Guest Post: The Andean Nightfly Pamphlet - A West Side Story Of Post-Baby-Boom Doom, Oil And Power Being Shifted (On A Platter) To The BRICSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/08/2010 23:13 -0400
Quite a ride in the Andean cordillera last night. Flooded Inca roads yielded fresh new bumps which in turn shook the gringo tourist, and synapses went to work. Pondering the idiocy of being born in the 1970s and what not. And taking action as per global warming. Sold my coat to an asshole who still believes in winter. The jerk! I've knocked down the garage and I'm growing broccoli. If you want to cheer up today, stop reading this and snort a line of pollen.
We the famous people of the West are in a bad shape. No matter how rosy the media put it; current state of affairs is feverish like 1937 (at best). The last 50 years of all-out complications from geopolitics to socio-economics seem impossible to digest. Our situation would compare to Mike Tyson after a sex change: same but different, with a totally erratic output. And probably dangerous.
The ECB just disclosed that it will continue accepting sub-A rated debt as collateral post January 1, 2011, as was widely speculated, merely to facilitiate funding needs of countries which are getting increasingly lower-rated by the rating agencies. Furthermore, the ECB has made it clear that this whole exercise is merely for optical purposes: "The new haircuts will not imply an undue decrease in the collateral available to counterparties." What is notable, however, is that the ECB has highlighted it will no longer accept non euro-denominated collateral after 2010. This is not good for countries which plan on syndicating dollar-denominated debt, as has been recently the case for Portugal, and, currently, Greece. Although in Greece's case we tend to think the country doesn't give a rat's behind about whether new issuance will be eligible, andis much more focused on just avoiding default.
Full Text Of Trichet Speech Following Today's Monthly Monetary Policy Meeting Of ECB's Governing CouncilSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/08/2010 09:05 -0400
Regarding our collateral framework, the Governing Council has decided to keep the minimum credit threshold for marketable and non-marketable assets in the Eurosystem collateral framework at investment-grade level (i.e. BBB-/Baa3) beyond the end of 2010, except in the case of asset-backed securities (ABSs). In addition, the Governing Council has decided to apply, as of 1 January 2011, a schedule of graduated valuation haircuts to the assets rated in the BBB+ to BBB- range (or equivalent). This graduated haircut schedule will replace the uniform haircut add-on of 5% that is currently applied to these assets. The detailed haircut schedule will be based on a number of parameters which are specified in the press release to be published after todays press conference.
In order to manipulate bond fund NAVs, two employees "actively screened and manipulated dealer quotes", "fraudulently published NAVs", made "price adjustments" that "were arbitrary and did not reflect fair value." The list keeps going. "This scheme had two architects - a portfolio manager responsible for lies to investors about the true value of the assets in his funds, and a head of fund accounting who turned a blind eye to the fund's bogus valuation process," - Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement. Sharp Mary barked today. FINRA & the SEC bit.
- Bank of Japan keeps benchmark rate at 0.1%, says recovery remains intact.
- China said to consider Yuan trading versus Ruble, Won, Ringgit.
- China said to sell three-year bills in signal interest rates may soon rise.
- Euro-zone March composite PMI 55.9 vs. 53.7 Feb.
- Fed sees inflation slowdown tempering need to reverse stimulus.
- Greece may find lukewarm US reception to dollar bonds on deficit concern.
- Oil declined from an 18-month high.
In a surprising move, the FRBNY has just released the holdings of Maiden Lane I, II and III. Some preliminary observations: ML 1, in addition to holding a boatload of CDOs, has quite a few Residential whole loans, a variety of single names CDS, of which the bulk is CMBX, AMBAC, MBIA, PMI, CDS on Commercial Real Estate, CDS on Munis, CDS on non-agency RMBS, CDS on Non-residential ABS, some treasuries, and just under $3 billion in Interest Rate Swaps. ML 2, as noted, contains $35 billion of Non-Agency MBS. It also contains $280 million in cash, held with a Goldman Sachs account. (GOLDMAN SACHS FIN SQ GOVT FS). ML 3 consists of a variety of CDOs whose notional value is given as $56 billion. Once again, the Fed parks its cash of $383 million in this account with Goldman Sachs.
"In sum, in response to severe threats to our economy, the Federal Reserve created a series of special lending facilities to stabilize the financial system and encourage the resumption of private credit flows to American families and businesses. As market conditions and the economic outlook have improved, these programs have been terminated or are being phased out. The Federal Reserve also promoted economic recovery through sharp reductions in its target for the federal funds rate and through large-scale purchases of securities. The economy continues to require the support of accommodative monetary policies. However, we have been working to ensure that we have the tools to reverse, at the appropriate time, the currently very high degree of monetary stimulus. We have full confidence that, when the time comes, we will be ready to do so." Ben Bernanke. Too bad the Chairman will not add that time will not come until the US finally implodes.
Ambac Slumps As Company May Seek Bankruptcy Protection, Enters "Rehabilitation" Of Segregated AccountSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/25/2010 09:22 -0400
“The Board has worked diligently over the past two years to forge the best possible outcome for Ambac and its various stakeholders. In light of OCI’s determination to take some sort of rehabilitative action with respect to Ambac Assurance, the Board has determined, after thoughtful and careful consideration, that compliance with the direction of OCI to establish the segregated account of Ambac Assurance and to consent to the terms of the proposed settlement agreement of our CDO of ABS portfolio is the best alternative available. The actions taken today, together with the proposed settlement if effected, commute substantially all of our CDO of ABS exposure at a substantial discount to the expected present value of potential claims. While certain structured finance asset classes and other credits have been segregated for rehabilitation, virtually the entire insured municipal portfolio remains outside the rehabilitation proceedings. The Ambac Board and management team are committed to continuing to work hard to manage our resources effectively in the service of all constituents.” - Michael Callen, Chairman of the Board of Directors
Bank Of America Can Not Deny It Used Repo 105, Response From PricewaterhouseCoopers Pending; The BofA QSPE'sSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/23/2010 22:50 -0400
A day after the Lehman Repo 105 scandal erupted, one, just one bank stepped up and said it had never used Repo 105-type transactions. The bank was Goldman Sachs. Of course, Goldman's claim is completely useless without a context as the proper refusal would be for Goldman's counsel to say that the firm had not used anything "substantially similar" to a Repo 105. The difference between that and the verbatim phrasing is like night from day. But at least the soundbite chasers bought it, and the whole topic of Goldman and Repo 105 promptly died away. We'll let that be... for now. Yet one bank which not only has not provided voluntary disclosure, but which has now gotten itself bogged down in semantics, after recently speculation had emerged that BofA had used "substantially similar" devices to Repo 105. Today, BofA provided a response on the record as to whether it had (ab)used Repo 105s and it appears, that inasmuch the firm is unable to say no, the answer is a resounding yes.
Ah, the halcyon days of 2006, when the bubble was cranking, rates were stable and rising, Bernanke was brand new and few realized he would was yet to become the destroyer of capitalism, when subprime was only known to a select few future billionaires, when Bear Stearns was alive and well and was organizing credit conference at the Waldorf Astoria (instead of arranging credit for itself in advance of going bankrupt in 2008) during which nobody said anything relevant (that includes Bear's then chief economist David Malpass) and where participants merely reinforced each other's fallacious groupthink, capped by Peyton Manning as keynote speaker of all people. Companies presenting were all the current and future LBO hits (which would soon undergo Chapter 22 and in some cases 33). We are only amazed that Bear hasn't risen from the dead to recreate the credit conference below, coupled with full bubble frothiness and all other bells and whistles.
Sometimes I have to actually read articles twice, because it really seems that I have somehow missed the point the first time around. Well, on my third glance at this Bloomberg article, I still don't get it: SLM Sells Debt at Higher Interest Rate Than Students Pay
Fed Announcement: No Change, "Exceptional" And "Extended" Language Remains, Vote 9-1, Hoenig Did Not Want "Extended Period"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/16/2010 14:17 -0400
The Committee will maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and continues to anticipate that economic conditions, including low rates of resource utilization, subdued inflation trends, and stable inflation expectations, are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period. Voting against the policy action was Thomas M. Hoenig, who believed that continuing to express the expectation of exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period was no longer warranted because it could lead to the buildup of financial imbalances and increase risks to longer-run macroeconomic and financial stability.
I have warned my readers about following myths and legends versus reality and facts several times in the past, particularly as it applies to Goldman Sachs and what I have coined "Name Brand Investing". Very recent developments from Senator Kaufman of Delaware will be putting the spit-shined patina of Wall Street's most powerful bank to the test, as it appears he ain't playin'. Here's the speech from the esteemed Senator from Delaware (yes, the most corporate friendly state in this country), complete with an analysis that you will NEVER see in the mainstream media!!!
And so we learn that the Fed will get even bigger, Volcker will get some love, the SEC will be self-funded, the Fed's (lack of) disclosure requirements, Obama will soon likely appoint Blankfein to head the FRBNY, and that there is absolutely no mention of the undoubtedly biggest problem for the US economy - the GSEs - as usual.
How Lehman, With The Fed's Complicity, Created Another Illegal Precedent In Abusing The Primary Dealer Credit FacilitySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/13/2010 15:44 -0400
Five months ago, Zero Hedge observed the nuances of the Federal Reserve's Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF) and concluded that this artificial liquidity boosting construct was nothing more than yet another scam to allow banks to extract ever more money from taxpayers, with the complicit blessing of the Federal Reserve Board Of New York (as the original piece also provided an in-depth discussion of the triparty repo market which is now a parallel to the buzzword of the day in the form of Lehman's "Repo 105" off balance sheet contraption, it should serve as a useful refresher course to anyone who wishes to understand why while Repo 105 with its $50 billion in liability contingency may have been an issue, the true Repo market, with over $3 trillion of likely just as toxic assets, is where the real pain in the future will come from). The PDCF would allow assets of declining and even inexistent value to be pledged as collateral, thus making sure that taxpayer cash was funneled into sham institutions holding predominantly toxic assets, and whose viability was and is limited, yet still is backed by the Fed, which to this day continues to pour our money into them. Today, with a tip from the NYT's Eric Dash, we demonstrate just how grossly negligent the Federal Reserve was when it came to Lehman's abuse of the PDCF, and how the trail of slime of Lehman's increasingly obvious manipulation of its books goes to the very top of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and its then governor - a very much complicit Tim Geithner.