Derisking

Daily Credit Summary: June 24 - Risk Never Left (But Italy Did)

Greece was the standout in Europe (and in fact across most sovereigns) with a 60bps decompression today (closing below 1000bps but managing to get above and trade handily upfront for much of the day). This is a 200bps decompression since the roll and while volumes remain marginal, bonds have weakened with the 2-5Y range inverting even more significantly. Calls for 50% haircuts on Greek sovereign debt in the stress tests, and an increasingly glib view of the effectiveness of the stress tests saw FINLs shift wider once again with SEN and SUB moving pretty much in line and notably FINLs and ExFINLs not decompressing. This is interesting as perhaps we are seeing the contagion leaking back into non FINLs (which would make sense via direct channel from lending/credit as well as indirect via austerity/growth slowing).

Global Sovereign Derisking As Greek 5 Year CDS Hits All Time Wide

So much for that Greek bailout plan. Greek CDS are now back at fresh all time highs as the market seems set on not only testing the EU's rescue resolve, but determined to get a fresh new bailout plan entirely. At last check CDS was just shy of 1,000 bps. The immediate catalyst is a Fitch report that says Greece risk has gone up and that the country will need further consolidation in 2011 and 2012. The broader catalyst is that the entire Greek credit market is completely dead (noi cash liquidity) and momentum trading has now arrived in CDS, which is the only place left to express a bearish stance on Greece. Should the spread onslaught continue, we expect all of Europe to follow Germany's example and immediately ban naked CDS shorts across the continent. Luckily, both China and India are now set to open CDS trading of their own.

BP Net CDS Hits Another Record, As APC Weekly Change Is Flat, Implying BP-APC Pair Trade Overhyped

According to DTCC, BP net notional CDS has hit another weekly record, coming in at $1.794 billion on 2,590 contracts as of June 18. This is a change from past week's $1.677 billion net notional outstanding, and 2,072 contracts: an increase of $117 million in net notional derisking as an increasing number of bets on BP's bankruptcy are made. Another very popular name, Anadarko, came in at $1.630 billion net with 3,051 contracts: the exact same notional as the prior week (which however saw 2,877 contracts outstanding). In other words, even as traders derisked in BP, they were flat in Anadarko, implying that a short risk BP - long risk APC trade was not being actively put on in the past week, contrary to media reports of this being a prevalent pair trade. Instead speculators took on unhedged short risk exclusively in BP. Alternatively, we could see accelerated derisking in APC soon as the long risk leg of a possible BP-APC pair trade catches up with FV.

CDS Traders Finally Give UK Reprive, Focus On Heart Of Darkness: Germany And France

For the first time in over 2 months, last week CDS traders ignored their ongoing derisking barrage in Great Britain CDS, and instead shifting their attention to the very heart of European darkness, the two countries that are in charge of it all - Germany and France. There was over 750 million worth of German CDS derisked, in 58 contracts, with France close behind at $728 million. Two other notable names rounding out the top five were Turkey and Spain. Quiet, little Finland was there for some reason. Other name filling out the list of top 10 were Brazil, Ukraine, Korea, Portugal and Japan: all names that have very valid reasons to be concerned about their future, and CDS traders agree. On the other end, rerisking was rampant in Mexico, Slovenia, Holland, Indonesia and Thailand. Most likely these are just hedge pairs as there is no reason why any of these names should be in play. Two names which we will focus on shortly, Romania and Bulgaria, were in no man's land. We expect they will slowly migrate toward the red part of the chart.

Weekly Credit Summary: June 11 - Look Behind The Curtain This Week In Credit

Spreads were mixed this week with indices modestly tighter but intrinsics notable wider as our view of the overlay unwinds into idiosyncratic derisking appears to be playing out in cash and synthetic credit. Europe outperformed US this week with help broadly from FINLs and Sovereigns but the same theme of underlying name underperformance against index outperformance was evident everywhere (especially at the HY/XOver end of the credit spectrum). Watch this week for further bond underperformance and/or skew compression - there is much more going on down here in the weeds than is evident at the aggregate levels and we suspect sooner rather than later this sentiment will spread back up to the indices (and the realities of short- and longer-term funding markets).

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.

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)!

UK Continues To Be A Top Sovereign CDS Derisker

After taking a brief break last week, the UK is once again firmly in the top sovereign deriskers: a place it has held with pride for almost two months now. Summing up cumulative net notional exposure on the UK based on just the last several weeks results in a net short exposure of well over $3 billion. Someone has now amassed a huge short on the British Isles. Curiously, the country that was actually the top derisker in the past week, with $420 million in net notional change, was Brazil, the same Brazil which today decided to not lift any offers in its 2021 Fixed Coupon Bond auction. Is this the next hotbed of instability? Look for at least one more week of aggressive derisking before confirming this trend. Turkey completes the trio of top deriskers, with $172 billion in CDS. Surely with the prior week ending on May 28, there is no way anyone could have hedged for an Israeli incursion of Turkish ships ahead of time. On the other end, some of the names that have been making the news recently, have seen some material rerisking, probably based on short positional unwinds: the top five were the US, Japan, Austria, France and China. After tonight's news out of Tokyo, look for Japan to take its rightful place at the top of this table.

Daily Credit Summary: June 1 - The Good, Bad, Ugly, Uglier And The Ugliest

All-in-all a very weak close to a worrisome day (especially given month-start rebalancing hopes). Even the positive ECO prints were questionable on the basis of regime-change a month ago and anything more recent was showing a disappointing trajectory. Weakness was evident across all sectors and industries in credit but the stress in the ENRG space are clearly particularly notable (especially given their somewhat safe-haven status that may have hurt so many recently). Levels to consider in IG are 109.5bps as next support with 118.75bps as a decent short-term pivot. HY held above its pivot of 645bps today with next stop 587bps (large range due to recent vol) and a target of 702bps in the short-term.

Daily Credit Summary: May 25 - No Ko Oh No

All-in-all a miraculous day (once again) but with geo-political risk revving up in Asia, liquidity remaining a threat in Europe, and contagion ever-darkening the horizon, the significance of the cash market's weakness/thinness (and concessions) and gappiness in single-name CDS leave us comfortable long risk here for now (625bps or 670bps for nervous-nellies in HY are decent stops and 115.5 and 122.5bps in IG). We almost reached out target for HY-IG today and would perhaps bring up the stop on that to 500bps differential (in line with 625bps stop on HY).
Let's take a breath and re-assess - HY and IG at multi-month wides (OCT09 and JUL09 respectively), short-end of the credit curve underperforming, cash underperforming synthetics, new issue concessions high, HY deals failing, close to close widening today in risk premia everywhere (except stocks...), carry pairs actually weaker on the day, US and EU FINLs wider on the day, sovereign risk rising globally, funding markets stressed, and CP rates starting to crack. Short-term bounces will always happen and we must be prepared for them but rising dispersion in single-names is where we will be spending the bulk of our time (as per today's MFCI strategy article) as an elevated volatility and discrimination-driven dispersion is just what we need to benefit as credit fundamentals re-appear from beneath the liquidity Tarp (pun intended).

Daily Credit Summary: May 21 - Where's The Rally Monkey?

Spreads closed the day weaker after clinging to gains until mid-afternoon and outperforming stocks. A slow-and steady decline in FINLs finally cracked the low activity rally in risk assets but we note IG underperformed HY as stocks sold off helped by the EUR stalling. Cash underperformed synthetic single-name credit once again but the late-day rush for protection suggests investors once again covering with macro overlays - not a good sign for bonds.

Presenting What Could Be The Oddest Capital Flow Observation In History

It is no secret that the last few weeks saw massive liquidations along all asset classes. The result was a huge outflow across almost all products: Loans, HY Bonds, Municipals, Commodities... all a typical reaction to broad based liquidations. However, note we said "almost" - one class that actually posted a $6.2 billion inflow was equities. Yet not is all as it seems: peeking underneath the hood indicates that the bulk of this inflow, or $10.3 billion, had to do with inflow into ETFs... or rather, just one ETF - the SPY, accounting for $10.1 billion. Did someone prop up the entire equity market last week by massively pushing capital into the most liquid equity proxy available?

Daily Credit Summary: May 20 - Run Away

Spreads ended the day notably wider (HY wider than 'flash-crash' close) with stocks managing to slightly underperform on a beta-adjusted basis as broad-based selling in single-names and indices made today feel a little more 'real' than recent swings. There are a few signals of regime change today that make us nervous even with potential clarity from Germany and FINREG due very soon. After some midday covering on EUR (eh hem intervention), the cloture vote triggered more selling and that weakness gathered pace and stocks and credit closed considerably weaker. ES_F closed at the lows of the day and while credit was weak, equity's beta-adjusted performance was notably worse than credit's on the day. HY, which traded over 690bps intraday (shy of the intraday wides of 706bps on 5/6), closed wider than the 'flash-crash' day's close taking it back to end NOV09 wides. IG was weak but remained inside of the 5/6 closing levels. HY-IG decompressed further and we hop those clients who followed us into this trade move those stops up to at least breakeven now (with a target of 600bps).

CDS Traders Refuse To Shift Focus Away From UK And France

For the 4th week in a row, the UK is a top derisking name not just in sovereigns but in all DTCC tracked names. With $385 million in net notional derisking, in 227 contracts, the UK was the top 2 derisking name, with the surprising appearance of Brazil in the top spot at $460 million. Far less surprising was the 3rd name on the list: France continues to be in the top 5 derisking names week after week. Other notable names that complete the top 10 deriskers: Argentina, Germany, Australia, Korea and Japan. And the proof that corporates are now secondary to gambling in sovereigns, the top corporate derisking name, Enel SPA came in at a mere 191 million in notional, a ways away from the top three, all consisting of sovereigns. The same is true on the rerisking side, where of all 1000 names, the top 5 reriskers were all sovereigns (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Austria).

CDS Traders Beating The UK Death Drums

As we pointed out last week, nobody cares about either Greece or the PIIGs any more. The focus among the smartest money out there, in the face of CDS traders, for the third week running, is on the core of Europe, and specifically on the UK. Last week the net notional derisking in UK was a massive $1,063 million in 280 traded contracts, which according to our files is the single biggest one week derisking amount on record. all the Greek "speculators" are now focusing their attention squarely on the UK... and France, which came in second with $384 million in derisking. Incidentally, these two represented the greatest amount of of derisking in all top 1000 CDS reference names (third altogether was not surprisingly Goldman Sachs with $256 million). The bet is now squarely on that the PIIGS contagion will move to the UK, and that France will also not be spared. We wish Mr. Cameron all the best as he attempts to push the $50 billion austerity measure through. We have a feeling his popularity rating in under a year will be even lower than that of president Obama. And if it isn't it will be because the cable and the dollar will be at parity. After all, we are all money devaluaing comrades now.