Today's EUR trading session which begins in about 4 hours, may be rather violent. While on one hand we have bond-negative news out of Spain, the biggest news once again comes out of the Swiss journal NZZ, which citing greek newspaper Kahtimerini, discloses that insolvent Greece has less than two months of cash left, or enough to last it until July 18, unless a new installment in the bailout tranche is approved for the country by the now headless IMF, and the suddenly insolvent ECB. Insolvent, because as Spiegel will report in its headline article tomorrow, and as we have noted many times before, the bank is "suddenly" finding itself lending out money collateralized by now virtually D-rated bonds: something not even Trichet will be able to spin off to the increasingly malevolent media. Per Dow Jones: "Skeleton risks amounting to several hundreds of billions of euros are on the balance sheet of the European Central Bank, magazine Der Spiegel writes in a preview of its edition to be published Monday. Those risks arise because banks, above all from Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, have provided as collateral asset-backed securities that are unfit for central bank loans as their debt rating is low or non-existent, the magazine says." Alas, the European central bank's dirty laundry is being exposed just as a rift between the bank and Germany: its most solvent backer, is starting to develop. Also from Dow Jones: "German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble cautioned in an interview published Sunday that there shouldn't be a conflict with the European Central Bank over a possible restructuring of Greek debt. "If in the end it should come to an extension of bonds, of course, we need the approval of the IMF and above all of the ECB. Under no circumstances should it come to a conflict with the ECB," Schaeuble told Bild am Sonntag. "I advise all of us to use restraint in public debates about this question."
Several ECB officials have rejected a restructuring of Greek debt and have warned of possible catastrophic consequences, while European finance ministers are slowly warming up to the possibility of some kind of restructuring as a last resort." Thus the crunch time for Europe's latest kick the can down the road round, once again centered on a bankrupt Greece, may be coming fast, and this time with a rather furious Germany.
If experts from the EU, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) do not give the go ahead for the next installment of the bailout package totaling 12 billion euros by the end of June give, then Greece will become insolvent on July 18, as the conservative Journal "Kathimerini" reported.
In the coming days Athens will fast track an aggressive privatization program. According to media reports, real estate should be taxed higher than before.
Further cuts in wages and pensions in the public sector and pensions are no longer excluded. In addition, state-run enterprises are privatized and will sell real estate, they said. The new savings program should be approved by parliament in early June.
Prime Minister Giorgos Papandreou noted in an interview with the Sunday edition of the newspaper "Ethnos" denying any form of debt restructuring. This would be no debate. Greece will repay all his debts, he said.
The head of the Euro Group, Jean-Claude Juncker, has proposed the privatization of state property Greece after the German model of trust. I would appreciate it if our Greek friends would start following the example of the German Treuhand privatization agency, a non-governmental, "Juncker said in an interview with the magazine" Der Spiegel ". This institution should be staffed with foreign experts. "The European Union will support the privatization program in the future as closely as we would conduct themselves," Juncker announced.
The potential revenue he estimated at "significantly more than the 50 billion proposed by the Greek government." The EU is also expected from Greece, "that the two major political groupings in the country put aside their petty disputes," said the euro-group leader: "Government and opposition parties should jointly declare that they are committed to the reform agreements with the EU . 'Only when Greece had consolidated its budget, one could initiate a "soft debt restructuring." Then we can consider to extend the maturities of public and private loans and interest rates lower, "said Juncker.
Heres what may happen after. The Telegraph.
What happens when Greece defaults. Here are a few things:
- - Every bank in Greece will instantly go insolvent.
- - The Greek government will nationalise every bank in Greece.
- - The Greek government will forbid withdrawals from Greek banks.
- - To prevent Greek depositors from rioting on the streets, Argentina-2002-style (when the Argentinian president had to flee by helicopter from the roof of the presidential palace to evade a mob of such depositors), the Greek government will declare a curfew, perhaps even general martial law.
- - Greece will redenominate all its debts into “New Drachmas” or whatever it calls the new currency (this is a classic ploy of countries defaulting)
- - The New Drachma will devalue by some 30-70 per cent (probably around 50 per cent, though perhaps more), effectively defaulting 0n 50 per cent or more of all Greek euro-denominated debts.
- - The Irish will, within a few days, walk away from the debts of its banking system.
- - The Portuguese government will wait to see whether there is chaos in Greece before deciding whether to default in turn.
- - A number of French and German banks will make sufficient losses that they no longer meet regulatory capital adequacy requirements.
- - The European Central Bank will become insolvent, given its very high exposure to Greek government debt, and to Greek banking sector and Irish banking sector debt.
- - The French and German governments will meet to decide whether (a) to recapitalise the ECB, or (b) to allow the ECB to print money to restore its solvency. (Because the ECB has relatively little foreign currency-denominated exposure, it could in principle print its way out, but this is forbidden by its founding charter. On the other hand, the EU Treaty explicitly, and in terms, forbids the form of bailouts used for Greece, Portugal and Ireland, but a little thing like their being blatantly illegal hasn’t prevented that from happening, so it’s not intrinsically obvious that its being illegal for the ECB to print its way out will prove much of a hurdle.)
- - They will recapitalise, and recapitalise their own banks, but declare an end to all bailouts.
- - There will be carnage in the market for Spanish banking sector bonds, as bondholders anticipate imposed debt-equity swaps.
- - This assumption will prove justified, as the Spaniards choose to over-ride the structure of current bond contracts in the Spanish banking sector, recapitalising a number of banks via debt-equity swaps.
- - Bondholders will take the Spanish Banking Sector to the European Court of Human Rights (and probably other courts, also), claiming violations of property rights. These cases won’t be heard for years. By the time they are finally heard, no-one will care.
- - Attention will turn to the British banks. Then we shall see…