Greed; corporate arrogance; lobbying influence; excessive leverage; accounting tricks to hide debt; lack of transparency; off balance sheet obligations; mark to market accounting; short-term focus on profit to drive compensation; failure of corporate governance; as well as auditors, analysts, rating agencies and regulators who were either lax, ignorant or complicit. This laundry list of causes has often been used to describe what went wrong in the credit crunch crisis of 2008-2010. Actually these terms were equally used to describe what went wrong with Enron more than twenty years ago. Both crises resulted in what at the time was the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history — Enron in December 2001 and Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Naturally, this leads to the question that despite all the righteous indignation in the wake of Enron's failure did we really learn or change anything?
Trough-feeding debtism faces the need to clean up its detritus.
Rising home prices, especially in major cities, are prompting a growing chorus of discontent among ordinary Chinese. Our Japanese friends would no doubt feel more than hint of nostalgia should they visit Beijing. For just like the famous Japanese “bubble economy” of the late 1980s, Beijing has been virtually turned into one big construction site with constantly changing streetscapes. The real estate industry may have played a role in China’s economic development, but it appears to have been for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many. In the long term, the trade-off seems poor. For that, not just the general manager, but the premier too needs to take responsibility.
Elliott Management's 22-page letter to investors has something for everyone as Paul Singer ascribes his uniquely independent wisdom. From the fragility of the financial system to the hubris of academic pretenders; from inflation's various devious impacts on assets and reality to the floundering of the world's bankers; from America's "cooked data" to the pending social unrest in Europe and the perils of centralized power, Singers stresses "the temptation to debase fiat currencies... means owning claims on paper money is an act of either faith or denial." Recent market movements, Singer warns "indicate a world on life-support," and "for every day, month and year that policymakers try to substitute failed, inappropriate and risky QE policies for pro-growth policies, the debt mounts, as does resentment among middle-income families that their situation is not improving." The fact of the matter is that "no government has ever reached fiscal 'nirvana,' yet our central bank (and its peers) continues to push the envelope of risk, confidence and inflation." Despite the confident and brave words in which they are wrapped, central bank actions currently seem underscored by quiet panic.
At a time when Spain is back in the limelight on account of its ever-sprouting corruption scandals, the government is trying to switch public attention to the prospect of impending economic recovery. Last Thursday, when the National Statistics Institute (INE) reported a 0.90 percent drop in the active population unemployment rate (down to 26.26 percent from the previous quarter’s 27.16 percent), Economy Minister Luis de Guindos assured: “Despite all the difficulties, today I am convinced that the worst is over and that the Spanish economy will leave behind the negative growth rates.” Mariano Rajoy’s government may, as its predecessor did, announce “around the corner” recovery to keep the population’s hope alive and dodge uncomfortable matters such as corruption scandals, but in reality the country’s trend is quite worrying.
The Institute of International Finance (IIF) has released data that shows that the credit crunch in China is hitting harder than was thought at first and is secondly at the worst level since the global financial crisis landed on everyone’s plate.
Hopes that Kuroda would say something substantial, material and beneficial to the "three arrow" wealth effect (about Japan's sales tax) last night were promptly dashed when the BOJ head came, spoke, and went, with the USDJPY sliding to a new monthly low, which in turn saw the Nikkei tumble another nearly 500 points. China didn't help either, where the Shanghai Composite also closed below 2000 wiping out a few weeks of gains on artificial hopes that the PBOC would step in with a bailout package, as attention turned to the reported announcement that an update of local government debt could double the size of China's non-performing loans, and what's worse, that the PBOC was ok with that. Asian negativity was offset by the European open, where fundamentals are irrelevant (especially on the one year anniversary of Draghi FX Advisors LLC "whatever it takes to buy the EURUSD" speech) and renewed M&A sentiment buoyed algos to generate enough buying momentum to send more momentum algos buying and so on. As for the US, futures are indicating weakness for the third day in a row but hardly anyone is fooled following two consecutive days of green closes on melt ups "from the lows": expect another rerun of the now traditional Friday ramp, where a 150 DJIA loss was wiped out during the day for a pre-programmed just green closing print.
How does one destroy an idea? Further, how does one destroy the truth? Corrupt governments have been struggling with this dilemma since men wore loincloths and worshiped fire. Fortunately for those of us in the “lower strata” of social organization, honorable ideas and indelible truths have a life of their own. Even when a culture as a whole remains oblivious and unguarded, the facts tend to rise to the surface one way or another. The reality which elitists at least partly understand, is that the truth cannot be destroyed, but it can be forgotten, at least for a time. This is a never-ending process...
- The Citadel-SAC connection (BBG) - just wait until the Citadel-FRBNY connection emerges
- Letter backs Yellen for Federal Reserve role (FT) - or said otherwise, the Democrats would like the Fed to rule (and monetize deficits) for ever
- Obama, Republicans gear up for bruising U.S. budget fight (Reuters)
- Up for Debate at Fed: A Sharper Easy-Money Message (WSJ)
- UBS to Pay $885 Million to Settle U.S. Mortgage Suit (BBG), Banks shiver as UBS swallows $885 million U.S. fine (Reuters)
- Japan finmin Aso: CPI shows gradual shift to inflation from deflation (Reuters)
- Japan's PM calls for high-level talks with China (Reuters)
- Holder Targets Texas in New Voting-Rights Push (WSJ)
- Another Nightmareliner incident: Probe opened as Air India Boeing Dreamliner oven overheats midair (Reuters)
- Samsung Boosts Capital Spending as High-End Phone Demand Slows (BBG)
- The Department of Justice has opened an initial probe into the metals warehousing industry (WSJ)
- Obama Says Budget Debate a Battle for Middle Class Future (BBG)
- Death Toll From Spanish Train Crash Hits 77 (WSJ)
- ‘Fabulous Fab’ takes to witness stand (FT)
- Banks Said to Weigh Suspending Dealings With SAC as Charges Loom (BBG) - what about Anthony Scaramucci?
- How the Muslim Brotherhood lost Egypt (Reuters)
- German Business Confidence Rises for a Third Month (BBG)
- Fraternities Lobby for Tax Break Without Hazing Penalties (BBG)
- China charges Bo Xilai with corruption, paves way for trial (Reuters)
- Airbus Pushes Higher-Density A380 to Counter Luxury Image (BBG)
Amid a collapsng economy and as illegal party financing allegations close in around Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, his 42-year-old deputy has kept her name clean. Now, Der Spiegel reports, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, the most powerful woman in Spanish politics, is well poised to be his successor. As Rajoy becomes increasingly mired in the massive scandal over illegal party donations, corruption and financial contributions, Sáenz de Santamaría, a former state lawyer who represented the country's highest court, is one of the few in the party to remain untouched by the allegations. And that alone - sadly - may be enough to qualify her for the government's top job.
A report just out by Coutts (the private wealth-management bank) has pointed the wagging finger at British rich and famous, the millionaire’s club for not protecting their wealth enough.
Sovereign debt is the bonds that are issued by national governments in foreign currencies with the intent to finance a country’s growth. The risk involved is determined by whether that country is a developed or a developing country, whether that country has a stable government or not and the sovereign-credit ratings that are attributed by agencies to that country’s economy.
While anti-depressant use is surging in Sweden (up 1000% since 1980), bursting in Britain (up 495% since 1991), and up an astounding 400% since 1994 in the USA (with 1 in 10 on some kind of 'prozac'), it is the poor-old Nigerians that should really be complaining. Based on seven variables, Bloomberg has scored 74 nations around the world for their "stressed-out" factor and finds the USA to be 54th (so stop whining and suck it up), Norway the least stressed-out of all and El Salvador and South Africa at the top with Nigeria (with the roiling Egyptians ranking 15th).
At first, it was just GlaxoSmithKline, which “confessed” to having paid bribes in China, including “sexual bribes.” Now more drugmakers are on the hot seat.