Monthly Archives: March 2012

Good PR, and a Cute Piece of Financial Engineering

These are my initial thoughts on the promissory notes ‘deal’ announced today by Minister Noonan.

  1. The cash-flow benefit is zero – we are just switching counterparties, from the EFSF etc. to Bank of Ireland (via NAMA).
  2. The impact on the (General Government) Deficit appears to be negative to the tune of EUR 90m. If this is the case, then this could mean an extra 90m in austerity measures this year to meet troika targets. Although there is a certain margin for manoeuvre built into the programme, between this 90m, lower-than-projected economic growth, and perhaps significant non-payment of the household charge, this margin may be wearing thin.
  3. This appears to be a great deal for the ECB (as ELA will effectively be repaid through LTRO via Bank of Ireland), for other EZ members (who will now be on the hook for 3.06bn less through the bailout – although this will ostensibly be used to help the NTMA build up a war-chest to smooth bond-market re-entry in 2013), and for Bank of Ireland (who keep the carry; borrowing at a low rate through the LTRO from the ECB, and lending to the govt. at a higher rate)… but an awful deal for Irish taxpayers.
  4. This would seem to be an explicit ECB endorsement of financial repression: Ireland’s only quasi-private sector bank of any significant size is being co-opted into financing govt., albeit being paid for the privilege.
  5. At a time when Irish banks are going through a rapid and painful deleveraging process, this deal will suck a further EUR 3.1bn out of their ‘real economy’ lending capacity. This will further tighten the screws on Irish firms and families struggling to get the credit they need.

As always, UCD Professor Karl Whelan is the go-to guy on all things promissory note related.

And Constantin Gurdgiev gives his thoughts here.

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Long Term Potential for Private Sector Investment in Mexican Shale Gas

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates Mexico’s shale gas reserves at 683 trillion cubic feet (tcf), roughly a quarter of US reserves.

At present, PEMEX has a monopoly on the extraction of hydrocarbons on Mexican soil, protected by article 27 of the constitution.

To date, PEMEX has drilled one shale gas well, and expects to drill three more by 2013. It’s longer term aim is to drill 4,000 wells to yield 1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfpd). Based on current estimates, this is equal to one sixth of total current gas production and roughly 9% of expected demand for gas by 2025. Continue reading

Only (Limited) Upside for Private Sector Oil Operators in Mexico

Over the medium-term there are likely to be improved opportunities for private sector firms to participate in incentivized service contracts for oil exploration and extraction in Mexico, albeit with asymmetrical contractual obligations, legal & political risks. Opportunities for more far-reaching entry into the Mexican oil sector, including asset acquisition, are viewed as less likely over the same time horizon. Continue reading

2012: Global Recovery or False Dawn?

It’s not just the warm winter or early spring – the global economy really is looking brighter now than in the dark days of November.

US growth has been accelerating, unemployment falling, and Obama’s re-election chances improving. The EU appears to have gotten a handle on its debt crisis, for now, and a spiral from Recession to Depression has been averted. Continue reading