Earlier today, the Financial Stability Board (FSB), one of the few transnational financial "supervisors" which is about as relevant in the grand scheme of things as the BIS, whose Basel III capitalization requirements will never be adopted for the simple reason that banks can not afford, now or ever, to delever and dispose of assets to the degree required for them to regain "stability" (nearly $4 trillion in Europe alone as we explained months ago), issued a report on Shadow Banking. The report is about 3 years late (Zero Hedge has been following this topic since 2010), and is largely meaningless, coming to the same conclusion as all other historical regulatory observations into shadow banking have done in the recent past, namely that it is too big, too unwieldy, and too risky, but that little if anything can be done about it. Specifically, the FSB finds that the size of the US shadow banking system is estimated to amount to $23 trillion (higher than our internal estimate of about $15 trillion due to the inclusion of various equity-linked products such as ETFs, which hardly fit the narrow definition of a "bank" with its three compulsory transformation vectors), is the largest in the world, followed by the Euro area with a $22 trillion shadow bank system (or 111% of total Euro GDP in 2011, down from 128% at its peak in 2007), and the UK in third, with $9 trillion. Combined total shadow banking, not to be confused with derivatives, which at least from a theoretical level can be said to offset each other (good luck with that when there is even one counterparty failure), is now $67 trillion, $6 trillion higher than previously thought, and virtually the same as global GDP of $70 trillion at the end of 2011.
House Republicans Find Corzine Guilty Of MF Global Collapse, Missing Funds; Democrats Refuse To Endorse FindingsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/14/2012 18:14 -0500
It appears that these days not even the Corzining of client money can happen without it being split across furiously polarized party lines. As it turns out hours ago, the Committee on House Financial Services released an advance glimpse into a report to be released in its entirety tomorrow, which puts the blame for the collapse of not only MF Global, but also the disappearance of millions in client money, right where it belongs: the firm's then CEO Jon Corzine. Yet that Corzine corzined millions, leaving clients scrambling in bankruptcy court in an attempt to recover what should have been segregated money from the very beginning, and also just happened to blow up one of the 21 Fed-anointed Primary Dealers, is not surprising: this has been long known by everyone. Those who need a refresher are urged to recall the Honorable's testimony before the House... or maybe not: after all it is not as if Corzine himself could recall a whole lot. Where it gets interesting is that the former Democratic governor, and senator, not to mention primary bundler for president Obama, is, in the eyes of the members of the committee, innocent: All the democrats on the Investigations Subcommittee refused to sign off on the findings, meaning that to them, Corzine is completely innocent. That this is purely a political move is glaringly obvious. It is also abhorrent, because as long as political ideology gets in the way of pursuing and imposing justice, the Banana States of America will remain just that.
Do not expect any changes to the trends of polarization and party non-conformists is the message from JPMorgan's CIO Michael Cembalest. As he explains moderates like Blue Dog Democrats and Rockefeller Republicans are now artifacts in the Natural History Museum, having given way to their more ideological offspring (through retirement or after having been beaten in primaries). If anything, Cembalest believes the House may become even more partisan after apparent losses by moderates in both parties. After a better than expected night for Democrats given Senate results, the fiscal cliff looms; With the status quo maintained, a divided government goes back to work to solve the Mutually Assured Fiscal Destruction problem. However, electoral results suggest the country is in no mood to address entitlement issues right now, will defer them to another day, and continue to shift towards a high-Federal debt economic model that bears some resemblance to Europe and Japan. In the 1950’s, the solution to 80% Federal debt was not taxation, austerity or inflation, but growth.
Obama has been reelected, the Senate remains in the hands of the democrats, while Congress is controlled by the GOP. Most importantly, the printer is firmly in the hands of Ben Bernanke. In other words, nothing has changed, as was largely expected all along. The worst case scenario - a protracted litigation, challenging the results of the election - has been avoided after Mitt Romney contested shortly before midnight, and as a result the immediate downward gap in risk following the election has been largely recouped overnight. More importantly, '4 more years' of the same monetary policy and no end to currency dilution have resulted in a nearly $50 jump in gold overnight with the metal in the $1720s this morning, because while the Fiscal Cliff remains hopelessly unresolved, and the baseline scenario that the market will need to tumble to shock politicians into waking up, remains (as does Goldman's 1250 year end S&P price target), the reality is that no matter what happens, Bernanke and crew will print and monetize the coming deluge of debt (which would also have been the case if Romney had won). And with total debt set to rise to $22+ trillion over the next 4 years, a deluge it will be. Most importantly, with Obama reelected, Europe is now "off the hook" and can finally rock the boat, which means Greece can take its rightful place at the front of the domino chain. Remember: the latest Greek austerity vote is today and voting (i.e. debating) has begun, and with vote results expected later today. It also means that the military festivities in the middle east, where the US now has 2 aircraft carriers and 2 marine assault groups, can resume.
- Obama-Romney: Breaking the Tie (BBG)
- Fiscal cliff looms over campaign climax (FT)
- Tough Calls on Deficit Await the Winner (WSJ)
- Election Likely to Leave Housing Unmoved (WSJ)
- Regulator Investigating Rochdale Trading (WSJ)
- Greeks Plan Strikes On Eve of Votes (WSJ)
- China Communists consider internal democratic reform (Reuters)
- Wen urges Asia-Europe co-op to promote world economy (China Daily)
- Italy Said to Reject Bad Bank That May Boost Ties to Sovereign (BBG)
- IMF warning adds to French economy fears (FT)
- Europe, Central Bank Spar Over Athens Aid (WSJ)
- Unlimited Lending May Help Weaken the Yen, BOJ Official Says (BBG)
- PBOC Official Says U.S. Election Won’t Impact Yuan Level (BBG) - Just the USD level to which it is pegged
Egan Jones may be a registered NRSRO, but that doesn't matter to the global status quo perpetuation syndicate ("SQPS" or "the syndicate"). Why? Because the small rating agency misplaced a comma when it was filing its NRSRO application with the SEC and has infuriated the same clueless and corrupt SEC, which 2 years after the flash crash still allows the high freqs to make a total mockery of the market (as seen here). Another reason: it recently downgraded Spain to a CC rating, the lowest and thus most accurate of all rating agencies, with a C rating projected, which means if its rating were to be taken into account by the ECB, the result would be massive margin calls amount to 10% or higher of all the Spanish bonds repoed at the ECB. Instead, the SQPS is delighted to have Canadian-based DBRS on its side. Why? Because the tiny firm's A-rating obviates all others' sub-A ratings, this includes Moodys, S&P and Fitch, at least in the eyes of the ECB and thus Mario Draghi has an alibi to not demand an additional €17 billion collateral call from Spain, which would send its banking system on full tilt (this is money neither Spain, nor its banks has to spare). Which is why we wish to present to our readers the man behind the Spanish A-rated myth: Fergus McCormick (Reed College; BA, with honors, French), formerly of Spanish bank BBVA (surely BBVA is not calling in any favors from its former employee currently head of sovereign ratings at DBRS; none at all).
Mario Draghi has reassured the world that no matter how much 'crap' collateral is taken on to the ECB's balance sheet, their risk management process is rigorous and ensures the safety of the entity's capital thanks to well-devised haircuts and collateral. Once again, it appears from a report in Die Welt (via Bloomberg), Draghi lied, as the ECB is now checking terms on some lending to Spanish banks that may have already contravened the ECB's mandate allowing overly generous terms to be offered on the Spanish banks' collateral. As Bloomberg notes, the issue surrounds EUR80bn relatively short-dated T-Bills which were wrongly classified as rated 'A' instead of the 'B' that agencies - except DBRS! - had assigned (a vast difference) - which would imply (if the ECB re-assigns the correct rating) the affected Spanish banks would have to produce up to EUR16.6bn in additional collateral (cash or quality collateral that is non-existent in Europe). This of course "casts doubt on the quality of the ECB's risk management" and merely serves to confirm the Juncker-ian lies we have come to expect from Europe's leaders (economic and political). As Die Welt notes: "Critical observers ask: who actually controls the ECB?"
One of the zanier proposals floated in the past few weeks, yet sufficient to send Greek bonds soaring to post-restructuring highs on hopes of a take out, was the suggestion that Greece would repurchase its fresh-start bonds in the open market, which recently traded in the teens, and have since virtually doubled, at a price ~25 cents of par. Obviously since the price of the bonds had been much lower, even the mere possibility of what is termed in the industry as a distressed buyback, sent everyone scurrying to purchase the paper, as if it had any intrinsic economic value (it did not), instead of mere hopes that Greece would throw even more good money after bad (especially since the fresh start bonds have a meaningless cash coupon and nobody expects them to be repaid at maturity). There is also the detail that a distressed buyback is, for the rating agencies, equivalent to an Event of Default, but knowledge of that small fact would be demanding too much out of those who scrambled in the latest chase for yield. Anyway, with all that said, it now appears that the whole idea is over, with Greek Kathimerini reporting moments ago that Greece has scuttled the proposal for a bond buyback.
Fear the truth, it shall set fundamental market forces free!
By now everyone knows, even the mainstream media, that in Europe if one is a member of the oligarchy, "when it becomes serious, you have to lie" as the unelected viceroy of neofeudal Europe Jean-Claude Juncker said once upon a time, back when Greece and Spain were still "fine." Everyone also knows that judging by politican commentary and statement, in Europe it has been very serious for the past 3 years, as the lies have not ended. In fact, the more insolvent a country, the more serious it got, and the more gruesome and unbelievable the lies emanating thereof were. The one place where lying was at least somewhat contained was Europe's paymaster, Germany, which now is actively vying to not only not cede banking supervision to the ECB, but is seeking to displace the central bank in the budget and FX central planning category with a push to be elected budget commissioner and FX tsar. Eventually it will get its wish, but more when we cross to that bridge. Which is why it is surprising that today, German financial magazine Spiegel calls out none other than German FinMin Wolfi Schauble for doing precisely what Juncker was caught doing 2 years ago. Lying.
As the Euro infection commences, is it time to profit?
The erstwhile 'developed' market of the Athens Stock Exchange has just suffered a major blow. Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co (CCHBC), the world's second largest Coca-Cola bottler, will quit the exchange for London next year, cutting the value of equities listed in Athens to a mere $31bn - smaller than Vietnam's $35.2bn. CCHBC is Greece's largest company by market value and sets a rather ugly precedent in leaving the troubled nation. Accounting for 23% of the benchmark index weight, it is 50% larger than all four of Greece's major banks combined. A new company, headquartered in Switzerland, will make a share-exchange offer for CCHBC and seek a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange - which will mean around 10% of all trading volume on the Athens Stock Exchange will be lost. The decision to leave Greece was prompted by concerns over political and economic stability - so for the Greeks, Coke Is not It.
"The consensus view was that QE3 was going to send the stock market to the moon. Yet the peak level on the S&P 500 was 1,465 on September 14th, the day after the FOMC meeting. The consensus view was that the lagging hedge funds were going to be forced to play some major catch-up and take the stock market to the moon too. Surveys show that the hedge funds have already made this adjustment...Q3 EPS estimates are still coming down and now stand at -3% YoY from -2% at the start of October....this is the first time the Fed embarked on a nonconventional easing initiative with the market overbought and with profits and earning expectations on a discernible downtrend. Not only that, but the fact the pace of U.S. economic activity is still running below a 2% annual rate, which is less than half of what is normal at this stage of the business cycle with the massive amount of government stimulus, is truly remarkable. Keep an eye on the debt ceiling being re-tested — the cap is $16.394 trillion and we are now at $16.119 trillion. This is likely to make the headlines again before year-end — the rating agencies may not be taking off much time for a Christmas break."
Stronger Periphery close will be the usual opportunity for politicians to rant about the lack of clout of rating agencies.
Good Jump in Risk appetite. Question is how far. Lack of absence of negative news, or better, markets simply ignoring the latter, doesn’t make for a convincing bullish rebound.
I’d say: We won’t get fooled again! European Bull trap.
This is the stuff that would never be aired in the US mainstream media, at least before a POTUS election!