in December (more shortly). And Europe is now bracing for a Greek default as the Milan Bourse earlier announced it has suspended Greek bonds from trading indefinitely - perhaps related to this is the fact that after trading in the triple digits yesterday, the Greek 1 Year just slid to an all time record 1114% - looks like there is not much value in that post-reorg Greek package offered to PSI volunteers. Finally, the deposit money held at the ECB barely budges, as it prints at €817 billion, down just modestly from yesterday's record print as Europe's banks brace for Thursday's PSI announcement with a big cash buffer.

Guest Post: Cause, Effects & The Fallacy Of A Return To Normalcy

The most profitable business of the future will be producing Space Available and For Lease signs. Betting on the intelligence of the American consumer has been a losing bet for decades. They will continue to swipe that credit card at the local 7-11 to buy those Funions, jalapeno cheese stuffed pretzels with a side of cheese dipping sauce, cartons of smokes, and 32 ounce Big Gulps of Mountain Dew until the message on the credit card machine comes back DENIED.  There will be crescendo of consequences as these stores are closed down. The rotting hulks of thousands of Sears and Kmarts will slowly decay; blighting the suburban landscape and beckoning criminals and the homeless. Retailers will be forced to lay-off hundreds of thousands of workers. Property taxes paid to local governments will dry up, resulting in worsening budget deficits. Sales taxes paid to state governments will plummet, forcing more government cutbacks and higher taxes. Mall owners and real estate developers will see their rental income dissipate. They will then proceed to default on their loans. Bankers will be stuck with billions in loan losses, at least until they are able to shift them to the American taxpayer – again.

Some Thoughts On 'Not Paying' Greek PSI Holdouts

As the situation in Greece plays out exactly as we expected, no matter how much confidence Merkel and Papademos believe they have in a successful PSI, we thought it worth looking at the implications of the holdouts being 'punished'. For sure, as Peter Tchir notes, confusion reigns supreme, though we are probably due for a 'China saves the world' rumor any moment now, because too many people enjoy the fact that we haven't had a 1% down day yet this year.

Daily Collateral's picture

The BIS published a working paper estimating the costs of moving off-balance sheet derivatives trading to central exchanges in terms of daily margin requirements could be, for a dealer like Deutsche Bank, upwards of $8B, and for JPMorgan, $5B in times of volatility. The cost to the biggest 14 swaps dealers in terms of initial margins? Over $100B.

Reggie Middleton's picture

Not many websites, analysts or authors have both the balls/temerity & the analytical honesty to take Goldman on. Well, I say.... Let's dance! This isn't a collection of soundbites from the MSM. This is truly meaty, hard hitting analysis for the big boys and girls. If you're easily offended or need the 6 second preview I suggest you move on.

Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: March 6

Markets are exhibiting very risk-averse behaviour ahead of the US open, with European equity markets making heavy losses across the board with flows into the safer assets. This follows Greece dominating the headlines once again, with a report from the IIF warning of dangerous ramifications for Europe should Greece default. These reports got the European session off to a bad start, with losses made throughout the morning. Market talk of a delay in the Greek debt swap deal deadline has also been circulating, however this was swiftly denied by the Greek Debt Agency chief as well as the Greek Finance Ministry, although this failed to reassure markets and they continue on a downward trend into the US open. Eurozone GDP data released earlier in the session showed a contraction in the last quarter of 2011, although expected, this has reignited concerns of a recession in Europe. The ECB have recorded yet another record level of deposits from European banks in its overnight lending facility, with institutions depositing EUR 827.5bln on Monday night.

Frontrunning: March 6

  • Cotton prices jump as India bans exports (FT)
  • Goldman’s Asia Unit Lost Money First Time Since 2008 on Soured Stock Bets (Bloomberg)
  • Meet Mark Spitznagel, Ron Paul's L.A. hedge-fund guy (SPCR)
  • U.S., Israel Pull Closer on Iran (WSJ)
  • IBM’s Watson Gets Wall Street Job After ‘Jeopardy’ Win (Bloomberg)
  • US Senate OKs Bill Aimed at China Subsidies (Reuters)
  • Czech Banks May Need More Funds in Crisis (Bloomberg)
  • Banker Bonus Limits Sought by EU Lawmakers (Bloomberg)
  • Volcker Rule Needs Extensive Revisions Amid Feedback, SEC’s Gallagher Says (Bloomberg)

On Contagion: How The Rest Of The World Will Suffer

Insolvency will keep dragging the Euro-Area economy down until sovereign and bank balance sheets are repaired, but as Lombard Street Research  points out: eliminating the Ponzi debt without fracturing the entire credit system is impossible. The Lehman default occurred 13 months after the US TED spread crossed 100 basis points. The European equivalent crossed 100 basis points in September 2011, so its banking crisis would occur this autumn if a year or so is a normal incubation period. A Greek or any other significant default will precipitate a European banking crisis in the foreseeable future. Markets are already speculating on Portuguese negotiations for haircuts and Ireland can’t be far behind and the contagion to US (and global) banking systems is inevitable given counterparty risks, debt loads (and refi needs), and capital requirements (no matter how well hidden by MtM math). The contagion will likely show up as a risk premium in the credit markets initially as we suggest the recent underperformance of both US and European bank credit relative to stocks is a canary to keep an eye on.

IIF Steering Committee Holds Only 20% Of Greek Bonds Subject To PSI

Earlier this morning, to much fanfare, the various member of the IIF steering committee announced that they would all gladly be part of the voluntary haircut that would chop off over 70% of their hair. The FT described this development as follows: "A large grouping of private creditors agreed on Monday to take part in the multibillion-euro Greek debt swap in a significant step forward for Athens as the country struggles to avert a sovereign default. Twelve banks, insurers, asset managers and hedge funds in the steering committee of bank lobby group the Institute of International Finance said in a statement that they would take part in the bond exchange. Members of the IIF steering committee include BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, National Bank of Greece, Allianz and Greylock Capital Management. A spokesman for the IIF said this represented a “substantial” amount of the €206bn in Greek bonds held by the private sector that banks managing the swap are trying to involve. Analysts estimate that institutions represented by the IIF make up about 50 per cent of the private sector bonds." Bzzz. Analysts, as so often happens, may have been wrong to quite wrong.  According to just released data from Bloomberg analysts analysts may have overestimated the substantial amount... by about 150%. From Bloomberg: "Private Investors Holding About 20% of Greek Debt to Join Swap...The 12 members of the creditors’ steering committee that said today they would join in the exchange have debt with a face value of about 40b euros ($53b), compared with the 206b euros of Greek bonds in private hands, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from company reports." If so, this means that a whopping 80% of the bonds subject to exchange are unaccounted for, and more importantly, it means that the likelihood of a major blocking stake having organized is far greater than even we expected.

Phoenix Capital Research's picture

 

We’re fast approaching the end of the line here. It’s clear that the EU is out of ideas and is fast approaching the dreaded messy default they’ve been putting off for two years now. Indeed, Greece is just the trial run for what’s coming towards Italy and Spain in short order. NO ONE can bail out those countries. And they must already be asking themselves if it’s worth even bothering with the whole economically crushing austerity measures/ begging for bailouts option. Which means… sooner or later, Europe is going to have to “take the hit.”

Guest Post: Enjoy The Central Bank Party While It Lasts

Central banks are printing money all over the world. New names have been given to what is really an age old phenomenon. Desperate governments have traditionally debased their currencies when they have no other way of financing their deficits. So far the world’s central banks have been “lucky”. Thanks to the prior global bubble ending in 2008 and the realization that the so-called advanced countries are reaching the end of their borrowing capacity, the world is in a massive deleveraging mode which tends to be deflationary. For the moment the central banks can get away with printing all the money they want without massive increases in consumer price indexes. The public doesn’t connect increases in prices of commodities like gold or oil with the current bout of money printing. But if history is any guide, this money printing will matter and the age of deflation and deleveraging will be followed by an age of inflation.The coming battles over solving the problems of the bankrupt American government will not be pretty. It will be a bit more difficult for an American president to preach patriotism to the affluent in these circumstances. Although, if there is a war with Iran, he might try.