Three weeks ago, when discussing the failed (yes, failed) Maiden Lane 2 auction by the New York Fed, we said: 'Something quite disturbing happened during today's latest attempt by the Fed to sell $3.8 billion in face amount of Maiden Lane 2 assets: it had a busted dutch auction. In fact, the auction was so massively busted, the New York Fed managed to sell only half of the bonds for sale, or $1.898 billion in 36 Cusips of the total 73 Cusips offered for sale." Subsequently we noted the sudden radiosilence from the Fed on this issue on Twitter. To be sure, every MBS trader and the kitchen sink promptly complained that the Fed was saturating the market with toxic AIG garbage, which prompted us to declare that: "unless someone opens up a release valve, we are about to see a massive
regurgitation and even more massive repricing of credit risk, first in
IG, then in HY and ABX/CMBX, and lastly, and most massively, in
equities, which continue to exist in their own world and which are now
totally disconnected with HY, which they used to track so very closely." We just got the release valve: from Bloomberg: "The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is halting its sales of mortgage bonds acquired in the rescue of American International Group Inc. "Given prevailing market conditions” for residential mortgage-backed securities, “we do not anticipate any sales of bonds in the near term or until such time as the New York Fed deems it will achieve value for the public," Jack Gutt, a New York Fed spokesman said in an e-mail." Uh, what prevailing market conditions: a Nasdaq which has ripped over 100 points in one week (granted on no volume and on unprecedented market manipulation but so what). Regardless, this is a huge slap in the face for the Fed, which has just proven that even in a surging market it can not unwind an amount from its book that is less than 1% of its total asset holdings without actually crashing the market.
Bill Clinton, in what appears to be an attempt to succeed where the IEA failed so miserably to score some brownie points for the president, told Bloomberg's Al Hunt during an interview, that Bank of America Corp.’s accord with mortgage-bond investors may give more “underwater” homeowners a chance to cut the principal on their home loans. "You’d relieve the anxiety of countless Americans who would know they could hold onto their homes." That you would also bring moral hazard to the masses and demonstrate to the public that the alternative of prudent monetary management is not insolvency, but yet more bailouts, apparently was lost on the slick one. And confirming that he still has no clue how anything in the ponzi system works, he added: "You lift not only an economic, but a psychological burden off of the homeowners and the banks,” he said. “And we’re free to start lending again, we’re free to engage in normal economic activity." Apparently marking down one's assets, which would in turn lead to massive Tier 1 capital (as artificial as it may be) erosion, and a need to funnel hundreds of billions of new cash in on the balance sheet, while at the same time setting off a chain reaction whereby everyone else is forced to remark their assets (all currently at par thanks to FASB encouraged Mark to Unicorn), an act which QE 1, Lite and 2 have been doing all they can to avert, is stimulative to "lending". And this is the thought process of the person credit with generating the last American budget surplus...
A few days ago, we demonstrated that the latest Greek bailout package is nothing more than recycled MLEC special purpose vehicle designed to cover up toxic assets off balance sheet, like that one that was supposed to wrap up the subprime toxic mess. Luckily that did not happen as all it would do is make the credit crash even more acute when it finally did hit. In the meantime, the other Frankenstein contraption proposed by Wall Street to contain the fallout of the PIIGS bankruptcy, is the EFSF, which also got a facelift a few weeks back, and which is effectively a CDO: the same instrument which caused European banks to now be insolvent after buying up all tranches offered them by Goldman et al in the 2005-2007 period, once US banks realized just how toxic the less than AAA tranches were. It is poetically ironic that the instrument that led to Europe's insolvency is now what is supposed to prevent (temporarily) its plunge into outright default. For all who are wondering what the details of the new and improved CDO at the heart of the Eurozone are, here is Nomura's Nikan Firoozye.
While Criminal US Bankers Receive Golden Parachutes, Barbarian Afghanistan Has Just Arrested Executives Of Failed Kabul BankSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/30/2011 - 14:35
Sometimes it is good to put things in perspective when comparing developed democracies like America and barbaric despotic dictatorships like Afghanistan. In one country, radioactively orange criminal heads of imploded mortgage lenders, who are responsible for billions in losses at rescued companies that will soon require more taxpayer bailouts, received multi million dollar golden parachute severance packages and slips on the write from the country's "regulators." In the other, former executives of a major failed bank have been arrested over huge fraud that led to its near collapse, while the head of its central bank flees to the first country on fears of prosecutions. Take a wild guess which country is which...
Radiation Detected In Fukushima Children Urine Samples As Fort Calhoun Orders 10 Mile Evacuation RadiusSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/30/2011 - 14:04
The Fed may have stopped printing money, but that does not prevent Fukushima from printing radiation, and a flooded Fort Calhoun to print notices of "all's well" even as a 10 mile evacuation zone has been established. Per Ex-SKF, quoting the Sankei Shinbun: "A citizens' group in Fukushima Prefecture "Fukushima Network to Protect Children from Radiation" tested the urine samples from 10 children in Fukushima City, age 6 to 16, and announced on June 30 that a small amount of radioactive materials was detected from all samples. The highest amount of cesium-134 was from an 8-year-old girl, at 1.13 becquerels per liter. The highest amount of cesium-137 was from a 7-year-old boy, at 1.30 becquerels per liter. The samples were taken in late May, and sent to the French laboratory ACRO (Association pour le Contrôle de la Radioactivité dans l’Ouest) to testing for radiation. ACRO has experience in surveying the radiation exposure in children after the Chernobyl accident. ACRO's president David Boilley said in the press conference, "There is a very high possibility that children in and around Fukushima City have been exposed to internal radiation. Prior to the [Fukushima] accident, these numbers would have been zero." Nothing to see here. Just as there is nothing see in Nebraska, where the NRUC said there is nothing to worry about... despite the imposition of a 10 mile evacuation radius. As a reminder Fukushima has a roughly 18 mile evacuation radius zone.
It's that time of the day when Brian Sack is holding the ES flat or rising even as his increasingly depleted arsenal to push other risk assets higher causes the RISK basket to decline. The latest: the ES-RISK (commodities, FX carry and rates) spread has just blown out to a 7 ES point equivalent. In the past 2 months the divergence has not failed to close upon emergence within 48 hours. Those with discount window access and wishing to take on the Fed in this relatively low risk pair trade, now that the Fed is about to step out of overt market manipulation (and just be stuck the covert one... and with the fiber optic cable to 131 South Dearborn Street) are as usual advised to take a long, hard look at a compression trade at these levels.
We all know special interests own the U.S. Congress and the Federal machinery of governance (i.e. regulatory capture). How much would it cost the American citizenry to buy back their Congress? The goal in buying our Congress back from the banking cartel et al. would not be to compete with the special interests for congressional favors--it would be to elect a Congress which would eradicate their power and influence altogether. A tall order, perhaps, but certainly not impossible, if we're willing to spend the money to not just match special interest contributions to campaigns but steamroll them. A seat in the U.S. Senate is a pricey little lever of power, so we better be ready to spend $50 million per seat. Seats in smaller states will be less, but seats in the big states will cost more, but this is a pretty good average. That's $5 billion to buy the Senate.
But as far as the credibility of at least one $30+ billion (?) hedge fund, he sure as hell is.
According to CNBC's Kate Kelly, Paulson has given up on his $30 price target on Bank of America by the end of 2011, and instead has dumped a "substantial stake" in its holdings of the bank's stock. And so, the claims that the hedge fund which has now become the butt of all due diligence jokes, is about to eat more crow, especially as other objective skeptics have long been warning that the bank is massively underreserved for what is about to become a legal fee freeforall following the just announced non-settlement with the BlackRock, Pimco, New York Fed group, and thus a ticking timebomb. But no, Paulson is in it, so it must be a Buy, Buy, Buy. Idiots. Incidentally the market is only slowly getting to realize that the "settlement" announced a few days ago is actually horrendous news for the bank (but confirms that monkey throwing feces move the marginal money) as we said first upon hearing the news.
Corn traders, especially of a bullish persuasion, are being carted off trading floors feet first after a report by the USDA crushed expectations that there is a supply shortage. Reuters reports: "Corn futures plummeted more than 10 percent in early trading on Thursday after a U.S. government report said farmers were able to seed far more corn acres this spring than many analysts expected and that supplies are not as tight as many thought." And while the front month dropped by the maximum allowed limit, that did not stop the July contract, which has entered the delivery period and is trading without limits, to plunge by a whopping 70 cents. "The declines leave corn with the biggest monthly fall since June 2009." This is one time when those listening to Goldman would have been a well-advised action. From Damien Courvalin's note released yesterday: "We expect corn and cotton acreage will be higher than projected by the June WASDE, to the detriment of soybeans."
And...It's Gone: QE2 Ends As Dealers Flip Just Auctioned Off 7 Year Back To Fed After Holding It For Under 22 HoursSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/30/2011 - 11:04
Goodbye net monetization of US debt. Going forward the Fed will only roll maturing debt, as per QE Lite announced in early August, and due to the fact that it will be roughly one fifth the notional periodic impact of QE2, is not what so many erroneously classify as QE2.5 (a topic beaten to death previously). The biggest question of who will buy bonds now that Primary Dealers will be unable to roll debt to the Fed remains, judging by today's carnage in bonds, completely unanswered. And confirming that PDs always and only cared about flipping the On The Run bond, is the just concluded last POMO, which out of $4.909 billion bonds monetized, saw a vast majority, or $4.405 billion in the form of Cusip QT7: the 7 year just auctioned off yesterday! In other words, Dealers held the On The Run for less than 22 hours before flipping it back to the Fed!!! Well, those days are now over.
The ever-recurring and oh so critical rhetorical Bill Gross Treasury question, which the head of PIMCO retweeted earlier this morning for emphasis, is starting to demand answers. And once today's window dressing exercise in stocks is over (which alas will not do much for most hedge funds which continue to underperform their benchmarks by a wide margin), and when the world wakes up to the realization that crude prices are rapidly heading back to triple digit levels, not to mention the dramatic rise in interest rates, vacuum tubes and momos will need to think hard and long about what the next upside catalyst will be.
We have a very tough time understanding those bearish arguments against silver. We look at the real silver market, and based on the supply and demand data coming from the real, physical markets for silver, the fundamentals are only getting stronger. And yet there exists another silver market, which as we’ve shown, is not very connected to the physical realm at all. And though silver investors have for decades suffered the tyranny of a rigged paper monopoly over silver price discovery, it appears to us that the tides are turning. In the age of QE to infinity, investors are being more scrupulous with their capital and as such they are demanding physical silver in quantity. With more and more dollars flowing into the silver markets and a finite supply of physical to meet that demand, the theoretical losses for the paper silver short-sellers are near infinite. And with such a skewed and obvious risk/reward payoff vastly favoring the longs, we pose the following question. Who is most at risk in the silver markets: the buyers of a scarce and real asset that serves a growing multitude of purposes, or the sellers, who are short a quantity of silver which may very well not even be obtainable at anywhere near current prices? Let the Seller Beware!