If there was ever a setting where you would think risk is properly appreciated it would be in European banks. Look at total return on senior-sub financial European financials since 2004. On a total return basis, European senior bank debt has outperformed subordinate debt. As a matter of fact, you’ve lost money if you own a portfolio that replicates the BarCap sub debt index going back to late 2004. Question: Why is sub such a persistent loser in times of crisis, precisely when people should be demanding compensating return for the risk?
Bidders For 30 Million Barrels Of Strategic Petroleum Reserve Disclosed; JP Morgan Requests $158 Million In CrudeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/06/2011 - 18:46
As was previously disclosed, as part of the SPR's auctioning off of 30 million barrels of light sweet crude, bids for a total of 30.64 million barrels of oil at an average bid of $107.20/barrell were submitted by various parties. The only thing unknown was the identity of the parties, which however has now been all cleared up following the release of the complete bid list from the DOE. Probably the most notable (if not completely expected) discovery is that JPM, that FDIC-insured depositor bank, has requested 1.5 million barrels at a price of $105.33 for a total of $158 million. We wonder just what JPM plans on doing with this crude, which as predicted, will be transported by vessel, and offloaded at such time as JPM sees fit, probably well after the product is trading at a substantial premium to the purchase price. Other potential buyers include Valero, Vitol, Shell, Conoco, Plains and various other E&P companies. Ironically, JPM wants more crude than Sunoco and Tesoro: so next time one tries to gas up their car, we suggest looking for the JP Morgan gas station. But by far the most important news is that 80% of the bid are based on a vessel-based distribution, meaning it will be weeks if not months before the SPR disposed crude finally makes it into circulation, if at all, and has an actual supply-side benefit. Complete bid list is attached.
For those of us who are awake, and for those who are on the verge of understanding, certain rules come into play that strengthen our stance and shield us from folly. Liberty is not a self perpetuating social condition. It requires guidelines, and effort, and sacrifice. Liberty will not survive without our willingness to maintain it. If you are not ready and willing to fight for your own independence, then you are not truly free. Let’s examine some of the inherent laws and guidelines of free will and free action that will allow us to not only win back our self determination, but to keep it for generations to come. You want liberty? This is what it takes…
LPS, which together with MERS, has long been at the heart of the fraudclosure scandal courtesy of loan appraisals which even the FDIC claims were/are fraudulent, just fired a big red warning sign about its continued existence as a going concern after the CEO, Jeffrey Carbiener, just announced he is resigning "due to health concerns." Well, everyone knows what that means. From Reuters: "Lender Processing Services Inc (LPS.N) said its Chief Executive Jeffrey Carbiener resigned due to medical reasons and would be replaced in the interim by Lee Kennedy, its executive chairman. The mortgage processing services provider said its board had established a committee to search for a replacement. Kennedy, who was the executive chairman and CEO of LPS's former parent Fidelity National Information Services, will remain the executive chairman, the company said in a statement." Somehow we doubt the market will be too happy with this development, which could well be the beginning of the end for the $1.7 billion company.
Don't sell those corn futures just yet. Despite last week's surprising announcement by the USDA that there has been much more expansive planting of corn, and other crops, than expected, which in turn set the price of corn tumbling by the most in years, one thing the USDA did not specify is whether said plantings are currently underwater. And if not now, how about in a week or two. Because according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the floods America has experienced so far are nothing compared to what may be coming. "Many rivers in the upper Midwest and northern Plains remain above flood stage, and the threat for more flooding will continue through the summer, forecasters at NOAA’s National Weather Service said today. With rivers running high and soils completely saturated, just a small amount of rain could trigger more flooding, including areas that have already seen major to record flooding. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above-normal rain in most of these vulnerable areas in the next two weeks, and above-normal rainfall in much of the region in the one- and three-month outlooks. Adding to the flood threat will be the rising temperatures over the Rockies, which will release the water from the remaining snowpack. “The sponge is fully saturated – there is nowhere for any additional water to go,” said Jack Hayes, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “While unusual for this time of year, all signs point to the flood threat continuing through summer. Forecasters say this season could rival the Great Flood of 1993, when the upper Midwest endured persistent, record-breaking floods from April through August, impacting nine states and causing more than $25 billion in damages (adjusted for inflation)." If indeed this occurs, look for corn, and other softs, to surge to few all time highs, just in time for the much anticipated collapse in food prices to never happen.
Industrial commodity bulls may be advised to steer clear of the latest quarterly commodities update by Global Tactical Asset Allocation's Damien Cleusix whose conclusion is that "Most commodities remain deeply overvalued." Specifically, "As with other assets it does not really matter in the short-term (as long as the trend is positive) but it is paramount for longer-term projections. We have little doubts that commodity long-only who buy to hold are going to experience a > 50% drawdown (from current levels) on their industrial metals, crude oil and agricultural positions sometimes in the next 12-18 months." The catalyst: China. "Demand has been artificially boosted by China strategic reserve building, infrastructure intensive fiscal stimulus, booming demand from the rest of emerging economies and, as the trend persisted, by trend followers and money managers new attraction to the sector (you know it is not correlated so you should buy them to diversify your portfolio... sorry it WAS not correlated...). The introduction of physically-based ETFs is not helping in this matter as it represents a big short-term increase in marginal demand especially when the Fed was still busy implementing QE2." Agree or not, the cases for both the up and downside are compelling and well researched, with lots of supporting facts. Much more in the full presentation.
By now we have heard every worthless Wall Street economist expound on the bull case for the economy courtesy of a ultrashort-term dip in oil and gas as a result of the moronic IEA decision to tap strategic reserves. And while short-term gyrations are largely irrelevant when as we presented yesterday, and as the FT confirmed, the bulk of volume and price formation comes from speculative daytraders, the longer-term dynamics for crude point in only one direction. Up. Here is UBS Andy Lees to explain why despite the brief jump in crude (which will likely never make it into the system courtesy of banks taking the purchased light sweet crude and storing it in tankers) supplies, we are facing a substantial supply-side crunch as soon as a few months from now.
We admire the zeal and enthusiasm of Citi's Steven Englander who, like a modern-day Don Quixote, has, courtesy of his long-term bearish EIR call, taken on not only the Fed, but the PBoC windmill as well, which as has been confirmed, is an official buyer of the doomed European currency. This time, instead of reiterating his short EURUSD call, he advises clients to short EURCAD with a 1.3050 price target and a 1.4160 stop loss. The call summary: "We add a new trade to the G10 FX Strategy trade idea portfolio: short EURCAD spot at 1.3850 with a target of 1.3050 and a 1.4160 stop loss. Euro zone downside risks have increased as peripheral debt issues have intensified and spread with the euro zone. Light positioning in CAD and substantial pessimism toward US economic data means that CAD will benefit from positive US and Canadian economic surprises in coming weeks."
It's deja vu all over again. From Bud's Offshore Energy: "We just received word this morning that the Transocean Marianas rig has developed a large crack in one of the pontoons on the #5/#6 anchor chain locker while they were picking up anchors, and is currently taking on water and listing. The bilge pumps are keeping up (barely), but there’s certainly concern that it might sink on location. So far, 68 people have been evacuated from location. According to RigZone, the Marianas was working offshore Nigeria. [Per one of our readers, (see comment below) Petrodata shows the rig operating offshore Ghana.] More: The Marianas, spudded the Macondo in October, 2009, but was damaged by Hurricane Ida and towed to shore. The Deepwater Horizon was the rig that replaced the Marianas."
In what is becoming a multi part series on how various products price in recession tonight it is time to check out the commercial paper markets. Below are two charts (1) showing the last two recessions and how commercial paper rates performed and (2) commercial paper rates since Q2 2009. Both charts utilize non financial AA rated 30 and 90 day terms. The results were similar for financial paper as well. Commercial paper seems to be an excellent market timer of economic recession. Notice the last two periods where rates began falling precipitously and the timing of economic contraction.
The biggest farce of the day is about to unfold as Obama holds a "twitter hall" meeting in which he will accept questions, pre-cleared and moderated by Twitter itself, which means congratulations, about the economy and jobs. The town hall can be accessed by using the #AskJobs hash tag or at the website below. As usual, this will be merely another PR debacle in which everyone participating will see the questions which are not being answered, and ignore the softballs lobbed at the teleprompter in chief.
Fed Releases Details On Secret $855 Billion Single-Tranche OMO Bailout Program: Just Another Foreign Bank Rescue OperationSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/06/2011 - 13:09
A month ago we reported about Bob Ivry's discovery that the Fed had been conducting a secretive bailout operation between March and December 2008, under which banks borrowed as much as $855 billion over the time frame for a rate as low as 0.01%. As the Fed itself explains following a just disclosed launch of a page dedicated to this Saint OMO, "The Federal Reserve System conducted a series of single-tranche term repurchase agreements from March 2008 to December 2008 with the intention of mitigating heightened stress in funding markets. These operations were conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York with primary dealers as counterparties through an auction process under the standard legal authority for conducting temporary open market operations. In these transactions, primary dealers could deliver any of the types of securities--Treasuries, agency debt, or agency MBS--that are accepted in regular open market operations. By providing term funding to primary dealers, this program helped to address liquidity pressures evident across a number of financing markets and supported the flow of credit to U.S. households and business." Well, not really. As the chart below shows the banks, pardon primary dealers, that benefited the most from this secret iteration of Fed generosity were once again foreign banks, with the Top 5 borrowers being Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, RBS and Barclays. Together these five accounted for $593 billion of total borrowings, or 70% of the total. So perhaps the Fed should rephrase the last sentence to "supported the flow of credit to U.S. European households and business" which is to be expected. After all, as we have demonstrated before, the European banking system's liabilities are orders of magnitude greater than the US. So in order to preserve the global Ponzi (a main reason why Greece must never be allowed to fail), the biggest weakness that has to be addressed constantly is and will be in Europe.
Not like it matters much, because any bank that is found to be insolvent following the second consecutive European stress test will merely receive more taxpayer funds concealed as an SPV or a CDO or some other "complex" instrument, but for what it's worth Moody's has released a list of banks that it believes will either fail the farce, pardon, test outright, or will be "candidates for additional support going forward." As a reminder, the European Banking Authority (EBA) is about to publish the results of an EU-wide stress test involving 91 banks from 21 countries. The purpose of this exercise was to assess banks’ resilience to adverse external circumstances and to identify vulnerable banks, defined by EBA as banks whose Core Tier 1 (CT1) ratio falls below 5% under at least one of the scenarios included in the stress test. Moody's splits the sample into 4 Groups as follows: Group 1 : investment grade banks (at or above D+/Baa3 ) : 54 banks, Group 2 : non investment grade banks from peripheral countries (Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain) : 17 banks, Group 3 : non investment grade banks from other countries (Germany, Slovenia, Hungary, Austria, Cyprus) : 9 banks, and Group 4 : unrated: 11 banks. It is Groups 2 and 3 that are the focus of the analysis and which will be benchmarked against the test to determine credibility. As for the fact that all European banks are insolvent if just one is, just as all of Europe is bankrupt if Greece were to go under, that's a completely separate point.
I haven't found any firm estimates of the unfunded liabilities due in the next 20 years, but since 25% of the entire population (the Baby Boomers) will be retired and drawing on Social Security and Medicare within 15 years, I think we can reckon that about half that $106 trillion will come due in the next 20 years--and that is probably absurdly conservative. $15 trillion down, $35 trillion to go. Do you see how utterly hopeless this exercise is when Federal spending rises by 6.5% every year even as the underlying economy muddles along at 2% in good years and -5% in poor years, if we subtract borrow-and-spend deficit financing? In other words, $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities is the number now, but if spending continues rising at triple the rate of the real economy, then that number will only grow. If we're honest about our accounting, then the U.S. economy hasn't grown at all since 2008; it's shrunk by $6 trillion, a sum we have masked by borrowing and spending $6 trillion in Federal debt, money that replaced the decline of private borrowing and spending. Please look at the charts of healthcare and local government pension and healthcare costs again. Those rocket-launch lines shooting higher cannot be funded by a national income that is flat or declining. We need a national conversation about reality, not wishful thinking. We need to grasp the nettle and talk about triage, about conserving Social Security for those with no other sources of income, and about devoting our scarce resources for palliative and preventive care. The Status Quo is completely, utterly unsustainable, but that needn't bring the nation to its knees--unless we actively insist that it does so.
While without much direct implication for ponzi market navigation strategy and tactics, the attached videos of Phoenix disappearing under a 5,000 foot tall dust storm, which at time was as tall as 10,000 feet, is stunning in its own right. As the Huffington Post reports "the massive dust cloud, also known as a "haboob," was around 5,000 feet when it arrived in Phoenix, but radar data reveals that it reached heights anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 feet high prior. The storm appeared to be around 50 miles wide in some areas, KSAZ-TV reported. The dust storm originated in Tucson, and was a part of Arizona's monsoon season. According to CNN, the dust storm prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to issue a ground stop on flights at Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport for about an hour and 15 minutes. At it's peak, the storm left 10,000 customers without power, Jenna Shaver of the Arizona Public Service told CNN."