Spreads were decidedly wider this week with HY notably underperforming IG but equity underperforming credit in general. US HY underperformance was the standout in credit markets with Europe ending very marginally wider in corporates as we suspect some of the technicals impacting index compression in the US started to unwind as risk appetites shrank.
Jan Hatzius, who along with Erik Nielsen, knows what the DOL and the IMF will announce and do about two weeks before the respective agencies do, has come out with his most recent preliminary NFP number. The verdict: +175,000, consisting of 125,000 from the Census. The unemployment rate will remain at 9.7%, unchanged from March's hilarious 9.749% (the gov't just like goldman rounds down the nearest trillion). Still, a bit off from VP Biden's prophecy of half a million jobs created each month "very soon."
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?).
Where does it end? 100 billion? 1 trillion? 1 quadrillion? And yes America, this is your money, going to bail out Greece... Then Portugal... Then Ukraine....Then Dubai....Then Italy....Then Spain....Then Hungary....Then the Baltics...Then the UK....Then Japan... and by the time we have to bail ourselves out, there will be nothing left, except the Turbo Bernanke 3000 dry heaving with an empty ink cartridge and empty paper cart, while gold oz will be worth one quadrillion Benjamins (or is that Bernankes). In the meantime, as Erik Nielsen, who finally woke up, predicted, the final bailout cost of Greece alone will be €150 billion. So the IMF will do rookie mistake 101 and keep raising the bailout requirement incrementally, even as the depositor runs on Greek banks and the ongoing strikes and riots, destroy the country...But at least in the meantime the dollar will get devalued and Wells-JPM-BofA/REIT investors will be happy.
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.
"Greece will remain in the spotlight. Reportedly, PM Papandreou is planning to appoint a central coordinator for the government’s interactions with the IMF and the European counterparties. According to the FT, highly respected outgoing ECB vice-president Papademos has turned down the offer of the post, which – if confirmed - makes me wonder whether Papademos sees what I see, namely an overwhelming probability that we are indeed heading towards a debt restructuring, and being in the middle of this mess is just not the way he wants to end his fine career. IMF negotiations continue and will presumably pick up pace once Papaconstantinou returns to Athens, but on my schedule they really need to get done around May 6 so that disbursement can take place before May 19. In the European capitals, draft legislation for the loans is likely to be presented in several parliaments this coming week, including in Germany, but no decisions at least for another week or so. The whole thing is moving terribly close to the wire, so one must hope (and assume) that bridging arrangements are being put in place in case something slips." - Erik Nielsen, Goldman Sachs
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
The crisis everyone forgot just got worse than ever. And now that European and IMF rescuers are unable to get to Greece by air courtesy of Iceland's floating fiberglass factory, Greek 3 year just hit an all time record wide spread of 652 bps, even as the 10 Year is trading a 470 bps to Bunds or a 7.8% yield. Sorry G-Pap, no more guns or fire extinguishers.
And some more views on Iceland: "What if it spreads to the “big one”? Historically, eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull have often preceded eruptions by the bigger Mount Katla because there apparently are “eruptions channels” between the two. Katla’s last eruption was in 1918. Environmentalists believe that an eruption by Katla could lead to the melting of glaciers and flooding in Iceland as well as greater and more dense clouds down over Europe causing a negative impact on several sectors, particularly agriculture. The Geological office of the U.S. Interior Department says that “ash fall can have serious detrimental effects on agricultural crops and livestock depending mainly on ash thickness, the type and growing condition of a crop."
"And then the Volcano. Needless to say, at this early stage it is very difficult to say anything meaningful about the effect on the European economy, but here are my very preliminary thoughts (surely subject to possibly significant revisions): First, if the disruption to air traffic is contained to a week or less, then I think the total effect will be minimal. My guess would be that the effect on Q2 GDP would be within a rounding error (of 0.1pc) around our +0.8pc qoq forecast. Off the top of my head, air transportation is no more than some 0.1 pc of European GDP, and one would assume that a lot of what's been lost in the air will be made up in coming weeks. Also, ground transportation is having a field day, as illustrated by the fact that all trains out of Florence was fully booked for the next 3 days and none of the car rental companies had cars available for the next 9 days." Erik Nielsen, Goldman Sachs
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.
Enter the announced Greek Bailout that doesn't bailout! Greece's problems are much, much deeper than the mainstream press is revealing. Let's walk through the latest bailout propaganda then step through a few facts that should embarrass anyone even considering buying those Greek bonds.
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.
Going Long Into The Weekend? ECB Calls Emergency GC Meeting Tonight, Flashbacks To Paulson And Summer Of 2008Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/09/2010 10:04 -0500
According to Bloomberg, the ECB has called an extra-ordinary GC meeting tonight to “discuss latest developments”.
I don’t have any concrete information, but in my opinion there are two possibilities:
1. A Greek package will be sorted this weekend. I’ll give this less than 5% probability. I have spoken with people in Athens this afternoon (I am all over the papers there today with my note from yesterday that they’ll have to go to the IMF) – and the message continues to be that there is a huge hurdle to climb before they’ll ask the IMF for help. Also, the key IMF people are still in Washington at this time.
2. A serious banking problem is about to emerge and a safety net has to be provided before Monday morning. This could relate to Greece – or it could be another of these cross-country unclear cases, like Alpe Hypo, where Trichet had to step in.
Stay tuned – will be back if and when we learn more
Erik F. Nielsen
Its not been a good week for Greece. Most seriously, the news yesterday that the four biggest banks are seeking help from the government following a drop in deposits of some EUR10bn pushes them into the danger zone which could turn into the end-game unless properly addressed. While the EU Summit spelled out how the crisis will be addressed (an IMF-led program co-financed by the Europeans), important uncertainties remain, including (1) whether the Greek government will agree to IMF conditionality; (2) how and when the European money will be disbursed and at what interest rate; and (3) whether the IMF/EU package will be big enough. - Erik Nielsen, GS