OTC

Gold Continues To Be Money: CME Europe Now Accepts Gold As Clearing Collateral

Over two years ago, the US Clearing house of the CME, the world's largest derivatives marketplace, had no choice but to allow gold as collateral. Why: because as we showed some days ago, while in Europe bank deposits are expansive, in the US, financial system funding relies primarily on mythical assets as liabilities, i.e., those that exist primarily due to faith in the system, something which has been in short supply, as a result of which the $15 trillion (down from a peak of $23 trillion) shadow banking system long used to fund regular operations, has been imploding.  Couple that with a scarcity of other (re)pledgeable assets which in the US do not, unlike the UK, have an infinite rehypothecation chain, and one can see why back in October 2009 the CME had no choice but to accept gold as eligible collateral for clearing purposes. As of minutes ago, the European arm of CME Clearing has folded too, and has released a press release stating that it to0 "has extended the range of eligible collateral types to include gold bullion." Of course, this is the same gold bullion that Germany will be seeking to "repo" in exchange for sovereign bail outs as Europe's periphery continues to run out of endogenous money and has to increasingly rely on the benevolence of the Bundesbank. For now all we need to know is that another exchange just threw in the towel and admitted that contrary to Bernanke's stern position, gold is, indeed money.

Hedging Europe's Short-Selling Ban (Again)

While repeating the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, the Italian and now Spanish regulators, in their wisdom, have banned short-selling once again (supposedly not just on stocks but OTC derivatives also) - because, of course, this is all speculation and not just real money exiting the increasingly encumbered 'bail-in-able' worst banks in the world. When will the long-selling ban begin and what does this S-S ban mean? Very little in reality - within a few days of the last ban, following a very short-term squeeze - European banks were back below the pre-short-sale-ban level as we noted here and here. The trouble with the ban is that managers will look to hedge the implicit stress that this means those banks are under (that may otherwise be manipulated out of the price). How to do this? Well, last time, it was Morgan Stanley that was the most correlated on the way down and was the worst performer immediately after the ban began - and this time seems like it should be no different. Already in the pre-market, MS is -4%, notably underperforming its peers.

Spain Follows Italy In Banning Short Selling

Moments after we reported the announcement of the Italian short-selling ban we had a simple question:

We now have our answer, as Spain has jumped on the banwagonTM

  • SPAIN STOCK MARKET REGULATOR BANS SHORT SELLING
  • SPAIN'S SHORT SELLING BAN INCLUDES DERIVATIVES, OTC INSTRUMENTS
  • SPAIN'S SHORT SELLING BAN COULD BE EXTENDED BEYOND 3 MONTHS

And just because in Europe one has to constantly outdo everyone else, the Spanish short selling ban is on all stocks, not just financials.

Morgan Stanley With Huge Q2 Miss, Posts Abysmal Results

Morgan Stanley reported earnings this morning, and showed that unless one has massive loan loss reserves to release, US banks are in big trouble. The firm just reported $0.28 EPS including DVA benefit, on expectations of $0.29. But it was the top line that got blown out, with the firm reporting $7.0 billion in revenue including the DVA fudge, but more importantly $6.6 billion. The expectations was for a $7.58 billion top line: a 14% miss. The top line number plunged over 25% compared to a year ago. The main reason for the collapse in profit: the virtual disappearance of any cash from combined fixed income, commodity and equity sales and trading, which imploded from $3.7 billion a year ago, to just $1.9 billion this quarter. And while the company slashed comp in Q2 as was to be expected following such horrible results, by over 33% to $1.4 billion from $2.2 billion, here is what most are focused on: "As a result of a rating agency downgrade of the Firm's long-term credit rating in June, the amount of additional collateral requirements or other payments that could be called by counterparties, exchanges or clearing organizations under the terms of certain OTC trading agreements and certain other agreements was approximately $6.3 billion, of which $2.9 billion was called and posted at June 30, 2012." In other words, the company has yet to post more than half of its contractually required collateral. In the aftermath of these atrocious earnings, we wish them all the best in getting access to this cash.

Criminal Inquiry Shifts To JPMorgan's Mispricing Of Hundreds Of Billions In CDS: Is Dimon The Next Diamond?

On the last day of May, when we first learned via Bloomberg that there was even the scantest likelihood that JPM may have been massaging its CDS marks within the (London-based of course) CIO organization - the backbone of hundreds of billions in notional exposure, and thus a huge counterfeited benefit to trader bonuses and corporate earnings - we wrote, "The Second Act Of The JPM CIO Fiasco Has Arrived - Mismarking Hundreds Of Billions In Credit Default Swaps" in which we explained precisely how this activity would and did take place, precisely why other traders caught doing the same are on the verge of being thrown in jail, precisely why everyone else does it, and precisely why the biggest CDS self-reporting and client/banker owned-organization (this is where images of Libor should appear), MarkIt, may well be implicated in everything - very much in the same way that the BBA is the heart of Lie-borgate. Because unlike all other allegations of impropriety, most of which rely on Level 2 and Level 3 assets whose valuations are in the eye of the oh so very sophisticated beholder (in this case JPM) who has complex DCFs and speaks confidently when explaining marks to naive, stupid outsiders (in other words baffles with bullshit), when it comes to one of the last places where Mark to Market is still applicable and used: the OTC CDS market, and where daily P&L records are kept, it will take any regulator, enforcer, or criminal investigator precisely 1 minute to find out if there was fraud, or gambling, going on here. Most importantly, it opened up the firm to a criminal investigation. Which as Reuters reports, is precisely what has now happened.

The CME On Gold As Collateral And Its Unsurprising London-Based Custodian

While the increasing use of gold as accepted explicit (not implied) collateral has long been known, especially with an increasing push by Germany to receive gold as the ultimate guarantee backstop of the only viable Eurozone extension  scheme, the Redemption Fund, the other side's perspective, that of the exchanges has been missing. Now, courtesy of a report by Harriet Hunnable from the CME, titled "Some Insights into Changes in the Gold OTC market", we can see just how the status quo views gold's rising role in a world increasingly short of good collateral (even if, as the Chairman says, it is anything but money). And yes: that the CME has its gold custodian facilities with JPM London, where it is subsequently infinitely rehypothecatable and where it serves to restock the occasiona physical shortage here and there, does not surprise us at all.

JPM Admits CIO Group Consistently Mismarked Hundreds Of Billions In CDS In Effort To Artificially Boost Profits

Back on May 30 we wrote "The Second Act Of The JPM CIO Fiasco Has Arrived - Mismarking Hundreds Of Billions In Credit Default Swaps" in which we made it abundantly clear that due to the Over The Counter nature of CDS one can easily make up whatever marks one wants in order to boost the P&L impact of a given position, this is precisely  what JPM was doing in order to boost its P&L? As of moments ago this too has been proven to be the case. From a just filed very shocking 8K which takes the "Whale" saga to a whole new level. To wit: 'the recently discovered information raises questions about the integrity of the trader marks, and suggests that certain individuals may have been seeking to avoid showing the full amount of the losses being incurred in the portfolio during the first quarter. As a result, the Firm is no longer confident that the trader marks used to prepare the Firm's reported first quarter results (although within the established thresholds) reflect good faith estimates of fair value at quarter end."

Shhh... Don't Tell Anyone; Central Banks Manipulate Rates

It should come as no surprise to anyone that major commercial banks manipulate Libor submissions for their own benefit. As Jefferies David Zervos writes this weekend, money-center commercial banks did not want the “truth” of market prices to determine their loan rates. Rather, they wanted an oligopolistically controlled subjective survey rate to be the basis for their lending businesses. When there are only 16 players – a “gentlemen’s agreement” is relatively easy to formulate. That is the way business has been transacted in the broader OTC lending markets for nearly 30 years. The most bizarre thing to come out of the Barclays scandal, Zervos goes on to say, is the attack on the Bank of England and Paul Tucker. Is it really a scandal that central bank officials tried to affect interest rates? Absolutely NOT! That’s what they do for a living. Central bankers try to influence rates directly and indirectly EVERY day. That is their job. Congresses and Parliaments have given central banks monopoly power in the printing of money and the management of interest rate policy. These same law makers did not endow 16 commercial banks with oligopoly power to collude on the rate setting process in their privately created, over the counter, publicly backstopped marketplaces.

Barclays Wins Euromoney's Best Global Debt, Best Investment Bank, And Best Global Flow House Of The Year Awards

Financial magazine Euromoney, which in addition to being a subscription-based publication appears to also rely on bank advertising, has just held its 2012 Awards for Excellence dinner event. And in the "you can't make this up" category we have Barclays winning the Best Global Debt House, Best Investment Bank, And Best Global Flow House Of The Year Awards. Specifically we learn that "the bank’s commitment to the US is exemplified by the addition of another global senior manager to the country – Tom Kalaris is now going to be splitting his time between New York and London as executive chairman of the Americas as well as overseeing wealth management. Jerry del Missier, who has overseen the corporate and investment bank through its Lehman integration and was recently appointed COO of the Barclays group, says the bank is well positioned. "We came out of the crisis in a stronger strategic position and that has allowed us to continue to win market share and build our franchise. Keep in mind that the US is the largest investment banking, wealth management, credit card and investment management market in the world, and in terms of fee share will remain the most dynamic economy in the world for many years. As a strong global, universal bank operating in a competitive environment that is undergoing significant retrenchment, we like our position." That said, with the Chairman, CEO and COO all now fired, just who was it who accepted the various award: the firm's LIBOR setting team? And if so, were they drinking Bollinger at the dinner?

Fed's John Williams Opens Mouth, Proves He Has No Clue About Modern Money Creation

There is a saying that it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. Today, the San Fran Fed's John Williams, and by proxy the Federal Reserve in general, spoke out, and once again removed all doubt that they have no idea how modern money and inflation interact. In a speech titled, appropriately enough, "Monetary Policy, Money, and Inflation", essentially made the case that this time is different and that no matter how much printing the Fed engages in, there will be no inflation. To wit: "In a world where the Fed pays interest on bank reserves, traditional theories that tell of a mechanical link between reserves, money supply, and, ultimately, inflation are no longer valid. Over the past four years, the Federal Reserve has more than tripled the monetary base, a key determinant of money supply. Some commentators have sounded an alarm that this massive expansion of the monetary base will inexorably lead to high inflation, à la Friedman.Despite these dire predictions, inflation in the United States has been the dog that didn’t bark." He then proceeds to add some pretty (if completely irrelevant) charts of the money multipliers which as we all know have plummeted and concludes by saying "Recent developments make a compelling case that traditional textbook views of the connections between monetary policy, money, and inflation are outdated and need to be revised." And actually, he is correct: the way most people approach monetary policy is 100% wrong. The problem is that the Fed is the biggest culprit, and while others merely conceive of gibberish in the form of three letter economic theories, which usually has the words Modern, or Revised (and why note Super or Turbo), to make them sound more credible, they ultimately harm nobody. The Fed's power to impair, however, is endless, and as such it bears analyzing just how and why the Fed is absolutely wrong.

Here We Go: Moody's Downgrade Is Out - Morgan Stanley Cut Only 2 Notches, To Face $6.8 Billion In Collateral Calls

Here we come:

  • MOODY'S CUTS 4 FIRMS BY 1 NOTCH
  • MOODY'S CUTS 10 FIRMS' RATINGS BY 2 NOTCHES
  • MOODY'S CUTS 1 FIRM BY 3 NOTCHES
  • MORGAN STANLEY L-T SR DEBT CUT TO Baa1 FROM A2 BY MOODY'S
  • MOODY'S CUTS MORGAN STANLEY 2 LEVELS, HAD SEEN UP TO 3
  • MORGAN STANLEY OUTLOOK NEGATIVE BY MOODY'S
  • MORGAN STANLEY S-T RATING CUT TO P-2 FROM P-1 BY MOODY'S
  • BANK OF AMERICA L-T SR DEBT CUT TO Baa2 BY MOODY'S;OUTLOOK NEG

So the reason for the delay were last minute negotiations, most certainly involving extensive monetary explanations, by Morgan Stanley's Gorman (potentially with Moody's investor Warren Buffett on the call) to get only a two notch downgrade. And Wall Street wins again.

Guest Post: Everything You Know About Markets Is Wrong?

The financial elite - using academe for intellectual cover - want you to believe that markets are efficient, as defined by the Efficient Market Theory (EMT). Neoliberal economic philosophy is based on the belief that neoclassical economic theory is correct. That is, that “markets are efficient”. Wall Street touts markets as trustworthy and infallible, but that faith is misplaced. Gullible US politicians believe that markets are efficient and defer to them. Therefore, US politicians abdicate their responsibility to manage the overall economy, and happily for them, receive Wall Street money. Mistakenly, the primary focus during the 2008 credit crisis is on fixing the financial markets (Wall Street banks) and not the “real economy.” The financial elite are using this “cover-up and pray” policy—hoping that rekindled “animal spirits” will bring the economy back in time to save the status quo. This is impossible because the trust is gone. The same sociopaths control the economy. A Federal Reserve zero interest rate policy (ZIRP), causing malinvestment, and monetizing the national debt with quantitative easing by the Fed, and austerity for the 99% to repay bad bank loans has not worked—and doing more of the same will not work—and defines insanity.

 

Apocalypse Europe: The Smell Of Draghi's Eau De Napalm

As we look forward to tomorrow's scorched-earth policy-fest from Draghi-et-al., Jefferies' David Zervos, in his typically understated manner, notes "I love the smell of napalm in the morning. We are back in the kill zone - Apocalypse Europe." There will be no more strategizing, no more war games, no more speeches imploring the politicians to act. This is the real deal - a full scale European led global financial crisis that requires immediate and aggressive response from the only entities with the authority to act in the world financial "theatre". We should all keep in mind that the Europeans have not been able to generate an effective response to their debt/deflation crisis as of yet, and of course it is having global consequences. This is why we are here again looking into the deflationary abyss. The ECB was only set up with a price stability mandate, and its leaders are hence much more constrained than Federal Reserve officials. Simply put, the European armies were not set up with effective weapons.