The following story from Bloomberg's Jonathan Weil should be familiar to anyone who i) wanted to get rich quick; ii) wasn't too willing to read the small print, and iii) put their faith in a TBTF bank. Or simply watches South Park. Jon recounts the story of "Philip L. Ramatlhware, an immigrant from Botswana who went to a Citigroup branch in downtown Philadelphia one day five years ago to open a regular bank account. He was 48 years old at the time and disabled, after being hurt in an accident as a passenger on a Greyhound bus. In April 2008, he received $225,000 in a settlement for his injuries, part of which went to pay legal fees. He was holding the settlement check when he walked into the branch. Immediately he was referred to a broker for a “financial consultation,” according to an arbitration claim he filed against Citigroup. The broker assured him the money would be invested in “guaranteed” funds and that he could have access to them whenever the need arose, the complaint said. Ramatlhware gave him $150,000 to invest. The broker put $5,000 into a bank certificate of deposit, bought a $133,000 variable annuity and invested the rest in a series of mutual funds. Less than six months later, Ramatlhware had lost $40,000, according to the complaint."
"Perhaps the success that central bankers had in preventing the collapse of the financial system after the crisis secured them the public's trust to go further into the deeper waters of quantitative easing. Could success at rescuing the banks have also mislead some central bankers into thinking they had the Midas touch? So a combination of public confidence, tinged with central-banker hubris could explain the foray into quantitative easing. Yet this too seems only a partial explanation. For few amongst the lay public were happy that the bankers were rescued, and many on Main Street did not understand why the financial system had to be saved when their own employers were laying off workers or closing down." - Raghuram Rajan
That Marx's prescription for a socialist/Communist alternative to capitalism failed does not necessarily negate his critique of capitalism. Marx spent hundreds of pages analyzing capital and capitalism and relatively few sketching out a pie-in-the-sky alternative that was not grounded in historical examples or working models. So it is no surprise that his prescriptive work is an occasionally risible historical curiosity while his critique stands as a systemic analysis. Marx got a number of things right, one of which appears to be playing out on a global scale.
China's GDP number should be in the 6.7% range for the quarter. This is the black swan ...
China’s biggest private shipbuilder, China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group, last week filed for a profit warning as it expects a loss in the first half of 2013. That was the good news. The bad news is that Rongsheng appealed for government aid last Friday and said it was cutting staff as it was delaying payments to suppliers to deal with tightened cash flows. It also called on its shareholders for financial help and said it was in talks with banks and other financial institutions to renew existing credit lines. In other words a complete liquidity collapse.
Whether or not you believe PMs will serve as the ultimate store of wealth as the global fiat monetary system collapses should have absolutely no bearing on making the intelligent decision to remove your financial assets from under the domain and inevitable confiscation of global bankers and their State-run tyrannies. Independence Day is a fine day to start the process of taking back our freedoms from the tyrants that rule over us.
In a democracy rule is by consent. In a dictatorship it is by control. Which do we have in the West? It seems to me, it is no longer clear. We certainly still have the rituals of rule by consent. But behind the elected front men and women is a shadow state. It’s people ritually swear allegiance to those we elect. They declare themselves there to serve and protect. But when it is us they spend their time spying on, whose interests are they protecting? Can you really serve those you do not trust?
Following the drubbing in commodities in Q2 it is was only a matter of time that the pendulum swung the other way. At least that is the view of JPMorgan's commodities team led by Colin Fenton who says to "go overweight commodity indices now." JPM's summary: "It’s our first OW call on commodities since September 2010… we turned underweight commodities as an asset class in November 2011, shortly after it became apparent that Europe and Australia had entered manufacturing recessions and commodities were likely to underperform equities and bonds over the following 6 to 12 months, likely yielding negative returns in 1H12. Over the past year, we have grown more positive on the asset class, as energy has improved, expected menaces in bulks and metals have arrived, and sentiment across commodities has belatedly soured. However, our strategies have sought to be directionally neutral. Now, we move to recommend a net long, overweight exposure for institutional investors for the first time in more than two years, based on ten fundamental factors we quantify in this note." Yes, that includes gold, although as a hedge JPM adds: "Liquidity could fall quickly in summertime. Buy 25-delta puts in oil, copper, and gold to protect a core position in commodity index total return swaps."
As of 2013, the composition of the leadership in China has changed dramatically. The engineers are gone. Today the leadership is comprised of Economists and Lawyers.
Back in 2002 Warren Buffet famously proclaimed that derivatives were ‘financial weapons of mass destruction’ (FWMDs). Time has proven this view to be correct. As The Amphora Report's John Butler notes, it is difficult to imagine that the US housing and general global credit bubble of 2004-07 could have formed without the widespread use of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and various other products of early 21st century financial engineering. But to paraphrase those who oppose gun control, "FWMDs don’t cause crises, people do." But then who, exactly, does? And why? And can so-called 'liquidity regulation' prevent the next crisis? To answer these questions, John takes a closer look at proposed liquidity regulation as a response to the growing use of 'collateral transformation' (a topic often discussed here): the latest, greatest FWMD in the arsenal.
On Tuesday the People’s Bank of China agreed to inject money to stop the shortage that was occurring and that was already a change of attitude.
The real question is when will the Feral Hogs fix their sights on the WTI market, and take it down to $80 like they have the last two years. My guess now that they have had their fun with the Gold and Silver markets, they will start looking around for their next target.
In the aftermath of the record cash crunch in the Chinese interbank market, many financial institutions in China and abroad have been hoping that the PBOC would either end its stance of aloof detachment or at least break its vow of silence and if not act then at a minimum promise good times ahead. Alas, despite repeated confusion in various press reports that it has done that, it hasn't aside from the occasional "behind the scenes" bank bailout. And at today's Lujiazui Financial Forum, PBOC governor Zhou Xiaochuan kept the status quo saying the central bank will adjust liquidity "at the proper time to ensure market stability." That time, however, is not now.
If one thought the schizophrenic lies out of Europe between 2010 and 2013 were bad enough (the bulk of which it now appears were orchestrated by Mario Draghi), here comes China, a country which already has a "credibility" issue so to say, which has no choice but to lie as blatantly as possible in order to preserve some semblance of stability. The reason: as first forecast here months ago, and as has subsequently materialized, the credit/liquidity collapse in the country that lives and breathes on credit creation is rippling through the banking sector and causing unprecedented fallout for a financial industry that is already starved for every marginal yuan. Not unexpectedly following news that various retail and online banking services had been impaired in the early part of the week at China's biggest banks, now Caixin reports that banks are simply shutting lending to both businesses and individuals.
The global Central Banks are in damage control mode. The big story here is China, then Japan then the US. But all of them are losing control of the markets.