Ever wanted to know why Germany is not keen on single euro zone bonds? Look no further:
from Mike Dolan:
Just one look at the whoosh higher in global markets in January and you'd be forgiven smug faith in the hoary old market adage of "Don't fight the Fed" -- or to update the phrase less pithily for the modern, globalised marketplace: "Don't fight the world's central banks". (or "Don't Battle the Banks", maybe?)
Prime U.S. money funds further reduced their holdings of euro zone bank paper in December, although the pace of movement slowed while investors continued to hedge against any bank failures, J.P. Morgan Securities said on Wednesday. The slower movement out of euro zone bank paper was the result of money funds having already strongly reduced their holdings, J.P. Morgan said in a note to clients.
After a hopeful couple of weeks and the “euphoria” caused by an agreement to tackle the euro zone debt crisis, financial markets got a reality check from Italy’s sale of 7.94 billion euros of government bonds. The debt met lower demand than at previous auctions, forcing the country to pay the highest premium since joining the single currency to sell 10-year debt.
Spreads between Italian and German government debt are blowing out heading into a European Union summit on Sunday that investors are hoping will come up with some action to address the continent’s sovereign debt crisis. Spreads between 10-year Italian government debt and German bonds of the same maturity widened to 398 basis points on Thursday, making for the biggest gap since at least the fourth quarter of 1996, according to Reuters data.
from The Great Debate:
By J. Bradford DeLong
The opinions expressed are his own.
Former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers had a good line at the International Monetary Fund meetings this year: governments, he said, are trying to treat a broken ankle when the patient is facing organ failure. Summers was criticizing Europe’s focus on the second-order issue of Greece while far graver imbalances – between the EU’s north and south, and between reckless banks’ creditors and governments that failed to regulate properly – worsen with each passing day.
Stop fighting the Turkish central bank. Since a shock interest rate cut earlier this month, the front end of Turkey’s bond yield curve has collapsed over 80 basis points, with two-year yields hitting seven-month lows of 7.84 percent. The curve is flattening as the 10-year sector starts feeling the heat as well. Whether it reflects investors’ faith in the central bank’s ability to safeguard economic growth while bringing down a record wide current account gap is another matter altogether. Bond investors have in fact been uneasy with the central bank’s experiments, fearing that overly loose monetary policy will cause an inflation shock down the road. But with more rate cuts clearly on the cards, investors are finding that Turkish rates, especially at the front end, are too attractive to miss. Especially as the central bank is shoring up the lira with daily dollar sales.
Standard & Poor’s on Friday downgraded the United States’ prized credit rating, a move that is likely to compound recent instability in financial markets. Here is S&P’s statement explaining the decision:
Italy is the latest victim of market contagion in Europe’s ongoing debt crisis. The country has one of the largest public debts in the world, making investors worried it could be the next domino to fall given poor economic growth and domestic political tensions.
from Global Investing:
What a friend emerging central bankers have in Jean-Claude Trichet. Last month the ECB boss stopped euro bears in their tracks by unexpectedly signalling concern over inflation in the euro zone. Since then the euro has pushed steadily higher -- against the dollar of course, but also against emerging currencies. The bet now is that interest rates -- and the yield on euro investments -- will start rising some time this year, possibly as early as this summer.