A Market "Based" On Monetary Surreality

With macro data becoming worse and worse (more and more bullish for Fed free money) and stocks off to the races (despite earnings that are abysmal), we thought a litle reminder of just what is driving this un-reality in nominal price moves. As the following chart, inspired by UBS, shows, each time the S&P 500 shows any sign of weakness, US money grows dramatically (money defined as the sum of M2 and foreign custody repo-able holdings at the Fed). Simply put, this is the reaction function of the Bernanke Put and explains why any weakness in Europe causes problems for the US - as the foreign banks repatriate and impact this 'growth' support. Correlation is not causation, but it is a strong hint.

Desperately Seeking $11.2 Trillion In Collateral, Or How "Modern Money" Really Works

Over a year ago, we first explained what one of the key terminal problems affecting the modern financial system is: namely the increasing scarcity and disappearance of money-good assets ("safe" or otherwise) which due to the way "modern" finance is structured, where a set universe of assets forms what is known as "high-quality collateral" backstopping trillions of rehypothecated shadow liabilities all of which have negligible margin requirements (and thus provide virtually unlimited leverage) until times turn rough and there is a scramble for collateral, has become perhaps the most critical, and missing, lynchpin of financial stability. Not surprisingly, recent attempts to replenish assets (read collateral) backing shadow money, most recently via attempted Basel III regulations, failed miserably as it became clear it would be impossible to procure the just $1-$2.5 trillion in collateral needed according to regulatory requirements. The reason why this is a big problem is that as the Matt Zames-headed Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee (TBAC) showed today as part of the appendix to the quarterly refunding presentation, total demand for "High Qualty Collateral" (HQC) would and could be as high as $11.2 trillion under stressed market conditions.

Goldman Sells Equity To Buy Junk

Goldman Sachs, pillar of ethical honesty in the lead up to the last market top and crisis, appears to be so bullish on leveraged loan and high-yield debt that it prefers to create an entirely separate holding company (that requires less transparency and avoids the Volcker Rule), raise external equity capital, lever up, and use a management team with "no experience managing a business development company (BDC)."  As the WSJ reports, Goldman plans to offer shares in a new unit, Goldman Sachs Liberty Harbor Capital LLC "as soon as is practicable," in a BDC that means it is exempt from the so-called Volcker Rule. The entity also enables Goldman to report less transparently since it qualifies as an emerging growth company under the JOBS Act. Given the richness of credit, and the 'frothiness' in high-yield, is this an implicit option on credit (if credit rallies, profits go up to parent entity; if credit tanks, entity implodes and eats 'remotely' the new equity capital without affecting the bank itself)? Or maybe we are being too negative?

Union: One Survived; One May Not

One of the most interesting issues of what has happened in Cyprus is where was the problem three weeks ago? There was not a mention, not a hint of anything that was wrong. All of the banks in Cyprus had passed each and every European bank stress test. The numbers reported out by the ECB and the Bank for International Settlements indicated nothing and everything reported by any official organization in the European Union pointed to a stable and sound fiscal and monetary policy and conditions. The IMF, who monitors these things as well, did not have Cyprus or her banks on any kind of watch list. In just two weeks' time we have gone from not a mention of Cyprus to a crisis in Cyprus because none of the official numbers were accurate. Without doubt, without question, if this can happen in Cyprus then it could happen in any other country in the Eurozone because the uncounted liabilities are systemic to the whole of Europe.

Eric Holder Holds One Half Of US Rating Agencies Accountable For Financial Crisis

We urge readers to do a word search for "Moody's" in the official department of justice release below. Here are the highlights:

HOLDER SAYS S&P'S ACTIONS CAUSED `BILLIONS' IN LOSSES - did Moody's actions, profiled previously here, which happens to be a major holding of one Warren Buffett, cause billions in profits?

Pure pathetic political posturing, because it was the rating agencies, whose complicity and conflicts of interest everyone knew about, who were responsible for the financial crisis. Not Alan Greenspan, not Ben Bernanke, and certainly not Wall Street which made tens of billions in profits selling CDOs to idiots in Europe and Asia. Of course, the US consumer who had a gun held against their head when they were buying McMansions with no money down and no future cash flow is not even mentioned.

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Unfortunately, the spectacular rise of Wall Street’s securitization machine will likely forever frustrate attempts to ascertain the extent to which the Fed is responsible for what happened to the U.S. housing market and financial system in 2008.  After all, it wouldn’t be fair to short sell (no pun intended) all the Special Purpose Vehicle sponsors, CDO asset managers, investors, and ratings agencies who, for at least five years, worked so hard to collapse the system.

Elliott's Paul Singer On How Money Is Created... And How It Dies

"History is replete with examples of societies whose downfalls were related to or caused by the destruction of money. The end of this phase of global financial history will likely erupt suddenly. It will take almost everyone by surprise, and then it may grind a great deal of capital and societal cohesion into dust and pain. We wish more global leaders understood the value of sound economic policy, the necessity of sound money, and the difference between governmental actions that enable growth and economic stability and those that risk abject ruin. Unfortunately, it appears that few leaders do."

- Paul Singer, Elliott Management

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On December 7, I published an article entitled “Deutsche Bank: Explaining The $12 Billion Loss That Never Was.” The piece outlined a series of complaints filed by former Deutsche Bank employees. One of those employees, Matthew Simpson, claimed to have discovered  “substantial anomalies” in the firm’s credit default swap book while working at Deutsche’s credit correlation desk. Deutsche -- of course -- denied the allegations but did fire a top derivatives trader after an internal investigation into the matter and ultimately paid $900,000 to settle a related SEC whistleblower case filed by Simpson. Reuters broke Simpson’s story in the summer of 2011.

Bombshell: Deutsche Bank Hid $12 Billion In Losses To Avoid A Government Bail-Out

Forget the perfectly anticipated Greek (selective) default. This is the real deal. The FT just released a blockbuster that Europe's most important and significant bank, Deutsche Bank, hid $12 billion in losses during the financial crisis, helping the bank avoid a government bail-out, according to three former bank employees who filed complaints to US regulators. US regulators, whose chief of enforcement currently was none other than the General Counsel of Deutsche Bank at the time!

Libor Arrests (Finally) Coming

Just out from Bloomberg:


Note the word "traders" - not CEOs, not COOs, not General Counsels, not Managers, not Supervisors... Traders. Because remember: it was a scheming 28-year old Frenchman that was the mastermind behind Goldman's CDO fraud for years. Nobody else. Just him. That said, we are looking forward to the latest minimum prison reality TV show: "How Many Cigarettes* For A Bollinger?"

Guest Post: Before The Election Was Over, Wall Street Won

Before the campaign contributors lavished billions of dollars on their favorite candidate; and long after they toast their winner or drink to forget their loser, Wall Street was already primed to continue its reign over the economy. For, after three debates (well, four), when it comes to banking, finance, and the ongoing subsidization of Wall Street, both presidential candidates and their parties’ attitudes toward the banking sector is similar  – i.e. it must be preserved – as is – at all costs, rhetoric to the contrary, aside. Obama hasn’t brought ‘sweeping reform’ upon the Establishment Banks, nor does Romney need to exude deregulatory babble, because nothing structurally substantive has been done to harness the biggest banks of the financial sector, enabled, as they are, by entities from the SEC to the Fed to the Treasury Department to the White House.