Financial Accounting Standards Board
The debt valuation adjustment, or DVA, will no longer be included in net income, according to revisions to the fair-value measurement standard published by the Financial Accounting Standards Board Tuesday. The DVA rule increased net income when a bank’s bonds tanked, on the theory that the firm could buy back its bonds at a lower price and benefit from the decline in value.
Over the last two decades the Fed’s interventionism has created artificial booms and real busts. Their dreadful mistakes are “fixed” by currency debasement, lower interest rates, and money printing – creating even worse mistakes. They have successfully gutted the American economy and left a hollowed out shell. The coming collapse will be three pronged as stocks, bonds, and real estate are all simultaneously overvalued. Junk bonds are the canary in a coalmine. High end real estate in NYC has topped out. New and existing homes sales growth has stalled out. Retailers desperately slash prices to maintain sales, while destroying their profits. Corporate profits are falling. The stock market is teetering on the edge.
Accounting fraud remains at the heart of the fix instituted by Ben Bernanke and the ploy has been copied by authorities throughout the global financial system, including the central banks of China, Japan, and the European Community. That it seemed to work for the past seven years in propping up global finance has given too many people the dangerous conviction that reality is optional in economic relations. The recovery of equity markets from the disturbances of August has apparently convinced the market players that stocks are invincible. Complacency reigns at epic levels. Few are ready for what is coming.
Fraud grows in good times because rescission is rarely sought (or granted) when asset values rise. Fraud is not a problem, till it is.
The captured corporate MSM is celebrating the six year anniversary of when the stock market bottomed in March 2009. They will spin a false narrative of Bernanke, Obama and Geithner saving the world with TARP, QE, and the $800 billion Porkulus bill. In fact, Bernanke and Geithner stopped the market from falling in March 2009 by threatening the accounting geeks at the FASB and forcing them to allow fraudulent reporting by the insolvent Wall Street banks. The crisis ended – precisely – on March 16, 2009, when the Financial Accounting Standards Board abandoned FAS 157 "mark-to-market" accounting, and Mark to fantasy was born.
"As was true at the 2000 and 2007 extremes, Wall Street is quite measurably out of its mind. There’s clear evidence that valuations have little short-term impact provided that risk-aversion is in retreat (which can be read out of market internals and credit spreads, which are now going the wrong way). There’s no evidence, however, that the historical relationship between valuations and longer-term returns has weakened at all. Yet somehow the awful completion of this cycle will be just as surprising as it was the last two times around – not to mention every other time in history that reliable valuation measures were similarly extreme. Honestly, you’ve all gone mad."
Trust is gone and credit is going and debt is sitting between a rock and a hard place with its grubby hands pressed together, praying that it will be forgiven, forgotten, or overlooked a little while longer. By the way, the reason trust and credit are gone is because oil is no longer cheap and world economies can’t grow anymore. They can’t afford to run the day-to-day operations of a techno-industrial society. They can only pretend to afford it. The stock markets are mere scorecards for players who can only lie and cheat now to keep the game going. Somewhere beyond all the legerdemain and fraud, however, there remains a real world that is not going away. We just don’t know what it will look like when the smog of fraud clears.
The rock is reality. The squishy place is the illusion that pervasive racketeering is an okay replacement for an economy. The essence of racketeering is the use of dishonest schemes to get money, often (but not always) employing coercion to make it work. Some rackets can function on the sheer cluelessness of the victim(s).
A zombie government armed with accounting tricks has bailed out a zombie banking industry using even more financial phoniness. A few numbers pushed here and there, and the industry is earning record profits. But out in the real world where people live and work, things aren't so rosy. Zombies make negligent landlords and dangerous neighbors.
Despite the ongoing antics in Washington the market remains less than 5 points (at the time of this writing) from its all-time closing high. If the markets were concerned about economics, fundamentals or potential default; stock prices would be significantly lower. The reality is that as long as the Federal Reserve remains convicted to its accommodative policies the argument for rationality is trumped by the delusions of Mo' Money. We have seen these "Teflon" markets before - do we really need to remind you what happens to a Teflon pan when you finally scratch the surface? In the meantime here are 5 things to ponder as the week progresses...
- Hilsenrising interest rates Business Feels Pinch of Swift Rate Rise (WSJ)
- Yellen Betting Defies 100-Year Jinx of Fed No. 2 Never Elevated (BBG)
- No sign of cyber leaker Snowden on flight to Cuba (Reuters)
- Back to the Future 2 is finally coming: Honda Sees ‘Flying Sports Car’ Making Profit by Decade’s End (BBG)
- Europe’s Richest Person Kamprad to Move Back to Sweden (BBG)
- Li’s Shock Treatment to China Lenders Evokes Ex-Reformer (BBG)
- In India, Gold-Related Shares Melt Down (WSJ)
- Citigroup Opens in Iraq to Tap $1 Trillion of Oil Spending (BBG)
- France warned on budget deficit (FT)
Some have attributed the resurrection of the financial markets (or more appropriately the banks) from the March 2009 lows to the IASB/FASB changes to factual to fantasy accounting. The Telegraph reports today that from PIRC's and the Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee that while banker bonuses continue to rise (for now), 'hidden' losses among UK banks could total GBP60 Billion (USD 90 Billion). HSBC topped the list with GBP10.4 Billion in bad debts that have yet to be written off and while the 'accounting' bodies are suggesting they will address criticism of this farce, as one analyst notes, they "can still make unprofitable lending appear profitable." Regulators expect to hear plans from lenders on how they intend to fill these holes before the end of the month to coincide either with the FPC’s meeting on March 19 or a statement scheduled for March 27. While outright recaps are unlikely, banks are expected to restructure and set out plans to raise their capital levels over the next couple of years. More fantasy...
No, American Banks DON'T Need to Be Big to Compete with Bigger Foreign Rivals
The 2011 changes by the FDIC to the safe harbor for "true sales" may have been the end of "Too Big To Fail."
Today's primetime popcorn event is about to begin: as reported earlier, the House Financial Services Committee will hold an oversight and investigations hearing on the collapse of MF Global, beginning at 3 pm. The hearing will focus on the decisions during the company's final days that led to the disappearance of up to $1.6 billion in customer funds. The party line is that "The investigation aims to "not only to find out where the money went but to identify what went wrong in order to prevent this from happening again," Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) said." What instead will happen is that a bunch of politicians will huff and puff, and nothing will happen once again, because to take down Corzine, would mean to start eating away at the entire rotten core of today's captured political system, which has and always will be run out of Wall Street. It will also be amusing to listen to Edith O’Brien plead the Fif