European Central Bank
As we speculated earlier in the week, the ECB just confirmed it is doubling its reserve capital from a token €5.8 billion to €10.8 billion. The bank cited increased volatility in FX rates, interest rates, gold prices and higher credit risks as the cause for the increase. Of course, even with this hike, the capitalization of the European central bank is still woefully insufficient. As we noted previously: "the ECB has €5.8 billion of capital [now €10.8 billion] on €1.924 trillion of assets: roughly 331x leverage. As a reminder the Fed has $57 billion capital on $2,385 billion in assets, or a 42x leverage ratio. On the other hand, the ECB only holds €72 billion in directly purchased bonds as part of its "assets", whereas the bulk of the Fed's assets are rate-sensitive instruments: roughly $2.1 trillion in "securities held outright."" In other words, the only global hedge fund that has a greater leverage than the Fed, has just cut its gross leverage from a stunning 331 to only 178x.
The long-debated topic of whether the ECB intervenes on behalf of the euro can now be put to rest. 120 pip move in a minute is not a short cover. It is, and always has been, forced central bank intervention. Bernanke is so happy Trichet is doing his work for him for the time being. Be very wary of buying stocks on this intervention, as Central Bank involvement now at best leads to a 12 hour temporary "fix" to the market that Bernanke et al want to sustain.
* Bundesbank President Axel "I'm German, That's All You Need Know" Weber
* Portugal's Central Bank Governor Vitor "Policy Wonk" Constancio
* Italy's Mario "What the Hell Are You Laughing at?" Draghi
* Greece's George "But, I've Been in The Lion's Den" Provopoulos
* There's Going to be a Euro Next Year?