Throw a Little Conspiracy Theory into the Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis and an Impending Spanish Bank Collapse and Who Needs TV For Entertainment?Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 06/14/2010 11:45 -0500
The global equity markets are in meltup mode again. I want to take this opportunity to reiterate that I am still quite bearish on much of the situation in Europe. Let’s glance at the credit markets, major banks and the state of sovereign indebtedness in Spain.
Last week, we pointed out that the ECRI Leading Index dipped to negative for the first time in over a year, which on a historical basis tends to predict a recession with surprising regularity. Today, David Rosenberg takes this data and expands on his views of the probability of a double dip.An interesting observation: when the ECRI drops to -10 (from the current -3.5, and plunging at the fastest rate in history), the economy has gone into a recession 100% of the time, based on 42 years of data. At the current rate of collapse, this means in two months we should know with certainty if the double dip has now arrived.
Three days ago we brought attention to Soros' most recent outburst of negativity in a speech presented during a conference in Vienna, in which he said that "The collapse of the financial system as we know it is real, and the crisis is far from over. Indeed, we have just entered Act II of the drama." Below is the full text of Soros' speech. A teaser: "The first phase of the maneuver has been successfully accomplished – a collapse has been averted. In retrospect, the temporary breakdown of the financial system seems like a bad dream. There are people in the financial institutions that survived who would like nothing better than to forget it and carry on with business as usual. This was evident in their massive lobbying effort to protect their interests in the Financial Reform Act that just came out of Congress. But the collapse of the financial system as we know it is real and the crisis is far from over."
With daily geopolitical, natural resource and sovereign liquidity crises suddenly becoming the norm, it is easy to get sidetracked from other very important issues, in which, at least until recently, moderate progress had been achieved. Primary among these is the seeming disconnect (at least when compared to other banks such as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers) in the preferential treatment of Goldman Sachs. Now that Goldman is a household name, courtesy of a variety of litigation overtures, both in the civil and criminal arena, demonstrated by Goldman's popularity among the broader population, the firm has been kind enough to publicize its "Code of Business Conduct and Ethics" in an attempt to placate the concerned populace, and demonstrate that Goldman has a whopping 4 pages dedicated to promoting legal behavior amongst its nearly 30,000 employees. What confuses us is the placement at the very end of this document of the following section, Waivers of This Code, in which one reads: "From time to time, the firm may waive certain provisions of this Code." In other words, Goldman's activities comply fully with legality until such time that Goldman decides it is in the name of the greater good to "waive" this compliance. We are confused that in light of this glaring loophole, not one question has been asked of Mr. Blankfein as to what specific circumstances have necessitated the invocation of the "ethics waiver", by either executive and non-executive employees: something which none other than former Goldman CEO Hank Paulson recently used in order to pursue the full taxpayer-funded rescue of precisely this firm. Which is why, in the absence of others doing so, we have decided to ask this question directly of Goldman head of PR Lucas van Praag.
- That’s enough ‘kicking ass’, Mr President: Barack Obama’s attacks on BP may play well at home, but they are damaging millions of British people (London Times)
- Banks with state debt ignore not-if-but-when default (Bloomberg)
- As reported, Caja Madrid, Bancaja start moves to form Spain top savings bank, as BBVA says Spain may need €50 billion of capital to infuse into insolvent banks (Bloomberg)
- BP weighs cutting dividend (WSJ)
- Kerviel co-worker says SocGen should have known about trades (Bloomberg)
- Waiting for inflation? It's already here (Minyanville)
- Enough with the economic recovery. It's time to pay up (WaPo)
Headlines for now. Not too surprising based on the recent lawsuit between the two firms, which we have presented previously in depth.
There's A Very Nasty Storm Brewing in Euroland and Umbrellas Are Selling At Premiums With Insolvent Counterparties Attached - Prepare For It to Get Ugly!Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 06/08/2010 10:47 -0500
The title is quite self-explanatory...
Simply copying the US style of Central Bank Crisis mitigation is a bad idea, particularly since I believe the US has not mitigated the problem at all, but simply kicked a soda can down the road until it gained the unstoppable momentum of a dumpster. Now, the ECB is actually trying to kick that dumpster, and appears to be stubbing its toe!
A team at Goldman, decidedly different team from the one which this morning said the EUR could drop to a 1.16 level shortly, looks at recent fund flow data and notes that with the US now perceived as a safe haven to the rest of the world, particularly Europe, a fact which implicitly is a huge benefit to the treasury supply onslaught as buyers for USTs no matter the yield or maturity, are easily found in this environment of insecurity. No surprise there: it is almost as if Europe's problems were engineered, courtesy of a EURUSD which was kept too high, for too long, by too many market participants. Goldman's conclusion is that the dollar is not the fundamental safe haven it is portrayed to be, but is, once again, merely the best of the worst. As Goldman's Robin Brooks highlights: "non-Treasury portfolio inflows are still falling short of covering the monthly trade deficit, in contrast to before the crisis when they were more than enough. This is consistent with our often repeated view that the BBoP (broad basic balance) for the US remains weak and is why – even in the face of strong foreign inflows into Treasuries – we remain cautious about the USD outlook." The primary reason for the increasingly strong bid for gold is explained by Brooks' observation: while unwinds in existing FX carry pairs continue to implicitly benefit the dollar, when it comes to allocating capital to a safe haven, the only recourse continue to be gold. And as FX is fickle, all it takes is one massive short covering spree to invert the balance of power once again in the direction of the EUR: all that would be needed is a wholesale realization that the consolidated US balance sheet is in far worse shape than that of Europe, and for the herd to shift from one side of the boat to the other.Yet should more volatility come into FX markets, gold would benefit even more.
For the three dumbest money mutual fund managers who still listen to this "analyst", this is probably news. He also cuts the company's EPS estimates. The four main risks he sees to GS are: European debt situation, weak current business environment, lack of formal regulation bill, and SEC civil lawsuit. And that's all the time we'll dedicate to Dick "Buy Lehman" Bove.
In continuing my data intense, hardcore, uber-objective dissection of the stuff that is proffered through the mainstream media (MSM), I bring you...
The European Commission is proposing that an already-planned central European Union regulatory body — the European Security Markets Authority — should take on oversight of the existing rating agencies when it is due to begin work in January 2011. Will this be enough?
The Equity Markets Are Ignoring Screams of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) in the European Money and Credit Markets: Enter Lehman Fiasco v2.0!!!Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 06/03/2010 09:46 -0500
The title says it all...
JP Morgan's history of alleged fraud committed against their clients continues today when they were charged with commingling $8.6 billion of client assets with the firm's without their clients' knowledge for 7 years.
Much has been said about Libor, Libor-OIS, TED spreads and other Libor-based metrics, both here and elsewhere. It is no secret that liquidity conditions in Europe are at Lehman levels when looked at from a capital preservation and counterparty risk perspective, in terms of how much money the banks there have parked with the ECB. And yet the Libor as an absolute metric is far away from its all time wide levels seen in September 2008. Bloomberg's chart of the day provides a good reason for why Libor is not only no longer relevant, but why any reading for Libor (and potentially Euribor) no longer represents the true liquidity tightness experienced by member banks. As Bloomberg notes: "Banks have all but stopped lending to each other, driving transactions in the interbank market to the lowest level since August 1994 and undermining the validity of the suite of interest rates known as Libor. “The interbank market died with Lehman Brothers,” said David Keeble, head of fixed-income strategy at Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank in London. “Libor is a strange beast, because the market that it’s based upon barely exists."