Notes From Underground: The Most Dangerous Word to Eurocrats is REFERENDUM

Tomorrow is LTRO DAY in Europe as the ECB will reveal the size of its next tranche of 3-year loans made available at the BALANCE SHEET RECESSION rate of 1%. Several rumors tried to upset the market today as “insider gnomes” floated one story after another  that the size of the LTRO would be 280 BILLION EUROS, which is at the low-end of current GUESSTIMATES. Each time the equity markets broke on the rumors, they snapped immediately back as the global financial system is floating on an ocean of liquidity. Higher OIL? NO PROBLEM, MAN! SOVEREIGN SOLVENCY ISSUES? NO PROBLEM!

The developed world’s central banks are providing all the money that is needed to maintain levitating asset prices: grains, precious metals, copper and equities are all rising in lockstep to the financial largesse of the world’s lenders of last resort. Even U.S. Treasuries can float higher on this sea of money. How much more will be available through LTRO? Only President Draghi knows but don’t be a hero when the number is released at 4:15 a.m. CST. If the LTRO is on the low-end of conjecture, the markets will sell off but watch support levels to see where a short-term correction holds. The 2/10 curves in Europe will tell us a great deal about market perceptions of the significance of LTRO II.

An addition at the top end of the range–700 to 800 BILLION EUROS–will probably see the EURO rally in the RISK-ON paradigm but the EURO should be sold on the crosses as the FUNDING FUNCTION comes back into play (as so many EURO shorts have been driven from positions). Again, PREPARE THE TECHNICALS FOR EURO RESISTANCE LEVELS. NO HEROES, BUT BE PREPARED FOR MINIMUM RISK FOR MAXIMUM REWARD.

***Irish Prime Minister ENDA KENNY caused the EURO to sell off for a brief second today as the IRISH GOVERNMENT announced that the Irish Constitution required the newly crafted EUROPEAN FISCAL TREATY to be put to a vote. Remember that it was the desire of former Prime Ministers Papandreou and Berlusconi to call referenda on the AUSTERITY PLANS that led to their replacements with handpicked technocrats. France and Germany are extremely fearful of the referendum being desired by their own citizens, thus the ultimate popular view on the whole EURO EXPERIMENT.

There is far too much at risk, politically and financially, to bother to poll the will of the people. In a Financial Times article by Peter Spiegel (who is becoming a favorite Euro journalist),the article raises a very salient point:

“EU officials believe by holding a referendum Dublin could increase its leverage over the EU to force new concessions on winning debt relief on its banking debt and resisting pressure from France, which wants Dublin to increase its corporate tax rate.”

It seems that Mr. Spiegel has it perfect as the present Irish government will appear as national heroes by extracting a far better bailout deal for the Irish than the previous government. ENDA KENNY‘s FINE GAEL will do a great political act by lessening the severity of the previous bailout agreement. All IN THE NAME OF PREVENTING A REFERENDUM.

***Milton Friedman was known for saying that there is no such thing as  a free lunch. All policies have some trade-off and it is of course just a question of who receives and who gets screwed. The WALL STREET BAILOUT has greatly harmed the nations savers as the zero interest rate policy has forced interest rates so low that savers have had to tighten their purse strings or search out return in far riskier venues: THE PORTFOLIO BALANCE CHANNEL.

In a BLOOMBERG article (hat tip JG), it is revealed that the DEFINED BENEFIT PLANS of large corporations have been crushed by the low interest rates and some of the supposed huge cash hoards are going to shore up the underfunded pensions. The article by Thomas Black, quotes a consulting actuary at Seattle -based Millman: “They are going to have to kick money in. We’re basically seeing historically low interest rates driving historically high employer contribution requirements.”

ZIRP CERTAINLY HAS A PRICE TO PAY FOR SOME ACTORS IN THE ECONOMY, CAUSING CONTINUED UNDERSAVING AND A STRETCHED CONSUMER. Hey BEN! Savers are certainly having their lunch eaten. Oh well, 6 1/2 months to Jackson Hole. Oh yes, and tomorrow Chairman Bernanke goes to the House Financial Services Committee for semi-annual testimony. RON PAUL. PAGING RON PAUL.

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8 Responses to “Notes From Underground: The Most Dangerous Word to Eurocrats is REFERENDUM”

  1. rohrintl Says:

    Hi Yra-
    Excellent broad review of LTRO issues, Irish consummate gamesmanship and ZIRP, and here’s a good giggle…

    My Skype dialer plug-in read the “800 BILLION” EUROS as a toll free number that I could click to dial. I kid you not…

    …and it’s a phone sex line!!! LOL, except for the fact I guess a lot of folks are hoping the Euro-banking sector gets ‘turned on’ tomorrow by a perfectly tuned number on the ECB loan program…

    ‘Goldilocks’ Does LTRO(??)

    p.s. As long as I know you read it, I won’t be insulted if you choose to not pass along the smut to your more serious readership.

  2. Kevin Says:

    LTRO is addictive! Expect the ECB to announce more tranches to satisfy the banks’ habit later in 2012. Once hooked on LTRO, the banks become alot less attractive to their other funders. Firstly the banks are putting up the “clean” (or at least more liquid) parts of the balance sheet as collateral. Secondly the ECB loans back-rank all other funders if there is any collateral short fall. This hugely ups the ante for buyers of bank bonds.

    The ECB must keep the cash coming because it will be hard to find anywhere else, and in a renewed funding squeeze the collateral values could falter, or heaven forbid, start falling…

  3. Seanm Says:

    This came out on January 30th,2012. I’m too gobsmacked to even comment.
    “Mr Kenny’s Fine Gael colleague Leo Varadkar sparked controversy over the weekend when he said he had concerns for a possible referendum.

    The Transport Minister said he was not a fan of the system – which gives the public a say on significant political issues – saying he believed it to be undemocratic.
    “I don’t think referendums are very democratic,” Mr Varadkar told RTE.
    “By and large, referendum campaigns are never about what they are supposed to be about.”
    He said the main issues behind referendums get clouded by domestic political point scoring. ”

  4. Michael Greenberg Says:

    Yra on January 5th: “This is of interest because the CAD/YEN cross is on my radar screen as a trade: long the CAD, short the YEN.”

    BNY-Mellon on February 29: “We reiterate our view that CAD/JPY may be the obvious choice in the current environment”

    Jan 5: CAD/JPY about 76
    Feb 29: CAD/JPY about 81

    Nice call, Yra. I owe you dinner. And a new car.

  5. yra Says:

    Mike–the dinner anytime –the car is not needed–make a contribution to a charity and that we be the best statement –thanks for your support and let’s see what else we can find as a profitable area

  6. yra Says:

    Seanm–yes i read that when it appeared and all I could think about was the arrogance of the euro elite and how that arrogance has continued to create so many problems over the last twenty years

  7. arthur Says:

    Learning a lot, thanks!. For the record, worth reporting: Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court ruled on 28 February that the nine-member panel that the German parliament set up to monitor the activities of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) is largely unconstitutional… keep on you radar screen.

  8. yra Says:

    Arthur –that is correct and important to watch–but much to continue to play out

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