eurozone

A suggestion by Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem that the Cyprus deal could mean depositors at troubled banks elsewhere in the eurozone also suffering has pushed banks back into bear territory. James Mackintosh, investment editor, warns of the risk of a vicious downward spiral unless Europe and the European Central Bank can reflate peripheral economies.

The valuation gap between European and US shares has narrowed to levels only seen a few times in the past decade. Is this justified? James Mackintosh, investment editor, says this suggests investors see a safer Europe while America’s economy turns European.

James Mackintosh

Mario Draghi has promised to do what it takes to save the euro. Markets are doubtful (video) – but the logical conclusion of the European Central Bank boss’s justification for action is that the ECB should be shorting German bondsShort View column here.

James Mackintosh

The post-Draghi recovery has stalled. To recap: last Thursday ECB president Mario Draghi said the central bank is ready to do whatever is needed to save the euro, and markets went wild.

The markets are more nuanced today.

  • The euro is down (perhaps rationally: if the euro solution is to print money, debasement offsets the continued existence of the currency). Just as important for the technically-minded is that the euro failed to break its 30-day moving average, at $1.237.
  • The German 2-year yield has set a new low, coming close to -0.1% before recovering a little. Flight capital, in other words, is still headed for Germany. Longer dated German bond yields remain wider than last week, but are still tighter than at the start of July. There is not much confidence that Draghi will succeed in the face of the Bundesbank’s opposition.
  • On the plus side, Spanish yields continue to improve, with the 10-year having now plunged a full percentage point since last Tuesday, and short-dated yields also dropping sharply. Again, though, things remain worse at the end of July than they were at the start.

The two most important eurozone charts after the turn

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James Mackintosh

The draft structure for Spain’s rescue of its banking system suggests a big chunk of the cost will be borne by private investors, through losses on equity and subordinated debt.

Unfortunately, this will hurt the ailing economy even more, and ultimately only save money for Spain’s eurozone partners. The bad news for banks (and good news for taxpayers and efficient resource allocation) is that it also sets a new standard for future bailouts, over-riding the local political desire to save creditors. Worse news for banks could be to come, as the logical next step is for the eurozone bail-out fund to establish rules demanding losses for senior bondholders in future bank rescues.

Charts after the break showing Spain and what looks like the mispricing of bank CDS. Read more