70% Of German Bonds Are No Longer Eligible For ECB Purchases

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Back in April of 2015, we warned that the biggest risk facing the ECB is running out of eligible securities which the central bank can monetize. Draghi’s recent launch of the CSPP, in which the ECB has been buying not only investment grade but also junk bonds, is an indirect confirmation of that. A direct one comes courtesy of a Bloomberg calculation according to which following a seventh straight week of gains in German bunds, the yields on securities of all maturities has plunged to unprecedented lows, which has left about $801 billion of debt out of the statutory reach of the European Central Bank.

As noted earlier, there is now $13 trillion of global negative-yielding debt. That compares with $11 trillion before the Brexit vote. The surge in sovereign debt since Britain’s vote to exit the European Union last month has pushed yields on about 70% of the securities in the $1.1-trillion Bloomberg Germany Sovereign Bond Index below the ECB’s -0.4% deposit rate, making them ineligible for the institution’s quantitative-easing program. For the euro area as a whole, the total rises to almost $2 trillion. Continue reading

Italy could need EU rescue within six months, warns Mediobanca

Italy is likely to need an EU rescue within six months as the country slides into deeper economic crisis and a credit crunch spreads to large companies, a top Italian bank has warned privately.

Mediobanca, Italy’s second biggest bank, said its “index of solvency risk” for Italy was already flashing warning signs as the worldwide bond rout continued into a second week, pushing up borrowing costs.

“Time is running out fast,” said Mediobanca’s top analyst, Antonio Guglielmi, in a confidential client note. “The Italian macro situation has not improved over the last quarter, rather the contrary. Some 160 large corporates in Italy are now in special crisis administration.” Continue reading

Clouds of crisis return to Europe

Europe’s brief respite from political and financial turmoil has come to an abrupt halt in the wake of a nerve-rattling Italian election, Britain’s loss of its cherished triple-A credit rating and troubling developments on other fronts.

On Monday, the euro fell to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in six weeks, but strengthened slightly against the British pound, which was shaken by the credit downgrade announced late Friday by Moody’s Investors Service. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost more ground in a single session that at any time since November. Italian bonds plunged and German bonds and U.S. Treasuries rallied, as nervous investors once again looked for safer harbours.

Two unlikely political hotheads – loudmouth comedian Beppe Grillo and Silvio Berlusconi, the aging schmoozer who never says die – turned the Italian election on its head, virtually guaranteeing that the country faces a period of political chaos. Continue reading