The irony and the Freudian displacement reaction are simply too much. Since Moody's knows it would be kneecapped and Friend-o'ed the second it downgrades the UK, Germany or France, it has decided to lash out at the very people who will be the cause of the next, and terminal for the rating agency, round of congressional grillings in a year or so, when Europe is bankrupt and Moody's is questioned why it kept England at AAA until two days after the sovereign default.
It is now time to short Apple: Fannie Mae has just announced that it will no longer condone the same kind of irresponsible behavior that the Obama administration will soon be trying hard to codify into law, namely strategic defaulting. According to Dow Jones, bankrupt GSE Fannie Mae, announced "it won't back new mortgage loans for seven years for homeowners who walk away from their mortgages although they were able to pay or did not seek a workout in good faith with their lender." Terence Edwards, an EVP for Fannie, after having been a recipient of trillions in moral hazard (and having a job as a result), finds out that being on the receiving end of a total lack of integrity is not quite as pleasant: ""We're taking these steps to highlight the importance of working with your servicer. Walking away from a mortgage is bad for borrowers and bad for communities." Oh, now they tell us.
Ironically even with Greek CDS surging by 60 bps to 909 bps this morning, the biggest mover in percentage terms is not the bankrupt Mediterranean country but Europe's "stablest" one - Germany, whose default risk has spiked by 9.19% according to MarkIt. Without splitting hairs, Europe is a sea of red this morning as the ugly specters of default and complete lack of credibility in the EU administration raise their ugly heads again.
Yesterday's mega news on the CNY depegging, which went so far as to make headlines out of something as mundane as the PBoC yuan fixing, has now been fully priced in. And before we put the matter to rest, we would like to present two diametrically opposing opinions on this issue: one from Goldman's Sven Jari Stehn, which is full of contained optimism about the future of the world, and one from Gary Shilling, who in a Bberg TV interview, says that the Chinese decision could not have come at a worse time, and that it risks destabilizing the precarious global balance achieved at the cost of so many trillions in stimuli.
Earlier today we noted that German Chancellor Angela Merkel ridiculed Geithner's declining influence ahead of the upcoming G-20 by not only openly ignoring his call to Keynesian arms, but saying that what he is doing is tantamount to long-term economic suicide: “If we don’t get onto a path of sustainable economic growth but have rather a growth bubble, then if the next crisis comes we won’t be able to pay for it." Well, as the joke goes, women once again demonstrate more testicular fortitude than their XY companions: shortly after this announcement, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who previously warned against the $100 billion U.S. burden to bail out Europe via the IMF, is now blasting Geithner's "Spend and Borrow" policies to be advocated at the G20 summit in a letter sent to the tax-challenged Keynesianite (enclosed), further saying that the "president is doubling down on the path to bankruptcy.”
So early in the morning, Bloomberg runs a story, "Sales of Existing Homes in U.S. Probably Climbed on Tax Credit". A few hours later, the housing report comes out and Bloomberg then runs "Existing Home Sales in U.S. Unexpectedly Fell to 5.66 Million Rate in May". Hmmm! BoomBustBlog readers saw this coming way back in March with "It’s Official: The US Housing Downturn Has Resumed in Earnest". Thus far, we've been right on the money. Hey Bloomberg editors, I'm available if you need me...
- Iran launches aid ship to Gaza on Sunday (AP)
- Furious Obama summons McChrystal to explain comments (Politico, Bloomberg)
- Goodbye Keynes, hello Hoover (Nation)
- Cancelled mortgage modifications surge 55% in May (eCreditDaily)
- UK's Osborne cuts 2010, 2011 forecasts (Reuters)
- Wall Street's invisible gorilla is killing America's soul (MarketWatch)
- Misguided housing subsidies promote unfairness, bailouts (USA Today)
- Quanto swaps show 9% euro drop on Greek default, Citigroup says (Bloomberg)
Goldman's Allison Nathan is out tonight with a report that will leave an unpleasant taste in the mouths of growth/BRIC bulls. In an analysis whose key catalyst is a downward revision of demand growth expectations, Goldman materially cuts its short and mid-term forecast prices for key commodities oil and copper. "Commodity markets are generally rebounding strongly off their lows but sentiment remains fragile on European and Chinese concerns and potential signs of slowing positive economic momentum, despite generally healthy macro data and further improvements in commodity fundamentals. These concerns have caused the market to revise down expectations for future growth, and, in turn, discount future commodity supply constraints." Specifically, Goldman has revised its 3 Month oil forecast to $87 from $96 (old forecast can be found here), nat gas unchanged, copper to $6,800 from $8,125, and zinc to $2,000 from $2,600. What is most amusing is the sheer loathing that comes of the page in which Nathan is forced to be constructive on gold. "We see upside risk to our forecast should investor demand continue to support further flows into the gold-ETFs or central banks continue to accumulate gold. For example, if gold-ETF buying were to continue at its current pace for the remainder of the year, we would expect gold prices to rise to $1,400/toz by the end of 2010."
BP's Bankruptcy Would Impair 117 (18% Of Total) Collateralized Synthetic Obligations, Lead To Pervasive LossesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/21/2010 18:40 -0500
Even as increasingly desperate falling knife catchers try to convince someone, anyone to buy up some or all of their shares of BP stock, which is certainly on its way to a guaranteed doubling, tripling or more, the real investing community is ever more carefully looking at the worst case, and its implications. Said implications would be vast, and in addition to wiping out billions in capital from BPs direct counterparties which are already limiting their BP exposure, a topic we touched upon briefly previously, would also impair indirect holders of pre-packaged securitized BP exposure. Today Moody's provides an analysis of which CSOs (just like CDOs but packed purely with synthetic products - think Goldman's Abacus) would be impaired should BP go bankrupt. The rating agency does not stop there, and also analyzes what a bankruptcy of BP peers Halliburton, Anadarko Petroleum, Transocean Inc., and Cameron International would look like, and who would be wiped out. Below are the results, which upon further analysis will likely indicate total loss potential well beyond BP's total outstanding debt exposure.
China's Trade Balance By Country, And Why The FX Action Is Less Of A Deal Than The Media Will Have You BelieveSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/21/2010 11:31 -0500
As every kitchen sink appears to have a definitive opinion on the impact on the CNY rebalance, we would like to step back for a second and present a historical chart of the country's trade balances not only in total, but by individual country. As the chart shows, and as David Rosenberg also highlights, providing a blanket summary as to the impact of a CNY revaluation is a rather foolhardy thing: while China may enjoy a positive trade surplus with the US and EU, it certainly has a trade deficit with some other key producer countries, namely Korea ($61 billion LTM), Japan ($47 billion), Taiwan ($79 billion), and Australia ($27 billion). So while it could be argued that the US and EU's manufacturing sectors benefit from a stronger Yuan, what happens to the exports of the traditional Chinese partners? Absent the PBoC going full tilt and scaling up its imports across the board, there will be some very unhappy traditional Chinese trade counterparts. Although in this age, when even presumably smart economists beckon to "Spend now, save tomorrow", why bother with something as simple as the Capital to Current account equality. China should buy up everything, and use reverse money or something to then reinvest the reverse proceeds from all the exports into sovereign bonds... or something.
If there is one person in this world who has less credibility than the Goblin in chief, Ben Bernanke, it has got to be the Goblin emeritus, or the man who spawned the monetary policy that will eventually destroy the world. Which is why when we read Alan Greenspan's Op-ed in the WSJ, we cringed, as we actually agree with pretty much most of what he is saying. It may be time to reevaluate our stance on the world: is Goldman just a bunch of really nice guys? Are HFTs just altruistic liquidity providers? Is prop trading not just legalized frontrunning at a massive scale? Will the US hit one quadrillion in debt with 0.01% on the 30 Year? Will Dennis Kneale refute the theory of relativity? The doubt has now set in... But seriously, who but Krugman (and 99% of tenured economists) could read the following and disagree: "The United States, and most of the rest of the developed world, is in need of a tectonic shift in fiscal policy...With huge deficits currently having no evident effect on either
inflation or long-term interest rates, the budget constraints of the
past are missing. It is little comfort that the dollar is still the
least worst of the major fiat currencies. But the inexorable rise in
the price of gold indicates a large number of investors are seeking a
safe haven beyond fiat currencies." and this "Perceptions of a large U.S. borrowing capacity are misleading."
Gold moved higher overnight, pushing past a close of $1248.70 to $1251.50, in striking distance of gold’s all time high (for the August contract). Investors remain jittery about the impending stress tests and while transparency can reassure the market not knowing the specific parameters of the test may actually be creating more nervousness. These stress tests will need to account for the possibility of sovereign default to be taken seriously and may need to be much more versatile than the ones Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner used 2 years ago. A bank failure would seriously undermine confidence but the perception of an inadequate test could be equally damaging. It’s beginning to look like the precious metals markets are getting the hint. If ETFs are filing new shelf offerings in anticipation of demand, and that announcement in and of itself creates the interest for demand, and gold will have to be bought when those secondary offerings are launched, then gold should go higher. ZeroHedge said it well yesterday, “In fact, if those who claim that ETF are among the primary sources of gold demand currently, such reindexing is now creating a positive feedback loop, whereby daily record gold prices are forcing the ETFs to purchase more and more gold to retain a mandated NAV, which in turn is leading to even higher prices on the margin.” Can Giffen Good qualities be far behind?
With all of the brouhaha over BP and the oil spill, how many analysts and investors truly took the time to calculate the probability of actual insolvency. It is clear that the liabilities from the spill has been understated and underestimated multiple times. Here is an empirical, objective analysis of where BP, and by default, APC stands in terms of the potential for bankruptcy.
I give this one less than a month.
I hope that this response will dispel some of the myths and misinformation surrounding hyperinflation, Gold and our paper money system...