The ¥4.3 Trillion Japanese Government Earthquake Liability Cap: A Deep Dive Into The Mechanics Of Japanese Earthquake (Re)InsuranceSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/12/2011 14:26 -0400
After private Property and Casualty reinsurance companies got whacked on Friday on broad yet unquantified concerns about imminent losses, it is time for a deeper dive into the structure of how prepared Japan is to handle what are sure to be tens of billions in earthquake insurance claims. Using information from the Non-Life Insurance Rating Organization of Japan, we find that there is a clean distinction between the liabilities borne out by the private P&C sector and where reinsurance companies step in to fund losses on residential earthquake losses. A more nuanced breakdown comes from JPMorgan's Siddharth Parameswaran: "In Japan there is coverage provided for earthquake, through two distinct forms: 1) Coverage for losses of residences (governed by "Earthquake Insurance Law," It is covered by the domestic insurance industry and the Japanese Earthquake Reinsurance ("JER") Commission); and 2) Coverage for commercial losses internally insured and externally reinsured without involvement of the government." Of the former two, the first is far more important due to the pervasive losses of real estate in most of the northeastern coastal areas, which according to some estimates will reach in the tens of billions. The three numbers to keep in mind when evaluating potential liabilities are ¥115 billion (or $1.4 billion) which is the threshold for 100% private insurance coverage; next is ¥1.925 trillion ($23 billion), which is the limit on a 50/50 split between losses for private insurers and the JER (or $11.5 billion each), and lastly, ¥5.5 trillion through which 95% of all losses are borne by the government, and 5% by the private industry. In other words the total possible private losses to private P&Cs before reinsurance funding kicks in is about $16.5 billion, while the government stand to lose at most ¥4.3 trillion (or $52 billion). At this point losses are capped, and claims are pro-rated among all claimants. Should total losses surpass about $64 billion in real estate values (at various loss thresholds), claimants will have to settle for pennies on the dollar.
With much conflicting and biased news coming out of the mainstream media in its perfectly explainable attempt to prevent panic among the population, the World Nuclear News has released the best and most objective analysis of the events that have transpired and that have yet to transpire at Fukushima we have read to date.
And while the general public frets over the latest geopolitical disasters, the SEC proves Rahm Emanuel correct once again, and letting no disaster go to waste, man-made or natural, the world's most incompetent (but massively underpaid, or so they claim) regulator is preparing to let Dick Fuld completely off the hook for last spring's stunning Repo 105 report by Anton Valukas, whose findings even the bankruptcy expert said were probably cause for civil lawsuits. The WSJ reports: "In recent months, Securities and Exchange Commission officials have grown increasingly doubtful they can prove that Lehman violated U.S. laws by using an accounting maneuver to move as much as $50 billion in assets off its balance sheet, which made it appear that the securities firm had reduced its debt levels....After zeroing in last summer on the battered real-estate portfolio and an accounting move known as Repo 105, SEC officials have grown more worried they could lose a court battle if they bring civil charges that allege Lehman investors were duped by company executives. The key stumbling block: The accounting move, while controversial, isn't necessarily illegal." Oh no, illegal it is. The problem is that should the SEC actually pursue it and win, that act would open up the floodgates for hundreds of lawsuits against everyone from Bank of America and Citi, which have also disclosed they used comparable tactics to misrepresent the true status of their books, to shady accounts like Ernst & Young, all the way to FASB at the very top of the corruption pyramid. And with hundreds of millions if not billions in legal fees about to be paid out if the fraudclosure back door settlement fails, the SEC simply can not allow the pursuit of justice to threaten the viability of America's only national interest: that of its criminal banking syndicate.
Following a report earlier that the Uranium at the Fukushima Power Plant may have melted, we sadly bring you this video of the explosion at the Fukushima power plant.
Hacker Collective Anonymous To Release Documents Proving Bank Of America Committed Fraud This MondaySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/11/2011 23:03 -0400
After Julian Assange crashed and burned in his threat to release documents that expose fraud at Bank of America, many thought he had been only bluffing, and that BofA is actually clean. Not so fast. A member of the hacker collective Anonymous, which singlehandedly destroyed "hacker defense" firm HB Gary, who goes under the handle OperationLeakS "is claiming to be have emails and documents which prove "fraud" was
committed by Bank of America employees, and the group says it'll release
them on Monday" reports Gawker. As to the contents of the possible disclosure: ""He Just
told me he have GMAC emails showing BoA order to mix loan numbers to not
match it's Documents. to foreclose on Americans.. Shame." If indeed this makes the case against BofA' foreclosure practices stronger, it certainly explains why the banking consortium is scrambling to arrange a settlement, and also why Bank of America recently split off its $2 trillion in mortgages into "good bank" and "bad bank" entities.
In an interview with Mark Hibbs, a Berlin-based senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a nonprofit think tank, Newsmax magazine asks - what happens next at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. The answer according to the nuclear expert, is that as Fukushima is now well on its way to a full core-melt nuclear accident, a worst case scenario could possibly lead to the same results last seen in 1986 Chernobyl.
CSI Financial presents a comprehensive look at the last century in US history (98 years to be precise, since the foundation of the Federal Reserve in 1913), highlighting the key events, and critical outcomes, explaining in simple terms how while Japan may have encountered an actual tsunami earlier today, the metaphoric version that has afflicted America is far more dangerous and will have far worse consequences for America's 300+ million citizens.
Kyodo Reports Radiation Eight Times Normal Near Fukushima Nuclear Plant, 1,000 Times Normal In Control RoomSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/11/2011 17:40 -0400
Per Reuters, which cites Kyodo news agency, the radiation levels near the main gate at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant are already 8 times normal. This probably supersedes a prior report by Kyodo according to which radiation could already have been released at the plant. That's pretty much a given the rather dramatic surge in ambient gamma waves. And Reuters has just released this unpleasant development: "Radiation levels in Fukushima Daiichi plant central control unit is 1,000 times normal, Kyodo says"
$440 Billion Drop In Shadow And Conventional Banking System Liabilities In Q4 Gives Bernanke Carte Blanche For QE3Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/11/2011 10:59 -0400
When we last updated on the size of the shadow banking system, the financial "system" that is far more important to the economic prosperity of the US economy than the traditional liabilities held by conventional banks, we observed that after declining for 9 consecutive quarters, having hit a peak of $21 trillion in 2008, the shadow banking system had reached an inflection point and had posted a very modest increase at around $16 trillion in total liabilities in the third quarter of 2010. Well, following yesterday's Z.1 release, it seems the bulk of the data was revised, and it appears that not only was last quarter's upward pre-revision data a fluke, when in reality it was another decline of $191.7 billion, but the Q4 data further reinforced the negative trend, with shadow liabilities declining by an even greater $206.4 billion. The components responsible for the decline were ABS Issuers whose liabilities declined by $94 billion, securities loaned by funding corporations declining by $40 billion and lastly repos, which dropped by $79 billion. In other words, speculation that the Fed had achieved its goal of stimulating an organic reflation in the shadow banking system at which point it would be able to end QE and hand off releveraging over to the private sector were premature, and recent data confirms that the Fed has no choice now but to continue with its quantitative easing process, as it does more of the same: take capital from the public sector and proffer it to Primary Dealers in an attempt at ongoing asset reflation, which will, the theory goes, be matched by a comparable hike in liabilities. Botton line - Bernanke has once again failed to spark a "virtuous leveraging cycle" even with QE2, which after all is the fundamental goal of the Fed, far beyond even getting the Russell 2000 to 2000. Which means that the Fed will have no choice but to continue "printing" money, and monetizing bonds, as it (in conjunction with the Treasury of course) continues to be the only incremental source of leverage, and thus money, for the world's biggest economy.
RANsquawk Market Wrap Up - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 11/03/11
According To Goldman, Tsunami Puts 2011/2012 Japanese Rice Crop At Risk, Sees Vicious Snapback In Crude PricesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/11/2011 17:32 -0400
A just released report by Goldman's Jeffrey Currie attempts to quantify the impact of the Tsunami on the Japanese economy from a commodity standpoint. Currie summarizes his conclusions as follows: "Assuming that the broader power grid infrastructure has not been permanently damaged, we believe today’s events are likely to put upward pressure on residual fuel oil and diesel cracks, LNG, UK natural gas and rice; downward pressure on naphtha cracks and Dubai spreads relative to other crude grades." Yet the thing we found more interesting than energy related bottlenecks was the disclosure toward the end of the report discussing the threat to the Japanese rice harvest: "In addition to the damage to energy infrastructure from the earthquake, the tsunami also impacted rice producing regions in Japan. While Japanese rice inventories are large, this puts the 2011/12 crop production at risk and may in turn drive Japanese rice imports higher, posing upside risk to current prices." Granted, Japan is not a big exporter of rice, but it is a top 10 consumer. Should the country's consumption (which is estimated at around 9 million metric tons) need to be satisfied by a surge in imports, and with the price of rice already dependent on the margin on speculative money, this could be the catalyst that send the grain, which has plunged in price over the past month, finally break beyond any potential manipulative price suppression schemes.
Oh this will be fun...
As we reported two months ago, the DOJ had secretly subpoenaed the personal information of several "twitters" who may have had a relationship to Wikileaks. Among the people to discover they were the subject of a secret subpoena was Iceland Member of Parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir. Furthermore the only reason those being investigated even realized this was the case is because Twitter notified them, unlike other social networks which may have been also subpoenaed, yet have remained quiet so far. Twitter had said: "We're not going to comment on specific requests, but, to help users protect their rights, it's our policy to notify users about law enforcement and governmental requests for their information, unless we are prevented by law from doing so." Alas, today AP reports that while this inititial request had been challenged by objects of the inquiry, "a federal magistrate ruled that prosecutors can demand the Twitter account information of certain users in their criminal probe into the disclosure of classified documents on WikiLeaks." Simply said this means that virtually anybody's electronic communication on Twitter, and most certainly elsewhere too, can be intercepted by the DOJ for whatever reason, without anyone having to be notified of this gross privacy breach. It makes one wonder just how many additional benefits is JPM getting from its 10% investment in Twitter?
There is no pleasure in "I told you so" when things fall apart. Many of us recognized the artifice and folly of the credit-housing bubble "Bull market" as early as 2004, but few cared to listen because they were deeply complicit in the Status Quo's legerdemaine: their home was rising in value, their pension fund was being fattened, their sales were rising on the onrushing tide of abundant, cheap credit, their tax revenues were soaring, and their benefits/perquisites were notching higher with every tick up of the stock and housing markets. Faith in a centrally planned economy operating under the flimsy guise of cartel-State "capitalism" was supreme, as were greed, self-absorption and an overweening sense of entitlement to consumerist "prosperity." Both corrupt political parties enthusiastically embraced the bubble-culture of fraud and speculative excess, for they too benefited from the illusory glow of "permanent economic growth" and the ever-richer contributions from the fiefdoms, cartels and Financial Elites who gained the most from the credit-based frenzy. The "prosperity," "growth" and "wealth" were all illusory, but the pain is real. Hardworking, dedicated, smart, experienced people are being laid off into an economy with few prospects. Young people are graduating from university into the same bleak atmosphere of a paper-thin facade of magical thinking and propaganda finally crumbling. Things are falling apart because the economy has been undermined by financialization and the extreme concentrations of capital and State power. I think these charts tell the story rather well...
While a crippled Europe continues to gladly enjoy being in the shadow of Fed-driven revolutions and natural disasters, its time in the sun is coming to an end. Soon everyone will realize that just today, 2 Year Greek bonds traded at all time wides of over 17%. That's right - holders of Greek bonds for 2 years will be rewarded with a 17% gain if the country actually repays these at maturity. Alas, for those who are paying attention, this has a snowball's chance in Hades of happening. And speaking of Hades, Knight Capital's Alfredo Viegas has released a note explaining not only why Greece has just passed the Rubicon following the release of its disastrous budget deficit details earlier, but also advising those who care, how to be positioned to best profit from Greece's descent into Hades, which will be promptly followed by the rest of the Eurozone. His advice: short Spanish and Italian cash bonds (this trade will work just as well using horrible, evil CDS which no politician still understands and therefore continue to be the scapegoat for everything).