End Times and Current Events

General Category => Europe => Topic started by: Psalm 51:17 on November 24, 2011, 08:39:46 am

Title: Keep an eye on Portugal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 24, 2011, 08:39:46 am


LISBON (Reuters) - Rating agency Fitch downgraded Portugal's rating to junk status on Thursday, citing large fiscal imbalances, high debts and the risks to its EU-mandated austerity program from a worsening economic outlook.

Fitch cut Portugal to BB+ from BBB-, which is still one notch higher than Moody's rating of Ba2. S&P still rates Portugal investment grade.

Fitch said a deepening recession makes it "much more challenging" for the government to cut the budget deficit but it still expects fiscal goals to be met both this year and next.

"However, the risk of slippage - either from worse macroeconomic outturns or insufficient expenditure controls - is large," Fitch said.

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Title: Keep an eye on Portugal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 17, 2012, 12:31:53 pm
Keep an eye on Portugal
17 January 2012, by Deborah Levine (MarketWatch - Blogs)

While it’s managed to stay out of the spotlight for a while, investors will be turning their attention back to Portugal to see how Wednesday’s bill auction goes, said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman.

Portugal’s credit was downgraded below investment grade last week by Standard & Poor’s.

“By joining Moody’s and Fitch with a sub-investment grade rating for Portugal, S&P ‘s decision will likely result in Portugal being dropped from bond indices that are used as benchmark for money managers,” Chandler wrote in a note Tuesday.

That change will show up in the demand statistics for the bill auction.

“The downgrade also raises the prospects that Portugal, like Greece, will need another aid package,” he said.

In Portugal’s favor, it doesn’t have bonds maturing until June, so a default – if unable to roll that debt over – isn’t imminent. It also doesn’t need to borrow all that much this year. 

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Title: Re: Keep an eye on Portugal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 25, 2012, 09:25:09 pm
Portugal debt insurance cost hits record
25 January 2012, by William L. Watts - Frankfurt (MarketWatch)

The cost of insuring Portuguese government debt against nonpayment through instruments known as credit default swaps, or CDS, continued to soar Wednesday, hitting another record on fears the country may be forced to follow Greece in seeking a restructuring of its debt.

The spread on five-year Portuguese CDS widened to 1,310 basis points from 1,279 basis points on Tuesday, according to data provider Markit.

That means it would now cost $1.31 million annually to insure $10 million of Portuguese debt against default for five years.

"Right now it looks as if Portugal could be the country with the biggest multiple-equilibria risk -- meaning the biggest risk of being dragged towards default, even if [European Central Bank] support is providing a stronger backdrop for the other bond markets," said Steven Barrow, currency and fixed-income strategist at Standard Bank.

Title: Re: Keep an eye on Portugal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 26, 2012, 10:17:28 am
Portugal 10 Year Yield Passes 15% For The First Time, Is Where Greek 10 Year Was In August
26 January 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

As the world awaits resolution out of Greece and the debt exchange offer which even if passed today would have to cram 6 months of actual work into 54 days, the global bond vigilantes are not sticking around, and continue to attack the next weakest link - Portugal, whose 10 Year bonds just passed 15% in yield, and were trading well below 50 cents of par with CDS hitting a new record of 1350 bps.

Naturally this has brought out the ECB's crack bond buying team (only at a central bank does a "trader" need only know how to buy, selling skills are optional) which tried to put the genie back in the bottle but now it is too late.

After all, vigilantes are just wondering what form the Portuguese restructuring will take place considering that unlike Greece the bulk of its bonds have strong protections. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/portugal-reenters-bailout-radar-traders-realize-greek-bailout-model-not-feasible-here

So if one does use Greece as a benchmark how long does Portugal have?

As the third chart shows, the last time 10 year GGBs passed 15% was back in August. So Portugal has 6 months. Give or take.

Title: Portuguese 10-year bond yield jumps to record
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 01, 2012, 08:28:25 am
Portuguese 10-year bond yield jumps to record
30 January 2012, by William L. Watts - Frankfurt (MarketWatch)

The yield on 10-year Portuguese government bonds continued to explore euro-era highs Monday, topping 15% on fears the country may need to eventually seek an additional bailout or a writedown on the value of its current debt.

The 10-year yield stood at 15.18% in recent action, up from around 13.6% on Friday, according to electronic trading platform Tradeweb.

"Investors are worried that Greece still hasn't reached a deal with its private sector creditors on a voluntary debt exchange.

That sent yields on Portugal's sovereign debt soaring because investors are worried that if Greece has a disorderly default or a forced debt restructuring, then Portugal would be next," wrote strategists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Title: As Greece Crashes And Burns, Troika Arrives In Portugal With "Soothing Words Of
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 16, 2012, 09:21:03 am
As Greece Crashes And Burns, Troika Arrives In Portugal With "Soothing Words Of Support"
15 February 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

Title: Re: Keep an eye on Portugal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 18, 2012, 10:17:33 pm

Investor PIMCO: Portugal risks becoming 2nd Greece
Associated Press – 3/18/12

BERLIN (AP) — The head of bond investor PIMCO says in an interview that heavily indebted Portugal is at risk to follow Greece's downhill path.

German news magazine Der Spiegel quotes Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of the giant bond mutual fund company, as saying that Portugal is likely to need a second bailout package which will cast further doubt on the country's solvency.

El-Erian told Der Spiegel in the interview published Sunday that Portugal will come under increased scrutiny and "financial markets will be nervous because they are worried about a participation of the private sector."

Greece has required a second international multi-billion bailout package and its private creditors took significant losses on their bond holdings to avoid a Greek bankruptcy.

Title: Moody's cuts ratings of five Portuguese banks
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 29, 2012, 10:41:51 am
Moody's cuts ratings of five Portuguese banks
28 March 2012, by Sue Chang - San Francisco (MarketWatch)

Moody's Investors Service on Wednesday lowered ratings on five Portuguese banks due to expectations of a further decline in the banks' asset quality and profitability.

The ratings agency downgraded Caixa Geral de Depositos, Banco Comercial Portugues, Banco Espirito Santo, Banco BPI, and Banco Santander Totta.

Moody's also confirmed ratings on Banco Comercial Portugues and Caixa Economica Montepio Geral.

Title: Re: Keep an eye on Portugal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 26, 2012, 07:59:20 pm

Spain region, Greek exit warnings rattle euro zone


(Reuters) - Central banks and companies risk making a grave error if they do not brace for a possible Greek exit from the euro zone, Belgium's foreign minister said on Friday, rattling markets already alarmed by Spain's deteriorating finances.

Greek elections are scheduled for June 17 and could hasten the country's departure from the currency club should a government intent on ripping up the country's bailout program result.

Contrasting findings of opinion polls on Friday showed the outcome is too tight to call.

Greece accounts for little more than 2 percent of the euro zone economy but could pose a profound contagion threat if it quit the currency area, throwing the spotlight on Portugal, Spain and even Italy.


Title: Re: Keep an eye on Portugal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 02, 2012, 11:19:15 am
Portugal Raises Forecast For 2012 Unemployment Rate to 15.5%
1 June 2012, by Anabela Reis (Bloomberg)

The Portuguese government forecasts the unemployment rate will rise to 15.5% this year and 16% next year, Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar said.

After 2013, the government expects a “sustainable drop” in the unemployment rate, Gaspar said at a press conference in Lisbon today.

The government had previously forecast an increase in the unemployment rate to 14.5% this year before declining to 14.1% in 2013.

The jobless rate was 12.7% in 2011.

Title: Re: Keep an eye on Portugal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 04, 2012, 10:45:00 am
Portugal to inject up to €6.65B into three banks
4 June 2012, (MarketWatch)

The Portuguese government said Monday it will inject up to €6.65 billion into three of its largest lenders in an attempt to strengthen a banking sector coping with fast-rising loan-losses after the country was bailed out less than a year ago.

In a regulatory filing, the Portuguese finance ministry said it will inject €1.65 billion into state-controlled bank Caixa Geral de Depositos, up to €3.5 billion into Banco Comercial Portugues SA, and €1.5 billion into Banco BPI SA.

The bulk of the money for the recapitalization, some €5 billion, comes from the Bank Solvency Support Facility, a bank bailout mechanism set up as part of Portugal's €78 billion bailout package.

The state will receive contingent convertible bonds in exchange for the injections into BCP and BPI, the two banks said.

BCP later plans to raise €500 million through a capital increase while BPI plans to raise €200 million.

The proceeds from these capital increases will be used to pay back part of the State aid.

Both BCP and BPI had already said they planned to ask for money from the bailout fund.

The Finance ministry added that it stands ready to help out any other bank that needs more capital.

Title: The Portuguese Run Out Of Gold To Sell
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on August 16, 2012, 02:52:41 pm


"Business has gone from great to terrible in a matter of months. The sad truth is that most of my clients have already sold all of their gold rings," is anecdotal evidence of a growing trend that Bloomberg reports in Portugal. Historically the home of Europe's biggest relative gold reserves, cash-for-gold shops rose 29% in 2011 (average 2 store openings per day) - but now some are closing. Portugal’s gold exports increased by more than five times to 519.4 million euros last year from 102.1 million euros in 2009, according to data published on the Lisbon-based National Statistics Institute’s website.

As a country, Portugal traditionally has guarded that gold. The central bank holds more gold relative to the size of the country’s economy than any euro country, mostly accumulated during former dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar’s 36 years in power, based on data compiled by the World Gold Council. The law prevents proceeds from selling any gold reserves from going toward the government’s budget.

With the Portuguese unemployment rate at a euro-era record of 15 percent in the second quarter, citizens are wondering who will help bail them out now that their job and gold are gone: "We have no more gold to save us from being kicked out this month," encapsulates a growing trend in debt crisis-stricken Europe as household gold supplies dry up after record prices and a deepening recession prompts a proliferation of places to exchange the metal for money.


Title: Re: Keep an eye on Portugal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on September 29, 2012, 06:20:46 pm

Spain, Portugal hit with anti-austerity protests


MADRID (AP) — Tens of thousands of Spaniards and Portuguese rallied in the streets of their countries' capitals Saturday to protest enduring deep economic pain from austerity cuts.

In Madrid, demonstrators approached parliament for the third time this week to vent their anger against tax hikes, government spending cuts and the highest unemployment rate among the 17 nations that use the euro currency.

The boisterous crowds in the Spanish capital let off ear-splitting whistles near parliament and yelled "Fire them, fire them!" — referring to the conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

On Friday, Rajoy's administration presented a 2013 draft budget that will cut overall spending by €40 billion ($51.7 billion), freezing the salaries of public workers, cutting spending for unemployment benefits and even reducing spending for Spain's royal family next year by 4 percent.

Pablo Rodriguez, a 24-year-old student doing a master's in agricultural development in Denmark, said the austerity measures and bad economy mean most of his friends in Spain are unemployed or doing work they didn't train for.

He doubts he will put his education to use in Spain until he is 35 or 40, if ever, will probably get job abroad and stay.

"I would love to work here, but there is nothing for me here," Rodriguez said. "By the time the economy improves it will be too late. I will be settled somewhere else with a family. One of the disasters in Spain is they spent so much to educate me and so many others and they will lose us."

In Lisbon, retired banker Antonio Trinidade said the budget cuts Portugal is locked into in return for the nation's €78 billion ($101 billion) bailout are making the country's economy the worst he has seen in his lifetime. His pension has been cut, and he said countless young Portuguese are increasingly heading abroad because they can't make a living at home.


Title: Re: Keep an eye on Portugal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on October 04, 2012, 09:54:08 am


Portugal announces 'enormous' tax rises

Financial Times) -- Portugal announced sweeping new tax increases in an effort to keep the country's faltering bailout programme on track amid a powerful public backlash against increased belt-tightening.
The new round of what the government described as "enormous" tax rises came as Lisbon revealed it would miss this year's recently relaxed budget deficit target by the equivalent of 1.1 percentage points if it failed to take exceptional measures.
Vítor Gaspar, finance minister, said on Wednesday these tax measures, including an additional 4 per cent levy on 2013 earnings, would replace a planned "fiscal devaluation" involving deep pay cuts, which the government withdrew following mass anti-austerity protests.
An unexpectedly strong backlash against austerity has fractured Portugal's mainstream consensus in support of deficit-reduction measures and highlighted the political difficulties facing eurozone governments struggling to implement increasingly tough fiscal reforms. The main trade unions immediately called a general strike for November 14 following Mr Gaspar's statement.


Title: Re: Keep an eye on Portugal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on October 08, 2012, 11:36:51 pm


Euro zone approves 800 million euros aid to Portugal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone finance ministers signed off on a further tranche of financial aid to Portugal on Monday and said the country was working hard to put in place the budget cuts and structural economic adjustments demanded of it.
In a statement following a meeting in Luxembourg, the Eurogroup, made up of the finance ministers of the 17 euro zone countries, said Lisbon was carrying out its reforms faster than expected and was broadly on track to meet its goals. It has been given an extra year to meet its deficit targets.
"The Eurogroup notes with satisfaction that the government's active preparation of a return to the financial markets in 2013 has recently been met with success," it said, adding that it had approved the next disbursement of 800 million euros from the eurozone's temporary EFSF bailout fund.
A further 3.5 billion euros from the eurozone and the IMF is expected to be disbursed at the end of the month, it said.


Title: Re: Keep an eye on Portugal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on October 25, 2012, 09:36:30 am
IMF approves 1.5 billion euro disbursement to Portugal
24 October 2012, by Anna Yukhananov - Washington (Reuters)

The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday approved a €1.5 billion (£1.2 billion) loan disbursement to Portugal, confirming the country is on track with the terms of its €78 billion international bailout.

Title: Re: Keep an eye on Portugal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 14, 2012, 05:52:02 pm


Anti-austerity marches turn violent across southern Europe

MADRID/LISBON (Reuters) - Demonstrations turned violent in Spain and Portugal after millions took part in a mostly peaceful general strike on Wednesday in organized labor's biggest Europe-wide challenge to austerity policies since the debt crisis began three years ago.

In Lisbon, marches ended with a level of violence not seen since the crisis began, with police charging demonstrators who hurled stones and bottles, leaving nearly 50 people hurt.

Protesters in Madrid burned rubbish bins, filling the central boulevard with smoke, while in Barcelona demonstrators burned police cars.

Riot police fired rubber bullets to disperse protesters in both cities, where more than 140 people were arrested, including two said by police to be carrying material to make explosives, while more than 70 were reported injured.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled, schools were shut, factories were at a standstill and trains barely ran in Spain and Portugal where unions held their first joint general strike. Stoppages in Belgium interrupted international rail services.

Workers also protested in Greece and France against austerity policies that have taken a heavy economic toll and aggravated mass unemployment.


Title: Re: Keep an eye on Portugal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 02, 2013, 12:21:49 pm

Thousands march in Portugal to protest austerity

Tens of thousands march in more than 20 Portuguese cities to protest government's austerity

LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- Many thousands of demonstrators are holding marches in more than 20 cities in Portugal to protest government-imposed austerity measures aimed at lifting the ailing country out of recession.

Tens of thousands of people have filled a Lisbon boulevard leading to the Finance Ministry carrying placards saying "Screw the troika, we want our lives back." The troika is a reference to the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, the lenders behind the country's financial bailout.

Many protesters are singing a 40-year-old song linked to a 1974 popular uprising known as the Carnation Revolution.

Portugal is expected to endure a third straight year of recession in 2013, with a 2 percent contraction. The overall jobless rate has grown to a record 17.6 percent.

Title: Re: Keep an eye on Portugal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 11, 2013, 06:32:52 pm
Portugal endures worst recession in 37 years

Portugal hit by worst recession in 37 years as slump deepens amid austerity measures

LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- Portugal's statistics agency says the economy contracted 3.2 percent last year — its sharpest annual downturn since 1975.

Portugal is enacting broad debt-reduction measures, including tax hikes and pay and pension cuts, in return for a €78 billion ($102 billion) international financial lifeline it received in May 2011. Those austerity policies are widely blamed for the deepening recession and growing hardship.

The National Statistics Institute said Monday that a drop in private consumption and slower export growth were the main factors behind the slump, with the economy shrinking 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter.

Unemployment stands at 17.6 percent, the third-highest rate in the 27-nation bloc after Greece and Spain.

The economy contracted 1.6 percent in 2011. The government predicts a 2 percent contraction this year.