Posts Tagged ‘Tremors’
Monday, May 14th, 2012
Weebles wobbling, spinning tops running out of energy, running out of room to kick the can, whatever analogy you want to use, the world seems like an incredibly dangerous place.
Greece is going to leave the Euro. That is now pretty much everyone’s expectation. I continue to believe that although they are highly likely to leave, it isn’t for a few more months, and that there will be some real effort from the Troika, led by the ECB to resolve this situation. This isn’t about helping Greece. This is about saving what is left of Europe. What does a new currency really do for Greece? It sounds exciting and the conventional wisdom is that it lets them inflate their way out of their problem. I think all it will do is inflate them into a “Mad Max” world. How is Greece going to be able to afford gas and food if they revert to the Drachma on short notice? Greece doesn’t export enough to get a huge immediate benefit. Yes, it will be cheaper to produce in Greece, but very little is set up to take advantage of that right now.
But it is the ECB and the rest of Europe that need to worry. Greece needs further debt cuts even more than it needs a new currency. Not only would the ECB’s and IMF’s existing holdings be converted to the new currency, Greece may decide to default outright. The ECB and IMF are both staring at massive losses. If Greece goes to the Drachma and doesn’t change the debt to Drachma, then they will have killed themselves. That just isn’t possible. So switching to drachma, and then possibly even defaulting is what is necessary. How will the ECB and IMF deal with it? The ECB might have to make a capital call. That would send tremors through the system. The IMF will deal with it, but expect talk about countries pulling out of the firewall. There is talk about having the EFSF make the ECB whole. That’s not even taking money from one pocket and shifting it to another, it’s the same damn pocket. The market will not like that.
Shorting Germany, preferably bunds, is my favorite way to play this (with French bonds a close second). I think the next leg if it occurs wipes out the myth of Germany as “safe haven”. If Greece goes, losses to the Troika will be real and any attempt to paint over them will be too obvious. The staggering size of the commitments that will ultimately flow onto the shoulders of Germany and France will end the idea that somehow their credit is somehow better. The guarantees matter, and these bonds will be affected.
I still expect some “surprise” headlines bringing all the people involved to some form of resolution, that won’t obviously fix everything, but will buy time. Notice Draghi has not once said anything about this, and really he seems far and away the most competent person at the ECB.
Then back here, we can focus more on JP Morgan. Since 2007, JPM had a loss in one quarter only. They lost 9 cents in Q4 2008. The just made 1.70 in Q1 of this year. Citi had 9 quarters of losses in that period. Their worst quarter was -23.80 per share compared to a tiny 1.11 per share in Q1. MS had 6 quarters of losses, with the biggest being 3.61 AND they lost money in 2 quarters last year. Yes, $2 billion is a big number. It may have grown, it may turn out smaller. In any case, it is unlikely JPM will have a loss this quarter. This group and the overall risk management of the firm is part of why they have done so well relative to their peers. If you want to focus on the fact that $2 billion is a huge number to a normal person, that is fine, but you may be getting more angry than you should. The reality is that JPM, with $2.3 trillion in assets is huge, and every business they are in is big, and P&L swings will be large in $ terms, but seem completely reasonable in percentage terms.
Yes, regulatory scrutiny will intensify, but this is a problem at all big banks. The specific risk of this trade has been overdone. Unfortunately it is hard to tell how much of the price move is specific to one aspect or the other, so I can’t quite get comfortable with the situation in terms of getting long JPM, but will be looking at outperformance trades.
Futures have already had a wild ride, and I would expect that to continue throughout the day. MAIN is out to 169 +12 bps on the day. XOVER is at 718 +36 bps on the day. It is ugly, with minimal liquidity – even the best market makers are back to making 1 bp markets in MAIN. IG18 is opening at 112, which is 3.5 bps wider, and HY18 is at 94 3/8, so down about 5/8. The moves in XOVER and HY relative to MAIN and IG seem more normal than Friday, when we saw almost amazing outperformance in the HY space (where JPM is allegedly short).
Spain and Italy are under attack again. Ten year yields have hit 6.26% and 5.70% respectively while CDS is at 640 and 480 respectively. Scary numbers, though Spanish 10 year may be getting to the point where we see some ECB intervention in the secondary markets.
So with problems across the globe and the mood so dim, I can’t help but think we are set up for a rally on the back of any scrap of good news. I don’t see Greece hitting the breaking point just yet, and the market will digest the JPM loss as it thinks more rationally, and Spain and Italy are not so heinous that they should respond well to any ECB intervention.
Tags: Analogy, Axis, Conventional Wisdom, Currency, Dangerous Place, Drachma, ECB, Efsf, Expectation, Firewall, Gas And Food, Greece, Imf Deal, Mad Max, Massive Losses, Max World, Spinning Tops, Tremors, Troika, Weeble, Weebles
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Friday, June 4th, 2010
Euro-contagion has spread to Hungary. Parity for the euro may come sooner than anyone expected. Here are notes and analysis from a variety of sources on the unfolding euro/Hungarian meltdown, Round 2:
Hungary CDS Offerless, 100 Wider At 430 bps, from ZeroHedge.com.
To all those who listened to Hugh Hendry’s recommendation to panic a week ago, congratulations- you are well ahead of the market today. Hungary CDS is now offerless as investors are shocked, shocked, that the country (and continent) is actually really bankrupt, as opposed to just make believe. IMF’s comments yesterday that it does not have the funds to rescue all of Europe are not helping. Hungary CDS is now essentially bidless last seen 120 bps wider, around 430/460 with the bid/ask spread at 30bps, and only dealers daring to take on any risk exposure as the risk off brigade has kicked the optimists out of the building. The one thing up today so far? Gold. NFP better be north of 100 million or else the stick save today will be a tad problematic.
Europe Tremors Resume: Spain Bund Spreads At All Time Wides, China Exporters Ditch Euro As CHF Surges, from ZeroHedge.com.
Another horrendous day shaping up for Europe. Spanish Bund spreads have surged to all time highs just south of 200 bps, Hungary confirms that it was not exaggerating comments about chances of (not) avoiding Greek situation, pushing its CDS even wider, the EURCHF has dropped to under 1.40 and the SNB has not intervened yet, while the EURUSD is down to 4 year lows below 1.21. The nail in the euro coffin is a report by Reuters that a growing number of Chinese exporters turn down euro payment, flatly refuting anything SAFE may be saying officially.
Chinese exporters who made a big push only a year ago to bill in euros are increasingly turning their backs on the wounded European currency and demanding dollars instead.
By contrst, Beijing last week said a report it was reviewing the euro portion in its mountain of foreign exchange reserves was groundless and it calmed markets by saying that Europe remained a key investment market.
But Chinese exporters and the local governments that oversee them are less confident. They are trying to keep a wider berth from the euro, at least for now.
Oh, and now the French PM is quoted as saying that he only sees good news in parity between the dollar and the euro. Too bad none of his bank share the sentimentm realizing all too well none of them will exist in that situation.
Add Hungary to the PIIGs List, from Big Picture.
The market needs a new acronym to replace PIIGS to include Hungary as a spokesman for the PM of Hungary said their economy is “in a grave economic situation” and the possibility of default is “not an exaggeration.” Markets rolled over after the comments and the euro fell to a new 4 year low vs the US$. Hungary 5 yr CDS is higher by 15 bps to 323 bps, the highest since July ‘09. Hungarian stocks are lower by almost 4% and European banks are all lower. With respect to the US jobs data, it’s not the headline number that will matter but what’s under the hood as census workers may add 500k+ to the figure. The private sector is expected to add 180k jobs and that is the only thing that matters as the census workers will be off the gov’t rolls by Sept. The birth/death model will also contribute as 186k jobs were added in May ‘09. The unemployment rate is expected to tick lower by .1% to 9.8%.
Now it’s Hungary’s Turn, from TraderMark.
Well this one came out of the blue. Looks like they pulled a Greece in their statistics department. Hmm, governments worldwide fudging the numbers to create an alternate sense of reality? Whodda thunk!
- Hungary’s is in a “grave situation” because the previous government “manipulated” figures and “lied” about the state of the economy, said Peter Szijjarto, spokesman for Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The forint fell for a second day, dropping as much as 2.1 percent against the euro.
- A fact-finding panel will probably present preliminary figures on the state of the economy this weekend, Szijjarto said today at a news conference in Budapest. The government will publish an action plan within 72 hours after the committee reports its findings, he said.
- “It’s clear that the economy is in a very grave situation,” Szijjarto said. “We need a clean slate to formulate our economic action plan, and the fact-finding committee will provide just that.”
- “It’s no exaggeration” to talk about a default, Szijjarto said today.
- Hungary needed a 20 billion-euro ($24 billion) international bailout to avert a default in 2008. Orban, who took over May 29 after winning elections by pledging to cut taxes and stimulate the economy, yesterday failed to get European Union approval for looser fiscal policy.
- “Investors are losing their patience,” Gyorgy Barta, a Budapest-based economist at Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, said in a phone interview. “This is part of a communications strategy that wants to tell voters one thing and the markets another. It’s getting too complicated, and the government now needs to come clean and present a convincing plan of fiscal consolidation.”
Oh well, nothing a hundred or two billion euro won’t fix. Get to work US taxpayer… err IMF.
Biggest Hungarian Commercial Bank Trading Halted On Budapest Stock Exchange, from ZeroHedge.com.
All trading in shares of OTP Bank, Hungary’s largest commercial bank, has been halted on the Budapest stock exchange after a plunge greater than 10%. Nothing to see here, go back to reading Goldman’s spin on things, and why everything all of this really should be priced in already.
Austria Next On The Implosion Radar; German, France CDS Blow Out, from ZeroHedge.com.
Austria, the country most exposed to weakness in Central and Eastern Europe, is back on the radar. After having avoided skeptical investor scrutiny even as the bulk of Europe was collapsing all around it, the country is today’s top CDS widener, yet still stunningly trades inside of France and Belgium. Look for this spread to blow out over the next week. Then again, the biggest CDS wideners are precisely the countries formerly seen safe: Austria, France, Germany and Belgium are all the top movers in CDS. So much for the whole North vs South division in Europe.
Goldman Sachs’ Desperate Attempt at Hungary Damage Control, courtesy of ZeroHedge.com.
Goldman Sachs to save the day…
Hungary – Greek-like crisis has already happened; Fidesz tries to free itself from campaign promises
Yesterday’s comments by Fidesz vice-president Kósa alleged that Hungary stands on a brink of a sovereign default due to its very precarious budget situation and continuously appearing ‘skeletons’ in the fiscal accounts while Michaly Varga, a deputy PM, claimed again that the ‘true’ 2010 budget deficit is closer to 7%-7.5% of GDP rather than the 3.8% assumed in the IMF-led program or 4.3%-4.5% forecasted by the NBH. Given the seriousness of the situation, Kósa declared that within a week the new government will announce a two-year crisis management plan that would include deep constitutional and structural reforms. Nevertheless, Kósa did not withdraw the plans to lower taxes which was one of the key election promises. He also declared that countries that were successful at crisis management ‘rejected the requirements of the World Bank and the IMF’ and expected the European Union to foot the bill for a potential external rescue of Hungary.
On the same day, European Commission President Barroso urged the new Hungarian government to speed up fiscal consolidation and implement structural reforms that would help maintain long-term fiscal sustainability and support economic recovery.
The Hungarian PM, Victor Orban, followed with declarations that the new government is committed to restoring fiscal stability and that the new economic plan, to be published within 72 hours after revealing the budget report, will include structural measures to boost growth and competitiveness as well as significant tax cuts.
IMF mission chief is due to arrive in Budapest for informal talks with the government. His visit is not a part of a formal review mission, which was postponed because of the parliamentary elections.
COMMENT: We believe that yesterday’s dramatic comments were intended for domestic consumption and were used to build a dramatic backdrop that would let Fidesz backtrack on a large share of its campaign promises and broadly continue with the fiscal policies of the previous government, as well as preparing the ground for another round of IMF talks. Exaggerating the state of public finances left by the previous government, pretty common as it is (the incoming UK government used very similar tactics), supports the arguments against fiscal expansion and, in the future, will back up the claims that the crisis management plan was successful in reducing public deficit. The party faces local elections in October and not following up on the election promises risks alienating the voters, while blaming the ‘imminent crisis’ and ‘fiscal skeletons’ helps it save its face. At the same time, inflating the deficit forecast gives it space for negotiations with the international lenders and increases the chances that the potential new program will allow for some fiscal loosening in 2010 and 2011.
The claim that the country is on a brink of sovereign default and risks following the Greek path does not hold up against the facts. Hungary has already faced a crisis and asked for IMF and EU assistance in late-2008. In this context, Hungary is some 18 months ahead of Greece. Next, Hungary is not an EMU member and by having its own currency and domestic and external debt benefits from having a captive investor base. Finally, Hungary still has access to the undisbursed tranches of the IMF/EU loans. Our analysis (New Markets Analyst 10/04) shows that under the current policies debt stock is stable and that the country will be able to rollover its maturing debt without a problem.
It seems that Fidesz has taken a major decision on the path of macroeconomic policy and is now preparing the stage for its announcement – first, by revealing the ‘true’ size of the deficit and, second, by following up with the two-year plan. We believe that the ‘good scenario’ is more likely, namely a new agreement with the IMF and the EU and broad continuity of the fiscal consolidation plans, although with some loosening due to the cost of the yet to be announced structural reforms and to accommodate some of the election promises. We continue to believe that a stabilization program is the most likely outcome, which should significantly reduce the perception of the Hungarian sovereign risk (for more information, please see New Markets Analyst 10/05).
The risk here is that the new government attempts to follow the Ukrainian and Romanian examples, leading to protracted and rocky discussions. The other risk is that the new government is too confident in its ability to influence the Forint (in earlier comments, Fidesz said that weaker currency will support Hungary’s competitiveness) and may be careless in its communications (as shown by yesterday’s comments from Kósa). The punishment from the market may come quickly and weakening of the currency beyond the pain level of banks and households (about EURHUF of 300) – which hold significant amounts of FX debt – would serve as a warning to the new government. Our research shows that among CE3 countries, Hungary is most exposed to risk sentiment and the widening of risk premia would hurt Hungary’s growth.
The ‘negative scenario’ in which the new government abandons the IMF program and lets the fiscal situation get out of control would actually help fulfil the claims that the country is indeed unable to access financing; we find that unlikely, though.
The news that the IMF mission chief will hold informal talks with the new government is neutral. Such a visit had to happen regardless of the course of Fidesz’s macroeconomic plans. IMF needs to learn more about these plans and both sides need to decide how they want to proceed. This should clarify the situation and help us know whether the next program is going to happen. We expect some follow-up news within the next couple of days.
Tags: All Time Highs, Bps, China, China Exporters, Chinese Exporters, Coffin, Contagion, Ditch, ETF, Eurchf, Eurusd, Gold, Hugh Hendry, Imf, Lows, Meltdown, Optimists, Parity, Reuters, Risk Exposure, Snb, Surges, Tremors
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