The technocratic governments in Italy and Greece are not off to a smooth start judging from the action in the bond market. A quick glance at the 10-Year note in Italy shows the yield is up 25 basis points to 6.70% and the Spanish 10-year note is up 24 basis points, soaring through the 6% mark to 6.09%.

Meanwhile, Greek 1-year bonds are trading at a mere 250%. Any bets on when they exceed 300%?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Europe faces toughest hour since Second World War. What Merkel says is irrelevant so let’s instead focus on a few other snips from the Telegraph article.

Papademos succeeds George Papandreou, whose proposal to hold a referendum on the country’s bailout terms prompted EU leaders to raise the threat of a Greek exit from the currency bloc.

The new Greek leader, a former central banker who oversaw his country’s entry to the eurozone in 2002, must win a Wednesday confidence vote in his cabinet before meeting eurozone finance ministers in Brussels on Thursday, state television reported, where he will be expected to outline next year’s draft budget before putting it to parliament.

Opinion polls show Papademos has the support of three in four Greeks. But he was facing his first protest in front of parliament on Monday afternoon from left-wing demonstrators who accuse the new government of working in the interests of bankers.

Inspectors from the “troika”, the International Monetary Fund, ECB and European Union, start arriving in Athens on Monday, piling pressure on Greece to qualify for a second bailout worth €130bn and an €8bn tranche from the earlier bailout, needed to finance bond payments due at the end of the year, according to Reuters data.

In addition, the leader of Greece’s main conservative group Antonis Samaras said on Monday his New Democracy party would not vote for any new austerity measures and said the mix of policies demanded by international lenders should be changed.

“We will not vote for any new measures,” Samaras told a meeting of his own MPs.

He added that he would not sign any letter pledging a commitment to austerity measures, as has been demanded by EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, and that a verbal pledge should be sufficient.

Rehn has said the EU and IMF will not release the tranche without written assurances from all Greek parties that they will back the measures.

No New Measures, Nothing In Writing

It will be interesting to see how long Samaras sticks to his pledge of “no new measures” while refusing to give anything more than a verbal agreement to measures already in play.

Who can but the bond market could possibly doubt the words of Greek politicians? After all, everyone knows that politicians everywhere always keep their word. Putting things in writing cannot possibly make a difference.

Sheer Stupidity of it All

Notice the sheer stupidity of it all. The Troika may potentially throw another 130 billion euros at Greece on top of over a hundred billion already spent, in an attempt to prevent a default (that has already happened) that may have resulted in a loss to the banks of perhaps 50 billion Euros had banks simply taken their losses a year ago.

Supposedly Greece was bailed out to prevent contagion. However, throwing money around helped speed up contagion. Portugal and Spain will be next.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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