Tag Archives: Mario Draghi

Super Mario Draghi’s Day of Reckoning Has Arrived, by Tom Luongo

As SLL has been saying for at least a decade, a central bank exchanging its fiat debt for a government’s fiat debt is not an economic strategy, it’s a fingers-crossed wish and prayer that ultimately does more harm than good. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.com:

“Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough.”

— MARIO DRAGHI JULY 26TH 2012

No quote better defines Mario Draghi’s seven-plus years as the President of the European Central Bank than that quote. Draghi has thrown literally everything at the deflationary spiral the Euro-zone is in to no avail.

What has been enough has been nothing more than a holding pattern.

And after more than six years of the market believing Draghi’s words, after all of the alphabet soup programs — ESM, LTRO, TLTRO, OMB, ZOMG, BBQSAUCE — Draghi finally made chumps out of traders yesterday.

Draghi reversed himself after December’s overly hawkish statement in grand fashion but none dare call it capitulation. For years he has patched together a flawed euro papering over cracks with enough liquidity spackle to hide the deepest cracks.

The Ponzi scheme needs to be maintained just a little while longer.

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The Eurozone Is in a Danger Zone, by Alasdair Macleod

ECB liquidity has kept the European economy and European government bond markets afloat. What happens when the ECB tightens the spigot? From Alasdair Macleod at mises.org:

It is easy to conclude the EU, and the Eurozone in particular, is a financial and systemic time-bomb waiting to happen. Most commentary has focused on problems that are routinely patched over, such as Greece, Italy, or the impending rescue of Deutsche Bank. This is a mistake. The European Central Bank and the EU machine are adept in dealing with issues of this sort, mostly by brazening them out, while buying everything off. As Mario Draghi famously said, “whatever it takes.”

There is a precondition for this legerdemain to work. Money must continue to flow into the financial system faster than the demand for it expands, because the maintenance of asset values is the key. And the ECB has done just that, with negative deposit rates and its €2.5 trillion asset purchase program. But that program ends this month, making it the likely turning point, whereby it all starts to go wrong.

Most of the ECB’s money has been spent on government bonds for a secondary reason, and that is to ensure Eurozone governments remain in the euro system. Profligate politicians in the Mediterranean nations are soon disabused of their desires to return to their old currencies. Just imagine the interest rates the Italians would have to pay in lira on their €2.85 trillion of government debt, given a private sector GDP tax base of only €840 billion, just one third of that government debt.

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Draghi’s Membership in Murky G30 Financial Group Under Fire, by Don Quijones

There’s nothing questionable about this at all. From Don Quijones at wolfstreet.com:

A private club for central bankers, regulators, and bankers.

On Wednesday, ECB President Mario Draghi suffered the rare ignominy of being criticized in public by the EU’s Ombudsman, Emily O‘Reilly, whose job it is to arbitrate public complaints about EU institutions. The complaint against Draghi was that he had compromised his public role by regularly attending the Group of 30, a secretive club of corporate and central bankers.

In her response to the complaint, O‘Reilly recommended that Draghi should suspend his membership of the group for the remaining duration of his term.

“The implied closeness of the relationship through membership – particularly between a supervising bank and those it supervises – is not compatible with the independence obligation of an institution such as the ECB,” O’Reilly said.

Previously called the Consultative Group on International Economic and Monetary Affairs, the Group of 30 (or G30) is a Washington DC-based private group whose members consist of central bank governors, private sector bankers and academics. Membership is by invitation only.

Its current membership list reads like a Who’s Who of global finance. It includes current and former central bankers, many of whom now work or worked in the past for major financial corporations, such as:

  • Mario Draghi (ECB, Bank of Italy, Goldman Sachs)
  • Ben Bernanke (former Chairman of the Federal Reserve)
  • William Dudley (New York Fed, Goldman Sachs)
  • Timothy Geithner (Warburg Pincus, former US Treasury Secretary, New York Fed)
  • Mark Carney (Bank of England, Bank of Canada, Goldman Sachs)
  • Axel Weber (UBS, ECB, Bundesbank)
  • Haruhiko Kuroda (Bank of Japan)
  • Christian Noyer (Bank for International Settlements, Bank of France)
  • Jaime Caruana (Bank for International Settlements)
  • Agustín Carstens (Bank for International Settlements, former Chairman of Bank of Mexico)

To continue reading: Draghi’s Membership in Murky G30 Financial Group Under Fire

 

This is How Draghi Will Sock it to Investors that Weren’t Invited to the Secret Meetings, by Wolf Richter

Fun, games, idiocy, and corruption at the European Central Bank (ECB). From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

They’re all getting ready for Wednesday.

Here’s what Draghi has accomplished recently: the prices of euro-denominated corporate debt have soared. The average yield of investment-grade debt is on the verge of dropping below 1%. A good part of the €916-billion market for corporate euro debt is already below 1%, according to Bloomberg. Highly rated corporate debt with shorter maturities is trading at negative yields, where brainwashed investors engage in the absurdity of paying for the privilege of lending money to corporations.

Companies, including US companies, are scrambling to take advantage of this free money: They issued over €50 billion of euro-debt in May, the second-busiest month on record. On Monday, at least six investment-grade and junk-rated deals were announced. One of them was Air Liquide SA, which sold €3 billion in investment-grade debt. Four of the five parts of the deal priced with a yield below 1%!

They’re all getting ready for Wednesday.

June 8 is the propitious day everyone has been waiting for: the ECB – which is already buying government debt, covered bonds, and asset backed securities – begins buying euro-denominated corporate bonds. Maturities will range from six months to 30 years. It will buy these bonds either in the secondary market, where previously issued bonds are traded, or in the primary market, thus handing its freshly printed euros directly to the companies (“helicopter money” for corporations).

“The prospect of average yields below 1% is very scary,” Juan Esteban Valencia, a credit strategist at Societe Generale in Paris told Bloomberg. “Investors are being pushed outside their comfort zone to sectors like high-yield debt, where they may not have expertise.”

And where they won’t be paid for the risks they’re taking.

So junk bond yields have plunged as conservative investors are getting pushed into risky paper with a good chance of default, though the ECB won’t be buying junk bonds under the current program. According to the BofA Merrill Lynch Euro High Yield Index, the average junk-bond yield fell from over 6% earlier this year to 4.16% as of June 6.

But investors that jumped on the bandwagon belatedly might be in for a rough ride. That’s how it always happened before.

It’s how Draghi does business. A decision is made in secret to buy a certain type of asset or to lower interest rates. That decision is then communicated in secret meetings to hedge funds and certain other market participants so that they can buy into those positions and start pushing up prices. The ECB has gotten into hot water over this when it came out, but hey, that’s how the ECB operates.

To continue reading: This is How Draghi Will Sock it to Investors that Weren’t Invited to the Secret Meetings

Mario Draghi Got Lost In A Rabbit Hole, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

I’ll try and keep this gracefully short: Mario Draghi ‘unleashed’ a bazooka full of desperate tools on the financial markets yesterday and they blew up in his face faster than you could say blowback or backdraft (and that’s just the start of the alphabet). This must and will mean that Draghi’s stint as ECB head is for all intents and purposes done. But…

But there are two questions: 1) who has the power to fire him (not an easy one), and 2) who can replace him. Difficult issues because the only candidates that would even be considered for the job by the same people who hired -no, not elected- Mario -and who will still be in power after he’s gone-, under present conditions, are carbon copies of Draghi. They all went to the same schools, worked for the same banks etc.

So maybe they’ll let him sit a bit longer. Then again, the damage has been done, and Mario has done a lot of destruction, is what the markets said yesterday. But to replace him with someone who’s also already lost all credibility, because they supported Mario every step of the way, carries a very evident risk: that nobody will believe in the entire ECB itself anymore. If you ask me, it’s crazy that anyone still would, but that’s another chapter altogether.

Not that Janet Yellen and Japan’s Kuroda and China’s Zhou Xiaochuan should not also be put out by the curb. While they may -seem to- vary in approaches today, they all started from the same untested, purely theoretical and entirely clueless origins. Just saying. None of them have any idea what negative rates etc will lead to. They’re all in the same rabbit hole. And that’s not a joke, it’s deeply sad.

Ultra-low interest -even negative- rates and bond purchases to the tune of $1 trillion a year, Mario’s schtick, exist all across the formerly rich world. And they all do for the same purpose: to make the people think that they, and their economies, are still rich. Just so bankers can take from them whatever it is they still do have. Think pension funds, investment funds.

Why did this pandemonium of ZIPR and QE ever get started? Because central banks, and the economists that work within them, edged along by bankers who risked behemoth losses, said the most important thing to do was to ‘save’ the banking system, and they can always find some theory to confirm that preference.

To continue reading: Mario Draghi Got Lost In A Rabbit Hole

He Said That? 10/13/14

From Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank:

We don’t see a serious risk of bubbles in the sovereign market.

“Draghi: No Risk of Euro Bond Bubble,” Wall Street Journal, 10/13/14

Surely if a central banker and Goldman Sachs alumnus does not see any bubble risk for bonds from governments in Europe, some of whose economies are shrinking and have over 20 percent unemployment, there must not be any bubble risk. Wasn’t it former chairman Bernanke who assured us—just before it blew up—that there was no housing bubble?