Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Economics 17/8/10: Another 'success' marks NTMA's foray into bond markets wilderness

Wall Street Journal blogs have beat me to the analysis of our NTMA results. Four reasons can explain this blogs tardiness:
  1. I was doing Drivetime commentary on the results at 5:15pm today;
  2. I was finishing my article on the topic for the Irish Examiner tomorrow;
  3. Call of work duty had shifted me firmly for a few hours into a beautiful world of international macro data (oh, the place where there are no Anglos and INBSs... at least not after FDIC gone through their equivalents with a sledge hammer);
  4. Last, but not least, my son gave me an even more important task of playing with him Garda and Helicopter rescue of a Big Black Spider.
To atone for this, this post precludes my deeper analysis of today' NTMA results. This post is a verbatim reply to Wall Street Journal blog post (linked here).

"Dear Richard,

I appreciate the short-term analysis span you deployed in your article on the latest Irish bonds auction.

However, several points worth raising in relation to the claimed 'success' of today's
NTMA placement.

  1. the auction achieved price bid spreads of 75bps - 2nd highest in the last 2 years, suggesting that 'success' was based on a rather less consensus-driven pricing with market makers (traditionally most stable pricing players in the market) having shown significant differences in their ability to price Irish sovereign risk;
  2. the weighted average yield achieved was the 3rd highest over the entire 2009-2010 period of issuance of 10 year bonds; and
  3. cover achieved in 10 year paper auction was lower than a year ago (down to 2.4 from 2.7)

However, it is the longer term issues, that are certainly worth highlighting.

These involve the fact that even under Government own projections, factoring in expected Nama losses forecast by independent analysts, such as myself, Peter Mathews, Prof Brian Lucey and Prof Karl Whelan, by 2012 Ireland will be carrying over 210 billion worth of state (sovereign and quasi-sovereign) debt on its books. At 5.386% yield, this translates into ca €11.31 billion in interest payments alone or more than 1/3 of the entire tax revenue collected by the Irish Government in 2009.

It is naive to believe that 2010 gargantuan deficit in excess of 20% of GDP is a 'one-off' reflection of banks recapitalizations demand.

Again, based on balance sheet analysis, I expect 6 banks covered by the State Guarantee to incur loans losses of ca €50 billion between 2008 and 2012. Current provisions announced by the Irish Government and the banks cover roughly a half of these. The rest will have to be financed out of taxpayers funds in years to come.

In a taste of things ahead, earlier today Governor of the Central Bank has stated that next stage
recapitalization of Irish Nationwide and EBS building societies will cost taxpayers not €3.5 billion earlier factored in by the Minister for Finance, but €4 billion. €500 mln discrepancy within 5 months is a pittance for the Exchequer burning deficits at 20% of GDP (or roughly a quarter of the real domestic economy), but... Independent estimates put the final figure at €7 billion.

So much for the 'one-off measures'.

Perhaps the most telling sign of what is really happening in the markets NTMA tapped today is the fact that having dropped 20bps, Irish bonds spreads over German 10-year bund have risen once again to within a hair of 300bps.

Some success, then..."

In addition, one can only speculate whether the 'spectacularly' large cover of 5.4 for shorter term 4 year paper is due to the much speculated about, but yet to be confirmed or denied, direct buying by the ECB. If so, then we might have a situation where ECB gross over-bidding in the shorter maturity paper placement drove buyers into longer term paper. this, in turn would imply that neither the 3.627% weighted average yield achieved in 4 year bonds nor the 5.386% average yield priced in 10 year bonds are to be trusted as market benchmarks.

A more detailed analysis of the bonds issuance follows in the next post, so stay tuned.

1 comment:

Fungus the Photo! said...

The decision to assume responsibility (for the first time since the boom started) for nearly all banking debts given that the banks and building societies are insolvent, may well cost Euro100,000,000,000 by the end.

But we continue with the IFSC which is likely to be a nightmare, compared to the merely bad dream of "regular" banking.

Geddit, regular as in regulated!? The IFSC has no civil servant arranging fake deposits for failing entities.

On other on-line blogs and the FT questions are asked as to where all the dodgy derivatives have gone. Do we need to ask?