Posts Tagged ‘Fitch’
Greek Government's Plan Rejected
It has turned out that the latest Greek plans in connection with the second bailout have essentially been rejected by the eurogroup. This hasn't kept the Greek government from claiming the exact opposite:
“Greek political leaders said they had clinched a deal on economic reforms needed to secure a second EU bailout, but euro zone finance ministers demanded more steps and a parliamentary seal of approval before providing the aid.
The EU and the International Monetary Fund are exasperated by a string of broken promises by Athens and weeks of disagreement over the terms of a 130 billion euro ($172 billion) bailout, with time running out to avoid a default. Finance ministers of the 17-nation euro zone meeting in Brussels warned there would be no immediate approval for the rescue package and said Athens must prove itself first.
Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs the Eurogroup, set three conditions, saying the Greek parliament must ratify the package when it meets on Sunday and a further 325 million euros of spending reductions needed to be identified by next Wednesday, after which euro zone finance ministers would meet again.
"Thirdly, we would need to obtain strong political assurances from the leaders of the coalition parties on the implementation of the programme," Juncker told a news conference after six hours of talks in Brussels. "Those elements needs to be in place before we can take decisions."
"In short, no disbursement before implementation."
Portucrumble, Act Two
On October 31 last year, we wrote an article entitled 'That Strange Currency'. At the time we opined that Portugal was set to become the 'next Greece'. This was after warning for several weeks that Portugal was the weakest link in the euro area crisis chain and likely to become the next major market focus. The denouement in Italy's bond market then intervened, but it appears that it is now indeed Portugal's turn in the barrel. We wrote:
„Meanwhile, the country we have for some time identified as the one markets are likely to focus on next has begun attract some media attention of late, as its economic fundamentals continue to deteriorate. As we noted previously, we don't see a whole lot of difference between Portugal and Greece – both nations suffer from a crushing debt burden and a dysfunctional banking system. As it turns out, the deposit base of Portugal's banking system has begun to shrink at an accelerated rate lately, in a manner reminiscent of Greece and indicating that a genuine money supply deflation is now underway in the country.“
Portugal's economy meanwhile is now expected to contract by a deeper than expected 2.8% next year. This has led to the announcement of further austerity measures, which in turn provoked the country's unions to threaten a general strike (a dynamic that is certainly reminiscent of Greece as well).“
These days, a currency can get Fitched. It happened to the euro yesterday, which admittedly is largely an unarmed opponent these days.
The euro seemingly can't catch a break – unless it's a break lower. On Wednesday some remarks by David Riley, Fitch's head of sovereign ratings, sent it careening lower – click chart for better resolution.
Euro Area Bond Yields Rise Ahead of Auctions – While Germany Gets Paid For Borrowing Money
Euro area bond markets were under pressure again today, as a number of auctions loom next week. In addition, Austrian yields are still rising as an after-effect of the Hungarian crisis, although said crisis is in the process of abating after the parabolic moves in yields this week (more on this further below).
Banks Borrow Nearly €500 billion
Yesterday there were speculations all day long as to how big the new long term refinancing operation (LTRO) of the ECB would become. As the day wore on, the estimates tended to grow ever larger. We thought that the upper and of the seemingly more daring estimates would likely be hit and that is exactly what has happened. Regarding our thought process in connection with the ECB's policy, we have told our readers from the very day the new easing measures were announced that they should not be underestimated. We have frequently returned to the subject in recent days as the situation has evolved, noting that there was apparently an even bigger inflationary push in the works than hitherto thought. Note here that today's LTRO is only the first of two such operations and that in addition, banks will be able to pledge various other normally difficult to market credit claims with their national central banks in the euro system. As one friend of ours remarked in conversations in recent days (paraphrasing), 'this will significantly support the banks and sovereigns in those countries where the primary vector of contagion is from the banks to the sovereign' – such as is for instance the case in Spain. Readers may recall that we have since last year always stressed that in Spain, the banking system and the cost of cleaning it up in the middle of a depression presents an enormous problem for the government.
Euro Area Credit Market Charts
Below is our customary collection of CDS prices, bond yields, euro basis swaps and several other charts. Both 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 Thursday's close.
In the wake of market disappointment over ECB president Mario Draghi's continued refusal to countenance monetization of euro area government bonds, yields and CDS prices once again shot up sharply in trading on Thursday, taking back a little more of the recent improvement.
Whether this rebound will lead to fresh highs in yields and CDS remains to be seen and will largely depend on how the markets receive the results of the ongoing euro-group summit.
Papandreou Calls For Referendum On Bailout
Embattled Greek prime minister Papandreou has found a way to stick it to the eurocrats in a most elegant manner: instead of continuing to serve as everyone's favorite whipping boy, he has decided it is time to let the Greek people themselves speak out on the future of their country. In a surprise announcement yesterday, he told parliament that Greece is to hold its first referendum since 1974 and that the population would be asked whether it wants to accept the conditions of the bailout plan or not. Read the rest of this entry »
It's Still Hailing Downgrades
Tuesday saw Europe hit by another slew of downgrades. Moody's followed Fitch and S&P and downgraded Spain – by two notches. As reported by DailyFX:
„In its rationale for the downgrade and negative outlook, Moody’s cited the absence of a solution for the European debt crisis and the worsening economic outlook for Spain. The agency lowered its forecast of 2012 GDP growth from 1.8 percent to 1 percent on continued softness in the labor market and “the difficult funding situation for the banking sector.” While acknowledging Madrid’s efforts to reform the labor market and introduce a balanced-budget constitutional amendment, Moody’s expressed “serious concerns” about regional government deficits and voiced doubt about the general government sector’s ability to meet “ambitious” fiscal targets.“
No Quick Fix Is In Sight
As we have pointed out yesterday , after the recent G-20 meeting a number of truly fantastic proclamations made the rounds. Imaginations were evidently running wild.
'G-20 Welcomes Progress on EU Debt Plan' the Wall Street Journal shouted out for example. What progress? What 'debt plan'? As we have noted – and this has since been echoed by other observers – there actually is no plan. There is not even a plan to make a plan, but something that is still one step further removed and terrifyingly vague. There are certainly plenty of ideas, but every one of them is in danger of being shot down by one or more of the 17 players comprising the euro area.
It's Still Raining Downgrades
Last week was chock-full of fresh downgrades of major European banks and incidentally also brought more grief for a major European country and prominent member of the PIIGS stable – Spain – which received the second downgrade within a week.
This didn't keep stock markets from going higher. After all, we now have vague 'hopes' that 'something' will be done. As we noted last week, it's a bit like an IPO prospectus from the South Seas bubble. Something is going to happen, and nobody knows what it is…but it will be to everybody's 'great advantage'. As far as we can tell, there's definitely a plan to make a plan to make a plan. Said plan (the first one in the row) is still in its gestating stages and once it has ripened into the last one in the row unlikely to tackle the core problem, but who cares about such details when there's a rally on?
Most read in the last 20 days:
- Speculative Blow-Offs in Stock Markets – Part 1
Defying Expectations Why is the stock market seemingly so utterly oblivious to the potential dangers and in some respects quite obvious fundamental problems the global economy faces? Why in particular does this happen at a time when valuations are already extremely stretched? Questions along these lines are raised increasingly often by our correspondents lately. One could be smug about it and say “it's all technical”, but there is more to it than that. It may not be rocket science, but...
- Speculative Blow-Offs in Stock Markets – Part 2
Blow-Off Pattern Recognition As noted in Part 1, historically, blow-patterns in stock markets share many characteristics. One of them is a shifting monetary backdrop, which becomes more hostile just as prices begin to rise at an accelerated pace, the other is the psychological backdrop to the move, which entails growing pressure on the remaining skeptics and helps investors to rationalize their exposure to overvalued markets. In addition to this, the chart patterns of stock indexes...
- India: Still the Fastest Growing Large Economy?
India’s Currency Ban - Part X It has now been four months since Narendra Modi declared about 86% of monetary value of currency illegal. Linked here is the last in my series of updates, which was written soon after the deadline to deposit the demonetized currency. Most of the banned currency was eventually deposited, making a mockery of Modi, who had claimed that unaccounted money would not reach the banks. Perhaps 3% of the cash never reached the banks. A cunning plan...
- 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...
- They're Worried You Might Buy Bitcoin or Gold - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
Bitcoin Mania The price of gold has been rising, but perhaps not enough to suit the hot money. Meanwhile, the price of Bitcoin has shot up even faster. From $412, one year ago, to $1290 on Friday, it has gained over 200% (and, unlike gold, we can say that Bitcoin went up — it’s a speculative asset that goes up and down with no particular limit). Bitcoins are a lot less tangible than this picture implies, but they are getting a lot of love recently...
- 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...
- Boosting Stock Market Returns With A Simple Trick
Systematic Trading Based on Statistics Trading methods based on statistics represent an unusual approach for many investors. Evaluation of a security's fundamental merits is not of concern, even though it can of course be done additionally. Rather, the only important criterion consists of typical price patterns determined by statistical examination of past trends. Fundamental considerations such as the valuation of stocks are not really relevant to the statistics-based trading...
- 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...
- 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...
- 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...
- 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,...
- 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...