Saturday, May 30, 2009

Update Blogroll & Credit Tigthening "Monty Python Style"....

It´s about time for another update......

Es ist mal wieder an der Zeit für ein Update. Ich möchte hier besonders auf den wohl besten deutschen Wirtschaftsblog Querschüsse von Steffen Bogs hinweisen. Einfach großartig! Zudem konnte ich mir nicht verkneifen Extra 3 - Die einzige Satiresendung in die Liste mitaufzunehmen. Meine absulute Lieblingssendung. Warum.....? Guckt Euch diesen Bericht zu Karstadt an ...... :-)

A Fistful Of Euros

China Financial Markets / Michael Pettis

Extra 3 - Die einzige Satiresendung

Mr. Mortgage / Field Check Group


RGE Monitor

William Buiter´s Maverecon

Zero Hedge

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Day After The Bond Marked Tanked....Must Read Report From Mr. Mortgage / Field Check Group

I have said a few weeks ago Ben, You Have A Problem......".... The problem has not gotten smaller......Get ready for QE 2.0......... Version 1.0 worked wonders for at least two weeks.....No wonder Gold has a chance for a breakout ( via Zero Hedge ). I highly recommend to read the entire piece and visit Mark Hanson & his Field Check Group site on a regular basis. Excellent stuff!

Vor einigen Wochen habe ich bereits getitels Ben, You Have A Problem....... Sieht so aus als wenn aus dem großen ein wirklich großes Problem geworden ist.....Wenn man weiß wie beschränkt Bernanke in seinem Denken ist gilt es als abgemachte Sache das wir uns auf eine massive Ausweitung des Quantitve Easing ( Notenpresse ) gefasst machen können. Macht ja auch Sinn wenn man sieht wie "toll" der erste Versuch funktioniert hat...... Da verwundert es wenig das Gold kurz davor ist "auszubrechen" ( via Zero Hedge ). Empfehle den kompletten Report zu lesen und den regelmäßigen Besuch von Mark Hanson und seiner Field Check Group Seite. Hier gibt es ungelfilterte "Bodenberichte" von der Hypotheken und Immobilienfront.

bigger / größer Thanks to Karl Denninger

5-28 - Potential Consequences of 5.5% Mortgage Rates Mr. Mortgage / Field Check Group

Mortgage Rates - It Could be as Bad as You Can Imagine

With respect to yesterday’s in the mortgage market — yes, it is as bad as you can imagine. No call can be made on the near-term, however, until we see where this settles out over the next week of so. If rates do stay in the mid 5%’s, the mortgage and housing market will encounter a sizable stumble. The following is not speculation. This is what happens when rates surge up in a short period of time - I lived this nightmare many times.

Yesterday, the mortgage market was so volatile that banks and mortgage bankers across the nation issued multiple midday price changes for the worse, leading many to ultimately shut down the ability to lock loans around 1pm PST. This is not uncommon over the past five months, but not that common either. Lenders that maintained the ability to lock loans had rates UP as much as 75bps in a single day.

Jumbo GSE money — $417k - $729,750 — has been blown out completely with some lender’s at 8%.
I have seen it all in the mortgage world — well, I thought I had.

A good friend in the center of all of the mortgage capital markets turmoil said to me yesterday “feels like they [the Fed] have lost the battle…pretty obvious from the start but kind of scary to live through it … today felt like LTCM with respect to liquidity.”

The consequences of 5.5% rates are enormous. Because of capacity issues and the long time line to actually fund a loan in this market, very few borrowers ever got the 4.25% to 4.75% perceived to be the prevailing rate range for everyone.

A significant percentage of loan applications (refis particularly) in the pipeline are submitted to the lenders without a rate lock.
This is because consumers are incented by much better pricing to lock for a short period of time…12-30 day rate locks carry the best rates by a long shot. But to get this short-term rate lock, the loan has to be complete enough to draw loan documents, which has been taking 45-75 days over the past several months depending upon the lender’s time line.
Therefore, millions of refi applications presently in the pipeline, on which lenders already spent a considerably amount of time and money processing, will never fund.
Furthermore, many of these ‘applicants’ with loans in process were awaiting the magical 4.5% rate before they lock — a large percentage of these suddenly died yesterday. From the lows of a month ago to today, rates are up 20%.

To make matters worse, after 90-days much of the paperwork (much taken at the date of application) within the file becomes stale-dated and has to be re-done with new dates — if rates don’t come down quickly many will have to be canceled out of the lender’s system.

To add insult to near-mortal injury, unless this spike in rates corrects quickly, a large percentage of unlocked purchases and refis will have to be denied because at the higher interest rate level, borrowers do not qualify any longer. For the final groin kicker, a 5.5% rate just does not benefit nearly as many people as a 4.5%-5% rate does. Millions already have 5.25% to 5.75% fixed rates left over from 2002-2006. .....

With respect to banks, mortgage banks, servicers etc, under-hedging a potential sell-off with the Fed supposedly having everybody’s back was a common theme. Banks could lose their entire Q2 mortgage banking earnings and middle market mortgage banker may never recover or immediately have to close shop
Lastly, consider sentiment — this is a real killer. This massive rate spike may have invalidated hundreds of billions spent to control the mortgage market literally overnight.
This leaves the mortgage and housing market very vulnerable.

Mortgage loan officers around the country are having a very very bad day today explaining to their clients why their rate was not locked and how rates are going to come right back down. They are also taking calls from borrowers with locked loans to confirm that the loan is indeed locked, inquiring as to when it will be approved or fund, and to rush the process in order to fund the loan by end of the lock-in term. This creates a customer service log-jam that chews through lender capacity quickly making the loan process even longer. Loans with second mortgages that need to be subordinated, are in a world of their own. Essentially, everything becomes a rush. Subsequently, loan officers will not feel like getting too aggressive taking new loan applications at least for the next month unless this corrects quickly.

Press surrounding this event will be the talk of Main Street immediately and cast a serious doubt over the housing recovery story that has been the common theme for months. An overnight housing market sentiment killer wildcard is something that nobody was factoring in.

We have to see where all this settles over the next few days before making a near to mid-term call on the outright damage because at this point, Fed or Treasury shock and awe is almost certain — another common theme has been ‘if it doesn’t work throw much more money at it’.

Obviously they have been following this closely for the past few weeks, as conditions began to deteriorate, and have likely been waiting to see where the upper range was before shocking in order to get maximum benefit…that would be a humongous short squeeze in Bonds driving rates lower. The problem is…if they do shock her and it is sold into with the same fury that we have been seeing, there may not be an act two.

The bond and mortgage market got complacent with the ultimate in moral hazard’s — the Fed’s got my back. Complacency is a killer.
Where we stand in two weeks in unknowable......

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

No Kidding..... S&P Is Acting Responsible & Threatens To Blow Up Fed´s CRE Bailout Stunt Via TALF

Pobably the most underreported news from yesterday... The timing of the move ( a tsunami is not an overstatement ) makes it even more remarkable..... To put this in context lets remember that last week the Fed has continued with the "war on taxpayers" and has decided to bail out large parts of the commercial real estate complex ( see Fed Bends Over Backward For CMSA, Will Feed Inflation Capacitor With More Toxic Garbage via Zero Hedge ). The only precondition was....

Kaum zu fassen das gerade die Ratingagentur S&P verantwortungsvoll ( wenn auch einige Quartale zu spät ) reagiert und das Offensichtliche ausspricht. Praktisch alle in den letzten Jahren vergebenen Kredite die durch gewerblich genutzte Immobilien abgedeckt sind drohen analog dem privaten Wohnungsmarkt zu implodieren. Das besondere ist der Zeitpunkt der Ankündigung..... In der letzten Woche hat die Fed in der gewohnt verantwortungslosen Art und Weise beschlossen einen Großteil der gewerblichen Immofinanzierung mit Steuergeldern zu einem Bailout zu verhelfen der aufgrund der schieren Größe des Sektors leicht & locker die 100 Mrd $ übersteigen könnte ( siehe Fed Bends Over Backward For CMSA, Will Feed Inflation Capacitor With More Toxic Garbage via Zero Hedge ). Wenn man nun noch den heutigen Treasury Crash hinzunimmt dürfte das nachfolgende Bild nicht wirklich übertrieben sein........ :-)

An "AAA" rating.....

Die einzige Voraussetzung zur Teilnahme an der Party war ein AAA geratetes Papier....

Current Ratings: As of the TALF loan closing date, the CMBS must have a credit rating in the highest long-term investment-grade rating category from at least two TALF CMBS-eligible rating agencies

Should be no surprise to see that the Fed is deperate to get this kind of crappy collateral with exploding delinquencies onto their balance sheet......Just in time........ Make sure you see more "encouraging" CRE charts via Realpoint / Zero Hedge. Interesting to see that Realpoint is also a "TALF CMBS-eligible rating agency". Judging from their charts & comments it is unlikely that they will "help" the Fed...... Add todays Treasury Crashand i think the picture from Bernanke is even more spot on....... :-)

Inzwischen sollte es keinen mehr überraschen das die Fed eine der am schnellsten implodierenden Anlageklassen auf Teufel komm raus in Ihre Bilanz holen möchte..... Wie dramatisch schnell sich die Lage im gewerblichen Bereich verschlechtert verdeutlichen diese Charts via Realpoint zeigen. Diese Charts sind umso aussagekräftiger wenn man bedenkt das Realpoint ebenfalls zum ausgewählten Kreis der 5 Ratingagenturen gehört denen es erlaubt ist die CMBS zu raten. Nach allem was ich bisher von denen gelesen habe dürften die Kopfschmerzen der Fed eher noch zunehmen.........


S&P To Downgrade Most Of 2005-2008 CMBS Classes, Derails TALF For CMBS

It is likely that the proposed changes, which represent a significant change to the criteria for rating high investment-grade classes, will prompt a considerable amount of downgrades in recently issued (2005-2008 vintage) CMBS.

Classes up through the most senior tranches of outstanding deals (so-called "A4s," "dupers," or "super-duper seniors") are likely to be affected. Our preliminary findings indicate that approximately 25%, 60%, and 90% of the most senior tranches (by count) within the 2005, 2006, and 2007 vintages, respectively, may be downgraded

Once more i have to quote Tyler ( the man who needs obvioulsly no sleep ) from Zero Hedge.....

Einmal mehr muß ich Tyler ( der Mann braucht anscheinend keinen Schlaf ) von Zero Hedge....

"And all this just days after the government had finally drafted what it hoped was the last and final version of its TALF term sheet. Lets rewind: in the May 19th version of TALF, in order the be eligible, CMBS "must not have a rating below the highest investment-grade rating category from any TALF CMBS-Eligibile Rating Agency." Throw in a downgrade of 90% of the 2007 vintage and it's time to go back to the drawing board.....

Basically, the impending downgrade would make Super Duper CMBS ineligible for TALF

It is a safe bet that the Fed will come back as soon as a week from today and announce TALF 364.7, in which the requirement for a current AAA rating is eliminated altogether.

In fact, as I speculated (jokingly), anything rated Default or higher will soon be perfectly eligible collateral for taxpayer funding. Because that's just how good a fiduciary of taxpayer money the Federal Reserve is."

> I think he is right..... Another stunt could be that the other agencies ( TALF CMBS-eligible rating agencies are DBRS, Inc., Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service, Realpoint LLC and Standard & Poor’s ) with Realpoint the exception ( see earlier link ) are as "helpful" as always and won´t issue any downgrade until the TALF is working and the most toxic stuff is already on the Fed´s balance sheet......

> Nach meinen Erfahrungswerten was die Fed angeht dürfte Tyler recht haben..... Eine weitere Möglichkeit wäre allerdings auch das die anderen zugelassenen Ratingagenturen(TALF CMBS-eligible rating agencies are DBRS, Inc., Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service, Realpoint LLC and Standard & Poor’s ) wie bisher beide Augen verschliessen und mit Ihren Downgrades "hilfreich" warten bis TALF implementiert und die "giftigsten" Papiere bereits in der Fedbilanz gelandet sind..... Möchte Realpoint ( siehe vorherigen Link ) von meiner Kritik ausdrücklich ausschließen

What happens if an ABS that was eligible for TALF financing is downgraded by an NRSRO?

Nothing happens to existing TALF loans secured by that ABS. However, the ABS may not be used as collateral for any new TALF loans until it regains its status as eligible collateral.

I highly recommend the blog Zero Hedge ( soon on my blogroll ). Here is much more from Tyler on the CMBS topic. UPDATE: Report: $75 billion of CMBS Market Capitalization Lost in Two Days

Ihr merkt schon das ich den Blog Zero Hedge für extrem lesenswert halte ( findet sich demnächst sicher auch auf meiner Blogroll wieder ). Empfehle zudem die gesammelten Werke von Tyler zu diesem Thema. UPDATE: Report: $75 billion of CMBS Market Capitalization Lost in Two Days

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chart Of The Day - " 90 Day Delinquency Rates In Spanish RMBS"

One or two more quarters and the 2008 vintages are already catching up with 2005....Let´s hope the ECB with their € 60 billion QE in covered bond purchases ( Update : ECB Said to Have Debated 125 Billion-Euro Asset Package in May ) isn´t getting as reckless as the Fed ( for their latest latest stunt see Fed Bends Over Backward For CMSA, Will Feed Inflation Capacitor With More Toxic Garbage via Zero Hedge ) or the spanish central bank with their brilliant move in selling gold to buy spanish mortgages ( see here).....

Noch ein oder zwei Quartale und die 2008er Daten der "überfälligen" Hypothekenzahlungen werden bereits die für das Jahr 2005 locker hinter sich gelassen haben.....Bleibt zu hoffen das die EZB mit Ihrem QE Versuch ( Kauf von € 60 Mrd Covered Bonds / Pfandbriefen UPDATE: ECB Said to Have Debated 125 Billion-Euro Asset Package in May ) zumindest nicht ganz so unverfroren und unverantwortlich agiert wie es die Fed ja momentan im Wochenryhthmus praktiziert ( siehe gestriges Beispiel Fed Bends Over Backward For CMSA, Will Feed Inflation Capacitor With More Toxic Garbage via Zero Hedge ). Wie bereits vorher berichtet ( siehe hier ) übertrumpft die spanische Zentralbank mit der Entscheidung Ihre Goldreserven zu vertickern und dafür in spanische Hypotheken zu investieren aber selbst Bernanke. Und das ist wirklich ne reife Leistung........ Geradezu Oscarverdächtig......

Moody's chart of 90+ day delinquency rates in Spanish RMBS

Hat tip FT Alphaville

With unemployment running close to 20 percent i think it is a safe bet that we are just starting to see the pain ( despite the relief from lower interest payments, almost 100 percent of mortgages have variable rates ( see European Mortgage Market / Percentage Of Variables Rates ) and the Spanish borrower is benefitting heavily from the 1% EZB rate ) But i doubt that this will lead to a much different outcome than in the US ( see A Delinquent Spike / Chart US Delinquencies ) .......

Dank einer Arbeitlslosenquote von knapp 20% dürfte hier demnächst eine Explosion an faulen Krediten fast garantiert sein ( und das trotz der massiven Entlastung durch die sinkenden Zinsbelastungen, im Gegensatz zu Deutschland werden fast 100% der Hypotheken variabel verzinst ( siehe European Mortgage Market / Percentage Of Variables Rates ). Es gibt europaweit wohl kaum eine Kreditnehmergruppe die mehr vom momentanen 1% Leitzins der EZB profitiert , ich denke das selbst dieser Fakt ein ähnliche Entwickluung wie in den USA ( unbedingt den Chart angucken A Delinquent Spike / Chart US Delinquencies ) bestenfalls verlangsamen kann......

UPDATE: Scrutiny of Spain’s potential banking pain increases & Spanish banking pain, Caja Madrid RMBS edition

Caja Madrid - Spain’s second-largest savings bank - said it would skip EUR1.12m in interest payments on residential mortgage-backed securities due to soaring defaults on the underlying home loans.

Caja Madrid issued its RMBS II bonds in 2006....

When defaults reach 18.3 percent, all investors except for those in the highest-ranked notes will be cut off, according to Standard & Poor’s. About 16 percent of the underlying mortgages are now either in arrears by more than 90 days or have already defaulted, S&P data show.

Caja Madrid has sold 9.2 billion euros of mortgage-backed bonds since 2006 in four transactions, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The lender packaged home loans it made to borrowers at the peak of Spain’s 14-year real-estate boom

Spain Bubble Watch
For a decade, the Spanish housing sector enjoyed uninterrupted growth, as low interest rates encouraged borrowing. Average house prices have nearly quadrupled during the past 10 years. About 750,000 homes were built in Spain in 2006 -- more than in France, Germany and the U.K. combined.

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More Green Shoots...... US Corporate Default Rate Edition

Green Shoots as far as the eye can see......... The "Green Shoots" or "Second Derivitive" nonsense will vanish as fast as the other buzz words like "Contained" , "Decoupling", "Cash On The Sidelines" , "Stock Are Cheap" etc......

Noch mehr Futter für all diejenigen die in jeder veröffentlichten Zahl momentan Green Shoots erkennen ..... Just kidding...... Bin mir sicher das die Bezeichnungen "Green Shoots" oder "Second Derivative" sich nahtlos in die Reihe der letzten Modebezeichnungen ( "Contained", Decoupling", "Cash On The Sidelines" usw ) einreihen werden. Warum wundert es mich eigentlich nicht das alle permanent suggerieren das das nun der Zeitpunkt gekommen ist einzusteigen.....

Thanks to Telegraph

FT Alphaville S&P said on Monday the US corporate default rate had hit a seven-year high:

Corporate defaults continue to rise rapidly in 2009, nearly matching the number in all of 2008. Through May 13, 2009, 121 issuers defaulted, affecting debt worth $297.22 billion. By comparison, 126 defaults were recorded in all of 2008, affecting debt worth $433 billion. Of the 121 defaults in 2009, 85 are from the U.S., 21 are from emerging markets, seven are from Europe, six are from Canada, and one each is from Australia and Japan.

Nice to see that markets are allowed to work in at least some parts of the market........Now add the following chart & read examples like this ( see Another Private Equity Deal That Went Bust Within 24 Months ) and you get even more green shoots.... Sarcasm off......

Immerhin schön zu sehen das dem Markt zumindest in einigen ausgewählten Teilen der Wirtschaft erlaubt wird zu arbeiten....... Der nachfolgende Chart kombiniert mit Beispielen wie diesem lassen erahnen das hier in der nächsten Zeit noch die ein oder andere nette Überraschung auf uns wartet.......

Number Of The Day " Percentage Of US Companies With A Junk Rating"

About 50% of U.S. companies have below-investment-grade credit ratings

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Monday, May 18, 2009

The Destructive Implications of the Bailout - Understanding Equilibrium - Hussman

Nothing really new on the "War On Taxpayers" but when Hussman is almost ranting ( by his standarts ) it should be worth a few minutes of your time... If you want to hear his comments on the “cash on the sidelines” myth go and read the entire link .....

Nichts wirklich neues in dem von mir bezeichneten "War On Taxpayers" aber wenn einer wie Hussman einen für seine Verhältnisse fast schon bemerkenswerten "Gefühlsausbruch" zeigt ist das allemal einen zweiten Blick wert..... Empfehle zudem den kompletten Link. Der beinhaltet u.a. noch den ein oder anderen Kommentar zu dem täglich neu verbreiteten Mythos das es haufenweise “cash on the sidelines” gibt.......

The Destructive Implications of the Bailout - Understanding Equilibrium
One of the features that has enabled the bureaucratic abuse of the public during the past year has been the frantic, if temporary, flight-to-safety by investors. The Treasury has issued an enormous volume of debt into the frightened hands of investors seeking default-free securities. This has allowed the Treasury to finance a massive and largely needless transfer of wealth to bank bondholders so easily over the short-term that the longer-term cost has been almost completely obscured.
But by transferring wealth from those who did not finance reckless loans to those who did – providing monetary compensation without economic production – the bureaucrats at the Treasury and Federal Reserve have crowded out more than a trillion dollars of gross investment that would have otherwise have been made by responsible people in the coming years, shifted those assets to those who have proven themselves to be irresponsible destroyers of capital, and have planted the seeds of inflation that will cut short any emerging recovery.

The Fed has turned its balance sheet into a garbage dump, in order to accommodate all of the additional Treasury issuance required to finance the rescue of bank bondholders. UPDATE: SPEAKING OF GARBAGE....... Fed to Add Older CMBS to TALF in July, Allow More Ratings Firms

The bottom line is that the attempt to save bank bondholders from losses – to provide monetary compensation without economic production – is not sound economic policy but is instead a grand monetary experiment that has never been tried in the developed world except in Germany circa 1921.
This policy can only have one of two effects: either it will crowd out over $1 trillion of gross domestic investment that would otherwise have occurred if the appropriate losses had been wiped off the ledger (instead of making bank bondholders whole), or it will result in a stunning and durable increase in the quantity of base money, which will ultimately be accompanied not by a year or two of 5-6% inflation, but most probably by a near-doubling of the U.S. price level over the next decade
As I've noted previously, the growth rate of government spending is better correlated with subsequent inflation than even growth in money supply itself, particularly at 4-year intervals.
Regardless of near-term deflation pressures from a continued mortgage crisis, our present course is consistent with double digit inflation once any incipient recovery emerges.

> Thanks to the commercial real estate, credit card & corporate debt crisis & massive overcapacity etc i think the recovery leading to rampant (CPI ) inflation is still at least 24-36 months away.... As long as the US $ is not weakening significantly.......

> Dank der zusätzlichen Krisen in allen Lagen der Kreditvergabe ( gewerbliche Immobilien, Kreditkarten, Unternehmen, massivste Überkapazitäten usw ) denke ich das trotz der verantwortungslosen Bailouts die Phase extremer Konsumentenpreisinflation noch mindestens 24-36 Monate entfernt ist..... Bin mir bei den Amis allerdings nicht ganz so sicher..... Ein schnell fallender US$ könnte allerdings den Zeitplan gewaltig durcheinanderwirbeln....

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Gold & The Wisdom Of Central Bankers

After a few weeks it´s about time for another post on gold. The first chart showing the "private investment demand" comes via The Mess That Greenspan Made and is a good addition to the last graph observing the "behavior" from the central banks during the past decade. It´s also worth noting that one of the best performing hedge funds over the past few years has allocated "quite a bit" of the portfolio to gold ( see Paulson & Company's golden portfolio )

Nach einigen Wochen ist es mal wieder Zeit für ein Goldposting. Der erste Chart der den gewaltigen Anstieg der "privaten Investoren" mittels der Gold ETF´s anzeigt kommt von Tim und seinem Blog The Mess That Greenspan Made und ist eine gute Ergänzung zur letzten Grafik die sich mit dem Verhalten der Zentralbanken in einem ähnlichen Zeitraum befasst. Besonders hervorzuheben ist noch das einer der am besten performenden Hedge Fonds der letzten Jahre einen nicht unwesentlichen Teil des Portfolios in Gold hält ( siehe Paulson & Company's golden portfolio )

The following graph via Option Armageddon gives the explanation why despite soaring investment demand and decreasing central bank sales gold hasn´t moved higher. And with collapsing jewelry demand ahead this headwind will likely continue for some time to come.

Die nachfolgende Grafik via Option Armageddon zeigt sehr schön warum Gold trotz massiver Investmentkäufe ( alle ETF´s zusammengenommen halten momentan die sechstgrößten Goldreserven / China hat sich dank der letzten Käufe gerade wieder auf Platz 5 geschoben ) und gleichzeitigen Verkaufsvolumen der Zentralbanken Gold nicht höher gelaufen ist. Und da die Nachfrage aus dem Schmucksektor momentan im Crashmode ist dürfte dieser Gegenwind noch eine Weile anhalten.

But with quoptes like the following the demand structure will shift even more quickl in the favor of investment.....

Ich denke angesichts Zitaten wie diesem dürften sich die Nachfragegewichte demnächst massiv verschieben....

A policy mistake made by some major central bank may bring inflation risks to the whole world. As more and more economies are adopting unconventional monetary policies, such as quantitative easing, major currencies’ devaluation risks may rise.

- People’s Bank of China quarterly report, May 6 (via Bloomberg) via FT Alphaville

Gold sales cost Europe’s central banks $40bn FT
Europe’s central banks are $40bn poorer than they might have been after they followed a British move taken 10 years ago on Thursday to shrink the Bank of England’s gold reserves, analysis by the Financial Times has shown.

London’s announcement on May 7 1999 that it would sell a large share of the Bank’s gold reserves in favour of assets offering a return, such as government bonds, was the high water mark of so-called “anti-gold” sentiment among European central banks.

Many of these banks, such as those in France, Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal, decided later in 1999 to follow Britain and sell off their reserves. At that time, gold was worth around $280 an ounce, less than a third of its current level of more than $900.
European banks sold about 3,800 tonnes of gold, reaping about $56bn, according to calculations from official sales data and bullion prices.

> Here an extra piece on Brown and his epic mistake

> Weil es so schön ist und uns Brown leider noch immer viel zu oft in den Medien begegnet ein extra Link zum epochalen Versagen....... Aber eigentlich genügt ein Blick auf den Chart......

Gold: Does Gordon Brown's regret selling half of Britains' gold reserves 10 years ago?

Gold chart: Price of gold since Britain sold half of its reserves in 1999

Taking into account the likely returns from the investments in bonds, the banks have gained another $12bn. But because today’s gold prices are far higher, they are about $40bn poorer than if they had kept their reserves

The biggest loser is the Swiss National Bank which sold 1,550 tonnes over the decade and at today’s gold prices is $19bn poorer, followed by the Bank of England, which is $5bn poorer.

The UK Treasury on Wednesday defended its decision to sell gold as a way to diversify reserves and cut risk. “As a result of the programme, a one-off reduction in risk of approximately 30 per cent was achieved,” it said. The Swiss National Bank declined to comment other than to say that it did not plan to sell more gold.

However, central bankers are confident that over the long run their move out of gold and into bonds will pay off and reduce the volatility of their portfolios, people familiar with their thinking said. Analysts also argue that because some banks had more than 90 per cent of their assets in gold, some disposals were warranted.

The proportion of European reserves held as gold remains extremely large even after years of sales, at an average of about 60 per cent, compared with the world average of 10.5 per cent.

After 10 years of steady sales, Europe’s gold sales are set to slow to their lowest levels since 1999, while central banks outside Europe have already become net buyers of gold.

The US, the world’s biggest holder of gold, decided not to follow Europe’s move. Germany and Italy are the only two big European central banks which did not follow the UK, mostly because of domestic disputes about what to do with the proceeds.

> Looks like Spain´s central bank is "desperate" ...... Selling gold to buy hyperinflated covered bonds backed by toxic Spanish real estate.... Brilliant!

> Sieht ganz so aus als wenn die spanische Zentralbank sich dem unrühmlichen Beispiel von UK und der Schweiz anschließt...... Anders kann man die Tatsache das Gold verkauft worden ist um den hyperinflationierten Covered Bond Markt ( der durch nicht gerade werthaltige spanische Immobilien gesichert ist ) zu stützen nicht bezeichnen......

Banco de España has already been delving into the covered bond market with money from gold-sale proceeds FT Alphaville

Barclays Capital on Wednesday morning cites Spain’s Expansion newspaper on a report that Banco de España has already been delving into the covered bond market with money from gold-sale proceeds .

We note that the latest available data, as reported to the IMF for March, show that Spanish gold holdings at end-March were 9.054mn oz, unchanged since end-July 2007. That said, it should also be noted that Spain slashed its gold holdings during 2005-2008: from 16.826mn oz at end-2004 to 9.054mn in July 2007.

"Cleaner Graph"

I think this piece from Jesse The US Dollar Rally Will End in a Crisis of Confidence isn´t "unrealistic"......

Ich denke das die Message aus dem nachfolgenden Link via Jesse The US Dollar Rally Will End in a Crisis of Confidence eher früher als später zum Tragen kommen wird......

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Chuzpah Is Staggering.......

But not unexpected and somehow admirable.....As predicted earlier the Fed & Treasury have "decided" that converting preferred to common equity is equal to "adding" capital.... Read "Redefinition Accomplished" Spin Continues....."Preferred To Common Equity Edition" with straight talk from Barry, Kasriel & Winkler why this is "bogus"...... Let´s hope that the banks that have passed the test are able to attract as much "smart money" as fast ( window of opportunity probably short lived ) as possible...The taxpayer needs a break..... Update: Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley Boost Capital After Stress Test

Die Dreistigkeit der Fed und des Finanzministeriums ist schon fast wieder bewundernswert..... Wie bereits früher prognostiziert wird ein Großteil der Mrdlücken die der eh schon realtiv stressfreie Stresstest zu Tage führen wird lediglich durch eine Form der Bilanzakrobatik "bereinigt"..... Empfehle den nachfolgenden Link "Redefinition Accomplished" Spin Continues....."Preferred To Common Equity Edition" der für jedem mit gesundem Menschenverstand aufzeigt das diese Art der Rekapitalisierung nicht gerade "vertrauenserweckend" ist.....Bleibt zu hoffen das zumindest die Banken die den Test bestanden haben in der Lage sind genügend "Smart Money" schnell genug ( befürchte das die Bedingungen nicht dauerhaft so gut sein werden ) einszusammeln.... Der Steuerzahler kann dringend etwas Hilfe gebrauchen..... Update: Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley Boost Capital After Stress Test

Bank of America Said to Need About $34 Billion in New Capital
May 6 (Bloomberg) -- Regulators have determined that Bank of America Corp. requires about $34 billion in new capital, the largest need among the 19 biggest U.S. banks subjected to stress tests, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Citigroup Inc.’s shortfall is more limited because the company already plans to convert government preferred shares to common stock
, people familiar with the results said. JPMorgan Chase & Co. doesn’t need a deeper reserve against losses, according to people familiar with that company’s result.

The banks may outline their strategies to add capital, or in other cases buy out government stakes, after the Federal Reserve publishes the stress tests results tomorrow.
Firms requiring more capital could raise all the funds through conversions of preferred shares
if they choose, according to people familiar with the matter.

“To the extent that there are banks that need capital, our hope is that many of them will be able to raise that capital through either private equity offers or through conversions and exchanges of existing liabilities,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke
told lawmakers at a hearing in Washington yesterday. “The data we have are accurate reflections of the financial conditions of those banks.”

Banks that want to return money injected by the Treasury since October must show they can borrow from private investors without a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. guarantee,according to people familiar with the matter.
> This will be the real stress test for Goldman ( Goldman Sachs has sold $18.6 billion of debt under the TLGP program, the sixth-highest amount among banks ) & Co ...... This would be a real sign of confidence when they are able to fund themselves completely without FDIC backed funding..... The latest bond yielded 410 basis point higher than Treasuries ( Goldman Sachs Sells $2 Billion of Notes Without FDIC Guarantee .... No wonder when you take a closer look at the "quality" of earnings ( see A Few Goldman Highlights........)

> Denke das wird der echte Stresstest aus Sicht der Banken und insbesondere Goldman Sachs ( haben momentan 18,6 Mrd an besicherter Anleihen ausstehen ).... Sollte Goldman in der Lage sein zukünftig darauf zu verzichtn wäre dies in der Tat auch ein von mir anerkanntes Signal der Stärke. Die letzte Anleihe ohne Garantie würde mit einem Spread von 410 Basispunkten gegenüber Staatsanleihen gepreist. Keine wirkliche Überraschung wenn man sich die Zusammensetzung der letzten Ergebnisse mal etwas genauer ansieht ( siehe A Few Goldman Highlights........)

> I´ll close with this comment......

> Verasbschiede mich mit dieser Bemerkung......

U.S. Banks' Not-So-Stressful Test WSJ
Finally, the government has effectively said it wants banks to have Tier 1 common stock equivalent to 4% of risk-weighted assets. First, investors have to decide whether they have confidence in the risk weightings.

Then they must decide whether 4% -- which still translates into 25-to-1 leverage -- is safe for the unpredictable environment we are in.

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Bailout Humor via Colbert

Spot on......

Kommt der Realität leider recht nahe....

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Prescott Group Bailout
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFirst 100 Days

Also brilliant Nation Ready To Be Lied To About Economy Again via The Onion. I´m not so sure that this isn´t already happening...... ;-)

Genauso brilliant der nachfiolgende ArtikelNation Ready To Be Lied To About Economy Again aus dem US Satiremagazin "The Onion". Obwohl ich mir nicht sicher nin das der geäußerte Wunsch nicht längst Realität ist..... ;-)

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

What Has Happened To Buffet.......?

Sometimes it´s sad to see what has happened to former legends......The following quote is related to Wells Fargo....The same Wells Frago that without taxpayer bailouts ( $ 25 Billion Tarp, FDIC backed bonds, PPIP ), accounting changes ( markt to market ), changing of the taxcode after the Wachovia deal, a different attitude from government on banks ( "no more Lehman´s, too big to fail, no nationalisation" ) etc would have already been gone...... UPDATE: Let Warren Buffett Buy Wells Fargo from Mish

Manchmal tut es wirklich weh zu sehen was aus zumindest meiner Sicht nun ehemaligen Legenden geworden ist...... Das nachfolgende Zitat von Buffet bezieht sich auf eine seiner wichtigen Beteiligungen Wells Fargo..... Man könnte ihm verzeihen wenn nicht eben diese Beteiligung ohne die Hilfe des Steuerzahlers ( 25 Mrd $ TARP, FDIC garantierte Anleihen, und das kommende PPIP Programm, Bilanzierungsänderungen ( Markt-To-Market ), Änderung der Steuergesetzgebung um den Wachovia Deal durchzuziehen, der Regierungshaltung "Too Big Too Fail, No more Lehmans" usw. längst den Weg in die ewigen Jagdgründe gefunden hätte.... Update : Let Warren Buffett Buy Wells Fargo von Mish

Buffett says Wells Fargo to ride out credit crisis Reuters
Buffett said at Berkshire's annual meeting. Noting that Wells Fargo shares fell below $9 (6 pounds) each this year -- they bottomed at $7.80 on March 5 -- he added that at that lowered price, "If I had put all my net worth in one stock, that would be the stock."

Buffett attacks bank tests Reuters

Buffett said Wells Fargo ($ 20 ), U.S. Bancorp ( $18 ), and a third Berkshire holding, M&T Bank Corp ( $ 50 ), do not need more equity capital, and "we would buy stock in any of the three banks at present prices."

With the promise to pay back TARP ( see this "rant" via Naked Capitalism , only possible with a massive capital hike ) i think he will soon have a very good chance to show his confidence.....

Nachdem ja der CEO von Wells Fargo angekündigt hat sich von der "Last" des TARP-Dikates zu befreien ( siehe Naked Capitalism , nur mittels massiver Kapitalerhöhung möglich ) wird Buffet schon bald beweisen dürfen wie ernst er es mit seinen Behauptungen meint.....

I highly recommend to read What They Want to Know: Our Top Ten List for Warren Buffett from Jeff Matthews ( a real Buffet expert and still a fan ). Looks like i´m not the only one wondering what has changed in his investment style and his investment ethics.....

Ich empfehle eindringlich What They Want to Know: Our Top Ten List for Warren Buffett von Jeff Matthews ( einem langjährigen Buffetexperten und immer noch ein Fan ) zu lesen. Diese mehr als kritischen Fragen belegen das abseits des Hypes um Buffet immer mehr nicht mehr blindlings dem Anlagestil und Urteilsvermögen vom Orakel aus Omaha folgen..... Ich persönlich bin am meisten darüber enttäuscht das er neben seiner Rolle als Hauptaktionär bei Moody´s , den gigantischen Mrdpositionen in dem von Ihm gebrandmarkten Derivaten und jetzt den steuerfinanzierten Bailouts so langsam aber sich das Gespür dafür verloren hat was moralisch korrekt ist...... So hört er sich leider immer mehr wie ein ganz gewöhnlicher Wall Street Guy an der in erster Linie sein Portfolio hochzureden versucht.... Enttäuschend

Buffett, in his most recent letter to shareholders in February, said he supported the U.S. government actions, while predicting bailouts will cause “unwelcome aftereffects” including inflation.

Speaking of ethics & douple standards......

Das meinte ich mit dem moralischen Kompass und Doppelmoral........

Looks like im good company.....

Sieht ganz so aus als wenn ich in guter Gesellschaft bin.....

Option Armageddon

Is anyone else tired of Warren Buffett worship? At his shareholder meeting on Saturday, he “lambasted banks and insurance companies for their stupidity;” at the same time he praised the bank in which he owns a gigantic stake: Wells Fargo. Every other bank acted foolishly, but Wells really is different he argued. He dismissed the stress test and said everything at Wells is copacetic. Bullshit.

Without the government’s various rescue facilities to prop up house prices and bank balance sheets, Wells would have blown up months ago. Look at their portfolio of HELOCs and Alt A in particular and their exposure to California in general. Not to mention the rotten Wachovia assets they’re still carrying.

And what about Wells accounting gimmickry surrounding Q1 earnings? Among other things, Wells recognized a $2.8 billion after-tax profit just from the change in mark-to-market accounting. And, due to a separate accounting change, they counted over $6 billion of minority interests as tangible common equity, which is highly misleading. Buffett, quite rightly, has always railed against mgmt teams that play accounting games. But when it comes to his bank, it must be ok. OA believes that Warren Buffett was for many years a great investor, but we’re tired of the haiography.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Ben, You Have A Problem......

So far the QE hasn´t worked.....Must be due to all the "Green Shoots..... :-) Enjoy the following images...... I wish everybody a nice weekend.....

Bisher hat das sogenannte Quantitive Easing ( also der Kauf von u.a. Staatsanleihen durch die Notenpresse ) keine Wirkung gezeigt. Böse Zungen könnten gar behaupten das das Gegenteil der Fall ist. Könnte natürlich auch an den täglich bejubelten "Green Shoots" liegen ( Meine Meinung hierzu dürfte bekannt sein....) Ich kann eine gewisse Schadenfreude nicht verhehlen. War aber auch wirklich irrwitzig zu glauben das man mit schlappen 300 Mrd. bei der gleizeichtigen Lawine von Billionen an neuen Anleihen nachhaltig Einfluß nehmen kann. Da auf Ben aber Verlaß ist können wir uns jetzt schon mal gedanklich darauf vorbereiten das die nächste Ankündigung des QE um einiges größer ausfallen wird. Bleibt zu hoffen das die Ausländer diese einmalige Gelegenheit nutzen um sich Ihrer Papiere zu entledigen.... Lasse die nachfolgen Bilder und Charts mal ohne weiteren Kommentar stehen und wünsche ein schönes Wochenende.....

Karl Denninger

Contrary Investor

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Abby Joseph Cohen 2009 vs Abby Joseph Cohen 2001.....Which Call Is Worse?

What´s a year without a "brilliant" call ( even more important the rationale behind the call ) from Abby Josef Cohen.....Just in time after a 30% plus (technical ) rally in the major indices worlwide.....In the past especially the calls from permabull Cohen were close to near and often long term market tops...... To my knowledge one of the better "contrary" indicators......

Was wäre ein Börsenjahr ohne Weisheiten von Abby Joseph Cohen.....Man beachte das brilliante Timing.... Rechtzeitig nachdem alle bedeutenden Indizes 30% und mehr gewonnen ( technisch bedingt ) haben..... Ein prima Kontraindikator. Die "Prognosen" vom Permabullen Cohen haben in der Vergangenheit zeitlich oft ein längfristiges Markthoch markiert...... Besonders wenn die Begründung für die avisierten Kursziele schon fast tragischkomischen Charakter haben bzw. man befürchten das die Schweinegrippe auch Wall Street erreicht hat...

Call 2001 just bevor the collapse:


Hat tip Wall Street Follies

Call 2009 S&P 500 at 880:

Goldman Sachs’s Cohen Says S&P 500 May Surge to 1,050

May 1 (Bloomberg) -- The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index may jump 20 percent to 1,050 over the next six to 12 months as investors buy stocks trading at low valuations, said Abby Joseph Cohen, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s senior investment strategist.

> Low valuations....? "Fair value based on recession earnings" ( Quote Cohen ) ? She is probably using the following model showing the "high" quality of earnings ( backing out large parts of costs doing business like write downs, restructoring charges etc / see also the update at the end of the posting) or she is the only one thinking the Fed Model ( see "Fed Model" Knowing What Ain't True ) is usefull.....

> Niedrige Bewertungen.....? "Faire Bewertung die auf rezessionsgestählten Ergebnisprognosen basieren" ( Zitat Cohen )? Mag ja sein das sie Ihre Bewertungsmodelle auf der nachfolgenden Rechnungsmodellen basiert die an Kreativität ( "Sonderfaktoren wie Abschreibungen, Restrulturierungskosten usw werden ausgeklammert ) kaum zu überbieten sind ( siehe auch Update am Ende ). Denkbar auch das Sie als einzige dem Fed Modell ( siehe "Fed Model" Knowing What Ain't True ) glauben schenkt...........

“You could see the market sustain at these levels,” Cohen, 57, said in a Bloomberg Radio interview. “We’re going to set a new trading range much higher than the trading range in February and March.”

Cohen was replaced as Goldman Sachs’s chief forecaster for the U.S. stock market a year ago. She had been the second-most bullish Wall Street strategist at the start of 2008, a year when the S&P 500 tumbled 38 percent to 903.25 for the steepest annual loss in seven decades. Cohen predicted in December 2007 that the index would end last year at 1,675. David Kostin took her job.

At least i think her 2009/2010 call will be closer to the target than her over 40 percent miss for the 2008 December estimate...... :-)

Immerhin wird sie wohl Ihre 40% Zielverfehlung Ihrer letztjährigen Prognose verbessern können...... :-)


This just in from David Rosenberg via Zero Hedge . I highly recommend to read the entire link. Compare this to the call from Cohen.....

Den nachfolgenden Link via Zero Hedge empfehle ich allen die das Kontrastprogramm zu Cohen lesen wollen. Eine realistische und fundierte Marteinschätzung von einem der auch die bisherigen Probleme vorhergesen hat ( David Rosenberg ).

The market, as a whole, cannot be considered cheap

In the meantime, earnings forecasts are being trimmed steadily for the balance of the year. In fact, forward P/E multiple of 15x operating and 30x on reported EPS are not that compelling. So, we do not have a strong valuation argument. We do not have a strong earnings argument.

Compare the following chart with the former S$P500 1675 target from Cohen......

Vergleicht den nachfolgenden Chart mit dem vorherigen Kursziel ( S&P 500 1675 ) von Cohen.....

via Chart Of The Day
While the stock market is up sharply since early March, the economy as well as corporate earnings continue to suffer. Today's chart helps provide some perspective as to the magnitude of the current economic decline. Today's chart illustrates that 12-month, as-reported S&P 500 earnings have declined over 90% over the past 20 months (with over 90% of S&P 500 companies having reported for Q1 2009), making this by far the largest decline on record (the data goes back to 1936). In fact, real earnings have dropped to a record low and if current estimates hold, Q3 2009 will see the first 12-month period during which S&P 500 earnings are negative.

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