Goldman's Erik Nielsen has yet to disclose if he is joining his Euro-pal Jim O'Neill in declaring all out war on the bears (for those unsure about the reference see here, and FYI Jim, the grizzlies send their love... and in keeping with the animal references, they don't really give a rats ass about the occasional dead cat bounce). What he has no problem disclosing, however, is his latest round of rose-colored ebullience, even as other, "slightly" more objective europundits see the end of the Eurozone as ever more imminent. It is stunning how cognitive dissonance can lead two people to the following diametrically opposite conclusions: Erik Nielsen: "The European recovery continues to look pretty good and solid to me" and Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: "[the Pan-European austerity package] can end only in two ways. Either Germany tolerates massive monetary reflation by the ECB or Spain will be forced out of EMU, setting off a catastrophic chain-reaction through north Europe's banking system." Of course, when one is in the business of perpetuating ponzies, while another has a page view quota, the truth likely is somewhere inbetween. Then again, "inbetween" two polar opposites is a wide range. Anyway, since we will likely see a lot more pain "on the plain" shortly, here are some soothing words for all those who are still long and strong and need goal-seeked analyses.
For the first time this year I am writing to you from my backyard here in Chiswick; the weather is impeccable and I couldn’t think of a place I’d rather be right now. A good cup of Nespresso certainly contributes to my well-being this morning, but more on that later. Here’s my view of Europe right now. - Erik Nielsen, Goldman Sachs
Since we feel there is little need to post on the Greek "update" as we don't believe anything new has happened or anything has been resovled, we will instead provide that from Goldman's Erik Nielsen: "With the May liquidity crisis now practically dealt with, here are the risks for the rest of 2010 and 2011 (and beyond) as I see them: (1) Implementation of the program in the face of a social unrest; (2) the likely need for further adjustments when/if GDP doesn’t respond as expected; and (3) European approval of the second phase of their part of the package (which will emerge in their fiscal bills for the next two years.)"
Erik Nielsen said one week ago Greece would need €120 billion. Today the IMF announced it would provide €120 billion. Coincidence? Read all about it straight from the horse's mouth.
- IMF is likely to reach agreement this coming weekend. It'll then go to the Board for formal approval, which is a formality.
- The program will NOT be 100-150bn. Not realistic. But it will probably include a year of full funding (55bn), and indications of a long term commitment to help Greece.
- The program will not include a "private sector contribution", ie a demand for debt restructuring.
- the first European money, including in Spain, will be approved on Friday; others including Germany will followed very shortly after. It looks as if the European money will be disbursed in parallel with the IMF, with the first money going out before mid-May, safely in time for the May 19 "deadline".
- The ECB is extremely unlikely to intervene in Greek sovereign debt (what would they want to achieve by doing so?).
Goldman's Erik Nielsen On Why US Taxpayers Will Soon Burn Tens Of Billions To Delay The Greek BankruptcySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/26/2010 23:11 -0500
A very much downcast Erik Nielsen shares why the soon to be revised IMF/EU 3 year €150 billion (up from €40 billion) Greek bailout will be a waste of taxpayer money. And here is why American taxpayers will soon have to pony up to make sure Greeks can retire at 61. "I suspect that some haggling is now going on between the IMF and the Euro-zone on the burden sharing of a bigger program, but I rather doubt that the Europeans can do more than the already announced EUR30bn for the first year. If so, I suspect that the IMF will have to settle for something like a 12-months fully funded program worth a total of EUR50-55bn (or could it be an 18-months program worth some EUR80bn?)." Yet, as even Erik points out, this is just more US money thrown out. "even a fully funded program for 12-18 months imply important risks and could lead to debt restructuring. First, while the government will be fully funded, the private sector, including the banks, maybe still find financing at affordable rates difficult to come by. Second, there is a risk that the government will not meet the performance criteria and hence lose the promised official financing, and third, what comes after the fully funded program? If the situation is unsustainable now, it’ll take one heck of a policy program to make it sustainable in three years following more debt at interest rates well above the likely nominal GDP growth rate." All is good though - remember the Bernanke Directive #1: If an action results in the imminent weakness, suffering, pain or death of the dollar, with (preferably) or without the elimination of the US middle class, pursue such action with enthusiasm and vigor, in perpetuity.
The finance minister has failed to convince Conservative MPs to approve his chosen tactic to get the financial help package for Greece fast through parliament. The finance minister had planned to "attach" the financial help to a draft law that had already passed most of the usual parliamentary hurdles. This plan, however, has now been rejected by the Conservative MPs who demanded a specific stand alone law. This may significantly delay the whole process of parliamentary approval. There is the possibility of fast track legislation that would take only about two weeks but the opposition would need to approve this. All this does not imply that the financial help will not be approved by parliament in the end, but it has significantly increased the possibility that the German part of the package will be disbursed only later. - Erik Nielsen
Erik Nielsen's Morning Greek Update, More Vivid Imagery As Loaded Gun Becomes Full Fire ExtinguisherSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/12/2010 08:10 -0500
As we claimed yesterday, Greek bailout #4 is nothing but more hot air and mirages that more debt will fix excess debt. Just as the bond traders who are now starting to take the entire Greek curve wider once again. Goldman agrees too.
Erik Nielsen must have gotten quite a beat down from the Goldman Greek PR corps. Earlier, as we disclosed, the firm's European strategist, suggested that something nasty this way comes courtesy of an emergency ECB meeting. Later, he backtracked not only on that statement, but also on all the media hoopla over the country with the inverted curve, saying (independent) media is now the functional equivalent of CDS traders - vile, smelly, scheming bastards. Amusingly, this is very much reminiscent to Erik faux pas in early February when he had the temerity to point out (rightfully so) that the Greek GDP deficit is actually 16%, not 12.2% as was widely believed (and with every passing week it is becoming clear that Nielsen was completely right, as 2009 GDP is now at 12.9%, and probably will be 14% in another month, yet post another smack down had to reissue his note saying it was all his fault for stirring the speculative elements). Too bad Erik does his best to report the truth as he sees it, only to receive the prop desk's Greek trading axis after the fact, which today apparently was in direct opposition with his earlier bearish tone.
Goldman's Chief European strategist is starting to sound less and less confident that all shall be well. The same can not be said for his ebullient (and still employed) colleague Jim O'Neill, whose answer to everything is "BRIC." Anyway, here are Erik Nielsen's latest (and increasingly more skeptical) summary views on the Greek bailout. By the way, the IMF shotgun approach to "helping" any and every member country is to peg its currency to something and establishing a currency board. The IMF simply does not know how to do anything else. So how the hell can the IMF operate in the context of a monetary union?
Greek bailout rumors are fine and dandy, even if you can get 10 for the price of a Kindle these days. They originate roughly every 2 hours, "sourced" by the same lowly bureaucrat in Athens, and day after day are proven flat out wrong. And while rumors are fleeting, and Merkel keeps saying that the only reason why Germany does not want to bail out Greece is because Greece has actually not asked for any bail out (Europe may be doomed, but its bureaucrats sure have taken the art of passing the buck to next level), what we do know are the specific funding milestones over the next two months that alas will not accept rumors instead of accrued interest or bond maturities. Goldman's Erik Nielsen provides a wonderful revised roadmap for what will happen in the immediate future, not what may happen in order for Greece to have its cake (European bailout) and eat it too (avoid riots that may soon be put on the escalating warfare conviction buy list). In the meantime, our belief is that every day that concludes with no bond deal announced, will cost Greece another 15 bps in yield for whatever GGB issue the country finally comes to market with. Today it is 7%, tomorrow 7.15%, a couple of years from now: 100%, then 1,000% after that, etc.
Media Property Shake Up As Hollywood Reporter And Other Nielsen Properties To Be Sold To News CommunicationsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/11/2009 11:11 -0500
With content about to become valuable once again, courtesy of Murdoch's initiative to make relevant information scarce (and Google inaccessible), M&A fever is gradually picking up in the media space. The latest development comes from The Wrap which reports that Hollywood Reporter and several other Nielsen Company publications are set to be sold to privately held News Communications (note: not Corp). Other publications on the block include Billboard, Backstage, Adweek, Brandweek, Mediaweek and Editor & Publisher. What is odd is that the entire package, which focuses on the B-to-B crowd, has seen a dramatic drop off in revenue and net income, courtesy of what once was branded a recession, and now is merely yet another Fed inflated omni-asset bubble. As such it is very unlikely that the Nielsen PE sponsors, which acquired the firm in 2006, will make much if any profit on the divestiture.
Investors with $300 million burning a hole in their pocket will be able to pick up the triple hook rated piece of media paper at a 14.5-14.75% yield. We say no way jose.
The expectation is that Nielsen Co. (Caa1/CCC+) will be coming to market momentarily to take advantage of "demand" for junk debt. Apparently the issue will be $300 million maturing in 5 years. We say the OID will be 25 points and we also take the under.