Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Economics 6/10/10: Irish spreads in the need of a new catalyst

Updated below

A quick post on foot of last morning call (here) on ECB propping up Irish Government bonds

Yesterday, absent visible ECB interference in the markets, Ireland’s 10-year yield rose 6 bps relative to benchmark German bund. The gap now stands at above 408 bps, still below a record 454 bps posted on September 29.

The Portuguese-German spread rose by 1/3 of Irish-German spread - up 2 bps to 385 bps, while the Spanish-German spread stayed put at 180. Greece-Germany spread is at 777, but it is largely academic, as the country does not borrow from the open markets anymore.

The spreads are moving up on Moody’s latest threat to Ireland's sovereign ratings. Moody's downgraded Ireland to Aa2 in July. The agency now says that it will complete a new review of country position within three months. Accoridng to Moody's: “Ireland is on a trajectory toward lower debt affordability over the next three to five years.” Which of course means the probability of Ireland having to restructure its debts is rising, primarily on the back of deteriorating economic conditions.

S&P’s cut Ireland’s credit rating one step to AA- on August 24, while Fitch has a AA- rating.

So in the nutshell, the 'honeymoon' post-Lenihan's announcement last Thursday seems to be over - we are back into the markets-determined volatility and there's a desperate need for a catalyst to shift yields either way.

Oh, and of course, since hitting the 'Publish Post' button, this is just in: Fitch downgraded Irish credit rating to A+ from AA- and put it on a negative outlook. Causes: bigger-than-expected cost of cleaning up the country's banks and uncertainty over economic recovery.

Irish-German spreads moved up to 421.4 bps

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