Lehman

Guest Post: George Osborne And Big Banks

The Telegraph reports that George Osborne thinks big banks are good for society. Why would Osborne want to see more of something which requires government bailouts to subsist? Because that is the reality of a large, interconnective banking system filled with large, powerful interconnected banks. Under a free market system (i.e. no bailouts) the brutal liquidation resulting from the crash of a too-big-to-fail megabank would serve as a warning sign. Large interconnective banks would be tarnished as a risky counterparty. In the system we have (and the system Japan has lived with for the last twenty years) bailouts prevent liquidation, there are no real disincentives (after all capitalism without failure is like religion without sin — it doesn’t work), and the bailed-out too-big-to-fail banks become liquidity sucking zombies hooked on bailouts and injections.

Frontrunning: November 19

  • Israel Ready to Invade Gaza If Cease-Fire Efforts Fail (Bloomberg)
  • Petraeus: A Phony Hero for a Phony War (NYT)
  • IMF'S Lagarde says Greek deal should be "rooted in reality" (Reuters) "rooted" or "roofied"? And where was it until now?
  • ECB's Asmussen says Greece to need aid beyond 2014 (AP)
  • EU makes budget plans without (FT)
  • Japanese Poll Shows LDP Advantage Ahead of Election (WSJ)
  • Shanghai Composite Dips Below, Regains 2,000 Level (Bloomberg)
  • Bond investor takes big punt on Ireland (FT)
  • Noda defends BoJ’s independence (FT) Indewhatnow?
  • Inaba Says BOJ Could Ease More If Government Reins in Debt (Bloomberg) Actually it's the other way around
  • Miles Says Bank of England Can Do More If U.K. Slump Persists (Bloomberg) So much for the end of QE
  • US tax breaks worth $150bn face axe (FT)

US Budget Deficit Soars In October As Government Spends Over $300 Billion In One Month

Moments ago the MTS released the final October budget report. It was not pretty, although those who read our report on how much debt was added - $195 billion to be precise - in the first month of the 2013 Fiscal Year will know where this is going. The US budget deficit was expected to soar after the September surplus of $75 billion, driven entirely by calendar shifts and pre-election propaganda, to -$113 billion. That was optimistic: the total amount of overspending in October was $120 billion. What is distressing is that this was well above the $98.5 billion deficit from a year ago, and confirms that the long-term trendline of ever greater spending continues. This was also the fourth largest October deficit in history. And looking merely at the spending side of the ledger, the US government's outlays in October alone were $304 billion. This is the third biggest October monthly spend for the government ever, and just why of the all time high $320.4 billion record in October 2008, when everything imploded after Lehman failure and Hank Paulson was literally dousing the monetary flames with brand new Benjamins.

Q2 Total Gross Notional Derivatives Outstanding: $639 Trillion

Earlier today, the BIS, which has been doing everything in its power today to defend the 1.27 support in the EURUSD since the market open this morning, released its H1 OTC derivatives presentation update. There was little of material note: total OTC derivatives were virtually unchanged at $639 trillion gross, representing $25 trillion in net outstanding (market value), and $3.7 trillion in gross credit exposure. Here the PhD theorists will say gross is irrelevant because Finance 101 said so, while the market practitioners will point to Lehman, counterparty risk, and less than infinite collateral to fund sudden implosions of weakest links in counterparty chains, and say that it is gross (which until a recent revision of BIS data had been documented at over $1 quadrillion) that mattered, gross which matters, and gross which will always matter until finally everything inevitably collapses in a house of missing deliverable cards. Because not even the most generous sovereigns and central banks can halt the Tsunami once there is a failure of a major OTC Interest Rate swap counterparty. And whereas Basel III had some hopes it would be able to bring down the total notional in derivative notionals slowly over the next few years with a gradual deleveraging across all financial firms, the bankers fought, and the bankers won, because the last thing the current batch of TBTFs can afford it admit there is any hope they can ever slim down. The will... but never voluntarily.

Guest Post: Why The Chicago Plan Is Flawed Reasoning And Would Fail

On October 21st, 2012, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote a note titled “IMF’s epic plan to conjure away debt and dethrone bankers”, on UK’s The Telegraph. The article presented the International Monetary Fund’s working paper 12/202, also titled “The Chicago Plan revisited“. I will begin the discussion on this working paper with two disclosures: a) my personal portfolio would profit immensely if the Chicago Plan, as presented by the IMF’s working paper 12/202, was effectively carried out in the US. The reason I write today, however, is that to me, it is more important to ensure that my children live and grow in a free and prosperous world, and b) I have not read the so called Chicago Plan, as originally proposed by H. Simmons and supported by I. Fisher. My comments are on what the IMF working paper tells us that the Chicago Plan proposed, without making any claim on the original plan.