ICE Follows In CME Footsteps, Lowers All Initial Margins

Tyler Durden's picture

And so another exchange decides to follow in the CME's (clarified) footsteps, and lowers Initial Margins for all in order to facilitate the onboarding of just clients with orphan MF exposure. Probably more important is that the ICE demonstrates how this can be done in a way that does not generate speculation and confusion, and avoids follow up clarifications, due to the counterintuitive nature of increasing initial leverage in the aftermath of an exchange filing bankruptcy due to excess leverage. And as usual, the real question is what would happen in the counterfactual? Would the market really tumble and would liquidations truly be pervasive on Monday is the contract transfer price is not lowered? Is liquidity in the market (and hence leverage) really that low (high)?

Full statement (source):

Exchange Actions Re: MF Global Inc.


Effective immediately, ICE Futures U.S. is temporarily lowering the Initial Margin rate for all Speculative accounts to a level equal to the Maintenance Margin rate for all contracts. The Initial Margin rate for hedgers already is the same as the Maintenance Margin rate.


This action is being taken to mute the impact of the transfer of accounts from MF Global Inc. to other clearing members that was effected overnight, and thereby support the integrity of Exchange markets.

h/t Janet Tavakoli

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Sudden Debt's picture

Would they expect a crash :)
I sure hope so, cheap fuel and cheap silver for all!

Makes you wonder why they need to spend 6 times as much during the next presidential campaigns than in 2008, when just this can make any president popular :)

trav7777's picture

Monday crash is out then?

cossack55's picture

Moved to wednesday to coincide with Emergency Broadcast test.

holdbuysell's picture

I saw that announcement on a commercial today: are EAS tests common and do they commonly communicate such planned tests via commercials?

knukles's picture

My county medical buds say that the tests are done annually.  Of system, first responders, etc., but this year is new.... national and on major big time Charley level.  Everybody involved. 
Ah hem....

holdbuysell's picture

The commericial I saw had a national flavor to it; not local. That's what seemed odd and different to me, but I don't have hard data to suggest this was indeed different.

You're acknowledging that it is indeed different. Thanks for the response, knukles.

redpill's picture

Ponzi on Wayne!

Ponzi on Garth!

Irresponsible leverage world, party on, excellent

CrazyCooter's picture

War or hangings!

<see past posts for why/>



Divided States of America's picture

This is BS...these fuckin speculators get a break when shit hits the fan but I dont see the poor and middle class people catch a break when oil and food prices rocket up, jobs are lost or shifted overseas, banks start charging for every little thing, taxes going up, healthcare and education going down. I say let these fuckers go down like everyone else.

Pinto Currency's picture




The exchanges (Comex, CBOT, etc.) are price control mechanisms.

The weak handed specs were blown-out in Sept. and Oct. and strong hands remain (especially in silver).

It appears they are lowering margin requirements to entice weak-handed specs back in so that the bullion banks (who control the exchanges - make no mistake about it) can sell down the metals and take out the stops of the weak again.  Hard to cascade down the metals prices when what are primarily left are strong handed players.

GetZeeGold's picture crash for Trav.


Buy gold and silver you silly's going to be the only thing left.

Smiddywesson's picture

"The exchanges (Comex, CBOT, etc.) are price control mechanisms.

The weak handed specs were blown-out in Sept. and Oct. and strong hands remain (especially in silver).

It appears they are lowering margin requirements to entice weak-handed specs back in so that the bullion banks (who control the exchanges - make no mistake about it) can sell down the metals and take out the stops of the weak again.  Hard to cascade down the metals prices when what are primarily left are strong handed players."


It's distinctly possible.  TPTB utterly failed to keep gold at the interday low ($1534?) and then it bounced up to a range of $1600 to $1650 where it stayed despite weeks and weeks of failed attempts to drive it lower.  That $1600 level was rock solid.  The repeated attacks on gold were too successful, and combined with the margin hikes, all the weak hands were frightened away, leaving only strong hands, and I suspect, drawing new strong hands into the trade.  Now we seem unable to bust through support at $1700.  

So what's an honest manipulator to do when he is losing the tug of war?  Let go of the rope to knock the opposition on their backsides and then haul them through the mud.  Maybe we'll see prices rise into the $1800s soon while they lure in retail and other weak hands, setting up for another take down.  

Barry Mcokiner's picture

Divided States, while I understand your frustration, I feel maybe you can be more help if you grabbed a sign and hung out with the OWS people. As a floor broker at the cme, I was pleased to hear about this. This not only helps the floor traders who have been locked out and assets frozen, but also get the smaller speculators (i.e the farmers) back in the game. We also, with volume returning will be able to hire those unfortunate MF employees who are now out of work. We are not all assholes, just people like you trying to make a living. You watch too much TV and need to understand fully what a speculator is, and why they are needed.

Pinto Currency's picture


I don't think that the margin requirements for America's commodity exchanges are reduced to show compassion for MF Global traders.  The question is why open the gates now to entice in the small spec traders?

A great deal of effort has been expended since March to blow the small spec traders out of gold and silver especially.  If the past is any guide, they will be invited in with open arms, plied with cheap booze until they are good and drunk, then beaten up and thrown out of the door like all of the countless times in the past. 

It is very hard to whipsaw commodity prices when all that are left in the room are strong hands.

seek's picture

This test is indeed different. Normally they test segments (state, local, or fed to state) this is the first time ever that they will be doing a nationwide end-to-end test, i.e. someone flips a switch in DC and the entire country's EAS is activated simultaneously.

it's also unusual because some technical geeks pointed out that they are breaking the EAS's own protocol in a subtle way. Basically, the new EAS system will activate relatively new TVs and radios to automatically tune to the primary EAS channel -- this is new -- and they break the protocol because they're supposed to send an "emergency action termination" signal so the TVs/radios go back to the original programming, and they're not sending that signal. This particular bit a strange since it's how the end of the test is normally relayed. I'm sure there's a reason for why they're doing it this way, but I have no idea what it is.

Oh regional Indian's picture

This test is indeed differenter because it co-incides with two days (8th-9th) that are supposed to be high Earthquake probability dates. 

Due, in part to Asteroid YU 55... Why You 55?

Had to be some juicy run-up to 11-11-11, eh?


And the Circus rolls on...

UP Forester's picture

So when exactly on Wednesday does the IAEA report on Iran's nuclear program get released?

Randall Cabot's picture

And wednesday is 11-9-11! Too many 9s and 11s coming up-these NWO sickos love these numbers-the emergency test on 11-9-11 could be cover for an attack on Iran!!!

Michael's picture

They could do the test at 2am when it won't bother too many people but they have to let everyone know whose wearing the jack boots.

In other news, I take great pleasure in reporting, Thank You God for the extended solar minimum;

CEO: “The market for carbon capture and storage is dead”

"The Norwegian company Aker Clean Carbon may be closed. Its value is set to zero. The market for carbon capture and storage is dead according to their CEO.

Guest Post by Geir Hasnes, Norway

Article in today’s net edition of Norwegian Teknisk Ukeblad (Technological Weekly).

Aker Clean Carbon may be closed

This article brings important news especially damaging for the Norwegian politicians and believers in carbon capture and storage because Norway has put itself as the avant-garde of this totally useless technology and spent untold billions of dollars on it. The moon-landing that crashed that is referred to in the article refer to Norwegian prime minister Stoltenberg’s way of comparing the development of a technology for carbon capture and storage as equivalent to the US project of putting a man on the moon. The price tag of the Mongstad moonlanding project became too high and untold obstacles kept popping up continuously during the project until it crashed last year." Senator Jay Rockefeller(D-WV)

July 14, 2011



At Last: Britain Pulls Plug On Green Energy Boondoggle

The Government Giveth and the Government Taketh Away –-Famous green proverb


css1971's picture

Terra Preta.

The idea of building plant to capture CO2 was a fucking stupid idea from the start. No idea who came up with it. Clearly they hadn't done any sums, or if they had they said fuck it, politicians are dumb as slime maybe they'll buy it anyway.

Growyourownfood's picture

People don't bash ZH because its negative, they bash it because it is one-sided and it never fesses up to wrong calls or mistakes. You assumed that a 1.0 ratio of initial to maintenance margin meant the maintenance would get raised. Based on this you told everyone to hit the panic button. Your assumption was dead wrong: in fact its the initial margin being reduced in order to make the ratio equal to 1.0. Simple. You were wrong. There is no need to insert petulant qualifiers like "clarified" footsteps in a vain and childish attrempt to be at least partially correct. Always needing to be right is very pathetic, not to mention shows extreme insecurity and egotism.

gorillaonyourback's picture

wow, who squashed the jelly out of the sock puppets donut?

maybe they didn't want to loose all the paper contact money to physical asshole.  just because people posit assumptions doesn't mean the MAN (cme) is acting in your favor.

phyuckyiu's picture

I look forward to 'growyourownfood' starting a blog. Actually, i'm not praticing impeccable journalism, I'm really -not- loooking forward to it. He should stay in the hills where he can live off of his self grown Cubensis fungii.

greased up deaf guy's picture

did i miss something? what wrong call did zh make? they simply shed light on a vague margin rule change the cme announced. the fact that the cme itself came out and issued a clarification would suggest zh's contention was correct.

Element's picture

But more to the point, why piss on zh's cred, rather than the MSM's on-going total lack of any at all?

redpill's picture


Never fesses up to wrong calls or mistakes?


"Our gut interpretation was that "Unless we are completely reading it incorrectly, it is nothing short of a margin call for tens if not hundreds of billions worth of product." Judging by the broad response, our initial reaction is what a prudent, logical human being would assume: after all, it is precisely the undercollateralization of customer accounts, and general underfunding at MF Global that is what brought that particular company down. Well, we were wrong."


Any other lame generalizations?

Kina's picture

That was a pretty dishonest assesment by you. Deliberate? I think the complaint you make points directly to you.

The ZH article did no such thing, go read it. Yet another dumbass that doesn't read the articles but rushes into make dumb comments.

You ought to be able to sort out the dfference between what the article says and what some commenters then respond.

Raging Debate's picture

Correct. If ZH wishes to meet the demand now smacking them in the face it also needs to evolve. At the detail level if the article title was posed as a question it would have still drawn the same positive readerhip bump but it would have drawn in varied commentators. ZH is being called out as ignorant about standardized publishing norms. And those calling you out are right. While I understand defending the value of the information provides, the initial branding and lack of standardization has created a binary problem for ZH.

Now, any of ZH staff can call me to get the tools you need be them code, consulting. 603-953-3388.

I put my phone number up a lot online. But it is only bankers or ex-bankers call me. Some of you solid rugged individualists should perhaps consider collabation over competition. But the society has been pushed into a pyramid mold so there are subconscience effects of crying out to Pharoah. If Pharoah ultimately crushes your necks it will be because you fell for it. Not what happened the last hundred years but now moving forward.

Lord Welligton's picture

What in the name of fuck are you talking about?

Go back to "growingyourownfood" you might have more success.

Christ on a bicycle how can anybody be so dumb.

GetZeeGold's picture



....and while everyone was freaking out. GetZee calmly pocketed the gold from table to table.


It's an old Rothschild trick.

Raging Debate's picture

Read my comment above. You have failed Lord Wellington to absorb ghe lessons of the pyramid by allowing your mind to be closed and noy conducting research on what your adversary is. The adversary is the model. Now that we are going to offer Pharoah something better he can only make the choices of evolving or chasing his slaves into his own extinction. Won't be fun on the way but it is what it is. I wish to at least make the offer which is an inclusive process.

You are ignorant on the topic of publishing standards. You just made yourself look very foolish. Was that the intent?

phyuckyiu's picture

We look forward to your blog about Pharoahs and impeccable journalism. NOT.

RebelYell's picture

So, start your own website and fess up to your own endless blunders, douche.

phyuckyiu's picture

I agree, I'd love to see his blog about how to grow your own Cubensis. We are all waiting with baited breath for the launch.

Deadpool's picture

I thought I was wrong once, but I was wrong.

Ganja Jane's picture

"I have only been wrong once: I thought I was wrong when I was actually right."

Ganja Jane's picture

Zero Hedge calls out the manipulation in the markets; what one does with this information is at his own risk.



Piranhanoia's picture

Must be 24 hours after the first announcement and you have it figured out.  Fill us in please.

Monedas's picture

Grow your own food ? Stop eating your own cooking ! Monedas 2011 Obama is the worst insult to black people....since the O J Simpson jury !

Greyhat's picture

"People don't bash ZH because its negative, they bash it because it is one-sided"

Reality is always one-sided. There is a border between dream and reality.


"Is liquidity in the market (and hence leverage) really that low (high)?"

Better question: Do some players need more ammunition now? And on wich target do they want to shoot it?


holdbuysell's picture

I went to FEMA and found the briefing:

"FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will conduct the first nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS) Test on November 9, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern."


Hobbleknee's picture

They never thought of doing that during the whole 80s when Russia had all its nukes pointed at us?  Brilliant!

Ganja Jane's picture

Sure....but now we have the internet and growing awareness. Gotta check that kill switch!

UP Forester's picture

Worked pretty well on 9/11/01, eh?  Guess they're trying to make up for it on 11/9/11....

Ganja Jane's picture

We're riding the same wavelength.

It's all about understanding history.

baseball13's picture

Did you leave out Asteroid 2005 YU55? Passing WITHIN the moons orbit of earth on Wednesday, November 9th...


DrunkenPleb's picture

The moon's orbit is 385 000 km. 0.85 of lunar orbit's not all that close...

Monedas's picture

If the asteroid passed between the earth and the moon....maybe we could see it with our naked, lying eyes ? Monedas 2011 Since the distraction of Obama and O J Simpson.....Jimmy Carter has a window of opportunity to re-invent himself ! 

Ganja Jane's picture

He is fascinating! I don't go all in but he is pointed in a direction I am headed.

Randall Cabot's picture


Puleeeezzze!!! Hoagland is a total nutball-I can't think of anything he was ever proven right about-and I've been a C2C listener since 1997!!!