Trader Talk

Draghi’s Kiss: Putting a Bow On the Greek Bailout

Mario Draghi
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Mario Draghi’s kiss: Trying to put a pretty bow around the Greek bailout.

Who woulda thunk it: The European Central Bank pulls a switcheroo and puts OSI before PSI.

Mario Draghi said it, I didn’t: On Feb. 9, he said it was “highly premature” to comment on the Greek bailout, and implied the ECB would not participate until the terms of the private sector deal (PSI) were clear.

That meant no Official Sector Involvement (OSI: read ECB) until PSI. Is the time now “mature,” one week later? Are the PSI terms clear? Is there a term sheet? I haven’t seen one. Maybe Mario has one. Please forward.

In case you haven’t heard, the German newspaper Die Welt has just said the ECB will swap their Greek bonds for new Greek bonds. While it’s a mild surprise that they are being swapped for new bonds, not European Financial Stability Facility bonds, the real surprise is the deal was announced before a PSI deal, which...perhaps...will be announced Monday (stop me if you’ve heard this before).

What’s this all about? It’s a kiss from Draghi to get everyone together on Monday. Good move.

The downside of this deal: If Die Welt is right, there are little if any savings for Greece. The ECB will swap its Greek bonds at full value...of course it bought at 70 percent, so it will presumably pass the savings on to national banks. But very little for Greece.

Nitpicking Department: The 30 percent profit the ECB is reportedly sending back to local governments is effectively printing money. Maybe not legally, but effectively — but we crossed that bridge a long time ago.

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