by phil - November 26th, 2010 8:11 am
Ah, you guys fall for it every time, don't you?
They take it up for BS reason, they take it down for BS reasons and, somehow, they get you to commit to some thing or another that goes the wrong way within a day or two. And you guys wonder why I like cash… You can't leave anything on the table in this market! Today's reason du jure for the markets pulling back is Europe again and, as we laid out for you weeks ago – it's now on to Portugal as the next "crisis" in the making.
It looks like almost all of Wednesday's gains will be wiped out by the time we open but let's keep in mind all this EU nonsense is nothing but hyena attacks as most of these countries are not in that bad shape overall – certainly no worse than we are (maybe we're next!). Anyone can be next. If you want to attack a country, you can attack any country where you can get traction on rumors that POTENTIAL bank losses exceed GDP – that's a banking failure.
Once you get just a small amount of people to believe the banks may fail, then the rates start going up (and big investors can give them a little push artificially, of course, to get the ball rolling). Once the banks have to borrow at higher rates, then they need more capital reserves and then you can scream that they were lying about their capital requirements and call for "investigations" and that will convince more people they are hiding something and then the rates go higher and they need more capital and the bears can then parade on TV saying that they knew all along and that the banks are insolvent and they can EXTRAPOLATE that, at the rate things are going – the whole country will be bust in X amount of time…
You can do this to anyone, anytime. Only if we stop the speculators from profiting from this game will it ever end. The reason that there are no runs on banks in China and Russia isn't because their banks are more solid – I'll bet there are Chinese banks who have nothing but…
by phil - November 24th, 2010 8:10 am
No man born with a living soul
Can be working for the clampdown
Kick over the wall 'cause government's to fall
How can you refuse it?
Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
D'you know that you can use it?
The voices in your head are calling
Stop wasting your time, there's nothing coming
Only a fool would think someone could save you
In these days of evil presidentes
Working for the clampdown
But lately one or two has fully paid their due
For working for the clampdown – The Clash
Portugal is having a national strike today and labor unions in Ireland are planning “mass mobilization” in protest of planned spending cuts, with a march in Dublin on Nov. 27.
Portugal said in September it would cut the wage bill by 5 percent for public workers earning more than 1,500 euros ($2005) a month, freeze hiring and raise value-added taxes by 2 percentage points to 23 percent to help reduce a deficit that amounted to 9.3 percent of gross domestic product last year. The measures are included in the government’s 2011 spending plan, which faces a final vote in parliament on Nov. 26. “The strike arises in a context of a set of measures that are quite significant and have social impact,” said Carlos Firme, a director at Lisbon-based Banif Banco de Investimento SA. “It’s natural that there are demonstrations of discontent.”
I'm sure King George's Bankster buddies told him the same thing when the American colonists expressed their "discontent" – Don't worry my King, there's sure to be some grumbling from the peasants but your stimulus package is working wonderfully – now come outside and check out the golden horseshoes I put on my carriage team!
We were able to add a little bling to our own rides as those QQQQ $53 puts I told you about in yesterday's morning post, which we picked up in Member chat on Monday at .45, opened at .75 and flew on up to $1.25 (up another 110% from Monday's entry) and pulled back to finish the day at .98. We were, of course, very happy to…
Ireland’s “String and Sealing-Wax Fix”; Irish PM Loses Confidence of Own Party; European Sovereign Default Risk Hits All Time High
by ilene - November 23rd, 2010 4:53 pm
Courtesy of Mish
News in Europe regarding Ireland, Spain, and Portugal is ominous. Credit Default Swaps (CDS) are soaring in Spain and Portugal. European sovereign risk jumped to an all-time high.
Lloyds TSB says "Ireland’s debt woes may spread because investors have lost confidence in policy makers".
Members of his own party are calling on Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen to resign.
The quote of the day goes to Bill Blain, a strategist at Matrix Corporate Capital LLP in London who said "“Bailouts are nothing but a short-term string-and-sealing-wax fix”.
With that let’s take a look at some specific news.
Zero Confidence in Irish Solution
Lloyds says Ireland’s Woes May Spread on ‘Zero Confidence’
“The markets currently have virtually zero confidence that the bailout in Ireland will solve the European crisis even though fiscal austerity measures in both Portugal and Spain have been severe and prima facie, sufficient to ease market concerns,” Charles Diebel and David Page, fixed-income strategists in London, wrote in an investor note today.
“With markets effectively in a position to dictate policy, the risk is that the credibility crisis shifts to more sizeable European Union countries and thereby poses a greater risk to the system as a whole,” they wrote. That may also raise “valid questions about the prescriptive policy measures being sufficient to deal with issues of such magnitude.”
Credit Default Swaps Soar in Spain, Portugal
In spite of the Irish bailout, Spain, Portugal Bank Debt Risk Soars as Traders Look South
The cost of insuring Spanish and Portuguese subordinated bank bonds soared as traders of credit-default swaps turned their focus to southern Europe following Ireland’s bailout.
Swaps on Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo SA rose to a record while contracts on Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, Spain’s second-biggest lender, climbed to the highest in more than five months. The benchmark gauge of European sovereign risk also jumped to an all-time high, while two indexes tied to bank debt surged the most since June.
Ireland’s rescue “achieves completely the opposite of what it allegedly tries to achieve, namely to calm markets,” Tim Brunne, at UniCredit SpA said in a report.
“Instead, the credit profile of both the sovereign and the impaired financial institutions has been weakened,” the Munich-based strategist wrote.
Could The Financial Crisis Erupting In Ireland, Portugal, Greece And Spain Lead To The End Of The Euro And The Break Up Of The European Union?
by ilene - November 18th, 2010 1:39 am
Could The Financial Crisis Erupting In Ireland, Portugal, Greece And Spain Lead To The End Of The Euro And The Break Up Of The European Union?
Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse
The Irish banking system is melting down right in front of our eyes. Ireland, Portugal, Greece and Spain are all drowning in debt. It is becoming extremely expensive for all of those nations to issue new debt. Officials all over Europe are begging Ireland to accept a bailout. Portugal has already indicated that they will probably be next in line. Most economists are now acknowledging that without a new round of bailouts the dominoes could start to fall and we could see a wave of debt defaults by European governments. All of this is pushing the monetary union in Europe to its limits. In fact, some of Europe’s top politicians are now publicly warning that this crisis may not only mean the end of the euro, but also the end of the European Union itself.
Yes, things really are that serious in Europe right now. In order for the euro and the European Union to hold together, two things have got to happen. Number one, Germany and the other European nations that are in good financial condition have got to agree to keep bailing out nations such as Ireland, Portugal and Greece that are complete economic basket cases. Number two, the European nations receiving these bailouts have got to convince their citizens to comply with the very harsh austerity measures being imposed upon them by the EU and the IMF.
Those two things should not be taken for granted. In Germany, many taxpayers are already sick and tired of pouring hundreds of billions of euros into a black hole. The truth is that the Germans are not going to accept carrying weak sisters like Greece and Portugal on their backs indefinitely.
In addition, we have already seen the kinds of riots that have erupted in Greece over the austerity measures being implemented there. If there is an overwhelming backlash against austerity in some parts of Europe will some nations actually attempt to leave the EU?
Right now the focus is on Ireland. The Irish banking system is a basket case at the moment and the Irish government is drowning in red ink. European Union officials are urging Ireland to request a bailout, but so far…
by ilene - September 9th, 2010 11:48 pm
Courtesy of MIKE WHITNEY writing at CourterPunch
The EU banking system is in big trouble. That’s why European Central Bank (ECB) head Jean-Claude Trichet continues to purchase government bonds and provide "unlimited funds" for underwater banks. It’s an effort to prevent a financial system meltdown that could wipe out bondholders and plunge the economy back into recession.
"We have the best track record on price stability over 11 1/2 years in Europe and among the legacy currencies,” Trichet recently boasted. “What we have done and what we do with the same purpose is to help restore an appropriate functioning of the monetary-policy transmission mechanism.”
Nonsense. EU banks and other financial institutions are presently holding more than 2 trillion euros of public and private debt from Greece, Spain and Portugal. All three countries are in deep distress and face sharp downgrades on their sovereign debt. The potential losses put large parts of the EU banking system at risk. Trichet knows this, which is why he continues to support the teetering system with "unlimited funds". It has nothing to do with restoring the "functioning of the monetary-policy transmission mechanism". That’s deliberately misleading. It is a straightforward bailout of the banks.
Imagine that you are deeply in debt, but the bank offers to lend you as much money as you need to keep you from bankruptcy. To help maintain appearances, the bank agrees to accept the worthless junk you’ve collected in your attic in exchange for multi-million dollar loans. Does the bank’s participation in this charade mean that you are not really broke after all? Does it increase the value of the garbage collateral you’ve exchanged for cash?
The ECB is providing billions of euros per week to maintain the illusion that the market is wrong about the true value of the bonds. But the market is not wrong, the ECB is wrong. The value of Greek bonds (for example) has dropped precipitously. They are worth less, which means the banks need to take a haircut and write down the losses. More liquidity merely hides the problem.
This is from Reuters:
"Despite the open-arms approach, outstanding ECB lending has fallen more than a third since the start of July to 592 billion euros…. Liquidity remains abundant though. Over 120 billion euros was deposited back at the ECB overnight, the latest figures show."
by ilene - August 31st, 2010 10:33 am
Courtesy of Tyler Durden
Paul Farrell’s take on Jeremy Grantham’s recent essay Seven Lean Years (previously posted on Zero Hedge) is amusing in that his conclusion is that should Obama get reelected, his entire tenure will have been occupied by fixing the problems of a 30 year credit bubble, and if anything end up with the worst rating of all time, as the citizens’ anger is focused on him as the one source of all evil. "Add seven years to the handoff from Bush to Obama in early 2009 and you get no recovery till 2016. Get it? No recovery till the end of Obama’s second term, assuming he’s reelected — a big if." Also, Farrell pisses all over the recent catastrophic Geithner NYT oped essay, which praised the imminent recovery which merely turned out to be the grand entrance into the double dip: "In his recent newsletter, "Seven Lean Years Revisited," Grantham tells us why expecting a summer of recovery was unrealistic, why America must prepare for a long recovery. Grantham details 10 reasons: "The negatives that are likely to hamper the global developed economy." Sorry, but this recovery will take till 2016."
For those who have not had a chance to read the original Grantham writings, here is Farrell’s attempt to convince you that Grantham is spot on:
But should you believe Grantham? Yes. First: Like Joseph, Grantham’s earlier forecasts were dead on. About two years before Wall Street’s 2008 meltdown Grantham saw: "The First Truly Global Bubble: From Indian antiquities to modern Chinese art; from land in Panama to Mayfair; from forestry, infrastructure, and the junkiest bonds to mundane blue chips; it’s bubble time. … The bursting of the bubble will be across all countries and all assets … no similar global event has occurred before."
Second: The Motley Fools’ Matt Argersinger went back to the dot-com crash of 2000: Grantham "looked out 10 years and predicted the S&P 500 would underperform cash." Bull’s-eye: The S&P 500 peaked at 11,722; it’s now around 10,000. Factor in inflation: Wall Street’s lost 20% of your retirement since 2000. Yes, Wall Street’s a big loser.
Third: What’s ahead for the seven lean years? Wall Street will keep losing. Argersinger: "Grantham predicts below-average economic growth, anemic corporate-profit margins, and other
by ilene - June 8th, 2010 10:41 pm
Courtesy of James Howard Kunstler
Did the nation heave a sigh of relief when BP announced that their latest gambit to "cap" the Deepwater Horizon gusher will result in hosing up fifty percent of the leaking oil? If so, the nation may be sighing too soon since the other half of the oil will still collect in underwater plumes and hover all around the Gulf Coast like those baleful mother ships in the most recent generation of alien invasion movies. I shudder to imagine the tonnage of dead wildlife flotsam that will wash up with the tide for years to come. It will seem like a "necklace of death" for several states, though even that may not be enough to distract them from the more gratifying raptures of Nascar and NFL football.
For the moment we can only speculate on what the still-unresolved incident will mean for America’s oil supply. The zeal to prosecute BP for something like criminal negligence has bestirred a Department of Justice comatose during the rape-and-pillage of the US financial system. BP may be driven out of business, but then what? The net effect of the oil spill, one way or another, will be the gradual shut-down of oil drilling activity in the Gulf of Mexico. New government supervision will make operations very costly, if not non-viable, and the surviving companies will probably pack up for the west coast of Africa where supervision is almost non-existent. Anyway you cut it, the US will produce less oil and import more — and have to rely on the political stability of places like Angola and Nigeria, not to mention the simmering Middle East.
So far, also, the US has done nothing in the way of holding a serious national political discussion about the the most important part of the story: our pathological dependency on cars. I don’t know if this will ever happen, even right up to the moment when the lines form at the filling stations. For years, anyway, the few public figures such as Boone Pickens who give the appearance of concern about our oil problem, end up down the rabbit hole of denial when they get behind schemes to run the whole US car-and-truck fleet on something besides gasoline.
by ilene - May 20th, 2010 3:02 pm
Courtesy of Rom Badilla, CFA – Bondsquawk.com
Due to the European debt crisis, counterparty risk is increasing as banks are reluctant to lend to each other, which is remiscient of the bank freeze at the beginning of the fiancial crisis of 2008. The LIBOR-OIS spread which is a gauge of banks willingness to lend, widened 2 basis points today to a spread of 26. Despite the unveiling of the near one trillion dollar Stabilization Fund last week, it continues to drift higher. The spread has now increased 20 basis points from the most recent low achieved on March 15.
As mentioned last week here at Bondsquawk, the spread inched higher from 13 basis points in late July 2007 to 19 basis points the following week. As market conditions deteriorated, the widening accelerated. By late August, the spread widened to 73 basis points and the route was on. During the height of the financial crisis which is marked by the fall of Lehman Brothers, the spread reached a high of 364 basis points by October of 2008. While it remains to be seen if this will turn into another credit crunch as we have warned several days ago and as Bank of America’s Jeff Rosenberg had suggested earlier today, today’s action is certainly a growing concern and deserves further monitoring.
by ilene - May 4th, 2010 3:50 pm
Courtesy of Mish
After all his tough bulldog talk over the years, the world can now see Trichet is in reality nothing more than a monetarist pussycat when the chips are on the line.
Trichet Floods Banking System With Cash
October 08, 2008: Trichet Offers Unlimited Cash
European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said he can’t rule out further interest-rate cuts after joining a round of global reductions today and offering to flood the banking system with as much cash as it needs.
So Much For Price Stability Mandates
What was it someone was telling me just two weeks ago? Oh, here it is: "Trichet will NEVER cut. The ECB has price stability mandates."
The person went out of his way to put "NEVER" in caps.
That’s rather touching given that today the ECB made a 50 basis point in conjunction with global coordinated panic (see Global Coordinated Rate Cuts Won’t Solve Economic Crisis).
ECB Waives Collateral Rules
In a move that is supposed to stop contagion and inspire confidence, the ECB Comes to Greece’s Aid by Waiving Collateral Rules
The European Central Bank joined the international rescue of Greece, saying it would indefinitely accept the country’s debt as collateral regardless of its country’s credit rating, underpinning gains in the bond market.
Today’s decision was a reversal for ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet, who began the year saying the ECB would not change its “collateral policy for the sake of any particular country.”
ECB Plays With Fire
This is a dangerous precedent that challenges the credibility of both the ECB and Jean-Claude Trichet.
Intermediate-term, the ECB’s actions add more tinder to the woodpile. Spain and Portugal are the matches.
Rulebook Heads for the Window
May 03, 2010: Trichet May Rewrite ECB Rule Book to Tame Greek Risk
European Central Bank President Jean- Claude Trichet, who capitulated on a January pledge not to relax lending rules for the sake of one country, may have to sacrifice more principles to prevent Greece from bringing down the euro.
Trichet yesterday diluted rules for the second time in a month to guarantee the ECB will keep taking Greek government bonds as collateral for
by ilene - March 25th, 2010 8:11 pm
Courtesy of Larry Doyle at Sense on Cents
The Euro is plummeting in value because of the ongoing fiscal problems in Greece and the recent downgrade of Portugal’s sovereign credit, correct? Well, these are the most recent developments, but the problems go much deeper than that.
Although the very nature of short term mentality in a heavily dominated short term trading environment would point to these problems within Greece and Portugal as the primary reasons for the problems with the Euro, let’s work a little harder and navigate a little deeper.
First off, we need to accept the premise that we are experiencing structural changes in the context of a secular market. Our friends in Washington and on Wall Street (as well as other global financial centers) work very hard to present our current economy and market as possessing merely cyclical risk. Don’t buy it.
Global fiscal stimulus over the last year has provided enormous flows of capital at essentially zero rates of interest and driven markets for many risk-based assets sky high. Has the stimulus corrected the fundamental flaws in the balance sheets of global governments and many financial institutions? I would answer with a mix of a resounding no in terms of global governments (their balance sheets have significantly worsened) to somewhat better for selected financials. All this said, the fundamental flaws and issues embodied in the massive debts overhanging nations and economic regions remain. To this end, let’s revisit commentary I penned a little over a year ago entitled, “Why Is George Soros Short the Euro? MUST READ.”
Within the body of my commentary, I reference great work by John Mauldin and his close colleague Niels Jensen. A year ago, Jensen wrote about problems within the Euro-zone and I referenced:
Public debt to rise and rise
. . . the banking sector cannot, in the current environment at least, raise sufficient capital to stay afloat, so more, possibly a lot more, tax payers’ money will have to be put forward. This can only mean one thing. Public debt will rise and rise. The official estimate for the UK for next year is already approaching 10% of GDP, an estimate which will almost certainly rise further. We probably have to get used to running 10-15% deficits for a few years, a fact which seriously undermines the notion