Another credit downgrade from S&P, this time for Spain, from AA+ to AA with negative outlook, based on the outlook for years of private sector deleveraging and low growth. Spain, as you can see, is severely in red in terms of debt, ranking 14th in the world. Spain's external liabilities stand at 186.1% or $2.55 trillion (as of 2009 Q3) against estimated 2009 GDP of $1.37 trillion.
The country is actually worse off in terms of debt than Greece which has ranks 16th at debt at 170.5% of GDP or $581.68 billion, with 2009 GDP of $341 billion.
The S&P also provided estimate for expected recovery rate on Greek bonds, which the agency put at 30-50%. In other words, S&P expects investors in Greek bonds to be paid no more than 30-50 cents on the euro. Yesterday on twitter I suggested that "Greek debt should be renegotiated @ 50cents on the euro - severe default. Portugal's @ 80 cents - mild default, Irish @ 70-75 cents". Looks like someone (S&P) agrees. Before it is too late, before German and other European taxpayers have poured hundreds of billions of euro into the PIIGS black hole of delinquent public finances, Europe should cut losses and force Greece and Portugal to renegotiate their liabilities. If Ireland and Spain were to elect to follow, so be it. Of course, in Irish case, the debt re-negotiations should cover private debts, not public debt.
Just how many billions of euros are EU taxpayers in for for the folly of admitting Greece - a country that spent 90 years of the last 180 (since 1829) in defaults on its debts - into the common currency area? Well, Greek 2-year bonds were traded at yields of 26% yesterday at one point in time. This is pricing that's in excess of pretty much every developing country, save for basket cases which practically cannot issue bonds at all.
IMF's Dominique Strauss Kahn has told Bundestag yesterday that Greek package will be
- €100-120bn for three years;
- Which means German taxpayers are on the hook for €67 billion over 3 years, not €25 billion that Germany ‘s economics minister was signing for in the original deal;
- Ireland's contribution will also have to rise to €4 billion over 3 years, not €500 million we originally were told we will have to contribute;
- Greece will not be forced to restructure or reschedule debt
- The loans to Greece will be subordinated to existent bondholders, which means that if in the end Greece does pay 30-50 cents on the euro to the latter, European taxpayers will be lucky to get 10 cents on the euro.
But internationally, EU news are getting darker and darker by the minute. Last night Bloomberg reported that EU countries are in for estimated €600 billion bill for the fiscal crises that have spread across the block. That's the cost, in the end, of all the tacky policy follies that Brussels endorsed and pushed through over the last 10 years -
- from the Lisbon Agenda, which was supposed to deliver EU to the position of economic superiority over the US by 2010,
- to the Social Economy, which was supposed to deliver... well, who knows what...
- to the Knowledge Economy, which was aiming to turn us all into brains in a Petri Dish
- to the absolutely outlandish HIPCI and HIPCII agendas wholeheartedly embraced by the EU, which were supposed to deliver debt relief to the world's real basket cases (before Greece and other PIIGS took the spotlight away from them), and the rest of the international white elephants.