Sunday, September 27, 2009

We're Speaking Japanese Without Knowing It - John Hussman

Good reminder from Hussman that we still havn´t make any meaningful progress with the main issue of all the toxic debt & the impaired bank balance sheets ( click here & here for just a few example )..... He is spot on that it is a scandal that so far the bondholders have been "protected"at the expense of the taxpayer ( rip off still expanding on a daily basis / see The Talf that keeps on taking (CMBS) ,Let’s say RIP to PPIP , Spain to approve EUR 64bln of guarantees for bank debt sales & "Today I Think Of Myself As A Government Contractor......" etc.) ...... The Great "Cover-Up" is still in full force without significant consequences for the "participants"........" Where is the debt to equity swap ?"

Schön zu sehen das es zumindest noch einzelne Rufer in der Wüste wie Hussman gibt die sich erlauben darauf hinzuweisen das der wichtigste Punkt der Krise, die sich unter Wasser befindlichen Bankenbilanzen, noch immer nicht mal ansatzweise gelöst worden ist ( Hier & hier nur einige Beispiele ). Unglücklicherweise ist die Lage in Deutschland ebenfalls nach wie vor "instabil" siehe Oppenheim verpfändet Aktien & Neues Milliardenloch bei LBBW ) ........ Es ist gelinde gesagt ein Skandal das praktisch weltweit die Politik in Verbindung mit den Notenbanken entschieden hat die Anleiheinvestoren zu schützen und stattdessen den Steuerzahler in Risiko gehen zu lassen ( verweise stellvertretend auf The Talf that keeps on taking (CMBS) , Let’s say RIP to PPIP, Spain to approve EUR 64bln of guarantees for bank debt sales & "Today I Think Of Myself As A Government Contractor......" usw.)..... Es sieht ganz so aus als wenn bis auf weiteres The Great "Cover-Up" ohne größere Konsequenzen für die "Beteiligten" auszugehen scheint..... Habe zu diesem Thema unter dem Label "Where Is The Debt To Equity Swap" bereits öfter meinem "Unverständnis" Luft gemacht.....


H/T Option ARMageddon / R. Winkler

We're Speaking Japanese Without Knowing It Hussman

If one seeks analysis about the recent financial crisis, and what most probably lies ahead, it would be wise to place particular weight on the views of economists who saw it coming (and ideally those who provided careful analysis rather than hyperbole

.....At a speech at the Princeton Club last week, economist Carmen Reinhart eiterated that by propping up unhealthy banks, the U.S. is unwittingly committing the same mistakes as the Japanese did in their decade-long stagnation, saying, “These are not zombie loans. They're just non-performing. We're speaking Japanese without knowing it.”

Historically and across countries, according to the IMF, 86% of systemic banking crises have ultimately required government restructuring plans that included closing, nationalizing and merging banks.

Yet the policy response of the U.S. has been akin to putting a band-aid on an untreated infection. Worse, not only has the underlying infection been overlooked, but thanks to the easing of FASB mark-to-market rules early this year, we have at least temporarily stopped reporting on the status of that infection.
After the bubble burst in Japan in 1990, Japanese banks were not compelled to properly disclose their losses either. The predictable result is that the problems resurfaced later, but worse, because they had not been addressed.

This sort of “regulatory forbearance” – setting aside requirements for large loan loss reserves and timely loss disclosure - was helpful during the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980's, but largely because it allowed time for negotiations with countries to restructure debt, first by rescheduling payments, and then ultimately through debt-equity swaps, exit bonds, and other major debt restructuring under the Brady Plan.

Forbearance only works, however, if you're buying time to do something to restructure debt. Instead, we've celebrated bailouts and the easing of reporting requirements as if they are a substitute for restructuring. In my view, this is a mistake that will haunt us.
Our response to the recent crisis has thus far repeated the mistakes made during the Japanese and S&L debacles.

The continued urgency of debt restructuring

With the financial markets cheerily celebrating the end of the recession, credit spreads back to 2007 levels, and analysts referring to the mortgage crisis as largely a thing of the past, it is natural to ask why I would start pounding the tables again about debt restructuring. Old news. Problem solved. Why even bring it up?

The simple answer is that we have not solved the mortgage mess. We have temporarily buried it under a pile of public money, bailing out bank bondholders at public expense. As I've noted before, the best time to panic, in the financial markets, is before everyone else does
Similarly, the best time to consider responses to credit strains is before they surface.

My sincere hope is that if, and I believe when, financial trouble resurfaces, we will be wise enough as a nation to prevent policy makers like Geithner and Bernanke from making the same bailout mistakes twice, protecting irresponsible lenders, and further burdening the nation with debt in the process.
With regard to the banking system, we still have no mechanism by which large undercapitalized banks would be able to absorb large losses with their own balance sheets, in lieu of going into receivership or default. The problem is that there is too much on the balance sheets in the form of debt, and not enough in terms of equity. Citigroup, with about $2 trillion in assets, continues to fund about $600 billion of that through debt to its own bondholders. Customers would never be at risk of loss in the event that Citigroup was to “fail.” The bondholders would.

But we have chosen to defend the bondholders. A cushion on the balance sheet that can't be touched is no cushion at all.

The proper solution is not to bail out the banks, but to create a regulatory structure that allows losses to be absorbed from the capital of bondholders.

UPDATE:

Andy Xie: Why One Bubble Burst Deserves Another Caijing

The lesson from the Lehman collapse seems to be, "Take whatever you can and, when it crashes, you get to keep it." How governments and central banks have dealt with this bubble will encourage more people to join bubble making in the future.
Chris Whalen: The Global Carry Trade And The Crimes Of Patriots via ZH

Since the October 1987 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve System has not denied the Street either liquidity or collateral. The objective goal of policy, it seems, has been to keep the ability of Congress to issue debt intact all the while keeping the casino part of the banking system operating at full steam regardless of the impact on inflation and, more important, investor behavior.....

The EU also has killed any entrepreneurial activity in private banking as well. There is virtually no private capital inflows into the EU banking sector and, in many markets, private and public sector EU banks mostly are insolvent. The EU member states now are the last redoubt for entire nations when it comes to credit.

One wonders how the EU will participate in the stated intention of the G-20 to raise bank capital for riskier activities when many EU banks cannot meet current capital requirements and are facing losses that are equally as large as those unrealized losses facing US banks.

Janet Tavakoli : Wall Street's Fraud Solutions For Systemic Peril ZH

Massive fraud damaged the U.S. economy. (Housing prices didn’t just fall; they plummeted as the fraud unraveled.) U.S. taxpayers became unwilling unsophisticated investors funding Wall Street’s bailout. The Fed uses tax dollars to keep some of our largest banks—weakened by reverse‐Glass‐Steagall mergers with troubled entities—from collapsing under heavy loan losses.

Wall Street’s huge bonus payments were based on suspect accounting. Failure should not result in fortune. Yet, Wall Street once again proposes to pay out exorbitant bonuses.

Many banks’ current illusion of profitability is only made possible by taxpayers’ enormous subsidies including low cost borrowing, higher interest payments on bank capital deposits, a credit line for the FDIC (to be repaid with banks’ subsidized profits), and continued government debt guarantees on bank debt. A large share of certain banks’ tax‐subsidized profits is due as reparation to unsophisticated investors, the U.S. taxpayers.

Troubled financial entities should be put into receivership and restructured. Old shareholders will be wiped out. Debt‐holders will take a haircut (discount) along with a debt for new equity swap to recapitalize the entity.

But the job won’t be complete until we separate high risk activities from traditional banking in a return to a Glass‐Steagall like structure with regulators that indict fraudsters, snuff out systemic fraud, and allow honest bankers to prosper.

Volcker to Banks: Stop Trading with Taxpayer Money WSJ
....the fact that commercial banks that have taken billions in government assistance and whose deposits are now insured by the federal government, continue to take trading risks that Volcker finds unacceptable.

Commercial banks “lend money to businesses, and that’s still a very important function….And that’s why we protect them. I don’t want to see those banks, however, taking a lot of unnecessary risk. It’s risky enough lending money. They don’t have to do a lot of trading on speculative reasons,’’ Volcker says in an interview on “Charlie Rose,”

In other words, Volcker said banks should not be allowed to act like hedge funds trading everything from commodities to debt instruments

The problem is that proprietary trading is a major revenue generator for many commercial banks today. On some levels this could be good for taxpayers because the banks can use their trading profits to help pay back government bail out funds.

Not surprisingly, Volcker admitted during the interview with journalist Charlie Rose, which will be rebroadcast by Bloomberg TV, that he hasn’t found any takers in the Obama administration for his call to separate commercial banking from trading.
In Harsh Reports on S.E.C.’s Fraud Failures, a Watchdog Urges Sweeping Changes
Many on Wall Street and in Washington were surprised that some of Mr. Kotz’s proposals, like recording interviews with witnesses and creating a database for tips and complaints, were not already part of the S.E.C.’s standard practice.
Too Big To Jail :-)

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3 Comments:

Blogger jmf said...

Add this to the ever increasing bailout costs.....

State Housing Agencies in U.S. Said Slated for Treasury Help
Bloomberg

6:00 AM  
Blogger jmf said...

Obama’s Too-Big-to-Fail Plan Is Too Dumb to Pass: Kevin Hassett
Bloomberg

6:13 AM  
Blogger jmf said...

Ugly chart via CR


Fannie Mae Serious Delinquency Rate increases Sharply

8:20 AM  

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