While Beijing dithers, and does its best to kick the can as far as it can without doing anything, it was too late for one person: on Friday morning, Dongbei Special Steel Group reported that the company's Chairman Yang Hua, 53, was found dead after hanging himself in his residence. Why? Because tomorrow the company has an 800 million yuan debt payment which it will not be able to make.
Some reversals of financial trends prove so momentous they define the generation in which they occur. The stock market crash in 1929 kicked off the Great Depression, which ushered in the welfare and then the warfare state and redefined the relationship between government and citizens. Bonds and stocks began their bull market runs in the early 1980s. Now, those markets are fonts of optimism increasingly unhinged from reality. The US has come full circle. The New Deal and World War II marked a massive shift of resources and power to the federal government. Conversely, financial reversal will fuel a virulent backlash against the government and its central bank.
"To protect Canadian taxpayers in the unlikely event of a large bank failure, the Government is proposing to implement a bail-in regime that would reinforce that bank shareholders and creditors are responsible for the bank’s risks—not taxpayers. This would allow authorities to convert eligible long-term debt of a failing systemically important bank into common shares to recapitalize the bank and allow it to remain open and operating."
Suddenly, what was until incomprehensible - a Valeant default - appears all too likely: under its loan agreements, Valeant has until March 30 to file audited financial reports. If it fails to do so, it then has 30 days before lenders can demand accelerated repayment. Needless to say, Valeant would be unable to fund such a loan acceleration without rapidly selling off key assets in a liquidation firesale, although there even exist limits on just how many assets Valeant can sell.
The logic of lowering rates below zero is so boneheaded that only a PhD could believe it. It’s all relative, you see. It’s like standing on a train platform. The train next to you backs up…and you feel you’re moving ahead. Negative interest rates are like backing up. They give borrowers the illusion of forward motion... even if the economy is standing still.
"The crucial question is whether a person can participate fully in the economy over his or her life-time – get a good education, find a job, buy a home for the family. Income and wealth follow. What makes me worry is that increasing inequality might prevent people from doing that. This is an issue all our societies need to look at carefully."
All of life’s odds aren’t 3:2, but that’s how you’re supposed to bet, or so they say. They are not saying that so much anymore, or saying that history rhymes, or that nothing’s new under the sun. More and more 'they's seem to be figuring out that past economic and market experiences can’t be extrapolated forward - a terrifying prospect for the social and political order.
"JP Morgan is raising equity in a company with questionable prospects and using the funds to repay debt the company owes JP Morgan. The arrangement allows JP Morgan to get its money out prior to lenders subordinated to it get their $401 million payment."
Sweden beats USA and Germany as the least likely to default on its bonds but at the other end of the global sovereign risk spectrum lie two socialist utopias - Venezuela (CDS just shy of 6000bps) and Greece (CDS around 1800bps) are the nations most likely to default.
"...the GOP establishment’s putative “jobs” candidate from 2012 was never really a businessman at all. Willard M. Romney is no expert on shiny things on a hill. The country would be far better served if he would get his dimming light back under a bushel where it belongs."