We’ve been noting a shift in opinion about the Spanish bank bailout today, as the Spanish IBEX 35 rallies and the meteoric rise in Spanish bond yields appears to be subsiding.So we reached out to Peter Tchir, manager of hedge fund TF Market Advisors, who has been an outspoken supporter of the boons of the Spanish bank bailout despite the resoundingly negative market reaction it has caused.
While the massive €100 billion ($124 billion) bank bailout is not a panacea, he argues, investors are reading too many negatives into it.
He gave us the following list of six reasons:
- Europe is lending to FROB and not to Spain: The rumours we’ve been hearing about Spain taking on an enormous amount of debt to finance this bank bailout are somewhat misguided. In Tchir’s opinion, European leaders have made every effort to separate the Spanish government from the Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring, and that is a good thing.
- €100 billion is not €100 billion in losses: “[Investors are making] the assumption that this €100 billion is getting blown away,” Tchir told Business Insider in a phone interview. “This is a lot more TARP-like than anyone’s giving them credit for,” he added, noting that the U.S. government has actually made significant profits on this bank bailout plan.
- The plan will restore health of Spanish banks: A healthy banking system is necessary for a healthy economy, and official European investments will support investor investments in the medium- to long-term. “Over the next five years, this can pay off,” Tchir argues, and the rumoured five-year moratorium on bailout repayments will give this time to happen. “I think [European lenders] will make decent investments, and investors will calm down,” adding that this could be a significant positive for Spain in the crisis.
- Subordination of debt isn’t such a big deal: Thus, the risk of investments fleeing Spanish bonds because they are now subordinated to the preferred status of European lenders “is being overly hyped right now,” Tchir argues, though qualifying that investors shouldn’t be completely ignoring it. He believes that a much of this fear is rooted in the idea that Spain will actually be out €100 billion and misconceptions about where European cash is actually being invested.
- Gives Europe time to get its act together: A reported 15-year repayment plan on loans to the FROB at just 3 per cent interest means that Spanish banks are likely to remain afloat for a while as European leaders make more sweeping changes to the economic and political structure of the euro area.
- New ideology in European crisis management: While EU leaders could have subjected Spain to a very embarrassing government bailout, instead they are realising the necessity of mutually accepting the burden of Spain’s banking system, a banking system which has come under pressure in part due to the protracted nature of the debt crisis. That’s a big move from European leaders, and likely to be followed by significant steps towards fiscal integration later this month.
Tchir predicts that this most recent bailout is not likely to be the only crisis measure we see out of Europe in coming weeks, which could offer huge opportunities to savvy investors. He remarked that some secondary bond market intervention is likely out of the ECB in the coming weeks, and noted that some slowdown in the negative headlines out of Europe could make a carry trade in government bonds very attractive.
While this may not be the dominant outlook on Spain’s bank bailout right now, a handful of our other hedge fund contacts confirmed Tchir’s view, though they asked to remain anonymous.
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Watch our video explanation for more on why the Spanish bank bailout might be more than it’s cracked up to be:
Produced by William Wei
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