China's Central Bank Eliminates Margin T…

19-01-2017 Hits:176 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

China's Central Bank Eliminates Margin Trading of Bitcoin

There have been rumors that the Chinese Central Bank (PBoC - People's Bank of China) would limit or eliminate margin trading in Bitcoin. It is now official, sort of...

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Is Donald Trump Truly Successful or Born…

18-01-2017 Hits:309 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Is Donald Trump Truly Successful or Born With A Silver Spoon? An Analysis

In social media and mainstream media, I often hear Donald Trump quoted (by himself, and others) as an extremely successful, self-made man. As an entrepreneur for nearly all of my...

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As I Promised, EU Is Colliding Into Prac…

17-01-2017 Hits:749 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

As I Promised, EU Is Colliding Into Practical Confines of NIRP, Bank Hemorrhaging Up Next

Nearly a year ago, I warned subscribers of consequences stemming from the ECB's negative interest rate program. Here's an exceprt from our resarch report titled European Banking Macro Issues for March...

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Is Bitcoin Too Risky? Whenever the Bitco…

12-01-2017 Hits:1370 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Is Bitcoin Too Risky? Whenever the Bitcoin is Mentioned in Financial Pop Media, Ignorance Ensues

I hate to be the one to break bad news to you, but most of the pop media/mainstream media financial pundits that I hear and see opine on bitcoin have...

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What Happens When Rates Rise While the S…

10-01-2017 Hits:779 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

What Happens When Rates Rise While the S&P 500 Relies on Cheap Credit To Boost EPS?

So, the stock market, bond market and real estate markets are all at all-time highs. Everything is Awesome! You know better than that. You see, when the bond market wakes...

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Debt Encumbered Oil, Sovereign Soil, Toi…

10-01-2017 Hits:601 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Debt Encumbered Oil, Sovereign Soil, Toil & Trouble: Can't You Hear Seems Cracking in the OPEC Empire?

@WSJ reports Libya Ramping Up Oil Production, Threatening OPEC (supposed) Plans to lift global oil place by artificially limiting supply. This would be in violation of federal antii-trust laws in the...

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Ten Years Since BoomBustBlog Was 1st Pub…

09-01-2017 Hits:917 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Ten Years Since BoomBustBlog Was 1st Published & That Initial Research Still Relevant Today

We have looked into insurance companies' performance last month in regards to our bearish real estate thesis. A small comederie of companies are suffering losses and/or declining profits as we've exected....

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The Macro Truth About The Big Bitcoin Po…

07-01-2017 Hits:1085 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Bitcoin has dropped precipitously, and as is usual, we have the cacophony of instant digital currency pundits cackling about as if they had a clue. This is the inaugural post...

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To Bust or Not To Bust: Are We In A Real…

04-01-2017 Hits:772 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

To Bust or Not To Bust: Are We In A Real Estate Bubble?

Banks are showing thin NIM, yet many of the big banks are able to boast stable if not slightly improving credit metrics. This doesn’t make sense considering the explosive growth...

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What Happens To Real Asset Lending Banks…

03-01-2017 Hits:621 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

What Happens To Real Asset Lending Banks When the Real Funding Rate Appears? We're About to Find Out

During the financial crisis of 2008, money market funds who subjectively agreed to hold their NAV (net asset value) unit prices at $1 “broke the buck”. That is, the unit...

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Stress Test on Banks’ Earnings Facing th…

30-06-2014 Hits:44740 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Stress Test on Banks’ Earnings Facing the Veritaseum UltraCoin Value Transaction Platform

My last post on the topic of disintermediation during a paradigm shift was Wall Street Should Be First To Invest In Reggie Middleton's UltraCoin, Much Of It Won't Be Here In...

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Introducing the "Unbreakable Promis…

09-06-2014 Hits:39537 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Introducing the "Unbreakable Promise" As a Method Increasing Efficiencies and Decreasing Risk

Continuing on the margin compression theme originally laid out in Margin Compression Is Coming in the Payment Processing Space As $100 Million Pours Into Startups, I illustrate mathematically how the bit...

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I'll make this one quick and clean. From the blog post dated Thursday, 29 November 2007 - Ambac is Effectively Insolvent & Will See More than $8 Billion of Losses with Just a $2.26 Billion in Equity!:

"The calculations in this analysis are only estimated losses in 4 insured categories (of many, they are enough to generate significant losses). I am expecting higher losses in Public Finance as well due to the loss of property tax revenues (lower tax base) and income tax revenues led by housing value declines and loss of corporate revenue and jobs, respectively. Many municipalities created huge budgets during bubble times (like everyone else) and failed to prepare for the bubble to burst. Now unfunded services run rampant. The shortfall will have to be covered somewhere, and default on debt service is not out of the question.

In the base case scenario created, we expect the company to report losses to the tune of $8 billion+ in its Structured Finance, Subprime RMBS and the Consumer Finance portfolio. This loss will wipe out the company's remaining equity and it will need to raise an additional $2 billion in order to function as an ongoing concern. Moreover, we think the company will need to reinsure a higher percentage of its portfolio in order to transfer risk and free up capital."

The ironic thing is that this particular post encompassed an awful lot of research and calculation, but was derided by many as being too tabloidal and not credible - despite the fact that this post and the three that followed it on Ambac contained more data and analysis (over 80 pages worth) than any Ambac commentary I have seen freely offered on the web to date, save Ackman's Pershing presentation. Two things of note here: 1) the majority are usually overly optimistic at the onset of a bursting bubble, and 2) nothing takes the place of good 'ole fashion, thorough fundamental analysis. As of Jan. 8th 2008, Ambac has previously undisclosed muni problems and has had to go for additional reinsurance. It appears the post is rather prescient in light of the following...

From Bloomberg.com, January 8, 2008:

Wells Fargo & Co. put out a little notice dated Jan. 2 in its role as trustee on a bond issue sold in 2000 by the director of the state of Nevada, Department of Business and Industry.

``The Bonds are scheduled to pay principal and interest in the aggregate amount of $19,013,846.88 on January 1, 2008,'' says the Notice, which continues: ``However, amounts available in the 1st Tier Debt Service Fund and the 2nd Tier Debt Service Fund are insufficient to pay all amounts of principal and interest coming due on that day.''

The trustee goes on to report that, in order to make the Jan. 1 debt service payment, it dipped into the debt service reserve funds, taking $1,620,907.02 from the First Tier fund and $762,896.30 from the Second Tier fund.

Withdrawing money from the reserve funds is never a good sign; depending upon how the issuer defines ``default'' in its documents, it may even signify a so-called event of default. Not to worry, bondholders -- even if the trustee draws down all of the reserve funds -- the First Tier bonds are insured!

By Ambac Financial Group Inc.

"Will there be an Ambac if or when this particular municipal bond issue taps out? Investors have to hope so...

Perhaps I should mention that the issuer of those bonds guaranteed by Ambac back in 2000 was the ``Director of the State of Nevada, Department of Business and Industry,'' but the state has no obligation to repay them. No, the $451 million in First Tier bonds helped build and are secured by the Las Vegas Monorail...

And, hey, let's face it, Las Vegas! Who ever lost money in Las Vegas, right?..

The high-yield muni market came crashing down just a couple of weeks after the monorail bonds were sold, when Heartland Advisors of Milwaukee told investors that it had decided to cut the value of its High-Yield Municipal Bond Fund by 70 percent, and its High Yield Short Duration Muni Fund by 55 percent...

An internal pricing committee had found that it was almost impossible to determine what a lot of the bonds in the funds were worth. Sound familiar? I'm not sure the high-yield muni market has ever come back.

And when will that be? The First Tier fund began life with almost $21 million, the Second Tier with a little more than $14 million. In lowering the credit rating on the bonds last July 10, to CC from CCC, Fitch Ratings said it expected ``internal liquidity'' to last ``for, at best, three years.''

I suspect a taxpayer bailout long before that occurs, but you never know. Ambac, if there is one, may yet be called upon to make those debt service payments."

Of course, after the November blog post, Ambac had to go for additional reinsurance, and of course I didn't like how it went down. See Moody's Affirms Ratings of Ambac and MBIA & Loses any Credibilty They May Have Had Left :

"Ambac buys reinsurance from Assured Guarantee, a company in the same business as Ambac taking very similar losses, and it gets to retain its AAA rating??? Doesn't anyone see concentration risk and an uncomfortable amount of correlation here, or is it just me?

Assured Guaranty reported a net loss of $115.0 million, or $1.70 per diluted share, for the quarter ended September 30, 2007 compared to net income of $37.9 million, or $0.51 per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2006. The decline in net income was primarily due to an after-tax unrealized mark-to-market loss on derivatives (hey, isn't that what Ambac and MBIA said as well?) that was announced by the Company on October 22, 2007 of $162.9 million, or $2.40 per diluted share, on financial guaranties written in credit default swap ("CDS") contract form. As of November 30th (38 days later), it reported that it has after tax mark to market losses of $220 million. They are averaging one and a half million dollars per day in value loss, with this rate bound to accelerate in the very near future (they only had $1.6 million in 9/06 - that's a 200x increase). The macro conditions that brought upon the CDS (paper) loss are getting much worse, not better as the trend clearly indicates. About 70% of the unrealized CDS loss stems from RMBS and CMBS swaps. Well, you know how I feel about the residential market. Here is how I feel about the commercial market. Things are about to get much worse. Despite all of this, AGO now accepts $29 billion of additional ceded risk from one of the most dangerous monoline portfolios in the business. I am appalled!

I hear a lot of people crooning about this being only paper losses, and not actual claims until payment is defaulted or missed or principal is actually and materially impaired before maturity. Well, it is happening now, and in droves. AGO's management laments on how they have minimal exposure and losses to direct subprime liabilities, which appears to be true with a casual glance at their reporting, but the devil is again, in the details. Aside from 75% of AGO's mortgage portfolio being in the most toxic vintages of 2006 and 2007 (which most likely will lead to problems down the line), they have a strong correlation in product mix with Ambac, the company they just reinsured $29 billion of exposure. Ambac's loss exposure is stemming primarily from their structure product and consumer finance guarantees, not their residential mortgages, per se. Structured finance in particular is what got them in trouble. There is no real loss history on this stuff, because it is brand new and the losses that are being witnessed now are tremendous. Well, hazard a guess as to where the majority of Assured's earned premium comes from? That's right, structured finance. As of 9/30/07, it was 58%. Now, with the acquisition of Ambac's risk, and of course depending on exactly what it was that was actually reinsured (we don't really know yet, do we?) it will/can definitely shoot upwards, significantly upwards. No matter which way you look at it, there is a VERY high concentration of risk, especially in an area with no real discernible loss history and the only real discernible losses being significant. Compare and contrast to the actuarial loss histories used in life, vanilla P&C, and health lines - we're talking multiples of decades (like 50 - 60 years+), not just a few years as in CDOs. That is REAL insurance. This new fangled, financially (not so)engineered, structured product guarantee business is gambling with shareholders capital, pure and simple - slot machines - Vegas style! "

Speaking of "Vegas style", isn't that where the allegedely low risk/no loss muni bond insurance book is at risk of taking a haircut. The prophetic pun intended, of course

See more on  Insurers and Insurance from Reggie Middleton.