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:
- Strange Moves in Gold, Federal Reserve Policy and Fundamentals
Counterintuitive Moves Something odd happened late in the day in Wednesday's trading session, which prompted a number of people to mail in comments or ask a question or two. Since we have discussed this issue previously, we decided this was a good opportunity to briefly elaborate on the topic again in these pages. A strong ADP jobs report for March was released on Wednesday, and the gold price dutifully declined ahead of it already, while the stock market surged concurrently. Later in...
- Gold – An Overview of Macroeconomic Price Drivers
Fundamental Analysis of Gold As we often point out in these pages, even though gold is currently not the generally used medium of exchange, its monetary characteristics continue to be the main basis for its valuation. Thus, analysis of the gold market requires a different approach from that employed in the analysis of industrial commodities (or more generally, goods that are primarily bought and sold for their use value). Gold's extremely high stock-to-flow ratio and the main source of...
- Doomsday Device
Disappearing Credit All across the banking world – from commercial loans to leases and real estate – credit is collapsing. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writing for British newspaper The Telegraph: Credit strategists are increasingly disturbed by a sudden and rare contraction of U.S. bank lending, fearing a synchronized slowdown in the U.S. and China this year that could catch euphoric markets badly off guard. Data from the U.S. Federal Reserve shows that the $2 trillion market...
- The Balance of Gold and Silver – Precious Metals Supply and Demand
Orders of Preference Last week, we discussed the growing stress in the credit markets. We noted this is a reason to buy gold, and likely the reason why gold buying has ticked up since just before Christmas. Many people live in countries where another paper scrip is declared to be money — to picture the absurdity, just imagine a king declaring that the tide must roll back and not get his feet wet when his throne is placed on the beach — not real money like the US...
- The American Empire and Economic Collapse
Dashed Hopes Despite widespread optimism among libertarians, classical liberals, non-interventionists, progressive peaceniks and everybody else opposed to the US Empire that some of its murderous reins may finally be pulled in with the election of Donald Trump, it appears that these hopes have now been dashed. Liberty... some of it is still above water, but definitely not as much as there could or should be.* While the hope for a less meddlesome US foreign policy...
- Pulling Levers to Steer the Machine
Ticks on a Dog A brief comment on Fed chief Janet Yellen’s revealing speech at the University of Michigan. Bloomberg: “Before, we had to press down on the gas pedal trying to give the economy all of the oomph that we possibly could,” Yellen said Monday in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Fed is now trying to “give it some gas, but not so much that we’re pushing down hard on the accelerator.” […] “The appropriate stance of policy now is closer to, let me call it...
- Credit Contraction Episodes
Approaching a Tipping Point Taking the path of least resistance doesn’t always lead to places worth going. In fact, it often leads to places that are better to avoid. Repeatedly skipping work to sleep in and living off credit cards will eventually lead to the poorhouse. Sometimes the path of least resistance turns out to be problematic The same holds true for monetary policy. In particular, cheap credit policies that favor short-term expediency have the...
- The Empire Needs an Emperor
Unknown (sort of) Head of State BUENOS AIRES – Type Swiss President “Doris Leuthard” into Google. You will get about 450,000 results. Do the same with Donald Trump, and the number is closer to 396 million. That’s 87,900% more references. The world’s press is as fascinated by President Trump as it is indifferent to President Leuthard. Doris Leuthard, President and energy minister of Switzerland. She has won her second presidential term this year. It basically...
- Mea Culpa – Precious Metals Supply and Demand
Input Data Errors Dear Readers, I owe you an apology. I made a mistake. I am writing this letter in the first person, because I made the mistake. Let me explain what happened. The wrong stuff went into the funnel in the upper left-hand corner... I wrote software to calculate the gold basis and co-basis (and of course silver too). The app does not just calculate the near contract. It calculates the basis for many contracts out in the distance, so I can see the...
- The Cost of a Trump Presidency
Opportunity Cost Rears its Head Last Thursday’s wanton attack on a Syrian air field by the US and its bellicose actions toward North Korea have brought the real cost of candidate Trump’s landslide victory last November to the forefront. It didn't take long for Donald Trump to drop his non-interventionist mask. The decision was likely driven by Machiavellian considerations with respect to domestic conditions, but that doesn't make it any better. Unlike...
- India – Is Kashmir Gone?
Everything Gets Worse (Part XII) - Pakistan vs. India After 70 years of so-called independence, one has to be a professional victim not to look within oneself for the reasons for starvation, unnatural deaths, utter backwardness, drudgery, disease, and misery in India. Intellectual capital accumulated in the West over the last 2,500 years — available for free in real-time via the internet — can be downloaded by a passionate learner. In the age of modern technology, another mostly...
- French Election – Bad Dream Intrusion
The “Nightmare Option” The French presidential election was temporarily relegated to the back-pages following the US strike on Syria, but a few days ago, the Economist Magazine returned to the topic, noting that a potential “nightmare option” has suddenly come into view. In recent months certainty had increased that once the election moved into its second round, it would be plain sailing for whichever establishment candidate Ms. Le Pen was going to face. That certainty has been...