“The Irish government will reveal the full horror of the cost of rescuing Anglo Irish on Sept. 30. It has already signaled bad news for the 2.5 billion euros of subordinated debt, but it is desperately trying to draw the line and support the 14.1 billion euros of senior debt.
“It’s cosseting the bondholders because it fears further damage to its own creditworthiness if it walks away. But if the Anglo bill is as big as outsiders fear, its support will have the opposite effect. Even as the Irish prime minister talked on Sept. 28 of a “manageable plan,” the spread on Irish sovereign debt widened to a record 475 basis points.
“The last official estimate of the rescue bill, 25 billion euros, looks hopelessly optimistic. Ratings agency S&P estimates it at 35 billion euros, while BarCap says 48 billion for the sector, or over a quarter of Ireland’s 163 billion euro GDP. [My own estimate of 38.6bn on the upper side is now patently below external consensus, despite being branded ‘outrageous’ and ‘outlandish’ by several insiders in the past]
“The Sept. 30 statement is expected to contain a best estimate and a worst case. If the best estimate is near S&P’s figure, further downgrades of Ireland’s sovereign debt are likely. However, if the government were to abandon the senior bondholders, the saving — equivalent to a tenth of Ireland’s GDP — would give the state the chance to work its way out of its economic hole.”
Here we have: S&P, RBS, Barclays, Reuters, WSJ, FT, Sunday Times (Irish edition – hat tip to F.F.) and all genuinely independent analysts are now saying – shave the seniors, burn the subordinates. Government still resisting. For how long can it afford demolishing our own economy to prolong the inevitable?