domenica 31 luglio 2011

Il Chicken game dei repubblicani e dei democratici USA.

Cosa succede se il debito pubblico USA perde il rating AAA?

E se il congresso USA non si mette d'accordo per un innalzamento del tetto del debito pubblico
cosa faranno i mercati domani e nei giorni successivi?

Nell'immediato sembrano essere queste le due domande che più ossessionano i media e gli investitori mentre passano le ore del finesettimana più teso dal collasso di Lehman Brothers. Il Chicken game dei senatori USA
è irresponsabile: meglio James Dean allora

Ma le prospettive di breve-medio termine sono davvero poco incoraggianti, sia per l'economia USA (con un'alta probabilità di recessione alle porte) sia per quella europea (dove in molti vedono prepararsi una crisi bancaria di considerevoli dimensioni): qui sotto potete leggere un estratto dell'ultima lettera settimanale di John Mauldin, decisamente poco incoraggiante purtroppo....

...we could see a banking and credit crisis coming from Europe that might be worse than the subprime crisis. I noted that it was not just Greece, Ireland, and Portugal. Spain and Italy have their own share of problems, and the markets have taken their interest rates up by 1% in just the last month, just as a large rollover of debt is coming due.
We’d better stay with this Europe thing for a few minutes. A few weeks back, I talked about Italy and said I thought their debt was longer-duration, and so they might not go critical quite so fast. I got this note from London partner Niels Jensen, pointing out to me how wrong I was:
“Wrong! Italy average debt duration is in fact quite short, as illustrated in the chart below. Within Europe, only the UK has really long average debt duration (about 13 years). Most countries are averaging 5-7 years. Italy is no exception. Best, Niels.”

Then today I get this note from Bluemont Capital Advisors, written by Harald Malmgren, Global Economic Strategist, and Mark Stys, Chief Investment Officer. It is short but important, so I am going to quote it in full. Thanks, guys.

Escalating Eurozone Interbank Liquidity Crisis: Dollar-Euro Impact?

“Italian and Spanish interbank lending is freezing up. French Finance Ministry officials and banks have been in emergency meetings this week regarding Eurozone interbank market stress. IMF and EU officials are warning that France might also face downgrade if greater spending cuts are not made. Finance Ministry staff have been warned to be available 24/7 (irrespective of sacred August holidays!) as contagion may soon affect French banks and sovereign debt.
“In spite of last week’s Eurozone Summit agreement on Greece and EFSF ‘flexibility’, Italian and Spanish sovereign debt yields have resumed escalation this week. Moreover, the Italians had to cancel issuance of longer maturity debt as demand was insufficient. German Finance Minister Schauble damaged confidence Wednesday when he said the EFSF would not have a blank check to purchase Eurozone sovereign debt in the secondary market. “Eurozone banks’ primary holding of capital is in the form of Eurozone sovereign debt. It is obvious that the EFSF is not large enough to handle crises on the scale of Italian and Spanish sovereign debt. Schauble’s statement is interpreted as indicating precarious support within the German parliament for the recent Summit package for Greece and the EFSF, and that an increase in EFSF is unlikely. (Schauble is personally powerful within the CDU, so his statements most  likely carry more political weight than Merkel’s at present.)
“Meanwhile, US money market funds have been withdrawing from Eurozone bank commercial paper, leaving Eurozone banks with a big gap in availability of short-term funding and a severe shortage of dollars.
“In the background, the Fed has quietly advised the ECB and some other central banks that Congress has warned the Fed not to repeat the huge liquidity support to Europe and Asia that it provided in 2008. European officials believe the Fed would be less able to come to the rescue again with increased swap lines and direct loans to Eurozone banks, as it did post-Lehman.
“Thus, in parallel with the US debt ceiling uncertainties, the Eurozone appears to be entering into renewed crisis of breakdown in interbank trust and escalating borrowing costs for Italy and Spain, and maybe even France. Whatever happens with the US debt ceiling, attention will soon turn back to Eurozone sovereign debt problems and threats to the viability of Eurozone banks from debt contagion.
“It is increasingly possible that the ECB may not be able to function as lender of last resort on the scale required to cope with an interbank lending breakdown. It is also thus likely that the Eurozone will suffer a shortage of dollars for its interbank credit markets. Demand for dollars will likely escalate, while confidence in Eurozone financial institutions falls. This could force Eurozone banks to purchase dollars in the open market and drive the dollar higher.”
I made some similar points to the Senators about why the euro is going to parity – if it survives. 

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