October 27, 2011
When reporting on the announcement of the math-free deus ex machina bail out that was announced last night, which nobody still has any grasp over, but it had a “trillion” in there somewhere so that alone sent the market scurrying, we suggested that it would take about 24-48 hours for reality to start settling in. It may have been considerably less.
As the Telegraph reports, “A trillion euro bail-out to save the EU’s single currency is in danger of unraveling after Germany’s central bank warned that the rescue measure was too dependent on the high-risk deals that caused the economic crisis.” So what did the Bundesbank do to send tremors that threaten to fracture the brittle nanometer ice-plated facade under which the most tempestuous riptide in European history is contained? Well, first it appears to have used a calculator, something nobody else in the European Council seems to be capable of. Second, it realized that heaping leverage upon leverage to fix a problem, something even a five year old (non-Ivy league trained) would tell you is lunacy, may not be the best approach to fix the problems at hand.
“The concerns were led by Germany’s powerful central bank, which expressed fears that a plan to leverage a €440 billion eurozone rescue fund to amass a “fire power” of €1 trillion, or £880 billion, resembled the risky finance methods that triggered the crisis in 2008. Jens Weidmann, the president of the Bundesbank and a member of the European Central Bank, sounded the alarm over the plan to “leverage” the fund by a factor of four to five times without putting any new money into the pot. He warned that the scheme could be hit by market turbulence with taxpayers left holding the bill for risky investments in Italian and Spanish bonds.” Does that mean that the “ironclad firewall” is neither “ironclad” nor walls off any fire? Especially since neither the object (Germany) of the bailout nor the subject (Greece) appear to have any desire to go along with the deus ex?
As it turns out, apparently not even Merkel’s promises that the EFSF would never have to be used, just the mere threat of its existence would collapse spreads everywhere, an assumption so idiotic not even Hank Paulson tried it more than three times, was able to set Weidmann’s mind at ease. So what happens when, as it is bound to happen, and as we have been pounding the table on since the ill-fated July 21st bailout, realize that very soon (yes, French banks have been on downgrade review since September 14, and earlier today Sarkozy just announced French 2012 GDP growth would be a negligible 1%, something the rating agencies will be delighted to hear), following the French downgrade it will be all up to them? Another 500 pip surge EURUSD surge on short covering? We doubt it: following today’s move there are no more shorts left in the Euro. Which means that the next push lower will have no natural buyers, and any Bazooka announcement will have to be much bigger, and thus far less believable.
Bill Gross, the founder of Pimco, the world’s largest bond fund, said the eurozone rescue would be a temporary fix for markets and that the fund could pose a high-risk for investors.
“No bazooka but should stabilize markets for now,” he messaged on the Twitter site yesterday. “Watch out if the plan is a giant SIV (structured investment vehicle) with levered risk.”
The plan to increase the European Financial and Stability Facility to €1 trillion on paper was attacked by economists as not enough to “stave off” worsening debt problems in Italy and Spain.
In a survey of economists, 26 of 48 thought the firepower was not enough. A plan for a €2 trillion fund was shelved after German and French opposition.
Doubts also emerged over the lack of detail on a proposal to let Greece help pay its rapidly mounting debt burden by negotiating a voluntary “haircut” that would allow it to write off about half of its debts.
But perhaps what is the worst news of the day is that Greece, the country which this whole shebang is supposed to make better, threw up violently all over the “rescue”:
Greek opposition parties to the Left and Right united to condemn the eurozone deal amid mounting social conflict.
Antonis Samaras, the conservative opposition leader, said: “We are not closer to the solution but are faced with nine years of collapse and poverty.”
Dimitris Papadimoulis, a Left-wing MP, said new EU powers in the agreement to
impose austerity measures on Greece had a conflict of interest. “Those who
monitor us do not have our interests in mind,” he said. “Their priority is
that we pay back our loans.”
So… Now what? The Greek strikes will return until GDP grows? In the wacky, waving, inflatable arm flailing math word of Europe this is, unfortunately, precisely the only math that works.
This article was posted: Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 3:54 pm