It is important to note that in the near term, the contraction in private sector credit combined with the threat of fresh credit concerns ahead, will likely keep a lid on inflation pressures. This view is perhaps where we differ most from today’s consensus thinking, where many expect an immediate and permanent increase in inflation levels.
The race to the currency devaluation bottom is now in its final lap. And gold is the only alternative to the now imminent collapse of the fiat system: the world had a chance to take writedowns on losses, punish those who took risk and failed, and refused to do so. There is now no risk left, but it only means that eventually all the risk will come back and lead all capital markets to zero. The result will be the end of Keynesian economics as we know it. Do not trade in this broken market, do not hold your money in a bank as they are all now one hour away from a terminal bank run - buy and hold real, FASB mark-to-myth independent assets.
Call it Lehman 2.0, sovereign risk flare up, or plain old money run, the liquidity crunch from last week almost killed the US equity market, has generated an unprecedented swing in FX pairs, and is starting to move into key credit indicators and spreads. The "big bail out" from the weekend has come and gone (unless Trichet is preparing to release something at 5:59pm Eastern tomorrow), and if Goldman is correct will have no material impact on markets... Which means that the downward path of least resistance will continue. And with equity markets not only decoupling from the rest of the world, but from the credit market as well, as they migrate to a plane of existence of their own, replete with unicorns, rainbows and spittoons full of hopium, keeping an eye out on early stress indicators from the credit markets is critical - credit is and has always been a far better early warning of market health, or lack thereof, than the HFT controlled, rebate-driven trading action in the shares of C, FNM, FRE, AIG, and other bankrupt pennystocks which account for up to 40% of daily trading volume. Earlier today, we touched upon some of the key early warning indicators to watch for in determining if the European contagion is going airborne. Below, we share a presentation from Morgan Stanley's Jim Caron, Measuring Risk: Extracting Market Sentiment from the Interest Rate Markets, in which the credit strategist provides a much more detailed framework of what critical credit signals are and how to interpret them. We recommend that all those still trading, either with their own, or other people's money, familiarize themselves with this 27-page overview.
Even as the immediate factor for the 1000 point drop in the Dow is investigated for the next several months by the SEC, a process which will likely not come to any reasonable market structure regulatory recommendation before the SEC is forced to analyze the next subsequent (and even greater) crash, the one primary fundamental cause for the sell off in stocks this week was the ever deteriorating situation in Europe. As the euro tumbled on Thursday afternoon, which we noted 20 minutes before the stock market crash began in earnest, as implied correlation algos went berserk, and as viewers were witnessing the near-warfare in Athens live, things just got too real for speculators (investors is so 20th century). Various computerized trading platforms merely kicked on (or rather, off) after the initial panic had already set in, and liquidity evaporated, leading to the implosion in the market. And the primary reason for the initial market pessimism early on Thursday was the fact that even as the whole world was listening to Jean-Claude Trichet to say soothing words after the ECB's rate decision, the central bank president once again did not realize the gravity of the situation. And to speculators, long habituated to Bernanke's endorsement of infinite moral hazard and speculative mania, the fact that someone refused to play "ball" and leave open the possibility that failure is still permitted in our day and age was the last straw. Now, 48 hours later, we learn that the rumors, which we reported about the ECB preparing a bailout fund, were indeed true. Our sense is that at this point the ECB's action is "too little, too late" as contagion fear has already crept deep within the fabric of various overt and shadow funding/liquidity mechanisms. Additionally, the world is now convinced that Europe can only deal with problems retroactively, and who knows how big and unfixable the next problem will be: the ECB, which has lost most of its credibility after "inviting" the IMF to do a heavy part of the bailout, is about to become the laughing stock of global central banks. Trichet is seen merely as a powerless bureaucrat, caught between Merkel's electoral struggles and Bernanke's demands for contagion interception and implicit Fed supremacy over Europe. The contagion from the "isolated" Greek fiasco is rapidly spreading. Here are some of the ways in which markets are about to be affected.
Today's rating action reflects the recent deterioration of Portugal's public finances as well as the economy's long-term growth challenges. "The review for possible downgrade will consider a repositioning of Portugal's ratings to reflect the potentially lasting deterioration in the government's debt metrics," says Anthony Thomas, Vice President-Senior Analyst in Moody's Sovereign Risk Group. "In the context of a small and slow-growing economy, such debt metrics may no longer be consistent with a Aa2 rating."
The weakening of Portugal's public finance position reflects the failure of successive administrations to consistently limit government budget deficits since Portugal joined the eurozone at its inception. "More recently, however, the government's has reiterated its objective to achieve or even surpass the deficit reduction targets published in its latest Stability and Growth Programme," says Mr. Thomas. "The well-structured debt profile means that refinancing risks are modest."
With Europe's First Real Test of Contagion Quarrantine Failing, One Should Doubt the Existence of a VaccinationSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 05/05/2010 03:50 -0500
The chances of the Euro contagion being contained are quite slim, and the Spanish government is saying it is "madness" that they will be needing a bailout. While they may not be needing a bailout now, it is far from "madness" to speculate on such matters. After all, it is the Spanish government itself that set itself up for such speculation by using pie in the sky numbers to justify their claims of having things under control. Once their projections are seen for what they really are, we shall see what "madness" truly entails...
Introducing The BoomBustBlog Sovereign Contagion Model: Thus far, it has been right on the money for 5 months straight!Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 05/04/2010 14:00 -0500
So everybody is asking if "Greece will make it through the Pan-European Sovereign debt crisis and if not, then who's next?" Well, we have spent at least 3 man-months answering this very question, and I am finally getting around to publishing these answers in a formal report. It is the calculations behind this very same report that has allowed me to call this Pan-European Debt thing quite accurately for the last 4 or 5 months - calls that were in direct contravention to practically every quoted political leader and most Wall Street banks may I add. Let's walk through recent history...
We recently highlighed the words of Erik Nielsen who stated that the E110 billion Greek bailout package will simply not be sufficient, expecting that at least another 40 billion will be needed for an effective rescue operation. Today, the WSJ and German Bild, get on board this theme, likely causing further anguish for Greece and for the euro, as it once again highlights just how incompetentEuropean bureaucrats are. Ironically, in their attempt to lowball the rescue numbers, they may have just doomed the package, because we are confident German opposition (and you should see the cover pages of all German newspapers - there are 99 headlines blasting the rescue for 0.5 praising it) will use this disclosure to mount an attack on the "openendeness" of the what may soon turn out to be a neverending rescue package. And this does not even contemplate Portugal and Spain.
Moody's Announces Multi-Notch Downgrade Of Greece Imminent, Sarah Carlson Proves She Is In An "Analytic" Class Of Her OwnSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/29/2010 16:21 -0500
Moody's analyst Sarah Carlson, who by no means is a disgrace to her job, and is fully justified in keeping an A- rating on a country whose 2 Year debt was trading north of 20% until yesterday, when Europe decided to use US tapxayer money to bail out its own, finally finished the special olympics marathon (no pun intended), only a couple of years late. We wonder if any of the Moody's analyst corps will be offered as a (not so virgin) sacrifice to placate the angry gods of Berkshirehathawaya. We hear Buffett has a soft spot for the XX (chromosomes), even if it derives from companies in which he has already decided to liquidate his entire stock position (but slowly... slowly... don't forget uncle Warren is just the nicest guy in the world and would never take advantage of the market's stupidity).
Ponzi's are not just of Italian origin!
Spreads were mixed today with the major US indices managing modest gains as HY outperformed IG. This spread compression is optically misleading though as, in general, curves flattened in 3s5s and more technically indices outperformed weak single-names as the theme of the day appeared to be skew compression and profit-taking. Modest short-covering and single-name (sovereign and corporate) repricing was the mood of the day and while we rallied it seemed like there was very little conviction to it (despite IG closing at the day's tights) - though well off yesterday's tights.
Notice how many central bankers, analysts, pundits, banks and politicians said the debt problem was not only contained to Greece, but was also solved and all should move on. Uh huh...
I believe what we are seeing is just the beginning, and what the world saw with the collapse of Lehman was simply a microcosm of what happens when actual sovereign states threaten to fail!
Help those most in need
Yes, you read that correctly! Greece killed its own banks. You see, many knew as far back as January (if not last year) that Greece would have a significant problem floating its debt. As a safeguard, they had their banks purchase a large amount of their debt offerings which gave the perception of much stronger demand than what I believe was actually in the market. So, what happens when these relatively small banks gobble up all of this debt that is summarily downgraded 15 ways from Idaho.
For those who have forgotten the implications of the highly leveraged and opaque financial holdings (the true value of which rests at the mercy of market sentiment) and can turn blind eye to the highly volatile nature of the trading revenues combined with a literal tsunami of regulatory pressure and potential litigious onslaught (all issues which we have repetitively brought up in the past as what appears to be the sole voice of contrarian reason), Goldman Sachs holds a strong investment proposition. However, if fundamental considerations such as the company’s solvency, true economic profit (not the accounting earnings you hear preached from your brokerage’s sell side marketing propaganda cum research reports) and the sustainability of income are to be considered, GS should NOT appear among the preferred lot.