quinta-feira, 20 de janeiro de 2011

O apoio chinês e a contrapartida do levantamento do embargo na venda de armas

Uma nova hipótese da razão da ajuda chinesa a Portugal e Espanha (e à Europa) na compra secreta de títulos de dívida pública, a somar áquelas já apresentadas: a contrapartida do levantamento do embargo de venda de armas à China, que os norte-americanos pretendem manter e que dura desde o massacre de Tiananmen, em 1989. Recorde-se, ainda, de que Portugal é actualmente membro do Conselho de Segurança da ONU.

4 comentários:

Anónimo disse...

Os chineses acabam de comprar 19 biliões de dólares de aviões à Boeing.

Os chineses compram o que quiserem, pois trabalham árduamente e tiram partido do lucro que obtêm.

A seguir, virá o poder militar chinês...

Anónimo disse...


Lisbon move points to end of risk-free sovereigns

Another week, another bout of angst about sovereign and municipal risk. But as investors fret about Spain and Belgium – or Illinois and California – they should take a close look at a fascinating little development in Lisbon.

On Wednesday, the Portuguese debt management agency formally announced in an e-mail that it would start posting collateral (such as cash or government bonds) on derivatives trades that it cuts with banks. It is intended to have a “positive effect” on its financing costs, and reduce “credit exposures”, it said. To onlookers, this might all sound dull and technical. And this e-mail has garnered little attention (partly because the Portuguese government first floated this idea last year.)

But in reality it carries considerable symbolic and practical significance. This week’s is just one sign of a much bigger paradigm shift about how investors and risk managers are now re-evaluating their assumptions about “safe” public sector debt. And this shift could create some fascinating practical challenges in the coming months, not just in the eurozone, but in America too.

The issue at stake revolves round how governments and banks construct derivatives deals in the over-the-counter market. During the past three decades, when banks have cut OTC interest and foreign exchange swaps deals with each other (or other private entities), they have often posted collateral to back those deals. This gives market participants protection against the failure of a counterparty.

However, until now, most governments have generally not provided such collateral, since they were considered “privileged”. This was partly due to logistical challenges (it is tough for bureaucrats to raid budgets to find collateral). However, Western public sector entities were deemed to be (almost) risk free. Thus, while banks were expected to provide collateral, public entities (and some AAA insurance groups and banks) were not.

But the financial crisis has forced investors and risk managers to rethink their assumptions about what is “risk free”, let alone “privileged”. And, unsurprisingly, many banks are now worrying about the swaps deals they previously struck with public entities. That is not because banks are necessarily losing money right now; on the contrary, eurozone swaps deals are typically moving in the banks’ favour due to swings in currency and interest rates. But since swaps are long-term, risk managers are nervous about the future. And though banks have tried to hedge this risk in the credit default swap market, this market is thin – and all this hedging has pushed CDS spreads wider (thus fuelling alarm further).

Anónimo disse...

The net result is that banks are furtively pushing for change. So are some regulators who are worried about wild swings in the CDS market. Lisbon’s announcement clearly shows some public entities are listening. After all, the Portuguese government seems to hope that posting collateral for swaps deals will now reduce the need for banks to hedge, thus potentially reducing CDS spreads and cutting sovereign funding costs. Or so the argument goes. Whether it works remains to be seen.

But investors would do well to watch what happens next. For one thing, this saga highlights something banks have long preferred to conceal: namely the wider level of under-collateralisation in the OTC derivatives market. Last year, Manmohan Singh, an economist at the International Monetary Fund, calculated, for example, that if market participants posted sufficient collateral to cover all OTC deals properly, they would need an extra $2,000bn (or about $100bn per big dealer). The TABB consultancy has reached similar conclusions*. And while banks dispute this data, these numbers are sobering; particularly since OTC business is now moving on to clearing houses – where collateral will be mandatory.

But the second fascinating question is how many other public entities will follow Portugal’s lead? Or try to use clearing houses to lower the banks’ need to hedge. Some are certainly preparing to move in that direction; however, for many public entities there are huge challenges. Many do not have cash to spare; but it is far from clear that they will be allowed to use their own bonds as collateral instead. And in the US, there are also legal constraints to what local government can do.

João Branco disse...

Toda a gente sabia que os Chineses não eram um povo filantrópico por natureza...