November 13, 2011
We have long mocked and ridiculed the Fed for being the ultimate ponzi instrument: after all, why worry, when your central bank will buy up almost three trillion in US paper in about 2 years (a very comforting fact for US politicians who never have to fear that those trillions in new porkbills, pardon fiscal stimulus programs, may end up without funding). Well, as it turns out those wily veteran bankers from across the Atlantic have just one upped America yet again.
According to the Telegraph, the abysmal, and barely successful, 3 EUR billion issuance of EFSF bonds (which was originally supposed to be 10 EUR billion, on its very very gradual climb to 1 EUR trillion) had one more very curious feature to it, aside from confirming that it is Dead On Arrival as expected. It turns out that in addition to being the most convoluted and complex creation ever conceived by JPM which is advising Europe on coming up with structured finance products that are so complex nobody will ask any questions and will automatically assume someone else has done the homework, it is also the quintessential ponzi instrument.
The Telegraph reports that the already reduced 3 EUR billion “target was only met after the EFSF resorted to buying up several hundred million euros worth of the bonds.” You read that right: in its first bond issuance since its transformation to the European Bank/Soveriegn Bailout Swiss Army Knife, the EFSF not only failed to raise a minimum token amount, but also had to… buy its own bonds.
We can assume that the money the EFSF needed to fund said purchase came from the money growing tree, as at last check the ECB was still not funding the EFSF with crisp, new zEURq.PK equivalent binary 1s and 0s. But at least we all know what happens when the global ponzi goes full retard.
More on this surreal story which will be promptly buried in the barrage of Monday headlines because an international advisor to Goldman Sachs is now in charge of Italy.
Sources said the EFSF had spent more than € 100m buying up its own bonds to help it achieve its funding target after the banks leading the deal were only able to find about €2.7bn of outside demand for the debt.
The revelation will be seen as a major failure and a worrying sign of future buyers strike after EFSF officials and their bankers had spent recent weeks travelling the world attempting to persuade key investors, including China’s national wealth fund and Japanese government funds, to buy its bonds.
And just in case one monetization vertical was not enough, Europe used, well, all the other ones it could:
Other European Union funds are also understood to have supported the EFSF’s bond sale. The failure of the EFSF will increase pressure on the European Central Bank to effectively become the lender of last resort for the eurozone, a move it has strongly resisted.
At a private breakfast organised by PI Capital last week, Mark Hoban, the Treasury minister, said: “What it doesn’t do is provide the next stage of the solution, which is how do you stop this from happening again?” he said.
The move, by the European Investment Bank, will cause more disquiet among non-eurozone EU members who have become concerned about their growing exposure to the cost of rescuing the currency bloc.
The explanation, for anyone whose brain just exploded, is that despite the marionette rotation at the top, the math of Europe is still not only absolutely hopeless, not to mention meaningless, but somehow just got even worse, because take away the magical powers of modern finance to be one with the ponzi, and Europe would have already imploded.
It also means that our earlier observation that the EFSF is an AA+ equivalent credit instrument has to be revised: pro formaing out the ponzi, means it is at best AA if not A, and most likely D if one takes away all the magic bells and Keynesian whistles, unicorns and other end of the western financial world loopholes that modern finance is forced to resort to every single day to mask the fact that every country in the developed world is now 100% bankrupt.