You win some, you lose some, and you learn a lot.
I was genuinely surprised by the ISDA decision, but major hat-tip to Zero Hedge, who called it right.
What had my nose twitching immediately after this decision was the word ‘unanimous’. How do folks get all unanimous about denying an obvious default?
The other thing I thought about was the information source ‘tipping me off’. They aren’t coming out of this too well, but that must remain a subject between me and them.
But my major mistake was assuming that the International Swaps and Derivatives Association might actually represent the full rainbow of people involved under the umbrella of that title. Big, page one error. Silly me.
I drilled down to ISDA’s European Determination Committee. This is the composition of the ‘dealing’ (ie, coalface-involved) institutions in the sector who have a vote:
Bank of America / Merrill Lynch
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
Every last one of that lot has a vast amount to lose from Hedge Funds picking up default insurance. And quite a few of them are either heavily exposed to Greek default per se…or have one or other kind of worm-can they wouldn’t like to be opened by a default.
In pretty much every way, failure to do due diligence on my part there; humble apologies all round. I do hope, however, to make up the deficit before the end of play today: we shall see.
However, moving along to other obvious flaws in the eurozone situation – and talking of Zero Hedge – regular blogger Reggie Middleton this morning looks at SuperMario’s latest LTRO comedy, and makes a very good point:
’800 financial institutions 529.5 billion euros ($712.2 billion) for 1,092 days. Economists predicted an allotment of 470 billion euros, according to the median of 28 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. In the ECB’s first three-year operation in December, 523 banks borrowed 489 billion euros’.
Why, he asks, does 523 banks desperate for cash growing to 800 preface good news? Why indeed….see my blog of yesterday.
Reggie joins me in laughing out loud at the idea of any eurozone lending ‘filtering down’ from this second rescue bid for the banks. Meanwhile, what of those Hedgies and IIF members still wondering why on earth they should partake? Here’s a clue: speaking to MEPs at the European Parliament in Brussels yesterday, Jean-Claude Juncker urged holders of Greek bonds to take up the debt-swap, proclaiming – without evidence as usual – that there is no other solution beyond yet more budget cuts in Athens.
Why, we ask ourselves, is the Managing Director of Radio Luxembourg concerned to get the bondholders onside – I thought that was a done deal?
One other thing a negative decision from ISDA earns, by the way, is yet more time for the Berlin-Frankfurt axis to get ducks in a row for the planned 23rd March Greek default. And another way of achieving that is to drag out the budget cuts approval further still. So it is we read that eurozone finance ministers will run their blinkered eyes over Greece’s accounts again today…but aren’t quite ready just yet to approve them.
There’s a long way to go to the chequered flag on this one. I will try to avoid further pit-stops and pit-falls along the way.