"As interest rates go more negative, market participants will have increasing incentives to make payments quickly and to receive payments in forms that can be collected slowly. This is exactly the opposite of what happened when short-term interest rates skyrocketed in the late 1970s: people then wanted to delay making payments as long as possible and to collect payments as quickly as possible.... if interest rates go negative, we may see an epochal outburst of socially unproductive—even if individually beneficial—financial innovation."
On Thursday, the Fed made it clear that its reaction function has changed. "Data dependency" is gone (or at least relegated to the backburner in times of global turmoil), and international and financial market developments are now officially guiding the FOMC's (tentative) hand. This epochal shift has left market participants asking one very simple question: "Ok, now what?"
Banks in the US and Europe are trying to develop a cashless transactions system. The concept is to establish a comprehensive ledger for a business or a person that records everything received and spent, and all of the assets held – mortgages, investment portfolios, debts, contractual financial obligations, and anything else of market value. There would be no need for cash because the ledger would tell you and anyone you were considering a transaction with how much is available and would be transactable at any specific moment. This is not a dreamy idea. Blythe Masters is leading a new business effort to develop a universal cashless system. Not only is she gathering significant investor interest, but the Federal Reserve and various US Government agencies have become keenly interested in the potential usefulness and efficiencies of a universal cashless system
"China is imposing fresh controls to prevent too much money from leaving the country, in an effort to keep badly needed funds at home to battle a deepening slowdown in the world’s No. 2 economy." This is undsiputedly bad news for China, but Blythe Masters would be the first to admit, escalating Chinese capital controls would be just the thing bitcoin needs to surge, and surpass, it previous all time highs...
Just days after Blythe Masters took up her role as Chairman of Santander Consumer - the world's largest subprime auto lenders; former FDIC head Sheila Bair has resigned her position on the board of Banco Santander citing excess "travel" as a reason. One cannot help but wonder if the clash of the titans was too much, if the embrassment of a failed stress test was unbearable, or if Ms. Bair sees the rapidly approach light at the end of the tunnel of subprime lending for what it is... a bigger train that 2008's.
- Greece licks wounds after bailout vote, ECB move expected (Reuters)
- Lose-Lose: Pushing Greece Out of Euro Is Costlier Than Write-Off (BBG)
- EMU brutality in Greece has destroyed the trust of Europe's Left (Telegraph)
- Schaeuble Shrugs Off Greek Vote Saying Euro Exit Is Best (BBG)
- Merkel’s tough tactics prompt criticism in Germany and abroad (FT)
- Investors Get Caught in Oil’s Slippery Wake (WSJ)
- Obama Girds for Battle With Congress on Iran Deal (WSJ)
Today, an unholy alliance was born when Blythe Masters, the mother of the credit default swap and former member of the fabled "Morgan Mafia" was named chairman of Santander Consumer, the largest subprime auto lender in the US.
Amid record auto loan ABS issuance, record loan terms, and record high average payments, it's no secret that the market for auto loans in the US has become dangerously stretched. Now, the NY Fed is out with what is perhaps the most shocking statistic yet on just how "darn easy" it is to get a car loan
First it was Blythe Masters (and the Fed). Now, the most important FDIC-insured hedge fund in the world, Goldman Sachs, adds its name to a growing list of Wall Street institutions exploring digital-currency technology’s potential to provide faster and cheaper financial transactions and payments.
- Fed Likely to Remove ‘Patient’ Barrier for Rate Increase as Soon as June (Hilsenrath) - which year?
- Clinton says used personal email account for convenience (Reuters)
- Euro sinks to 12-year lows as yield gap grows (Reuters)
- Get Ready for Oil Deals: Shale Is Going on Sale (BBG)
- EIA raises 2015 US oil production forecast, cuts 2016 outlook (Reuters)
- How Falling Oil Prices Are Hindering Iraq’s Ability to Fight Islamic State (WSJ)
- China economic data weaker than expected, fuels policy easing bets (Reuters)
- ECB ‘Chasing Own Tail’ as Bond Rates Turn Negative, SocGen Says (BBG)
- Swiss makers quietly gear up with smartwatches of their own (Reuters)
First she tried to take over the credit derivatives world which she first had to create, and succeeded. Then, after Enron failed, she tried to take over the California electricity market and also failed. And all through this time she made sure the prices of the world's precious metals were right where she wanted them. Now, a year after an embarrassing attempt to become head of her former regulator ended in humiliation, she is back and has her sights set on the final financial frontier: Bitcoin.
Despite the authorities' best efforts to keep everything orderly, we know how this global Game of Geopolitical Tetris ends: "Players lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the Tetriminos stack up to the top of the playing field. This is commonly referred to as topping out."
"I’m tired of being outraged!"
Every year, David Collum writes a detailed "Year in Review" synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year's is no exception. "I have not seen a year in which so many risks - some truly existential - piled up so quickly. Each risk has its own, often unknown, probability of morphing into a destructive force. It feels like we’re in the final throes of a geopolitical Game of Tetris as financial and political authorities race to place the pieces correctly. But the acceleration is palpable. The proximate trigger for pain and ultimately a collapse can be small, as anyone who’s ever stepped barefoot on a Lego knows..."
“There’s two things that I find incredible about this. First, that anyone would advertise in a resume that they know about a flaw in the system — signaling that they’re ready and willing to exploit that flaw. And, second, that somebody would hire the person sending that signal.”
Blythe Masters is perhaps the most maligned human being on earth by silver investors due to suspicions of JP Morgan’s manipulation in the silver market (and rightly so). Well she’s back in the news, but it has nothing to do with silver. Rather, the news relates to the fact that her ex-husband and commodities traders, Daniel Masters, has just launched a Bitcoin hedge fund from the island of Jersey, a British Crown dependency.