No Leeway from the Punishment Union

As it has recently filtered through that Spain is likely to produce a bigger deficit this year than originally planned, the new European Punishment Union has let it be known that there will be no compromise: Spain is in for a whupping.

As CNBC reports:

 

“Spain will get no leeway on its budget targets before May, Spanish Economy Minister Luis De Guindos said on Thursday, but Madrid could opt for defiance when it presents the backbone of its 2012 plan on Friday.

Spain has hovered on the fringes of the euro zone crisis as investors worry that its economy, enfeebled by the bursting of a property bubble, puts it at risk of following Greece, Ireland and neighbouring Portugal in seeking a bailout.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, elected last year on a pledge to slash spending, has been lobbying Brussels for leniency, arguing the country's shrinking economy makes it impossible to cut enough this year to achieve a deficit target agreed with Brussels of 4.4 percent of gross domestic product.

 

Officials in Brussels insist Spain must present a budget based on the 4.4 percent target and that there will be no room for discussions on relaxing it until May.

But a government source said the spending limit Spain would present in Madrid on Friday would be based on a deficit target of 5.3 percent to 5.5 percent, thus breaching the path to cut the deficit agreed with the Commission in 2009.

Spain's Economy Minister Luis De Guindos conceded no resolution was likely before May. "The process has been initiated … In May, we'll have a final decision," he told journalists after talks with euro zone finance ministers in Brussels, where European leaders also meet on Thursday and Friday.

He insisted Spain would keep cutting its deficit, but that toughened economic conditions would make impossible to meet the 4.4 percent target at the end of 2012. "They understand perfectly that the circumstances that led to 4.4 (percent) are not the same any more and that obviously this requires a change," he said.

Spain has restructured its ailing banks, reformed its labour market laws to make it cheaper for companies to hire and fire and threatened sanctions on overspending local governments to try to reassure its bond investors.

On Thursday the European Central Bank's latest handout of cheap 3-year loans to banks encouraged them to buy at a Spanish debt auction, enabling Madrid to borrow 4.5 billion euros at relatively low cost. But in the latest sign that Spain is entering a recession, a survey showed its manufacturing sector shrank for the tenth straight month in February.


(emphasis added)

So not even the old target was met, which should surprise exactly no-one. As we have pointed out about a year ago already, Spain's former government simply shifted the deficit to the regions, which has predictably brought several of the regions close to insolvency. The process is now going into reverse.

 

'Defiant' Spain

Moreover, Spain has the same problem every other government in the EU now faces: its economy is tanking, and tax revenues are sinking right with it.

The below chart via the WSJ shows the situation:

 


 

Spain – the budget gap yawns, while unemployment has reached depression-like levels  (an unemployment rate close to 24%).

 


 

The Wall Street Journal has formulated it more bluntly: 'Spain Defies EU on Deficit':

 

Spain Friday went back on its 2012 budget-reduction commitment to the European Union, highlighting the difficulties of the EU's efforts to tighten control over the finances of its member states. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said his government, which came to power at the end of 2011, will prepare a 2012 budget that aims to reduce its deficit to 5.8% of gross domestic product, far in excess of the 4.4% target his predecessor, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, had committed to. Mr. Rajoy said a rapidly deteriorating economic situation and a large 2011 budget overrun made the wide deviation necessary. Earlier this week, the government said Spain's 2011 budget deficit stood at 8.51% of GDP, compared with a target of 6%.

Mr. Rajoy said he hadn't announced Spain's new budget target at a meeting in Brussels Thursday and Friday where EU leaders signed off on new fiscal rules. "This is a sovereign decision made by Spain, that I am announcing now, to you," he said at a press conference.

The Spanish leader, however, said his country is maintaining its commitment of reducing its budget deficit to the 3%-of-GDP limit for EU countries by 2013.”

The new fiscal rules, most of which were agreed to in January, give the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, more power to force governments to adhere to deficit targets. Since Spain has exceeded the 3%-of-GDP limit, the Commission now has considerable discretion whether to seek penalties against the government.

A Commission spokesman suggested Spain shouldn't expect leniency. "Meeting fiscal consolidation targets in vulnerable countries has been and remains one of the cornerstones of EU's comprehensive response to the crisis," said spokesman Amadeu Altafaj Tardio. "It is key to reinforce confidence."

 

(emphasis added)

Again, we ask what are they going to do? The reality of the situation is that 'paper is patient', as the German saying goes. No matter what agreements are signed and what additional powers the EU now has – on paper – to 'punish' recalcitrant member states, in the end there is no truly viable enforcement mechanism. If the threat of penalties were working, it would have already worked with the old 'Growth and Stability Pact', which has so spectacularly failed.

This problem is almost certain to crop up more often as time passes. All is well while the economy booms, egged on by an expansion of credit and money. Alas, things become dicey once a bust is underway. At the moment, only a precious few of the euro area member nations are actually adhering to the deficit and public debt targets of the Maastricht treaty. It is noteworthy in this context that not even Germany has been able to stock to the rules, in spite of being the country that is now pushing for even stricter fiscal limits.

 

Credit Market Charts

Below is our customary collection of charts,  updating the usual suspects: CDS on various sovereign debtors and banks, bond yields, euro basis swaps and a few other charts. Charts and price scales are color coded (readers should keep the different scales in mind when assessing 4-in-1 charts). Prices are as of Friday's close.

As the case of CDS on Greece heads back to ISDA's ruling committee for a renewed determination whether or not a credit event nee3ds to be declared, the CDS have soared even further, closing last week at nearly 24,100 basis points. CDS on Greece look like the macro-trade of the decade so far, in spite of the fact that there is considerable uncertainty whether in the end, they'll be worth anything at all.

There has also been a blip higher in CDS on Spain, no doubt as a result of the above mentioned altercation with the EU over its deficit target. Otherwise the recent downtrends seem largely intact for now.

 


 

5 year CDS on Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain – click for better resolution.

 


 

5 year CDS on France, Belgium, Ireland and Japan – click for better resolution.

 


 

5 year CDS on Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary and Austria – click for better resolution.

 


 

5 year CDS on Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia and Slovakia – click for better resolution.

 


 

5 year CDS on Romania, Poland,  Ukraine and Estonia – click for better resolution.

 


 

5 year CDS on Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Turkey – click for better resolution.

 


 

5 year CDS on Germany, the US and the Markit SovX index of CDS on 19 Western European sovereigns – the SovX continues to hold up, as the sharp increase in CDS on Greece outweighs small declines elsewhere – click for better resolution.

 


 

Three month, one year, three year and five year euro basis swaps – a small dip on Friday. The euro-land banks are not out of the woods with regards to dollar funding problems – click for better resolution.

 


 

Our proprietary unweighted index of 5 year CDS on eight major European banks (BBVA, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Societe Generale, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredito) – a  tad higher on Friday – click for better resolution.

 


 

5 year CDS on two big Austrian banks, Erste Bank and Raiffeisen Bank – click for better resolution.

 


 

10 year government bond yields of Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain – Greek and Portuguese yields continue to levitate, while Italy has seen a major improvement in long term yields last week – click for better resolution.

 


 

UK gilts, Austria's 10 year government bond yield, Ireland's 9 year government bond yield and the Greek 2 year note. Austria is back in the market's good graces for now – click for better resolution.

 


 

5 year CDS on Australia's 'Big Four' banks – dipping further – click for better resolution.

 


 

 

 

Charts by : Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal


 
 

Emigrate While You Can... Learn More

 
 

 
 

Dear Readers!

You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.

   

Bitcoin address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke

   
 

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • Gold Sector: Positioning and Sentiment
      A Case of Botched Timing, But... When last we wrote about the gold sector in mid February, we discussed historical patterns in the HUI following breaches of its 200-day moving average from below. Given that we expected such a breach to occur relatively soon, the post turned out to be rather ill-timed. Luckily we always advise readers that we are not exactly Nostradamus (occasionally our timing is a bit better). Below is a chart of the HUI Index depicting the action since the January...
  • India: The next Pakistan?
      India’s Rapid Degradation This is Part XI of a series of articles (the most recent of which is linked here) in which I have provided regular updates on what started as the demonetization of 86% of India's currency. The story of demonetization and the ensuing developments were merely a vehicle for me to explore Indian institutions, culture and society.   The Modimobile is making the rounds amid a flower shower. [PT] Photo credit: PTI Photo   Tribal cultures face...
  • The Long Run Economics of Debt Based Stimulus
      Onward vs. Upward Something both unwanted and unexpected has tormented western economies in the 21st century.  Gross domestic product (GDP) has moderated onward while government debt has spiked upward.  Orthodox economists continue to be flummoxed by what has transpired.   What happened to the miracle? The Keynesian wet dream of an unfettered fiat debt money system has been realized, and debt has been duly expanded at every opportunity.  Although the fat lady has so far only...
  • March to Default
      Style Over Substance “May you live in interesting times,” says the ancient Chinese curse.  No doubt about it, we live in interesting times.  Hardly a day goes by that we’re not aghast and astounded by a series of grotesque caricatures of the world as at devolves towards vulgarity. Just this week, for instance, U.S. Representative Maxine Waters tweeted, “Get ready for impeachment.”   Well, Maxine Waters is obviously right – impeaching the president is an urgent...
  • Welcome to Totalitarian America, President Trump!
      Trump vs. the Deep State If there had been any doubt that the land of the free and home of the brave is now a totalitarian society, the revelations that its Chief Executive Officer has been spied upon while campaigning for that office and during his brief tenure as president should now be allayed.   Image adapted from the cover of “Deep State #5” - depicting an assassin from the future   President Trump joins the very crowded list of opponents of the American...
  • Searching for Truth
      Heresy or Truth? RANCHO SANTANA, NICARAGUA – In the fifth century, Christian scholars counted 88 different heresies. Arianism. Eutychianism. Nestorianism. If there was a way to “offend” God, they had a name for it. One group of “heretics” argued that there was no such thing as “original sin.” Another denied the trinity. And another claimed Jesus was not divine. Which one had the truth?   Depiction of the first Council of Ephesus in 431 AD, convened by Emperor...
  • Why the 21st Century Sucks - Turtles All the Way Down
      A Truly Sucky Century BALTIMORE – What an awful century! Worst we’ve ever seen. Household incomes are down. Employment is down, with 7 million people in the U.S. of working age without jobs. Productivity growth is down. GDP growth is down – to only about 0.5% per capita last year. Even life expectancies are down. Drug overdoses are up. Suicides are up. One out of every eight children lives in a family getting food stamps. One of out every eight adults takes psychoactive drugs...
  • Gold and the Fed's Looming Rate Hike in March
      Long Term Technical Backdrop Constructive After a challenging Q4 in 2016 in the context of rising bond yields and a stronger US dollar, gold seems to be getting its shine back in Q1. The technical picture is beginning to look a little more constructive and the “reflation trade”, spurred on further by expectations of higher infrastructure spending and tax cuts in the US, has thus far also benefited gold. From a technical perspective, there are indications that the low at $1045.40,...
  • The Unstable Empire – A Campfire Tale
      Campfire Tale   Caesar: The Ides of March are come. Soothsayer: Ay, Caesar, but not gone. — Julius Caesar, Shakespeare   GRANADA, NICARAGUA – Today, we stop the horses and circle the wagons. For 19 years, we have been rolling along, exploring, discovering. We began with the assumption that we didn’t “know” anything - so we kept our eyes open. Now we know even less.   Famous people who knew nothing and were not shy to admit it: Sergeant Schultz...
  • Off the Beaten Path in Mesoamerica
      Greeted by Rooster There’s an endearing quality to a steadfast rooster call at the crack of dawn when overheard from a warm country farmhouse.  There’s a reassuring charm that comes with the committed gallinaceous greeting of daybreak that’s particularly suited to a rural ambiance.  The allure of a morning cock-a-doodle-doo somehow falls flat in all other settings.   Good morning everyone! Before meteorological forecasts were available on TV and smart phones, people...
  • Why Silver Went Down – Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Rumor-Mongering vs. Data The question on the lips of everyone who plans to exchange his metal for dollars—widely thought to be money—is why did silver go down? The price of silver in dollar terms dropped from about 18 bucks to about 17, or about 5 percent.   Reportedly silver was already assassinated in the late 19th century... so last week they must have assassinated its corpse. [PT] Illustration taken from 'Coin's Financial School'   The facile answer is...
  • Systematic Trading - Unwrapping the Onion
      Lumpy but Robust   [ed note: this article has originally appeared at the Evil Speculator and was written by trader and ES contributor Scott. We provide a link to Scott's past articles below this post for readers who want to get more familiar with his ideas and/or any unusual terminology used in this article]   One continual theme in my trading is that every time I think I have it figured out, I get punched in the face by an unexpected problem. The tendency is to go more...

Austrian Theory and Investment

Support Acting Man

Own physical gold and silver outside a bank

Archive

j9TJzzN

350x200

Realtime Charts

 

Gold in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Gold in EUR:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Silver in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Platinum in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

USD - Index:

[Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com]

 

THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

 
Buy Silver Now!
 
Buy Gold Now!
 

Oilprice.com