And not because his Rule doesn't have teeth.
- Obama Administration Said Set to Release Corporate Tax-Rate Plan Today (Bloomberg, WSJ)
- Greece races to meet bail-out demands (FT)
- IAEA ‘disappointed’ in Iran nuclear talks (FT)
- Hilsenrath: Fed Writes Sweeping Rules From Behind Closed Doors (WSJ)
- Fannie-Freddie Plan, Sweden FSA, Trader Suspects, CDO Lawsuit: Compliance (Bloomberg)
- Bank of England’s Bean Says Greek Deal Doesn’t End Disorderly Outcome Risk (Bloomberg)
- Greece Second Bailout Plan an ‘Important Step,’ Treasury’s Brainard Says (Bloomberg)
- Shanghai Eases Home Purchase Restrictions (Bloomberg)
While his diagnosis of the balance sheet recessionary outbreak that is sweeping global economies (including China now he fears) is a useful framework for understanding ZIRP's (and monetary stimulus broadly) general inability to create a sustainable recovery, his one-size-fits-all government-borrow-and-spend to infinity (fiscal deficits during balance sheet recessions are good deficits) solution is perhaps becoming (just as he said it would) politically impossible to implement. In his latest missive, the Nomura economist does not hold back with the blame-bazooka for the mess we are in and face in 2012. Initially criticizing US and now European bankers and politicians for not recognizing the balance sheet recession, Koo takes to task the ECB and European governments (for implementing LTRO which simply papers over the cracks without solving the underlying problem of the real economy suggesting bank capital injections should be implemented immediately), then unloads on the EBA's 9% Tier 1 capital by June 2012 decision, and ends with a significant dressing-down of the Western ratings agencies (and their 'ignorance of economic realities'). While believing that Greece is the lone profligate nation in Europe, he concludes that Germany should spend-it-or-send-it (to the EFSF) as capital flight flows end up at Berlin's gates. Given he had the holidays to unwind, we sense a growing level of frustration in the thoughtful economist's calm demeanor as he realizes his prescription is being ignored (for better or worse) and what this means for a global economy (facing deflationary deleveraging and debt minimization) - "It appears as though the world economy will remain under the spell of the housing bubble collapse that began in 2007 for some time yet" and it will be a "miracle if Europe does not experience a full-blown credit contraction."
When yesterday we presented the view from CLSA's Chris Wood that the February 29 LTRO could be €1 Trillion (compared to under €500 billion for the December 21 iteration), we snickered, although we knew quite well that the market response, in stocks and gold, today would be precisely as has transpired. However, after reading the report by Credit Suisse's William Porter, we no longer assign a trivial probability to some ridiculous amount hitting the headlines early in the morning on February 29. Why? Because from this moment on, the market will no longer be preoccupied with a €1 trillion LTRO number as the potential headline, one which in itself would be sufficient to send the Euro tumbling, the USD surging, and provoking an immediate in kind response from the Fed. Instead, the new 'possible' number is just a "little" higher, which intuitively would make sense. After all both S&P and now Fitch expect Greece to default on March 20 (just to have the event somewhat "priced in"). Which means that in an attempt to front-run the unprecedented liquidity scramble that will certainly result as nobody has any idea what would happen should Greece default in an orderly fashion, let alone disorderly, the only buffer is having cash. Lots of it. A shock and awe liquidity firewall that will leave everyone stunned. How much. According to Credit Suisse the new LTRO number could be up to a gargantuan, and unprecedented, €10 TRILLION!
As one can glean from the title, in this comprehensive report by Goldman's Paul Hissey, the appropriately named firm deconstructs the divergence between gold stocks and spot gold in recent years, a topic covered previously yet one which still generates much confusion among investor ranks. As Goldman, which continues to be bullish on gold, says, "There is little doubt that gold stocks in general have suffered a derating; initially with the introduction of gold ETFs (free from operational risk), and more recently with the onset of global market insecurity through the second half of 2011. However, gold remains high in the top tier of our preferred commodities for 2012, simply because of the extremely uncertain macroeconomic outlook currently faced in many parts of the world. The official sector also turned net buyer of gold in 2010 for the first time since 1988, and has expanded its net purchases in 2011." And so on. Yet the irony is, as pointed out before, that synthetic paper CDO, continue to be the target of significant capital flows, despite repeated warnings that when push comes to shove, investors would be left with nothing to show for their capital (aside from interim price moves of course), as opposed to holding actual physical (which however has additional implied costs making it prohibitive for most to invest). Naturally, this is also harming gold stocks. Goldman explains. And for all those who have been requesting the global gold cash cost curve, here it is...
The first kicker in the just released S&P statement on the revised and AAA-rated EFSF is the following: "In our opinion, there is an "almost certain" likelihood that the EFSF's 'AAA' rated member governments would provide timely and sufficient extraordinary support to the EFSF if needed." So, uh, S&P is determining the fate of trillions worth of securities on the basis of a hunch, a whim, if you will. A strong one, but a hunch nonetheless. Swell. And the second kicker: "If we lowered the ratings on one or more of the 'AAA' rated member guarantors, we would also likely lower the ratings on funding instruments that the EFSF had issued before the date of the downgrade, if the lower ratings on the member guarantor were to lead to less than 100% 'AAA' rated coverage for the relevant EFSF funding instrument." This, in the parlance of our times, is known as a springing downgrade, which sets off the kind of cataclysm that only AIG could achieve once the investing community realized it had a rating-based collateral schedule. So once again the fate of the free world depends on FrAAAnce. Swell2.
Jed Rakoff is well known to frequent readers of Zero Hedge: he is the judge who nearly brought down the SEC settlement with Bank of America over the whole bonus non-disclosure issue two years ago, and where Bank of America effectively acted under the duress of Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke. Granted at the end of the day he sided with the status quo., but this may be his chance to redeem himself. Just out from Bloomberg:
- CITIGROUP'S $285 MILLION SEC SETTLEMENT QUESTIONED BY JUDGE
- CITIGROUP JUDGE ASKS PARTIES TO JUSTIFY FAIRNESS OF SETTLEMENT
- SEC CLAIMED CITIGROUP MISLED INVESTORS IN $1 BILLION CDO
Remember: when in doubt, baffle with bullshit. From Dow Jones:
- EU Paper Confirms Looking At 2 EFSF Options, May Combine Them -Senior EU Source
- EU Paper Says EFSF Option To Set Up Special Purpose Investment Vehicle -Senior EU Source
- EU Paper Says EFSF Bond Insurance and Special Vehicle Options Could Be Combined - Senior EU Source
- EU Paper Says Neither EFSF Leverage Option Requires Change To EFSF Rules -Senior EU Source
- EU Paper Says EFSF SPIV Would Combine Public, Private Capital - Senior EU Source
- EU Paper Says EFSF Could Set Up One Central Euro Zone SPIV - Senior EU Source
- EU Paper Says EFSF SPIVs Could Be Set Up In Several Euro Zone Countries - Senior EU Source
- EU Paper Says EFSF SPIVs Would Be Used For Bond Purchases, Bank Recapitalization - Senior EU Source
- EU Paper Says EFSF Bond Insurance To Be Tradable Independently Of Bonds - Senior EU Source
It also has a Phillips-head screwdriver, opens cans, serves as a flashlight, dispenses crazy pills can be used as a garrote. And if you act now, you can get get a second one free for the low, low price of €1 trillion, leveraged infinitely courtesy of the world's most complex structured credit product ever conceived.
Citi Joins Goldman And JPMorgan In Settling Fraudulent And Misleading CDO Practices: Wristslap Costs $285 MillionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/19/2011 11:35 -0400
And so Citi becomes the third firm after Goldman and JPM to put all their gross CDO criminal (wait, allegedly, they neither admitted nor denied) activity behind them with a $285 million wristslap.
- Citigroup will pay USD 285mln to settle SEC charges for misleading investors about selling CDOs related to housing market, according to SEC
- Citigroup's main US broker-dealer unit misled investors about USD 1bln CDO tied to US housing market, in which Citigroup bet against investors.
It is unclear if the money used will be courtesy of FDIC-backed TLGP notes still on Citi's books. Either way, justice is now "served."
The Latest Incarnation Of The European CDO Cubed Bailout "Swiss Army Knife": A Multi-Trillion Insurance PolicySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/11/2011 14:13 -0400
A few weeks ago Steve Liesman ramped stocks higher for the day after he released a subsequently disproven rumor that the EFSF would become a CDO square, recycling private investments into sovereign debt. Well that rumor is now dead and buried, so it is time for the next one involving that uber multi-functional Swiss Army Knife which is the EFSF, and apparently has an infinite+1 number of applications, none of which involve actual cash funding. The source of this latest brilliant idea is Pimco parent, Allianz, which has trillions in fixed income exposure all over the world, so it is no wonder it is pushing hard for the world's taxpayers to bail it out. Only instead of a recycling cash, this time the EFSF will become Fed-Lite, "insuring" trillions in debt.
Steve Liesman has just broken news of the latest European bail out mechanism which will likely push risk higher for at least a few hours. Why just a few hours? Because what according to Liesman the ECB is about to propose, is nothing short of not just a CDO, but a CDO SQUARED. We are still waiting for more information, but according to his description of what this last ditch bailout bazooka (before Eurobonds of course), is that the ECB will take the debt bought by sovereign governments and will issue EURs against EFSF/ESM bonds as collateral: this is in its simplest definition, a CDO Squared (because as we have described in the past, the EFSF is simply a CDO), which in turn means that the systemic leverage of the Eurozone is about to rise 8-fold. If you thought the capitalization of the ECB was bad before, you ain't seen nothing yet. Expect cubed and quadratic iterations by the end of the week when the half life of this latest bailout rumor dies out. Oh, and expect many more headlines out of Europe talking about bailouts and hyperinflation as noted earlier.
About a month ago we penned an article titled (and asking) "Is Brian Lin The Next Incarnation Of Joe Cassano?" in which we sought to demonstrate just on what flimsy ground Bank of America has based its litigation reserve assumptions: a topic that since then has become the biggest sticking point in the BAC bull thesis. Considering that since then, Bank of America default risk has exploded by over 150% and the stock price has plummeted by half, at least some have grasped the severity of a situation when incremental flawed assumptions are magnified level after level, until we finally get what, as Manal Mehta terms it, is a Bank of America "Subprime CDO." Since this issue is extremely important to the future of the financial system (a bankruptcy of Bank of America would be hundreds of times more severe than Lehman's), below we present in visual, and thus easy to comprehend, format what we previously explaining in a narrative and which once again brings us to our question: will the man behind the BAC litigation reserve fraud be responsible for the next iteration of an AIG-type implosion?
There is only one section of the proposed European Bailout draft statement that is relevant to traders: Section 7, bullet 3 which says: "To improve the effectiveness of the EFSF and address contagion, we agree to increase the flexibility of the EFSF, allowing it to intervene in the secondary markets on the basis of an ECB analysis recognizing the existence of exceptional circumstances and a unanimous decision of the EFSF Member States." Everything else is noise. Europe just legalized its own Plunge Protection Team and off balance sheet Quantitative Easing program with one signature. Good luck trading in this, or any, market which even the politicians now admit is nothing more than a central banking policy tool.
Risk is back on in Europe (and thus spilling over to the US), confirmed by both a tightening in PIIGS spreads across the board and a jump in the EURUSD by 100 pips from overnight lows following a rehash of the same old rumor that the EFSF, or Europe's "toxic bank" off the books CDO equivalent, will provide emergency credit for insolvent countries. With the European Parliament summit starting tomorrow at 1pm (moved back by an hour), there is anticipation that Europe will finally present a strong resolution to ongoing problems. The expectations are not lost on Europe itself: as Barroso said "The minimum we must do tomorrow is to provide clarity on the following: measures to ensure the sustainability of Greek public finances; feasibility and limits of private-sector involvement; scope for more flexible action through the European Financial Stability Facility, the EFSF; repair of the banking sector still needed; and measures to ensure the provision of liquidity to our banking system." Unfortunately just like every previous time, Europe will disappoint as there is no holistic resolution that does not involve the default of the PIIGS. In the meantime, as Bloomberg reports, "European officials are considering steps previously rejected by Germany, including the use of precautionary credit lines, to prevent the spread of the region’s debt crisis, a person close to the talks said. Other options up for discussion at tomorrow’s Brussels summit include enabling the main 440 billion euro ($624 billion) rescue fund to lend to recapitalize banks, said the person, who declined to be named because the talks are in progress. Nothing will be decided until leaders convene. Together with a second Greek aid package, the goal is to prove to markets that Europe has the will and the tools to prevent the crisis from engulfing Spain and Italy." With Italy already "engulfed" it shows just how badly behind the curve Europe still is.