Ireland

Nomura's Koo Plays The Pre-Blame Game For The Pessimism Ahead

While his diagnosis of the balance sheet recessionary outbreak that is sweeping global economies (including China now he fears) is a useful framework for understanding ZIRP's (and monetary stimulus broadly) general inability to create a sustainable recovery, his one-size-fits-all government-borrow-and-spend to infinity (fiscal deficits during balance sheet recessions are good deficits) solution is perhaps becoming (just as he said it would) politically impossible to implement. In his latest missive, the Nomura economist does not hold back with the blame-bazooka for the mess we are in and face in 2012. Initially criticizing US and now European bankers and politicians for not recognizing the balance sheet recession, Koo takes to task the ECB and European governments (for implementing LTRO which simply papers over the cracks without solving the underlying problem of the real economy suggesting bank capital injections should be implemented immediately), then unloads on the EBA's 9% Tier 1 capital by June 2012 decision, and ends with a significant dressing-down of the Western ratings agencies (and their 'ignorance of economic realities'). While believing that Greece is the lone profligate nation in Europe, he concludes that Germany should spend-it-or-send-it (to the EFSF) as capital flight flows end up at Berlin's gates. Given he had the holidays to unwind, we sense a growing level of frustration in the thoughtful economist's calm demeanor as he realizes his prescription is being ignored (for better or worse) and what this means for a global economy (facing deflationary deleveraging and debt minimization) - "It appears as though the world economy will remain under the spell of the housing bubble collapse that began in 2007 for some time yet" and it will be a "miracle if Europe does not experience a full-blown credit contraction."

$10 TRILLION Liquidity Injection Coming? Credit Suisse Hunkers Down Ahead Of The European Endgame

When yesterday we presented the view from CLSA's Chris Wood that the February 29 LTRO could be €1 Trillion (compared to under €500 billion for the December 21 iteration), we snickered, although we knew quite well that the market response, in stocks and gold, today would be precisely as has transpired. However, after reading the report by Credit Suisse's William Porter, we no longer assign a trivial probability to some ridiculous amount hitting the headlines early in the morning on February 29. Why? Because from this moment on, the market will no longer be preoccupied with a €1 trillion LTRO number as the potential headline, one which in itself would be sufficient to send the Euro tumbling, the USD surging, and provoking an immediate in kind response from the Fed. Instead, the new 'possible' number is just a "little" higher, which intuitively would make sense. After all both S&P and now Fitch expect Greece to default on March 20 (just to have the event somewhat "priced in"). Which means that in an attempt to front-run the unprecedented liquidity scramble that will certainly result as nobody has any idea what would happen should Greece default in an orderly fashion, let alone disorderly, the only buffer is having cash. Lots of it. A shock and awe liquidity firewall that will leave everyone stunned. How much. According to Credit Suisse the new LTRO number could be up to a gargantuan, and unprecedented, €10 TRILLION!

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).

Jamie Dimon Says JPM Could Lose Up To $5 Billion From PIIGS Exposure

In an interview with Italian newspaper Milan Finanza on Saturday, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon said that he could lose up to $5 billion from the firm's exposure to the PIIGS countries. As Reuters reports, "Dimon said the bank was exposed to the five countries (PIIGS) to the tune of around $15 billion. "We fear we could lose up to $5 billion ... We hope the worst won't happen, but even if it did happen, I wouldn't be pulling my hair out," he said. Dimon said Europe was the worst problem for the banking sector. "But the EU and euro are solid even if the states will have to be financially responsible and do all they can to develop common social policies," he said." While it is admirable of JPMorgan to disclose some of its dirty laundry, as this was a topic that received hardly any mention in the firm's prepared quarterly release, and is predicated surely by the fact that its Basel III Tier 1 Common of $122 billion dwarfs this possible impairment, there are some questions left open. Such as what happens if and when Greek CDS, now most likely before March 20, were triggered? And the logical follow up - what happens when Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy, and who knows who else (Hungary?) follow suit and decide that a coercive restructuring is actually not suicidal, even though it most certainly is once a given threshold is reached. In other words, how long can Europe tolerate the same two-tiered sovereign debt market that S&P warned about so explicitly yesterday? Finally what happens to JPM's Tier 1 Common when the European dominos impact not only the directly exposed PIIGS nations, and specifically their bonds, but all those other banks, insurance and reinsurance companies, whose current viability makes up the balance of JPM's remaining $117 billion in Tier 1? Because in its essence, stating that JPM is "fine" even if Europe were to collapse is analogous to Goldman telling Congress it would collect on its AIG CDS if and when the CDS market were to implode absent the government bailout of AIG, which itself was accountable for over $2 trillion of the entire CDS market itself.

The Real Dark Horse - S&P's Mass Downgrade FAQ May Have Just Hobbled The European Sovereign Debt Market

All your questions about the historic European downgrade should be answered after reading the following FAQ. Or so S&P believes. Ironically, it does an admirable job, because the following presentation successfully manages to negate years of endless lies and propaganda by Europe's incompetent and corrupt klepocrarts, and lays out the true terrifying perspective currently splayed out before the eurozone better than most analyses we have seen to date. Namely that the failed experiment is coming to an end. And since the Eurozone's idiotic foundation was laid out by the same breed of central planning academic wizards who thought that Keynesianism was a great idea (and continue to determine the fate of the world out of their small corner office in the Marriner Eccles building), the imminent downfall of Europe will only precipitate the final unraveling of the shaman "economic" religion that has taken the world to the brink of utter financial collapse and, gradually, world war.

European CDS Rerack

Now that a "few good hedge funds" have finally made CDS a credible instrument all over again but trampling all over ISDA putrid, corrupt and meaningless corpse, here is an update of Eurozone CDS.

Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: January 10

Markets are moving positively across the board today following comments from Fitch, dampening speculation that France may be downgraded from its Triple A status. Fitch’s Parker commented that he does not expect to see France downgraded at all throughout 2012. However he added that there are continuing pressures for France from national banks and EFSF liabilities, Parker also reinforced German confidence stating that Germany’s Triple A rating is safe. Markets were also experiencing upwards pressure from strong French manufacturing data performing above expectations and successful Austrian auctions today, tightening the spread between France and Austria on 10-year bunds.

Buiter On Why Irish Eyes Demand A New Bailout

While Ireland's bond performance is often held up as evidence that living-standard-crushing austerity can indeed lead to positive developments, Citgroup's chief economist William Buiter suggests, in a speech in Dublin today, that they should begin negotiating a new rescue package as soon as possible. Buiter, via The Irish Times, points to the fact that Ireland currently pays around 6% for its 'rescue-money' which could be refinanced (theoretically) at around 3% via the EFSF. He said Ireland was not like Greece but it was in very bad fiscal shape because of its bank guarantee (isn't that what Italy and Portugal are doing with the new Ponzi-bonds?). He said that clearly something had to be done about the "continuing massive sovereign funding gap" that Ireland had and which still existed after three and a half years of "fierce" fiscal austerity. While Merkel's comments today on central bank support as illusory and spending EU money appropriately, it would seem that Ireland remains in a strong negotiating position. We await the term 'referendum' to confirm the discussions have begun - and given the timing (the day before IMF-EU official's fifth review) we would expect to hear it soon.

Things That Make You Go Hmmm - Such As A "Common Currency"

A gold standard, abandoned mostly due to a shortfall in the amount of the metal required to back the monetary system? A common bloc designed to simplify trade and commerce? Macro-economic reform of the union from the centre? Voluntary adoption by England who was not part of the union? Ah, well almost. Anyway, my point is this: In the mid-700s it probably seemed inconceivable that Europe would be united under a common ruler, much less a common currency and, by the mid-800s, it probably seemed equally inconceivable that such a union could split asunder - but  such is the nature of unions (and currency blocs for that matter). As the individual members undergo the individual stresses associated with running individual and idiosyncratic economies under a common banner, it is inevitable that there will be periods when maintaining the status quo becomes impossible. It was true of Europe in 800 - it holds true today.

Eurozone As Hogwarts: Where Are Albus Mario Dumbledore And Expelliarmus Debtus?

If there was one analogy for the failing artificial Eurozone system we had not heard so far, was one comparing it to Hogwarts (thank you Harry Potter). Now, courtesy of Tullet Prebon that is no longer the case: "Albus Mario Dumbledore and Harry Constancio Potter are due to assemble next Thursday for the next episode of the sovereign Voldemort saga. It is foretold that during the press conference the headmaster will unveil his wand and deliver an almighty spell, ‘Expelliarmus Debtus’, whereupon the dreaded Troika Dementors will be vaporised disappearing into the austerity vortex, leaving the Muggles to live happily ever after."

Would A Ponzi By Any Other Name Smell As Bad?

The bond market has always had clever names for bonds in specific markets.  Eurobonds, Yankee bonds, Samurai bonds, and now, Ponzi bonds.  I’m not sure what else to call these new bonds, but Ponzi bonds seems as good as anything. NBG issued these bonds to themselves, got a Greek government guarantee (how can a country that can’t borrow, provide a guarantee?) and took these bonds to the ECB to get some financing.  The ECB won’t buy National Bank of Greece bonds directly, they won’t buy Hellenic Republic bonds in the primary market, but they will take these ponzi bonds as collateral?  Greece, and Italy, is sacrificing the people and the country for the good of the bank. The market had made some attempt to charge banks with bad risk management, awful assets, and opaque books, more than they charged the country they were domiciled in.  But rather than let the market (and common sense) rule, a mechanism to let banks fund themselves cheaper than the countries they rely on, was created. Asides from giving Ponzi a bad name (at least until the ECB just admits that they are printing faster than even Big Ben) this is tying the banks and the countries ever closer.  A long, long, time ago (1 month) it was conceivable that a bank could fail and the sovereign survive.  That is becoming less clear.

Time To Fade Byron Wien Again: Here Are Brontosaurus Rex' Predictions For 2012

The abysmal hit rate of Byron Wien's predictions over the past several years (ostensibly since the inception of this silly practice nearly three decades ago) has been the source of much laughter on the pages of Zero Hedge: see here and here. It has also been the source of much profit, due to the Blackstone Vice Chairman's uncanny ability to bat just over 0.000 with laser-guided precision and consistency. Below, as reported by Bloomberg, are the latest set of forecasts which are to be faded with impunity as soon as is possible.