All About Europe’s Sovereign Debt Crisis in One Picture
The picture above shows today’s Credit Default Swap spreads of the sovereign debt of PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) countries. It means that the interest rate spread OVER the comparable Treasuries is 1737 basis points. Or, full 17% higher than the Treasuries. It means that it is virtually certain one of the countries in PIIGS is going to default – soon. It is virtually certain it is Greece, followed closely by Italy.
What will happen if Greece defaults? Immediately many European banks will be in trouble – especially the French Banks. Today, WSJ reported the following about French bank, BNP Paribas:
‘We can no longer borrow dollars. U.S. money-market funds are not lending to us anymore,” a bank executive for BNP Paribas, who declines to be named, told me last week. “Since we don’t have access to dollars anymore, we’re creating a market in euros. This is a first. . . . We hope it will work, otherwise the downward spiral will be hell. We will no longer be trusted at all and no one will lend to us anymore.”
Ah, banks! Investment banks to be precise. They work relentlessly hard to bring down the cost of capital, and stick several times that cost to us and future generations.