The Bank of England's Tucker, who has worked with U.S regulators on the cross-border hurdles to taking down an international firm said that "U.S authorities could do it today--and I mean today". The FDIC official in charge of planning for resolutions, confirmed that the U.S system is ready to handle a big-bank collapse.
With global financial company stock prices soaring, analysts proclaiming holding bank shares is a win-win on rates, NIM, growth, and "fortress balance sheets", and a European stress-test forthcoming that will 'prove' how great banks really are; the question one is forced to ask, given the ruling below, is "Why is ISDA so worried about derivatives-based systemic risk?"
Greed; corporate arrogance; lobbying influence; excessive leverage; accounting tricks to hide debt; lack of transparency; off balance sheet obligations; mark to market accounting; short-term focus on profit to drive compensation; failure of corporate governance; as well as auditors, analysts, rating agencies and regulators who were either lax, ignorant or complicit. This laundry list of causes has often been used to describe what went wrong in the credit crunch crisis of 2008-2010. Actually these terms were equally used to describe what went wrong with Enron more than twenty years ago. Both crises resulted in what at the time was the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history — Enron in December 2001 and Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Naturally, this leads to the question that despite all the righteous indignation in the wake of Enron's failure did we really learn or change anything?
Excessive monetary stimulus and low interest rates create financial bubbles. This is the biggest debt bubble in history. It is a potent deflationary force and central banks are forced into deploying increasingly aggressive (offsetting) inflationary forces. The avoidance of a typical deflationary resolution to this economic long (Kondratieff) wave is pushing the existing monetary system beyond the point of no return. The purchasing power of the developed world’s currencies will have to bear the brunt of the “adjustment”. Preparations for this by the BRICS nations, led by China, are advancing rapidly. The end game is an inflationary/currency crisis, dislocation across credit and derivative markets, and the transition to a new monetary system. A new “basket” currency is likely to replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. The “Inflationary Deflation” paradox refers to the coming rise in the price of almost everything in conventional money and simultaneous fall in terms of gold.
Have you ever seen a disaster movie that is so bad that it is actually good? Unfortunately, we are witnessing something just as ridiculous in the real world right now. In the United States, the mainstream media is breathlessly proclaiming that the U.S. economy is in great shape because job growth is "accelerating" (even though we actually lost 240,000 full-time jobs last month) and because the U.S. stock market set new all-time highs this week. The mainstream media seems to be absolutely oblivious to all of the financial storm clouds that are gathering on the horizon. The conditions for a "perfect storm" are rapidly developing, and by the time this is all over we may be wishing that flying sharks were all that we had to deal with.
Now, after the Fed's generosity caused by "a decoupling of the 'real' economy from the financial economy with its lavish creation of fictitious wealth...
Two days in Washington D.C. kept caterers busy but produced a 2,126 word communique long on slogans and short on anything actionable. The G-20 statement (below) can be boiled down simply, as we tweeted,
G-20 statement: "if we all lie, same as nobody lying"
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) April 19, 2013
And just to add one more embarrassing detail for them, while section 4 discusses "Japan's recent policy actions," not only does Canada's finance minister James Flaherty believe they "didn't discuss the Japanese Yen," but Japan's Kuroda believes, comments on 'misalignments', "were not meant for the BoJ."
Yo Liz: Subsidies for the zombie banks total more than $3 annually for every dollar in income reported by the industry...
As Morpheus said to Neo in the film The Matrix: You still think that is air you are breathing?
There is much debate whether when it comes to the total notional size of outstanding derivatives, it is the gross notional that matters (roughly $600 trillion), or the amount which takes out biletaral netting and other offsetting positions (much lower). We explained previously how gross is irrelevant... until it is, i.e. until there is a breach in the counterparty chain and suddenly all net becomes gross (as in the case of the Lehman bankruptcy), such as during a financial crisis, i.e., the only time when gross derivative exposure becomes material (er, by definition). But a bigger question is what is the actual collateral backing this gargantuan market which is about 10 times greater than the world's combined GDP, because as the "derivative" name implies all this exposure is backed on some dedicated, real assets, somewhere. Luckily, the IMF recently released a discussion note titled "Shadow Banking: Economics and Policy" where quietly hidden in one of the appendices it answers precisely this critical question. The bottom line: $600 trillion in gross notional derivatives backed by a tiny $600 billion in real assets: a whopping 0.1% margin requirement! Surely nothing can possibly go wrong with this amount of unprecedented 1000x systemic leverage.
Why does the Big Media other than WSJ refuse to report on the TAG subsidy grab by the largest banks?
You've probably noticed the cookie-cutter format of most financial media "news": a few key "buzz words" (fiscal cliff, Bush tax cuts, etc.) are inserted into conventional contexts, and this is passed off as either "reporting" or "commentary" depending on the number of pundits sourced. Correspondent Frank M. kindly passed along a template that is "officially deny its existence" secret within the mainstream media. With this template, you could launch your own financial media channel, ready to compete with the big boys. Heck, you could hire some cheap overseas labor to make a few Skype calls to "the usual suspects," for-hire academics, hedge fund gurus, etc. and actually attribute the fluff to a real person.
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.
Over two years ago, the US Clearing house of the CME, the world's largest derivatives marketplace, had no choice but to allow gold as collateral. Why: because as we showed some days ago, while in Europe bank deposits are expansive, in the US, financial system funding relies primarily on mythical assets as liabilities, i.e., those that exist primarily due to faith in the system, something which has been in short supply, as a result of which the $15 trillion (down from a peak of $23 trillion) shadow banking system long used to fund regular operations, has been imploding. Couple that with a scarcity of other (re)pledgeable assets which in the US do not, unlike the UK, have an infinite rehypothecation chain, and one can see why back in October 2009 the CME had no choice but to accept gold as eligible collateral for clearing purposes. As of minutes ago, the European arm of CME Clearing has folded too, and has released a press release stating that it to0 "has extended the range of eligible collateral types to include gold bullion." Of course, this is the same gold bullion that Germany will be seeking to "repo" in exchange for sovereign bail outs as Europe's periphery continues to run out of endogenous money and has to increasingly rely on the benevolence of the Bundesbank. For now all we need to know is that another exchange just threw in the towel and admitted that contrary to Bernanke's stern position, gold is, indeed money.
While repeating the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, the Italian and now Spanish regulators, in their wisdom, have banned short-selling once again (supposedly not just on stocks but OTC derivatives also) - because, of course, this is all speculation and not just real money exiting the increasingly encumbered 'bail-in-able' worst banks in the world. When will the long-selling ban begin and what does this S-S ban mean? Very little in reality - within a few days of the last ban, following a very short-term squeeze - European banks were back below the pre-short-sale-ban level as we noted here and here. The trouble with the ban is that managers will look to hedge the implicit stress that this means those banks are under (that may otherwise be manipulated out of the price). How to do this? Well, last time, it was Morgan Stanley that was the most correlated on the way down and was the worst performer immediately after the ban began - and this time seems like it should be no different. Already in the pre-market, MS is -4%, notably underperforming its peers.