Posts Tagged ‘Kingdom Of Spain’
Sunday, August 5th, 2012
From Grant Williams’ latest Things That Make you Go Hmmm
Remember late-2010? When Spain wasn’t a problem, but merely a potential problem? I do:
(FT, November 17, 2010): For some of the world’s biggest hedge funds, typically regarded as the savviest traders in the market, there is now one big question facing the eurozone: what is going to happen to Spain?
While Europe’s politicians are grappling with the crisis unravelling in Ireland, hedge fund managers are already turning their attention to the issue of how – and if – a peripheral crisis in Ireland could leap via Portugal and Spain to become a systemic crisis for the eurozone as a whole.
“The Irish problem will be contained,” says Guillaume Fonkenell, chief investment officer at Pharo, one of Europe’s biggest and most successful macro funds, which specialises in trading on macroeconomic events and trends. “For us contagion is the issue … If the market loses confidence in Spain, then all bets are off. Spain is too big to bail.”…
Back then, the general opinion was that if the contagion spread to Spain the game was over because there wasn’t enough money with which to bail out an economy the size of The Kingdom of Spain. I’m not sure exactly what happened— maybe I wasn’t paying attention—but suddenly, almost two years on and in an environment where even the rich nations of Europe are seeing an undeniable slide towards recession, there is no talk about Spain being ‘too-big-to-bail’ anymore.
Did somebody repeal the laws of mathematics?
Presumably, if the contagion reaches Italy that would be OK too now, I guess.
As it first hit the headlines as a potential problem, Spain made a presentation to potential investors that highlighted how strong the country actually was despite the conjecture amongst market participants. The presentation is highly educational and can be found in full HERE, but as a taster, here’s one particular slide that caught my eye:
Oh, to hell with it… here’s another:
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Tags: Bets, Chief Investment Officer, Conjecture, Contagion, Enough Money, Eurozone, Grant Williams, Guillaume, Hedge Fund Managers, Hedge Funds, Kingdom Of Spain, Macroeconomic Events, Market Participants, Mathematics, Paying Attention, Pharo, Politicians, Recession, Systemic Crisis, Taster
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Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
One Sided Balance Sheets
I’m seeing a lot of negative headlines about how much more debt Spain is adding. How much subordination there is going to be for existing creditors. That is in spite of a lack of detail. I’m not here to cheerlead this deal, but at the same time, falling prey to the easy headlines is dangerous.
No one seems to be talking about the “asset” side of this program. The FROB will borrow money and it will buy assets. The proceeds from either repayment or sale of those assets would be used to pay back FROB’s borrowing. If everything FROB buys is worthless, than yes, the Kingdom of Spain will owe a lot of money under those guarantees. If the FROB made great investments, all the debt could be repaid by the investment and no claim ever made under the guarantee.
Once again, the answer is likely to be in between. The U.S. has done okay on TARP. Since the U.S. forced some of the better banks to take on money, the recovery/repayment rate is artificially high but at least worth looking at. The IMF involvement is a good sign here. If Spain was completely in control of investing FROB’s money, I would quickly assume the assets would wind up with no value. That might be unfair to Spain, but I would not for a second trust them to make decent investments with the FROB money. The IMF, I will grudgingly admit, does seem to actually try and run numbers and make sane decisions. They seem less likely to lose all the FROB money.
When I see everyone talking about all the great points of the deal, I will reconsider my view, but right now, I see simple headlines and negative reactions to those simplistic headlines. I don’t see this deal as a game changer on its own, but I don’t think it is as bad as some are pitching it right now, and more importantly, am very scared as a potential bear that there are more ideas and programs in the global pipeline.
Solvency and Liquidity are usually two different concepts.
A “liquidity” problem is when a solid borrower who for some reason cannot get access to money at a particular point in time. There is usually some reason that the company cannot borrow, and it has less to do with the creditworthiness of the borrower than on the market as a whole.
A “solvency” problem is when a creditor is so weak, overleveraged, that they have no way to borrow because they are on the verge of default.
Typically those two situations are different. If some entity tried to address a solvency problem by lending more and more, they could do that, but eventually they would run out of money as the market would stop lending to them. If A is a horrible credit, B can choose to lend to B so long as B has money. If B is willing to lend cheaply and in ever increasing size, A can continue to avoid default. It is the doubling down on an unlimited table theory in blackjack. In the real world, B will start having trouble getting money to lend to A because its creditors will see how stupid it is behaving. That mechanism is what separates solvency from liquidity.
What happens when the lender can print its own limitless supply of money? If you can print money and are willing to continue to print money you can use liquidity to avoid solvency for a very long time. I don’t condone that. I think it is horrible in the long run. I think we should have let more entities go bankrupt, starting with Bear Stearns back in 2008, and Greece in 2010, but for whatever reason the politicians have been petrified to do that.
Will they finally step up and let failure and bloated balance sheets run their course? I hope so, but I doubt it. I think we will see more activity, and for all the talk that you can’t solve a solvency issue with liquidity, you are right, but sadly a lender with virtually unlimited access to cheap money (since he prints it) can provide enough liquidity to address solvency for a long time. The end result is likely to be ugly, but that doesn’t mean the central bankers won’t try.
Tags: Assets, Balance Sheet, Balance Sheets, Creditors, Different Concepts, Frob, Global Pipeline, Guarantees, Imf Involvement, Kingdom Of Spain, Liquidi, liquidity, Negative Headlines, Prey, Proceeds, Repayment Rate, Solvency, Spite, Subordination, Tarp
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