Posts Tagged ‘ Spain ’

Germany’s First Failed Bond Auction – The European Crisis Continues to Spread

November 23, 2011
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Germany’s First Failed Bond Auction – The European Crisis Continues to Spread

Germany failed to get bids for 35% of the 10-year bonds auctioned today. Yields are up about 10 basis points this morning. The increase in borrowing cost is insignificant for Germany. Yields are still well below 2%, and Germany continues to benefit from the combination of very low borrowing costs, and a declining euro which helps support export competitiveness. The first sign of German bond market stress does highlight the risk the EU-17 is flirting with; the breakdown in confidence across the entire region. What started as a crisis in Greece has spread one-by-one to the rest of the European sovereigns. The reason the crisis has spread is not based upon profligate actions by the rest of the Eurozone. On the contrary, progress has already been made across Europe...

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Que Lastima – Spain in a Vice as Interest Rates and Unemployment Soar

November 17, 2011
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Que Lastima – Spain in a Vice as Interest Rates and Unemployment Soar

I’ve been writing about the impossibility of the ECB running appropriate monetary policy for 17 different nations. The dilemma couldn’t be more evident when contrasting the economy of Spain with the economy of Germany. Spain actually has less sovereign debt relative to GDP than does Germany. The problem for Spain isn’t the level of debt the country has incurred, but the depth of the current recession and the questionable capitalization of the Spanish banking system. Spanish inflation is running in a range of 1.7%-3.0% depending on how you define it (1.7% core inflation). This morning, bond auctions in Spain only attracted investors at much higher yields, approaching 7%. As a result of higher interest rates and a deepening recession (which is helping to reduce inflation), real interest rates in...

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Europe’s Crisis Spreads as Spain, Belgium, France, the Euro and EU-17 get Questioned – How Does It End?

November 16, 2011
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Europe’s Crisis Spreads as Spain, Belgium, France, the Euro and EU-17 get Questioned – How Does It End?

For a number of months, the financial crisis in Europe has been explained under the guise of sound versus unsound policy. If this were indeed the case, the fix would be simple; eliminate unsound and unsustainable policy and voila, the problems would just go away. European leaders have shifted blame continuously from one problem to the next. First the issue was speculators, then Greece, then Ireland, then Portugal, then Spain, then Belgium, then Italy, then the need for austerity, then the macro economy, and now the problem has erupted to everywhere. The current set of events will hopefully amount to a positive development as it becomes clear that the problem is the construct of the Eurozone itself. Europe’s misguided attempts to reform its way out of a crisis are...

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Europe Must Decide Its Future – Self Induced Financial Crisis Has Led Europe to the Brink

November 10, 2011
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Europe Must Decide Its Future – Self Induced Financial Crisis Has Led Europe to the Brink

After Wednesday’s market action around the world, it’s a good time for a big picture assessment on the state of the financial markets. The attitude out of Europe has pendulated between nonchalance and vitriolic attacks among the EU-17. Italian sovereign rates spiraling above 7% have brought the eleventh hour upon the region. Escalation of the crisis has caused all types of forward looking investment to become somewhat of a farce. The environment of complete and utter policy uncertainty will no longer be withstood by markets as the full scale part of the European financial crisis enters its fifth month. After bungling the first few opportunities to implement a fix, it has become clear that dramatic action will be required to keep the Eurozone intact. The problems of the Eurozone’s...

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Financial Conditions are Driving all the Market Fears

October 3, 2011
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Financial Conditions are Driving all the Market Fears

Positive data and developments on the real economy front are being ignored while increases in financial stress are being focused on. The pervasive gloom in the financial markets is a result of growing fears of another financial crisis. If this were to unfold, the financial crisis would surely cause a global recession but I’m remaining in the camp that a global recession can be averted if financial conditions stabilize. Financial conditions fully reflect the jitters of market participants or investors. Numerous sets of survey data reflect low levels of investor confidence which are being reflected in yield spreads, short-term funding markets, and stock markets around the world. While the stress is nowhere close to the degree it hit during the Lehman event, it is worrisome nonetheless. The source of...

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Greece Will Stay On Board – Merkel and Papandreou Plan a Dinner Date in Berlin

September 27, 2011
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Greece Will Stay On Board – Merkel and Papandreou Plan a Dinner Date in Berlin

Greece will ultimately stay on board. There I’ve said it – and it is really what I think will happen. There were a number of “unity” headlines hitting over night which have led to a continuation of the rally in global risk assets. Emerging Markets which looked sufficiently panic sold to call out yesterday are up 3-6% across the board. Major stock markets in Europe are up 3-4%. At risk of sounding Pollyannaish about the whole episode it appears to me that Greece and the rest of the Eurozone are coming to terms and seeking out a middle ground which avoids the suicide option. My thesis for the past month has been that this looming crisis is avoidable across the Eurozone because it has morphed into a crisis of...

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Investing In Europe – Now the Risk/Reward Is Attractive

September 7, 2011
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Investing In Europe – Now the Risk/Reward Is Attractive

Yesterday, I reviewed the reasons why the Eurozone as a monetary union is a flawed construct and why the implications for a breakup are disastrous. I believe this is so much the case, that the odds of a Eurozone unwind are actually quite low. The breakup option is really the self-immolation option as all parties involved would come out dramatically worse off. Investing in the whole mess that is Europe, makes sense now, particularly for any investors who seek to be contrarians. A number of subtle, yet bullish items have come about and most importantly the markets are 30% cheaper relative to the spring. I’ve read a lot that Europe is “to be avoided” from an investment perspective and that the region is “un-ownable”. These types of comments generally...

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Greek Stock Market Surges on M&A

August 29, 2011
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Greek Stock Market Surges on M&A

The Greek stock market is having a melt-up this morning, with the largest gains in 20-years. The index as a whole is up 14%, which isn’t bad for those who managed to get long Greek equities on Friday. And for more adventurous and daring sorts, the Cypriot stock market is up 18.5% this morning; Cyprus is leveraged to Greece. The rally comes based on two of Greece’s largest banks (the 2nd and 3rd largest) agreeing to merge to bolster assets. EFG Eurobank Ergasias and Alpha Bank have commenced merger discussions and have been halted from trading. Cypriot banks rallied 20%+. The largest bank in Greece is National Bank of Greece – in case you were wondering (up 30% today). This is swell and all and I already sense what the cynics...

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Market Fears of a Recession in 2012

August 8, 2011
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Market Fears of a Recession in 2012

Well, the market clearly isn’t looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. Italian 10-YR bonds have surged, rallying 80 basis points (from a 6.09% yield on Friday to 5.29% yield today). Spanish 10-YR bonds have also surged, rallying 88 basis points (from a 6.03% yield on Friday to a 5.14% yield today). While we think this was the more important event over the weekend into Monday morning. The market is clearly on edge regarding the unintended consequence of the Standard & Poor’s sovereign debt downgrade. Standard & Poor’s also downgraded both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac based on dependence on the US Government. A number of insurance companies and municipal bond issues will also be downgraded. If the US sovereign rating is not AAA, than nothing...

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Chitaly – China to purchase Italian Sovereign Debt?

August 5, 2011
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Chitaly – China to purchase Italian Sovereign Debt?

Crackerjack continues to hold the view, that what transpired in the markets is a crisis of confidence, more so than an actual crisis. There is a big and important difference. During the real-deal 2008-2009 economic crisis you had actual insolvent institutions as the value of mortgage securities declined when the US housing market imploded. The sovereign debt crisis in Europe is also a real crisis as it relates to Greece, Portugal, and Ireland (these countries can never pay back what they borrowed) but these economies aren’t big enough to tip the world into a global recession. While Spain and Italy have numerous longer-term structural issues which need to be addressed, these nations have ample ability to pay their actual agreed upon debts so long as the interest costs are manageable. Italian...

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Fears of a Crisis Grow

August 4, 2011
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Fears of a Crisis Grow

Fears of a Crisis Grow Interesting market reactions this morning. While many market participants are clearly being terrorized by a crisis of confidence (and this is always a risk) there look to be some genuinely better pieces of information. Markets are selling off based on rhetoric from the ECB. As we discussed yesterday, the ECB needs to talk big to instill confidence that bond markets in Spain and Italy are not on the cusp of spiraling out of control. Jean-Claude Trichet, the ECB President, mentioned the ability to buy bonds (even today). At first this caused a rally, but the rally in Italian 10-YR yields quickly reversed. Italian 10-YR yields closed the day at a 6.21% yield (up 12 bps) after being below 6.0% at one point in the morning....

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Europe’s Debt Crisis – Impact on Markets

August 3, 2011
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Europe’s Debt Crisis – Impact on Markets

Click Here for Formatted Europe PDF “I think we need a bigger boat!” The words of Martin Brody, played by the late Roy Scheider, ring true today with regard to Europe’s spluttering attempt to avoid a sovereign debt crisis. Now that the side-show spectacle regarding raising the US debt ceiling (i.e., whether the US would self-immolate) has passed (for the near-term). The issue for the markets relates to two items: 1) The prospects for Europe avoiding a financial crisis 2) The outlook for the US economy It will take time and many more data points to determine whether we are headed for another recession (double dip) within the next 12-months. Crackerjack maintains a baseline view that we will not. The Genesis of this Crisis: The PIGS (an acronym for:...

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