11/6/16: Sovereign to Corporate Risk Spillovers

As noted recently in my posts on the new iteration in the Greek Crisis, we are now into the sixth year (officially) of the Euro area sovereign debt crisis. Alas, of course by unofficial, yet more realistic metrics, we are really into the ninth year of the crisis (who cares what you call it).

Now, you might just think that at the present, there is little to worry about, as the crisis seemed to have abated, if not completely gone away. But the problem is that the real lesson from the 2008-present crisis should be exactly the acquired awareness that such thinking is dangerous.

Here’s why. In a recent ECB working paper,  Augustin, Patrick and Boustanifar, Hamid and Breckenfelder, Johannes H. and Schnitzler, Jan, titled “Sovereign to Corporate Risk Spillovers” (January 18, 2016, ECB Working Paper No. 1878: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2717352) “quantify significant spillover effects from sovereign to corporate credit risk in Europe” in the wake of the announcement of the first Greek bailout on April 11, 2010.

“A ten percent increase in sovereign credit risk raises corporate credit risk on average by 1.1 percent after the bailout. These effects are more pronounced in countries that belong to the Eurozone and that are more financially distressed. Bank dependence, public ownership and the sovereign ceiling are channels that enhance the sovereign to corporate risk transfer.”

We should worry.

1) Corporate and sovereign bond risks are tied at a hip. And guess what we are witnessing today? A massive bubble in sovereign bonds and a bubble in corporate bonds. When one blows, the other will too. Be warned, per my contribution to the Summer edition of Manning Financial (LINK HERE).

2) Eurozone countries are at a greater contagion risk. Doh… like we never heard that before. But, still, good reminder to remember. I wrote a paper on that for the EU Parliament not long ago (LINK HERE).

3) Bank dependence is bad for contagion – in a sense that it increases contagion, not reduces it. And guess what the Eurozone been doing lately via ECB’s policy and via CMU and EBU? Right… increasing bank dependency. (LINK HERE)

In short, things might be a bit brighter today than they were yesterday, but tomorrow might bring another hurricane.