Gordon T Long

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SULTANS OF SWAP: Explaining $605 Trillion in Derivatives!

 

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INNOVATION: What Made America Great is now Killing Her!

 

 

 

What made America great was her unsurpassed ability to innovate.  Equally important was also her ability to rapidly adapt to the change that this innovation fostered. For decades the combination has been a self reinforcing growth dynamic with innovation offering a continuously improving standard of living and higher corporate productivity levels, which the US quickly embraced and adapted to.

 

This in turn financed further innovation. No country in the world could match the American culture that flourished on technology advancements in all areas of human endeavor. However, something serious and major has changed across America.  Daily, more and more are becoming acutely aware of this, but few grasp exactly what it is.  It is called Creative Destruction. 

 

It turns out that what made America great is now killing her!

 

Our political leaders are presently addressing what they perceive as an intractable cyclical recovery problem when in fact it is a structural problem that is secular in nature. Like generals fighting the last war with outdated perceptions, we face a new and daunting challenge. A challenge that needs to be addressed with the urgency and scope of a Marshall plan that saved Europe from the ravages of a different type of destruction. We need a modern US centric Marshall plan focused on growth, but orders of magnitude larger than the one in the 1940’s. A plan even more brash than Kennedy’s plan in the 60’s to put a man of the moon by the end of the decade. America needs to again think and act boldly. First however, we need to see the enemy. As the great philosopher Pogo said: “I saw the enemy and it was I”.  READ MORE

 

 

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


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: 08/12/2010 08:42 PM

RED ALERT

AMBER ALERT

ACTIVITY

MONITOR

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POSTS:  THURSDAY 08-12-10

 

 

GEO-POLITICAL TENSIONS - ISRAEL / KOREA / IRAN

 

IRAN

 

ISRAEL

Israel may strike Iran as soon as December  BI

 

KOREA 

 

SOVEREIGN DEBT & CREDIT CRISIS

 

More Bad News From Europe- June Industrial Production Unexpectedly Falls  BI

 

GREECE

Greek Economy Contracts More than Expected Reuters

 

SPAIN / PORTUGAL

Spanish Crisis Threatens Second Front as Catalonia Rates Rise BL

Spanish Crisis Threatens Second Front as Catalonia Rates Rise  BL

Some Spanish Regional Governments Are Shut Out Of The Bond Market  BI

 

FRANCE

 

GERMANY

 

ITALY

 

UK

Bank cuts forecast for UK output  FT

Inflation seen above target until mid-2012

 

IRELAND

Irish debt under fire on fresh bank jitters Telegraph

Irish debt fears explode back onto the scene  BI

The Return Of Irish Debt Fears Throws Big Wrench Into The Austerity Debate  BI

Always A Bad Sign, Irish Leaders Are Back To Blaming The Market For Its Problems  BI

 

JAPAN

 

CHINA

 

USA

U.S. Trade Deficit Unexpectedly Widens to $49.9 Billion in June BL Census

 

U.S. May Suffer Japan-Style Deflation, Schroder Says BL

 

Deutsche Bank Just Sliced Q2 GDP By More Than Half  BI

Deutsche Bank's Lavorgna Follows Revision Suit , Takes Q2 GDP Estimate Down To 1.1%  ZH

 

 

 

EU BANKING CRISIS

   

 

BOND BUBBLE

 

Bank Loans: Still Contracting FRBC
ITS DEMAND:
1- loan demand from small businesses is weaker,
2- demand for loans and credit from creditworthy businesses has fallen,
3- the quality of loan applications from small businesses has deteriorated.

A few factors help explain the decrease in small business loan demand:
1- the economic downturn, which has diminished sales for many small businesses,
2- the uncertainty about business prospects and the economic outlook,
3- the deterioration in small businesses’ financial conditions.

 

 
NOT SUPPLY:
1- bank lending standards remain tight
2- the availability of credit is restricted.
3- to extend new loans and renew old ones, banks require stronger cash flows, larger collateral values, and higher credit scores.
4-One important reason why banks are tightening credit seems to be their concern for THEIR current and expected capital and liquidity positions.

 

 

 

Gordon T Long Mark-Ups
COMPARISON TO PREVIOUS RECESSIONS:

 
NET RESULT  -- MORE PAIN AHEAD!!!!

 

Future Recession Risks FRBSF 

 

 

 Markets Lose Faith In Ben Bernanke's Deflation-Fighting Skills  BI

The chart below shows the market's inflation expectations for the next five years. It is the '5-Year TIPS Spread', which is the difference between the yield on a 5-year U.S. government bond and that of a 5-year inflation-protected U.S. government bond.  Yet given that Ben Bernanke is battling to prevent deflation, the chart below is also a barometer of the market's confidence in Mr. Bernanke's deflation-fighting credentials.

While there's been some volatility, since the end of April we can see that Bernanke's deflation-fighting credentials have deteriorated. Inflation expectations have fallen from 2% in late April to 1.5% now, as shown below.This helps explain the psychology behind Ben Bernanke's latest move. He has signaled that he will keep easy-money policy tools on the table in order to fight potential deflation, in an attempt to reverse the decline in inflation expectations shown below.

Thus this chart, the TIPS Spread, is where we'll see the success or failure of Ben Bernanke's latest move. If inflation expectations keep falling in the months ahead, his gambit failed. If they rise, say back to 2%, then he'll have succeeded. Today wasn't off to a good start, given that inflation expectations fell, but it will take a few months to make a fair assessment.

STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT

 


CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE

 

Slovakia move against Greek bailout "unusual" -EU Reuters

The E.U. Rips Into Slovakia For Backing Out Of The Greece Bailout  BI

 

HUNGARY

 

BANKING CRISIS II

 

 

 John Ryding: “A bit of a feeling of panic by the Fed.”

 

DODD FRANK ACT

 

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act- The Triumph of Crony Capitalism (Part 1)

 

 

PART I
Until I began to examine the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul bill I had no idea that it would so significantly change the direction of the United States. It's scope is so vast and pervasive that it is difficult to grasp its totality. I wrote this article to try to explain this and why I believe it is so important for us to understand it. Because of its complexity it was not possible to do this briefly, so I wrote this major "white paper" and divided it into four parts to make it easier to digest. Please stick with me for the next four days; your eyes will be opened.

The new financial overhaul bill is the greatest government takeover of the financial sector of the economy since the National Recovery Act of 1933 when Franklin Roosevelt attempted to introduce central planning in America.

More than just a new law, the Dodd-Frank “Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act” (the "Act") gives government a relatively free hand to set prices and wages, to make business decisions, to promote or eliminate businesses, and to break up businesses. It establishes a large new bureaucracy to enable the government to dictate its wishes to the industry.

A major law firm described the Act as follows:

The Act marks the greatest legislative change to financial supervision since the 1930s. This legislation will affect every financial institution that operates in this country, many that operate from outside this country and will also have a significant effect on commercial companies. As a result, both financial institutions and commercial companies must now begin to deal with the historic shift in U.S. banking, securities, derivatives, executive compensation, consumer protection and corporate governance that will grow out of the general framework established by the Act. While the full weight of the Act falls more heavily on large, complex financial institutions, smaller institutions will also face a more complicated and expensive regulatory framework.

The Act isn’t directed just at the financial sector; because of its vast scope, it is directed against everyone.

Startling as it may seem, the Act does nothing significant to prevent the real causes of this or any future boom-bust cycle. At best one may analogize this as the doctor breaking the thermometer to cure a fevered patient. At worst it is a massive federal power grab which will inhibit financial innovation, increase the cost of money, and open wide the gates to a favored few where politicians, politics, and lobbyists, rather than markets, determine the direction of the financial sector of America’s economy.

While the new law has been signed by the President, it has not yet been written. That task will be the job of federal mandarins, the career lawyers and economists inside and outside of government who live off of government regulation. As such the ultimate consequences of this Act are unknown and will not be fully known until years later after the regulations have been written, agencies are established, and power is distributed among the bureaucrats. In other words, the Act’s advocates have no idea how the new law will impact the economy.

The ‘Failure of Capitalism’

The Act assumes that the economic bust was caused by a failure of capitalism and a failure of government to properly regulate the economy.


There are two questions you should consider while evaluating the Act’s impact and scope that help explain this boom-bust cycle:

  1. Why did the housing market become a bubble?
  2. Why would any lender lend money to a home buyer who (i) had a credit score of 500, (ii) made a down payment of 5% or less, and (iii) didn’t have to prove his or her ability to repay?

I would answer these questions by saying:

  1. Only cheap money drives bubbles and there is only one entity that creates cheap money and that is the Federal Reserve—from 2000 to 2004 the Fed Funds rate went from 6.5% to 1.0% wildly distorting entrepreneurial behavior. This was the cause of this boom-bust cycle.
  2. No one would lend so carelessly unless they didn’t care. They didn’t care because someone else, in this case the government (Fannie, Freddie, and the FHA), would guarantee repayment.

Everything stems from these two factors yet there is nothing in the Act that prevents the Fed from starting a new cycle or that prevents Fannie or Freddie from again distorting the economics of the housing market. The purpose of this article is not to go into the ultimate causes of the bust as I have discussed them at length in other articles, but these factors highlight the foundational fallacies of the Act.


 

Law firm Davis Polk Wardwell calculated the number of agencies involved in the rule making process. In the below chart, the “Bureau” is the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, the “Council” is the Financial Stability Oversight Council, and the “OFR” is the Office of Financial Research:

Here is the reality: it will take many more years to write and implement the regulations which really define the Act. It may be that some of these regulations will never be written, something that is not unheard of in Washington.

The Act will be a siren call to lobbyists, lawyers, accountants, and economists.

 

Derivative dilemmas ---  Reform seeks balance of rules and rewards  FT

 

RATING AGENCIES

 

RISK REVERSAL

 

 

 

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

 

 

RRESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE - PHASE II

 

Obama just announced a homeowner bailout  BI

The Obama Administration today announced additional support to help homeowners struggling with unemployment through two targeted foreclosure-prevention programs. Through the existing Housing Finance Agency (HFA) Innovation Fund for the Hardest Hit Housing Markets (the Hardest Hit Fund), the U.S. Department of the Treasury will make $2 billion of additional assistance available for HFA programs for homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments due to unemployment. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will soon launch a complementary $1 billion Emergency Homeowners Loan Program to provide assistance – for up to 24 months – to homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure and have experienced a substantial reduction in income due to involuntary unemployment, underemployment, or a medical condition.

 

Debts Rise, and Go Unpaid, as Bust Erodes Home Equity  NY Times

The delinquency rate on home equity loans is higher than all other types of consumer loans, including auto loans, boat loans, personal loans and even bank cards like Visa and MasterCard, according to the American Bankers Association

Lenders wrote off as uncollectible $11.1 billion in home equity loans and $19.9 billion in home equity lines of credit in 2009, more than they wrote off on primary mortgages, government data shows. So far this year, the trend is the same, with combined write-offs of $7.88 billion in the first quarter.

Even when a lender forces a borrower to settle through legal action, it can rarely extract more than 10 cents on the dollar. “People got 90 cents for free,” Mr. Combs said. “It rewards immorality, to some extent.”

The amount of bad home equity loan business during the boom is incalculable and in retrospect inexplicable, housing experts say. Most of the debt is still on the books of the lenders, which include Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase.

LEST YOU FORGET THE SIZE OF THE HELOCKs

HERE IS A CHART FROM 2005

 

 

Foreclosure Crisis Spreads Across U.S. as Idaho Defaults Mount BL

 

 

EXPIRATION FINANCIAL CRISIS PROGRAM

 

 

PENSION & ENTITLEMENTS CRISIS


The End Of Retirement As We Know It  BI

CHRONIC UNEMPLOYMENT

 

Unemployment Claims in U.S. Unexpectedly Climb to Highest in Five Months BL

 

Three Reasons Why Jobs Have Gone AWOL  BI

 


GOVERNMENT BACKSTOP INSURANCE

 

 

CORPORATE BANKRUPTCIES

 

Cisco CEO freaks everyone out with economic outlook  BI

 

 

BP - British Petroleum

SULTANS OF SWAP: BP Potentially More Devastating then Lehman!

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

 

 

 

 



 

OTHER TIPPING POINT CATEGORIES NOT LISTED ABOVE

TrimTabs Demonstrates Why US Final Demand Is Weak And Why Fed Interventions Are Pointless  ZH
TrimTabs does a simple yet elegant analysis that seeks to explain why US final demand is not only sluggish but declining, and is ultimately the reason why the US government needs to consistently pump more and more capital in the economy to keep GDP at best flat.

TrimTabs focuses on the "consumer spendables" indicator - It consists of the sum of three components:
1. After-tax income from wages and salaries;
2. After-tax income from non-wage sources, such as capital gains, dividends, and interest;
3. Cash harvested from home equity when mortgages are refinanced.

As TrimTabs shows, and this should come as a surprise to nobody, "much of the economic growth in the middle of the previous decade was fueled by an explosion of consumer debt. Consumers treated their homes like  automatic teller machines—cash-out refinancings topped out at $804 billion in the four quarters ended in Q2 2006—and they borrowed freely on low-rate auto loans and credit cards given to almost anyone who could fog a mirror. Now that the era of easy consumer credit is over, the economy is resetting to a lower level of activity.

We believe the interventions of the Fed and the government to try to head off this adjustment will do more harm in the long run than the adjustment itself." In other words the ongoing debate on whether the US is undergoing inflation or deflation is moot - the primary driver continues to be deleveraging, as Rick Santelli likes to shout on occasion. And all the other monetary phenomena are merely a side-effect. Alas, as long as deleveraging is the primary driver in the economy, nothing else matters: it has long been our contention that deleveraging must run its course. However, the Fed will not let that happen, and in doing so, it will attempt the last thing in its arsenal - in essence, suicide the economy, by destroying all faith in the actual medium of monetary exchange. At that point inflation, deflation and/or stagflation will be the last thing on anyone's mind.

 

FLASH CRASH - HFT - DARK POOLS

 

MARKET WARNINGS

Prechter- The Last Time The Market Looked Like This Was Right Before The '87 Crash  BI

 

 

GOLD MANIPULATION

Goldman -- Gold Market Poised For A Rally As US Real Rates Head Lower"  ZH

 

 

 

 

 

VIDEO TO WATCH

 

 

 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“In reality, however, borrowers – not lenders, were the primary bottleneck in Japan’s Great Recession.  If there were many willing borrowers and few able lenders, the Bank of Japan, as the ultimate supplier of funds, would indeed have to do something.  But when there are no borrowers the bank is powerless.”

Richard Koo -- The Holy Grail of Macro Economics


 


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

08-12-10

AUGUST
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
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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Book Review- Five Thumbs Up for Steve Greenhut's Plunder!  Mish

 

 

   

 

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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.

Copyright and Disclaimer

© 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.