Credit Suisse The Sequel: "Probability Of The Largest Disorderly Default Loss In History On March 20 Has Increased"

A week ago we presented an excerpt from Credit Suisse's most excellent piece "The Flaw" - merely the latest in one of the best overviews of the neverending Greek soap opera by William Porter. Yet every soap opera eventually ends. Although when it comes to Nielsen ratings, the denouement is usually a whimper. In the case of Greece, it will be anything but. Yet listening to the daily cacafony of din from Europe's leaders, who are likely more clueless than the average reader as to what is really going on, one may be left with the impression that there is a simple solution to the problem, and Greece may be "saved... in hours." It can't. In fact, as of today, Porter's s conclusion is: "we are left with a sense that the probability of delivering the largest default loss in history in a disorderly way on or before 20 March has increased relative to doing so in an orderly way."

Global Economic 'Mojo' Still Lacking

As of Q3 2011, the citizens of less than 20% of the countries involved in Nielsen's Global Consumer Confidence, Concerns, and Spending Intentions Survey were on average confident in their future economic confidence. Not surprisingly, Nic Colas of ConvergEx points out, six were in Asia, the least confident were in Eastern and Peripheral European nations, and furthermore overall global consumer confidence remains 9.3% below 2H 2006 (and 6.4% below Q4 2010) readings as the global economy still has a long way to get its 'mojo' back. Colas points to the fact that 'confidence is an essential lubricant of any capitalist-based system' and one of the key challenges that worst hit Europe (and other regions and nations) face is capital markets that are assessing the long shadow of the Financial Crisis of 2007-2008 and the ongoing European sovereign debt crisis impact on the world's Consumer Confidence.

Preliminary Thoughts On The European Downgrade From Goldman And Morgan Stanley

It has been a busy weekend for Wall Street, which has been doing all it can to spin the S&P downgrade in the best favorable light, although judging by the initial EURUSD and EURJPY reaction, so far not succeeding. Below we present a quick report written by Goldman's Lasse Nielsen on why in Goldman's view the downgrade's "impact is likely to be limited" and also the quick notes from an impromptu call MS organized for institutional clients (which had just two questions in the Q&A section, of which only one was answered - it appears virtually noboby believes that global moral hazard will allow anyone to fail at this point, so why bother even going out of bed).

Review Of Europe In 2010, And The 2011 Continental Outlook From The Rosy Prism Of Erik Nielsen; Is A New European Brady Plan Coming?

Reading Goldman's economic thoughts as recently as 1 month ago used to be insightful, and in many ways educational (this included its trading recommendations as well: after all, as the saying goes, someone who bats 0.000 - with perfect consistency - is just as valuable as someone who does 1.000). Unfortunately, ever since the firm, buckling under the demands of someone or something, or merely as an expression of its latest counter-agenda, flipped by 180 degrees, we are sad to say that it is nothing less than a complete chore to go through what is now an endless stream of Kool Aid, which while at least trying to be somewhat objective previously, is now like sitting through a Third Reich propaganda movie circa 1940. Which is why we scanned Erik Nielsen's latest "thoughts" on what happened in Europe in 2010 and what he expects to happen in 2011 with only a cursory focus. We present them here for those who care to know what the greater fools will be influenced by (to a little or greater extent). The key topics covered are: "Some thoughts on 2010, what we got right and what we got wrong; Will early 2011 be as bad as everyone seems to expect?; Reiterating my views on rescue or no rescue for Spain and Portugal; And the two key conditions for the longer term." The only really interesting observation is Nielsen's take on the European Plan B should all other measures fail: a Brady type of debt buyback. To wit: "The only real suggestion I have seen so far on this issue was the suggestions by the ECB’s Bini Smaghi, who pointed to a Brady style buyback of debt in the secondary market using loans from the official sector.  I like that.  As some of you know, I worked on the Brady plan at the World Bank years back, and this venue worked well in several cases." The bottom line is that even according to Nielsen, Europe has to become increasing more entrenched as not only a monetary but also fiscal union, with perpetual backstops at every stop. And since the dollar funding shortfall in the world amounts to over $6 trillion per last year's BIS analysis, said backstop will ultimately have to be funded by the Fed (with the respective consequences to the dollar as the Fed is engaged in printing nearly double digit trillion amounts of US currency). That said, Nielsen is certainly right about one thing: there will be some "amazingly interesting" events in 2011...

Weekly Perma-Rosiness From Erik Nielsen

Below is Erik Nielsen's latest dose of European permabullishness. At this point it is pretty much pointless to keep track of who is who at Goldman - the last attempt to reignite "The Ponz" is going gull blast, and every single person has forsaken their credibility in order to pitch the propaganda line. How Goldman's strategists pretend to be even remotely relevant any more is a mystery to anyone. The bottom line, and cutting through all the bullshit, is that Germany will do almost everything to keep the Euro, and thus import the periphery's monetary weakness, keeping its exports cheep, absent a fiscal union, no matter what the petrified bureaucrat Schauble says. Luckily Angela Merkel gets it... for now. Which is why all those who were expecting the WSJ interview with the German finance minister to push the EURUSD higher in Monday trading are in for a disappointment judging by the early action in the pair.

Erik Nielsen's Resurgent Optimism Doused As Europe Is On The Verge Again

Who would have thought it only takes for PIIGS spreads to go back to all time records, and for Ireland and Portugal to be hours away from joining Greece in the bailout corner, for Goldman's Erik Nielsen to turn bearish again. To wit: "if investors are running for the door out of fear of being the last one left behind, then there’ll be a liquidity crisis (as there would be for anyone with a financing need), and they’ll need help." Way to stay ahead of the curve Erik. The problem is that while the economic reality below the surface cracks and collapses, investors are largely ignoring the perpetual words of optimism from Europe's politicians, and sellside cheerleaders (which begs the question - is it time to take this Goldman acknowledgment of reality as a buying opportunity?). What happened in Greece may have been brushed under the carpet for a few months, but the policy response there, which is identical to what is happening in Ireland and Portgula now, i.e., blatant lies, has left those holding relevant securities with a bitter taste in the mouth. And now, unlike before, the possibility of holder haircuts is distinctly on the table. Which is why we expect that before the Asian open, there well may be some key news out of Ireland (and/or Portugal)- no matter how much Nielsen believes that Ireland is not in a solvency crisis, with Bund spreads in the 700 range, no matter how much prefunding the government has, it will be irrelevant and will create yet another toxic debt spiral. The biggest threat is not so much to Ireland, which supposedly has its cash needs met through mid 2011, but contagion hitting other European countries, which do have solvency issues, yet have been spared the liquidity hammer so far. And with Italy CDS also hitting record highs, look for the core to start crumbling as everyone, especially Chiswick's perpetual optimist, to appreciate the gorgeous mushroom cloud over the European periphery.

Weekly European Recap From Erik Nielsen

Who thought one could write 2000 words to describe the beneficial and very transitory impact of a currency plunge in a fiat world where everyone's goal is now to devalue their own monetary equivalent. Yet that is precisely what Goldman's European analyst Erik Nielsen has done in his weekly recap of European events past and future. Below are the just released views of Chiswick's perpetually cheery resident.

Optimistic Outlook From Chilly Chiswick Means Erik Nielsen Is Back

Looking at the European theater of Keynesian war, Erik Nielsen says, "We optimists have had a very good week in Europe." Well, when after a 70 year sabbatical, it is once again the pan-continental doctrine to fabricate a lie so bold, the population has no choice but to believe in it, it is truly a victory for the bulls. Yet even the consummately rosiest outlook out of Chiswick agrees there are at least a few thunderclouds on the horizon: "Hungary is a space worthwhile watching. Orban’s government seems to have taken a populist line, but I think the EU and IMF will be prepared to make a demonstration effect out of Hungary, if needed. The government will most likely end up caving, but it could become quite messy before then."

Erik Nielsen On The World Cup, The European Round Up, And On Wednesday's Huge Day For The ECB And Greece

We have already had our say about Denmark's World Cup performance. It was not lost on Erik Nielsen. It has not had as much of a dire impact on his outlook, as his European round up is summarized: "that’s the way Europe looks from my unbelievably green garden on this gorgeous afternoon. I shall now pour myself some sort of chilled and lovely summer drink and turn to my favourite book." Something tells us this is not Hayek. More importantly Erik points out why Wednesday will be a very important "micro event" day for Europe: the ECB's 12 month LTRO, whose impact on Libor and Euribor we discussed previously, matures on the 1st, and also on Wednesday "Greece formally falls out of the indices because of their downgrade. How much selling will that cause? I have no clue, but I would fail to understand why investors would have waited till the last day to get rid of their Greek bonds when they have known about the issue since June 15." Yet Erik points out something curious: "the Greek governments intends to roll over 3, 6 and 12 month treasury bills maturing in July; a total of about €3.5bn. Auctions are expected on Tuesday 13th and on Tuesday 20th July." And he wonders:"Why are they doing it? Could it be that they are responding to demand from banks and other investors who have started to appreciate that a debt restructuring the next 12 months is very unlikely and therefore looking for high-yielding assets? If so, this would be a mis-guided move, in my opinion, and – frankly – I hope the IMF and EU would tell them to back off." Looks like yet another shoe in the European collapse may be due to drop this week.

European Digest And Forecast From Erik Nielsen

All you need to know about how the world looks through the eyes of everyone's favorite Chiswick resident: "I am sorry to sound like a broken record here in my opening paragraph, but – alas – we are through yet another week of pretty good real-economy data in Europe, further positive signs on the policy front, and stabilising markets." (and yes, that's Erik Nielsen from GS). The decoupling from reality is now complete: what is it about "decoupled" London tap water? First O'Neill and now Nielsen...

Erik Nielsen's Latest European Stick Save Attempt

On one hand you have the EURUSD telling you things are horrible and getting worse, on the other you have Goldman's Erik Nielsen. Here is the latest hilarious confirmation that Goldman managing directors are just plain clueless when the ponzi pulls a Madoff: "I don’t get the FX market these days. While I understand the technical and position-based arguments for the FX levels, on fundamentals, I don’t know why the Euro has remained overvalued for so long. That said, the triggers for moves are amazing: On Thursday, markets basically ignored the man with the world’s single biggest portfolio, Chinese central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan, when he expressed full trust in Europe’s ability to deal with its debt crisis, while going into a virtual panic sending EUR/USD below 1.20 for the first time since March 2006 when the wire services botched the simple job of translating French PM Fillon’s statement on the FX. But here is the most fundamental of questions: How can one be bearish on both the Euro and on Euro-zone growth? Beats me – I assume you know which camp I am in."

Erik Nielsen On Europe Past And (Immediate And Rosy) Future

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.

Europe This Week: Commentary From Erik Nielsen

Happy Sunday,

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

Erik Nielsen's Update On Greece

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.)"