Monday, April 26, 2010

Gold...The Ultimate Triple-A Asset

This is a perfect follow up on Eric Sprott Still Makes A Lot Of Sense...... ( !!! ) and shows that if you would eliminate the "Enron-Esque Accounting" probably 90% percent of all sovereign ratings are more than a little bit inflated...... UPDATE: Timing of the post could have been worse..... See end of the post.....

Die perfekte Ergänzung zu Eric Sprott Still Makes A Lot Of Sense...... ( !!! ) die eindrucksvoll aufzeigt das wenn man die "Enron-Esque Bilanzierung" miteinbeziehen würde wohl knapp 90% aller Staatsratings zum Teil erheblich "inflationiert" sind..... UPDATE: Timing des Postings hätte schlechter sein können... Siehe Ende des Postings....

Eric Sprott: Weakness Begets Weakness: from Banks to Sovereigns to Banks via ZH

The rating agencies’ ranking of the United States is even more disconnected from reality. To believe that the US sets the benchmark for sovereign debt credit ratings is preposterous.

While we have written ad nauseam about the excessive debt issuance by the United States, we found a recent update written by United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) to be particularly instructive. The update noted the US’s budget deficit equivalent to 9.9% of GDP in 2009 - the largest since 1945 - and stated that without significant policy changes the US government would soon face an "unsustainable growth in debt". This was not news to us.

It goes on to state, however, that using reasonable assumptions, "roughly 93 cents of every dollar of federal revenue will be spent on the major entitlement programs and net interest costs by 2020." This is news!

In less than ten years, using reasonable assumptions, there will essentially be no money left to run the US government - 93% of all tax revenues the US government collects will go to pay social security, Medicare, Medicaid and the interest costs on their national debt.

This implies no money left over for defense, homeland security, welfare, unemployment benefits, education or anything else we associate with the normal business of government. And the US government is rated AAA!?

Speaking of Rating Agencies :-)! ....

Da wir gerade bei den Rating Agenturen :-)! sind....
In our view it’s time for investors to acknowledge sovereign risk. The ratings agencies can opine all they want, but it seems clear to us that the only true AAA asset to protect your wealth is gold.

The risk inherent to investors, of course, is what happens when the bond market begins to realize and react to this new level of risk.

Banking To Debt Crisis Roundabout GLG Partners via FT Alphaville

Bond Traders Declare Inflation Dead After Yields Fall

The bond vigilantes who punished governments for profligate spending in past years have gone into hiding.

Sovereign bonds yield an average 2.385 percent, about the same as a year ago and below the average of 3.08 percent in 2008 when the credit market seizure led investors to seek the safety of government debt, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data.

The cost to borrow is steady even though the amount of bonds in the index that includes nations from the U.S. to Germany and Japan has grown to $17.4 trillion from $13.4 trillion two years ago.


Scheint mir ein ausgewogenes Chance/Risikoprofil zu sein..... ;-)

Bob Janjuah: "We Are Trapped In Some Sort Of Horrendous Keynesian/Monetarists' Nightmare...." via ZH

We are trapped in some horrendous Keynesian/monetarist nightmare, where policymakers, aided/abetted/advised by their buddies in the media, in the lobbyist cabal and in financial system, have YET AGAIN decided to go down the route which merely delays the problem/pushes it down the road, but which virtually guarantees that when the NEXT bubble collapses (I assume it will be the Global Government Debt/Bond Bubble and/or the Global Fiat Money/Paper Money/FX Bubble), there is NO pleasant way back.
Bill Gross WaPo
"In order to pay the interest and the bill when it comes due, we'll simply have to issue more IOUs. That, to me, is Ponzi-like," Gross said. "It's a game that can never be finished."
Read this twice... Bill "The Bond King" Gross from PIMCO is hinting the obvious.....Glad that i didn´t have to bring PONZI into the mix myself....... All this should make all the "GOLD BUBBLE TALK" even more "credible.... ;-)

Das letzte Zitat von Bill "The Bond King" Gross, der ja mittels PIMCO bekanntlich der weltweit größte Investor in Anleihen ist, sollte zur Sicherheit lieber zweimal gelesen lesen werden........Bin dankbar das ich PONZI nicht selber ins Spiel bringen mußte.....Dieser "grundsoliden" Fundamentaldaten geben speziell all denen die noch immer nicht genug von der "GOLDBLASE" bekommen können sicher noch mehr "Nahrung"... ;-)

"GOLD BUBBLE CHART" ;-) from Todd Harrison / Minyanville via Pragmatic Capitalist

I highly recommend to read the entire links & to subscribe to the free Sprott Asset Management Newsletter.... No wonder the IMF has just Superzised Their "Backup Rescue Facility" By Half A Trillion ( no typo ) for "Contribution To Global Financial Stability"......

In dem Link sind noch etliche andere unangenehme Weisheiten speziell im Hinblick auf Griechenland. Empfehle daher sich die kompletten Links etwas genauer durchzulesen sowie den kostenlosen Sprott Asset Management Newsletter zu abonnieren....Kein Wunder das "vorsorglich" der IMF die Mittel zur "Stabilisierung" der Sorgenkinder mal eben still und heimlich auf 500 Mrd $ verzehnfacht hat ( kein Tipfehler )....


S&P cuts Portugal’s ratings two notches to A- FT Alphaville

S&P cuts Greece ratings to junk status MW

S&P Downgrades Spain To AA On "Risks To Budgetary Position", Outlook Negative ZH

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Eric Sprott Still Makes A Lot Of Sense......

I admit, i´m biased.... My views on GOLD, Sovereign Debt,China, Banks & Markets are almost identical.... UPDATE: After todays really "shocking" & "surprising" GOLDMAN news i assume the "complacency" is now at least for a fews days over... So far this has been the perfect excuse to take profits after almost 50 days since the S&P 500 has had a pullback (one-day or multi-day) of 1%....The "Dumb Money" indicator is also hitting extreme levels... As a bull this won´t give me much comfort.... Monday will show if this in context of the bigger picture irrelevant news has the potential to be the trigger to finally play this market from the short site or if all the "famous" money on the sideline will buy the dip ....Overall i hope that this will give the "VOLCKER RULE" & a much tougher regulation a much needed boost....

Muß zugeben das ich da etwas voreingenommen bin..... Meine Meinung zum Thema GOLD,Sovereign Debt,China, Banks & den Märkten unterscheidet sich nur unwesentlich..... UPDATE: Nach der heutigen "schockierenden" GOLDMAN Meldung dürfte die grenzenlose Sorglosigkeit dürfte zumindest für ein paar Tage vorbei sein.... Bisher sind das lediglich Gewinnmitnahmen nachdem der S&P 500 fast 50 Handelstage keinen Tagesverlust von größer als 1% ausgewiesen hat....Zudem notiert der "Dumb Money" Indikator in extrem luftiger Höhe....Als Bulle würde mich diese Tatsachen nur noch nervöser machen.....Der Montag dürfte zeigen ob diese bei Betrachtung der in den anderen Links aufgeführten massiven Probleme eigentlich nicht wirklich wichtige Meldung das Potential den extrem heissgelaufenen Risikoappetit umzukehren & den Markt nach etlichen Monaten endlich auch für Shorts interessant machen oder aber ob das "berühmt berüchtige" Money on the Sidelines diesen "massiven" Rückschlag zum kaufen nutzt..... Bleibt in jedem Fall zu hoffen das die bereits totgesagte "VOLCKER RULE" und eine wirklich "harte" Regulierung dadurch den dringend benötigten Schub bekommt.....

H/T Jesse

He really puts his money where his mouth is.....75 percent related to GOLD, SILVER & Mining is almost unheard of & combined with his attempted & rejected bid to buy the remaining 191.3 tonnes from the IMF qualifies him for the titel "GOLD BUG OF THE YEAR".... Let´s hope his "guaranteed" physical GOLD trust ( not an ETF ) will be a running success ( UPDATE: Sprott Physical Gold Trust Announces Follow-On Offering of 18,000,000 Trust Units !! )..... This could make the dominant GOLD ETF´s quite "nervous".... The following script from Sprott is taken from an earlier post called Scarcity. That Is The Answer To The Question “Why Gold?” End Of Story ! highlighting why guys like Rosenberg & Tudor think that GOLD longterm ( short term i´m a little cautious / worried, but timing in probably one of the strongest bull market out there is very difficult UPDATE: possible GOLDMAN / PAULSON impact Net Gold Commercial Positions Surge To Multi-Month High Short Exposure) might not be such a bad idea.....

Bei 75 % GOLD, SILBER & Minengewichtung wird allerdings selbst mir schwindlig und zusammen mit seinem Vorstoss die vom IMF zum Verkauf gestellten 190 Tonnen Gold komplett zu kaufen dürfte es locker für den Titel "GOLD BUG DES JAHRES" reichen.... Drücke beide Daumen das der mit garantiert physischen GOLD hinterlegte Trust ( kein EFT ) ein Erfolg wird ( UPDATE: Sprott Physical Gold Trust Announces Follow-On Offering of 18,000,000 Trust Units !! )... Das könnte bei den vorherrschenden GOLD ETF´s doch leichte Nervosität auslösen.....Das nachfolgende Skript ist ebenfalls von Sprott und dem Posting Scarcity. That Is The Answer To The Question “Why Gold?” End Of Story ! entnommen. Wie der Titel schon sagt sind darin einige Gründe von Rosenberg & Tudor aufgeführt warum GOLD längerfristig ( Bin kurzfristig eher skeptisch, die Vergangenheit aber hat gezeigt das sich das Timing im vielleicht intaktesten Bullenmarkt überhaupt als fast unmöglich herausgestellt hat UPDATE: mögliche GOLDMAN / PAULSON Auswirkung Net Gold Commercial Positions Surge To Multi-Month High Short Exposure ) keine ganz schlechte Idee ist.....

Sprott Oct 2009 Comment


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Glitch In The Matrix......

The "Wall Of Worry" is getting steeper...... Should the spreads remain elevated even after Greece has ""activated" the EU/IMF rescue package i think we could see the VIX spike to over 17.... ;-)

"Schockierend" .... ;-) Sollten jetzt selbst nach Aktivierung des EU/IMF Programmes die Auschläge nicht "merklich"sinken dürften mit hoher Wahrscheinlichkeit die nächste Stufe der Krise gezündet werden....

The Greek debt merry-go-round goes round again FT Alphaville
The 10-year Greek bond – German bund spread widened to 426 basis points on Thursday.

That’s up from 406bps on Wednesday — and nearing an 11-year high

Keep in mind that the bailouts are not to rescue Greece ( see Foreigners Holding 75 % of Greece’s Current Debt Stock & Bank Exposure To PIIGS / Chart ) .....

With everybody "Too Small To Fail" the prospects for a "GOLD-BUG" could be worse... ;-)

Nur zur Erinnerung, die teilweise wahnwitzigen Konstruktionen sind nur auf den ersten Blick zur Rettung der Griechen gedacht ( siehe Foreigners Holding 75 % of Greece’s Current Debt Stock & Bank Exposure To PIIGS / Chart ) ....

Da inzwischen weltweit die oberste Maxime selbst bei aussichtslosen Fällen "Too Small to Fail" ist dürften sich auf absehbare Zeit die Aussichten für einen "GOLD-BUG" nicht gerade verschlechtern....;-)

UPDATE: Fixing the Matrix........

IMF Prepares For Global Cataclysm, Expands Backup Rescue Facility By Half A Trillion For "Contribution To Global Financial Stability" ZH


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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Andie Xie: "China's Property Market Is One Of The Biggest Bubbles Ever..."

We really live in very interesting times.....The update comes just in time for todays headline Property prices in China grew at the fastest pace in nearly five years in March.... The "Wall Of Worry" is getting steeper on a daily basis.... For more on the "China Syndrome" see here, here, here , here & here.....

Aufregende Zeiten.......Passend hierzu die heutige Nachricht Property prices in China grew at the fastest pace in nearly five years in March nicht passen....Eine ausführlichere Betrachtung des immer ernster werdenden "China Syndrome" gibt es hier, hier, hier , hier & hier.....

Empty : Though many of the properties in Kangbashi have been sold and a million people were projected to be living in Kangbashi by 2010, the city is still empty.

Ordos,China: A Modern Ghost Town Photo Gallery TIME
H/T The Mess That Greenspan Made

No Room To Relax Andy Xie / China International Business

The central government has unleashed another round of property tightening measures. This time it is focusing on mortgage lending terms: the mortgage interest discount for first-time homebuyers has been reduced; the discount for second-time homebuyers has been abolished and the down payment requirement raised to 40%; and the rate for third-time buyers is being left to the banks' discretion with down payments raised to 60%.

Predictably, sales volumes in both primary and secondary markets have collapsed. But no one is panicking, not even those who live off the property bubble. Why? Aren't they supposed to be terrified of the government's crackdown?

It seems we have seen this movie before. China has launched property-tightening measures several times but it relaxed them just when they began to bite.

The bottom line is that local governments, and the central government through them, depend very much on property for revenue. The market doesn't believe the government will cut off the hand that feeds it.

Local governments and developers are sitting on massive liquidity that they raised last year through land and property sales and borrowings, taking advantage of the "anything goes" window during the stimulus period. They seem to believe that the central government will change its mind before they run out of liquidity. So they are comfortable waiting and not cutting prices.

Cutting prices doesn't make sense if the government is expected to loosen policy again soon. The current lending terms effectively keep second- and third-time homebuyers out of the market. To sell, developers must cut prices to levels affordable to the buyers of first homes, who have low incomes and little wealth. All the players will play by the new rules only if the central government proves its credibility by maintaining the tightening policy until local governments and developers run out of money.
Contrary to the policies' intent, local governments are readying for another round of property inflation. Local governments have been using bank loans to resettle residents, and resettlement costs have skyrocketed since those being moved need enough compensation to buy properties at today's prices. Unless property prices rise considerably, local governments will end up losing money, which they cannot afford to do.

Resettlements played an important role in supporting demand for property last year. The overwhelming majority of end-user purchases probably came from resettled residents who used their compensation money for a down payment.

Resettlement compensation is the biggest transfer of wealth from the government to the household sector since the privatization of public housing at low prices a decade ago. It is probably the most important government action supporting today's economy.

The positive elements of resettlement compensation come with two major negatives. First, it is using a form of leverage to support demand. Local governments borrow to pay the compensation packages, using the land as collateral. The resettled residents use the compensation as down payment for mortgage borrowing; so government debt becomes equity for mortgage debt.

There is no real equity in the financing chain

China's property market is a massive bubble. The stock of residential properties, developers' inventories, and land that local governments have pledged to banks may exceed by three times the gross domestic product.

Get the yuan right, and prove pundits wrong Andy Xie / Caixin

Yuan appreciation hype ignores China's need for higher rates

The intensity and persistence of yuan appreciation expectations point to support for China's vast property bubble. These expectations have increased the concentration of hot money in China, which in turn has caused excess liquidity and speculation, fueling the property bubble.

By all measures (stock value to gross domestic product ratios, inventory value to GDP ratios, new property sales to GDP ratios, price to income ratios, rental yields and vacancy rates), China's property market is one of the biggest bubbles ever. It's probably much bigger than the U.S. property bubble relative to GDP.

Now, the same liquidity that fueled the property bubble is leading to a rapid pickup for consumer price inflation. One just needs to look around to see the seriousness of the inflation picture, regardless of how it's measured. Denying that inflation is serious in China right now is akin to burying one's head in the sand. This sort of denial is how countries in Southeast Asia got into a crisis situation in the past: They kept real interest rates too low and fueled speculation that eventually destroyed their banking systems.

If China's economic stimulus is withdrawn, the property bubble will cool. And it may even burst. This is why so many interest groups consistently argue against higher interest rates. Instead, they support using currency appreciation to cool inflation.

Many analysts argue that raising interest rates would attract more hot money. This is wrong. Hot money comes to China for currency appreciation and asset-bubble reasons, not to chase interest rates. When an interest rate is raised, expectations for property-price appreciation wane and hot money is more likely to fall than rise.

Increasing the yuan's value a bit would certainly trigger more frenzy. Any new property booms that follow may support the economy for a time. But the long-term consequences would be severe. Indeed, a small appreciation could make a crisis inevitable.


Top ten reasons you know China has a financial bubble on its hands Ed Harrison

Jim Chanos On Charlie Rose - Full Interview ZH

China’s Debt Bubble: When Will the Ponzi Unravel? NC

Chinese consumer credit binge begins FT Alphaville

China - The Mother of All Black Swans ZH

Red hot real estate Economist Free Excahnge

China Bond Risk May Offset Reward WSJ

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Monday, April 12, 2010

"The Unhappiness Of The Seller Does Not Mean That There Is No Market."

As always superb "Anti Spin" from Hussman.....Long read but with all markets at new highs & on a global scale well over 1 trillion in taxpayer money for the still ongoing bailouts , QE, ZIPR etc it is more important than ever to ask what happened to "the toxic assets" ..... Hussman focusses mainly on US mortgages but i think it is safe to say that similar things are true globally when it comes to CRE, corporate loans etc... Fits nicely to Fridays post "Surprise, Surprise....." Big Banks Mask Risk Levels - Quarter-End Loan Figures Sit 42% Below Peak .....I have to repeat myself when it comes to the ÜBERBULLISH Cramer´s Bull Case For Banks
"Would at least be honest if he mentioned the "ultimate moral hazard trade" & the "Enron-esque characteristics" when it comes to accounting as the two main reasons behind the motives to own banks.. ;-)"
Dringend benötigter "Anti Spin" vom gewohnt erstklassigen John Hussman....Recht ausführliche aber im Angesicht der neuen Markthochs aber unbedingt lesenswerte Ausführungen wenn es um das von einigen bereits als "gelöst" bzw. verdrängt geltende Problem der "Toxic Assets" geht....Schon erstaunlich ( einige würden auch sagen schockierend...) was weltweit gesehen wohl locker über 1 Billion an Steuergeldern die noch immer weiter fliessen ( siehe "The Rolling Bailout Bus" ) , QE, ZIRP usw bisher beim Kernproblem der Krise bewirkt haben.....Obwohl Hussman hier in erster Linie Hypotheken abhandelt ist es sicher keine Übertreibung zu behaupten das weltweit ähnliches auch für gewerbliche genutzte Immobilien sowie Firmenkredite gilt....Wie gemacht als perfekte Ergänzung zum letzten Posting "Surprise, Surprise....." Big Banks Mask Risk Levels - Quarter-End Loan Figures Sit 42% Below Peak ......Muß mich leider erneut wiederholen wenn es um zunehmend bullische Bankempfehlungen ( für ein besonders krasses Beispiel siehe Cramer´s Bull Case For Banks ) und damit indirekt auch für den Gesamtmarkt geht.....

"Wäre zumindest ehrlich gewesen wenn er in seinen 10 Gründen die unbedingt dafür sprechen sofort massiv Bankaktien zu kaufen den "ultimativen Moral Hazard Trade" sowie die kreative Bilanzierung die stark "Enron-esque characteristics" aufweist als die Topgründe aufführen würde.... ;-)"

Extend and Pretend John Hussman

With regard to credit conditions, the U.S. financial system continues to pursue a strategy of "extend and pretend." A year ago, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) suspended rule 157, which had previously required banks to mark their assets to market value when preparing balance sheet reports. The basic argument was that fair values were not appropriate because there was "no market" for troubled assets. Certainly, the FASB could have implemented something at least modestly reasonable, such as 2-year or 3-year averaging, but instead, they changed the rules to allow "substantial discretion" in the valuation of bank assets in their financial reports.

To a large degree, the idea that there was "no market" for troubled assets was false even at the time.
Last year, Dean Baker of the well-regarded Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) testified before Congress, observing "There has been considerable confusion about the nature of the troubled assets held by the banks. While banks do hold some amount of mortgage-backed securities, these securities are in fact a relatively small portion of their troubled assets. The troubled assets on the banks' books are overwhelmingly mortgages, both first and second or other junior
liens, not mortgage-backed securities. The FDIC has acquired large quantities of mortgages from its takeover of several dozen failed banks over the last year. It auctions these assets off on an ongoing basis. The results of these auctions are available on the FDIC website. Non-performing mortgages typically sell in these auctions at prices in the vicinity of 30 cents on the dollar."

He continued, "It is not clear on what basis these auctions can be said not to constitute a market. While the downturn and the constricted credit conditions affect the market, it is simply inaccurate to claim that there is no market for these assets. The major banks are undoubtedly not pleased at the prospect of having to sell off their loans at these prices, but this merely indicates that they are unhappy with the market outcome, just as a homeowner might be unwilling to sell her house at a loss. However, the unhappiness of the seller does not mean that there is no market."

The impact of "extend and pretend" is to create a gap between the reported value of assets and the value they would have on the basis of the cash flows that those assets can reasonably be expected to generate over their maturity. In order to avoid having to restate assets, banks have allowed an increasing gap to develop between the volume of delinquent loans and the volume of loans actually in foreclosure, creating a growing "shadow inventory" of impaired but unmodified and unforeclosed loans.

Moreover, regulatory changes over the past year have affected what actually gets reported as "troubled." As the New York Times recently observed, " A bank owed, say, $4 million on a property now worth $3 million would previously have had to classify the entire loan as
troubled. Now it can do that to the $1 million difference only." In effect, even though impaired loans tend to sell at only 30-50 cents on the dollar (reflecting a modest haircut to the amount typically received in foreclosure), banks can choose the amount of assets it reports as troubled simply by choosing what value to assign the property while it holds the bad loan on its books.

While it's interesting that credit card delinquencies have eased off modestly in recent months, this is not necessarily a healthy sign. Even in the third quarter of 2009, TransUnion reported that consumers delinquent on their mortgages but current on their credit cards increased by 6.6%. In effect, people have been choosing to pay their credit cards in priority to their mortgages.

As for policy efforts to reduce delinquencies, I've long argued that it is a bad idea for policy makers to announce delinquency prevention plans that have, as their centerpiece, publicly subsidized reductions in mortgage principal.
It's one thing to extend the loan in a way that preserves its present value, by swapping a claim on future appreciation in return for principal reduction, but it's quite another to offer to cut the principal outright. The reason ist that instead of confining the assistance to presently troubled borrowers, you create a whole new set of borrowers who then choose to be troubled in order to get the assistance. According to a University of Chicago study, "strategic defaults" - where people choose to default on their mortgages even though they can afford to pay - accounted for 35% of all residential defaults in December 2009, up from 23% in March 2009. Offering public subsidies for this behavior, when too many homeowners are already legitimately struggling, does not smack of a bright idea.

The New York Times recently provided a good picture of how the delinquency situation stood at the end of 2009 (based on FDIC data):

Bad Bank Loans Soar

In short, my impression is that investors are deluding themselves about the solvency of the banking system. People learned in the 1930's that when you don't require the reported value of assets to have a clear and tangible link to the value that the assets would have in liquidation, bad things happen. Yet this is what regulatory and accounting rules are allowing for the banking system at present. While I do believe that bank depositors are safe to the extent of FDIC guarantees, my impression is that the banking system is still quietly insolvent.

Will it work? Will it change?

Regardless of whether the U.S. banking system would not presently be able to meet its liabilities with its assets, there is another question: assuming that banks are allowed to extend and pretend for a long enough period of time, will they ultimately be able to accumulate enough retained earnings in the years ahead to cover eventual loan losses? In other words, is it possible that everything will be OK if we just look the other way long enough?

From my perspective, it depends on what "OK" means. Simply in terms of long-term solvency - assets being ultimately able to meet liabilities - my impression is that yes, given enough time, retained bank earnings should cover the losses on existing loans. Indeed, it's possible that banks might be able to report fairly healthy "operating earnings" to investors, and then somewhat more quietly write off losses as "extraordinary" charges over a period of years. This type of outcome is beginning to look possible, because investors evidently don't mind repeatedly having their pockets picked as long as "operating earnings" come in above analyst estimates.

Unfortunately, in that sort of world, the economy would likely be hobbled for a long period of time, as Japan has discovered over the past couple of decades. With banks focused primarily on survival and recapitalization, retained earnings would be directed to making the existing liabilities whole, rather than contributing to productive new investment.

So to the extent that "extend and pretend" is successful in averting insolvency concerns, it will also tend to weigh down lending activity, as resources are allocated toward servicing existing debt burdens on bad assets, rather than toward new lending for productive activity. The most efficient outcome is always for lenders who provide capital to take losses if the loans go bad. That sort of market discipline is the only way to ensure that capital gets allocated properly. This is not the world that we have lived in over the past year, as policy makers have pledged public money to make private bank bondholders whole, regardless of how irresponsibly the banks allocated the money. But it is important to recognize that this policy comes with longer term costs.

Needless to say that i think he is spot on....... It will be interesting to see how Mr. Market will react to the quality of ( bank ) earnings / balance sheets during the reporting season.....This could be at least a possible trigger to calm down the "somewhat elevated" risk appetite significantly.....

Überflüssig zu erwähnen das ich zu 100% übereinstimme..... Es wird spannend zu beobachten inwieweit in der jetzt startenden Berichtssaison die Gewinn und Bilanzqualität der Banken hinterfragt wird.... Sehe hier durchaus erhebliches Potential den "leicht erhöhten" Risikoappetit doch merklich zu zügeln.....


Profit for Banks Dimmed by Home-Equity Loss Seen at $30 Billion
April 12 (Bloomberg) -- Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. may have to set aside an additional $30 billion to cover possible losses on home-equity loans, an amount almost equal to analysts’ estimates of profit at the three banks this year.
Global Banking System Extend and Pretend Insolvency Mish

I happen to agree with John Hussman on all points mentioned. Moreover, it is not just the U.S. banking system that is insolvent, the global banking system is nothing but a giant extend and pretend operation including the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain), China, the UK, and even Canada as soon Canada's gigantic housing bubble crashes.

Spot On Alex Cartoon :-)!

The DTA dodge FT Alphaville
The issue is that in order for banks to include DTAs in their Tier 1 capital, they need to be able to show regulators that they will generate enough income in the future to actually use them.

Citigroup, for instance, has been racking up enough losses in recent years to generate $47bn worth of DTAs at the end of 2009, about $21bn of which was included in their Tier 1 capital that year. So that’s $21bn coming out of years of losses, but based on the premise that the bank will soon be profitable.
They will find a "creative" way to reassure their future profibility..... The Treasury wants to sell a 7.7 billion shares within the next year... ;-)

Bin mir sicher das hier ein kreativer Weg gefunden wird um die zukünftige Profitabilität zu gewährleisten...Immerhin will das Finanzministerium noch 7,7 Mrd Aktien binnen 12 Monaten auf den Markt schmeissen ;-)

Foreclosure inventories hit record

February's foreclosure rate of 3.31% represented a 51.1% jump from February 2009
From Level I to Level III, the myth of fair value FT Alphaville

Lehman Channeled Risks Through ‘Alter Ego’ Firm NYT

Even now, a year and a half after Lehman’s collapse, major banks still undertake such transactions with businesses whose names, like Hudson Castle’s, are rarely mentioned outside of footnotes in financial statements, if at all.
"ENRON-ESQUE" .......

The search for Basel III loopholes begins Felix Salmon

Most of the arguments could be made only by banks who have been drinking their own kool-aid for so long that they no longer have any idea what sounds ridiculous and what doesn’t.


Meredith Whitney vs the Banks Paul Kedrosky

She has not one single buy rating in the space she is covering.....

Eine der wohl besten Bankenanlaysten hat nicht eine einzige Bank auf "BUY".....

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Thursday, April 08, 2010

"Surprise, Surprise....." Big Banks Mask Risk Levels - Quarter-End Loan Figures Sit 42% Below Peak

At least one has to conclude / "admire" that they have "CHUZPAH"....... Just one more reason for Cramer´s Bull Case For Banks ... You really need a good dose of "humor" & GOLD to stay calm these days....;-)

Vor soviel "CHUZPAH" muß man ehrlich den Hut ziehen....... Ein Grund mehr für Cramer´s Bull Case For Banks .... Heutzutage muß man schon ein sehr "humorvoller" Zeitgenosse & "GOLD-BUG" sein um den tagtäglichen "Wahnsinn" nicht nur kopfschüttelnd zu erleben..... ;-)

Taken from the excellent Randy Glasbergen collection

Big Banks Mask Risk Levels WSJ

Quarter-End Loan Figures Sit 42% Below Peak, Then Rise as New Period Progresses; SEC Review

Major banks have masked their risk levels in the past five quarters by temporarily lowering their debt just before reporting it to the public, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

A group of 18 banks—which includes Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc.—understated the debt levels used to fund securities trades by lowering them an average of 42% at the end of each of the past five quarterly periods, the data show. The banks,which publicly release debt data each quarter, then boosted the debt levels in the middle of successive quarters.

The data highlight the banks' levels of short-term financing in the repurchase, or "repo," market. Financial firms use cash from the loans to buy securities, then use the purchased securities as collateral for other loans, and buy more securities. The loans boost the firms' trading power, or "leverage," allowing them to make big trades without putting up big money. This amplifies gains—and losses, which were disastrous in 2008.

According to the data, the banks' outstanding net repo borrowings at the end of each of the past five quarters were on average 42% below their peak in net borrowings in the same quarters. Though the repo market represents just a slice of banks' overall activities, it provides a window into the risks that financial institutions take to trade.

The SEC now is seeking detailed information from nearly two dozen large financial firms about repos, signaling that the agency is looking for accounting techniques that could hide a firm's risk-taking. The SEC's inquiry follows recent disclosures that Lehman used repos to mask some $50 billion in debt before it collapsed in 2008.

The practice of reducing quarter-end repo borrowings has occurred periodically for years, according to the data, which go back to 2001, but never as consistently as in 2009.

The repo market played a role in recent accusations leveled by an examiner in Lehman's bankruptcy case. But rather than reducing quarter-end debt, Lehman took steps to hide it.

Interactive Graph : Masking Risk

Evidence That Primary Dealers Have Collectively Engaged In Repo 105 And Qtr-End Book Cooking Type Schemes For Years ZH
The graphic representation of the Primary Dealer holdings of net assets shown as a Lo-High range during any given quarter, together with the closing net assets (presented by the red dot), is shown on the chart below.
We are confident that armed with this data, the SEC will be able to provide a prompt and logical response ( JMF : SARCASM AT ITS BEST!) why the PDs have such a peculiar pattern in downshifting their assets toward quarter end, and much more relevantly, who the counterparties are that would consistently take the other side of these quarter end window-dressing trades.

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Monday, April 05, 2010

Profit Margins, Margin Debt & Margin Of Error.......

Combine the data points with the excellent When Risk-Return Makes No Sense: How To Deal With An Overvalued Market and it should be clear that Mr. Market is walking on very thin ice now... I must admit that this is my view since September/October......Cannot help but it at least smells a little bit like "Flucht In Sachwerte"... I still think that the risk / reward is far more favourable in GOLD... ;-)

Wenn man die folgenden Daten mit dem extrem lesenswerten When Risk-Return Makes No Sense: How To Deal With An Overvalued Market kombiniert wird klar das man sich momentan auf sehr dünnem Eis bewegt.... Muß gestehen das ich diese Ansicht seit dem September/Oktober vertrete.... So langsam kann man zumindest unterschwellig das Gefühl haben das zumindest in Teilen eine "Flucht In Sachwerte" eingesetzt hat.....Bin mehr denn je überzeugt das in Sachen Chance/Risiko die Aussichten für GOLD weitaus vielversprechender sind.... ;-)

William Hester / Hussman Funds
While earnings growth expectations are steep, sales growth expectations are more modest. Sales-per-share for S&P 500 companies is expected to grow about 5.5 percent this year and about 7 percent next year, according to forecasts. The difference between the growth rates of the top and bottom lines is implies a forecast for sharply rising operating profit margins. The graph below is updated from an earlier piece, and includes forecasts through the end of 2012. It plots the long-term level of S&P operating margins in blue. In red, I've plotted the operating margins currently being forecasted by analysts based on their projections for sales and earnings. Last October, analysts were about half way to pricing in profit margins that matched the record levels of 2007. Now, they are just about there.
David Rosenberg / Gluskin Sheff
As for 2011, the consensus is looking for $97 on S&P 500 operating EPS — we did $95 at the peak of the last cycle when the unemployment rate was at 4.5%, the industry CAPU rate was 81%, private sector credit xpanding at a 16.2% annual rate and nominal GDP at a 4.9% YoY pace.
So the consensus believes that barely two years into the second weakest post-recession recovery in the past six decades that we will actually get back to peak profit levels seems to be a tad outlandish.
Stock Market Rally Explained The Mess That Greenspan Made

Ad in the the Money & Investing section of today’s Wall Street Journal

Factoring in the tight junk spreads right now one must assume that looking at the next chart the "Margin Of Error" is probably "slim"......

Da momentan selbst historisch gesehen recht enge Junk Spreads vorherrschen muß man beim Anblick des nächsten Charts wohl unterstellen das in Sachen "Margin Of Error" wenig "Spielraum" bleibt.....

Investors really ♥ junk. We mean really. FT Alphaville

In most discussions of the high-yield bond market, historical spreads play a major role. But comparing spreads today to those of the past assumes that junk bonds are a constant entity over time. Unfortunately, junk is junkier today, as illustrated by this chart [at left] from last October’s Global Financial Stability Report.

The fraction of CCC or lower-rated bonds approximately doubled from early 2007 to early 2009. And according to a recent report from Fitch, the fraction at the end of 2009 was still 27%.

Debt ranked in the BB category gained 39.1 percent in the past 12 months, underperforming the CCC tier by 66 percentage points, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data.

H/T EconomPicData

The "risk trade" is currently clearly not in the early innings....... Looks like the Mantra Bullish. No Matter What & the "Moon Trade" ( brilliant!) is still alive & kicking.... ;-)

Der sog. "Risikotrade" befindet sich sicher nicht mehr im "Anfangsstadium"..... Sieht so aus als wenn das Motto Bullish. No Matter What sowie Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Trading On The Moon ( brilliant!) momentan noch immer zu greifen scheint...... ;-)+



Why Young People Should Buy Stocks on Margin Time H/T Denninger

We just survived the worst debt-fueled binge since the Roaring '20s. Now two professors at Yale University are suggesting we introduce leverage into a new realm of our lives —our retirement portfolios. TIME's Barbara Kiviat asked economists Ian Ayres and Barry Nalebuff to explain themselves.

You are advocating that people in their 20s and early 30s take all of their retirement savings and buy stocks on margin. Can you explain why that's not as crazy as it sounds?

"It's not as crazy as it sounds because it helps people better diversify risk across time"

Read this twice....


Irrational Exuberance Is Here: VIX Lowest Since July 2007 As Options Speculation Highest Since Dot Com Days

The VIX has just hit the lowest level since July of 2007 as Sentiment Trader reports that "speculation in the options market has spiked to its highest levels since the spring of 2000."
As i´ve said, not in the early innings.....

Wie gesagt, nicht mehr im Anfangsstadium......

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Friday, April 02, 2010

Gold, Silver, the CFTC, MSM & Conspiracy Theories

Make sure you read the excellent summary (!!!) via Tim on his Blog "The Mess That Greenspade Made" covering every angle from last week’s hearing by the CFTC (Commodities Futures Trading Commission)....

Empfehle allen die ein Interesse in Gold haben sich die erstklassige Zusammenfassung (!!!) via Tim vom Blog "The Mess That Greenspan Made" im Zusammenhang mit den Anhörungen der CFTC (Commodities Futures Trading Commission) inklusive der darin enthaltenen Links aufmerksam durchzulesen.....

Despite the "remarkable" news from the CFTC hearing GOLD is hitting new highs in almost every currency out there & the inevitable bubble talk is heating up once more..... I can spot exactly one intact long term bull market in the following chart....

Trotz der "bemerkenswerten" Erkenntnissen der CFTC Anhörung notiert GOLD in praktisch jeder Währung auf neuen Rekordständen. Fast unvermeidlich das der "Bubble Talk" mal wieder die Runde macht.... In dem nachfolgenden Chart erkenne ich ( obwohl kein Chartexperte ) genau einen langfristig intakten Bullenmarkt...

H/T Todd Harrison / Minyanville via Pragmatic Capitalist

Tim sums it up / formuliert es treffend

There is widespread agreement that something needs to be done to limit trading position sizes in energy markets because, when Goldman Sachs or some hedge fund start driving the price of oil to $120 or $150 a barrel, then gasoline prices surge past $4 a gallon and, not only is this bad for the economy, but, people are understandably miffed and they start complaining to their Congressmen.

But, if, as Maguire charges, big banks like HSBC and JP Morgan use these same kinds of concentrated positions on the short side for gold and silver in an attempt to keep prices down amid growing troubles in a world full of paper money, it would seem inconsistent (as a minimum) to not take action here as well.


Disclosure : "GOLD-BUG" ;-)

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