"London Gold Market Fixing Ltd., a company controlled by the five banks that administers the benchmark, has no permanent employees. A call from Bloomberg News was referred to Douglas Beadle, 68, a former Rothschild banker, who acts as a consultant to the company from his home in Caterham, a small commuter town 45 minutes south of London by train. Beadle declined to comment on the benchmark-setting process."
Courtesy of the revelations over the past year, one thing has been settled: the statement "Wall Street Manipulated Everything" is no longer in the conspiracy theorist's arsenal: it is now part of the factually accepted vernacular. And to summarize just how, who and where this manipulation takes places is the following series of charts from Bloomberg demonstrating Wall Street at its best - breaking the rules and making a killing.
- Philippines Left Reeling in Wake of Storm (WSJ)
- Khamenei controls massive financial empire built on property seizures (RTRS)
- Race to Bottom Resumes as Central Bankers Ease Anew (BBG)
- U.S. Postal Service to deliver Amazon packages on Sundays (LA Times)
- Obama Stocks Among Best After Re-Election as Rally Tested (BBG)
- Health-Law Rollout Weighs on Obama's Ratings, Agenda (WSJ)
- Twitter in Celebrity Spat With Facebook as Rivalry Builds (BBG)
- Iran deputy industry minister shot dead (AFP)
- Financier of Taliban-linked group shot dead in Pakistan (RTRS)
- Obama: The Lonely Guy (Vanity Fair)
With JPM having stolen the spotlight for every possible instance of fraud and market manipulation in the past year, it was easy to forget there are other prominent banks that engage in precisely the same deceptive practices as, well, everyone else. One such prominent bank is none other than everyone's old favorite bloodthirsty mollusc, Goldman Sachs, which in a filing reported that "currencies and commodities were added to a list of financial products and related activities that are subject to investigation. The filing also added options trading and technology systems and controls to the list." So, pretty much everything is being investigated.
A quarter after Goldman reported the highest per employee comp since the record bonus period just after the Lehman bankruptcy, when the average employee of the firm's then 31,700 workers made $431,956, the firm which once ruled the world proudly with tentacles running every important global central bank, was forced to slash employee comp by a whopping 35%, from $3.7 billion, a comp margin of 44% in Q3 2012 and roughly the same last quarter, to a tiny $2.4 billion, or a comp margin of just 35.4%, resulting in average trailing 12 month per employee (of which it had 32,600 in Q3 2013) accrued compensation of just $380,368, the lowest since Q2 2012.
Q. How worried are you that one morning the bond market has moved against the United States?
A. It’s virtually assured, the question is when and how. I don't know if it will be two years of five years but it will happen. It is a matter of time, the United States can’t borrow indefinitely. Over hundred years bankruptcies of country after country who thought they could get away with it because they had the reserve currency and the military power of the world. We are going to have fiscal discipline. It’s imposed upon us or we do the right thing and do it to ourselves the right way.... America knows the way, it doesn't have the will.
A few days ago many were shocked when JPM disclosed for the first time that in less than four years, or since 2010, Jamie Dimon's den of alleged criminals has reserved a mindblowing $28 billion toward legal expenses. In light of recent developments, investors may just want to round that number to a good, clean $30 billion, because as the WSJ just revealed, yet another JPMorgan market manipulator has emerged in a seemingly endless line of people whose shortcut to success at 270 Park Avenue has been to manipulate assorted markets, be it Libor, Credit Derivatives, Electricity, Aluminum, or Equities. We can now add FX to that, following news that one Richard "Dick" Usher, until 2010 at RBS, and since then JPM's London-based head of G10 spot trading, has been implicated in the infamous RBS FX London closing fax manipulation "chat sessions."
Five years later, while some are congratulating themselves on avoiding another depression, no one in Europe or the United States can claim that prosperity has returned. The financial system may be more stable than it was five years ago, but that is a low bar – back then, it was teetering on the edge of a precipice. Those in government and the financial sector who congratulate themselves on banks’ return to profitability and mild – though hard-won – regulatory improvements should focus on what still needs to be done. Some are pleased that the economy may have bottomed out. But, in any meaningful sense, an economy in which most people’s incomes are below their pre-2008 levels is still in recession. An The glass is, at most, only one-quarter full; for most people, it is three-quarters empty.
It just keeps getting worse and worse for Bill Ackman. A few weeks after the epic humiliation, not to mention even more epic losses, he suffered on his now defunct JCP long position (despite ample warnings by the likes of Zero Hedge who said long ago JCP is merely a melting icecube and fast-track Chapter 11/7 candidate) all those who predicted (such as Zero Hedge back in January) that an epic HLF short squeeze would result in the aftermath of Ackman's Herbalife short announcement leading to Ackman's ultimate capitulation, have been proven correct. Moments ago, in a letter to investors, Bill Ackman just announced that he has covered over 40% of his Herbalife short position, with his forced buy-in explaining the endless move higher in Herbalife stock in recent weeks. The explanation of being forced out of nearly half of his position is amusing: "we minimize the risk of so-called short squeezes or other technical attempts by market manipulators to force us to cover our position." So Ackman is forced out by his Prime Brokers so as not to be forced out by market manipulators? That's an interesting explanation for what is a far simple situation: booking your paper losses.
Silver continues to see strong store of value demand In India, the U.S. and elsewhere as buyers view the metal as cheap versus gold.
Silver’s fundamentals remain very sound, with a very small finite supply of above ground, investment grade silver coins and bars and robust and increasing industrial and store of value demand - particularly in Asia.
We continue to believe silver will rise to its real record high or inflation adjusted high of $140/oz in the coming years.
It is somehow fitting that on the day when even more undisputed evidence is revealed, surrounding the most brazen market manipulation scheme in history - one involving the "unmanipulable" Libor benchmark rate which serves as the foundation for hundreds of trillions in interest rate sensitive instruments - that the CFTC would also come out moments ago, and announce that in its long-running investigation of alleged manipulation in the silver market... there is absolutely nothing wrong.
Two hours prior to the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) release, gold was trading below $1,300/oz but started to gradually tick higher prior to surging higher on heavy volume, minutes prior to the release of the FOMC statement.
FX markets, stock, bond and commodity markets did not see similar large moves.
Even as JPMorgan seems set to put its London Whale troubles behind it with a nearly $1 billion imminent settlement, while at the same time throwing two mid-level traders at NY prosecutors and washing its hands of the whole tempest in a teapot affair, a curious snag has appeared. The CFTC, which in the past has never had a problem with promptly settling any market manipulation abuse with any bank in exchange for a small cash-greased slap on the hand, is suddenly a sticking point in JPM's ability to just walk away from the biggest prop trading Snafu in history. As WSJ reports, "the CFTC is focusing on the bank's increasingly aggressive trades made over several months early last year, when it added tens of billions of dollars to its derivatives positions—contracts tied to investment-grade corporate bonds, these people say. The CFTC is likely to use new powers granted by the Dodd-Frank law that allow it to charge firms for recklessly manipulating markets, say people familiar with the agency's thinking."
- Fed likely to reduce bond buying, pass policy milestone (Reuters)
- Fall in Home Loans Pushing Fed Away From Taper in Mortgage Bonds (BBG)
- Russia says U.N. report on Syria attack preconceived, political (Reuters)
- China House Price Surge Raises Prospect of Steps to Cool Market (FT)
- Cyprus Plans to Complete End of All Capital Controls... some time in 2014 (FT)
- GOP Reworks Budget Terms (WSJ)
- U.S. Navy was warned that Washington shooter 'heard voices' (Reuters)
- Berlusconi Impeachment Vote Looms (WSJ)
- Ageing could weaken central banks, spur rate volatility (Reuters)