On war in Europe

"Even on the eve of war, however, there was still considerable optimism that the peace would hold. Europe had experienced several decades without a major war, and in the meantime, industrialization and relatively free international trade had produced rapidly rising standards of living. A war that would destroy the fruits of this progress seemed irrational.


The European Central Bank's recent LTRO programs have effected a significant increase in the amount of encumbered assets -- those pledged as collateral in repo transactions, central bank funding operations, and covered bond issuance as lenders increasingly demand over-collateralized borrowing arrangements to protect against credit risk -- on balance sheets across the pan-European banking system.

The BIS published a working paper estimating the costs of moving off-balance sheet derivatives trading to central exchanges in terms of daily margin requirements could be, for a dealer like Deutsche Bank, upwards of $8B, and for JPMorgan, $5B in times of volatility. The cost to the biggest 14 swaps dealers in terms of initial margins? Over $100B.

Newsflash: the Fed controls the economy. It's working on financial markets. Former Fed official and Treasury put-master Vincent Reinhart, who is now the chief U.S. economist at Morgan Stanley, says the only way QE3 doesn't happen is "if the economy surges or equity investors continue to embrace risk," in which case "the Fed would cheerfully keep its plans on the shelf." The only problem is it looks like we just had the "surge" and it didn't seem to impress the Federal Reserve, and every time they try to exit a buying program, the market tanks.