Greece is the word these days.
We are getting a sell-off every morning as Europe goes through the daily ritual of waking up and seeing the cost of default protection rise and rise. This morning Greece is with STUPID (Spain, Turkey, UK, Portugal, Italy & Dubai – coined by Zero Hedge) as five-year sovereign credit default swap spreads were recently at 4.23 percentage points, compared with Wednesday’s closing level of 3.97 percentage points. That means the annual cost of insuring €10 million of Greek government debt against default for five years had risen €26,000 to €423,000. In a nutshell, that’s 4.23% annually to insure Greek bonds from default so Greece needs to offer 4.23% more interest on their bonds than an Aaa nation to attract investors.
Of course, my new "I’m with STUPID" T-shirt franchise is going like gangbusters as we are getting orders from all over the US, especially California, as our own triple-A credit rating may not last the year. Japan is a strong customer (mostly small and extra-small) and sales are strong in France and, of course, Mexico and all of South America.
Keeping up with the STUPIDs is no easy feat as Portugal’s CDS spreads jumped 15% overnight to an all-time high 2.26 while Spain gained 10% to 1.68%. (Have I mentioned I like TBT lately?) The moves followed news Wednesday that the European Commission had put Greece under more pressure to cut its deficit; that the Portuguese government sold only €300 million of treasury bills at an auction, compared with an indicative offer of €500 Million; and that the Spanish government had raised its budget deficit forecasts for 2010 through 2012.
As we expected in yesterday’s post, Greek workers were none too pleased with the EU’s budget plan for their country and is rejecting the idea of wage freezes on top of wage cuts. Greece’s biggest union is moving towards a mass strike and the public-employee union is planning a job action next week as well. Tax collectors are striking, customs workers are striking, which is screwing up the airports and shipyards and delaying commerce all over Europe – shades of things to come perhaps?
Napoleon said: "A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonetes" and John Kennedy said: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable" and what we are seeing here is backlash as workers of the world have been pushed…