I told you so. Morgan Stanley says its not if but when Western governments default

We explained several months back on why it is likely that the US will default on its debtJeff Gundlach echoed our thoughts on the economy.  All the while, it keeps its AAA rating by the major credit agenecies. 

The United States is in a very precarious place with its currency being used for international reserves.  If they are dropped it will lead to inflation and default.  Morgan Stanley, while they haven't gone that far, have viewed the risk of future default increasing. 

Its all about the spending and the debt, Via Bloomberg

Investors will face defaults on government bonds given the burden of aging populations and the difficulty

of securing more tax revenue, according to Morgan Stanley.

“Governments will impose a loss on some of their stakeholders,” Arnaud Mares, an executive director at Morgan Stanley in London, wrote in a research report today. “The question is not whether they will renege on their promises, but rather upon which of their promises they will renege, and what form this default will take.” The sovereign-debt crisis is global “and it is not over,” the report said.

Borrowing costs for so-called peripheral euro-region nations such as Greece and Ireland surged today, resuming their ascent on concern that governments won’t be able to narrow their budget deficits. Standard & Poor’s downgraded Ireland’s credit rating yesterday on concern about the rising costs to support nationalized banks.

Mares said debt as a percentage of gross domestic product is a false indicator of an economy’s health given it doesn’t reflect governments’ available revenue and is “backward- looking.” While the U.S. government’s debt is 53 percent of GDP, one of the lowest ratios among developed nations, its debt as a percentage of revenue is 358 percent, one of the highest, the report said. Conversely, Italy has one of the highest debt- to-GDP ratios, at 116 percent, yet has a debt-to-revenue ratio of 188, Mares said.

Double Dip

“Outright sovereign default in large advanced economies remains an extremely unlikely outcome, in our view,” the report said. “But current yields and break-even inflation rates provide very little protection against the credible threat of financial oppression in any form it might take.”

Mares once worked at the U.K.’s Debt Management Office and is a former senior vice-president at credit-rating company Moody’s Investors Service.

“Note that a double-dip recession would not invalidate this conclusion,” Mares’ report said. “It would cause yet further damage to the governments’ power to tax, pushing them further in negative equity and therefore increasing the risks that debt holders suffer a larger loss eventually.”

Investors’ concern that the U.S. may fall back into recession has grown in recent weeks as U.S. economic data missed economists’ estimates. A Citigroup Inc. index of U.S. economic data surprises fell to minus 59 last week, the least since January 2009.

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