My investigation into gold trading irregularities, including the time around the London fixes, initially began after reading the work of the late Adrian Douglas, along with Dmitri Speck.
The Fed and the other major central banks have been planting time bombs all over the global financial system for years, but especially since their post-crisis money printing spree incepted in the fall of 2008. Now comes a new leader to the Eccles Building who is not only bubble-blind like her two predecessors, but is also apparently bubble-mute. Janet Yellen is pleased to speak of financial bubbles as a “misalignment of asset prices,” and professes not to espy any on the horizon. Actually, the Fed’s bubble blindness stems from even worse than servility. The problem is an irredeemably flawed monetary doctrine that tracks, targets and aims to goose Keynesian GDP flows using the crude tools of central banking. Not surprisingly, therefore, our monetary central planners are always, well, surprised, when financial fire storms break-out. Even now, after more than a half-dozen collapses since the Greenspan era of Bubble Finance incepted in 1987, they don’t recognize that it is they who are carrying what amounts to monetary gas cans.
In addition to the already noted fireworks out of China, where the Yuan saw the biggest daily plunge since 2008 and the ongoing and very rapid newsflow out of the Ukraine, focus this morning was very much of the latest Eurozone CPI data, which despite matching previous low levels, came in above expectations and in turn resulted in an aggressive unwind of short-EUR bets as market participants were forced to re-asses the likelihood of more easing by the ECB. Still, even though the Euribor curve bear steepened and Bunds came under significant selling pressure, the EONIA forward curve remained inverted, signifying that there is still a degree of apprehension over what is unarguably very low inflation data.
Goldman Reveals "Top Trade" Reco #5 For 2014: Sell Protection On 7-Year CDX IG21 Junior Mezzanine TrancheSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/03/2013 08:22 -0400
If the London Whale trade was JPM selling CDS in tranches and in whole on IG9 and then more, and then even more in an attempt to corner the entire illiquid IG9 market and then crashing and burning spectacularly due to virtually unlimited downside, Goldman's top trade #5 for 2014 is somewhat the opposite (if only for Goldman): the firm is inviting clients to sell CDS on the junior Mezz tranche (3%-7%) of IG21 at 464 bps currently, where Goldman "would apply an initial spread target and stop loss of 395bp and 585bp, respectively. Assuming a one-year investment horizon, the breakeven spread on this trade is roughly 554bp (that is, 90bp wider than where it currently trades)." In other words, Goldman is going long said tranche which in an environment of record credit bubble conditions and all time tights across credit land is once again, the right trade. Do what Goldman does and all that...
Page 5 of BAC's Financial Supplement lays it out for all to see: the "Net change In available-for-sale debt and marketable equity securities" in Q2 was $4.233 billion. How does this compare to the firm's reported Net Income of $4 billion? It compares as follows: absent Mark-To-Unicorn, Bank of America's "Net Income" of $4 billion would have been a loss of $200 million. Which, incidentally, is what BAC reveals is its Comprehensive Income at ($209)MM. Of course, since every other firm is in the same boat of hiding epic losses the second the market stop acting according to every whim of the central planners, nobody cares and certainly nobody wants to bring attention to this little fact.
One of the main reasons the entire debt-fueled house of cards propping the western financial system, hasn't collapsed in a smouldering heap so far - a development that has stumped all those who think of the Reinhart-Rogoff sovereign debt matrix as one dimensinal with only debt/GDP as the key variable and completely ignoring the interest rate (manipulated or not) - is that the cash interest payment on the global mountain of debt has been rather tame, courtesy of all developed world central banks going all in with serial, or increasingly more, parallel monetization of debt. However, while the US Treasury has the benefit of the Federal Reserve (and its Primary Dealer tentacles) as a backstopped buyer of all the debt that's fit to print, individual Americans are not as lucky. And as America's massively overindebted student body may be about to find out, there is no surer way to burst a debt bubble than to send its rates soaring. Because unless Congress pulls off a miracle in the next 24 hours and passes legislation that delays an inevitable doubling of rates on the most popular Federal (subsidized) Stafford loans, the interest is set to double from 3.4% to 6.8%.
Wonder why China just bailed out its banks, preemptively, on Monday? Here's why. In a report issued by Credit Suisse's Sanjay Jain, the China strategist, who joins such now infamous skeptics as Bank of Countrywide Lynch's David Cui, has revised his base case Non Performing Loan ratio forecast from 4.5%-5.0% to 8.0%-12.0%: a unprecedented doubling in cumulative losses. Why unprecedented? Because as he explains, this could "would work out to 65–100% of banks’ equity." Crickets? Yes, Credit Suisse just singlehandedly said the equity value of the entire Chinese banking system is between 66% and 100% overvalued (with a downside case of $0.00). So for those putting two and two together, on one hand we have the four horsemen of the Chinese apocalypse, already presented visually before by Bank of America, consisting of i) a surge in underground lending, ii) a property downturn, iii) bad bank debt and iv) and "hot money" outflows, and on the other we have the vicious loop of what this means in terms of a central planning reaction. Simply said look for China to scramble to undo all the signals that it had been trying to spark while it was fighting with the Fed-inspired inflation bubble. Only problem is that like in the US and Europe, finding the Goldilocks point where all 4 are in equilibrium will be next to impossible, especially if investors in the country's banks realize the equity they hold is worthless and scramble to get the hell out of Dalian. Then the fears over a parliamentary vote in Slovakia will seem like a pleasant walk in the park.
Whether it is due to the general investing public finally realizing that the market is neither fair nor efficient, that the scales are tipped against the common man from the moment the 'Buy' (or, more rarely, 'Short') button is pressed, or that as the past two years have shown the market is dominated by insider trading, "expert networks" and big legacy investors surviving only due to the government's intervention on their behalf at critical times, is unknown, but Finra is now officially and finally drowning in a barrage of complaints about market manipulation. And to be sure such glaring reminders as 30 year-old UBS traders being singlehandedly responsible (of course, nobody noticed anything over the months and months of creeping illegal trades) for massive cumulative losses that amount to more than the entire net income for the bank (an odd and convenient scapegoat that), will surely not make Finra's life any easier. As Reuters reports: "A Wall Street regulator said industry complaints about market manipulation and trade reporting have spiked this year, raising questions about the adequacy of banks' internal controls over their traders. FINRA has received complaints this year about banks' audit systems, canceled orders, and brokers misrepresenting whether orders were on behalf of customers. "These are areas that for a long time we were not receiving complaints in, and all of a sudden this past year it's really spiked up," DeMaio, senior vice president in FINRA's market regulation unit, told a FIA options industry conference." That's great: so US investors can sleep soundly knowing full well fiascoes such as UBS' Delta One implosion will be confined to the UK (where, incidentally, the director of market at the local regulator, FSA, just resigned - it is unclear if he will follow a recent previous FSA departure straight into the willing clutches of such a non-market manipulative entity as JP Morgan), and that manipulation is being rooted out in the US at its core at a brisk pace.
Why The Latest European Bailout, Aka "The Debt Buyback" Plan Is Also DOA, And Why The CDO At The Heart Of The Eurozone Is About To Become Extremely ToxicSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/17/2011 20:26 -0400
Over time many have wondered why the ECB, in order to "extend and pretend", does not simply do an episode of QE and monetize bonds outright? Well, in addition to Germany's flashbacks to hyperinflation which have so far kept Trichet from pursuing an all too aggressive bond buyback program in the primary market, the ECB does have the Securities Market Programme (SMP) which however since inception has bought only €74 billion (this week the number is expected to rise, or, if it doesn't, it confirms that now China is directly buying European bonds in the secondary market). The problem with the SMP is that it was conceived as a modest marginal debt buying program, never intended to surpass much more than a few dozen billion in debt. Alas, by now it is becoming all too clear that the ECB will need to monetize hundreds of billions of insolvent PIIGS debt in order to extend and pretend forcefully enough so that a new bailout is not needed every other week. But how to do it without monetizing debt on the ECB's books? Enter the EFSF, or the off-balance sheet CDO "at the heart of the eurozone" which according to the latest iteration of the European rescue package (Remember that most recent DOA plan to rollover debt? Yep - that's dead) is precisely the mechanism by which Europe's own open market QE is about to take place. "European Central Bank Executive Board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi suggested the EFSF be allowed to provide funds for a buy-back of bonds from the market, where prices have in some cases fallen 50 percent from levels at which the debt was issued. "This would allow the private sector to sell bonds at market prices, which are currently below nominal value. At the same time, the public sector could benefit monetarily," Bini Smaghi told Sunday's To Vima newspaper in an interview." Translated: another market clearing perversion courtesy of the same structured finance abominations that brought us here. The problem, unfortunately, is that Moody's announced nearly two and a half years ago that the whole distressed debt buyback approach is... a dead end, and will lead to the same "event of default" outcome that all the prior bailout plans would have achieved as well (we correctly surmised that Bailout #2 was DOA, about a month before the "efficient" market did). Here is why.
We have a very tough time understanding those bearish arguments against silver. We look at the real silver market, and based on the supply and demand data coming from the real, physical markets for silver, the fundamentals are only getting stronger. And yet there exists another silver market, which as we’ve shown, is not very connected to the physical realm at all. And though silver investors have for decades suffered the tyranny of a rigged paper monopoly over silver price discovery, it appears to us that the tides are turning. In the age of QE to infinity, investors are being more scrupulous with their capital and as such they are demanding physical silver in quantity. With more and more dollars flowing into the silver markets and a finite supply of physical to meet that demand, the theoretical losses for the paper silver short-sellers are near infinite. And with such a skewed and obvious risk/reward payoff vastly favoring the longs, we pose the following question. Who is most at risk in the silver markets: the buyers of a scarce and real asset that serves a growing multitude of purposes, or the sellers, who are short a quantity of silver which may very well not even be obtainable at anywhere near current prices? Let the Seller Beware!
The Forensic Factor On The "Most Preposterous Chinese Reverse Merger Yet": AutoChina (AUTC), Sees 50% Price DropSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/01/2011 12:30 -0400
Our friends at The Forensic Factor have been busy. After exposing one after another alleged Chinese fraud reverse merger, and forcing management teams to address investors about numerous allegations of impropriety, the small research boutique has come out with a report exposing what it dubs "the most preposterous Chinese reverse merger yet." As usual, in a world of shady transatlantic backdoor dealings, and cash strapped US exchanges willing to list anyone and everyone, regardless of whether their financials are even remotely valid, we believe it is our duty (without intent to profit) to expose companies that may or may not be fraudulent, particularly now that it is obvious that the SEC is fully endorsing the ponzi scheme of US capital markets. Quote TFF: "after a deep dive into AutoChina (Nasdaq: AUTC), The Forensic Factor ("TFF") has concluded that AutoChina is potentially the most dangerous Chinese reverse merger that we have examined. As the AutoChina story gets exposed, we would expect a significant share decline of at least 50% and a material increase in the short interest (incredibly, less than 1% of the shares are short - a true rarity among the Chinese reverse mergers). TFF believes investors would be prudent to avoid AutoChina at all costs. At the same time, we implore regulators to protect the investing public and launch an investigation into AutoChina."
Guest Post: People Of The Lie: The Psychopathology Of The “Public Servant” And The Sociopathology Of The StateSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/03/2010 23:11 -0400
As the recent Pentagon scandal makes all too clear, truth is treason in the empire of lies. Which is why attempting to shoot the messenger – by imprisoning the whistleblower and/or slandering the publisher – makes perfect sense for an arm – indeed, the very arms – of the United States government. So if we are to understand its logic (as all of its actions, however insane, are perfectly logical to it), we must understand the pathology that lies at its core. For unless and until we do, we cannot understand why government per se – i.e., the state, defined as “a monopoly on the use of force within its borders” – does what it does; why its functionaries lie so shamelessly on its behalf; and, most importantly, why its presumed masters – We the People – put up with it. We begin by amending Friedrich Nietzsche’s blunt statement – “Everything the State says is a lie, and everything it has it has stolen” – with a simple substitution of one word with another – i.e., “Everything the State says is a lie because everything it has it has stolen.” Being no less blunt, let us examine this statement to determine its verity.
CLSA's Mike Mayo has taken his fight with Citi management one step further, after releasing a note to clients titled "A Matter of Trust" in which he said: "We believe that Citigroup’s financial targets can encourage short-term excesses over long-term prudence. Citi has an aggressive financial target of 5% asset growth when so much of its past problems stem from excessive asset growth." Fox Business reports that according to the often times contrarian analyst the "big bank can't be trusted to provide investors with accurate disclosure about its financial condition or future plans to make money, and that the firm is setting the stage for future problems similar to those that nearly caused the bank to fail two years ago, prompting a massive government bailout."
In continuing with the trivial approach of actually caring bout fundamentals instead of merely generous (and endless) Fed liquidity, we peruse the most recent RealPoint June 2010 CMBS Delinquency report. The result: total delinquent unpaid balance for CMBS increased by $3.1 billion to $60.5 billion, 111% higher than the $28.6 billion from a year ago, after deteriorations in 30, 90+ Day, Foreclosure and REO inventory. This represents a record 7.7% of total outstanding CMBS exposure. Even worse, total Special Servicing exposure by unpaid balance has taken another major leg for the worse, jumping to $88.6 billion, or 11.3%, up 0.7% from the month before. And even as cumulative losses show no sign of abating, average loss severity on CMBS continues being sky high: June average losses came to 49.1%, a slight decline from the 53.6% in May, but well higher from the 39.6% a year earlier. Amusingly, several properties reported loss % of 100%, and in some cases the loss came as high as 132.4% (presumably this accounts for unpaid accrued interest, and is not indicative of creditors actually owning another 32.4% at liquidation to the debtor in addition to the total loss, which would be quite hilarious to watch all those preaching the V-shaped recovery explain away. Of course containerboard prices are higher so all must be well in the world). Putting all this together leads RealPoint to reevaluate their year end forecast substantially lower: "With the combined potential for large-loan delinquency in the coming months and the recently experienced average growth month-over-month, Realpoint projects the delinquent unpaid CMBS balance to continue along its current trend and potentially grow to between $80 and $90 billion by year-end 2010. Based on an updated trend analysis, we now project the delinquency percentage to potentially grow to 11% to 12% under more heavily stressed scenarios through the year-end 2010." In other words, the debt backed by CRE is getting increasingly more worthless, even as REIT equity valuation go for fresh all time highs, valuations are substantiated by nothing than antigravity and futile prayers that cap rates will hit 6% before they first hit 10%.
Media and real estate tycoon Mort Zuckerman, who recently admitted he helped write Obama's speeches in the past, has come out blazing with easily the most damning missive of the president and his legacy to date. Mort joins such other distinguished and notable CEOs as Steve Wynn to openly blast the administration and its policies. In the meantime, the president has surely not made many new friends in the executive offices of the E&P space. Before all is said and done, look for letters such as the one attached to become a daily occurrence.