Saturday, 17 August 2013

Credit - Fears for Tears

"A person's fears are lighter when the danger is at hand." - Lucius Annaeus Seneca

In continuation to our musical title analogies and given we have been revisiting old classic "New Wave" music from the 80's while enjoying the quiet daily commute, looking at the continuation of the build in risk (US equities making new highs using margin debt, the great return of covenant-light loans, etc.), we thought this week, we would use a somewhat veiled reference to UK group Tears for Fears for our chosen title, given this year was the 30 year anniversary since the release of their first debut album "The Hurting" (released on the 7th of March 1983). Looking at the increasing risks of a Fed "Tapering" and the poor liquidity experienced in the secondary space during the previous bout of bond volatility, we thought using "Fears for Tears" as a title would conveniently illustrate our growing "fears" concerns that could no doubt led to "tears" and to large inflicted "hurting" in risky assets.

Of course, some will describe us as being outright "bearish" given everyone is vaunting the much improved economic data in the US as well as in Europe. As we pointed out last week, there are indeed a few clouds gathering on the horizon thanks to rising "forced correlations" which could lead to some  additional repricing, and not only in the equities space.

In this week's conversation, we will focus on these risks as well as what capital shortfalls entails in the credit space for subordinated bond holders, which have become again quite complacent on the matter.

We have been tracking with interest not only the rise of the S&P index (blue) versus NYSE Margin debt (red) but we also added S&P EBITDA growth (yellow) as well as the S&P buyback  index (green) since 2009 - graph source Bloomberg:

Of course this only telling half the liquidity induced rally courtesy of our "omnipotent" central bankers and their wealth effect strategy, leading to the use of leverage of any kind, which, leading to some "risk parity" strategic users to rediscover with much "hurting" the inherent risk in too much leveraged risk piled into interest rate sensitive asset which our friends at Rcube Global Macro Research have been discussing as of late. We will touch more on liquidity further in our conversation.

Some argue that concerns on the record amount of borrowing for US stocks are misplaced because, lower interest rates have made the borrowing much less expensive, as illustrated by Bloomberg in a recent Chart of the Day (15th of August):
"Concern that a record amount of borrowing to buy U.S. stocks foreshadows an end to the current bull market is misplaced, according to Michael Shaoul, chairman and chief executive officer at Marketfield Asset Management.
The CHART OF THE DAY illustrates why the issue has emerged in the top panel, which compares total margin debt at New York Stock Exchange member firms with the value of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. April’s debt was a record $384.4 billion, according to the exchange.
Lower interest rates have made the borrowing much less expensive -- and less significant -- than it was when the last two bull markets concluded in 2000 and 2007, Shaoul wrote in an e-mailed note yesterday.
Investors are paying about 72 percent less interest than they were at the 2007 peak, as displayed in the chart’s bottom panel. This estimate was calculated by multiplying margin debt by the broker call rate, charged by banks on similar loans to securities firms, as Shaoul did in his note.
Companies’ rising earnings also suggest borrowing is far from excessive, the e-mail said, because they have made stocks more valuable. By this yardstick, the amount of margin debt has to climb 40 percent to reach an equivalent to the two previous market peaks, even if S&P 500 company profit stays unchanged.
“Margin debt expansion will remain in place until corporate earnings falter” or the Federal Reserve raises its target interest rate significantly, the New York-based investor wrote. “We do not expect to see either of these take place for a number of quarters.”" - source Bloomberg.

But corporate earnings are, we think exposed, and the rally has been as well sustained by multiple expansions and very significant stock buy-backs.

Reading through CLSA's weekly Greed & Fear note from the 15th of August, written by Christopher Woods, we could not agree more with his comments, where he indicated that risks on the S&P 500 are rising:
"What does all this mean for the American stock market? Well in one paradoxical sense if growth in the US is not as robust as hoped for, that means quanto easing continues which should support the equity market. Still at some point common sense takes over and a lack of growth is plain bearish for equities, most particularly in the context of an American stock market which in recent months has been driven far more by multiple expansion rather than earnings growth. Thus, the S&P500 trailing PE has risen from 15.6x in late December to 18.4x" - source CLSA - Greed & Fear, 15th of August 2013.

For illustrative purposes, we have been plotting the growing divergence between the S&P 500 and trailing PE since January 2012 - graph source Bloomberg:

On top of that multiple expansion and the induced rally by central banks liquidity injections have been boosted as well by a reduction in denominator via stock buy-backs. The complacency in the equity space is starting to raise our "fears" for "tears" as displayed by Deutsche Bank's US equity strategist at Deutsche Bank graph indicating the price-earnings ratio for the Standard & Poor's 500 with the VIX:
"Investors are becoming overly content about the prospects for stocks after more than four years of gains, according to David Bianco, chief U.S. equity strategist at Deutsche Bank AG.
The CHART OF THE DAY shows how Bianco reached his conclusion: by comparing the price-earnings ratio for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index with this quarter’s average close for the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index. The latter gauge, known as the VIX, is based on S&P 500 options.
Bianco’s P/E-VIX ratio closed yesterday at 1.20. At that level, a lack of concern that share prices may fall starts to supplant “realistic and disciplined” investing, he wrote in an Aug. 9 report.
“This complacency signal may pertain more to the derivatives market than the equity market,” he wrote. This quarter’s closing VIX average as of yesterday was 13.59, just above the first-quarter figure of 13.53. The latter reading was the lowest since 2007, when a five-year bull market came to an end, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
While stocks have room to extend their advance since March 2009, increased volatility is likely to accompany any further gains, he wrote. This would allow stocks to rise relative to earnings without sending another warning sign, the New York-based strategist wrote.
Bianco expects the index to end next year at 1,850, which is 9.2 percent higher than yesterday’s close. His projection for the end of this year is 1,675, in line with the average among 17 strategists in a Bloomberg survey." - source Bloomberg.

Whereas the volatility in the fixed income space has remained elevated as displayed by the recent evolution of the Merrill Lynch's MOVE index falling from early May from 48 bps  towards the 87 bps level, the VIX, the measure of volatility for equities has remained fairly muted - graph source Bloomberg:
MOVE index = ML Yield curve weighted index of the normalized implied volatility on 1 month Treasury options.
CVIX index = DB currency implied volatility index: 3 month implied volatility of 9 major currency pairs.

Of course when ones look at European government yields and in particular peripheral yields, both Italy and Spain are trading towards the lowest level since 2011 relative to German government yields - graph source Bloomberg:
While the German 10 year government bond has moved in sympathy with the 10 year US treasuries breaking its 1.60% - 1.70% range towards 1.90%, Spanish and Italian yields have so far remained fairly muted. 
In relation to our "Fears" for "Tears", we share the same views as Morgan Stanley, from their Credit Strategy note from the 16th of August entitled "Working Through Our Worries", namely that Europe remains on our top concern list:
"Why Europe is the risk we’d stay focused on
We’re relatively relaxed about higher rates and the EM slowdown, but it’s the risk of renewed volatility in the eurozone that causes us the most discomfort. This may sound odd, given that Spanish sovereign spreads are at their year-to-date tights, but is based on a couple of factors unique to this risk.
First, it enjoys especially high uncertainty: One can look to Fed speeches and US data to inform a view of ‘tapering’. One can follow EM currencies or commodity prices to get a sense of regional stress. No similar metric exists for measuring the cohesion of the Italian government or the likelihood of a rating agency downgrade.
Second, it can strike with high intensity: The large rate move since May has so far been weathered well. No more than a handful of European corporates are experiencing serious credit trouble from a sharper China slowdown.
Sovereign weakness, in contrast, has repeatedly shown the ability to drive severe, broad-based weakness in our market.
Third, while it is not our base case, there are plausible reasons why a eurozone crisis could re-emerge: Improving economic data in Europe are encouraging. Yet the ratings of nearly all eurozone sovereigns remain on negative outlook. Debt/GDP will likely rise and unemployment should stay high well into 2014, even if growth ‘improves’ to ~1%. The eurozone’s ability to backstop a crisis remains hamstrung by the continued lack of a banking union, an OMT programme that our economists believe will be difficult to activate, and a continued reluctance by the ECB to use QE." - source Morgan Stanley

Yes, we all know that Mario Draghi's OMT "nuclear deterrent" has yet to be tested. But what we are concerned about is, as we indicated in our conversation "Cloud Nine", is the lack of credit growth in peripheral countries which are most likely to be exacerbated by the upcoming AQR 
As a reminder: AQR = Asset Quality Review, planned for 1st Quarter 2014 as a prelude to the ECB becoming the Single Supervisor for large euro area banks in 2H 2014. The AQR's intent is to review banks challenged loan portfolios and the need for capital increase.
"Until the AQR is completed and capital shortfalls identified and remedied, you cannot expect a significant pick up in lending.

One of main reason of the relative calm in the European government bond market has been the "crowding out" of the private sector.
"Although, the intention of European politicians has been to severe the link between banks and sovereigns, in fact what they have effectively done in relation to bank lending in Europe is "crowding out" the private sector. Peripheral banks have in effect become the "preferred lender" of peripheral governments"

It is fairly simple, in effect while the deleveraging runs unabated for European banks, most European banks have been playing the carry trade and in effect boosting their sovereign holdings by 30% since 2011 to record as displayed in the below table by Bloomberg:
"Euro zone financial institutions' sovereign holdings totaled 1.78 trillion euros in June, up from 1.4 trillion euros in December 2011. In efforts to maintain asset values and lower auction costs, banks have increasingly supported their sovereigns by purchasing sovereign debt, which may stop their own associated CDSs and funding costs from rising aggressively. Over-exposure to sovereign debt (and loans) can threaten solvency should conditions deteriorate enough." - source Bloomberg.

In that sense the European Banking Union is more akin to a Government/Bank Union when it comes to sovereign bonds holdings.

As we indicated back in our conversation "Cloud Nine", indeed the government is the preferred borrower when it comes to lending as displayed in Bloomberg Chart of The Day from the 13th of August:
"Italian banks are increasingly using liquidity to buy more profitable sovereign debt, reducing loans to companies and households, as Italy’s longest recession in 20 years makes lending more risky.
The CHART OF THE DAY compares the banks’ purchase of Italian government bonds and loans made to the private sector.
Italian banks increased their holdings of the country’s debt by almost 100 billion euros ($133 billion) in the 12 months ended June 30 to a record 402 billion euros. In the same period, loans decreased by 55 billion euros, or 3.3 percent, to 1.63 trillion euros.
There’s a crowding-out effect,” said Carlo Alberto Carnevale Maffe, professor of business strategy at Milan’s Bocconi University. “The public debt is soaking up resources from the private sector, offering higher yields on capital and a lower investment risk, at a time in which companies and families are struggling to repay their debt.”
Italian banks, which have borrowed more than 255 billion euros from the European Central Bank’s longer-term refinancing program, are investing part of the liquidity obtained at lower interest rates in short-term government bonds that offer higher yields. That’s favored by Italy’s government, which is seeking domestic buyers to replace lower purchases from foreign investors so it can cover a monthly average issuance of 40 billion euros in securities to finance its $2.7 trillion debt. At the same time, banks are more reluctant to lend as a recession saddles them with mounting bad loans." - source Bloomberg

Should Mario Draghi feel the urge to trigger is "nuclear" device, it will have to be "Brighter than a Thousand Suns", to quote, J. Robert Oppenheimer...
Oh well...

So when it comes to our "Fears for Tears", liquidity has always been our top concern, credit wise.
As we posited in "The Unbearable Lightness of Credit":
“Liquidity is a backward-looking yardstick. If anything, it’s an indicator of potential risk, because in “liquid” markets traders forego trying to determine an asset’s underlying worth – - they trust, instead, on their supposed ability to exit.” - Roger Lowenstein, author of “When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management.” – “Corzine Forgot Lessons of Long-Term Capital

The recent surge in the fixed income space of May and June have indeed been very stark reminder of the importance of liquidity. On that subject we came across a article entitled "The great unwind: Buy-side fears impact of market-making constraints" which struck as a perfect illustration of Roger Lowenstein's quote:
"At the start of May, as prices for US agency bonds reached what would later prove to be a peak, one New York-based hedge fund decided to sell its portfolio of roughly $100 million in AAA-rated mortgage-backed securities. The fund’s senior trader expected to be out of the position in a day, or even less. If it had gone to plan, it would have been beautifully timed, but it didn’t go to plan.

“You’re talking about AAA agencies – OK, with some callable features – and you don’t expect there would be no liquidity for that kind of instrument. The only reason I allowed us to carry that position is that, in my mind, you should be able to blow out of it in basically a day, or even an hour for that kind of size. But the reality was it took us a month,” he says.

The fund initially turned to a single dealer, which bought less than $10 million of the bonds upfront, promising to take the rest as and when it could find bids from other clients. Over the course of the next four weeks, the position shrank slowly, and the price of the bonds steadily slipped. The trader declines to say how much value was given up, but he admits the fund’s hedges did not work perfectly, and says it lost money on the portfolio during the month. Eventually, losing patience, the fund brought in a second bank to speed up the process.

“Effectively, there was no liquidity for that stuff. The discrepancy between the expectation and the actual liquidity was one of the largest I’ve ever experienced,” he says.

This fund was one of the lucky ones, selling the bulk of its portfolio before bond market jitters turned into a full-scale rout in the last week of May. The sell-off was triggered by the fairly innocuous statement from Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, that the central bank might rein in its programme of quantitative easing. As fixed-income investors sought to pare back the huge positions they have built up in recent years, prices moved dramatically, triggering further waves of selling – yields on 10-year US Treasury bonds leapt 80 basis points in six weeks to close at 2.73% on July 5, but everything from emerging market sovereign debt to corporate bond exchange-traded funds (ETFs) was hit.

“I’ve never seen markets move so far on so little news,” says one senior, London-based trader – a sentiment shared by many other market participants.

Some banks, plus buy-side firms including BlackRock, Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management and Fortress Investment Group, now explain this episode in the same way: the problem was illiquidity, and the cause was bank regulation.

New capital, liquidity and leverage rules are making it more expensive to carry inventory, they say, meaning banks have less capacity to take principal risk. The consequence is that market-makers were not initially willing to absorb the supply of securities: orders were broken into smaller clips, bid-offer spreads exploded, in some cases even enquiries had the power to move markets. Once prices had collapsed, demand strengthened, enabling bank trading desks to match up buyer and seller more rapidly, and stabilising the market.

Or so the argument goes, and there is a lively debate, particularly among dealers, about how important these factors were. But the bigger question is what happens next. As interest rates normalise, investors that have gorged on fixed-income securities will all be trying to cut their exposure – a prospect the chief risk officer at one US bank’s asset management arm calls “the great unwind”. With market-makers unable to provide the kind of liquidity many investors are used to, he predicts a period of sustained, savage volatility, and the head of rates distribution at one UK bank agrees: “We’ve just had a 30-second trailer for the full movie.”

For now, there is little science to back up these scary predictions, but there are anecdotes, intuition, a lot of first-hand experience – and some numbers.

“There’s never been a wider gap between the amount of overall product out in the market versus dealer balance sheets. When you start looking at the size of the institutional market and daily turnover as a function of the dealer balance sheet, you get some pretty horrific stats,” says Richard Prager, head of trading and liquidity strategies at BlackRock in New York.

Others see it the same way. “There is a pent-up mismatch that has been built as real-money asset managers have swelled in size while dealers have reduced their inventories, and there is a real risk that some investors may not understand the effect this structural imbalance has on the underlying liquidity of some of those portfolios,” says Randy Brown, co-chief investment officer at Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management in London.

According to data compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the inventory of corporate bonds held by primary dealers plunged from a high of $235 billion on October 17, 2007 to just $55.9 billion as of March 27 this year. An even bigger drop has been seen in holdings of agency debt, which fell from a high of $69 billion in May 2008 to $6.8 billion by March 27 – a decline of 90%.

The same trend has been seen in corporate bonds, according to Peter Duenas-Brckovich, global co-head of credit flow trading at Nomura in London. “If, 10 years ago, the Street was willing to hold 4.5 to 5% of the outstanding debt, that number is now only 0.5%,” he says.

The major constraint has been the introduction of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s new trading book capital rules – known as Basel 2.5 – which has forced dealers to hold more capital against trading book assets through the use of a general market risk charge measured using a 10-day value at risk at a 99% confidence interval, a stressed VAR charge and, for banks that model specific risk, an incremental risk charge (IRC) (see box, The roots of the problem). But banks also face a new leverage ratio and structural restrictions on their ability to take proprietary trading positions – however those are defined.

“Post-crisis, the proportion of inventory held by dealers has diminished dramatically; collectively, dealers’ inventory is a tenth of what it once was,” says Chris Murphy, global head of rates and credit at UBS, and a member of the bank’s investment bank executive committee. “Banks were complacent about housing inventory in the pre-crisis years, and balance sheets were out of whack with the industry’s real risk-bearing capacity. That has been corrected by the Basel capital overlay, where warehousing credit products in the lower-rated space – like high-yield or emerging markets – is extremely punitive. And banks also have to comply with leverage ratios, which act as a major constraint on balance sheet size.”

Large asset managers agree on both the cause and the effect. “Holding securities longer term has always been challenging for dealers. Today, constraints on funding cash inventory are even more pronounced because of new regulations, lower credit ratings for most dealers, and mark-to-market concerns if credit spreads widen. Dealers will assume positions temporarily while trying to place bonds elsewhere, but I would not expect them to offer significant additional longer-term capacity,” says Hilmar Schaumann, chief risk officer of Fortress Investment Group in New York.

What this means, simply put, is that markets are likely to move further and faster when clients are selling – and traders say the reaction to Bernanke’s comments is the perfect example.

“He basically said, ‘At some point in the future, there is a possibility we might think about maybe – maybe – not doing quite as much bond buying’. And we still had a complete meltdown. That’s a lot of movement for not a lot of news. Imagine if they’d actually changed rates,” says the London-based head of European fixed-income trading at one large European bank.

Another example is the reaction to the July 1 resignation of the Portuguese finance minister. By July 3, the country’s 10-year bonds had jumped from 6.38% to 7.46%. The price of the bonds fell around five points – or 5% of par.

“It’s a peripheral credit that is expected to have problems, but a five-point drop? I’ve been doing this for 20 years – the news does not justify the move. This is not a corporate where the head of accounting quit because of accounting fraud. This is highly suggestive of poor liquidity in the market,” says Nomura’s Duenas-Brckovich." - source

Moving on to the subject of complacency in the subordinated bond space, we eagerly await the results of the AQR tests which will be conducted by the ECB and we agree with CITI's take from their credit note from the 13th of August:
"European Union finance ministers recently reached an agreement on several topics which should form the backbone of the European bail-in legislation (expected to be implemented from 2015): e.g. the priority of payments in the event of a bail-in and the creation of national based resolution funds. Essentially, the agreement specifies a list of liabilities which will not be bailed-in (e.g. guaranteed deposits); this list excludes equity, sub and senior debt, i.e. they are “bail-inable”.
According to our interpretation of the draft directive, national authorities will only have the ability to inject “public” money into a bailed-in bank once losses of 8% of total assets have already been absorbed. In other words, for sub or senior debt not to be bailed-in, other (presumably more junior obligations like equity) securities would have to have already absorbed (i.e. bailed-in) 8% of the total liabilities of the bank. What does this mean (to us at least)?
-If the equity to total liabilities ratio in a bank were more than 8%, there would be a chance that sub debt may not be bailed-in. However, the average equity to total liabilities ratio in European banks is 5% and very rarely exceeds 8%, which means that sub bail-ins appear very likely.
-The ratio of equity plus subordinated debt to total liabilities for the average European bank is around 7%, which means that national authorities would pretty much be forced to “fully” bail-in equity and subordinated bondholders. Figure 4 shows the distribution of the ratio of equity plus subordinated debt to total liabilities across European banks.
In many cases, the ratio is below 8%. Even if the ratio is above 8%, sub debt would likely be bailedin if losses are above that level and/or national authorities want the post “bailined” bank to have a meaningful capital base
-What about senior debt? In the average European bank, equity plus subordinated debt will make up around 7-8% of total liabilities, which means that national authorities will likely have discretion not to bail-in senior debt.
National authorities will, in our view, make use of bail-in legislations when dealing with distressed banks going forward. We expect that bail-ins will trigger restructuring credit events in current CDS contracts, as was the case in SNS and Bankia, and “bail-in” credit events in the new CDS contract."  - source CITI

Of course we have long voice our "Fears for Tears" for the subordinated bond holders and it has been a recurring subject in our numerous credit conversations. It support our long standing views expressed in our post "Peripheral Banks, Kneecap Recap, Kneecap Recap":
"First bond tenders, then we will probably see debt to equity swaps for weaker peripheral banks with no access to term funding, leading to significant losses for subordinate bondholders as well as dilution for shareholders in the process." - Macronomics - 20th of November 2011.

Back in our conversation "The Week That Changed The CDS World", we indicated that the recent SNS case has derailed the auction process and the validity of the current CDS subordinated contract. In the case of SNS, because the auction used senior bonds, the recovery was around 95.5 for the bucket at 2.5 years and 85.5 for other maturities segment. Given the payout equates to par minus recovery, a CDS subordinated bondholder only received 14.5 (100-85.5) much for taking a CDS in the first place...

  1. The issue was that the auction could not operate due to lack of deliverable, it reminds us of a similar case with Delphi Automotive when a market maker had squeezed the market and cornered the bonds which had led to a higher recovery rate and smaller payout to the CDS holders. The markets then moved towards cash settlement to avoid some players to rig on purpose the auction process.

    In the case of the SNS expropriation, the CDS mechanism has derailed somewhat the auction process, hence the need to ensure with the new contracts a smoother payout mechanism. Obviously going forward Sub CDS protection should trade wider. 

    One of our prime candidate for "Fears for Tears" and for failing the upcoming AQR tests in relating to the subordinated bond holders risks, is troubled Italian bank MPS (Montei Dei Paschi). We agree with Bank of America Merrill Lynch's recent note on MPS from the 14th of August entitled "Defusing the capital problem" about the increasing probability of a debt-to-equity swap for the Italian lender:
    "A sub-debt-to-equity swap could help MPS’s capital position
    In our view, an effective solution to the capital issue could be a subordinated debt to equity swap. This is not without recent precedents (Commerzbank, Portuguese banks). Some issues may arise in connection with the Italian rules on dedicated capital increases and pre-emptive rights, but we do not think that these are insurmountable. Incidentally, Banco Popolare has a convertible outstanding which allows the bank to trigger anticipated conversion effectively at a discount to market value (bondholders will receive the face value plus 10%)". Besides, according to new EC rules “state aid must not be granted before equity, hybrid capital and subordinated debt have fully contributed to offset any losses”. If our interpretation is correct, this may imply that ahead of conversion of the state aid into equity, current shareholders and sub-bond holders might have to bear the losses. In our view, this should be a good enough reason for bondholders to accept trading out of (relatively illiquid) bonds into shares. In July 2012, MPS launched a senior-to-sub swap, which was a wasted opportunity as MPS realised just a modest capital gain. A sub-debt-to-equity swap would have the advantage of moving the full sub-debt balance exchanged for equity (rather than just the delta between market price and tender in a cash-to-debt deal).
    MPS has relatively limited options with respect to using its subordinated debt to recapitalise the bank because of the relatively high cash prices that many of the bonds trade at. In some other examples, banks have been able to take advantage of the discount at which their bonds trade to par and monetise this – this seems less clearly an option here given that many bonds trade in the 90s or even higher. We do not exclude that cash prices could fall in the coming months of course but our assessment is that MPS sub bond prices have been surprisingly resilient in the face of the bad news emanating from the bank on the one side and a clearly underperforming sub CDS which is currently indicated at well over +1,000bps on the other side. This is a level that we’d generally associate with very high default risk. There is a big disconnect between MPS cash bonds and its CDS. The latter is implying that there is a high likelihood of a Credit Event. 
    We think this is most likely to be a Restructuring Credit Event rather than a Failure to Pay. We estimate that MPS has subordinated debt with a face value of about €5.3bn, not including the FRESH, all of which essentially could be made available to recapitalise the bank if there was a debt-for-equity swap. In our view, the bank could offer to buy back its subordinated bonds for shares, albeit that this would be very dilutive given that MPS’s current market value is around €2.5bn. Even if the bank decided to focus on the more subordinated parts of its capital structure (T1 and UT2), there would still be potentially €3bn that could be raised in this way. Part of the capital raised would be the gain from taking out any liabilities below par but most of the capital would come from a straight swap of the liabilities for equity. "- source BAML

    But there is a catch for the holders of the current CDS subordinated contract as pointed out by CITI:
    "Under the current CDS contract, if sub debt is converted into equity before the auction date there will be no subordinated deliverables for the auction, as was the case in Bankia." - source CITI

"Fears for Tears"...

On a final note, German exporters should start to have as well their "Fears for Tears" given the Chinese slowdown will continue to weigh on German output as indicated by Bloomberg Chart of The Day:
"China’s credit squeeze is signaling a downturn in German manufacturing, according to ING Groep NV.
The CHART OF THE DAY shows that Germany’s factory output as gauged by a manufacturing purchasing-managers’ index has mirrored Chinese bank-lending growth since a credit boom that began in 2008. As China’s Communist Party seeks to rein in lending on concern that wasteful investment will threaten
longer-term growth, Germany’s export-oriented manufacturers are poised to suffer.
“China’s economy is shifting from domestic investment to more of a domestic consumption model,” said Martin van Vliet, senior euro-zone economist at ING in Amsterdam. “If you’re a German exporter selling machinery, that’s bad news.” China will start a nationwide audit of public-sector debt this week as the government pressures banks to better manage their balance sheets after the record surge in credit. The nation’s economic growth slowed for a second quarter to 7.5 percent in the three months ended June and the government has set a target of 7 percent a year for the five years through 2015. China hasn’t expanded at a slower than 7.6 percent pace
since 1990.
A reduction in debt-fueled Chinese investment spending may hurt German machinery orders in particular. Machinery sales to China last year were valued at 16.9 billion euros ($22.5 billion), accounting for more than a quarter of total shipments to the country, according to the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden.
German exports to China have increased at an average rate of 15.8 percent a year since 1995, more than twice as fast as the total gain. That’s helped Germany weather the effects of the euro-area’s sovereign debt crisis, now in its fourth year." - source Bloomberg.

"Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; adversity not without many comforts and hopes." -Francis Bacon 

Stay tuned!

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