Category: Debt

Senate passes spending bill, ends government shutdown threat

14-Dec (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Saturday passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill that lifts the threat of a government shutdown as Congress attempts to wrap up a two-year legislative session marked by bitter partisanship and few major accomplishments.

The Senate’s 56-40 vote sends the measure to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law before federal spending authority expires at midnight on Wednesday.

Passage of the 1,603-page bill was a long, tough struggle in the Senate and the House of Representatives marked by bitter disputes over changes to banking regulations and Obama’s recent executive order on immigration.

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Posted in all posts, Debt, Politics |

Italy’s Long-Term Credit Rating Cut by S&P on Economic Weakness

05-Dec (Bloomberg) — Italy’s long-term credit rating was lowered by Standard & Poor’s, which cited weak growth prospects and high public debt.

The New York-based company revised its unsolicited long-term rating to BBB- with a stable outlook, from BBB.

“The downgrade reflects the recurrent weaknesses we see in Italy’s real and nominal GDP performance, including its eroded competitiveness, which are undermining the sustainability of its public debt,” S&P said today in a statement. “We expect the Italian economy to exit recession in early 2015, although we forecast only a modest GDP recovery of about 0.2 percent, compared with our previous forecast of 1.1 percent for next year.”

[source]

PG View: Europe’s fourth largest economy is now one-notch above junk.

Posted in Debt, Economy |

Only Yesterday – How The Federal Debt Went From $1 Trillion To $18 Trillion in 33 Years

by David Stockman, Former Director of the Office of Management and Budget
05-Dec (Zero/hedge) — In the great fiscal scheme of things, October 22, 1981 seems like only yesterday. That’s the day the US public debt crossed the $1 trillion mark for the first time. It had taken the nation 74,984 days to get there (205 years). What prompts this reflection is that just a few days ago the national debt breached the $18 trillion mark; and the last trillion was added in hardly 365 days.

…Two thing are therefore evident.

The first is that massive monetization of the public debt cannot go on much longer or the monetary system will be destroyed. That’s what being stuck on the so-called zero-bound really means. And that’s why the lunatic money printing in Japan is a sign that the end of the monetization era is at hand.

In the case of Japan, the largest debtor government in the world has already destroyed its own bond market—-the BOJ is the only bid left at 0.4% on the 10-year JGB. And the BOJ is now fast deep-sixing the yen, as well.

Secondly, the US nominal GDP has been growing at less than 4% annually for the last decade, and, in a deflationary world, it has no chance of breaking away from that constraint. Accordingly, the ridiculously optimistic rosy scenario currently projected by CBO does not have a snowball’s chance of materializing over the next decade. Rather than $8 trillion of cumulative baseline deficits over the next ten years as projected by CBO, the current policy stalemate in Washington—that has been running for 30 years now— will generate at least $15 trillion of new public debt in the decade ahead.

Yes, add that to the nation’s current mountain of public debt and you get to $33 trillion by 2024 or so. And then also recognize that the giant financial bubble and vast malinvestments generated by the worlds central banks over the last two decades now guarantee a long spell of global deflation.

Accordingly, US nominal GDP will be lucky to reach $24 trillion by that same year. The math computes out to a public debt equal to 140% of GDP. For all practical purposes, it means an endless fiscal crisis lurks in the nation’s future.

[source]

Posted in Debt, Economy |

Total US Debt Rises Over $18 Trillion

01-Dec (ZeroHedge) — Last week, total US debt was a meager $17,963,753,617,957.26. Two days later, as updated today, on Black Friday, total outstanding US public debt just hit a new historic level which probably would be better associated with a red color: as of the last work day of November, total US public debt just surpassed $18 trillion for the first time, or $18,005,549,328,561.45 to be precise, of which debt held by the public rose to $12,922,681,725,432.94, an increase of $32 billion in one day.

It also means that total US debt to nominal GDP as of Sept 30, which was $17.555 trillion, is now 103%. Keep in mind this GDP number was artificially increased by about half a trillion dollars a year ago thanks to the “benefit” of R&D and intangibles. Without said definitional change, debt/GDP would now be about 106%.

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Posted in Debt |

Congress has 2 weeks to avert a government shutdown

01-Dec (AP, via NPR) — Lame-duck lawmakers return to Washington on Monday facing a stacked agenda and not much time to get it all done before the new Congress convenes in January and a Republican takeover is complete.

Their to-do list includes keeping the government running into the new year, renewing expired tax breaks for individuals and businesses and approving a defense policy measure that has passed for more than 50 years in a row. They hope to get it all done in two weeks without stumbling into a government shutdown.

…The No. 1 item is preventing a government closure when a temporary funding measure expires on Dec. 11. The House and Senate Appropriations committees are negotiating a $1 trillion-plus spending bill for the budget year that began Oct. 1 and are promising to have it ready by the week of Dec. 8.

[source]

Posted in Debt, Politics |

Japan downgraded by Moody’s amid rising fears over debt

01-Dec (BBC) — Moody’s has cut Japan’s credit rating by one notch over rising doubts about its ability to reduce debt levels.

The decision by the ratings agency sent the yen to a seven-year low against the US dollar.

The downgrade comes less than a two weeks before a snap general election called by prime minister Shinzo Abe.

His economic stimulus policies and a decision to delay a second sales tax rise will be among the key campaign issues.

Japan’s public debt is twice the size of its economy. Some commentators doubt whether Mr Abe’s strategy will revive the economy and restore the country’s battered public finances.

[source]

Posted in Debt |

German bond yields to trump Japan as ECB battles deflation

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
14-Nov (Telegraph) — German bond yields are to fall below Japanese levels and plumb depths never seen before in history as Europe becomes the epicentre of global deflationary forces, according to new forecast from the Royal Bank of Scotland.

We are seeing `Japanification’ setting in across Europe,” said Andrew Roberts, the bank’s credit strategist. “We expect 10-year Bund yields to cross the 10-year Japanese government bond and we are amply positioned for such an outcome.”

Mr Roberts said it is a “weighty win-win” situation for investors. If the European Central Bank launches full-blown quantitative easing, it will almost certainly have to buy large amounts of German Bunds, and these are becoming scarce.

“Net supply in Germany is zero since they are in budget surplus this year and next, and they have written a balanced-budget amendment into their constitution. There are simply fewer and fewer Bunds to buy, and everybody wants them,” he said.

It is assumed that if the ECB buys sovereign bonds, it will have to buy them evenly in accordance with its capital “key”. This implies that 28pc would have to be German debt.

…Mr Roberts said ECB chief Mario Draghi is a “super-dove” who has to disguise his views but is in reality leading the North’s hawkish bloc by the nose. “He has to tread a bit more delicately given sensitivities in a couple of Teutonic countries. This year, for all the talk of QE being a step too far, they have actually already been easing aggressively. They are not sitting on their hands,” he said.

[source]

Posted in Central Banks, Debt, Monetary Policy, QE |

U.S. 10-Year Treasury Yield Falls Below 2%

15-Oct (The Wall Street Journal) — The Benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury bond yield dropped below 2% on Wednesday for the first time in 16 months as anxiety over the global economic outlook intensified.

The 10-year note’s yield fell to as low as 1.858%, the lowest intraday level since May 2013, according to Tradeweb, representing the latest leg of a monthslong slide that has caught many investors by surprise. Yields fall as prices rise.

Tumbling yields came as investors rushed into ultrasafe U.S. government debt. A round of U.S. economic releases Wednesday added to concerns over the global economy as they raised the question whether the U.S. growth could withstand the impact from a faltering economy in Europe.

[source]

Posted in Debt |

WSJ Breaking: The ten-year yield on U.S. Treasurys dips below 2% for the first time since June 2013

Posted in Debt |

Greek bond yields pass 7% as worries return

14-Oct (CNBC) — Greek government bond yields shot up on Tuesday, amid growing concerns about Athens’ plans to leave its bailout program ahead of schedule.

The yield on benchmark 10-year notes hit 7.118 percent on Tuesday morning, passing the 7 percent mark for the first time since March.

It comes after Prime Minister Antonis Samaras won a confidence vote in parliament early Saturday, with the backing of all 155 conservative and Socialist lawmakers in his coalition. He called the poll to force lawmakers to back his plans to exit its international bailout program ahead of schedule.

Greece is hoping to leave its bailout program early and meet its funding needs through the debt markets, rather than call on the “Troika” organizations running Greece’s bailout program– the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) —for more assistance.

[source]

Posted in Debt, European Debt Crisis |

Treasury prices surge amid global growth concerns

14-Oct (MarketWatch) — Treasury prices jumped Tuesday, sending yields sharply lower as bond traders fretted about the pace of global growth. Those concerns heightened after a measure of German economic sentiment turned negative for the first time in nearly two years and the German government slashed its growth forecasts for 2014 and 2015. The 10-year U.S. Treasury note, which falls as prices rise, was down 11 basis points on the day at 2.194%, according to Tradeweb. The 5-year note yield sank 12.5 basis points to 1.432%. The 10-year German bond fell 5 basis points to 0.842%, on track to close at a fresh record low.

[source]

Posted in Debt |

Low rates are jamming the economy’s vital signals

by James Grant
12-Oct (Financial Times) — It will take many cranks on the interest-rate winch before the Federal Reserve lifts borrowing costs off the floor. The intended consequences of ultra-low interest rates are seemingly benign. It is the unintended ones that make the mischief.

Rock-bottom rates themselves are hardly new. Victorian creditors suffered under them. As Walter Bagehot quipped in 1852 about John Bull, he “can stand many things, but he can’t stand 2 per cent”. What is new today is the overlay of officially sponsored bull markets on governmentally suppressed interest rates. To muscle up stock prices (and bond and real estate prices) central banks have been pushing down the cost of capital. It is a species of price control.

True, many people today are richer thanks to the new monetary experiments – “learning by doing”, as former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke candidly characterised them. Even a profligate state can afford to finance its burgeoning public debt at interest costs of 2 per cent or less. The financial classes, especially, have gained by zero per cent funding costs and purely nominal junk bond yields. Savers have suffered, yet – remarkably enough – they have mainly suffered in silence. So much for the immediate, seemingly wholesome consequences of interest rate control. Just over the horizon are the consequences that the mandarins did not think of.

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Posted in Debt, investments |

U.S. National Debt: $17,824,071,380,733.82

Posted in Debt |

Gross Exposes $42 Trillion Bond Market’s Key Flaw in Exit

01-Oct (Bloomberg) — One man shook a $42 trillion bond market last week, highlighting just how vulnerable bond prices are to shocks.

Bill Gross’s surprise departure on Friday from Pacific Investment Management Co. sparked selloffs in some of his biggest wagers, such as inflation-protected U.S. government bonds. The most-traded assets quickly recovered after the exit of the star trader, who dominated the $2 trillion asset manager’s investment strategy. But the less-traded ones are still feeling the effects, according to David Leduc, chief investment officer at Standish Mellon Asset Management Co.

“What you’re seeing most of is a lack of liquidity in the bond market,” said Christopher Orndorff, a money manager at Western Asset Management Co. “When you get a dislocation like this, it tends to exacerbate price movements maybe more than what you’d have seen 10 years ago.”

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PG View: The massive bond market is built on a foundation of sand. The relative illiquidity of the market of late is a direct result of the faux liquidity provided by global central banks in recent years.

Posted in Debt |

The End of Monetary Policy

28-Sep (MauldinEconomics) — The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has a marvelous website full of all sorts of useful information. Let’s start by looking at inflation around the world. This table is rather dense and is offered only to give you a taste of what’s available.

What we find out is that inflation is strikingly, almost shockingly, low. It certainly seems so to those of us who came of age in the ’60s and ’70s and who now, in the fullness of time, are watching aghast as stupendous amounts of various currencies are fabricated out of thin air. Seriously, if I had suggested to you back in 2007 that central bank balance sheets would expand by $7-8 trillion in the next half-decade but that inflation would be averaging less than 2%, you would have laughed in my face.

…Gross domestic product around the developed world ranges anywhere from subdued to anemic to outright recessionary:

The G-20 itself is growing at an almost respectable 3%, but when you look at the developed world’s portion of that statistic, the picture gets much worse. The European Union grew at 0.1% last year and is barely on target to beat that this year. The euro area is flat to down. The United Kingdom and the United States are at 1.7% and 2.2% respectively. Japan is in recession. France is literally at 0% for the year and is likely to enter recession by the end of the year. Italy remains mired in recession. Powerhouse Germany was in recession during the second quarter.

Let’s put those stats in context. We have seen the most massive monetary stimulation of the last 200 years in the developed world, and growth can be best described as faltering. Without the totally serendipitous shale oil revolution in the United States, growth here would be about 1%, or not much ahead of where Europe is today.

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PG View: Mauldin’s insights about deflation, anemic growth and rising debt levels are supported by The Geneva Report that also came out this week. In combination, the two reports should illicit a level of concern among investors that should prompt defensive portfolio adjustments that very-well should include gold.

Posted in Central Banks, Debt, Deflation, Economy, Monetary Policy |

Mass default looms as world sinks beneath a sea of debt

29-Sep (Telegraph) — As if the fast degenerating geo-political situation isn’t bad enough, here’s another lorry load of concerns to add to the pile.

The UK and US economies may be on the mend at last, but that’s not the pattern elsewhere. On a global level, growth is being steadily drowned under a rising tide of debt, threatening renewed financial crisis, a continued squeeze to living standards, and eventual mass default.

I exaggerate only a little in depicting this apocalyptic view of the future as the conclusion of the latest “Geneva Report”, an annual assessment informed by a top drawer conference of leading decision makers and economic thinkers of the big challenges facing the global economy.

Aptly titled “Deleveraging? What Deleveraging?”, the report points out that, far from paying down debt since the financial crisis of 2008/9, the world economy as a whole has in fact geared up even further. The raw numbers make explosive reading.

Contrary to widely held assumptions, the world has not yet begun to de-lever. In fact global debt-to-GDP – public and private non financial debt – is still growing, breaking new highs by the month.

[source]

Posted in Debt, Economy |

Germany Secures Record Low Funding Cost at Bond Auction

17-Sep (The Wall Street Journal) — Investors paid a hefty price tag for the privilege of buying German government debt on Wednesday, in a fresh sign of how the European Central Bank’s monetary easing policies are upending the region’s bond markets.

The German Finance Agency sold €3.341 billion ($4.33 billion) of a September 2016-dated treasury note at a record low average yield of -0.07%, the Bundesbank said. That effectively means investors have paid to buy the debt for the first time since December 2012. At its previous similar sale in August, Germany sold debt for a 0% yield.

“Negative auction yields even in the two-to-three-year part of the German curve are a good illustration of the current depressed interest rate environment,” said Jan von Gerich, chief strategist at Nordea. The decline in yields is likely to continue as the full range of ECB easing measures emerges over time, he added. Bond yields drop when prices rise.

[source]

Posted in Debt |

JGBs fall as yen weakens; 10-yr yld hits 2-month high

10-Sep (Dow Jones) — TOKYO–Japanese government bonds softened for a second day Wednesday as the yen weakened against the dollar.

Taders said that Japanese sovereign debt came under selling pressure after the yen fell to nearly a six-year low against the greenback and U.S. Treasurys fell overnight. Some investors also took profits ahead of the end of the first half of the fiscal year in September, they said.

The benchmark 10-year JGB yield was up 1.5 basis points at 0.540% as of 0600 GMT, after touching 0.545% during afternoon trading, its highest level since July. Lead December JGB futures finished down 0.15 at 145.65.

Market participants also paid attention to a speech by Bank of Japan Deputy Gov. Kikuo Iwata to business leaders in northwestern Japan, after market participants said that the central bank likely bought short-term Japanese government debt at a negative yield Tuesday.

Mr. Iwata said that it was “not a problem” for the bank to buy JGBs at a negative yield, but did not say whether or not the bank actually bought debt at negative yields.

“Even though long-term yields are far from zero, this showed that even if yields fall in the course of the Kuroda BOJ’s quantitative and qualitative easing, that won’t -at least now – result in restrictions on policy,” said Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities strategist Naomi Muguruma.

Strategists say the BOJ’s stance of allowing purchases of Treasury discount bills at negative rates will likely keep short-term rates pinned down.

[source]

PG View: Buying a bond with a negative yield goes against every tenet of investing. This is going to end badly…

Posted in Currency Wars, Debt |

U.S. National Debt: $17,754,467,569,229.71

Posted in Debt |

U.S. National Debt: $17,709,322,691,303.06

Posted in Debt |

Is Portugal Next In Line For Wealth Confiscation?

22-Aug (ZeroHedge) — The pattern should be seared in your memory by now. If you fail to recognize it, you could be struck with a huge financial blow.

It’s a pattern that has played out over and over throughout history: a government gets into financial trouble, then denies there’s a problem, which is followed by a surprise wealth grab.

That’s exactly what happened when bank deposits in Spain and Cyprus were raided. We’ve also seen retirement savings confiscated in some form in Poland, Portugal, and Hungary. Capital controls have been imposed in Cyprus and Iceland.

Of course these aren’t the only examples of blatant government thievery. These examples are just within Europe and just within recent years. They can and will happen anywhere.

These events highlight the need to use international diversification to mitigate your political risk—the risk that comes from governments.

I think they also give us some clues as to what country is next on the chopping block.

When it comes to protecting yourself from confiscations, capital controls, bank holidays, and other desperate measures of an out-of-control government, it’s absolutely essential to take action before it’s too late.

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PG View: Having a portion of your wealth outside the banking system in the form of physical gold, held in your own possession, is an extremely effective hedge against such risks.

Posted in Debt, Economy |

Argentina’s Peso Weakening at Fastest Pace Since January

22-Aug (Bloomberg) — First came the default, then a proposed debt swap aimed at circumventing a U.S. court ruling that could normalize Argentina’s relations with foreign investors. Now traders foresee a devaluation for the second time this year.

Argentina’s peso sank 1.3 percent this week to 8.3932 per dollar, the biggest drop since the government devalued the currency 15 percent in the week ended Jan. 24. In the black market, where Argentines go to avoid government limits on purchases of U.S. currency, the peso weakened to a record 13.95 per dollar.

Argentines are demanding more hard currency after the government proposed exchanging overseas debt into notes governed by local law. The plan means it’s less likely President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will negotiate a deal with holdout creditors that would lift the court order that has prevented the country from servicing its obligations, according to Bank of America Corp. Prolonging the default would then restrict Argentine borrowers’ access to international markets, putting pressure on policy makers to allow the peso to weaken as dollars become scarce.

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PG View: In the accompanying video interview Bloomberg’s Katie Porzecanski noted the central bank sped-up the decline of the Argentine peso this week, but she noted that “by no means is it out of control yet.” The operative word in that statement is ‘yet’.

Posted in Debt |

U.S. National Debt: $17,671,687,900,979.84

Posted in Debt |

The Argentina Rescue Mission Has Failed

14-Aug (BusinessInsider) — It seemed like Argentina’s best hope for getting out of default — a group of banks willing to buy over $1.3 billion of sovereign debt from the hedge fund creditors that sued The Republic for a decade and won.

But the deal, it seems has fallen through.

In a statement posted by Reuters, one of the hedge fund creditors, Aurelius Capital, said that the deal being forged by Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Citigroup and HSBC and others was simply not good enough to satisfy the group, which has been holding out for a 100 cent on the dollar payment on their investment.

[source]

Posted in Debt |

UltraLong Bond Madness – Issuance Of 30 Year+ Maturity Debt Soars 22% In 2014

07-Aug (ZeroHedge) — Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published an article highlighting the surge in what it calls “ultralong” bonds, defined as having a maturity of more than 30 years. The findings are simply stunning. In what may seem counterintuitive, bond yields at hundred year plus lows in many countries has led major investment firms to rush into ever riskier and longer duration fixed income securities just to earn some income. This has opened the floodgates to governments and corporations looking to lock in low yields on debt they won’t have to pay back for a generation.

Just to name a few, this year we have already seen a 100-year bond sale by Mexico, two separate 50-year bond issuances by Canada, and wait for this one, Spain of all countries is set to try to sell a 50-year bond!

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PG View: We have so aggressively borrowed prosperity from the future, that now we have to reach further and further into the future to get any lift at all.

Posted in Debt |

U.S. National Debt: $17,640,751,157,460.11

Posted in Debt |

Watch out for the corporate debt bomb

04-Aug (MarketWatch) — For the past five years, U.S. corporations have been living in a financial paradise. Interest rates have been on the floor. Wages have been flat. Companies have been able to lay off workers and slash costs. Profits have skyrocketed to record levels. And they’ve spent almost nothing on new capital equipment, either.

And what effect has this had?

In 2007, at the peak of the last credit mania, U.S. nonfinancial corporations owed $7.2 trillion according to data compiled by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Today? After years of this bonanza, those debts have tumbled all the way down to… er… $9.6 trillion.

All that talk you hear about how corporate balance sheets are in great shape is a bunch of hooey.

[source]

Posted in Debt |

No deal: Argentina in default as talks fail

31-Jul (CNNMoney) — Argentina has defaulted for the second time in 13 years after officials failed to come to an agreement with the country’s bondholders.

After frantic last minute talks failed to produce a deal late Wednesday, Standard & Poor’s deemed the country to be in default on some of its obligations. The change in credit rating could hike Argentina’s borrowing costs, and put even more pressure on the country’s already-struggling economy.

The crisis stems from a legal battle with a small group of “holdout” creditors that had demanded payment of about $1.5 billion on bonds they bought after the $144 billion default in 2001. That standoff has blocked payments to other creditors.

[source]

Posted in Debt |

Argentina’s President Is Spending The Last Few Hours Before Her Country’s Default Among Friends

29-Jul (BusinessInsider) — Bar any last minute heroics from a delegation meeting with negotiators in New York City, Argentina is set to default tomorrow. Ironically, it will default on debt dating back to its last default in 2001.

…Now Argentina has until Wednesday to pay up, according to a New York Judge. A delegation has been sent from the country to try to convince the Court to instate a stay on all payment to bondholders — Argentina’s condition for negotiating — but so far it’s been unsuccessful.

[source]

Posted in Debt |

3rd time unlucky: Argentina set for new default

28-Jul (CNBC) — Argentina is on course to default on its debt for the third time in 28 years on Wednesday – an event that could cost U.S. hedge funds millions of dollars and provide investors with yet another worry amid geopolitical turmoil.

The Latin American country has just two days to comply with a U.S. legal ruling to repay $1.3 billion to so-called holdout creditors, who snapped up junk bonds around the time of its massive $82-billion default in 2001 and refused to accept the debt restructurings that followed. At the same time, the country has to find $539 million to pay interest on restructured debt. The Buenos Aires government has warned that it won’t be able to pay.

If Argentina fails to repay in full – or strike a deal with those involved – it will enter partial default.

[source]

Posted in Debt |