“Time is running out fast,” said Mediobanca’s top analyst, Antonio Guglielmi, in a confidential client note. “The Italian macro situation has not improved over the last quarter, rather the contrary. Some 160 large corporates in Italy are now in special crisis administration.”The report warned that Italy will “inevitably end up in an EU bail-out request” over the next six months, unless it can count on low borrowing costs and a broader recovery.Emphasising the gravity of the situation, it compared the crisis with when the country was blown out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992 despite drastic austerity measures....“The European Central Bank needs to take very aggressive steps to offset this,” said Marchel Alexandrovich from Jefferies Fixed Income. “We have a sell-off across the board. If the ECB doesn’t act, it could see all the gains of the past nine months vanish in two weeks, taking the eurozone back to square one.”...“We have clear signs in global finance of a generalised meltdown in assets right now.”...Mediobanca said the trigger for a blow-up in Italy could be a bail-out crisis for Slovenia or an ugly turn of events in Argentina, which has close links to Italian business. “Argentina in particular worries us, as a new default seems likely.”Mr Guglielmi said Italy’s industrial output has slumped 25pc from its peak in the past decade, while disposable income has dropped 9pc and house sales have dropped to 1985 levels.The 1992 crisis was defused by a large devaluation, allowing Italy to restore trade competitiveness at a stroke. Mediobanca said: “The euro straitjacket is clearly not providing a similar currency flexibility today. With the lira devaluation Italy managed to inflate debt away, which it cannot do today. It could take more than 10 years to revert to pre-crisis output levels.
Everyone knows Europe is insolvent; the only question is "when" will Europe be forced to finally admit this truism. The long overdue house of cards may start toppling in as little as 6 months, as The Telegraph reports,Mediobanca's 'index of solvency risk' suggests "time is running out fast" for Italy. With the breakdown in Eurozone talks on a banking union and the Fed's shift in policy, Europe "has become a dangerous place," warns RBS. Unless Italy can count on low borrowing costs and a broad recovery, it will "inevitably end up in an EU bailout." The current situation is as bad as when the country was blown out of the ERM in 1992 as "the Italian macro situation has not improved...rather the contrary; with 160 large corporates in Italy now in special crisis administration." If the ECB doesn’t act, one analyst warns (pleads) it could see all the gains of the past nine months vanish in two weeks. Mediobanca said the trigger for a blow-up in Italy could be a bail-out crisis for Slovenia or an ugly turn of events in Argentina, which has close links to Italian business. "Argentina in particular worries us, as a new default seems likely."
Via The Telegraph,
From Caijing, google translated. We hope the gist of the narrative in Mandarin is far less scary, because if the translation is even remotely accurate, then all hell may be about to break loose in China.
From Caijing: Bank of China, Bank of suspension of transfers morning counters were unable to apply for online banking
Update: Customer service said, now silver futures transfer service has been fully suspended, online banking, the counter can not be handled, and now has the background system response, recovery time is not yet known
Following the ICBC, the Bank of China also go awry again. This morning, the Bank of China Bank moratorium on transfers, online banking, counters are inoperable.
10:00 many, many people began to receive messages sent to the Bank of China, "the end result of the Bank of China Bank failures, bank customers can not carry on through the Bank transfers, please Bank online banking, bank counter or use of other bank transfer system, Bank system will be restored promptly notify you." large number of transfer business banking needs of the people turned to online banking, counter, but according to the instructions of the public still found text messages can not handle.
Reporters call the BOC, customer service said, now silver has been fully suspended phase transfer services, online banking, the counter can not be handled, and now has the background system response, recovery time is not yet known.
As of 12:00, the Bank customer service said handle part of the user's online banking has been restored.
Just yesterday, 10:35, Shanghai and other places ICBC system failures, ATM machines, POS machines, online banking appeared paralyzed more than 50 minutes, all kinds of businesses can not properly handle.
The ICBC bank system failure comes trouble "money shortage", inevitably lead to speculation that many people guess the bank is not money.
To solve this problem, ICBC relevant person in charge told reporters that morning, business process slow, the analysis on the host software upgrade, emergency treatment, 11:27 various businesses all returned to normal.
As for speculation that the crash might be the last two days the inter-bank "money shortage" relevant, ICBC has denied
h/t Sean Corrigan
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) says banks have done their bit to help economic recovery and governments must do more.
The Basel-based organisation - usually dubbed the "central banks' central bank" says it is time for them to stop pumping funds into their economies.
Markets are already bracing themselves for a world without central bank help.
Last week the US central bank said it planned to stop pumping money into the economy, sparking market volatility.
In its annual report, the BIS said the world's central banks had done their bit to offset the worst effects of the six-year long global credit crisis.
As the credit crunch bit, central banks tried a number of tactics to try to keep the money flowing, initially cutting interest rates and later adding in quantitative easing, buying in assets and releasing vast sums into the banking system.
The BIS said it was now the turn of governments to oil the economic wheels.
It said this should be done through labour market reforms to increase productivity.
It said they should undertake a "forceful programme" of "repair and reform", as this was the only way to bring about a lasting economic revival.
It said: "Although six years have passed since the eruption of the global financial crisis, robust, self-sustaining growth still eludes the global economy.
"During this time, central banks in advanced economies have been forced to look for ways to increase their degree of accommodation. But central banks cannot solve the structural problems that are preventing a return to strong and sustainable growth."
The BIS said central bank action had borrowed "time for others to act, allowing them to repair balance sheets, to consolidate fiscal balances, and to enact reforms to restore productivity growth".
But Stephen Cecchetti, the head of the BIS monetary and economic department, said this had made it easy for the private sector to put off reforms and for governments to finance deficits more cheaply thanks to the low interest rates their actions had introduced.
Mr Cecchetti said central banks must return their focus to maintaining financial stability and encouraging reforms, rather than "retarding them with near-zero interest rates and purchases of ever larger quantities of government securities".
The BIS was founded in 1930 and is the world's oldest international financial institution.
Its 60-strong membership includes the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, the US Federal Reserve, the People's Bank of China and the Bank of Japan.
As we warned earlier in the week, Greece is notably missing its Troika goals and the issue just became a lot more critical. AsThe FT reports, the IMF is preparing to suspend aid payments to Greece over what it claims is a EUR 3-4 billion shortfall that has opened up. Between healthcare budget shortfalls, central banks refusing to roll-over Greek bonds, and amid signs that even the scaled-back privatization plans that Athens had agreed to being behind schedule, the IMF -following its own admissions of mistakes in the Greek bailout, has warned EU officials the shortfall will require it to stop aid payments by the end of July. The equity market is already reacting (as is EURJPY - EUR weakness against the big carry pair) to this re-awakening of EU event risk (and the awkward timing with Merkel's election so close) - with the Fed's comfort blanket somewhat removed.
Via The FT,
The International Monetary Fund is preparing to suspend aid payments to Greece by the end of next month unless eurozone leaders plug a €3bn-€4bn shortfall that has opened up in Greece’s €172bn rescue programme, according to officials involved in management of the bailout.The gap emerged after eurozone central banks refused to roll over Greek bonds they hold, and comes amid signs that even the scaled-back privatisation plan Athens agreed to last year is falling behind schedule....The shortfall will force eurozone finance ministers to discuss “alternate sources” of funding...But the timing is particularly awkward as Germany is holding parliamentary elections on September 22. In the run-up to polling day Chancellor Angela Merkel will be loath to submit any further aid request to the Bundestag where it would likely be highly controversial....the IMF has warned EU officials the gap will require it to stop aid payments at the end of July, said a person involved in the discussions.Under its rules, governments must have at least 12 months of financing in place to receive IMF disbursements under a bailout programme. This latest shortfall of €3bn-€4bn means that Greece’s financing needs are only covered up to the end of July 2014.
Contrary to what one may have read in the financial tabloids, a houseing market does not recover thanks to Fed-subsidzed REO-to-Rent loans used by the biggest private equity firms to buy up distressed property on the margin, by foreign oligrachs buying Manhattan triplexes sight unseen just to park 'tax-evaded' cash courtesy of the NAR's anti money-launderingexemption, and by foreclosure stuffing from the big banks desperate to subsidze the market higher before the sell into it. The recovery comes from the average consumer, who has disposable income and savings (in a hypothetical scenario of course) and who can buy houses based on a given monthly budget - a budget which must provide a better deal to own than to rent.
The problem with such a budget is that first and foremost its purchasing power is dependent on interest rates, and in an economy in which leverage is everything, rising rates mean a collapse in purchasing power. Here is a glimpse of what has happened to the mortgage rates in the past month alone: from Bloomberg's Jody Shenn:
Wells Fargo & Co., the largest U.S. mortgage lender, is offering 30-year fixed-rate loans at 4.5 percent, according to its website, up from 4.13 percent on June 18 and 3.88 percent on May 22, when comments by Bernanke to lawmakers and the release of the minutes of the last Fed meeting caused bonds to plummet. Freddie Mac’s survey, which is lagging behind the bond slump because it reflects originator responses through yesterday, showed average rates falling to 3.93 percent this week.
So in one month, the average 30 year fixed rate mortgage has jumped by over 60 basis points. What does this mean for net purchasing power? Well, as the chart below shows, assuming a $2000/month budget to be spent on amortizing a mortgage (or otherwise spent for rent), it means that suddenly instead of being able to afford a $425K house, the average consumer can buy a $395K house.
This means that, all else equal, housing just sustained a 7% drop in the average equlibrium price based on what buyers can afford.
But assuming the current selloff in rates continues, things are going to get much worse: we may be seeing 5%, 5.5% even 6% and higher mortgages in the immediate future.
It also means that a buyer who could previously afford a $506K house with a $2,000 monthly budget at an interest rate of 2.5% will be able to afford only $316K if and when the average 30 Year fixed hits 6.5%: a 40% drop in affordability based on just a 4% increase in interest rates!
And this is bullish for the economy?
Imminent US real estate market crash
- Lumber is near term low, which usually tracks with homebuilders. Very simple to understand, lumber is still primary material to build houses. Housing recovery built on faith
- Institutional players entered market such as BlackRock and JPMorgan (and many others) now exiting. Smart money getting out of stocks and real estate These new investor buyers have been artificially inflating the market in many areas.
- Fed policy – Fed will stop buying mortgage securities This will drive the cost of financing through the roof.
- Demographic shift, baby boomers retiring and new generation not buying more houses.
- Lack of foreign support – Due to a global tax witch hunt, and a European banking crisis, foreigners who previously supported US market will support to lesser extent
- Job crisis – while unemployment figures officially claim we have a job recovery, companies are laying off workers in record amounts. Unemployed people don’t buy houses. Workers who are laid off may have to sell their house.
- Bond market collapse – For those retirees who keep their money in bonds, with the pending bond market crash they will have less money to pay for their houses.
The following three minutes of absolute perfection uttered by CNBC's Rick Santelli is dangerous for anyone living in Kyle Bass' "intellectually dishonest" alter-world of denial and "unicorns and rainbows" as the Chicagoan goes off on theignorance of everyone in these so-called markets. When every talking head is bullish and the world is going so great that we should all "buy stocks," Santelli demands we ask Bernanke - "what are you scared of," that keeps you pumping this much money into the system for this long? Simply put, Santelli's epic rant is the filter that every investor (or member of the public) should be viewing financial media and the Fed today (or in fact every day).
On CNBC and all the channels that cover business, we have person after person after person, buy side, sell side, upside, downside:
- How is the economy? Economy is great.
- What about stocks? You got to buy them.
- What if they break? You have to buy the dips.
- What's wrong with the economy? I don't hear these people saying anything is wrong with the economy.So what's wrong, Ben? Why can't we get out of crisis management mode?There's always going to be something....Why don't these people kick the tires?They take a press release from the Federal Reserve and they think it was written by God.
One of Rick's most epic rants to date:
A new banking report is published today in the UK.
There are jobs that nobody wants to do really, aren’t there? As your kids are growing up, you hope they don’t ask you one day to come and sit down as they have something serious to talk to you about. Dread! You know what’s coming: “Hey, mom, dad, I’m…I’m going to be a…a banker!”. Then, your whole life falls apart. It’s like being on a par with gutting social-unacceptable jobs like debt-collector and bailiff, isn’t it? The money might be there, but the morals aren’t?
Well, George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer of the UK, has all eyes focused on him with the idea of the century, it seems. A banking commission headed by Conservative MP, Andrew Tyrie has made 80 recommendations to make the banking sector the place you want your kids to work in when they grow up. Morals will change and the banking will be a good job to have!
George Osborne is giving the Mansion-House (residence of the Lord Mayor of London) speech to the city tonight, an annual speech in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer traditionally gives his impression of the state of the British economy. It seems rather unlikely that he will announce some of the recommendations to the bankers that will be seated at the tables in front of him, however. Not unless he wants them to choke on the spicy ingredients that he have been concocted. These include making bankers wait up to ten years to receive bonuses and going to prison. Heard it all before? Thought it? Dreamt of it? The Report did it.
The report is a hefty two-volume reader’s digest of what to do and what not to do in the banking system, entitled “Changing Banking for Good”. Snazzy little tittle that can be read in two different ways as well. Well done Mr. Tyrie. Only a few pages into the report it states that past regulations and supervisory controls had:
- “little realistic prospect of effective enforcement action, even in many of the most flagrant cases of failure”.
It goes on to state that:
- “remuneration has incentivised misconduct and excessive risk-taking, reinforcing a culture where poor standards were often considered normal”.
To take out the excessive risk-taking from the lives of bankers in the workplace, the report puts forward the suggestion not only that the bankers should receive the bonuses after a period that could last up to ten years (now that’s time to forget what you have actually done to get the bonus, isn’t it?) but also that the remuneration be in bail-bonds. It also suggests that for wider cases of misconduct remuneration should be cancelled and that if the taxpayer has to foot the bill, then they should definitely not be made. We know from a recent report from the Chartered Institute of Personal Development also that the majority of bankers are in agreement. They think that they are paid excessive amounts and sometimes they don’t know why they get all the money they do. So, if we all agree, let’s cut the bonuses and improve regulation. What are we waiting for?
The report states that banks have failed the UK in ‘many respects’. £133 billion have had to be injected in bail-outs, amounting to £2, 000 per every person in the UK today. But, it seems that it is also the shareholders that have been let down too. They have had ‘poor long-term returns’.
Excessive risks that were taken in the period leading up to the financial crisis were not down to miscalculation of mathematical equations that boiled down to the bankers getting their sums wrong, but to the fact that the banks were and still are too big to fail. They are able to take greater risks because they are too complex and too enormous. We can’t let them fail and that they know only too well. It’s all very well saying ‘yes, let them fail and then they will see’. But, what will the average person be eating then? Bread and water will be more than just dietary supplements, they will become the staples. Banks today have access to cheaper credit. Their success is determined not so much by the careful and planned placing of financial equity, but the guarantee that lies steadfastly behind them.
The report clearly states that bankers should not flippantly refuse to accept that public anger at high salaries is purely jealousy-driven or petty ignorance. “Rewards have been paid for failure”. Bonuses may have fallen, although the report points out that this has been off-set by fixed-pay rises.
It has also been suggested that there needs to be greater equality in terms of employing women. Women take fewer risks traditionally on the trading floor and so the report asks for employment policy to be changed in banks.
Senior bankers have also come in for a belting from the report, accused of wearing blindfolds as to their responsibility. They are accused of being so far removed from the misconduct that they have ended up being admonished of all responsibility. The report suggests that a prison sentence would certainly make senior officials think about what is being done. The report states that it would “give pause for thought to the senior officers of UK banks”. However, to what extent would senior officials of any bank really consider their potential criminal liability? It also raises the question as to what extent it would be possible to actually see a conviction and criminal liability recognized in a court of law? Hard to prove.
The reports can be found here. Enjoy! If anything actually gets done. Previous suggestions were already ignored by the British government with regard to changes in the banking sector and the report states that it is “disappointed” that this has happened. Aren’t we all?
However, clearly the report states quite a few home truths; things that the average citizen has been feeling and voicing for many a year now. But, until now that has been largely left just as words from angry and jealous members of the public that also want to strike it rich and get paid for doing wrong. Now though, how long will the suggestions that have been made be ignored and how long will the Chancellor of the Exchequer be able to turn a deaf ear to what is being said? The report comes at a timely moment; Mr. Osborne looks like he may still have time to rectify his speech for tonight’s dinner!
The report states “An important lesson of history is that bankers, regulators and politicians alike repeatedly fail to learn the lessons of history”. This time it is (apparently) different. Bankers and everyone else have learned the lessons. Have they?