Posts Tagged ‘solvency crisis’

Has the Fed Painted Itself Into a Corner?

Has the Fed Painted Itself Into a Corner?

Courtesy of Yves Smith

[unclescrooge.jpg]A couple of articles in the Wall Street Journal, reporting on a conference at the Boston Fed, indicates that some people at the Fed may recognize that the central bank has boxed itself in more than a tad.

The first is on the question of whether the Fed is in a liquidity trap. A lot of people, based on the experience of Japan, argued that resolving and restructuring bad loans was a necessary to avoid a protracted economic malaise after a severe financial crisis. But the Fed has consistently clung to the myth that the financial meltdown of 2007-2008 was a liquidity, not a solvency crisis. So rather than throw its weight behind real financial reform and cleaning up bank balance sheets (which would require admitting the obvious, that its policies prior to the crisis were badly flawed), it instead has treated liquidity as the solution to any and every problem.

Some commentators were concerned when the Fed lowered policy rates below 2%, but there we so many other experiments implemented during the acute phases that this particular shift has been pretty much overlooked. But overly low rates leaves the Fed nowhere to go if demand continues to be slack, as it is now.

Note that the remarks by Chicago Fed president John Evans still hew to conventional forms: the Fed needs to create inflation expectations, and needs to be prepared to overshoot.

This seems to ignore some pretty basic considerations. First, the US is suffering from a great deal of unemployment and excess productive capacity. The idea that inflation fears are going to lead to a resumption of spending (ie anticipatory spending because the value of money will fall in the future) isn’t terribly convincing. Labor didn’t have much bargaining power before the crisis, and it has much less now. Some might content the Fed is already doing a more than adequate job of feeding commodities inflation (although record wheat prices are driven by largely by fundamentals).

From the Wall Street Journal, “Fed’s Evans: U.S. in ‘Bona Fide Liquidity Trap’”:

The Federal Reserve may have to let inflation overshoot levels consistent with price stability as part of a broader attempt to help stimulate the economy, a U.S. central bank official said Saturday.

“The U.S. economy is best described as being in a bona


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Relief rally as Eurozone liquidity issues fade; solvency and contagion still at issue

Relief rally as Eurozone liquidity issues fade; solvency and contagion still at issue

Businessman on teeter totter with giant hand

Courtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns 

As in 2008, when global financial institutions were under attack, we are now facing a solvency crisis. This time the issue is Eurozone sovereign governments. 

Make no bones about it, the EU’s trillion dollar gambit has worked and a melt-up is underway because near-term liquidity issues have been put to rest.  But, this is not a liquidity crisis; it is a solvency crisis. And unless meaningful reform is taken in the Eurozone, this crisis will re-appear in due course.

Overnight, the Eurozone put together the European Stabilisation Mechanism programme, a hefty plan to provide fiscal support to any Eurozone government that runs into difficulty. While details are still coming into view, the euro and equity and bond markets have recovered tremendously. Meanwhile credit default swaps have fallen (see Marc Chandler’s pre-market summary here).

But, before we start popping the cork on the champagne, we need to realize that this stabilization mechanism and the developed market (DM) central bank swap lines only resolve liquidity issues. The genesis of this crisis is not liquidity, but solvency.

As I outlined in my last post on Germany (The Soft Depression in Germany and the Rise of Euro Populism), Germany has undergone extensive labour market reforms which Greece and Spain in particular have not. This makes Greek and Spanish labour forces uncompetitive vis-a-vis other countries also locked into the currency union, most notably Germany. The result, with the Euro well above its launch rate of 1.17 to the US Dollar, is international uncompetitiveness. Combined with extremely low interest rates, the result is a gaping current account deficit.

Unless the Eurozone attempts a beggar-thy-neighbour massive devaluation in the Euro, this closes off the export escape hatch for Greece and Spain. Therefore, in order to bring down enormous budget deficits and prevent national bankruptcy, the only option left is internal devaluation – across the board wage and spending cuts.

Ireland, which has faced similar pressures, is embarking on a path of internal devaluation right now to reduce their deficit. But reducing consumption demand at a point when the primary budget deficit is already double-digits still leaves the solvency question open. And Greeks have rioted to show the resistance to those kinds of measures.

My conclusion, therefore,…
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In Other News, Larry King is Selling Divorce Insurance

In Other News, Larry King is Selling Divorce Insurance

Courtesy of Ken Houghton at Angry Bear  

Bomb with Lit Fuse

Many months ago, I quoted the brilliant Janet Tavakoli‘s book Credit Derivatives and Synthetic Structures:   

The trader then went on to tell me that Commercial Bank of Korea would sell credit default protection on bonds issued by the Commercial Bank of Korea.
"That’s very interesting," I countered, "but the credit default option is worthless."
"But people are doing it," persisted the trader.
"That’s because they don’t know what they’re doing," I affirmed. "The correlation between Commercial Bank of Korea and itself is 100 percent. I would pay nothing for that credit protection. It is worthless for this purpose."
The trader mustered his best grammar, chilliest tone, and most authoritative voice: "There are those who would disagree with you." (p. 85)

Apparently, that anonymous trader—or another money-losing risk-mispricing hedge fund manager—is now running The Big C:   

Credit specialists at Citi are considering launching the first derivatives intended to pay out in the event of a financial crisis. The firm has drawn up plans for a tradable liquidity index, known as the CLX, on which products could be structured that allow buyers to hedge a spike in funding costs….

"The great thing about the index is that it hedges your funding costs while being very simple to trade. I believe it will reduce the systemic risk in the industry, akin to how the advent of swaps means people don’t worry about interest-rate exposures any more – they just pay a fee to hedge it," he says.

Because if funding dries up, The Big C will be there to support you!

I thought this was an attempt to make money on a premium, but it isn’t:   

Like a swap, the contracts envisaged by Citi would be entered into without an up-front premium, with money changing hands according to the index’s movements around a fair strike value.

So the model is actually that you pay a higher cost of funds during good times, and during bad times, depend on the ability of your counterparty to make you whole.

When banks do it, it’s called "deposit insurance," and it is valuable because in the worst-case scenario, the U.S. Treasury can print money. Since—the last time I checked—Citigroup …
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Biotech/COVID-19

Trump Vaccine Czar Still Stands to Profit

 

Will there really be several hundred million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2020, which would be record fast vaccine develop, or is this just wishful thinking? Moncef Slaoui, former executive at GlaxoSmithKline and board member of Moderna (till recently) and newly appointed Trump official, says the vaccine will be ready. Either way, Moderna (MRNA) has received nearly half a billion dollars from the government, and its stock price has soared. Amee Vanderpool tells more of the story: 

 

Trump Vaccine Czar Still Stands to Profit

Courtesy of Amee Vanderpool, SHERO 

The Trump administration has announced an ambitious plan to develop and produce millions of doses of a new COVID-19 vaccine by t...



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Phil's Favorites

Trump Vaccine Czar Still Stands to Profit

 

Will there really be several hundred million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2020, which would be record fast vaccine develop, or is this just wishful thinking? Moncef Slaoui, former executive at GlaxoSmithKline and board member of Moderna (till recently) and newly appointed Trump official, says the vaccine will be ready. Either way, Moderna (MRNA) has received nearly half a billion dollars from the government, and its stock price has soared. Amee Vanderpool tells more of the story. 

 

Trump Vaccine Czar Still Stands to Profit

Courtesy of Amee Vanderpool, SHERO 

The Trump administration has announced an ambitious plan to develop and produce millions of doses of a new COVID-19 vaccine by the en...



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ValueWalk

New home sales smashed expectations during economic crisis

By Gorilla Trades. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The major indices are all sporting considerable gains at midday, with the S&P 500, the Dow, and the Nasdaq all hitting new multi-month highs in early trading. The continued COVID-related optimism remains the main catalyst behind the rally in stocks and global risk assets and investors shrugged off the diplomatic standoff between the U.S. and China despite the protests in Hong Kong over the weekend. On another note, small-caps have been leading the way higher this morning, together with the key cyclical sectors and that bodes well for the rest of the week, especially as the main overseas indices have also been pushing higher this week.

[reit]

...

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Zero Hedge

"This Ship Is Sinking" - The Economy Is Holed Below The Waterline

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com,

“Until then men felt they had found the answer to a steady, orderly, civilized life. For 100 years the Western world had been at peace. For 100 years technology had steadily improved. For 100 years the benefits of peace and industry seemed to be filtering satisfactorily through society. Life was all right. The Titanic woke them up.”

...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

King Dollar Could Double Topping; Commodities Would Benefit If It Does!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

The U.S. Dollar has been a pillar of strength for the past 12-years, at it created higher lows starting in 2008, near the 70 level. Since these lows, it has rallied nearly 50%.

The 102 level was resistance for nearly 13-years (1987 to 2000) until an upside breakout took place.

The rally over the past 12-years took it up to test the 61% retracement level of its 2001 highs and 2008 lows and the 102 level again at (1), where it created back to back monthly bearish reversal patterns in 2017.

The rally over the past 2-years has King$ testing its 61% retracement...



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The Technical Traders

Chuck Jaffe Talks Technical Analysis on Money Life - Indexes & Metals

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Chuck Jaffe, the host of Money Life, is a veteran financial journalist and nationally syndicated financial columnist whose work appears in newspapers from coast to coast. Today he talks with Chris Vermeulen.

Chuck has been named to MutualFundWire’s list of the 40 Most Influential People in Fund Distribution and was the first journalist to make the list. Over the course of his career, he has won numerous awards for business and personal finance journalism.

...

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Lee's Free Thinking

US Southern States COVID19 Cases - Let's Give Credit Where Due

 

US Southern States COVID19 Cases – Let’s Give Credit Where Due

Courtesy of  

The number of new COVID 19 cases has been falling in the Northeast, but the South is not having the same experience. The number of new cases per day in each Southern state has been rangebound for the past month.

And that’s assuming that the numbers haven’t been manipulated. We know that in Georgia’s case at least, they have been. And there are suspicions about Florida as well, as the State now engages in a smear campaign against the fired employee who built its much praised COVID19 database and dashboar...



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Chart School

Is this your local response to COVID 19

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

This is off topic, but a bit of fun!


This is the standard reaction from the control freaks.








This is the song for post lock down!







What should be made mandatory? Vaccines, hell NO! This should be mandatory: Every one taking their tops off in the sun, they do in Africa!

Guess which family gets more Vitamin D and eats less sugary carbs, TV Show



...



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Digital Currencies

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

 

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

App-etising? LDprod

Courtesy of Michael Rogerson, University of Bath and Glenn Parry, University of Surrey

Food supply chains were vulnerable long before the coronavirus pandemic. Recent scandals have ranged from modern slavery ...



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Members' Corner

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

 

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

No matter the details of the plot, conspiracy theories follow common patterns of thought. Ranta Images/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Courtesy of John Cook, George Mason University; Sander van der Linden, University of Cambridge; Stephan Lewandowsky...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Promotions

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Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

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Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  

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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

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