Posts Tagged ‘Rating Agencies’

Chinese Banks Face Default Risk on 23% of $1.1 Trillion Loans; Chinese Rating Agency Criticizes Moody’s, Fitch, S&P

Chinese Banks Face Default Risk on 23% of $1.1 Trillion Loans; Chinese Rating Agency Criticizes Moody’s, Fitch, S&P

Courtesy of Mish 

Here is an interesting pair of stories at odds with each other, the first article is about problem loans at Chinese banks, the second is about a rating agency mud fight.

Bloomberg reports Chinese Banks See Risks in 23% of $1.1 Trillion Loans

Chinese banks may struggle to recoup about 23 percent of the 7.7 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) they’ve lent to finance local government infrastructure projects, according to a person with knowledge of data collected by the nation’s regulator.

About half of all loans need to be serviced by secondary sources including guarantors because the ventures can’t generate sufficient revenue, the person said, declining to be identified because the information is confidential. The China Banking Regulatory Commission has told banks to write off non-performing project loans by the end of this year, the person said.

The nation’s five-largest banks, including Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., plan to raise as much as $53.5 billion to replenish capital after the sector extended a record $1.4 trillion in credit last year.

“In China now, it is the same as the people getting loans in Phoenix here in the U.S. three years ago,” said Vikas Pershad, chief executive officer of Chicago-based Veda Investments LLC. “People who want money get money, and then they all lose track of it.”

Local governments set up the financing vehicles to fund projects such as highways and airports due to limits on their ability to directly borrow money. The central government this year restricted borrowing on concern money isn’t being used for viable projects.

“The issue is symptomatic of the way the stimulus package was rolled out in 2008,” said Nicholas Consonery, Asia specialist at the Eurasia Group. “It is difficult for local governments to finance these projects. It is written under the Chinese constitution that local governments cannot offer their own debt.”

Chinese Rating Agency Criticizes Moody’s, Fitch, S&P

The Financial Times reports China rating agency condemns rivals

The head of China’s largest credit rating agency has slammed his western counterparts for causing the global financial crisis and said that as the world’s largest creditor nation China should have a bigger say in how governments and their debt are rated.

“The western rating agencies are politicised and highly ideological and they


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Congratulations, You Idiots, You Broke the Bond Market

Congratulations, You Idiots, You Broke the Bond Market

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant

 pic credit: snphillips via Etsy

h/t WC Varones who beat me to it

It smells like Sarbanes-Oxley: a poorly thought-out, bureaucracy-heavy piece of garbage that inconveniences everyone but the legislators who want to get reelected by making it appear as though they are effectively doing their jobs. I’m waiting patiently for someone to say there is a PCAOB of rating agencies buried in this financial reform beast (I still have yet to read the entire thing but hey, I’m probably through more of it than the asshats who voted for it ever got) and not at all surprised to hear that it’s already creating unintended drama.

WSJ:

The nation’s three dominant credit-ratings providers have made an urgent new request of their clients: Please don’t use our credit ratings.

The odd plea is emerging as the first consequence of the financial overhaul that is to be signed into law by President Obama on Wednesday. And it already is creating havoc in the bond markets, parts of which are shutting down in response to the request.

Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings are all refusing to allow their ratings to be used in documentation for new bond sales, each said in statements in recent days. Each says it fears being exposed to new legal liability created by the landmark Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

The new law will make ratings firms liable for the quality of their ratings decisions, effective immediately. The companies say that, until they get a better understanding of their legal exposure, they are refusing to let bond issuers use their ratings.

I remind dear reader that Congress may appear absolutely clueless but actually knows more than we give them credit for. I’m fairly certain the jackasses who wrote the thing knew exactly what can of worms they were opening at the time.

WSJ continues:

That is important because some bonds, notably those that are made up of consumer loans, are required by law to include ratings in their official documentation. That means new bond sales in the $1.4 trillion market for mortgages, autos, student loans and credit cards could effectively shut down.

There have been no new asset-backed bonds put on sale this week, in stark contrast to last week, when


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THREE THINGS I THINK I THINK

THREE THINGS I THINK I THINK

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

  • Are the problems in Europe having a real impact on corporations yet?  Peter Boockvar at Miller Tabak has a smattering of opinions:
  • The new big question for the US economy is of course what impact the prospect of European weakness will have on our growth. While its still early on and thus uncertain what the impact will be, here are some comments today from some US co’s: “DOW ceo says seeing strong demand in Europe.” The ceo also said “China is still very robust.” “GM sees euro zone effect to be neutral.” Warren Buffet said “European crisis not yet threatening Berkshire.” Avnet, a large distributor of computer and related products, said at a conference today that they are not seeing any impact on demand right now from Europe.

    I expect to hear a lot of this during the upcoming earnings season.  CEO’s will be a bit more cautious, but I don’t think we’re anywhere near experiencing the sort of negativity that will put a serious damper on the upcoming earnings season.  On the other hand, with high second half expectations already built into estimates it should not be shocking to see a less than optimistic (or at least cautious) outlooks from most companies.

  • The hypocrisy of Warren Buffett just never ceases to amaze.  Regular readers know I think Buffett is one of the most misunderstood investors of all-time.  He has sold his folksy image to the American public and they’ve swallowed it up like it was a delicious Cherry Coke.   This time, Buffett is defending the ratings companies.  Meanwhile, FCIC Chairman Phil Agelides (and just about every other rational American) thinks the ratings agencies played a central role in misleading investors.  This fact is plain as day to anyone who doesn’t own millions of dollars worth of their stock.  This is the second major blow to the Buffett ego (and portfolio) in as many months (Goldman Sachs of course being the first).  Are investors beginning to see Buffett for what he truly is – just another Wall Street banker who just happens to live closer to a corn field than a skyscraper?
  • A reader recently asked me what I think of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  I wrote the following:

“The…
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Oracle Of Omaha Honors Subpoena

Oracle Of Omaha Honors Subpoena

International CEOs Attend Summit At Microsoft Campus

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker 

So much for "transparency", "fair dealing" and similar.

Warren Buffett was "invited" to testify before the FCIC today.  He declined. 

Now one must understand that when a Congressionally-authorized panel "invites" you to appear, you’re not really being asked.  Right behind said invitation, should you refuse, is nearly-always a subpoena.

Buffett, believing that he has no duty to actually talk about what happened (especially with the ratings agencies of which he has, until fairly recently, held a major stake in via Moody’s), decided to say "nuts" to the invitation.

That in turn led to a subpoena, as expected. 

True to form of a snubbed "King" (remember, there’s kings and there is everyone else – the law applies only to the "everyone else") Buffett has failed to provide any sort of prepared testimony in advance to the FCIC.  That’s a snub too – it is common practice, and considered good form, to provide a written document containing your opening testimony a day or two before you appear so that the panel is prepared to respond to the gist of your comments.

Buffett, of course, deigned to schedule an interview with Tout TV just before going on, it has been announced.  So rather than provide his testimony to the Congress, he will instead give it to CNBS and allow them to spin it into whatever they’d like just before going in the dock.

That’s nice.

The oligarchs are such a sniveling pack of frauds.  If there’s nothing to be disclosed of importance, why not show up at…
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Buffett Defends the Indefensible: Goldman Sachs and Rating Agencies; Goldman’s Sweetheart Deal With Buffett Revisited

Buffett Defends the Indefensible: Goldman Sachs and Rating Agencies; Goldman’s Sweetheart Deal With Buffett Revisited

Maria Shriver's 2008 Women's Conference

Courtesy of Mish

In the midst of the stock market crash, Warren Buffett got a great deal on Goldman Sachs preferreds. Those preferreds are making him $15 a second.

I do not fault Buffett one second for taking that deal. It seemed like a great deal at the time, and it was. The problem is, it’s important to distinguish between a deal good for his shareholders, and the integrity of Goldman Sachs.

Sadly, Warren Buffett is now caught in no man’s land, unable or unwilling to see the difference.

With that backdrop, please consider Buffett strongly defends Goldman; Berkshire net up.

Speaking at Berkshire’s annual meeting, Buffett also said Berkshire swung to a $3.63 billion first-quarter profit, compared with a year-earlier $1.53 billion loss, helped by an improving economy and gains from investments and derivatives.

Buffett said he did not hold against Goldman the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission civil fraud lawsuit alleging the bank hid from investors that securities underlying a risky debt transaction were chosen by Paulson & Co, a hedge fund firm that was betting they would lose value.

News that investigators opened a criminal probe into Goldman has led to increased speculation about Blankfein’s job security, but Buffett expressed strong support.

Asked who should run Goldman if Blankfein were replaced, Buffett said: "If Lloyd had a twin brother, I would vote for him. I have never given that a thought."

The $5 billion investment consists of preferred shares that throw off $500 million in annual dividends, plus warrants to buy an equal amount of common stock. Goldman can buy back, or "call," the preferreds at a premium.

GOLDMAN, DERIVATIVES

"We love the investment," Buffett said. "Our preferreds are paying $15 a second, so as we sit here, ‘Tick, tick, tick, tick,’ that’s $15 every second," he said.

Buffett added that the SEC lawsuit was not a serious enough event to raise reputational issues that would call into question the Berkshire investment.

That last sentence is complete nonsense at best. At worst it is a blatant lie.

Goldman’s reputation most assuredly has been called into question by the SEC. Moreover, Janet Tavakoli calls it into question every day of the week. So do many others. Arguably so did the the market, judging from its reaction.…
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The New York State Treasury Just Came Up $2 Billion Short, And Is Resorting To An Accounting Move To Avoid Insolvency

The New York State Treasury Just Came Up $2 Billion Short, And Is Resorting To An Accounting Move To Avoid Insolvency

clusterstock, governor PatersonCourtesy of Joe Weisenthal at Clusterstock 

Ok, we got through the financial crisis. We’re getting through the European crisis. Jobs are coming back. Shippers are bringing boats back onto line because they’re seeing increased trade. 

Everything’s great.

BUT there’s one looming crisis, and that is the states.

According to The New York Times, Albany has just learned that state coffers are coming in $2 billion lighter than expected.

As such, in order to avoid default, the state will be delaying $500 million in income tax rebates. Governor Paterson says he "apologizes" for the inconvenience.

A question is: where are the ratings agencies pointing out the obvious, that New York State debt is hardly secure? Are they afraid of the cascade of sales from bullish muni fund managers forced to liquidate non-agency debt? Would they not be downgrading a company that suddently found itself $2 billion in the hole?

Please. 


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What’s Really Happening in Real Estate

See also my recent interview with a real estate developer whose thoughts are similar to those expressed in Michael’s article below. - Ilene

What’s Really Happening in Real Estate

Courtesy of Michael Panzner at Financial Armageddon

Vacancy Rates On Manhattan Commercial Space Rise Sharply

My friend George Ure, publisher of Urban Survival (and a related blog of the same name), as well as the Peoplenomics subscription newsletter, has posted an eye-opening commentary, "Coping: With What No One Wants To Say" (excerpted below), detailing industry insiders’ perspectives on what is really happening in the real estate market.

While the news that things aren’t getting any better in CRE and RRE won’t be much of a surprise to those who’ve actually been paying attention, it would seem to represent further evidence that the "experts" and powers that be in Washington and on Wall Street (along with their enablers in the mainstream media) are either liars, fools, or crack addicts — or some combination of all three:

Every so often, a group of major real estate developers get together for a conference where folks try to look ahead. In order to protect my source, I won’t tell you which real estate/developer conference it was, but I’ve been given permission by my source to post this high-level view of what the people who put up real dough to develop properties are seeing.  This is the info that I talked about with Jeff Rense on his radio program last night — Read it and weep:

"This week I attended the [serious players] fall conference. [serious players] is the top real estate industry group in the world. All the most senior people in the industry.

1. Not one expert was willing to predict what things will look like in 3 years other than they think it will be better.

2. One top economist said if you are a developer find another career for the next 3 years-there is nothing to do and it may be 5 years.

3. Recovery will be slow. Unemployment will not drop back to more normal levels until 2014. First they will bring back people on 4 day weeks to 5 days, then they will increase hours form the


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The Great American Bankruptcy

Here’s an excellent documentary video called "The Great American Bankruptcy."  H/t Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge, who h/tipped Ian.  William K. Black, a white collar criminologist, discusses the financial crisis and our pseudo-capitalistic fraud-ridden system. - Ilene

William Kurt Black is an American lawyer, academic, author, and a former bank regulator. Black’s expertise is in white-collar crime, public finance, regulation, and other topics in law and economics. He developed the concept of "control fraud", in which a business or national executive uses the entity he or she controls as a "weapon" to commit fraud.  

On April 3, 2009 Black appeared on "Bill Moyers Journal" on PBS and provided critical commentary on the U.S. banking crisis. In the interview with Bill Moyers, Black asserted that the banking crisis in the United States that started in late 2008 is essentially a big Ponzi scheme; that the "liar loans" and other financial tricks were essentially illegal frauds; and that the triple-A ratings given to these loans was part of a criminal cover-up.

More at Wikipedia here.  

 


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Calpers Sues The Rating Agencies For Bad Investment Advice

Tom Lindmark discusses the lawsuits resulting from losses due in part to rating agencies’ seemingly negligent advice. I don’t fully agree with his conclusion, though do in part – there’s plenty of responsibility to spread around, and a "day in court" is one way to divide it up. – Ilene

Courtesy of Tom Lindmark, BUT THEN WHAT?

Calpers Sues The Rating Agencies For Bad Investment Advice

rating agencies, lawsuits, bad advice

Just the first of many lawsuits of this type that will be coming down the pike but this one has some rich irony to it.

Calpers, the California retirement system manager, has filed suit against Moody’s, Standard & Poors and Fitch claiming that they are responsible for over $1 billion of losses it incurred in investments in structured investment vehicles which owned exotic financial assets.

From the NYT:

The suit from the California Public Employees Retirement System, or Calpers, a public fund known for its shareholder activism, is the latest sign of renewed scrutiny over the role that credit ratings agencies played in providing positive reports about risky securities issued during the subprime boom that have lost nearly all of their value.

The lawsuit, filed late last week in California Superior Court in San Francisco, is focused on a form of debt called structured investment vehicles, highly complex packages of securities made up of a variety of assets, including subprime mortgages. Calpers bought $1.3 billion of them in 2006; they collapsed in 2007 and 2008.

Calpers maintains that in giving these packages of securities the agencies’ highest credit rating, the three top ratings agencies — Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch — “made negligent misrepresentation” to the pension fund, which provides retirement benefits to 1.6 million public employees in California.

The AAA ratings given by the agencies “proved to be wildly inaccurate and unreasonably high,” according to the suit, which also said that the methods used by the rating agencies to assess these packages of securities “were seriously flawed in conception and incompetently applied.”

OK, that’s standard stuff and we will see a lot more of it. Who prevails is an open question, however, I think that if the tide does turn against the rating agencies then the legal actions are most likely money down a dry hole. There’s no way that the agencies have the funds to cover a wave of negative judgements. But here’s the most intriguing…
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Zero Hedge

Yuan Tumbles After Navarro Warns "No Indication That Tariffs Will Be Delayed"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

While US equity futures have barely dipped, offshore yuan has tumbled - erasing the earlier optimistic spike - after White House Trade Advisor Peter Navarro told Fox News that he has "no indication that December tariffs will not be put on."

Additionally Navarro said that China "was trying to shape the narrative on trade talks to affect the futures market," and that is up to the Chinese if a trade deal can get done.

Yuan erased all of the gains from China's comments this morning.....



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Phil's Favorites

In its anti-'Medicare for All' push, the health insurance industry pulls from an old playbook

 

In its anti-'Medicare for All' push, the health insurance industry pulls from an old playbook

If you’re strangled by health care costs, are you really ‘free’? jwblinn/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Burton St. John III, University of Colorado Boulder

As a debate continues to rage within the Democratic Party over “Medicare for All,” the health care industry has quietly girded itself to fight the elimination of for-profit health care.

In the summer of 2018, trade groups rep...



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Insider Scoop

5 Stocks Moving In Tuesday's After-Hours Session

Courtesy of Benzinga

Gainers
  • Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: OLLI) shares are up 11% after reporting a third-quarter earnings beat. Earnings came in at 41 cents per share, beating estimates by 3 cents. Sales came in at $327.049 million, beating estimates by $4.549 million.
  • Dave & Buster’s Entertainment Inc (NASDAQ: ...


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Kimble Charting Solutions

Are Bank Stocks Sending Bullish Message To Investors?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Just as the health of the banking sector is a big deal to the economy, it’s equally important to the S&P 500 (SPY) and broader stock market.

Although the bull market has grinding higher, it’s awaiting confirmation from the banks and banks stocks.

Today’s chart is of the S&P 500 Bank ETF (KBE) and shows how the banks are at an important juncture in time and price.

KBE (the bank ETF) is testing the upper end of a falling channel, offering bulls an opportunity for a breakout – see point (2).

The banks were at a similar juncture nearl...



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Digital Currencies

The Road To Retirement: Millennials Put Their Faith In Bitcoin But Goldman Says Go With Gold

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

"Drop Gold" - the ever-present tagline of Grayscale's Bitcoin Trust TV commercial - appears to be working its magic on a certain cohort of society.

2019 has seen assets under management in GBTC soar...

Source: Bloomberg

And for Millennials, according to the lates...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Chart Shows the Fed Ramping Up Not QE - Funding Almost All Treasury Issuance

 

Chart Shows the Fed Ramping Up Not QE – Funding Almost All Treasury Issuance

Courtesy of Lee Adler, Wall Street Examiner 

The Fed is ramping up “Not QE” .

The Fed bought $2.2 billion in notes today in its POMO, “not QE,” operations. Actually $2.15 billion because they sold back a whole $50 million. Must have been a little glitch in the force.

This brings the Fed’s total outright purchases of Treasuries to $170 billion since it started Not QE, on September 17.

It also did $107 billion in gross new repo loans to Primary Dealers to buy Tre...



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Chart School

Silver stock taking the sector higher

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

As the US economy begins to show late cycle characteristics like: GDP slowing, higher inflation, higher wage costs, CEO confidence slump. 

Previous Post: Gold Stocks Review

The big players in the market are looking for the next swing off good value lows. This means more money is finding it way into the gold and silver sector, and it is said gold and silver stocks actually lead the metal prices.

The cycle below shows prices are ready to move in the months ahead (older chart re posted).


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Members' Corner

Sacha Baron Cohen Uses ADL Speech to Tear Apart Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook

 

Sacha Baron Cohen Uses ADL Speech to Tear Apart Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook

By Matt Wilstein

Excerpt:

Sacha Baron Cohen accepted the International Leadership Award at the Anti-Defamation League’s Never is Now summit on anti-Semitism and hate Thursday. And the comedian and actor used his keynote speech to single out the one Jewish-American who he believes is doing the most to facilitate “hate and violence” in America: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

He began with a joke at the Trump administration’s expense. “Thank you, ADL, for this recognition and your work in fighting racism, hate and bigotry,” Baron Cohen said, according to his prepared...



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The Technical Traders

VIX Warns Of Imminent Market Correction

Courtesy of Technical Traders

The VIX is warning that a market peak may be setting up in the global markets and that investors should be cautious of the extremely low price in the VIX. These extremely low prices in the VIX are typically followed by some type of increased volatility in the markets.

The US Federal Reserve continues to push an easy money policy and has recently begun acquiring more dept allowing a deeper move towards a Quantitative Easing stance. This move, along with investor confidence in the US markets, has prompted early warning signs that the market has reached near extreme levels/peaks. 

Vix Value Drops Before Monthly Expiration

When the VIX falls to levels below 12~13, this typically v...



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Biotech

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

A vial of insulin. Prices for the drug, crucial for those with diabetes, have soared in recent years. Oleksandr Nagaiets/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Jeffrey Bennett, Vanderbilt University

About 7.4 million people ...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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