Europe's Soros Plan Seems To Be Working

by: Sammy Pollack

The ECB's decision to allow banks to access unlimited loans for 3 years at 1% through its Long-term Repo Operation (LTRO) is essentially the start of the Soros plan. The Soros plan is discussed in more detail here.

Banks will be able to post government bonds as collateral to get loans; this means banks will be able to have enough liquidity to remain in business. The LTRO is essentially a guarantee of the banking system. Bank runs will not occur because the banks will always be able to come up with the money needed. In return for this "gift," the ECB seems to have implied that banks will be forced to at least stop selling sovereign bonds if not actually buy them. The decision to buy bonds is a no-brainier for the banks, because they can then repost the bonds as collateral at the ECB to get more loans. This plan is very similar to what Soros proposed. The plan seems to be working already; below are charts of Spanish, Italian, and French yields.

Spain 10yr Bond Yield


Italy 2yr Bond Yield


France 2yr Bond Yields

As you can see, yields have moved sharply lower on the back of this plan. French 2yr yields have gone from nearly 2% to under 1%, Spanish 10-yr yields have gone from nearly 7% to just over 5%, and Italian 2-yr yields have gone from 7.5% to just over 5%. These moves are impressive, and signal that a real plan is finally upon us.

The LTRO plan may be enough to bring the acute phrase of the crisis to an end, but pain is likely to remain in the months ahead. First, the European economy is slowing down and there is no government stimulus available to cushion the blow. Second, there still is not a solid plan to deal with weaker nations such as Portugal and Ireland. While Italy and Spain may have been pulled out of the fire, Portugal and Ireland may still end up like Greece. This in turn could lead to more nationalizations similar to Dexia. That being said, the implosion of Europe has been kicked down the road another 3 years.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.