Macro Commentary: The Endgame Of TBTF Banks And Rising Rates

Tyler Durden's picture

From Brian Rogers of Fator Securities

Macro Commentary:  The endgame of TBTF banks and rising rates

Global markets are stabilizing a bit after authorities worldwide are pulling out all the stops to stem the bloody tide.  Greece and South Korea have followed Italy’s recent lead and even banned the short-selling of equities.  Brazilian Finance Minister Mantega said the G-20 was prepared to take action to calm the global crisis.  The concerns over the debt levels of Italy, a country which is Too-Big-To-Bailout, are quickly spreading to the US as Citigroup and Bank of America both fell over 15% yesterday.  Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary to bifurcate these two problems much, both the Italian crisis and the TBTF bank sell offs in the US represent the same thing, potential threats to the banks that make up the $700tr derivative market.  The $60tr global economy can take a haircut on billions of dollars in Greek debt, but it simply cannot take a haircut on $700tr in global derivatives sitting on the balance sheet of every major government, hedge fund, financial services company, TBTF bank, insurance company and major corporation that engages in any hedging activity.  Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland could all simply restructure their debt and life would go on were it not for the leverage of the banks that hold them.  In the US, real estate could be allowed to fall to its market clearing price or be written off by the lender were it not for the leverage of the banks that own it.  No matter which way you turn, all roads lead to the TBTF banks, their leverage and the $700tr derivatives market.  Until these issues are resolved, we will continue to go through bouts of panic, instability and market routs.  The entire global economic system is threatened by the continued status quo regarding our TBTF banks and the global derivatives market.  Everything else is just noise.  Governments can be upgraded or downgraded, currencies can rise and fall and equity markets can rally or sell-off.  But if one of the TBTF banks collapses, the game will change immediately to one of fear and collapse as the size of the potential asset write-downs that will follow is simply overwhelming. 

What about QE3?

As many know, I have been banging the drum that the Fed would eventually be forced to launch QE3 because they really have no choice.  In my opinion, they have painted themselves into a liquidity trap with a prisoner’s dilemma.  More QE3 means more manipulation of the rates curve and thus less clarity as to the true cost of money which causes markets to lose their informational value.  It also potentially means more inflation which is absolutely the last thing the Fed wants right now.  There is also the issue of political weakness.  After the failures of QE1 and QE2, the PhDs at the Fed aren’t exactly looking like the Oracle’s of Delphi that they’d like you to think they are.  So I think it’s an open question if the Fed will do anything.  My heart tells me they will as Bernanke will resolve himself not to blink as his predecessors did in the 1930s.  He will climb in his helicopter with buckets of money and begin pouring them down on an economy that he is sure will revive itself with more liquidity.  If he chooses to do QE3, it seems logical to me that he will go big, probably into the trillions.  As I’ve argued before, too little QE and the market will be underwhelmed, his only bet is to go really big.  Which means the Fed will continue to spread their economically transmitted diseases (ETDs) all over the world with reckless abandon.  Remember, the Fed can choose how much money to print, but they cannot control where that money goes.  As QE2 showed, much of it went into hard commodities which is why food and energy prices have jumped so much in the last 12 months.  Will they be willing to take the same risk on QE3?  We should know later today.

It’s all about rates

Regardless of the action the Fed takes today, it’s important to note that thus far the pain has been mainly felt in the equities markets.  This isn’t meant to be comforting, especially if you own equities, but so long as rates are staying low, the game will continue.  Stock markets can rally and sell-off, and they will, perhaps sometimes too far in one direction or another, but the status quo will live another day because rates remain low.  Treasuries aren’t rallying now due a flight-to-quality bid, they are rallying simply due to their size and liquidity.  It is the highest rated, largest, most liquid market available so it rallies but it’s certainly not due to quality.  As we go forward, it’s becoming more and more important to remember the latter part of the 70s into 1980.  We had slow growth then, we have slow growth now.  We had high inflation then, we have rising inflation now.  Gold/silver was rising then, gold/silver is rising now.  The USD as world reserve currency was called into question then, same thing today.  But the big difference then was rates.  Rates needed to rise, aggressively, to quell the growing inflation.  Fed Chairman Paul Volker was up to the challenge and raised rates to 20% to kill the inflation dragon.  It worked.  He caused a recession that lasted well into 1983 but it worked.  Today, Bernanke has no such option.  He cannot raise rates, even a modest amount, without further calling into question the weak position of the US balance sheet and potentially causing more sovereign credit downgrades.  So even though no one is happy with equity markets falling globally, just be glad it hasn’t hit the US Treasury market yet.  Because when rates begin to rise materially in the US, there will be no flight to quality except precious metals.  Many of us agree that the USD should not be the world’s reserve currency but make no mistake that when the day eventually comes where this transition is to begin in earnest, rates in the US will likely rise to levels that slow everyone’s growth and pressure the entire global economic framework.  -Brian

* Fator Securities LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC, is a U.S. entity and a subsidiary of the Fator group of companies in Brazil. The comments below are from Brian Rogers, who is employed by Fator Securities (Brian’s opinions are his own and do not constitute the opinions of Fator Securities or the Fator group of companies).

This material was not prepared by Fator Securities LLC.. U.S. Persons seeking further information must contact Fator Securities LLC in New York at (646) 205-1160. This material shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of any offer to buy (may only be made at the time qualified participants are in receipt of the requisite documentation, e.g., confidential private offering memorandum describing the offering, related subscription agreement, etc.). Securities shall not be offered or sold in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful or until all applicable regulatory or legal requirements of such jurisdictions have been satisfied. This material is not intended for general public use or distribution and is intended for distribution only to appropriate investors. The opinions contained herein are based on personal judgments and estimates and are, therefore, subject to revision. Past performances are not indicative of future results.

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Motley Fool's picture

Even dead cats bounce. :)

snowball777's picture

Sometimes off of invisible ceilings...

trav7777's picture

there's no room for rising rates because the respective economies cannot generate the yields necessary to pay those rates.

ZeroPower's picture


Unfortunately not many here seem to grasp 'raise rates!!1' is not a realizable idea.

masterinchancery's picture

Lack of investment opportunities would keep rates fairly low anyway, since the world is awash with dollars. If Bernanke goes QE trillions, it will slaughter the dollar and cause massive inflation--and probably an attempt to buy large chunks of US farmland with otherwise useless dollars.  As usual, politicians are likely to destroy the real economy for very short term political gain.

centerline's picture

Debt saturation.  Game over.

digitlman's picture

If they do QE3, I'm going to drive to the fed in DC and harass Bernanke with a bullhorn.

What's the definition of insanity again?   Something about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different..something...


baby_BLYTHE's picture

 a dose of money printing over 600 billion dollars would collapse the Chinese economy.

glenlloyd's picture

something they would not be happy about at all, and who knows what we would get in return...after all, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

centerline's picture

Not immediately.  What will happen is that currency wars will escalate from bitch slapping to full fist.  Then the brass knuckles and broken beer bottles come in (trade restrictions per se).

Id fight Gandhi's picture

Like I thought qe3 trillion or more. But you need a big bust for that sell. So crash the markets by not giving it today.

Theyll scramble to do something.

Bwahaha WAGFDSMB's picture

S&P at 1150 from the recent peak of 1350, a decline of about 15% vs. TD's call for a 20% drop, but the huge spike in volatility might make up the difference. Bernanke will point at H1 GDP and hint at more QE, maybe even announce that it is coming, but he will leave the questions of how big and exactly when unanswered for now.

Jason T's picture

The only one with the right plan is Lyndon LaRouche!!

slaughterer's picture

Why doesn't the Fed just say they will do QE continuously, non-stop as long as the commodities traders keep inflation under a certain level.  If inflation goes above a predetermined level, Fed just cuts off QE.  Problem solved.  

WonderDawg's picture

Brilliant. Just tell the traders to behave and if they don't we'll take our ball and go home. Yeah, that'll work.

firstdivision's picture

Tyler, regarding the risk spread, it seems to be quite wide at this point.

juwes's picture



Not a shot fired by foreign terrorists!  Not a thing done by the evil alliances in the world.  religions and secularists, all races and genders, organize against your oppressors, the wage slave masters and their attack dog lawyers who oppress us in the people's courts.


We need more coverage of London and we need to change the conversation away from "they took some stuff and broke things" to


The people who do ALL THE WORK are not slaves to be ignored and suppressed, but to be respected and even feared by those who would suppress their liberty.


Organize now!  And prepare for those who may riot in your area out of frustration rather than enlightenment values. 

Sudden Debt's picture

Nato should bomb the place.... let's ask the Germans to do it :)


snowball777's picture

Nah, they already had a turn...let the Italians...that should be funny to watch.

PY-129-20's picture

This is the second time today that I read the Luftwaffe should bomb London. A commentator even said 'all is forgiven'. Crazy folks.

My father was a child when they launched the V2 attacks on London. Was an inspiring view. I am more a tank guy. But I will need my Panther tank to conquer the ECB building in Frankfurt and to destroy some bankster limousines. :)

fishface's picture

just burn the place and let Berlusconi perform live the Iliupersis at Buckingham palace

What a show... the TV rights alone would be worth squillions


Shameful's picture

Or otherwise provide humanitarian aid to those oppressed rebels.  I think freezing the UK's accounts and arming the freedom fighters might help greatly.  After all Col. Gaddafi has been in power for decades, but not nearly so long as the Queen and her family.  Wait...does the North Sea still have oil? :)

OliverTwist's picture

Thank you that you made me laugh on a hard day where the silver price is keep falling further.


eureka's picture

Fricking Funny - let all shame fall - thanks, Shameful, I can't stop laughing - I think your wit will have me laughing for days - bravo!

goldfish1's picture

London Update

3.41pm: Computer hackers have defaced the official website of BlackBerry owner Research In Motion, in a retaliatory attack over the company's pledge to assist the police investigation into the London riots.

Inside BlackBerry blog was hacked into on Tuesday afternoon by a group calling themselves TeamPoison. In a statement posted on the BlackBerry website, the hackers said:

Dear RIM;

You Will _NOT_ assist the UK Police because if u do innocent members of the public who were at the wrong place at the wrong time and owned a blackberry will get charged for no reason at all, the Police are looking to arrest as many people as possible to save themselves from embarrassment ... if you do assist the police by giving them chat logs, gps locations, customer information & access to peoples BlackBerryMessengers you will regret it, we have access to your database which includes your employees information; e.g – Addresses, Names, Phone Numbers etc. – now if u assist the police, we _WILL_ make this information public and pass it onto rioters…. do you really want a bunch of angry youths on your employees doorsteps? Think about it…. and don't think that the police will protect your employees, the police can't protect themselves let alone protect others….. if you make the wrong choice your database will be made public, save yourself the embarrassment and make the right choice. don't be a puppet..

p.s – we do not condone in innocent people being attacked in these riots nor do we condone in small businesses being looted, but we are all for the rioters that are engaging in attacks on the police and government…. and before anyone says "the blackberry employees are innocent" no they are not! They are the ones that would be assisting the police.

The hackers said they defaced the website "in response" to this statement made by RIM on Monday: "We feel for those impacted by the riots in London. We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can."

A spokesman for RIM said the firm was looking into the apparent website hack.

eureka's picture

Any chance "rioters" will set TBTF banks on fire?

williambanzai7's picture

This seems so obvious to us, yet history will show our governments were either too stupid or too captured to do anything about it, or both.

Irish66's picture

GS looks like it will go negative

Archimedes's picture


You want to be on the sidelines today. If the Bernank does nothing but language change the market implodes. But I agree with Tyler on this one, The Fed is not about to admit defeat. If the Fed is going to announce something it has got to be huge! I mean two Trillion in Govt bond buying and MBS.

The Market would probably rise 600 points but it would signal the endgame as the US would be downgraded futher, The dollar would truly tank and by late fall the crash would really take hold as the re-resession/Depression asserts itself and oil hits $130 a barrel.

Or the market could panic and sell off anyway. I really don't know and niether does anybody else. So it is best to sit today out. I definitely have my popcorn ready!

Snidley Whipsnae's picture

Excellent advice Arc...

Here is a comment from a blogger in Mexico that I will share. He is an ex marine, ex reporter and is retired, living in Mexico... 'Fred on Everything'...

"God it's wonderful—really diverting in a macabre sort of way, at least if you have a diseased sense of humor and enough Padre Kino red. Which I do. As I write the world's only delusional superflower, perennially in love with itself, navel-gazing as narcissistically as ever, ignorant, self-indulgent, gurbling like an insane relative in the attic and fondling electro-trinkets from Japan, is broke. Yes, we see a beautiful dive from the high board, two somersaults and a half-twist, into the Third World. And so richly deserved.

Congress, a collection of whores, con-men, and penny-ante sharpers from East Jesus, Nebraska, ponders the Great Question: Default now, and admit manfully to being the economic lepers everyone else already knows we are? Or raise the debt ceiling, keep spending like a spoiled Swarthmore sophomore with daddy's credit card, and collapse a bit later?

It's just lovely. The World’s Greatest Economy holding out the begging bowl to China. “Alms? Alms for the poor?” Maybe I don't have enough Padre Kino after all. Maybe there isn't enough."

...remainder at site... no, I am not Fred... or related to Fred... or pimping for Fred...

TDs site is tops, followed by the scriblings of Bill Bonner...imo.

"Fred On EverythingScurrilous Commentary by Fred Reed"

Doyle Hargraves's picture

Alll this is solved by a BAC or Citi collapse. Provides cover to do 'what is necessary' to TPTB. Look for that to justify the actions of the fed to print as much as they want.

Cdad's picture

all roads lead to the TBTF banks


Until such time as these hideously corrupt institutions are broken up, we shall continue to flounder within the Greater American Depression.  Their soul function is that of front running and skimming any glimmer of economic hope in this country.  As such, they will continue to thwart what we really need now...true capital formation.

Capital will not form in banks as corrupt as ours.  Pink slips, please.  100,000 terminated criminal syndicate Wall Street bankers would be a good start.

FunkyOldGeezer's picture

So you guys want financial armageddon???? What makes you think you'd survive it, or the aftermath, without going to hell and back? Not even Gold and Silver would protect you from rampaging, hysterical masses and your guns and bullets would only bring a brief respite before you were overwhelmed. All out war might just see everyone nuked.

I really don't understand your Gung-Ho mentality at all.

Seasmoke's picture

i am on record and i want it and cant be any worse than the corrupt disease that is still currently going


Bring BOA down, 6 feet under, where it belongs and lets RESET (from whereever the start is)

snowball777's picture

Is financial a-geddon worse than being bled dry by pompous thieves?


LFMayor's picture

because why struggle at a game that's rigged and you can't win?  Better to burn out, than fade away.  You should understand that, if your nom de blog is truly relevant.

Now go change your depends, you dumb ass old fucking hippy. 

slackrabbit's picture


better to be free in hell, than a slave in no, this definately ain't heaven

SRV - ES339's picture

Teapartyitis... they say it's a wild one, with liitle hope (there's that word again) of a cure... if only it was terminal!

KowPie's picture

Only a brief respite? I call bullshit. Maybe if you are a shoot once a year "gun owner" or a fucking pacifist hippy that has a pussy for a personality. There are a lot more capable persons out there than you think or care to acknowledge. Good luck with spreading your ass cheeks for the government.


EDIT: As to self nuking? Great mind control for the masses, right up there with "Hope & Change"

DavidDavid's picture

The Fed WILL NOT try QE3.  You "gold bugs" are about to get slaughtered.  Gold will drop $200 at 1:15 PM CST.  Watch & learn!

Seasmoke's picture

Silver price is sure looking like you are correct

JW n FL's picture


You two should move out of Physical..

Wait! you two are paper traders.. never mind carry on!

Snidley Whipsnae's picture

Interesting... trolls used to wait till something happened to cause PMs to trend lower... Now they are so desperate that they are 'speculating on a hypothesis'... lol

snowball777's picture

Is that supposed to mean something to bears that are short and bought theirs sub-$1k?

StupidStupid! Watch & don't learn!

KowPie's picture

" Gold will drop $200 at 1:15 PM CST."


This could only happen in my wildest dreams. I have credit cards that I alway pay off at months end so as not to be in debt. I would IMMEDIATELY SMOKE THEM ALL for as much as I could get at $200 and reverse a lifelong position of pay as you go. Unfortunately that has as much chance of happening as me discovering a 24k vein running 6" below ground level in my back yard.

JW n FL's picture

Here comes the FED!

No Worries! The Hole is Safe!!

The FED will keep the Hole going!

Gold.. Down from $1,700!

Silver Down from $40!

Stock Market (Free FED Money Market Hole) UP!!!

The Money Fires are the BEST!!

Besides.. they only needed the Market to drop 25% so they could implement Quantitative Easing Part 3 which is really like Part 9.. but we are not counting anything under the $100 Billion Dollar Safe Mark. If the amount is under 100 Billion Dollars “We the Sheepish Consumers” don’t notice it or pay attention is what has been multi market tested to success.

So, lets get those printing presses Fired Up and Running so the “Free Market” can pumped by the FED to make the Wall Street AAA Rated Corps (OOPS! AAA is NO! Longer a Pre-Requisite for 0.25% Loans) can get richer off of the Back Stop that is “We the Sheepeople”.