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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Phil's Favorites

Does 'deplatforming' work to curb hate speech and calls for violence? 3 experts in online communications weigh in

 

Does 'deplatforming' work to curb hate speech and calls for violence? 3 experts in online communications weigh in

Twitter’s suspension of Donald Trump’s account took away his preferred means of communicating with millions of his followers. AP Photo/Tali Arbel

Courtesy of Jeremy Blackburn, Binghamton University, State University of New York; ...



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Biotech/COVID-19

The simple reason West Virginia leads the nation in vaccinating nursing home residents

 

The simple reason West Virginia leads the nation in vaccinating nursing home residents

By mid-January, only about a quarter of the COVID-19 vaccines distributed for U.S. nursing homes through the federal program had reached people’s arms. Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Courtesy of Tinglong Dai, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

The urgency of vaccinating nursing home residents is evident in the numbers. The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of mo...



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Politics

Trump supporters seeking more violence could target state capitols during inauguration - here's how cities can prepare

 

Trump supporters seeking more violence could target state capitols during inauguration – here's how cities can prepare

The FBI says armed protests are planned at all 50 state capitols ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Courtesy of Jennifer Earl, University of Arizona

Americans witnessed an alarming and deadly failure in planning and policing at ...



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Zero Hedge

Millions Of Workers Are Still Calling Out Sick Or Taking Leaves Of Absence Due To COVID

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

One of the biggest hits to supply chains across the country hasn't just been business shut downs, but rather the residual effect of employees calling out sick.

In addition to calling out sick when employees have Covid-19 or similar symptoms, some employees have been calling out because they are still simply too fearful of returning to work. 

This was the case at Smithfield Foods, Bloomberg notes, where 50 of the company's 2,300 employees have still not returned to work. One worker told Businessweek: “We work so close together. It’s like pulling teet...



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ValueWalk

US Consumer Confidence Increases At Start Of 2021

By Refinitiv. Originally published at ValueWalk.

WASHINGTON, DC ‐ According to the Refinitiv/Ipsos Primary Consumer Sentiment Index, American consumer confidence for January 2021 is at 50.9, up 2.8 points from last month. The index fielded from December 25, 2020, to January 8, 2021.

Q3 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

American Consumer Confidence Is Back Up In 2021

After a sharp 4‐point decline in December, American consumer confidence has returned to levels seen in September 2020 (50.6). The Current, Expectations, Investment, and Jobs sub‐indices all experienced ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Treasury Bond Yields At Make-Or-Break Decision Point Says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Treasury bond yields (and interest rates) have been falling for so long now that investors have taken it for granted.

But bond yields have been rising for the past several months and perhaps investors should pay attention, especially as we grapple with questions about inflation and the broader economy (and prospects for recovery).

Today we ask Joe Friday to deliver us the facts! Below is a long-term “monthly” chart of the 30 Year US Treasury Bond Yield.

Counter-Trend Rally In Yields Facing Strong Resistance!

As you can see, treasury bond yields have spent much of the past 25 years trading in a falling channel… but the coronavirus crash sent yields...



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Mapping The Market

The Countries With The Most COVID-19 Cases

 

The Countries With The Most COVID-19 Cases

By Martin Armstrong, Statista, Jan 12, 2021

This regularly updated infographic keeps track of the countries with the most confirmed Covid-19 cases. The United States is still at the top of the list, with a total now exceeding the 22 million mark, according to Johns Hopkins University figures. The total global figure is now over 85 million, while there have been more than 1.9 million deaths.

You will find more infographics at ...



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Chart School

Best Wyckoff Accumulation for 2020

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Yes folks there has to be a winner. Price and volume in the right place. Very nice eye candy!


Introduction ...

Ethereum was posted on RTT Wyckoff Campaign blog for monitory and trade entry. To watch the RTT Wyckoff Campaign blog is part of the RTT Plus service. After all you only need one to two great accumulations in a year and returns will be fantastic.






Charts in the video ...


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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin: why the price has exploded - and where it goes from here

 

Bitcoin: why the price has exploded – and where it goes from here

B is for blast-off (but also bubble). 3DJustincase

Courtesy of Andrew Urquhart, University of Reading

Bitcoin achieved a remarkable rise in 2020 in spite of many things that would normally make investors wary, including US-China tensions, Brexit and, of course, an international pandemic. From a year-low on the daily charts of US$4,748 (£3,490) in the middle of March as pandemic fears took hold, bitcoin rose to ju...



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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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

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