I have been warning my cattle industry clients FOR YEARS to get out of debt as quickly as possible, and not just for the obvious business reasons. I have been telling them that the government WILL NOT HONOR any contracts or terms on mortgages or notes when the system collapses and the banks are all nationalized. Your 20-year note at 5%? Yeah, the government will change that once your bank has been eliminated. Still there are scads of people who simply cannot comprehend a lawless environment wherein there is no rule of law, and thus no recourse of any kind.
Well, maybe you will believe me now, because the European Central Bank has just arbitrarily changed the terms of all of its Greek bonds with zero engagement with the market or any judicial review. They just changed the terms of their Greek bonds with the wave of their hand. In doing this, they have utterly SCREWED everyone else holding Greek paper, essentially making all other Greek bonds worthless with zero salvage value.
The European Central Bank (ECB) is like the Federal Reserve here in the U.S. The ECB loans money by buying bonds of the various Eurozone nations. So in this case, the ECB is "the bank" and Greece is the borrower. When Greece borrows money from the ECB by selling the ECB Greek bonds, there is what's called an "indenture". The indenture is the full set of terms associated with that bond instrument, including the maturity date, the interest rate, and any other legal terms of the bond instrument.
What the ECB has done is arbitrarily and unilaterally CHANGE THE INDENTURE TERMS of all of the Greek bonds that it is carrying. Specifically, the ECB has removed the "collective action clause" from the bonds that it is holding - and ONLY the ECB-held bonds.
What is a "collective action clause?" It is a clause that allows a majority of bondholders to agree to debt restructuring terms that APPLY TO ALL BONDHOLDERS. By removing the "collective action clause", the ECB has set itself above and apart from every other Greek bondholder, and made itself "preferred", meaning that if there is a Greek default, the ECB goes to the front of the line, gets 100% of the salvage value that may remain on the Greek paper, and everyone else gets NOTHING, simply because the ECB Greek bond position is large enough that it will clean everything out in the salvage, easily. The ECB has, completely outside the rule of law, subordinated every other Greek bondholder.
If they can do this, they can do anything. Any terms on any debt can be changed without notice. It is just a matter of time before the ECB does this with other Eurozone nations, and it is just a matter of time before the Federal Reserve starts doing this here. The entire global financial and economic system, the rule of law, and civilization itself is literally imploding before our very eyes.
Here is the link to the source ZeroHedge.com piece, and a key excerpt.
CLICK HERE FOR THE WHOLE PIECE.
I am not going to discuss anything except what the European Central Bank has actually done and what we now know with a one hundred percent (100%) certainty and the horrifying implications of their actions.
The ECB, on its own and without judicial or parliamentary review, has swapped their Greek debt for new Greek debt that is not subject to any “collective action clause.” They did this unilaterally and without the consent of any other sovereign debt bond owners of Greek debt. They did this without objection of any nation in Europe. They have retroactively changed the indenture, the contract made by Greece with all of the buyers of their bonds, when the debt was issued. There is no speculation involved in these statements, there is no longer any guesswork on what might be; the ECB swapped their bonds for new Greek bonds with the assent of the Greek government and it is now a done deal.
Having then done this; the implications must now be considered utilizing the clear light of unadulterated reason. The issue now is no longer a one-off Greek issue but a full on ECB issue. We know now that the ECB can retroactively change the rules, change an indenture, so that if the ECB can do this with Greece then it can certainly do it with any sovereign debt in Europe. If they can exempt themselves from a “collective action clause” then they can exempt themselves from any clause, in any sovereign indenture, for any European country. The fact that they are now clearly senior to any other bond holder, or more aptly put, that any private bond owner is now subordinated to the ECB is one consideration but hardly the most important one. The incredibly grim reality now is that any European and all European sovereign debt can have their indentures changed by the ECB when it is to their advantage. It is the “collective action clause” today but tomorrow it could be the maturity or the coupon or any other terms and conditions in an indenture. It is Greece today but tomorrow it could be France or Portugal or Italy. The “Rule of Law” has been abrogated and tossed aside in the name of political contrivance.
Since the ECB can now retroactively change any bond contract to whatever it likes and with any nation in its dominion then the valuation of European sovereign debt must be re-examined for what it really is which is no longer what anyone previously thought. Starkly put; the bonds issued by the sovereign nations in Europe are no longer pari passu, on equal footing, with the bonds issued in the United States. We have just passed a clearly defined “break point” where the legal rules were changed to the great disadvantage of all the private debt holders. The risk of ownership of European sovereign debt is now infinitely more dangerous in my estimation than it was last week.
The top 5 banks in the United States are collectively holding some $250 TRILLION in derivatives exposure, with a massive share of that being in European sovereign debt derivatives.
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