lunedì 26 aprile 2010

La Grecia più rischiosa del Venezuela? Come riformare le agenzie di rating?

Nuovo picco dei rendimenti delle obbligazioni del governo greco: secondo il Financial Times oggi i rendimenti sulle obbligazioni con scadenza biennale hanno raggiunto il 12.71% con un balzo di 258 punti base. Lo spread sui bund raggiunge così il 12% (!) L'idea è che mentre a brevissimo termine un default possa essere escluso (se il FMI e l'UE si danno da fare....), ciò non sia vero già su una scala temporale di medio termine.
Se si guarda poi al mercato dei CDS secondo il Wall Street Journal

Investors now judge Greece to be at greater risk of default than Pakistan and Ukraine. Only Argentina and Venezuela command higher prices to insure against default.

Intanto quando gli analisti parlano di rischio contagio continuano a concentrarsi su Spagna, Portogallo e Irlanda, lasciando la nostra amata italietta fuori dai giochi (per ora). 

Continua il pressing della stampa sulle agenzie di rating: oggi è il turno dell'editoriale di Paul Krugman sul New York Times. Com'è nel suo stile non usa Krugman non usa giri di parole:

Let’s hear it for the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Its work on the financial crisis is increasingly looking like the 21st-century version of the Pecora hearings, which helped usher in New Deal-era financial regulation. In the past few days scandalous Wall Street e-mail messages released by the subcommittee have made headlines.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that most of the headlines were about the wrong e-mails. When Goldman Sachs employees bragged about the money they had made by shorting the housing market, it was ugly, but that didn’t amount to wrongdoing.
No, the e-mail messages you should be focusing on are the ones from employees at the credit rating agencies, which bestowed AAA ratings on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of dubious assets, nearly all of which have since turned out to be toxic waste. And no, that’s not hyperbole: of AAA-rated subprime-mortgage-backed securities issued in 2006, 93 percent — 93 percent! — have now been downgraded to junk status.
What those e-mails reveal is a deeply corrupt system. And it’s a system that financial reform, as currently proposed, wouldn’t fix.

Vi consiglio di leggere il resto dell'articolo che mi sembra molto chiaro e in gran parte condivisibile. Non mi convince però la proposta di riforma che viene indicata come esempio da  Krugman (il quale pure non sembra sostenerla con troppo entusiasmo):

The bill now before the Senate tries to do something about the rating agencies, but all in all it’s pretty weak on the subject. The only provision that might have teeth is one that would make it easier to sue rating agencies if they engaged in “knowing or reckless failure” to do the right thing. But that surely isn’t enough, given the money at stake — and the fact that Wall Street can afford to hire very, very good lawyers.What we really need is a fundamental change in the raters’ incentives. (...)
An example of what might work is a proposal by Matthew Richardson and Lawrence White of New York University. They suggest a system in which firms issuing bonds continue paying rating agencies to assess those bonds — but in which the Securities and Exchange Commission, not the issuing firm, determines which rating agency gets the business.
I’m not wedded to that particular proposal. But doing nothing isn’t an option. It’s comforting to pretend that the financial crisis was caused by nothing more than honest errors. But it wasn’t; it was, in large part, the result of a corrupt system. And the rating agencies were a big part of that corruption.

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