To raise “bailout” money the EFSF sells bonds. In its first auction after the new Merkozy agreement, not enough investors wanted the garbage and the fund ended up buying some of its own bonds.

The Telegraph reports Eurozone bail-out fund has to resort to buying its own debt

The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) last week announced it had successfully sold a €3bn 10-year bond in support of Ireland.

However, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal that target was only met after the EFSF resorted to buying up several hundred million euros worth of the bonds.

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 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.

Bizarre Setup

The EFSF raises money by selling bonds that few investors want. So it buys its own debt effectively raising no cash. Is this supposed to work?

Given there are still no terms on the EFSF debt, agreements on leverage, amount of guarantees, etc., the amazing thing is not that the EFSF had to buy some of its debt, but rather anyone else was interested at all.

This helps explain why the IMF went on a tour of Russia and China begging them to buy the garbage. No one else wants it, and the EFSF suspected as much in advance.

For details on the IMF dog-and-pony show in Asia, please see World has Major Funding Gap; IMF Begs Russia and China for Money; Italy and Greece Demand Deposits Collapse; Run on Greek Banks?

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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