With 30 people already dead, the escalating "live fire" violence in Thailand's capital, which shows no signs of abating, will surely have a wide-ranging and adverse impact on the entire Asian region shortly. Attached is a video of the warzone that Bangkok has morphed into via RTN.
With recent news that Lloyd Blankfein paid cash for his 15 CPW residence in 2008, it is useful to see just what other masters of industry (or, as the case may be, services), reside at New York's most desirable property. In addition to Lloyd, quite a few other Goldmanites seem to have a particular predisposition for expensive West Central Park views. Here is the full list courtesy of AmazonAWS.
When the SEC'a Robert Khuzami recently recused himself of pursuing an investigation against Deutsche Bank in regard to potential CDO malfeasance, a bank where it is common knowledge the CDOs flowed (and were shorted "where appropriate" by Mr. Lippmann and his henchmen) like manna from heaven, we were curious just how large the conflict of interest must be for him to not pursue hisofficial duty. Luckily, we were able to answer this question when we recently encountered Mr. Khuzami's Public Financial Disclosure Report for Executive Branch Personnel. It appears that Mr. Khuzami, who from 2002 to 2009 worked at DB, most recently as General Counsel, might have directly profited quite handsomely from the very activity he is now prosecuting Goldman, and other banks very likely soon, for engaging in. How handsomely? His 2007 bonus, 2008 salary and bonus, and 2009 salary added up to $3,804,537. This works out to about $1.9 million in comp per year. And let's not forget that 2006/2007 was the peak years for DB's CDO issuance. It sure seems Mr. Khuzami benefited nicely as a participant in precisely the kind of CDO gimmickry that he is currently all over Goldman for. Yet most ironic, is that Robert is expecting to receive between $100,001 and $250,000 in vested deferred stock comp from Deutsche Bank in August 2010. Should he, or someone else at the SEC, commence an investigation into Khuzami's former employer, the SEC's Director of Enforcement is sure to lose a substantial amount of money tied into the absolute value of Deutsche Bank stock.
Must watch hour long video from Inflation.us that is now making the viral rounds, explaining what everyone on this website understand, in simple language. Please forward to your friends and neighbors. Inflationist or deflationist, the facts behind this video are undeniable. It is time for the truth about our economy to break through the propaganda machine.
The only benefit of hitting rock bottom is you can't really fall further. Which is precisely what has happened with Greece. The little country that started off the chain reaction that has already led to a currency and liquidity crisis, and made the solvency crisis in Europe all too tangible, by belonging to a monetary union it had no place in (a union which no reason to exist in the first place), is once again reminding the world of its existence, this time by G-Pap opening his mouth and inserted two whole legs in it. In an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria to be aired today, G-Pap has threatened he may sue US banks for "contributing" to his country's debt crisis. For those of you lacking in analogy skills, Greece is in the same shoes as a bankrupt debtor who wants to sue his creditors for daring to hike up his interest rate when the only means he has to roll his debt is by using another credit card (this one issued by US and European Taxpayers), even as bankruptcy is literally hours away. The Greek summation: that of a petulant 5 year old who has just broken dad's favorite gadget: “We have made our mistakes,” Papandreou said. “We are living up to this responsibility. But at the same time, give us a chance. We’ll show you.” Now that would be amusing - after Greece destroyed its economy the first go round, we can't wait to see what the country does for an encore. The only reason Greece is not bankrupt now is because even as its past mistakes have caught up with it and climaxed in a solvency and liquidity crisis unseen since the Lehman days, the country's end would bring down all of Europe. If Greece would not have impaired French, German and UK banks, the country would have long been allowed to default. Yet diversion is always a good tactic: let's bring the "speculators" into this yet again. After all it is unheard of in these turbulent Keynesian times for anyone, especially our own Fed Chairman, to own up to their endless mistakes. It is always, without exception, someone else's fault.
"Last weekend, European policymakers finally moved decisively to contain increasing sovereign liquidity risks. However, the Euro remains under pressure as the focus shifts towards the FX implications of fiscal tightening and potential monetary expansion. After weighing up the growth and interest rate implications, as well as positioning, fair value and external balances, we decided to keep our EUR/$ forecasts at 1.35 flat in 3, 6 and 12 months. Beyond EUR/$ we discuss how to position in FX for continued strong cyclical activity across the world." Goldman Sachs
Amid last week's whirlwind media tour, in which the PIMCO dynamic duo of Gross and El-Erian were jointly talking up their book and providing useful insights on contagion, was this clip with the former Harvard investment officer from an interview with Bloomberg's Tom Keene. It is by far the most informative of all of El-Erian's recent media guest spots. Below are the highlights.
With the euro collapsing, all of Europe is on the brink, and as a result, every European country has now instituted some form of austerity measures. Hereby, we summarize what these look like to date. Unfortunately, we are confident the current batch of austerity will be materially insufficient with many more rounds of cutbacks to come. Looking across the Atlantic, the US has yet to initiate any reductions in its gargantuan budget deficit or governmental spending. And as can be seen its metrics are just as bad if not worse than most of Europe. Use this chart to get a sense of what the initial round of US austerity, when it strikes, will look like.
Presenting the weekly market chart summary. And the now standard head in the sand language from David Kostin: "Despite a week of dramatic moves, S&P 500 is on pace to finish the week roughly flat. Short covering helped drive the market higher to start the week before Eurozone concerns resurfaced. In US and European equity markets, relative views on GDP and FX have favored US vs. European exposures. US corporate and macro fundamentals remain strong, which should support stocks once macro headwinds fade."
We end the week with a quick update on the US Treasury Market. First directionally we are pleased to have identified early the bullish channel for the 10Y US Treasury future and the bund as it allowed us to stay clear from the selling frenzy following the announce of the European bailout last weekend. We still think bunds will get sold hard at some point but right now they are trading with a solid bid in this weak risk environment and so we will keep them on our radar happily seeing even better levels to sell. After all more balance sheet dilution will at some point backire for Germany, and if the Euro currency regime is dismantled no doubt that the proud Bundesbank won't be long to on the hiking bandwagon, so either outcome should be bearish for bunds. Not to mention that owning low yields in a plummeting currency is not exactly the most attractive proposition. - Nic Lenoir
In addition to the EUR data in the CFTC, another data point that caught our attention is the record exposure in outright commercial shorts in gold: this week they hit an all time high of 450,950. It appears that last week the desire to suppress any gold breakouts was at historic highs, even as net commercial exposure hit a 2010 low of -282.6, just slightly higher than that seen in the second week of January. If even with this massive onslaught to keep gold low by the LBMA the precious metal managed to nearly hit $1,250 today, what will happen to gold when the 450k commercial positions are forced to cover?
CFTC Euro Net Short Contracts Surge By 10% Sequentially, Hit Absolute Record Of -113,890, Just Begging For SqueezeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/14/2010 - 16:18
The most recent CFTC Commitment of Traders report is out, and at least as pertains to the EURUSD, it is a doozy. After hitting record after record in net short exposure, the Euro net non-commercial contracts have surged by 10% week-over-week, and represent a fifth consecutive weekly bet on the decline of the Euro, to -113,890 contracts. This is an all time record, as virtually all speculators are betting against the Euro. On the other hand, a reversal here for whatever reason would incite the mother of all short squeezes and likely push the EUR to well over 1.60 on a catalytic event. The only question is whether such a catalytic event can even possibly be conceived. We'll leave that one to the black swan hunters among you.
RANsquawk Market Wrap Up - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 14/05/10
Recently, economic pundits have been basking in the glow of the long Bund trade: it is the safe haven in Europe, it is the risk-free trade, etc, etc. And indeed, Bunds have been surprisingly tight in absolute spread terms, with the 10 Year German note trading well inside of its US counterpart. However, in a globalized market nothing is absolute: indeed, US investors, or any other Dollar-based managers, who have used dollars to purchase German EUR-denominated securities, are now holding on to substantial unrealized FX-based losses. In fact, as the attached chart demonstrates, the Bund alone has seen an FX-adjusted loss of 5.6% since April 30 alone. So imagine how investors in other less-than perfect Sovereign bonds have fared over the past month: in addition to seeing massive capital losses, bailout notwithstanding, they now have to contend with FXlosses as well. And now that there are disclosures that either Germans or French politicians could openly pull the plug on the euro, just who will be willing to invest USD to buy EUR-denominated securities. We are confident the ECB is fully aware of the sudden drought of foreign investors for European sovereigns, which is why we believe the full and outright monetization announcement is at most days away.
We are trying to get to the bottom of the sudden weakness in Goldman, but hearing it has to do with the Barclays regulatory call which is ongoing. If readers have more info, please share.