Archive for the ‘Depression’ Category

Market Regulation

A quote from Karl Polanyi’s book, “The Great Transformation”

The self-regulating market was a threat to them all, and for essentially similar reasons. And if factory legislation and social laws were required to protect industrial man from the implications of the commodity fiction in regard to labor power, if land laws and agrarian tariffs were called into being by the necessity of protecting natural resources and the culture of the countryside against the implications of the commodity fiction in respect to them, it was equally true that central banking and the management of the monetary system were needed to keep manufactures and other productive enterprises safe from the harm involved in the commodity fiction as applied to money. Paradoxically enough, not human beings and natural resources only but also the organization of capitalistic production itself had to be sheltered from the devastating effects of a self-regulating market.

The markets are in a state of flux right now with the commodity “currency” now coming into disrepute.

One must start to question how much longer this can continue before the ‘real’ commodities such as oil, food, water and gold are put back into a majority position?

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Not enough lipstick to make this pig look pretty anymore

Governments On Both Sides of the Atlantic Try to Put Lipstick on a Pig

pig needing lipstick

piggy waiting for lipstick

We noted yesterday that the big banks have criminally conspired since 2005 to rig $800 trillion dollar Libor-based market.

Barclay’s chairman says that the Bank of England gave explicit approval for the manipulation.

A former Barclay’s executive – who was close to the Libor-setting manipulation – told the Daily Mail that Barclay’s manipulated Libor to make the bank look healthier than it really was, and , and the cover-up led to a slow policy response which prolonged the financial crisis.

This appears to be very similar to what happened in America.   As I noted last year:

The Tarp Inspector General has said that [then-Secretary of the Treasury Hank] Paulson misrepresented the big banks’ health in the run-up to passage of TARP. This is no small matter, as the American public would have not been very excited about giving money to insolvent institutions.

(Paulson also threatened martial law if Tarp was not passed.)

As we reported last year:

[All of the big banks were] insolvent in the 1980s, but the government made a concerted decision to cover that up.

Financial writers such as Mish and Reggie Middleton pointed out in late 2007 and early 2008 that B of A was again insolvent.

Nouriel Roubini noted in January 2009 that the entire U.S. banking system is “bankrupt” and “effectively insolvent”:

“I’ve found that credit losses could peak at a level of $3.6 trillion for U.S. institutions, half of them by banks and broker dealers,” Roubini said at a conference in Dubai today. “If that’s true, it means the U.S. banking system is effectively insolvent because it starts with a capital of $1.4 trillion.”

***

“The problems of Citi, Bank of America and others suggest the system is bankrupt,” Roubini said. “In Europe, it’s the same thing.”

Indeed, the American government’s zero interest rate policy is very much like the British Libor manipulation scandal … it’s nothing but an attempt to breathe life back into the insolvent banks, at the expense of the taxpayer.  And see this.

And the “financial reform” laws passed in the wake of the crisis have, in some ways, actually weakened regulations of the financial markets, allowed the big banks to get a lot bigger, and have intentionally allowed fraudulent accounting (and see this).

Likewise, the “stress tests” in both Europe and America have been a total scam … a naked attempt to put lipstick on a pig to cover up the fact that the big banks are insolvent.

By choosing the big banks over the little guy – and failing to rein in the fraud which caused the crisis in the first place – the governments on both sides of that Atlantic are dooming both the financial system and the people to failure.

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Money for Nothing

The German government is now getting buyers (in large numbers) for their ZERO PERCENT (0%) return bonds. 

Essentially they are offering to keep your currency from vanishing … like any of the fiat currencies have any hope of NOT doing a disappearing trick in the next decade.

Indeed the story has elements that say the coming bond issue will include NEGATIVE real returns, just imagine, we promise to loose less than you will anywhere else!

More on Zero Hedge

Wall Street Journal

Irish Times

Alternative Economics

The Guardian

Bloomberg

Tired of these sort of return tales?

Contact us: info@rsreal.com; there are alternatives to watching your money (currency) vanish ….

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Greek exit from EU now openly debated …

According to Guardian:

The fate of Greece is, on Tuesday night, in the hands of the leader of a far-left party who launched the quest to form a government by declaring the country could no longer commit itself to the terms of an international loan agreement keeping its economy afloat.

After accepting a mandate to create a multi-party administration following inconclusive elections, Alexis Tsipras sent shockwaves through financial markets by announcing the pledges Athens had made to secure rescue funds from the EU and IMF were null and void.

“The popular verdict clearly renders the bailout deal null,” said the politician, whose stridently anti-austerity coalition of the radical left, known as Syriza, sprung the surprise of the weekend’s poll, coming in second with 16.8% of the vote. “This is an historic moment for the left and the popular movement and a great responsibility for me.”

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Commodity insider track … get yours while you can!

Mike Maloney says it clearly,”High frequency shearing.”

Get out while you can!

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The stage 4 CANCER of the currency system:

By Graham Summers of Seeking Alpha

Cancer of the currency

Cancer of the currency

Friday I noted that the “addict/dealer” metaphor for the Fed’s intervention in the markets was in fact not accurate and that the Fed’s actions would be more appropriately described as permitted cancerous beliefs to spread throughout the financial system, thereby killing Democratic Capitalism which is the basis of the capital markets.

Today I’m going to explain what the “final outcome” for this process will be. The short version is what happens to a cancer patient who allows the disease to spread unchecked (death).

In the case of the Fed’s actions we will see a similar “death” of Democratic Capitalism and the subsequent death of the capital markets. I am, of course, talking in metaphors here: the world will not end, and commerce and business will continue, but the form of capital markets and Capitalism we are experiencing today will cease to exist as the Fed’s policies result in the market and economy eventually collapsing in such a fashion that what follows will bear little resemblance to that which we are experiencing now.

The focus of this “death” will not be stocks, but bonds, particularly sovereign bonds: the asset class against which all monetary policy and investment theory has been based for the last 80+ years.

Indeed, basic financial theory has proposed that sovereign bonds are essentially the only true “risk-free” investment in the world. While history shows this theory to be false (sovereign defaults have occurred throughout the 20th century) this has been the basic tenant for all investment models and indeed the financial system at large going back for 80 some odd years.

The reason for this is that the Treasury (US sovereign bond) market is the basis of the entire monetary system in the US and the Global financial system in general. Indeed, US Treasuries are the senior most assets on the Primary Dealers’ (world’s largest banks) balance sheets. To understand why this is as well as why the Fed’s policies will ultimately destroy this system, you first need to understand the Primary Dealer system that is the basis for the US banking system at large.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Primary Dealers, these are the 18 banks at the top of the US private banking system. They’re in charge of handling US Treasury Debt auctions and as such they have unprecedented access to US debt both in terms of pricing and monetary control.

The Primary Dealers are:

Bank of America (BAC)
Barclays Capital Inc. (BCS)
BNP Paribas Securities Corp. (BNP)
Cantor Fitzgerald & Co.
Citigroup Global Markets Inc. (C)
Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC (CS)
Daiwa Securities America Inc. (DSECF.PK)
Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. (DB)
Goldman, Sachs & Co. (GS)
HSBC Securities (USA) Inc. (HBC)
J. P. Morgan Securities Inc. (JPM)
Jefferies & Company Inc. (JEF)
Mizuho Securities USA Inc. (MFG)
Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated (MS)
Nomura Securities International Inc. (NMR)
RBC Capital Markets
RBS Securities Inc. (RBS)
UBS Securities LLC. (UBS)

I’m you’ll sure you’ll recognize these names by the mere fact that they are the exact banks that the Fed focused on “saving” thereby removing their “risk of failure” during the financial crisis.

These banks are also the largest beneficiaries of the Fed’s largest monetary policies: QE 1, QE lite, QE 2, etc. Indeed, we now know that QE 2 was in fact was meant to benefit those Primary Dealers in Europe, not the US housing market.

The Primary Dealers are the firms that buy US Treasuries during debt auctions. Once the Treasury debt is acquired by the Primary Dealer, it’s parked on their balance sheet as an asset. The Primary Dealer can then leverage up that asset and also fractionally lend on it, i.e. create more debt and issue more loans, mortgages, corporate bonds, or what have you.

Put another way, Treasuries are not only the primary asset on the large banks’ balance sheets, they are in fact the asset against which these banks lend/ extend additional debt into the monetary system, thereby controlling the amount of money in circulation in the economy.

When the Financial Crisis hit in 2007-2008, the Fed responded in several ways, but the most important for the point of today’s discussion is the Fed removing the “risk of failure” for the Primary Dealers by spreading these firms’ toxic debts onto the public’s balance sheet and funneling trillions of dollars into them via various lending windows.

In simple terms, the Fed took what was killing the Primary Dealers (toxic debts) and then spread it onto the US’s balance sheet (which was already sickly due to our excessive debt levels). This again ties in with my “cancer” metaphor, much as cancer spreads by infecting healthy cells.

When the Fed did this it did not save capitalism or the Capital Markets. What it did was allow the “cancer” of excessive leverage, toxic debts, and moral hazard to spread to the very basis of the US, indeed the entire world’s, financial system: the US balance sheet/ Sovereign Bond market.

These actions have already resulted in the US losing its AAA credit rating. But that is just the beginning. Indeed, few if any understand the real risk of what the Fed has done.

The reality is that the Fed has done the following:

1) Set itself up for a collapse: at $2.8 trillion, the Fed’s balance sheet is now larger that the economies of Brazil, the UK, or France. And with capital of only $54 billion, the Fed is leveraged at 51 to 1 (Lehman was at 30 to 1 when it failed).

2) Called the risk profile of US sovereign debt into question: foreign investors, now fully aware that the US’s balance sheet is suspect (the US has lost its AAA credit rating), are dumping Treasuries (see China and Russia). This has resulted in the Fed now being responsible for the purchase of up to 91% of all new long-term (20+ years) US debt issuance.

3) Put the entire financial system (not just the private banks) at risk.

The financial system requires trust to operate. Having changed the risk profile of US sovereign debt, the Fed has undermined the very basis of the US banking system (remember Treasuries are the senior most asset against which all banks lend).

Moreover, the Fed has undermined investor confidence in the capital markets as most now perceive the markets to be a “rigged game” in which certain participants, namely the large banks, are favored, while the rest of us (including even smaller banks) are still subject to the basic tenants of Democratic Capitalism: risk of failure.

This has resulted in retail investors fleeing the markets while institutional investors and those forced to participate in the markets for professional reasons now invest based on either the hope of more intervention from the Fed or simply front-running those Fed policies that have already been announced.

Put another way, the financial system and capital markets are no longer a healthy, thriving system of Democratic Capitalism in which a multitude of participants pursue different strategies. Instead they are an environment fraught with risk in which there is essentially “one trade,” and that trade is based on cancerous policies and beliefs that undermine the very basis of Democratic Capitalism, which in the end, is the foundation of the capital markets.

In simple terms, by damaging trust and permitting Wall Street to dump its toxic debts on the public’s balance sheet, the Fed has taken the financial system from a status of extremely unhealthy to terminal.

The end result will be a crisis that makes 2008 look like a joke. It will be a crisis in which the US Treasury market implodes, taking down much of the US banking system with it (remember, Treasuries are the senior most assets on US bank balance sheets).

I cannot say when this will happen. But it will happen. It might be next week, next month, or several years from now. But we’ve crossed the point of no return. The Treasury market is almost entirely dependent on the Fed to continue to function. That alone should make it clear that we are heading for a period of systemic risk that is far greater than anything we’ve seen in 80+ years (including 2008).

The Fed is not a “dealer” giving “hits” of monetary morphine to an “addict”… the Fed has permitted cancerous beliefs to spread throughout the financial system. And the end result is going to be the same as that of a patient who ignores cancer and simply acts as though everything is fine.

That patient is now past the point of no return. There can be no return to health. Instead the system will eventually collapse and then be replaced by a new one.

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Austerity … will it lead to more pain?

Certainly there is no way that the austerity measures, increasingly called for in Europe will resolve anything, as it is impossible to cut or eliminate your way to prosperity.


More at The Real News

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GOLD going to move, U$D under more pressure

Iranian oil will move to India and China using gold for settlements.

Iranian Oil for Indian & Chinese GOLD

Expect this to cause GOLD to have more upwards pressures and the demand for US dollars to decrease.

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Where to go?

Question: When is there ever a panic? When is there ever a run on a financial system?

Answer: When enough participants no longer trust the system. It is the classic definition of a tipping point. It’s not that all of the participants lose faith in the system or institution. It’s not even when most of the participants lose faith: Rather, it’s when a mere some of the participants decide they no longer trust the system that a run is triggered.

These and other fabulous questions are asked and answered in this blog post:

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Greek deal … just another kick in the can

The recently announced deal that resolves the Greek debt situation is simply the latest ‘kick’ to keep the ‘debt can’ moving down the road.

Market reaction has been mostly positive, as anticipated, to permit the market makers to get their profits off the table before the time comes that no more ‘kicks’ will work.

The Greek debt is not resolved, the deflationary spiral is not over and hyperinflation still remains a risk worldwide.

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