* * *
Less than 4 years ago, and shortly after his infamous “whatever it takes” threat to speculators, Mario Draghi responded to a question from Zero Hedge readers, saying “there is no Plan B” when it comes to contingency plans for a Eurozone nation leaving the monetary union. The reasoning was simple: the mere contemplation of such a scenario assigned a probability to its occurrence, which is why the ECB was desperate to give the impression that no matter what, Europe’s cohesion is unbreakable.
Fast forward four years later, when not only has this particular strategy been thoroughly rejected, but for the first time ever the head of the ECB provided a framework, vague as it may be, laying out what a Eurozone exit would look like.
In a letter to two Italian lawmakers in the European Parliament released on Friday, and first reported by Reuters, Mario Draghi implied that a country could leave the euro zone – so much for “No Plan B” – but first it would need to settle or debts with the bloc’s TARGET2 payments system before severing ties.
H/t reader squodgy:
“The vultures gather….”
It was a perfect gift to a desperate market. All that was needed was a gentle hint that Italy’s troubled banks and their bondholders might not be hung out to dry. A “public backstop” for Italy’s weakest lenders would be a “very useful” measure in these “exceptional times,” ECB President Mario Draghi said.
Most Italian and European bank stocks surged.
The ECB is the second member of the institutional triad formerly known as the Troika to have called for a taxpayer funded bailout of Italy’s banking system. Earlier this month the IMF used its article IV consultation – an annual economic and financial health check – to warn of “global spillovers” from a full-blown Italian banking crisis, “given Italy’s systemic weight.”
Full article here:
Thanks to the just released February diary of Fed chief Yellen, we now know exactly when she called Bank of England Governor (and former Goldman Sachs employee) Marc Carney and ECB President (and former Goldman Sachs employee) Mario Draghi.
Can you guess when?
* * *
The stock market has regained all of its loses year to date as economic indicators continue to flash red, corporate profits continue to plunge, consumers continue to spend less at retailers, real wages continue to fall, and housing sales continue to decline. The entire dead cat bounce has been generated through corporate stock buybacks, Wall Street lemmings trying to make up for their terrible year to date investing performance, and central bankers who will stop at nothing to verbally manipulate markets higher – since their monetary machinations over the last seven years have been a miserable failure in reviving the real economy.
As John Hussman points out, the market is poised to deliver nothing over the next decade, with a 40% to 55% “dip” in the foreseeable future. I wonder how many barely sentient, iGadget addicted, non-questioning, normalcy bias dependent zombies are prepared for a third Federal Reserve generated market collapse in the last 15 years?
Having discussed the market’s disturbing reaction to Mario Draghi’s desperate “all in” monetary gamble – one which saw an early bout of euphoria followed by one of the most aggressive Euro spikes in history, second only to the “December debacle” and the Fed’s March 2009 announcement of QE1, we were waiting for the just as important reaction by the ECB’s nemesis: the one country that not only has seen hyperinflation first hand (and appears to recall it vividly), but is just as aware where the ECB’s monetary lunacy ends: the Germans.
We got it from Germany’s Handelsblatt, when in an article titled “The dangerous game with the money of the German savers”, the authors provide a metaphorical rendering of what is happening in Europe as follows:
They also paint an oddly accurate caricature of the man behind this last ditch monetary policy:
And write the following:
A determined ECB chief Mario Draghi plows ahead with his negative interest rate policy. The positive effects on the economy are low. Great, however, are the risks: this is the greatest redistribution of wealth in Europe since World War II.
Well, the people wanted a “bazooka-sized” surprise from Draghi, and they got it.
Moments ago the ECB announced not only a 10 bps cut to the deposit rate expected pushing it to -40%, but also announced a 5 bp rate cut to the refinance (pushing it to 0.00%) and the marginal lending rate (now at 0.25%), and also boosted QE by €20bn to €80 billion per month, the addition of afour new targeted TLTROs each with a maturity of 4 years, but the most surprising announcement was that the ECB would also for the first time include investment grade euro-denominated bonds issued by non-bank corporations along the list of assets that are eligible for regular purchases.
In other words, Draghi finally delivered his bazooka.
Today’s current inflation data dump from across the European nations appears to confirm forward inflation expectations trend (plumbing new record lows). With a considerably bigger than expected decline in prices , pushing Germany, Spain, and France back into deflation, pressure is mounting on Mr.Draghi. As one EU economist exclaimed, “the data send a clear message to the ECB and the only question that remains now is how bold action would be.”
Save us Mario from spending less on the things we need…
* * *
“The conditions in the economies of the rest of the world have undoubtedly proved weaker compared with a few months ago, in particular in the emerging economies. Global growth forecasts have been revised downwards. This slowdown is probably not temporary.”
Undoubtedly, the most amusing this about the prospect of more easing from the ECB (as telegraphed by Mario Draghi last week) and the BoJ (where Haruhiko Kuroda just jeopardized his status as monetary madman par excellence by failing to expand stimulus) is that both Europe and Japan both recently slid back into deflation despite trillions in central bank asset purchases.
In other words, the market expects both Draghi and Kuroda to double- and triple- down on policies that clearly aren’t working when it comes to altering inflation expectations and/or boosting aggregate demand. Indeed, both Goldman and BofAML said as much last week. For those who missed it, here’s Goldman’s take
Now that Mario Draghi has telegraphed more easing from the ECB come December, the question is what exactly the bank will announce. Will Draghi cut the depo rate further into negative territory? How long into 2017 will PSPP be extended? Given the scarcity of purchasable paper, will the ECB expand the universe of eligible assets and if so, will Draghi go full-Kuroda knowing full well that you never, ever go full-Kuroda?