greece

When Hedge Funds Trump Governments

vultureWhile Greece suffers to the point of revolution and suicide, hedge funds made out like bandits on Greek sovereign debt.

Greece had reached its target of buying back enough bonds at a discount to retire 21 billion euros, or about $27 billion, of its debt. The bigger winners, though, were hedge funds, which pocketed higher profits than many had expected, in yet another Greek bailout financed by European taxpayers.

To some experts, this latest chapter in the long-running Greek drama is another reminder of how private investors have managed to outmaneuver European officials at various stages of the debt crisis. And they caution that each time it happens, future debt workouts in the euro zone will become even more costly.

When Europe wanted to give the Greek bond holders a hair cut, the hedge funds threatened collective action against a host of European countries. They wouldn't buy any European sovereign bonds in retaliation against the Eurogroup taking a hard line against them.

The warning was blunt: If Athens set off legal mechanisms in the bond contracts known as collective action clauses, forcing bondholders to accept lower prices, investors would stop buying the bonds of struggling European countries. That would be bad news for Spain and Italy — to say nothing of Portugal and Ireland when they return to global bond markets in 2013.

The Never Ending European Implosion Update

eurozoneSpain today was suddenly imploding. We should say suddenly with a bit of sarcasm, after all, we've been watching Europe put their fingers in the never ending European financial dike for years now.

What happened was Germany has demanded Spain be liable for their loans, 100% from last month's Spanish bail out.

The German Bundestag voted Thursday to approve the $122 billion banking bailout, but only if the Spanish government accepted full liability for the loans. “There will be no direct bank financing,” said Volker Kauder, head of the Christian Democratic delegation in the Bundestag.

Truth be told this is just another day in the adventures of Eurozone financial crises. U.S. Treasury bonds are hitting record lows as a mass exodus from Europe seeks safe assets.

U.S. Treasuries yields fell to new record lows on Monday as concern that the euro zone's debt crisis is spiraling out of control led investors to seek out the relative safety of U.S. debt.

Germany and U.K. bonds yields are also hitting record lows as the flight to safe haven continues.

More Austerity and Bail Outs for Greece as Conservative Party Wins Election

greeceGreece is in turmoil. Austerity demands and debt have ravaged the nation. In spite of this, the pro bail-out and corresponding austerity political party just won the election:

The pro-bailout New Democracy party came in first Sunday in Greece's national election and could gather enough support to form a pro-bailout coalition to keep the country in the eurozone.

The world's eyes have been on Greece and their elections. The reason is one party wanted to default and leave the Eurozone. The two main parties are the New Democracy and the Syriza. The New Democracy party are the conservatives and support the European bail outs, austerity demands and want to stick with the EU and the Euro. The left Syriza wants to default, get out of those austerity demands and leave the Eurozone.

Most are reporting the New Democratic Party of Greece can form a parliamentary coalition.

The euro strengthened as official projections showed Greece’s two largest pro-bailout parties winning enough seats to forge a parliamentary majority, easing concern the country would be forced from the currency bloc.

European Sovereign Debt Crisis - How Did This Happen?

piigsWith Spain now getting a bail out all to pump up their insolvent banks, one might wonder how did we get here in the first place?

We actually are on the precipice, with a key critical Geek vote on whether or not they will default on their international bail out. Sitting on the edge of a cliff, a review of the European sovereign debt crisis and how we got here is at hand.

What the hell happened is complicated. Greece is not the same as Ireland, nor is Spain the same as Greece. Ireland's sovereign debt crisis was the direct result of their financial crisis. Greece, on the other hand, had long standing structural problems with their economy. Nor are their economies the same although treating them as such originally was part of the problem.

The St. Louis Federal Reserve Research Director Christopher Waller gave a presentation on the the European Debt Crisis. The entire May 8th, 2012 lecture is below. The focus is on debt to GDP ratios, the European Union and interest rates for sovereign bonds. We learn about the European Union's major financial structural problems versus how exactly the debt happened. There are plenty of specifics and this lecture is concise, accurate in it's scope. If you don't understand European Sovereign Debt fundamentals, watch this lecture in full and you will.

Embattled Euro Zone Hunts for Plan B

europestormSpain is desperate, pleading and begging for help. Literally Spain said it does not have access to markets to refinance their debt. This is after the G7 decided to do nothing.

Spain said on Tuesday it was losing access to credit markets and Europe should help revive its banks, as finance chiefs of the Group of Seven major economies conferred on the currency bloc's worsening debt crisis but took no joint action.

Treasury Minister Cristobal Montoro sent out a dramatic distress signal about the impact of his country's banking crisis on government borrowing, saying that at current rates, financial markets were effectively off limits to Spain.

"The risk premium says Spain doesn't have the market door open," Montoro said on Onda Cero radio. "The risk premium says that as a state we have a problem in accessing markets, when we need to refinance our debt."

Now Spain is up against it, testing the market with a bond sale, all in hope of avoiding a bail out, with all of the austerity demands that come with one.

Spain will try to raise between one and two billion euros in bonds on Thursday, a crucial yet cautious test of Madrid's ability to tap investors after a minister said the country was being cut off from the markets.

The Never Ending European Financial Crisis

greekdominoesLast Friday we saw horror headlines from Societe Generale.

Euro zone stocks could plummet up to 50 percent if Greece makes a disorderly exit from the euro zone.

Additionally it was proclaimed bank runs have started in Europe.

A bank run is now happening within the eurozone. So far it has been relatively slow and prolonged, but it is a run nonetheless. And last week, it showed signs of accelerating sharply, in a way which demands an urgent response from policy-makers.

Right now the ECB is pressuring the Euro Zone to come up with deposit guarantee scheme to stop depositors from existing the Euro and various European banks:

Now investors are worried about the contagion effect a Greek exit from the euro zone could have on savers in other countries.

"Preventing bank runs in Italy, Spain and Portugal should be the top priority," said Berenberg Bank economist Holger Schmieding. "Policymakers need to make sure that the potential Greek precedent of a forced conversion of domestic euro deposits into a weak new currency would not spark a run on banks ... elsewhere."

The ECB is pressing the euro zone to set up a fund that would prevent this dangerous ripple effect, a message reinforced by ECB policymaker Joerg Asmussen last week.

Saturday Reads Around the Internets - Swear Words Are Now Appropriate

shocknews Welcome to the weekly roundup of great articles, facts and figures. These are the weekly finds that made our eyes pop.

 

Corporations Park Over 60% of Their Cash Offshore

Large multinationals literally park 60% of their cash offshore. Don't let these facts argue for a corporate tax holiday. Cash would just be distributed to shareholders, not used to hire American workers or invest in America.

Large U.S. companies are holding at least 60% of their cash overseas with some keeping nearly all of their cash balances offshore, according to a study from J.P.Morgan accounting analysts published Wednesday.

In a review of disclosures, the bank’s analysts found that out of the $974 billion in cash on the balance sheets of 602 U.S. multinationals, at least $588 billion, or 60%, is sitting in foreign accounts.

“Foreign subsidiaries are becoming much more important in a lot of businesses, especially with companies that have substantial amounts of intellectual property,” JP Morgan accounting analyst Dane Mott told CFO Journal, noting that many of the companies with significant overseas cash stockpiles were in the technology and pharmaceutical industries.

J.P. Morgan found that Apple had the highest offshore corporate cash balance, with $74 billion held overseas, representing 67% of its total cash holdings. But as a percentage of total cash, J.P. Morgan said the company had a smaller amount sitting offshore than many of its tech rivals, including Microsoft, Cisco, and Hewlett-Packard, which had 89% or more of their cash overseas.

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