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Gordon T Long

RESEARCH ANALYTICS for the GLOBAL MACRO

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Sultans of Swap: Smoking Guns!

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Sultans of Swap: The Sting!

ACT III

Sultans of Swap: The Get Away!

 

 

ALSO

SULTANS OF SWAP: Explaining $605 Trillion in Derivatives!

 

SULTANS OF SWAP: Fearing the Gearing!

 

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SULTANS OF SWAP: Gold Swaps Signal the Roadmap Ahead

 

SLIDE REFERENCE PAGE: Shadow Banking

 

The news rocked the global gold market when an almost obscure line item in the back of a 216 page document released by an equally obscure organization was recently unearthed. Thrust into the unwanted glare of the spotlight, the little publicized Bank of International Settlements (BIS) is discovered to have accepted 349 metric tons of gold in a $14B swap. Why? With whom? For what duration? How long has this been going on? This raises many questions and as usual with all $617T of murky unregulated swaps, we are given zero answers. It is none of our business!

Considering the US taxpayer is bearing the burden of $13T in lending, spending and guarantees for the financial crisis, and an additional $600B of swaps from the US Federal Reserve to stem the European Sovereign Debt crisis, some feel that more transparency is merited. It is particularly disconcerting, since the crisis was a direct result of unsound banking practices and possibly even felonious behavior. The arrogance and lack of public accountability of the entire banking industry blatantly demonstrates why gold manipulation, which came to the fore in recent CFTC hearings, has been able to operate so effectively for so long. It operates above the law or more specifically above sovereign law in the un-policed off-shore, off-balance sheet zone of international waters.

Since President Richard Nixon took the US off the Gold standard in 1971, transparency regarding anything to do with gold sales, leasing, storage or swaps is as tightly guarded by governments as the unaudited gold holdings of Fort Knox. Before we delve into answering what this swap may be all about and what it possibly means to gold investors, we need to start with the most obvious question and one that few seem to ask. Who is this Bank of International Settlements and who controls it?

READ MORE

 

 

EXTEND & PRETEND: Stage I Comes

to an End!


The Dog Ate my Report Card

 

Both came to an end at the same time: the administration’s policy to Extend & Pretend has run out of time as has the patience of the US electorate with the government’s Keynesian economic policy responses. Desperate last gasp attempts are to be fully expected, but any chance of success is rapidly diminishing.

Before we can identify what needs to be done, what the administration is likely to do and how we can preserve and protect our wealth through it, we need to first determine where we are going wrong. Surprisingly, no one has assessed the results of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act 2009 (ARRA) which was this administration’s cornerstone program to place the US back on the post financial crisis road to recovery.

We can safely conclude either:

1-    The administration completely under estimated the extent of the economic crisis, even though we were well into it when the ARRA was introduced.

2-    The administration was unable to secure the actually required stimulus amount which was likely four to five times that approved.

3-    The administration failed to implement the program in a timely manner.

4-    The administration failed to diagnose the problem correctly and that in fact it is a structural problem versus a cyclical and liquidity problem, as they still insist it to be.

I personally believe it is all four of the above.

READ MORE

 

POPULAR ARTICLES:

SULTANS OF SWAP: BP Potentially More Devastating then Lehman!

 

EXTEND & PRETEND - Manufacturing a Minsky Melt-Up

 

EXTEND & PRETEND: A Guide to the Road Ahead


READER ROADMAP -  2010 TIPPING POINTS aid to positioning COMMENTARY

 

 

 

1

         

SOVEREIGN DEBT PIIGS

EU BANKING CRISIS
BOND BUBBLE

STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT

CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE
BANKING CRISIS II
RISK REVERSAL

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

CREDIT CONTRACTION II

RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE - PHASE II
EXPIRATION FINANCIAL CRISIS PROGRAM
US FISCAL IMBALANCES
PENSION CRISIS
CHINA BUBBLE

TODAY'S TIPPING POINTS UPDATE

Last Update: 08/05/2010 06:32 PM

RED ALERT

AMBER ALERT

ACTIVITY

MONITOR

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POSTS:  THURSDAY 08-05-10

 

 

GEO-POLITICAL TENSIONS - ISRAEL / KOREA / IRAN

 

IRAN

 

ISRAEL

Israel Vows To Retaliate Against Monday's Attack, Blames Hamas  ZH

 

Clash On Israel-Lebanon Border Holds Potential For Strategic Escalation  ZH

 

KOREA 

 

SOVEREIGN DEBT & CREDIT CRISIS

 

 

GREECE

 

SPAIN / PORTUGAL

 

FRANCE

 

GERMANY

 

ITALY

 

UK

UK car sales slump in July   FT

Economic uncertainty clouds industry prospects

 

JAPAN

 

CHINA

Business Cycle Monitor: Asia leads the global slowdown Danske

China Shows How To Do A Stress Test- Tells Banks To Imagine 60% Property Collapse  BI

 

USA

 

 

EU BANKING CRISIS

 

3 Month Euribor Touches 0.9% For First Time In 2010  ZH

 

Barclays rises 44% to £3.95bn in first half  FT

Investment banking revenues fall 38% in second quarter

 

 

BOND BUBBLE

 

Here's How The US Government Is REALLY Financing Its Monster Spending Spree  BI

A new report from The Treasury Department goes into depth on how much the government is borrowing, the price the government is paying for capital, and who, exactly, is doing the buying.

 

 

 

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Candy From Strangers, Or Who Is Buyng All Those Treasuries  ZH

Submitted by Marc McHugh from Across the Street

Candy from Strangers

When TrimTabs Charles Biderman questioned the source of the money that propelled stocks 65% from the March 2009 lows, he got beaten with the idiot stick so badly that he actually turned bullish in April 2010.  Lost in the ensuing choke-out was the fact that no one ever actually answered his question, unless scoffing and muttering “dark pools and stuff,” under your breath counts (and he’s the one who should be wearing the tin-foil hat?).  Here we go again. 

The first thing you should notice when looking at The Treasury’s 2010 Q1 Bulletin is that it’s  incomplete, as I’m sure most of Secretary Tim Geithner’s homework assignments were.  Of the 12 columns on Table OFS-2 (Estimated Ownership of U.S. Treasury Securities), Turbo managed to fill in only 5 (FYI: it takes Treasury more than two months to prepare the bulletin).

From the data actually present, we can determine that Treasury issued 461.7 Billion in new debt Q1.  That’s not surprising, we’ve been running at the $500 per person per month clip for almost two years now.  What is surprising is that the Fed  &  Intragovernment holdings went down $17B.  Foreigners, God bless ‘em, scooped up an additional $192.5 B, while  US saving bond  holdings were basically flat (-$1.1 B).

Um, we’re out of data now, but not debt.  287.4 Billion  (62%) of  Q1′s public debt is not accounted for on the report.   Fortunately when discussing who could digest that much debt in three months, we can quickly eliminate 6 of the 7 “not available” data points (depository institutions, pension funds, mutual funds, insurance companies, and State & local governments).  The only logical conclusion is at least a quarter trillion  in debt was purchased by “Other Investors” in Q1.

Aren’t you glad we cleared that up?

What’s that?  “Who the hell are Other Investors,” you say?  Good question.  It does seem rather nebulous, especially considering that they are now clearly our best customer(s).   Not very bright though.  They stepped in and bought like crazy as interest rates went to record lows.  Still I think we should send a basket of fruit and a nice thank you note, because without them we would surely have had a failed auction (read Keynesian apocalypse).

The Treasury defines Other Investors as: 

Individuals, Government-sponsored enterprises, brokers and dealers, bank personal trusts and estates, corporate and non-corporate businesses, and other investors.

Thanks Turbo, for narrowing  it down to just about everyone under the sun.

Let’s go ask Ben!

Geithner’s a slacker, this is known, but Fed Chair Ben Bernanke’s SAT score (1590!) suggests analality (?) (mine was considerably lower).   Besides, Treasury’s footnotes on tables OFS-2 tell us that  the source for 6 of the 7 empty columns is the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Flow of Funds Table L.209 (and which was actually released before the Treasury Bulletin – don’t get me started…).

The Fed’s flow of funds data is an exercise in convolution, but it wasn’t too difficult to extract the data missing from the Treasury bulletin.  Here’s the breakdown:

  • Depository Institutions   +$59.6 B
  • Private Pension Funds   +$30.9 B
  • State & Local Government Pension Funds  +$7.1 B
  • Insurance Companies  $2.1 B
  • Mutual Funds  -$18.9 B
  • State & Local Governments  -8.5 B

Depository institutions and Private pensions purchased record amounts of  Treasuries in Q1.  Which means that “Other Investors” accounted for $215 B of the Treasuries issued in Q1.  Yes, I realize that this is somewhat lower than my original estimate, but in my defense that was a logical conclusion.  Who knew banks and private pensions are expecting another stock market collapse?  Nobody at CNBC anyway.  They’re too busy laughing at Main Street for not seeing the awesomeness of the recovery.

Before putting away the Fed’s flow of funds, it is worth noting that brokers and dealers (who are included as other investors) do not share the pessimism of banks and private pensions.   They dumped $19 B during the quarter.  This brings us to the turd in the punchbowl.  The Household sector, who the Fed says purchased a whopping $68 B.  Now before you start thinking your neighbors are taking their unemployment checks and sneaking off to Treasury auctions, listen to what Sprott Asset Management’s Eric Sprott and David Franklin said of the household sector in their December 2009 report entitled, Is it all just a Ponzi Scheme?:

To quote directly from the Flow of Funds Guide, “For example, the amounts of Treasury securities held by all other sectors, obtained from asset data reported by the companies or institutions themselves, are subtracted from total Treasury securities outstanding, obtained from the Monthly Treasury Statement of Receipts and Outlays of the United States Government and the balance is assigned to the household sector.” (Emphasis ours) So to answer the question – who is the Household Sector? They are a PHANTOM. They don’t exist. They merely serve to balance the ledger in the Federal Reserve’s Flow of Funds report.

I guess that means your neighbor isn’t our superhero, and besides, if he was he’d have a cooler car.  So who are these strangers with candy hell-bent on making sure this sugar high doesn’t end?   I don’t know.  There I said it.  Maybe Charles Biderman gets rattled when everyone calls him a moron, but I’m used to it.  S0 fire away, but answer the question.

By the end of 2010, Other Investors will own more than 10% of the US public debt (1.5 Trillion or so).  They bought more than 45% of the new debt in Q1.  At what point does this kind of opacity become unacceptable?  Why can’t the Treasury fill out its own bulletin with information already available?  Why do we have to wait five months for information that is so vague, you can’t even call it information with a straight face?

And last but not least, where do we send the fruit basket?

Other Reading:

Is it all just a Ponzi Scheme? (Sprott & Franklin)

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/chinese-treasury-dump-brings-its-total-holdings-one-year-low-uk-continues-exponential-accumu

Smoking Guns of US Treasury Monetization (Jim Willie)

Treasury table OFS-2 (updated by author).

Starving For Yield

"In an over-leveraged system prices of assets respond uniquely to the supply and demand balance for monetary liquidity. Too much cash in the system leads to bubbles, and not enough leads to a collapse. Markets are so highly correlated due to advances in technology, correlation trading, and information circulation, that the system has become completely binary and relying solely on monetary availability."

 

STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT

 

A growing pile of debt for state unemployment insurance programs Stateline

 

 

CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE

 

 

HUNGARY

 

BANKING CRISIS II

 

US banks braced for slump in profits  FT

Hedge funds reluctant to bet big on debt

 

DODD FRANK ACT

 

RATING AGENCIES

 

RISK REVERSAL

 

Uncertain outlook limits risk appetite  FT

 

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

 

 

RRESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE - PHASE II

 

IMF- U.S. Real Estate Sectors Could Bring Banking Crisis 2.0  ZH

By Dian L. Chu, Economic Forecasts & Opinions

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stress tested 53 large banking holding companies and published its findings last month. The report concluded that despite restoration of some stability, there remain certain important risks to the U.S. financial system and economy mainly coming from the real estate sectors:

  • Further increases in nonperforming loans due to high unemployment rate and significant weakness in the real estate sectors
  • Credit quality in the commercial real estate (CRE) sector - About $1.4 trillion of CRE loans will mature in 2010–14, nearly half of which are 90 days or more past due or “underwater.”  
  • Housing prices - The very high level of underwater mortgages increases the risk of strategic defaults and further losses to banks and mortgage backed security (MBS) investors.

Market perception of sovereign risk, sluggish growth, and mounting fiscal deficits and debt are also identified as major risks to the economy and the financial system.

IMF noted financial institutions will face rollover risks with large loan maturities in 2011–13, which could bring rapidly rising foreclosures and bank losses. The small and medium-sized banks, which are most heavily exposed to the commercial real estate sector, are causing the most concern.


Since bank balance sheets remain fragile and under-capitalized (Figure 1), under an “adverse scenario”, small and regional banks as well as subsidiaries of foreign banks would incur $1.113 trillion of cumulative loan losses from 2010 to 2015 and need as much as $76.3 billion (i.e. a TARP 2.0), additional capital to meet a tier one ratio of 6% .


Under the “baseline scenario”, cumulative loan losses would have been $860.9 billion, and need $40.5 billion additional capital. (See table)

IMF also noted the securitization market could become a drag on the economic recovery:  
“Almost all of the recent issuance of U.S. private label MBSs has comprised re-securitizations of formerly “AAA” senior securities (so-called “re-remics”), with the Fed’s TALF responsible for much of the 2009 issuance of other asset backed securities (ABSs).”

And to make things even more depressing, IMF warned that

“The economy and some key financial markets continue to depend heavily on fiscal, monetary, and financial policy support, and the output gap is expected to remain wide for many years.”

Other research reports also paint an equally gloomy picture. According to an analysis by Realpoint, reported by HousingWire, delinquencies in commercial mortgage -backed securities (CMBS) in the US increased to 7.2%, and more than triple the rate a year ago. In May, the total delinquent unpaid balance for these loans reached $57.3 billion.

Realpoint forecasts by the end of 2010, the total amount of unpaid principal balance could grow between $80 billion and $90 billion, and the delinquency rate could reach as high as 12%. Earlier in the year, Trepp reported that these spiking delinquencies could cause bank failures to increase as much as 30% in 2010 (You think we don’t have enough problem banks bankrupting FDIC already? see Figure 3)

While the $40-80 billion capitalization numbers probably will not take the entire U.S. economy into a double-dip recession, they will likely put a significant drag on GDP and earnings in the financial sector, as well as the broader equity market for the next two to six quarters.

With the easy year-over-year earnings beat coming to an end, the best of the earnings may have already come to pass. As such, now would be a good time to take some profit off the table for another day, another entry point.

(Note: The full IMF report is available here.)

 

EXPIRATION FINANCIAL CRISIS PROGRAM/font>

 

 

PENSION & ENTITLEMENTS CRISIS



CHRONIC UNEMPLOYMENT

 


GOVERNMENT BACKSTOP INSURANCE

 

For Fannie Stock, Even Betting Pennies Is a Risk NYT

“It’s not really a stock anymore — everyone knows this is going to zero”

 

CORPORATE BANKRUPTCIES

 

BP - British Petroleum

SULTANS OF SWAP: BP Potentially More Devastating then Lehman!

------------

 

 

 

 



 

OTHER TIPPING POINT CATEGORIES NOT LISTED ABOVE

 

 Wheat Trades Near 22-Month High as Russia Drought Curbs Exports BL

“We’ve got a little bit of panic...There’s certainly room for bigger gains, without a doubt.”

 

FLASH CRASH - HFT - DARK POOLS

And Scene- ICI Reports 13th Consecutive Week of Massive Domestic Equity Outflows As Banks Start To Panic  ZH

 The latest update from ICI shows that the week ended July 28 saw a record 13th consecutive outflow from domestic mutual funds as stocks surged. Good thing the HFT algos can now essentially communicate with each other in the actual unique flow patterns of cancelled stock bids, thereby announcing to all other participants the plans of one which promptly become those of all, in the most under the radar concerted effort to "club" the market's HFT participants as one big trading force. As for retail: it is all over. We won't even chart the latest move. Figure it out: nearly $50 billion in outflows YTD as the market is well green. When the coordinated computerized front running game (of stupid carbon based lifeforms) in which one Atari machine sells to another, and repeats into infinity, while all book liquidity rebates, comes to an end and the theater is finally perceived to have been burning all along, watch out for the binary stampede.

But don't take our word for it. According to the FT, banks are starting to panic that as a result of collapsing trade volumes, profit target misses and massive layoffs are just around the corner.

US banks with Wall Street operations are bracing for a slump in trading profits this year after the third quarter got off to a poor start, with global economic uncertainty and Europe’s sovereign debt woes leading to a slowdown in market activity in July.

Executives said volumes and profitability last month were even lower than during the sluggish second quarter, with hedge funds particularly reluctant to take big bets on equities and debt.

“July was a miserable month for trading,” one senior banker said. “If August and September don’t rebound sharply, banks will be forced to cut jobs.”

The squeeze in trading profits highlights the rising importance of groups’ consumer and commercial banking operations, whose performance is improving as the economy heals.

The lack of activity led many banks to miss internal targets for trading revenues in both fixed income commodities and currencies – a key recent driver of profitability – and equities.

John Brady, senior vice-president at MF Global, said: “A lot of the drop we have seen in trading volumes during June and July follows violent changes in markets during the preceding months.”

Retail investors have also shunned stocks. US equity mutual funds have been hit by 12 straight weeks of outflows totalling $40.7bn, says the Investment Company Institute.

 

MARKET WARNINGS

 

 

GOLD MANIPULATION

 

 

VIDEO TO WATCH

 

 

 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

 


ZH - Zero Hedge - Business Insider, WSJ - Wall Street Journal, BL - Bloomberg, FT - Financial Times

 

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Gordon T Long is not a registered advisor and does not give investment advice. His comments are an expression of opinion only and should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as recommendations to buy or sell a stock, option, future, bond, commodity or any other financial instrument at any time. While he believes his statements to be true, they always depend on the reliability of his own credible sources. Of course, he recommends that you consult with a qualified investment advisor, one licensed by appropriate regulatory agencies in your legal jurisdiction, before making any investment decisions, and barring that, we encourage you confirm the facts on your own before making important investment commitments.

 

© Copyright 2010 Gordon T Long. The information herein was obtained from sources which Mr. Long believes reliable, but he does not guarantee its accuracy. None of the information, advertisements, website links, or any opinions expressed constitutes a solicitation of the purchase or sale of any securities or commodities. Please note that Mr. Long may already have invested or may from time to time invest in securities that are recommended or otherwise covered on this website. Mr. Long does not intend to disclose the extent of any current holdings or future transactions with respect to any particular security. You should consider this possibility before investing in any security based upon statements and information contained in any report, post, comment or recommendation you receive from him.

 

         

TODAY'S NEWS

THURSDAY

08-05-10

AUGUST
S M T W T F S
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8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

ARCHIVAL

SOVEREIGN DEBT PIIGS

EU BANKING CRISIS
BOND BUBBLE

STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT

CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE
BANKING CRISIS II
RISK REVERSAL

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

CREDIT CONTRACTION II

RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE - PHASE II
EXPIRATION FINANCIAL CRISIS PROGRAM
US FISCAL IMBALANCES
PENSION CRISIS
CHINA BUBBLE
CHRONIC UNEMPLOYMENT
INTEREST PAYMENTS
US PUBLIC POLICY MISCUES
JAPAN DEBT DEFLATION SPIRAL
US RESERVE CURRENCY.
GOVERNMENT BACKSTOP INSURANCE
SHRINKING REVENUE GROWTH RATE
FINANCE & INSURANCE WRITE-DOWNS
RETAIL SALES
CORPORATE BANKRUPTCIES
US DOLLAR WEAKNESS
GLOBAL OUTPUT GAP
CONFIDENCE - SOCIAL UNREST
ENTITLEMENT CRISIS
IRAN NUCLEAR THREAT
OIL PRICE PRESSURES
FOOD PRICE PRESSURES
US STOCK MARKET VALUATIONS
PANDEMIC
US$ RESERVE CURRENCY
TERRORIST EVENT
NATURAL DISASTER

 

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Gordon T Long is not a registered advisor and does not give investment advice. His comments are an expression of opinion only and should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as recommendations to buy or sell a stock, option, future, bond, commodity or any other financial instrument at any time. While he believes his statements to be true, they always depend on the reliability of his own credible sources. Of course, we recommend that you consult with a qualified investment advisor, one licensed by appropriate regulatory agencies in your legal jurisdiction, before making any investment decisions, and barring that, we encourage you confirm the facts on your own before making important investment commitments.

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© Copyright 2010, Gordon T Long. The information herein was obtained from sources which the Gordon T Long. believes reliable, but we do not guarantee its accuracy. None of the information, advertisements, website links, or any opinions expressed constitutes a solicitation of the purchase or sale of any securities or commodities. Please note that the Gordon T Long. or its principals may already have invested or may from time to time invest in securities that are recommended or otherwise covered on this website. Gordon T Long does not intend to disclose the extent of any current holdings or future transactions with respect to any particular security. You should consider this possibility before investing in any security based upon statements and information contained in any report, post, comment or recommendation you receive from us.