Displaying items by tag: Current Affairs

Wednesday, 21 September 2011 23:23

And The European Bank Run Continues...

I urge everyone to get your respectve models (contingent upon your subscription level, ranging from free to institutional) from the post BoomBustBlog BNP Paribas "Run On The Bank" Models Are Available For Download and plug in your assumptions BEFORE Europe's Lehman Moment arrives - for if when it does, most nations will be powerless to do anything about it. "Why?" you ask! Well, as so adroitly articulated in Reinhart and Rogoff's "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly", for 800 years one of the primary reasons for the monumental structural indebtedness of nations is the bailing out of their respective financial systems. This massive debt then becomes too much to service, and then bang... Default! This time around, it really just may be different, though.

I say this because the developed nations of the world and their leading economic superpowers (EU/China/US) have either goosed their financial systems (China) or allowed them to leverage out of control, collapse, then bailed them out by breaking the taxpaying populace either now or by mortgaging their future (EU/US). The problem is that in each case of the "Kick the Can Triumvirate Three" [BBB trademark], none of the core, structural or even nominal banking problems have been rectified nor addressed, despite the fact that the massive depreciatng toxic assets, leveraged to the hilt and massively mispriced due to regulatory capture are growing in both threat and stature. For more on this topic, reference How Regulatory CaptureTurns Doo Doo Deadly and Lehman Brothers Dies While Getting Away Wiht Murder: Introducing Regulatory Capture.

In the US its the housing market's fall out, being fed by ever depreciating housing prices. For those with short memories, the housing prices that collapsed in 2008 that caused the crash are significantly higher than the housing prices now. If the banks were in trouble then, I query... What are they in now? See:

  1. Dexia Sets A $5.1bn Provision For Loss On Trying To Sell The Same Residential Real Estate Assets Upon Which JP Morgan Has Slashed Provisions 83% to $1.2bn from $7.0bn
  2. The Residential Real Estate Week in Review, or I Told You We're In A Real Estate Depression! The MSM is Just Catching Up
  3. Reggie Middleton's Real Estate Recap: As I Have Clearly Illustrated, It's a Real Estate Depression!!!
  4. and There's Stinky Gas Inside Of This Mini-Housing Bubble, You Don't Want To Be Around When It Pops!

In the EU, it's the sovereing debt thingy (see my pan-European sovereign debt crisis series, which anticipated this from January of 2010). I haven't had the opportunity to address in complete detail what this sovereign debt crisis will do to European CRE yet, American 'Realist' Reggie Middleton Paints a Sombre Picture for European Real Estate Amid Fears of Stagflation

And as stated above, in China, it's massive NPAs being built up in an artificially goosed up banking system designed to hide and conceal the effects of economic slowdown under the auspices of expansionary growth, when in fact it is truly a debt fueled bubble, just like in the EU and the states. See Will China Hit That Inflation Deer In The Global Macroeconomic Headlights Anyway, Despite The Fact They Are Slamming On The Brakes? and China Is In a Self-Imposed Bubble That Has Nowhere To Go But Bust! You Don't Get Something (Growth Through Stimulus) For Nothing (No Economic Consequences).

Since the problems have not been cured, they're literally guaranteed to come back and bite ass. Guaranteed! So, as suggested earlier on, download your appropriate BoomBustBlog BNP Paribas "Run On The Bank" Models (they range from free up to institutional), read the balance of this article for perspective, then populate the assumptions and inputs with what you feel is realistic. I'm sure you will come up with conclusions similar to ours. Below is sample outout from the professional level model (BNP Exposures - Professional Subscriber Download Version) that simulates the bank run that the news clippings below appear to be describing in detail...(Click to enlarge to printer quality)


Bloomberg reports: Lloyd’s of London Pulls Euro Bank Deposits

Lloyd’s of London, concerned European governments may be unable to support lenders in a worsening debt crisis, has pulled deposits in some peripheral economies as the European Central Bank provided dollars to one euro-area institution.

“There are a lot of banks who, because of the uncertainty around Europe, the market has stopped using to place deposits with,” Luke Savage, finance director of the world’s oldest insurance market, said today in a phone interview. “If you’re worried the government itself might be at risk, then you’re certainly worried the banks could be taken down with them.”

European banks and their regulators are trying to reassure investors and customers that lenders have enough capital to withstand a default by Greece and slowing economic growth caused by governments’ austerity measures. Siemens AG (SIE), European’s biggest engineering company, withdrew short-term deposits from Societe Generale SA, France’s second-largest bank, in July, a person with knowledge of the matter said yesterday.

Lloyd’s, which holds about a third of its 2.5 billion pounds ($3.9 billion) of central assets in cash, has stopped depositing money with some banks in Europe’s peripheral economies, Savage said, declining to name the countries or institutions.

Simply fuel to the fire... As excerpted from my bank run post yesterday: Most Headlines Now Show French Bank Run …

Siemens shelters up to €6bn at ECB: Siemens withdrew more than half-a-billion euros...matter told the Financial Times. In total, Siemens has parked between €4bn ($5.4bn) and...to deposit cash directly with the ECB. Siemens’ move demonstrates the impact of the eurozone... By Daniel Schäfer in London and Chris Bryant and Ralph Atkins in Frankfurt...

... As excerpted from "The Fuel Behind Institutional “Runs on the Bank" Burns Through Europe, Lehman-Style":

The modern central banking system has proven resilient enough to fortify banks against depositor runs, as was recently exemplified in the recent depositor runs on UK, Irish, Portuguese and Greek banks – most of which received relatively little fanfare. Where the risk truly lies in today’s fiat/fractional reserve banking system is the run on counterparties. Today’s global fractional reserve bank get’s more financing from institutional counterparties than any other source save its short term depositors.  In cases of the perception of extreme risk, these counterparties are prone to pull funding are request overcollateralization for said funding. This is what precipitated the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, the pulling of liquidity by skittish counterparties, and the excessive capital/collateralization calls by other counterparties. Keep in mind that as some counterparties and/or depositors pull liquidity, covenants are tripped that often demand additional capital/collateral/ liquidity be put up by the remaining counterparties, thus daisy-chaining into a modern day run on the bank!


...The biggest European banks receive an average of US$64bn funding through the U.S. money market, money market that is quite gun shy of bank collapse, and for good reason. Signs of excess stress perceived in the US combined with the conservative nature of US money market funds (post-Lehman debacle) may very well lead to a US led run on these banks. If the panic doesn’t stem from the US, it could come (or arguably is coming), from the other side of the pond. The Telegraph reports: UK banks abandon eurozone over Greek default fears

UK banks have pulled billions of pounds of funding from the euro zone as fears grow about the impact of a “Lehman-style” event connected to a Greek default.

 Senior sources have revealed that leading banks, including Barclays and Standard Chartered, have radically reduced the amount of unsecured lending they are prepared to make available to euro zone banks, raising the prospect of a new credit crunch for the European banking system.

Standard Chartered is understood to have withdrawn tens of billions of pounds from the euro zone inter-bank lending market in recent months and cut its overall exposure by two-thirds in the past few weeks as it has become increasingly worried about the finances of other European banks.

Barclays has also cut its exposure in recent months as senior managers have become increasingly concerned about developments among banks with large exposures to the troubled European countries Greece, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Portugal.

In its interim management statement, published in April, Barclays reported a wholesale exposure to Spain of £6.4bn, compared with £7.2bn last June, while its exposure to Italy has fallen by more than £100m.

One source said it was “inevitable” that British banks would look to minimise their potential losses in the event the euro zone crisis were to get worse. “Everyone wants to ensure that they are not badly affected by the crisis,” said one bank executive.

Moves by stronger banks to cut back their lending to weaker banks is reminiscent of the build-up to the financial crisis in 2008, when the refusal of banks to lend to one another led to a seizing-up of the markets that eventually led to the collapse of several major banks and taxpayer bail-outs of many more.

Make no mistake - modern day bank runs are now caused by institutions!

Make no mistake! And just for those who cannot catch the hint... Reuters reports:

Bank of China halts FX swaps with some European banks

The European banks include French lenders Societe Generale (SOGN.PA), Credit Agricole (CAGR.PA) and BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA), and Bank of China halted trading with them partly because of the downgrading from Moody's, the sources said.

Another Chinese bank said it had stopped trading yuan interest rate swaps with European banks.

The sources declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak with the media.

Contacted about this move by the Chinese banks, spokespeople for Societe Generale, UBS and BNP Paribas declined comment. Credit Agricole was not reachable for comment.

One of the sources said that Bank of China's decision may apply across its branches, including the onshore foreign exchange market.

"Apart from spot trading, all swaps and forwards trading (with the European banks) have been stopped," one source who is familiar with the matter told Reuters.

A step by step tutorial on exactly how it will happen....

Again, I believe the next big thing, for when (not if, but when) European banks blow up, is the reverberation through American banks and how it WILL affect us stateside! Subscribers, be sure to be prepared. Puts are already quite costly, but there are other methods if you haven't taken your positions when the research was first released. For those who wish to subscribe, click here.

Published in BoomBustBlog

Does anyone truly wonder why so many seemingly smart people in such high places of power fail to see the obvious difference between a lack of liquidity and true insolvency? I don't! Everyone knows what time it is, they just don't want to admit that they looked at their watch! Its_a_liquidity-trap

It appears that we have successfully hit another home run with out BNP short call in the beginning of the third quarter (Bank Run Liquidity Candidate Forensic Opinion, over 50% decrease in price), and apparently timed the bull run with underpriced call options to the upside as well (Trading Opinion and Analysis 9-14-2011) as BNP rallies on nonsense news adding puff and premium to those cheap calls. This post is a constructive followup to the quite popular piece earier this week wherein I took the wraps off of our prime French bank run candidate. If you haven't read it yet, I strongly suggest you peruseThis Is Why BoomBustBlog Is THE Place To Go For Hard Hitting Research: BoomBust BNP Paribas?

The media has been awaken to the BNP situation a little more than a quarter after we prepped BoomBustBlog subscribers, as is exemplified by the following:

  1. BNP Launches Restructuring Plan‎ Wall Street Journal
  2. BNP Paribas Bonds Tumble Amid U.S. Money Market Funding Concerns‎ San Francisco Chronicle
  3. BNP Paribas Bonds Tumble Amid Concerns Over Funding in U.S. Money ...‎ Bloomberg

Now, that the perception of panacea is being traded upon, that is panacea in the form of liquidty attempting to solve solvency issues, we will now attempt to illustate the folly of such...

Stocks Jump as ECB Offers Loans to Banks [Bloomberg]

Stocks and the euro rose, while Treasuries slid, as the European Central Bank and international policy makers coordinated to lend dollars to banks to help tame the credit crisis. Energy and metals led commodities higher.

... The ECB said it coordinated with the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and the Swiss National Bank to extend three-month loans to euro-area banks in an effort to ensure they have enough cash for the rest of the year. The announcement added to optimism that policy makers were containing the European sovereign debt crisis after the leaders of France and Germany yesterday confirmed they will support Greece’s continued participation in the shared euro currency.

“It is about protecting the liquidity of the European banks,” Howard Ward, a money manager who helps oversee about $36.1 billion for Gamco Investors Inc. in Rye, New York, wrote in an e-mail. “The private sector has pulled back from funding these banks. So central banks are stepping in to make that dollar funding available. Good news is the banks get their dollar funding. Bad news is that the situation has gotten this dire.”

... The Stoxx 600 advanced for a third day, climbing 2 percent, as banks led gains in all 19 industry groups. BNP Paribas SA surged 12 percent in Paris and Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo jumped 8.4 percent.

May I take this time to congratulate resident trader Eurocalypse on a most wonderful call, referencing the trading opinion from9/13 and 9/14 - Trading Opinion and Analysis 9-14-2011



A very, very well timed call indeed. Now, back to the Bloomberg article...

“It’s nice to see that the risk factors coming out of Europe are abating somewhat,” Michael Mullaney, who helps manage $9.5 billion at Fiduciary Trust in Boston, said in a telephone interview. “That addresses the liquidity issue that would be threatening the European banking system.”

... The cost of insuring European sovereign and corporate debt extended declines after the ECB announcement and as the prospect of default by Greece receded. The Markit iTraxx SovX Western Europe Index of swaps tied to 15 governments dropped 13 basis points to 330 as of 2:45 p.m. in London, the lowest since Sept. 9 and signaling an improvement in perceptions of credit quality. Swaps on France fell 10 basis points to 171, contracts on Italy dropped 29 basis points to 442 and Spain fell 22 basis points to 370, CMA prices show.

Cheap dollar funding is not going to help BNP anymore than it helped Lehman. I have prepared several models to illustrate such, and are designed to go hand in hand with both our illustrative trading supplements and our forensic research on BNP - namely:

The first model (all are cast in Excel 2010 format [.xlsx]), File Icon BNP Exposures - Free Public Download Version, is available to the public free of charge and is designed to spark the discussion of Whether Another Banking Crisis Is Inevitable? I will be discussing this model, and its ramifications on Max Keiser, Russian Television - to be televised Tuesday. It should be interesting. Here are some screen shots.

The Impairment Scenarios: a very important concept that practically the entire European banking systm has somehow forgotten to address.


Trading and HTM inventory at Level 1,2,3 or fantastical fanstasy?


For those not familiar with the banking book vs trading book markdown game, I urge you to review this keynote presentation given in Amsterdam which predicted this very scenario, and reference the blog post and research of the same - and then revisit this free model and reapply your assumptions:

The next nugget of knowledge is the File Icon BNP Exposures - Retail Subscriber Download Version. It enables users to simulate an anecdotal bank run - for retail subscribers only of course. In addition to those above, it sports...


 For those professional investors and institutions, namely hedge funds, asset managers, regulators, high net worth individuals with ties to BNP and family offices, heres to you. This is not a toy, but a tool that can truly communicate why you feel BNP may, or may not be a candidate for a bank run - contingent upon your inputs: File Icon BNP Exposures - Professional Subscriber Download Version. Additional screenshots above and beyond that included above...

Income statement implications of a true bank run...






Let's recap the BoomBustBlog perspective before I offer my opinion for the upcoming week...

Saturday, 23 July 2011 The Anatomy Of A European Bank Run: Look At The Banking Situation BEFORE The Run Occurs!: I detail how I see modern bank runs unfolding


Thursday, 28 July 2011  The Mechanics Behind Setting Up A Potential European Bank Run Trade and European Bank Run Trading Supplement

I identify specific bank run candidates and offer illustrative trade setups to capture alpha from such an event. The options quoted were unfortunately unavailable to American investors, and enjoyed a literal explosion in gamma and implied volatility. Not to fear, fruits of those juicy premiums were able to be tasted elsewhere as plain vanilla shorts and even single stock futures threw off insane profits.

Wednesday, 03 August 2011 France, As Most Susceptble To Contagion, Will See Its Banks Suffer

In case the hint was strong enough, I explicitly state that although the sell side and the media are looking at Greece sparking Italy, it is France and french banks in particular that risk bringing the Franco-Italia make-believe capitalism session, aka the French leveraged Italian sector of the Euro ponzi scheme down, on its head.

I then provide a deep dive of the French bank we feel is most at risk. Let it be known that every banked remotely referenced by this research has been halved (at a mininal) in share price! Most are down ~10% of more today, alone!

For those who claim I may be Euro bashing, rest assured - I am not. Just a week or two later, I released research on a big US bank that will quite possibly catch Franco-Italiano Ponzi Collapse fever, with the pro document contianing all types of juicy details...

Published in BoomBustBlog

CNBC reports: Conflict at Europe Central Bank Over Stimulus Rattles Markets

eu_europe_logoECB Executive Board Member Juergen Stark resigned on Friday, apparently because of opposition over the central bank's bond-buying program. "That makes ECB policymaking more difficult," said one analyst.

The euro extended losses against the dollar [EUR=X  1.3732    -0.0149  (-1.07%)] following the news.

"It's a sign that ECB policymaking is controversial even within the board. Clearly the German representatives have a position that differs from other central bankers. That makes ECB policymaking more difficult," Lothar Hessler, analyst at HSBC Trinkaus told Reuters.

A former finance ministry official and Bundesbank vice-president, Stark, known for his tough, no-frills style, has been a member of the ECB executive board since June 2006. His eight year term was due to run until May 31, 2014.

Manfred Neumann, economics professor at the Bonn University said: "This is remarkable. Stark held the same view of the bond-buying as Axel Weber and the current Bundesbank president. It is a position that all the Germans have. This is a sign of huge problems within the central bank. The Germans clearly have a problem with the direction of the ECB."

From Eurocalypse, one of the resident BoomBustBlog traders:

In the trading tips on the 6th [File Icon Eurocalypse Trading Update 9-6-2011 (Global Macro, Trades & Strategy)], I wrote this may be the long awaited drop in EUR following the weekly reversal and worsening technicals.

The ECB is expected to make a UTURN and cut rates, that will add fuel to the fire. At the time of writing EURUSD was 1.41 and oversold, we sold even more to 1.40 then sawbriefly 1.42 on the EURCHF unwinding. That bounce proved the opportunity to sell as the oversold condition was removed... and now were down to 1.38. This move can go much further, EURUSD is headed for 1.20 rather quickly I think.

Only the technicals (which one should always respect) kept it bid, the fundamental story is horrible.

It's a total mess in Europe...beware though of massive govt intervention at some stage which could/will squeeze this markets fiercely...even if in the long (or not so long) run Euro is doomed.

For those of you who have not had the opportunity, register for and download the BoomBustBlog Currency Trend Model, along with the accompanying instructional video.

I have made an FX trend model available for all to download. Its 10 mb, containing a lot of data, but you'll definitely get your money's worth. The model is available here: BoomBustBlog Complimentary FX Index model

And on that note, the French banks who're so at risk due to Italian contagion are dropping like flies - 4% to 7% in a matter of minutes after NY opening. The US banks on the hook for all of that French exposure look set to follow suit as well, with puts starting to fatten on higher IV. For those who just don't know...

Relevant material for capturing maximum alpha duing this European banking meltdown:

File Icon French Bank Run Forensic Thoughts - pubic preview for Blog - A freebie, to illustrate what all of you non-subscribers are missing!

Published in BoomBustBlog

ecb_logoThe pop media is reporting that Italian yields are falling relative to the last auction, but they are failing to mention that the relative yields on Italian debt as compared to the German Bund are already rising despite the ECB intervening and buying up Italian debt in the secondary markets in order to support its price. Historically, the ECB has failed to support bond prices of all indebted EU

Attention subscribers:

A quick update to our French bank run analysis has just been released,

File Icon French Bank Run Forensic Thoughts - Addendum and Update

nations it has tried to save since the beginning of the malaise. As I commented yesterday in Did You Know That The Upcoming Italian Auction Can Spark Contagion That Touches US Banks:

When the central bank began its bond program on May 10, 2010 -- buying 16.5 billion euros ofgovernment securities in a bid to support the Greek market -- Greece’s 10-year bond yields fell more than 4.5 percentage points to 7.77 percent. Ten weeks later, as the ECB’s spending dwindled to 176 million euros, Greek bond yields climbed to 10.43 percent. They reached as much as 18.18 percent today.

The bond-buying program didn't provide enough support to prevent Ireland and Portugal following Greece in requesting financial aid. Ireland’s 10-year yields fell to 4.72 percent on May 10, 2010, the day the ECB began buying, from 5.86 percent the previous trading day. They had climbed to 8.9 percent by Nov. 11, the week before the nation requested aid.

Portugal requested a bailout on April 6 this year as its 10-year yields surpassed 8 percent even after the ECB had spent 77 billion euros on government debt. Its yields climbed to a record 13.44 percent on July 11 as the central bank took a five-month pause from bond buying.

“The risk is that the ECB stays out of the market, yield spreads widen significantly and then trading out of Italy is a challenge,” said David Schnautz, a fixed-income strategist at Commerzbank AG in London. “There’s a decent risk that investors will have to buckle up for a yield increase above 6 percent.”

Here's the take from BoomBustBlog trader Eurocalypse:

"Your piece on Italian auctions is right on spot. According to ZH, the auction went poorly (10Y @ 5.22% from 5% "ecb" levels), not surprising at all. We know already the scenario with Greece Ireland and Portugal, and this time it will happen even faster as every trader already knows what happened to those other countries.

We had the warning shot in when Italian bond broke 5% and traded quickly above 6% in july.

As I wrote before, Volatility in Italian bond and thus VAR went through the roof, 5 or 10 timest the previous levels. thus any trader in a bank or any portfolio manager has to cut losses and can't take any positions (or 5 or 10 times smaller than before if theyre stupid enough to go long). The only demand in the auction is from some passive domestic buyers, yet certainly not enough because that supply used to be balanced with non-domestic buyers, and perhaps some light profit taking from the few shorts willing to take off chips here.

The lack of auctions during summer could buy some time but the truth is out there and should be clear for anyone. The market will trade poorly and will be wary of ECB activity but we can only drift higher because of that supply until the bid totally dies off and its game over. It's only a matter of a few auctions from here. At some stage, the stock market, especially financials will notice.

I don't want to make any bearish bets in EURUSD on the back of that though. It wasn't a good idea in 2011. I keep the neutral stance developed before. The only solution would be for ECB to buy 10x more PIIGS debt than they do currently, but thats very, very unlikely to happen given how Germans see things today. As things get worse, as in Greece, we might start to see bank runs on Italian and Spanish names. that would really spell the endgame of the euro. thats the thing to watch"

Remember, we have identified one of the large American banks most susceptible to an Italian bond failure - by way of contagion through the French bank we identified as most susceptible to a major bank run

I have included a quick update for those subscribers who have been following and/or have a position in/against our bank run candidate, to be downloaded here: File Icon French Bank Run Forensic Thoughts - Addendum and Update. Those who don't subscribe can get an idea of what we are doing by downloading theFile Icon French Bank Run Forensic Thoughts - pubic preview for Blog.

Here are a few screen shots from the free public abridged version of our professional level document, that easily demonstrates the problem with the French banks cannot be solved by banning short selling or buying profligate state bonds. The problem is inherent in the banks themselves. Please click to enlarge to printer quality...




Subscribers are urged to download and reread File Icon Actionable Note on US Bank/French Bank Run Contagion after reading:

File Icon French Bank Run Forensic Thoughts - Retail Valuation Note
File Icon Bank Run Liquidity Candidate Forensic Opinion (the extensive professional note version of the document above)
File Icon The Contagion Prone US Bank Forensic Review - Retail
File Icon The Contagion Prone US Bank Forensic Review - Professional 

In the meantime here are some other interesting tidbits found in European news...

Finland’s Collateral Demand Leaves EU Faced With Rewarding Bailout Fatigue 30 Aug 2011: Finland' s demand for collateral on new Greek loans leaves European leaders... referring to Finland's agreement with Greece for protection. Collateral accords would be'' fatal...

The nerve of those damn Finn's. Can you believe they actually have the balls to demand (not plead, mind you, but actually "demand") collateral for a loan to a profligate state with a history of lying about its finances and not paying its loans back in full. The nerve of those people. Luckily, we have have Germany to set them straight and force them to use politics instead of math when making financial decisions that may hamper taxpayer and country...

Germany’s Hoyer Tells Finns to ‘Not Rock the Boat’ on Euro 29 Aug 2011: German Deputy Foreign Minister Werner Hoyer warned euro-area countries not to destabilize the currency after Finland ... The euro is'' of utmost importance to all of us in Europe, in particular for countries like Finland ... Hoyer was speaking after euro-area countries including Austria criticized the bilateral deal on collateral, unveiled on Aug. 16, struck by Finland ..








Published in BoomBustBlog

On Tuesday, 12 April 2011 I wrote "Weakening Revenue Streams in US Banks Will Make Them More Susceptible To Contingent Risks".  Today, CNBC runs this on thier front page today... Big Banks Forced to Cut Back Again as Economy Weakens: Battered by a weak economy, the nation’s biggest banks are cutting jobs, consolidating businesses and scrambling for new sources of income.

I believed this to be inevitable for we are still nowhere near a true economic recovery. The main source of lending for most US banks, the housing industry, is in a veritable depression. See Reggie Middleton's Real Estate Recap: As I Have Clearly Illustrated, It's a Real Estate Depression!!! and The Residential Real Estate Week in Review, or I Told You We're In A Real Estate Depression. Even the news today points to more of the same... Pending Home Sales Fall 1.3 Percent in July from June

Big companies are firiing freely again while the main engine of US employment, the small business, exhibits a slowing in hiring in August as wages dip. The balance sheet draw is evident as some banks dump assets at firesale prices.... years after the alleged fire has been put out, while other banks simply refuse to come clearn with the truth... Dexia Sets A $5.1bn Provision For Loss On Trying To Sell The Same Residential Real Estate Assets Upon Which JP Morgan Has Slashed Provisions 83% to $1.2bn from $7.0bn 

Needless to say, it is nigh time to start to take another look at the big US banks.






Published in BoomBustBlog


Paisley-Financial-Macroeconomic-Outlook-The-Winds-of-Change-August-2011_Page_01BoomBustBlogger and Director of Research at Paisley Financial, Mario Ricchio, writes on the abject futility of QE during a balance sheet recession. That is where I, and he, believe the US and Japan are right now. See my video take on this from a real estate perspective here. You can download Mr. Ricchio's report via this link, but in the mean time I would like to highlight some of the not so common sense remarks that I came across in such.   

The report relies heavily on the conceptual framework of a U.S economy in a balance sheet recession. Our main thesis rests on the belief that until U.S households repair their balance sheets and generate real income growth, they are in no position to drive a self-sustaining economic recovery. Monetary policy (including quantitative easing (QE)) produces limited results in generating real economic growth--- since the demand for credit and the lack of qualified borrowers remain the issue not the supply of funds. Instead, expansive fiscal policy, through increased government budget deficits, exists as the primary lever to raise economic activity, transfer real financial assets to the private sector, and ease the pain of the deleveraging cycle.

When the U.S housing bubble burst, the effects reached far beyond the decline in home prices and in construction-related employment. The nature of the economic landscape changed. As home values began their descent in 2006 against a backdrop of record mortgage debt, household net worth plunged primarily through a loss of home equity (see exhibit 1). Consumer attitudes shifted from conspicuous consumption to frugality. After several decades of leveraging up the balance sheet and living beyond their means, households started the process of deleveraging characterized by: debt minimization and reduction, increased personal savings, and lower consumption (see exhibit 2). The balance sheet recession commenced and how we look at the economic cycle must change.


A debt-financed asset bubble precedes a balance sheet recession. Consequently, we begin by paraphrasing the thoughts of legendary hedge fund manager, Ray Dalio, on the cycle leading up to the collapse. A healthy economic expansion starts with a private sector (corporate or household) agent holding minimal debt. The private sector begins to see income rise at the pace of GDP. At this stage of the economic expansion, the majority of aggregate demand comes from cash-based income.
For example, let’s assume the private sector spends $1,000 of cash income (which contributes to the economy); now someone else has $1,000 of income. As the economy expands, the private sector feels more optimistic and decides to leverage up the balance sheet by going to the bank and borrowing $100 per year against $1,000 of income....




Since asset prices decline (eg. house prices) well below the value of corresponding liabilities (eg. mortgages), balance sheets become impaired (eg. negative equity or negative net worth). In order to repair balance sheets, the private sector moves away from profit maximization to debt minimization2. The deleveraging cycle ends up reducing funding needs. Unfortunately, with no borrowers, the economy loses aggregate demand equivalent to the sum of un-borrowed savings and debt repayment3 . Even in a zero interest rate environment, the private sector refrains from taking on added liabilities (see exhibit 3). This outcome renders monetary policy ineffective by creating a liquidity trap.







On this very salient point, I must chime in with my own analysis and opinion...

The Residential Real Estate Week in Review, or I Told You We're In A Real Estate Depression! The MSM is Just Catching Up

September 1st, 2007: The very first post on BoomBustBlog tells the whole story for the next 6 years!

Thoughts on the US Publicly Traded Homebuilders - BoomBustBlog

I noticed that many pundits are focusing on single family residential market, most likely because it is in the news so often. It is bad, very bad. I am an ex-residential real estate investor who sold off in 2005 due to fundamentals that were totally out of whack. It appears that many do not see how precarious the commercial sector has become, with many deals being done at 2-5% cap rates (net profit yields) in Manhattan and many major metro areas, which is absolutely ridiculous considering the risk and illiquidity of these deals. The compensation for these deals are coming no where near justifying the risk. I am sure the excessive liquidity coupled with significant demand caused the cap rate compression, but the buyers fell for it assuming liquidity and demand would continue for some time. Well, corporate liquidity has just dried up, and many are stuck holding the bag with buildings that are yielding as low as half that of treasuries, yet easily quadrupling the risk. Some are even selling at lower cap rates in successful flips (reference the Blackstone purchase of Sam Zell's portfolio, which was totally overpriced, yet Blackstone managed to flip much of the portfolio over to speculators, some of which actually flipped it over to someone else at a profit – ALL in a period of a few months). This has now become nigh in impossible, but in an attempt to raise the cap rates, commercial rents have skyrocketed to all time highs in the major metro areas, causing significant pressure on corporate profits (I have inside knowledge of this affecting MAJOR public and private firms who are looking to expand and are getting squeezed).
And now, on to small residential (single family and 1-4 family residential)…

For those who really have a life and do not have the time to read building company annual reports, here is a bullet list of tidbits that all will find interesting, particularly in light of today's mortgage environment (pardon if their is info that you are already privy to, this is a comprehensive summary, but I am sure everybody is to find something that is of illuminating):...


Reggie's grassroots analysis:

The S&P index severely understates the glut in housing and the downward pressure on pricing. It uses the repeat sales methodology which only includes houses have that have been sold at least twice, which excludes all new construction. So the homebuilder’s product which is being slashed in price with butcher knives and cleavers don’t even show up in the index, and these homes must be slashed enough to sell in a slow market that no longer has cheap credit, has much competition in excess supply, and no longer has the phantom appraisal pricing which helped sustain the bubble in the first place (more on this later).

The index also fails to include anything but single family detached and semi-detached housing, so coops and condos aren’t included in the mix. This means that areas like Manhattan and Brooklyn, South Miami and Las Vegas, DC and Cally are severely under counted. The mere act of excluding condos (the worst victim of boom time speculation) instantaneously makes things look a lot better than they are.

Also excluded are properties who experienced larger than median jumps in pricing, which where considered to be investor properties (benefiting from significant renovation in anticipation of resale). Investor properties constitute a very significant amount of the current prime and sub-prime defaults now.

Mentioned earlier was the push from appraisers eager to win new business. In the residential investment game, you (as in bank, mortgage banker, mortgage broker, real estate broker, investor, seller, and everyone in between) push the appraiser to come in with the highest value possible to allow you to a.) get the biggest loan possible, b.) obtain the most preferential pricing/terms (lower LTV) possible, c.) get as much from the sale as possible, or d.) all of the above. In the comparable valuation game, you pick comparables and adjust them for particulars to come up with a valuation. Once that inflated value is actually recorded in the city register, it's inflated value is used to further hyper-inflate other deals, and the upward spiral continues. The appraiser, in the boom times, picked the highest prices (which were inflated) to get a highest price (which itself was inflated) that is added into the records to make (guess what???) higher prices. Throw the petrochemical fuel of very cheap money and easy credit NINJA loans and it is easy to see how this housing boom was more than a boom, it was a speculative explosion in real asset prices that usually average 1%-3% a year in appreciation doing about 12%-100% in many places.

The caveat is, this works both ways. When the appraisers get busted for being too aggressive (and threatened with litigation and discipline - if you read the articles, they have been passing the buck saying they were pressured into inflating numbers) they start getting overly conservative and do the opposite. The banks also stop looking the other way since they may actually have to use their own money to fund/keep these loans instead of the OPM method of MBS/CDO fame. So now, the guys are looking for the lowest average prices in an attempt to be conservative, and the process reverses itself.

Now, we haven't even gotten to the commercial sector yet, where the real money is thrown around. Speculation and credit underwriting lite is coming home to roost in a sector near you.

October 2007

Straight Talk From the Homebuilder CFO: The Coming Land Recession, Pt IThursday, October 11th, 2007

December 2007

Do you remember when I said Commercial Real Estate was sure to fall?Thursday, December 20th, 2007 by Reggie Middleton

My first post on my blog in September warned about the coming drop in real estate prices. I revisited the topic a couple of weeks ago, as I prepared the research of a short position in the sector. Well, we are almost done with the research and the position and I will release a summary of the research and the performance (expected and actual) of the position after Christmas.

Check this out from January 2008

The Commercial Real Estate Crash Cometh, and I know ... - BoomBustBlog

A couple of weeks ago I informed BoomBustBlog.com readers that I was working on a big project concerning commercial real estate short candidates. I stated last year that I was sure CRE was headed down, hard. Well, I am now ready to start releasing the results of my research over the next week or so. Unfortunately, the market has moved against the subject of my research fiercely as I was completing it, but it appears to be far from over. Who is the subject of that research, you ask? General Growth Properties (GGP).  I have actually seen this company pop up in the media and a few discussion groups from time to time, but they have no idea what the management of this company has been up to. First, a little background on how I got here. Those who are not versed in commercial real estate valuation are urged to read my quick and dirty primer on CRE valuation .

I told members of my analytical team to screen the commercial real estate trust, service, and development sector for the usual suspects, starting with the the guys that purchased Sam Zell’s flipped properties from Blackstone. I made some of the companies available via blog post and download: icon Commercial Real Estate Cos. (43 kB)icon Forest City Enterprise Peer Comparison (198.98 kB)icon Vonardo Realty Trust (146.49 kB). After and exhaustive screen and resultant short list, we chose GGP. I then instructed the team to canvass local and national brokers (4), databases (5) and data aggregators (several) to get the most precise localized rental and expenses figures possible. This data, as well as purchase dates, prices, management actions, capital improvements, etc. were used to plug into models such as this 33 page illustrative example, icon GGPs Woodlands Village (612.34 kB), to ascertain the true value of GGP’s portfolio. We also measured and valued their development operations, joint ventures, CMBS financing, off balance sheet vehicles and master planned communities. Sum total, I now have roughly 2 gigabytes of “REAL” valuation data on my servers covering 260 properties owned or partly owned by GGP. A this point, I may know more about their operations than they do.

What is more telling is the window of understanding this opens into the commercial real estate space in the US. It is my opinion that most are extremely over-optimistic regarding the prospects for this space.

And here we are Now, in 2011...

The “American Realist” Says: Past as Prologue – Re-blown Bubble to Pop Before the Previous Bubble Finishes Popping!!!! Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

In the post that followed said appearance, Reggie Middleton ON CNBC’s Fast Money Discussing Hopium in Real Estate, I ran down what I perceived to be the major risks of real estate in the states today, and that is a departure from the fundamentals and bleak macro outlook. During the Q&A at Roubini's crib, where I was actually guilty of accusing Nouriel of being too optimistic (I know, that's probably a first - but if anyone were to do such it would probably end up being me), participants were suggesting in a rather optimistic fashion that if a hard landing or recessionary environment were to come it would presage a time to buy assets at value prices. Of course, that is assuming those assets that you got very cheap didn't then proceed to get much cheaper. Nouriel replied exactly as I would have (and have in the past, particularly during my Keynote at the ING Valuation Conference in Amsterdam), and that was that it simply cannot taken as a given that assets prices will cyclically snap back in a year or even two. Now, I do have an investment strategy that I plan to pursue in regards to real estate, but it is quite different from what I see being bandied about today and over the last 8 years or so. To wit (as excerpted from the link directly above):

... It is the reporting company’s responsibility to report, not to obfuscate. The big problem with this “hide the market marks” thing is that markets tend to revert to mean. Unless said market values fundamentally catch up with said market prices, you will get a snapback. That is what is happening in residential real estate now. That is what happened in Japan over the last 21 years!!! That’s right, it wasn’t a lost decade in Japan, it was a lost 2.1 decades!

This has been the first balance sheet recession that the US has ever had, but there is precedence to follow. Japan had a balance sheet recession following their gigantic real asset bust. They made a slew of fiscal and policy errors, which essentially prolonged their real asset recession (now officially a depression) for T-W-E-N-T-Y  O-N-E long years! For those that may have  a problem reading that, it is 21 long years.What did the Japanese do wrong?
  • They refused to mark assets to market
  • They attempted to prop up zombie banks
  • They failed to promptly clean up NPAs in the banking system
    • They looked the other way in regards to real estate value shenanigans


Published in BoomBustBlog

JohnMack_copyOn February 10, 2008, I created an extensive blog post, explicitly labeling Morgan Stanley as "The Riskiest Bank on the Street!" To my knowledge, I was the only one to make such a blatant accusation. Of course, months later Morgan Stanley and all of its brethren started collapsing. Many attributed this to the overall market malaise, I didn't.

In September of 2008, 7 months after the first bearish report, I penned "As I said, the Riskiest Bank on the Street", which essentially compared my opinion, analysis and most importantly accuracy, to that of the Street's sell side, as excerpted...

For all of those who had/have a buy on Morgan Stanley, contact me for a special institutional subscription to the blog. I have said Morgan Stanley is a very strong short candidate (for about 9 months now).

Wall Street has said the following (from Zacks.com, ABR = average broker recommendation): 

(NYSE) $21.75

Current ABR 2.27
ABR (Last week) 2.27
# of Recs in ABR 11
Average Target Price: $51.60
LT Growth Rate 10.40%

The average broker recommended price for that period (and this period as well) was/is absolutely absurd, and has no grounding whatsoever in reality. This is what my report said in 2008:

We value Morgan Stanley at US$20.76 per share, 58% lower than the current market price – We have analyzed Morgan Stanley exposure toward the Level 3 assets and its exposure to unconsolidated VIEs. To value Morgan Stanley, we have used the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF), Price-to- adjusted book (P/BV) and Price-to-Earnings (P/E) multiple methods. Based on our weighted average valuation, we arrive at a fair value of $20.76 which represents a downside of 57% from current levels of $48.25.

Look at graph below to determine who was closer to the truth, Reggie Middleton and his team, or Wall Street - all of Wall Street!

Does this make you wonder why create posts such as Did Reggie Middleton, a Blogger at BoomBustBlog, Best Wall Streets Best of the Best? It should be blatantly apparent that anyone who follows Sell Side researh over that of BoomBustBlog is at best taking extreme risks with their capital, and more realitically headed for disaster and deserving every bit of it along the way. The telling portion of this tale is today's Bloomberg article ilustrating a fact which we suspected, but which no one really knew for sure except Wall Street banking insiders, and that was that MS took $107 in loans from the Fed during 2008. More than any other entity in the history of the Fed, more than all of the banks who had both larger balance sheets and asset basis' than MS, more than anybody. So, was I right? Was MS truly the The Riskiest Bank on the Street? We shall delve into the Bloomberg article, but first, a few more excerpts from the aforementioned blog post of January 2008:

"Worsening macro and market conditions to restrict revenue growth – Financial services industry witnessing its toughest times in recent history faces a tough task of getting things back to normal. The deteriorating macro environment coupled with flagging confidence among investors/customers alike, things are more likely to get worse than better."

"as tests to its excessive exposure to the anemic capital reserves of its counterparties, namely monoline insurers and hedge funds."

Now, from Bloomberg: Morgan Stanley at Brink Got $107B From Fed:

As markets convulsed in September 2008, Morgan Stanley (MS) Treasurer David Wong briefed the Federal Reserve on a “dark” scenario in which the U.S. firm would need at least $10 billion of emergency loans from the central bank.

It got 10 times darker by month’s end. Morgan Stanley borrowed $107.3 billion, the most of any bank, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News using information released in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, related court orders and an act of Congress.

Morgan Stanley’s borrowing -- more than twice the amount all banks got from the Fed in the market squeeze that followed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks -- peaked after hedge funds pulled $128.1 billion from the firm in two weeks, documents released by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission show.

The first comprehensive examination of the Fed’s emergency lending reveals how close the New York-based bank came to running out of cash because of a run on its prime brokerage, the unit that finances hedge funds’ trades and holds their cash and securities. The Fed loans also show the degree to which Morgan Stanley and other banks depended on such brokerage accounts for funding, even though clients could close them on short notice.

“These were like hot-money deposits that could flee in an instant,” said Tanya Azarchs, a former Standard & Poor’s analyst who covered Morgan Stanley during the crisis and is now a consultant in Briarcliff Manor, New York. The firm “never thought that the hedge funds would get that spooked.”

Wow! Pretty damn prescient? Or just observant? I'll let you be the judge, but here's a hint: you don't have to be prescient to see any of this coming, and I'm no more special than any other Joe Schmoe on the Street - outside of being a lot less conflicted! Of course, it doesn't end there. Let's take a look at the Golden Boys from that same post back in September of 2008 ("As I said, the Riskiest Bank on the Street"):

Look at what I said in Reggie Middleton on Goldman Sachs Q3 2008 vs what the guys that most retail investors and family offices give their money says about Goldman Sachs... 

(NYSE) -114.50
Current ABR 2.96
ABR (Last week) 2.79
# of Recs in ABR 12
Average Target Price: $200.91
LT Growth Rate



Again, the average broker consensus is an absolute joke. Subscribers and long time readers know my price targets for Goldman were much more pessimistic. Who was right? I refer you to What Do Goldman Sachs and B.B. King Have in Common? The Thrill is Gone…:

GS’s considerable leverage provides a means (the lever) of high returns to shareholders when asset prices are appreciating but the same becomes a very material economic concern when the asset prices lose value. With low trading revenues, GS has little cushion to absorb write-downs on these assets, leading to erosion of equity. As of March, 2010, the GS’s investments portfolio amounted to $339 billion (nearly 566% of the tangible equity). Referencing my previous posts, “Can You Believe There Are Still Analysts Arguing How Undervalued Goldman Sachs Is? Those July 150 Puts Say Otherwise, Let’s Take a Look” and “When the Patina Fades… The Rise and Fall of Goldman Sachs???“, we can reminisce over the fact that Goldman BARELY earns its cost of capital on an economic basis, and that’s before considering the potential horrors which may (and probably do) lay on the balance sheet (for more on BS horror, referenceReggie Middleton vs Goldman Sachs, Round 2.

As for the Street and mean analysist estimates, this is the verbage (that's verbage, not garbage) that accompanies these reports via hyperlink:

Recommendations Research Page

Brokerage Research firms spend over a billion dollars a year to fully analyze and recommend stocks to their clients. Most of that expense is paid out as compensation to a group of highly intelligent, and well compensated, equity analysts. It is usually in your best interest to know what these Wall Street heavy weights think about your stocks before you make buy, hold, sell decisions. And there is no better place
to gather that information than on the Recommendations research pages on Zacks.com.

Okay bloggers and bloggettes, this doesn't make any damn sense.Why would anyone not want to subscribe to truly independent research is beyond my reckoning. Mediocre independent research is better than top notch biased research any day. Just imagine what mediocre biased research will offer you.

I know I may be a little biased on this topic because I may stand to gain from selling subscriptions, but let me make
this very clear - I am an investor first and foremost. That is what I do all day, everyday. The blog always has, and probably always will, operate at a significant loss.The only reason I am bothering to make this post is because I am absolutely awed by the stickiness engendered by the sell side brokerage marketing machine. One would think that this site (or any independent research site) would be oversubscribed, if anything just because there is chance they may be trying to tell the truth. Okay, rant and rave is now offline...

So, to recap, I have accurately called the fall or collapse Morgan Stanley (The Riskiest Bank on the Street and Reggie Middleton on the Street's Riskiest Bank - Update), Lehman Brothers (Is Lehman a Lying Lemming?), and Bear Stearns (Bear Fight - A most bearish view on Bear Stearns in a bear market and Is this the Breaking of the Bear's Back?), Goldman as well (Goldman Sachs Snapshot: Risk vs. Reward vs. Reputations on the Street and Reggie Middleton on Risk, Reward and Reputations on the Street: the Goldman Sachs Forensic Analysis) as well as very recently the French bank run (The French Government Creates A Bank Run…) and Wall Street's sell side opinion still regulalry runs diametrically opposed to mine. I pray thee tell me, who has truly earned their stripes through these rough times? I query, because I have recently picked out another potential failure and we shall see how serious this one is taken this time around. To refresh everyone's memory...

The Squid Is A Federally (Tax Payer) Insured Hedge Fund Paying Fat Bonuses That Can't Trade In Volatile Markets

Trade setups on the Squid coming up next for paying subscribers. This one will be tricky, for valuations tell an incomplete story which is the reason why I announced this one publicly. You simply cannot profit off of the ancillary Squid news.


And in closing, for anyone who is interested...


Key highlights of my archived research from 2008 (before the crash) on the "Riskiest Investment Bank on the Street":

The Riskiest Bank on Wall Street – Morgan Stanley has US$74 billion of Level 3 assets, over 200% of its equity, which is the highest amongst its peers. Although the Level 3 assets have declined from the previous quarters owing to huge writedowns, the reclassification of assets from from Level 2 to level 3 category continues as the liquidity for the troubled mortgage paper drys up.

Declining ABX index indicates troubled times are not over yet – Morgan Stanley used the performance of the ABX index as one of the benchmarks to writedown US$9.4 billion in 4Q 07. As this index continiues to witness downward trend, we believe that the asset writedown done so far, may not be sufficient.

Forensic Accounting of ABS Assets yields more woes - a security by security accounting of MSs ABS inventory shows at least 30% and probably 56% in additional losses coming down the pike, as well as tests to its excessive exposure to the anemic capital reserves of its counterparties, namely monoline insurers and hedge funds.

Losses from unconsolidated VIEs of $38 billion can wipe out almost half of the company’s total equity –Morgan Stanley has $20 billion of its unconsolidated VIEs assets in credit & real estate portfolio where the company expects a maximum loss ratio of 65%. Considering the worsening real estate markets, we believe that the company will incur huge losses on this portfolio. In addition, the company has $7 billion towards MBS & ABS portfolio and $10 billion of strucutured finance products.

Exposure toward Bond Insurers/private funds raises counterparty risk – The failure of bond insurers, on whose shoulders lie the rating of $2.4 trillion of bonds, raises a serious doubt about a systemic failure in the U.S. financial services industry. Morgan Stanley’s exposure of $3.6 billion toward the bond insurers may result in unforeseen losses for the company. The company has a counterparty credit risk exposure of $13.9 billion toward parties rated BBB and lower.

The riskiest bank on Wall Street – High exposure to Level 3 assets despite significant write-downs

Need to raise additional capital if current crisis worsens – Morgan Stanley raised $5 billion from China Investment Corp to maintain its capital ratios as it reported huge losses in 4Q 07. Going forward, as the credit market environment, the housing and real estate markets continues to crack, the company will likely report huge and may have to raise additional capital.

Worsening macro and market conditions to restrict revenue growth – Financial services industry witnessing its toughest times in recent history faces a tough task of getting things back to normal. The deteriorating macro environment coupled with flagging confidence among investors/customers alike, things are more likely to get worse than better. Furthermore, the decline in structured product revenues, risk averse nature owing to recent turmoil and the less active M&A environment will exert pressure on the company’s revenue growth in the coming quarters.

We value Morgan Stanley at US$20.76 per share, 58% lower than the current market price – We have analyzed Morgan Stanley exposure toward the Level 3 assets and its exposure to unconsolidated VIEs. To value Morgan Stanley, we have used the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF), Price-to- adjusted book (P/BV) and Price-to-Earnings (P/E) multiple methods. Based on our weighted average valuation, we arrive at a fair value of $20.76 which represents a downside of 57% from current levels of $48.25.

Click the read more link below to continue reading or download the richly formatted pdf version:

icon Morgan Stanley (287.96 kB 2008-02-11 12:49:56)

Published in BoomBustBlog

bank-run-1931The bank run in Europe appears to be underway again, exactly as I have anticipated. Remember, historically, bank runs were mainly instituted by retail investors pulling deposits. Modern day institutions and mechanisms have successfully been implemented to mitigate and stem the tide of such occurrences to an extent that many potentially devastating bank runs have been avoided. The caveat is, a new instigator of the bank run has emerged. Make no mistake about it, the institutional counterparty is the new purveyor of the modern day bank run. For those who have not been following my European bank run rants, see my many warnings to date regarding the highly contagious European bank run below. For those who have been following, skip past the link list to the news excerpts directly below to see what is going on today and coincidentally what we have been working on for the last week - which is just starting to come out into the mainstream media and the sell side analysts water cooler chatter...

It all started as:

  • a keynote speech in Amsterdam,

First CNBC reports US Markets Indicating Sharp Selloff at Open on European Bank Concerns, This is shortly after reporting, by way of the Wall Street Journal reports: European Central Bank Dollar Loan Signals Euro Stress

The European Central Bank has lent dollars to a eurozone bank for the first time since February in the latest sign of escalating tensions in the region’s financial system.

A single bidder borrowed $500 million for a week, the ECB disclosed on Wednesday, after taking advantage of a facility that has largely lain dormant over the past year.

No details were given but the news suggested that at least one bank was having difficulties obtaining the dollar funds it required.

On its own, the use of the facility did not point to dramatic stress levels in funding markets, analysts said.

But it added to other evidence that European banks were struggling to access some forms of financing for the first time in a couple of years.

The so-called Euribor-OIS swap, a gauge of fear in the banking sector, is at its highest since 2009, while short-term euro basis swaps, which show a strong premium for buying dollars over the single currency, are at the most negative since the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Meanwhile, the ECB continues to see high levels of funds being parked overnight in its “deposit facility”, rather than being lent to other banks.


“All the indicators are pointing in the same way: banks are becoming more keen to use official sources of liquidity than one month ago. Is it the crisis levels of 2008? No,” said Laurence Mutkin, rates strategist at Morgan Stanley.

Nick Matthews, European economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “It is probably symptomatic of the kind of stresses and strains there are in the system.”

Acting with the US Federal Reserve, the ECB first offered US dollars to euro zone banks at the end of 2007. The program was reactivated after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in late-2008 – and again in May last year, when the euro zone debt crisis was at its most intense.

Any casual reader of BoomBustBlog has been thoroughly forewarned, and all BoomBustBlog subscribers should have their positions firmly in place, ready to monetize this situation after buying volatility on the cheap and short positions at favorable levels - reference the following documents, all produced while volatility was cheap and the subject banks were trading much higher:

  1. SPY option strategies in violent down moves
  2. This is the introductory post to a series of trade setups for European Bank at Risk
  3. and The Inevitability of Another Bank Crisis!

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is intensifying its scrutiny of the U.S. units of Europe's biggest banks amid concerns that Europe's debt crisis could spill into the U.S. banking system, the Wall Street Journal reported citing sources familiar with the matter.

This is quite interesting and timely, for several weeks ago we started our own forensic investigation and many would be surprised at what we have found. All BoomBustBlog subscribers are strongly urged to download today's latest actionable note regarding the big American bank (see File Icon Actionable Note on US Bank/ French Bank Run Contagion) closely related to the big bank identified in The French Government Creates A Bank Run? Here I Prove A Run On A French Bank Is Justified And Likely, as excerpted:

Over the next few days I will offer advanced trading techniques to allow BoomBustBlog subscribers to monetize their view via the market, despite the attempts by those who do not see to manipulate free markets. In the mean time I will excerpt portions of the Pro/Institutional report on the French bank most at risk for a run, available for download right now -File Icon Bank Run Liquidity Candidate Forensic Opinion.
Here are a few screen shots from the free public abridged version (File Icon French Bank Run Forensic Thoughts - pubic preview for Blog), that easily demonstrates the problem with the French banks cannot be solved by banning short selling. The problem is inherent in the banks themselves. Please click to enlarge to printer quality...




Published in BoomBustBlog

Tuesday trading update from Eurocalypse...

The SP500 daily chart has the same pattern than CAC.a squeeze could lead us to 1240 but I don't see it really pushing any further out and I see the market being more heavy than Europe because we didn't sell off as hard.


Contrary to the CAC points (see Eurocalypse Trading Update 8/16/2011 - French Markets and The Inevitable Pan-European Real Estate Collapse), we didnt visit 2010 lows which are my target, so lets not talk about July 2009 lows just yet. The option set up and trading illustration given to subscribers last week still stands as the preferred method for those who trade optionable ETFs to best position themselves. All paying subscribers should download SPY option strategies in violent down moves for retail investors. We will review larger contract futures strategies for professional and institutional investors in the near future.

Fixed Income

While we believed that it's both rational and worthwhile to play the long US notes, Bunds (or Swap rates) as a positive carry trade to leverage the continuing debacle of western economies, these are profit taking levels for those momentum players and flight to quality traders, and perhaps even levels to cautiously try the short side. No, the strategy is not driven by the explosion of the ponzi that US debt or german debt, but simply an over extension of a trend. UST notes monthly charts shows we are in resistance zone.

On bunds, the German debt, there is still this joker that it is suddenly rerated as bad as PIIGS if Merkel gives in to support Italy and Spain (which she has shown she is thus far refusing to do in by refusing Eurobonds)...The short term mo-mo players are not looking at things this way. There is also this matter of the CRE rollovers that will either smash French and German banks, tank pan-European real estate, or the most likely option - both.

Things to watch

I think the stock market can tank in the short term only if the PIIGS crisis resumes abruptly. Is it possible ? Well of course, it is, but I think we'd see serious signs in the debt markets before the stock market reacts, as usual. I read that 22bn of PIIGS debt were bought last week, the fastest pace ever,
and a very significant amount. All the guys who sold, probably bought Bunds instead (they are bond funds, ALMs so if they sell an investment, they should
buy something else with the proceeds...). If ECB activity subsides, Bunds naturally lose some of their bid. and then the bid on PIIGS will be tested as Bunds' yield rise from here. Then the market could well call the ECB bluff and see how big their virtuo-synthetic inkjet powered pockets really are (from a political point of view, of course - they can literally print forever up until inflation scares them back - reference The Bull Argument For Europe Is Credible, Except For The Circular Argument: You Can't Solve Debt Problems With More Debt!!!). If these balls are not as deep as their virtual pockets, then....

Reggie's note:

Of interest, if we're correct in our fixed income outlook, that Pan-European CRE crash may well have ample company stateside. See my rant on over optimism in this space on CNBC: Reggie Middleton ON CNBC’s Fast Money Discussing Hopium in Real Estate.

As excerpted:

Listen up people, HERE ARE THE NASTY FACTS!!!

Real estate is a highly rate sensitive asset class. Capitalization rates (the popular method of pricing real estate) is explained in Wikipedia as:

Capitalization rate (or "cap rate") is the ratio between the net operating income produced by an asset and its capital cost (the original price paid to buy the asset) or alternatively its current market value.[1] The rate is calculated in a simple fashion as follows:

 \mbox{Capitalization Rate} = \frac{\mbox{annual net operating income}}{\mbox{cost (or value)}}

Without going into a CRE class, when interest rates go up, cap rates generally go up as well and the value (or cost to purchase) of the property goes down in sympathy unless the rise in interest rates is offset by a commensurate or greater rise in net operating income. Now, either everybody believes that unemployment is going to drop towards zero  in an era of US austerity (reference Are the Effects of Unemployment About To Shoot Through the Roof? then see Budget AusterityGoldman Sees Danger in US Budget Cuts - CNBC) at the same time that historically low interest rates that actually went negative are going to get lower (see the Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis) ---- or cap rates are about to skyrocket. I'll let you decide!

As you can see above, CRE drops in value whenever yields spike more than the + delta in NOI. Looking below, you can see that US CRE actually runs to the inverse of the 30 year Treasury.

That visual relationship is corroborated by running the statistical correlations...

The relationship is obvious and evident! In addition, we have been in a Goldilocks fantasy land for both interest rates and CRE for about 30 years. CRE culminated in the 2007 bubble pop, but was reblown by .gov policies and machinations. The same with rates. Ever hear of NEGATIVE interest rates where YOU have to PAY someone to LEND THEM MONEY!!!

So, BoomBustBloggers, where do YOU think rates are going to go from here? Up of Down??? Let's ask Portugal or any of the other PIIGS group. I have shown, very meticulously, how Portugal can not only afford the path that they are on (record high interest rates) but the losses that will come when they restructure (default) - for all to see. I have done the same with Spain, Ireland and Greece (for subscribers only). See The Truth Behind Portugal’s Inevitable Default – Arithmetic Evidence Available Only Through BoomBustBlog followed by The Anatomy of a Portugal Default: A Graphical Step by Step Guide to the Beginning of the Largest String of Sovereign Defaults in Recent History (December 6th & 7th, 2010). Be sure to carefully and very thoroughly peruse the spreadsheet below to see the many scenarios present that show the NPV of investor losses due to haircuts and restructurings...

I have went through what is inevitable in the US from a fundamental perspective right here in New Amsterdam, just a tad bit before I brought the message across the pond to old Amsterdam.


Remember, unlike many, I have asserted since 2007: It's a Real Estate Depression!!!

Published in BoomBustBlog

Morning trading update from Eurocalypse...

It has been a hectic time laced with a very violent market. It’s been easy to get burnt both by being bullish or bearish. A very unusual situation wherein unless armed with superior research, deft trading skills, innovative strategies and a lot of luck, your basically damned if you do and damned if you don’t. This is why option strategies are so comfortable. You have a natural stop.  The recent BoomBustBlog subscriber content had some predefined targets and the good thingis to stick to them, even when the market is overshooting the target.Regarding the broad equity indexes, the call was to target the 2010 lows…

For the CAC40, it was around 3250-3300. Well, we’ve been quite wrong because we went more than 10% down from that going thru 3000 at one stage. But I wrote as well, that any significant move under that, would be an overshoot, and by taking profits at our target, we'd be the few ones able to take a short term bet on a squeeze. We are now sitting at 3240. Where from here? Well the market bounced where it should after surpassing the 3300. 3000 was the end of June/beginning of July 2009 lows. Given the speed of the move, and that nothing has changed (were all f*cked, but anyone reading BBB or ZH knew that before the move....), I dont see any fresh reasons, apart from momentum (which is enough in itself) to go much lower. The meaning of that, is that although we are in a bear market, selling without trying to time the market now, can be very painful given how far we are from the break and how the short term bottom COULD look after a bounce like a real bottom and prompt everyone for cover...

Click to enlarge...


I see no fundamental reason for a big bounce now, but in this volatile market, even an ephemeral 3450 doesnt seem impossible eventhough we already had a good
bounce. There seems to be a divergence on the daily chart ( on stochastics, MACD, RSI) and the short term pain trade could be higher prices. The ADX is very strong, and indicates as well the possibility of a further technical correction to the move. With implied vol high, fresh buying of options will probably not make money. I advise to keep some remaining gamma options and play with the delta hedge and try to take advantage of high vol and skew to position for FLY or broken flies bearish trades. I even advised buying some OTM vega calls at the lows, because they were too cheap even I had no conviction on a real bounce. Well theyve been repriced nicely thanks to the skew effect + the rally from the lows! Anyone who followed that advice should take profits cause im not sure vol will be bid and market upside is limited from here. Tech levels: if for a ST trade, be neutral at this level (3250) and opportunistic. A move towards 3450 should be faded.


On the downside, last week lows COULD hold, even if it looks ugly when we revisit them... or could very well crash... but I wouldnt give more than 50% to that, so the right thing to do is trying to play the long side below 3000 with call or call spreads to limit the downsidethus for short term trading, I advise playing a volatile new range, 3000-3450, selling implied vols, selling the skew, and waiting a bit before setting up earnestly for the probable next move. Keep your mind open, as usual.

Reggie's Comments:

CNBC reports France, Germany Ruling Out Euro Bonds to Fix Debt Crisis and the S&P 500 resumes is slow downward descent. This is simply momentum trader reaction to what is essentially a foregone conclusion. Anyone who truly condones Eurobonds is essentially asking the more responsible states to willingly accept the risks and costs of funding what could potentially become a black hole with very limited upside in return. As I said in my interview with Property EU, the EU suffers from too many chiefs and not enough Indians! In order to justify a unified, common funding vehicle (or common currency for that matter, here's to you Euro) you will need a unified common, budgetary mechanism, common financial authority, and common government. Unitl then, you will simply have too many bosses telling to few capital Euros what to do. For those who are wondering why I included the article below, stay tuned to the subscription documents coming out over the next two weeks. A stagflationary environment, excess supply and a broken bankings system that not only won't lend but has signficant CRE debt rollovers coming up - and concentrated primarily in the banks of two nations (I'll let you guess who, one of whichi will be the subject of a bank run in 3...2...1...) all add up to a virtual Pan-European real estate collapse.

The French Government Creates A Bank Run? Here I Prove A Run On A French Bank Is Justified And Likely

Reggie Middleton Featured in Property EU, one of Europes leading real estate publicatios

Those who wish to download the full article in PDF format can do so here: Reggie Middleton on Stagflation, Sovereign Debt and the Potential for bank Failure at the ING ACADEMY-v2.

The related European commercial real estate video...

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