Running (almost) on Empty

10 marzo 2011 fabio scacciavillani

While attention is focused on the domino effect in the Southern Shore of the Mediterranean Sea, another domino piece in a different game is about to fall on the Northern Shore. At yesterday's auction for 1 billion euro Portuguese 2 year bonds the average interest rate was almost 6%. Meanwhile the 5 year rate is above 7.6%. A simple spreadsheet shows that if the current interest rates do not fall substantially Portugal's situation is unsustainable, i.e. the debt to GDP ratio will keep climbing relentlessly.

The fiscal crisis in Portugal seems to have reached a critical juncture. As most observers have been warning, it is only a matter of time before Portugal defaults or, to be precise, is forced to request an IMF/EU bail out. That moment seems to be approaching fast, despite a stubborn refusal by the Portuguese government to resort to outside help (which, by the way, has already materialized in the form of purchases by the ECB of Portuguese bonds on secondary markets).

On March 2, S&P warned sternly that if Portugal's sources of external financing remain so feeble, the country will be forced to request a rescue package from the EU/IMF. The ratings agency was also adamant that a downgrade for Portugal is on the cards. With the Greek debt placed by Moody’s in “high speculative territory” three days ago,  Spain's debt downgraded again this morning, Portugal’s debt credit review already announced by Moody’s (expected to be completed by March 21) will not be benign. Moreover all three major ratings agencies have Portugal on negative outlook.

EU officials have already drafted a rescue package, in the expectation that Portugal is unlikely to find enough funds on the market beyond April 2011 at rates that are compatible with long term solvency. Yields on 10-year Portuguese government bonds are above 7.5% despite the ECB intervention and its “moral suasion” exerted on major investment banks not to take short positions on peripheral countries' debt. Yesterday's auction of € 1 billion 2-year bonds by Portugal adds to concerns given the average rate was just short of 6%, up from 4.1% for a similar bond issue on Sep. 8th. But this was just the appetizer for the next large redemptions of 10 year bonds in April and June (see the graph in Fig. 1 below).

The Portuguese government refuses to request an IMF/EU program. This is exactly the stubborn course of action already adopted in vain by Greece and Ireland (and countless countries before them). Waiting until the last second carries substantial risks of market disruption and imposes a higher cost to the domestic economy, which could be mitigated by an orderly approach. Besides, the 2011 budget does not provide any forecasts on key fiscal variables (nor the assumptions on debt service) beyond 2011, so the medium term framework is left to the imagination, rather than actual provisions. The most recent three-year forecast by the Portuguese authorities dates back to last spring when they presented to the EU authorities their Stability and Growth Program 2010-2013. The assumptions underlying that document are by now largely irrelevant.

 

What the Portuguese authorities do not seem to realize is that Portuguese bond prices are artificailly boosted by expectations that if the large redemptions due in April and June run into difficulties, the international organizations will step in with emergency funds. Paradoxically then, the Portuguese debt benefits from the fact that markets do not take seriously the government’s refusal to resort to the IMF/EU.

 

Simple Debt Arithmetic

The debt is sustainable if the sum of the primary government balance (i.e. net of interests) as a percentage of GDP plus the nominal GDP growth rate, is lower than the debt service i.e. in symbols,

i < pb + gdp

Current interest rates on medium term maturities are well above 7% and would be much higher if the ECB did not intervene heavily to sustain Portuguese government bond prices and if the markets were not confident that in case of default the IMF and the EU have already in the coffer enough money for an immediate bail out. As a matter of comparison the Greek 10-year debt yields  more than 12% despite the IMF/EU support.

The spreadsheet depicts three scenarios: one, in the blue cells, is the combination of the Portuguese figures contained in the 2011 budget and the IMF World Economic Outlook projections (the interest rate assumptions for the WEO are not disclosed so I had to guess a profile that was consistent with the other series). The second, in the orange cells, is the scenario in which interest rates remain above 7% for the foreseeable future; by changing the assumptions on the relevant variables you can design your own scenario. The third scenario on the right hand side table refers to the Portuguese government's assumptions contained in the 2010-2013 Stability and Growth Pact program presented in March 2010 (which I just projected for an additional year).  This graph summarizes the results with the green line representing the SPG forecast exercise.

Even assuming a primary deficit of 2%, interest rates slowly coming down (which is unlikely) and a gradual recovery despite the fiscal tightening, the debt to GDP ratio will not stabilize (orange and blue lines). The trajectory of the debt points upward. So at some point the investors will demand an interest rate so high that that it will de facto force Portugal into default. Hence the likely showdown on the markets will take place before April when a large stock of bonds is expiring (see graph below). So far the Portuguese debt rollover has involved mostly short term paper which investors have been willing to refinance because of the short term exposure to risk. and because the ECB accepts them as collateral in the weekly repo liquidity operations. For longer maturities (which extend beyond the expiration of the ESFS (the EU guarantee scheme) in 2013, investors will be much less eager, given that the German government, which will be the main contributor to any EU funding facility, has been explicitly envisaging that bondholders share the pain of any bailout.

 

Fig. 1 - Maturity of the Portuguese bank and government debt

Source: Bloomberg

The significance of a Portuguese downfall goes beyond the size of the country and has systemic implications. Support for Portugal will more or less absorb most of the residual ESFS funds so that there will be no significant line of defense left for other emergencies.

So the Portuguese woes are likely to re-ignite the political squabble within the EU between Germany and its close partners (Austria, Netherlands, Luxembourg, etc.) which demand draconian fiscal austerity and the peripheral countries which are pushing for the creation of some form of Federal European Debt Agency.

Over the next few weeks bond markets are bracing themselves for another storm over Euroland especially in view of the next European Council on March 24-25 where the decision on the EU fiscal arrangement and crisis management framework must be taken. The euro might come under renewed strain and the ECB will be compelled to intervene to support the banking system with liquidity injections and government bonds purchases on the secondary market. It is doubtful that the interest rate hike (ventilated by Trichet in his press conference and confirmed forcefully by Weber) will take place in April. In an environment already nervous for the oil market pressures and the political uncertainty in the Arab world, the impending crisis in Europe is developing at the worst possible moment. That's why it should be pre-empted.

36 commenti (espandi tutti)

anche l'asta del Tesoro Italiano di stamattina deve avere riservato qualche preoccupazione a Tremonti

sono infatti stati piazzati 7.5 miliardi di BOT a un anno ad un tasso dell'1,536% da una richiesta  di 10,7 miliardi ( +43% rispetto all'assegnato )

lo scorso febbraio furono piazzati sempre 7.5 miliardi di BOT a un anno ad un tasso dell'1,329% da una richiesta di 12,3 miliardi ( +64% rispetto all'assegnato )

se vogliamo poi fare lo stesso paragone temporale con il Portogallo lo scorso settembre furono piazzati 7.0 miliardi di BOT a un anno ad un tasso dello 0,862% da una richiesta  di 13,3 miliardi ( +90% rispetto all'assegnato )

Si vedrà domani l'asta dei BTP a 5 anni ( 2-3 miliardi ) e a 15 ( 1-2 miliardi )

Per quanto concerne la sostenibilità dovremmo avere avuto avanzo primario intorno a 0% e crescita a prezzi di mercato intorno al 3,4% ( 1,3% crescita - 2,1% inflazione ) e gli interessi pagati sul debito sono 3,9%-4,0%

Si vedrà domani l'asta dei BTP a 5 anni ( 2-3 miliardi ) e a 15 ( 1-2 miliardi )

sospiro di sollievo

BTP a 5 anni 3,90% , 3,77% il mese scorso

BTP a 15 anni 5,34% , come giugno - luglio dello scorso anno

Non credo che Trichet alzerà i tassi.

Da quel che ricordo dai miei studi passati di economia, intervenire sui tassi per contenere inflazione generata da incremento di prezzi di materie prime, non è molto efficace (se ho detto una castroneria siate clementi, gli studi risalgono a lustri fa). Se vuol farlo è per evidenti esigenze tedesche, ma così facendo affoga i pigs.

Credo che la ristrutturazione si avvicini a grandi passi.

Mahhh...questa teoria secondo cui il livello dei prezzi è determinato dal livello dei prezzi (delle materie prime) mi sembra un po' circolare, 'na castroneria da manuale di Bernakkio-Tricheco. Hanno stampato come ossessi, continuano a stampare come dementi e stamperanno sempre da politicanti quali sono, è l'unica cretinata che sanno fare. Quando arriverà l'iperinflazione diranno che sono gli speculatori o l'esuberanza irrazionale, un fallimento del mercato

A dire il vero la posizione che prevale oggi tra  i banchieri centrali e' che al primo segnale di aumento dell'inflazione permanente (e su cosa signiifca permanente si potrebbe discutere a lungo) bisogna alzare i tassi anche se l'aumento dei prezzi deriva da uno shock esterno come il prezzo del petrolio su cui la politica monetaria non ha alcun effetto. Il motivo addotto e' che le aspettative  di inflazione altrimenti si solidificano nel sistema economico e l'inflazione si autoperpetua.

Personalmente questo modo di ragionare non mi trova d'accordo, anzi lo trovo abbastanza ridicolo. Ma e' il modo di ragionare  che prevale nel Consiglio Direttivo della BCE sin dall'inizio (quando io lavoravo all'Eurotower). 

Treconti ha portato il videogame ad AnnoZero e sta facendo una partita con Santoro!

Treconti ha portato il videogame ad AnnoZero e sta facendo una partita con Santoro!

Interessante la quantità di cialtroni presenti stasera. Scalfari e Bertinotti possono insidiare Tremonti e vincere il videogame.

punto di accumulazione di parolai , è una bella gara

ci metterei anche Flebuccio e salverei il giovane imprenditore cinese

bertinotti: "bisogna nazionalizzare le banche"

Voltremont:" e allora ti dico che prima o dopo arriverà anche quel momento"

Santoro: "ma come il governo delle liberalizzazioni che vuole nazionalizzare le banche"

V. :" Santoro non dica pirlate"

V. :" Santoro non dica pirlate, dove l'ha visto lei il governo delle liberalizzazioni?"

 

buone mutande di ferro a tutti

The winner is: Tremonti.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HPVkvGy6uA

Adoro l'asse che comincia a disegnare dal minuto 1:15. Dadaismo allo stato puro. Rivedrei questo pezzo per ore.

e Bertinotti angosciato all'angolo che vede , minuto dopo minuto , vacillare la sua posizione , conquistata in anni di dure chiacchere , di parolaio nazionale

Quella sulla China è stata davvero eclatante...tanto per, una mia amica ha "lavorato" (modella) in questi ultimi 2-3 mesi e ...beh..diciamo che tutto i lsuperfluo era bloccato per le festività (infatti lei ha fatto poco o niente..). 

 

 

La cosa che mi preoccupa di più però è che oggi la mia prof di Economia e Politica Monetaria oggi ha lezione ha rimproverato chi non ha guardato Annozero in quanto è stata un'importante lezione di economia.....

Monsieur de La Palisse in arte Tremonti: "su quello che ... accadra' sono piu' ipotesi che dati".

 

Slide 18. Il tesoro portoghese fa questa simulazione: l'idea è che ci va tempo (quanto, ovviamente, dipende da ciò che accadrà), perchè i rate attuali si scarichino sull'intero stock,

 

"In a simulation assuming a very extreme scenario of very high funding costs going forward – 4% on the rollover of the entire T-bill programme and 7% on all bond issuance - Portugal would still have an implicit funding cost below 5% by 2013. This evidences that the country's public finances are quite resilient to the current excessive risk premium on Portuguese debt". 

 

http://www.igcp.pt/fotos/editor2/2011/Apresentacao_Investidores/01IGCP_I...

Il 4% mi sembra un abbastanza ottimistico,  visto che i titoli a due anni hanno raggiunto un rendimento del 6%.

Di solito prima della fase acuta della crisi la maturita' del debito tende a ridursi perche' gli investitori sono riluttanti ad accettare il rischio di scadenze troppo lunghe e poi quando una frazione rilevante del debito e' in titoli a breve, basta un evento negativo, o uno shock, per far precipitare la situazione.

Chissa' poi qual e' il 'very extreme scenario'. I titoli greci nonostante il piano del FMI e l'EFSF rendono oltre il 12%. E' abbastanza 'extreme'?

E Tremonti la mena con il recupero dell'evasione

Ma lo sa il ministro che a parità di legislazione fiscale se si recupera evasione ( netta : non che si recuperano 20 mld quà e ne scappano 30 là ) si deve vedere un aumento di p.f.? 

E Tremonti la mena con il recupero dell'evasione

Beh, è in buona compagnia, sfido a trovare un cervellone della sinistra che non la propone come il principale provvedimento di politica economica del futuro governo...... A questo punto, aggiungendo al programma economico la nazionalizzazione delle banche e una robusta politica industriale a base di aiuti e sussidi, potrebbe anche fare il premier di una "grande coalizione".

A dar credito alle parole di Bersani di qualche mese fa, Tremonti e' GIA' il leader della Grosse Koalition.

Nazionalizzare le banche è anche nel programma di Ferrando.

ma sono private le banche in Italia?

Le fondazioni sno enti privati?

Nei due giorni successivi alla pubblicazione di questo articolo i tassi a dieci anni sul debito pubblico portoghese hanno raggiunto il 7.6% mentre quelli a 5 anni sono all'8%.

Per chi volesse leggere il pezzo di Bloomberg vi segnalo il link

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-12/portuguese-bonds-slump-on-bets-government-will-request-bailout.html

Le misure prese dai governi europei durante il week end in favore della Grecia, non cambiano di molto la situazione. E' avvilente che il governo portoghese ancora tenga la testa ben piantata sotto la sabbia:

When asked by reporters in Lisbon yesterday whether his country was preparing to request a European Union bailout Portugal’s finance minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos said that the region’s leaders must understand the “seriousness” of the debt crisis.

Secondo l'augusta eccellenza sono i leader regionali, non lui (ci mancherebbe altro), a dover comprendere la serieta' della situazione.

Re: Aggiornamento

saul 16/3/2011 - 13:08

forse se ne stanno rendendo conto che la situazione è quasi insostenibile

Fabio, non ho fatto tempo a documentarmi. Giannino stamane in trasmissione menzionava un covenant che a partire dal 2013 il debito dei paesi di area euro dovrà avere, fondamentalmente "palesando" rischio di default/restructuring.

Hai dettagli? Capisco bene o è la sconfessione definitiva degli "euro bond" di cui vaneggia Voltremont?

Grazie in anticipo, sto evitando di fare l'homework e chiedo al collega più esperto se posso copiare da lui ... :-)

Credo che Giannino si riferisca al nuovo meccanismo per la gestione delle crisi chiamato ESM che dovrebbe sostituire l'attuale EFSF (European Financial Stability Fund) che scade appunto nel 2013. Una delle differenze maggiori tra i due sistemi e' il fatto che oggi i crediti dell'EFSF non hanno seniority rispetto a quelli dei privati, mentre quelli del ESM avranno priorita' rispetto a tutti gli altri. Quindi in caso di default subiscono l'haircut (la sforbiciatina sul rendimento e forse sul capitale) prima (e forse esclusivamente) i detentori di obbligazioni emesse sul mercato.

Incollo qui di seguito l'articolo di Bloomberg, datato 12 marzo, che fornisce i dettagli (ulteriori informazioni possono essere richiesti ad Alan -- la cui mail e' alla fine -- che ha scritto il pezzo). Comunque ieri anche il Primo Ministro portoghese Socrates (che non gioca a pallone altrettanto bene del dottore suo omonimo) ha ventilato la possibilita' di richiedere l'assistenza del FMI/UE, provocando un un altro aumento dei rendimenti (scesi dopo l'annuncio dell'accordo a Bruxelles). Per il momento le aste procedono piu' o meno con scosse tollerabili, ma se non ci fosse la rete delle istituzioni internazionali gia' pronta non so quanti si azzarderebbero ad assumersi il rischio. Tra l'altro il fatto che il nuovo meccanismo dell'UE prevede che a pagare siano in prima istanza i creditori privati e' una bordata micidiale che affondera' le aste dei titoli a lungo termine di aprile e giugno.

European leaders widened the scope of the euro’s rescue fund, authorized it to buy government bonds and eased the terms of Greek bailout loans as they unexpectedly pushed through fresh measures to end the bloc’s debt crisis.

Under a pact struck at 1:30 a.m. in Brussels after eight hours of talks, the bailout facility will now be able to spend its full 440 billion-euro capacity ($611 billion) and to buy bonds directly from governments. In a blow to European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, it won’t be allowed to purchase debt in the open market or to finance debt buybacks.

The agreement is part of a push by governments to draw a line under the crisis, which has raged for more than a year despite a series of remedies by European governments. Investors had expected a deal to be delayed until a March 24-25 summit, with the yields on Greek and Portuguese bonds this week rising to euro-era records on concern officials would again fall short.

“I’m positively surprised, for a change,” said Andrew Bosomworth, a money manager at Pacific Investment Management Co. in Munich and former ECB economist. “The agreement contains important elements of a firewall” that could stop the crisis worsening.

Allowing the fund to buy bonds in the primary market would help other indebted nations by acting as a backstop should a Greek restructuring spook markets and threaten to derail government bond auctions, he said.

<em>Morning Accord <em>

While Greece was told it would have the cost of its loans pared and the repayment period extended, officials rejected Ireland’s bid for relief as recently elected Prime Minister Enda Kenny refused to yield to calls to raise its 12.5 percent company tax rate.

The accord came at the end of a session that began after 5 p.m. following daylong talks among the 27 European Union heads on the Libyan crisis. German and French officials this week said they didn’t expect a comprehensive pact until the end of month even as the debt ratings of Greece and Spain were cut and the euro posted its biggest weekly drop since the start of 2011.

“This is an important message on the political pledge of the euro members to fight for the euro’s stability,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters. “Everyone had to make a contribution. I hope that this will also be a good message to the world in terms of the euro as a major currency.”

An initial deal last night on a plan to tighten economic cooperation and boost competitiveness committed nations to enact budget rules into law, a core German demand, and paved the way for the final agreement by the end of the month.

<em>Merkel Politics <em>

By reaching an agreement now, Merkel avoided having to deal with it in the run up to a March 27 regional election in Baden Wurttemberg as her voters complain about having to bailout other countries.

In return for acceptance of her conditions on controlling debt, Merkel swung Europe’s biggest economy behind plans to allow greater flexibility and firepower in the EU rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility.

“This should go down well with the markets for now and lead to an easing of the euro-zone’s sovereign debt crisis in the near term at least,” said Howard Archer, chief European economist at IHS Global Insight in London. “The leaders will hope this is taken as evidence of their determination to do whatever is necessary to hold the eurozone together.”

The EFSF had been limited to spending about 250 billion euros due to reserves it had to hold for its AAA rating. The commitment wasn’t matched with detail as Merkel indicated states will increase their guarantees.

<em>Trichet Tone <em>

The provision to allow primary-market bond purchases will offer a lifeline to aid recipients in return for austerity commitments. A basic accord was also reached on the permanent safety net from 2013, the European Stability Mechanism, with a mix of guarantees and capital, she said.

Trichet resisted giving the deal a full-blown endorsement, saying it “goes in the right direction.” That signals disappointment in the refusal of governments to let the rescue facility buy bonds in the open market and take pressure off the ECB, which has bought 77 billion euros of assets in the past year.

Adding urgency to the talks, the leaders met amid speculation that Greece would be forced to restructure its debt and Portugal would soon be the third euro nation to need help.

Greek 10-year yields rose 6 basis points yesterday to 12.81 percent and similar-maturity Irish yields jumped 14 basis points to 9.65 percent. Greek securities plunged this week after Moody’s Investors Service cut the nation’s rating, already at junk, by another three levels, saying the probability of default had increased. Credit-default swaps on Greek government debt rose 8 basis points to a record 1,048 basis points.

<em>Lower Greek Rates <em>

Leaders made a provisional agreement to lower Greece’s interest rates of about 5 percent for aid by 100 basis points, and extend the repayment period of the loans to 7 1/2 years from three years.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said the moves would save about 6 billion euros over the life of the loans.

“Greece has made major efforts, just look at the size of their privatization program,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy said. “We’re not asking Ireland to put up their corporate taxes to the European average, but to make some effort.”

With two weeks to the summit endgame, Merkel and Sarkozy clashed with Kenny over corporate taxes. They had insisted on a common corporate tax base as the condition for agreeing to ease the terms of Ireland’s 85 billion-euro bailout. Kenny rejected that position, calling it “harmonization of taxes through the back door.”

Irish Opposition

Ireland’s main corporate tax rate is 12.5 percent, compared with an EU average of about 23 percent and even higher rates in Germany and France, which it has used to lure companies such as Hewlett-Packard Co.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, will present a proposal on a common corporate tax base in the coming weeks, the agency said. Ireland will think it over and come back to the rest of the EU within two weeks, Merkel said.

Talks on a deal for Ireland “will be difficult and detailed but I am convinced and remain convinced that there will be that we can find a way forward,” Kenny said.

With the debt crisis lapping at Portugal’s shores, Prime Minister Jose Socrates’s government yesterday announced new commitments on deficit reduction amounting to 0.8 percent of gross domestic product for this year.

The yield on Portugal’s five-year debt surged to a euro-era record of 8 percent on speculation that would soon be forced to seek a bailout. Portugal’s 10-year bond yields reached 7.70 percent on March 9, the highest since at least 1997.

Questions have also been raised about Spain, which was cut to Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service on March 10 on concern about the cost of shoring up its banking system. Spain’s 10-year government bond yield was at 5.4 percent yesterday.

Trichet said the “credibility” of the Portuguese government “seems to me considerably re-enforced by these measures, which are of substance. When you go through all the measures, you see they are very substantial.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Alan Crawford in Brussels at acrawford6@bloomberg.net

Questo e' l'articolo di Bloomberg pubblicato ieri mattina sulla situazione portoghese dopo il declassamento (largamente atteso) di Moody's.

 

Socrates Bailout Threat, Moody’s Cut Send Portugal Bonds Lower

2011-03-16 09:39:32.237 GMT

 

 

By Joao Lima

     March 16 (Bloomberg) -- Portuguese bonds fell after Prime Minister Jose Socrates raised the specter of needing a bailout and Moody’s Investors Service cut the country’s debt rating.

     The yield on 10-year debt rose 3 basis points to 7.44 percent and the spread, a measure of risk, widened 2 basis points to 429 more than comparable German bunds.

     “Market participants have strong concerns about the ability of Portugal to continue meeting its funding needs,” Valentin Marinov, a senior currency strategist at Citigroup Inc. in London, wrote in a note to clients. “The expectation of potential bailout could erode further the demand for the debt of the euro zone member state going forward.”

     Opposition lawmakers’ resistance to additional budget cuts announced last week to meet deficit targets threatens a “political crisis,” Socrates said late yesterday in Lisbon.

The consequence of a political crisis is the worsening of the financing risks of our economy and would lead Portugal to request external intervention.”

     Portugal is fighting to avoid following Greece and Ireland in seeking a rescue. Socrates is raising taxes and implementing the nation’s deepest spending cuts in more than three decades, aiming to convince investors it can narrow its pay its bills on its own.

     Portugal’s credit rating was cut two steps by Moody’s Investors Service yesterday to A3, four steps from so-called junk status, with the outlook on the grade “negative.” The rating company cited Portugal’s “subdued growth prospects” and “implementation risks for the government’s ambitious fiscal consolidation targets.”

 

                          ‘Commitment’

 

     “The rating agency also notes that the commitment to fiscal consolidation shared by both leading political parties is an important reason why Portugal’s rating remains within the A range,” Moody’s said.

     Socrates became prime minister in 2005 and his Socialist Party won re-election in 2009 without a majority in parliament.

The Social Democrats agreed in October to let the government’s

2011 budget proposal pass in parliament by abstaining.

     The Portuguese debt agency plans to sell today as much as 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) of 12-month bills. Borrowing costs increased at a March 9 auction of 1 billion euros of two-year bonds, which were sold at a yield of 5.993 percent, up from

4.086 percent at a previous auction of the same-maturity debt on Sept. 8.

 

                           Bond Sales

 

     Portugal intends to sell as much as 20 billion euros of bonds this year to finance its budget and cover the cost of maturing debt. Portugal faced bond redemptions next month and in June totalling about 9 billion euros. It faces bill maturities in March, July, August, September, October and November.

     Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos on March 11 presented additional deficit-cutting measures equal to 4.5 percent of gross domestic product over the three years through 2013, including a reduction in pensions of more than 1,500 euros a month and further cuts in tax benefits.

     The additional measures were presented hours before European Union leaders agreed to allow the region’s temporary bailout fund to tap the entire 440 billion euros of lending capacity and to enable the rescue fund to buy bonds directly at issuance from debt-swamped governments.

     The Portuguese government is already trimming the wage bill by 5 percent for public-sector workers earning more than 1,500 euros a month, freezing hiring and raising value-added sales tax by 2 percentage points to 23 percent to help narrow a deficit that amounted to 9.3 percent of gross domestic product in 2009, the fourth-biggest in the euro region after Ireland, Greece and Spain.

 

                         Deficit Target

 

     Portugal will report a 2010 budget deficit equivalent to 7 percent of GDP or less than 7 percent, narrower than the 7.3 percent gap the government had forecast, Socrates said on Jan.

28. The government has set a target for a budget deficit of 4.6 percent of GDP in 2011, and aims to reach the EU limit of 3 percent in 2012.

     The Bank of Portugal on Jan. 11 said GDP will shrink 1.3 percent in 2011 as consumer demand drops and the government cuts spending. GDP contracted 0.3 percent in the final three months of 2010, the first quarterly contraction in a year. Portugal’s unemployment rose to 11.1 percent in the fourth quarter, the highest since at least 1998.

 

Se vi fosse sfuggito l'articolo sul FT questa mattina riguardante il Portogallo ve ne riporto un estratto

Portugal’s borrowing cost edges near 10%

  Concerns grow over debt default

 

   Few policymakers think bail-out will be avoided

     Portugal’s cost of borrowing has jumped to within a whisker of 10 per cent as the belief grows that the country needs an international rescue to fend off a sovereign bond default.

 

Dall'articolo

Demand was strong at 2.3 and 2.6 times the amount on offer for six-month and one-year bills respectively.

dove ''demand'' è riferito alla domanda di titoli portoghesi a breve. Qualcuno conosce un po' come funziona il meccanismo di vendita dei bond portoghesi? A prima vista un simile eccesso di domanda sembra incompatibile con l'aumento dei tassi, ma chiaramente c'è qualcosa di importante e fondamentale che mi sfugge.

Mi azzardo.

Non so bene per il Portogallo, ma in genere si tratta di aste in cui vengono aggiudicate le richieste fatte ai prezzi più alti, fino al raggiungimento della quantità di titoli offerta.

Mi pare di capire che la domanda totale, sommando le richieste di quantità senza specificarne il prezzo, sia un dato di per sé poco informativo.

A quasto punto sorge anche a me una domanda: ma, ammesso che le richieste siano soddisfatte al prezzo proposto, il tasso di cui si parla è un tasso medio o marginale?

 

Non vorrei dire una baggianata, ma il portogallo mi sembra il paese più simile all'italia fra i pigs (crescita pari a zero, basso livello di istruzione rispetto agli altri paesi industrializzati, titoli di stato in scadenza, debito). Se un paese così simile è entrato in crisi, il timore è stia giungendo anche la nostra di ora e che i prossimi a dover chiedere aiuto sia l'Italia.

domanda per l'autore.

Qui il presidente dell'EFSF sostiene che il default greco sarebbe vantaggioso per le banche. A me sembra un infiocchettamento per i contribuenti, ma non avendo gli strumenti necessari per affermarlo con certezza, chiedo: davvero le commissioni compenserebbero le perdite?

 

A occhio e croce mi sembra una sciocchezza, nel senso che il sistema bancario nel suo complesso non riuscirebbe di certo a compensare le perdite da una ristrutturazione con le commissioni.

Pero' ovviamente qualche singola banca che non abbia comprato titoli del debito pubblico greco (o ne abbia pochi) potrebbe beneficiare delle commissioni (se trova i clienti a cui farle pagare).

 

 

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