Tags: pimco | gross | treasurys | haven

Pimco's Gross: US Treasurys Only Real 'Haven' Asset

Friday, 25 May 2012 07:53 AM EDT

There's only one safe haven out there these days and that's the U.S. Treasury bond, says Bill Gross, founder of Pimco, manager of the world's largest bond fund.

Greece is teetering on the edge of abandoning the eurozone, and a decision in Athens to go that route could rock the European economy and send shockwaves everywhere, especially if the larger Spanish economy follows suit, enticed by cheaper debt burdens that would follow despite the damage to credibility.

Uncertainty as to whether Greece will remain is roiling stock markets.
Commodities are down as well, as a slower European economy will demand less oil and other raw materials to grow.

Gold, traditionally a good hedge against volatility, has taken a beating as well, as investors ditching euro positions are favoring the dollar, and a rising dollar sends gold tanking.

That leaves the safe-but-boring U.S. Treasury as the only viable option, especially as the rest of the world pays down debts.

"It's Treasurys, it's those 1.75 percent 10-year Treasurys that are definitely overvalued, but at a time of crisis appreciate in value or least hold their value," Gross tells CNBC.

"Greece is just the focal point for the moment, but it's a continuing process and that's why you see gold down, that's why you see oil down, that's why you see stocks down, that's why you see risk assets down, is because they're delevering and money is basically fleeing to the center."

Greece went to the polls on May 6 to elect a new parliament, and enough fringe politicians won due to anger over harsh austerity programs, which ate into power traditionally enjoyed by the country's more established New Democracy and PASOK political parties.

The fragmented parliament failed to agree on a coalition government, and the country will hold new elections on June 17, which is seen as a proxy on austerity measures.

Previous administrations agreed to belt-tightening measures such as layoffs and tax hikes to streamline the country's bloated public sector in exchange for bailout money.

Europe's neighbors appear at odds over how to keep Greece in, especially with Germany largely opposed to a continental-wide issue of euro bonds, which would see healthier countries taking on some of Greece's debt burdens. Critics say it would send interest rates rising in countries that help Greece out and threaten to encourage Greece and other debt-ridden countries to ramp up spending again.

Market watchers say Europe needs to muster the political will now to keep the Greece in the currency zone.

"The breakup of the eurozone will be a disaster. Greece could leave, and others could leave, and this would be a huge financial tsunami," says Dariusz Kowalczyk, senior economist at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong, according to the Associated Press.

"Europe is not doing enough, and the market may not wait for them."

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Friday, 25 May 2012 07:53 AM
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