Rating Agencies

ISDA Issues Q&A On What Happens To US CDS In Case Of A Default

ISDA is getting nervous, or rather the same contingent of clueless "asset managers" who listen to ISDA as religiously as they listen to the rating agencies, is getting nervous. The boilerplate: "The following are responses to the most frequently-asked questions that ISDA has received in connection with a potential CDS Credit Event on US sovereign debt. The following does not constitute legal advice, and is subject in all respects to any determination that the ISDA Americas Credit Derivatives Determinations Committee may make in relation to CDS referencing the United States.  ISDA makes no comment on the likelihood of the events described in this Q&A." True - for the likelihood of any event happening, your best bet is to ask Turbo Tax Tim, and then multiply the answer by -1.

Dagong Says Will Cut US Rating As Early As Monday

And while our rating agencies still get their marching orders from Bill Gross and from Obama, in that order, China is not waiting. In a just posted Reuters interview, Dagong said on Thursday it plans a further downgrade as early as next week, even as politicians race against the clock to avert a ruinous debt default. Guan Jianzhong, Chairman of the Beijing-based Dagong Global Credit Rating Co, said he still believed U.S. lawmakers will clinch a last-minute deal on the U.S. debt ceiling, but the damage has been done. "We will react soon, probably next Monday or Tuesday. We need to look at whether they reach a compromise and the scope of the compromise, then we decide how deep the rating cut will be," Guan told Reuters in an interview in his spacious office. Naturally, this move will be aped by our own mockeries of a "rating" agency, leading to a very curious paradox: after all is it not the sock puppet at the top of it all - our very own distinguished tax evading eminence Tim Geithner himself who had the following exchange with Fox' Peter Barnes as recently as April: "Is there a risk that the United States could lose its AAA credit rating? Yes or no?” Geithner’s response: “No risk of that.”  “No risk?” Barnes asked. “No risk,” Geithner said." So... when the US is downgraded in a week or so.... does that mean it is time to fire Geithner?

S&P Strikes Back: Pulls Rating On $1.5 Billion CMBS Deal, Forces Goldman And Citi To Scrap Sale

In possibly the most important underreported news of the day, Goldman and Citi were forced to scrap a $1.5 billion CMBS deal after S&P shocking refused to rate the notes. This unprecedented development left GS and C scrambling. Per BusinessWeek: "The deal won’t close today as planned because S&P is reviewing its criteria for commercial mortgage-backed securities and can’t provide a rating, the banks said in a joint statement through Business Wire. “Ratings are a condition precedent to closing and settlement,” Goldman Sachs and Citigroup said in the statement. “Standard & Poor’s had previously informed Goldman and Citi that they were prepared to rate” the transaction, they said." End result: $1.5 billion CMBS deal scrapped as it doesn't have the blessing of a rating agency.

EconMatters's picture

Some have said that the Fed and Washington want the value of the dollar to plummet so the nation’s debt may be repaid in cheaper dollars. Perhaps all this debt ceiling mess is just part of the grand design?  If so, then pretty soon, these Art of Defaced US Dollars would be worth more than the real dollar.

White House Says Treasury Will Be "Running On Fumes" Shortly

Contrary to calculations performed by Barclays and other analysts (including Stone McCarthy first presented on Zero Hedge), which speculated that the Treasury would have enough cash to last it through August 15th due to an increase in tax receipt, the White House's press secretary Jay Carney said that the Treasury will be "running on fumes" if the debt ceiling is not raised by August 2, naturally adding the traditional doomsday phrase that it is a "crisis situation." He had also added previously that tax revenues are not coming at an accelerated pace and that the cash will not last longer than Tim Geithner's original forecast of August 2. As the chart below shows the Treasury had $75 billion in cash as of last night, and will raise another $55 billion in net cash over upon settlement of this week's auctions. In other words, Geithner now predicts that the pro forma cash of $130 billion will last the US just one week. Well, at least we can see what the source of all the problems is.

MF Global: 55% Chance Congress Fails To Raise Debt Ceiling By August 2

Goodbye 11th hour. Hello 12th hour and 1 minute. According to MF Global's Chris Krueger, the probability that congress fails to raise the debt ceiling by August 2 is now 55%. Which means at least a 1 if not more notch downgrade by the rating agencies, which means massive and completely unpredictable spillover effects in money markets, structured finance, muni and all other financial products, which means the military will soon have to conduct many more urban exercises to prepare for "Tehran" (because the Iranian capital's downtown has at least 3 John Hancock center replicas). In the meantime, the market still thinks that Bernanke can fix this.

Frontrunning: July 27

  • IMF Chief Raises Idea of Seeking More Cash (WSJ)
  • US Money Market Funds Build Liquidity (FT)
  • Interbank Loan Probe Focuses on Yen Rates (FT)
  • Watchdog Sees Financial Weak Spots (WSJ)
  • China’s 29% Jump in Industrial Profit to Spur Growth by Fueling Investment (Bloomberg)
  • Shanghai to Step Up Probes of Home Prices (Bloomberg)
  • Lessons From the Malaise (NYT)
  • Hurtling toward economic chaos (LA Times)
  • Who Elected the Rating Agencies? (WSJ)

Gold New Record Nominal Highs ($1,625.70) As CDS Traders Start Positioning For U.S. Downgrade(s)

Gold is trading at USD 1,620.40, EUR 1,120.50 and GBP 989.08 and CHF 1,298.50 per ounce. Both the dollar and the euro are under pressure again today and gold has reached another new record nominal high of $1,625.70/oz in early European trading. Economists in the U.S. believe that the U.S. will lose its vanguard AAA credit rating according to a recent poll conducted by Reuters. A survey of 53 economists showed 30 believed that one of the three leading credit rating agencies will downgrade US debt. The economists do not believe that the U.S. will default. A downgrading of the U.S. is inevitable given its very poor fiscal position – the question is by how much the U.S. is downgraded and AA looks possible in the coming months. The widening in U.S. CDS has so far been modest but the bond vigilantes may be awakening from their slumber as net notional CDS on US debt has risen above that of Greece and Italy. They either believe that the U.S. government will default on its debt or are taking out insurance against of this happening. Investors internationally -- including everyone from individual consumers in their pension funds, to hedge funds, to the Chinese government -- currently hold $9.3 trillion (with a T!) in Treasury bonds, and they're counting on Uncle Sam paying up when those contracts mature. The U.S. government will have a three-business-day grace period to make good on any default before credit default swaps are triggered, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association said Tuesday.

ISDA, Which Refuses To Declare Greece In Default, Has Given The US A 3 Day Grace Period Before A CDS Trigger

ISDA is rapidly deteriorating to rating agency status when it comes to credibility. After it made it all too clear in the past few weeks that no matter what happens it would never "determine" Greece (or any other European insolvent country) to have breached a CDS trigger (as that would apparently destroy the world), the same trade association (logically enough comprised of the same firms that make up the heart of the status quo) has joined the rating agencies, and as of last night the CME, in making it all too clear that a debt ceiling plan (preferably Reid's because it achieves absolutely nothing) has to pass, or else, after it earlier announced that the US has precisely 3 days to cure any missed debt payment before US CDS are triggered. Obviously this can not be allowed to happen, so expect this latest development to be used by the president in his nighlty scaremongering session.

Summarizing Boehner's Latest TV Appearance

Less than an hour ago, Boehner had another TV appearance discussing his proposed plan. Judging by the networks' reaction even the general population is getting exhausted with this neverending soap. So here, courtesy of Bloomberg All, are the summary points he touched on. Nothing notable except for his assumption that the plan has a chance of passing both the House and the Senate, and that the house may vote on his plan as soon as Wednesday.

CME Celebrates America's Ever Nearer Date With Insolvency By Raising Collateral Haircut On Treasurys

We just heard two very useless speeches by two very useless Wall Street muppets. Both were, naturally, completely irrelevant. Now comes the important stuff, courtesy of a press release a few hours ago from the CME. Up until today, the collateral haircut on a T-Bill was 0.0%. Beginning Thursday it will be 0.5%. All other classes of Bonds, Notes and Strips will see their haircuts raised by 1% across the board. Same with Agency debt. Only foreign debt will see an increase of 2% in the Bill space, and 0.5% in Notes and Bonds. Translation: the CME just telegraphed what the rating agencies are terrified to do - keep up the charade, and the haircut will keep rising by 1% until it hits 100%. Give or take.

And The Kickers In Reid's Proposed "Deficit Cutting" Plan Are...

Following hot on the heels of the proposed Boehner rehashed plan, we get the first details of where the bulk of the $2.7 trillion in proposed savings will come from. Are you ready for this? REID PLAN SAID TO HAVE $1 TRLN SAVINGS FROM WINDING DOWN WARS. That's right. In some parallel galaxy far, far away, lack of expenditures, on America's 6 front wars to be sure, is now considered a "saving"? Front lobe hemorrhage to commence in 5 seconds. And the other migraine-inducing details of the Reiid plan are...

Summarizing The Various Debt Plans And What Happens After The Now Assured US Downgrade

For those confused by the cornucopia of assorted debt ceiling "plans" out in circulation, Citi's Amitabh Arora has released the definitive guide for what plan does what in terms of proposed deficit reduction, probability of passage of the Congress, Senate and the President, and likely outcome to the US rating. As table 1 below shows, UBS' prescient call from last Thursday that a US downgrade is inevitable, was spot on. It also explains why the entire sellside industry, and media, have been in damage control over what now appears to be an inevitable AA rating of the world's reserve currency. Alas, just like with Lehman, nobody really has any idea what will happen to capital markets once the Poor Standards or Moody's headline of a AA cut hits the tape: one thing is certain - there are trillions in US invested money market funds, structured finance debt and munis that have rating mandates and demand a super secure (AAA) threshold, and especially an A-1+ short-term rating. Should there be a massive flow out of these securities and into other asset classes, the outcome is absolutely unpredictable. More importantly, Citi touches on a topic that has not seen prominent mention anywhere else: namely the acceleration of the GSEs status from conservatorship to receivership should there be no prompt resolution on the debt ceiling. For agency paper holders this may be a topic that merits much more diligence.