Posted by Larry Doyle on March 26th, 2013 7:51 AM |
With the news that the larger depositors (i.e, those accounts with greater than EU100,000) in Cypriot banks will bear the brunt of the burden of the bailout and bail-in, one would think this might incite fear and outrage amongst this crowd.
These depositors are being prepped to lose upwards of 40% of their holdings. Many of these depositors are known to be Russian businessmen.
Who knows what the future holds for the island nation of Cyprus, but if we were to believe some of what we read in the Financial Times this morning, the fear and angst expected within the Russian business community seems to be met with an amazing sense of equanimity. How so? (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on May 5th, 2010 8:20 AM |
With social unrest increasing in Greece, anxieties skyrocketing across the EU, and the Euro making new 12 month lows, the question begs as to whether this crisis within the EU can be contained. Is the EU, with the support of the IMF, willing to collectively underwrite the fiscal disaster currently focused within Greece? The German citizenry is showing very little appetite to subsidize this Greek tragedy.
While the EU’s political fortitude is a critical question, ultimately the reality of the mountainous debt levels must be faced. Global government stimulus has been able to mask, if not outright disguise, these debts for a period, but the debts themselves are not going away. How will the EU address this debt?
1. Devalue. That’s a given. It’s only a question of how and when.
2. Restructure. Look for more on this.
3. Default. Do not discount this reality. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on October 7th, 2009 12:44 PM |
Are all regions of the world improving? Will Asia lead the globe to greener pastures and brighter days? Well, if so, the trek through the fields will not be easy and we will encounter many storms along the way.
While Australia’s raising rates yesterday is an indication of an improving economy in that country, as one moves out of Asia into eastern Europe we encounter a decidedly different dynamic. Let’s revisit the ‘weakest link,’ that being Eastern Europe in general and the Baltic nation of Latvia specifically.
The Swedish krona and a range of eastern European currencies have tumbled as Latvia appears to edge closer to devaluing its currency.
In a re-run of the last major devaluation scare, Latvia failed to attract any bids for one of its treasury bill auctions earlier Wednesday. The country’s treasury received no bids for its offer to sell eight million lats ($16.7 million) of paper maturing in April 2010.
The poor auction results are the latest sign of economic stress in the Baltic nation, where the government is struggling to meet budget cuts required by the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and other bilateral lenders in return for aid.
The Swedish krona, linked to Latvia through Sweden’s large banking exposure to the country, tumbled as news of the failed auction emerged. The euro extended earlier gains to reach a peak at SEK10.3670 against the krona.
Meanwhile, Europe’s emerging market currencies, which often suffer from nerves over risk when Latvia’s problems intensify, also fell.
The euro soared to over HUF269 against the highly risk-sensitive Hungarian forint, from under HUF267 at the start of the day. The euro also swept to over PLN4.24 against the Polish zloty, from a low of PLN4.18.
The Turkish lira and, to a lesser degree, the Czech koruna, also weakened. The failed bond auction was “not good news,” said Nigel Rendell, a European emerging markets strategist at RBC Capital Markets in London.
“It has all the makings of the final chapter in the Latvian story,” he added. In credit markets, the cost of insuring Latvian sovereign debt against default continued to climb from recent levels, in a sign that investors are increasingly uncomfortable with the outlook for the country. Regional peers Lithuania and Estonia, which also peg their currencies to the euro, saw their swaps spreads widen.
Still, the debt and currency markets shouldn’t be overly troubled by Latvian devaluation risk, as the threat has been building for some time, and the global financial markets are now much more robust than they were several months ago.
“If they did devalue, there would be a selloff [in eastern European assets], but the impact would not be as severe as it would have been six to nine months ago,” said Mr. Rendell at RBC. “If we had big currency moves, I think people would buy them back,” he added.
Devaluation is also unlikely to catch the Swedish banks off guard. To brace for the potential onslaught of defaulting customers, both Swedbank AB and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB have set up Baltic units to deal with problem loans and seized collateral.
While officials may care to discount the impact of a full blown devaluation of the Latvian currency, the interconnectedness of the global markets has proven to be more of a risk propellant rather than a risk mitigant. How so? The use of derivatives across currency and credit markets has been shown to be as much speculative in nature as pure hedging. In fact, there certainly are market participants who will benefit by a Latvian devaluation.
Can that devaluation, if it does occur, be well contained?
I’ll be watching.
Related Sense on Cents Commentary
Let’s Cross the Pond and Revist the Weakest Link (May 23, 2009)
Posted by Larry Doyle on March 6th, 2009 9:03 PM |
Under pressure from Congress this week to release the names of AIG’s creditors, the Federal Reserve’s Vice Chairman Donald Kohn clearly got the message. The Fed has acquiesced in releasing that Top U.S., European Banks Got $50 Billion in AIG AID.
My immediate reaction to this news is how interesting that the bulk of these institutions are European. What does that tell me? These European banks were getting plowed by Wall Street with a lot of sub-prime backed CDOs and when the dam was breaking they wanted to hedge their position. Market speculation is that European institutions own twice the amount of toxic assets as U.S. based institutions. That exposure on top of their delinquent loans in eastern Europe is crushing a number of western European banks. Who are they? Start by looking at the list, included in the above-referenced article, of AIG creditors.
In providing the hedge – which is the insurance – AIG received a fat premium but has been paying for it ever since. Actually, AIG only truly paid for it up until last September . . . the American taxpayer has been and will continue to be paying for it for a long time. Where were the regulators when we really needed them?
Posted by Larry Doyle on March 3rd, 2009 6:10 AM |
In very short order, I have gained a deep respect and regard for our Economic All-Star, John Mauldin. I have come to appreciate that Mauldin and I view the market through the same lens focused on the global economy. While many media outlets focus on the day to day, if not hour to hour trading activity, I believe they are truly missing the forest for the trees.
While I have written twice over the last week about eastern Europe being the weakest link in the world of global finance, Mauldin and his colleague Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners provided insights and analysis that is numbing.
Why is George Soros short the euro? Let me provide a synopsis of Mauldin’s and Jensen’s “Europe On the Ropes.” Assuming those visiting Sense on Cents have an interest in the markets and economy, this piece is somewhat lengthy, but a MUST READ!! A link is provided at the end of my review. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on February 28th, 2009 10:13 AM |
Posted by Larry Doyle on February 27th, 2009 10:45 AM |
It is widely believed that the weakest link in the global economy centers on Eastern Europe. In light of that, the leaders of 12 eastern European countries are holding an emergency economic summit this weekend. From that summit, it is expected that these countries will request an international bailout.
As of now it appears the countries in greatest degree of stress are Hungary, Ukraine, and Serbia. The expectation is that the group of countries will request the European Union to arrange a $230 billion bailout package. Who would provide the funding? A conglomerate of European Central Banks, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, European Investment Bank, and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
A major issue for eastern Europe is that their creditors, largely western European banks along with western European countries, are not exactly in great shape themselves. These countries may look to accelerate their entry into the EU and the full adoption of the Euro along with it.
As the pressure and stress builds, the chance of political dislocation also grows.
For further details on how Hungary Seeks $230 Billion Bailout for Eastern Europe. I will be monitoring this situation as it develops. As our global economy is very much interconnected, the increase in sovereign credit risks is a very serious concern.