Gordon T Long

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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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PRESERVE & PROTECT: 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 Like generals fighting the last war with outdated perceptions, we face a new and daunting challenge.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: 08/15/2010 06:47 PM

RED ALERT

AMBER ALERT

ACTIVITY

MONITOR

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POSTS:  WEEKEND 08-14/15-10

 

 

GEO-POLITICAL TENSIONS - ISRAEL / KOREA / IRAN

 

IRAN

 

ISRAEL

 

KOREA 

 

SOVEREIGN DEBT & CREDIT CRISIS

 

Europe Jumps Off the Keynesian Bus AEI

The Stimulus Myth(s) BMO

 

We Got A Little Problem Here (Europe)  Karl Denninger

Not quite sure what it is, but this is not good. There's no news on the wire that I can find that accounts for that move, but it is coming toward the end of the European session into a weekend.  One has to wonder if the "euphoric" response to the so-called (bogus) "stress tests" is wearing off, whether the creeping-higher CDS spreads on European nations have finally woken people up, or whether, just perhaps, there's a nasty little - or not-so-little - surprise that is going to be served up on someone over the weekend.  Right now, as I write this, our markets look reasonably stable.  But FX moves like this, when there is no news story on the wire, are rarely "no big deal" - instead, they typically indicate that something is going on and you're just not privvy to what it is - yet.

Extreme caution advised.

 

 

GREECE

 

SPAIN / PORTUGAL

Bloomberg (Emma Ross-Thomas and Esteban Duarte):
"Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero may face a second front in his battle to contain Spain's fiscal crisis as borrowing costs for the country's regional governments climb. Catalonia, which accounts for a fifth of Spanish gross domestic product, has been shut out of public bond markets since March and the extra yield it pays over national government debt has almost tripled this year. Galicia, in the northwest, has asked to freeze payments of debt it owes the central government and the Madrid region postponed a bond sale last month."

 

FRANCE

 

GERMANY

Germany To The World- This Is What A Recovery Is Supposed To Look Like  BI

Germany reported blistering growth friday, and it wasn't a statistical illusion. How do we know? Because while other countries like the US and France continue with their jobless recoveries, Germans are actually going back to work, as this chart shows.

 

 

ITALY

 

UK

Spectre of gloom haunts nervous Britons  FT

Recovery is going to be a long and possibly painful journey

 

THE BRITISH AUSTERITY BATTLE
British officer corps to be cut back  FT
Ratio to other ranks has risen to 1 in 5 since Cold War
Levene and Green to find Whitehall cuts  FT
Fox in Treasury wrangle over Trident  FT
Fox to remodel modern major generals  FT
Audit Commission to be abolished  FT
Pickles to replace spending watchdog with volunteers and auditors
Pickles cracks down on councils hiring lobbyists  FT
Audit Commission loses fight to set pay  FT
Financial cuts loom over Edinburgh revellers  FT

 

JAPAN

 

CHINA

 

USA

Roubini- Even If The Economy Doesn't Technically Double Dip, It's Still Going To Be Awful  BI

There will be a significant slow-down of growth in the second half of the year, especially since many forms of U.S. stimulus from the first half of 2010 won't be around in the second half.  His view: There will be 1.5% U.S. GDP growth in the second half of 2010, and 1.5% GDP growth for 2011. 

"1.5% growth is not a double-dip recession, but it's damn close to it because potential GDP growth is closer to 3%"

At this level of growth... home prices won't stabilize and will fall further.

"Even at 1.5%, it's going to feel like a recession even though technically it's not a recession."

 

 

Economic Growth Prospects Dim in U.S. After Retail Sales, Trade Reports   BL

Prospects for U.S. economic growth took a hit this week after reports showed the trade deficit swelled and consumers reined in spending.

 

Rosenberg Interview- "If You Don't Believe In A Double Dip, It's Because The First Recession Never Ended  ZH

Sick and tired of CNBC "interviews" in which the speaker is given 15 seconds inbetween commercials to explain why the economy is in the toilet, before another talking head from the dodecabox appears and starts spouting painfully ridiculous things? So are we. Which is why we refuse to link to David Rosenberg's earlier presence on CNBC, and instead we present Rosie's following 26 minute interview with the WSJ which is a must watch for all who want to listen to exiled Merrill Lyncher express a coherent realistic thought before some CNBC associate producer screams "cut to commercial for incontinence pills." And, true to form, Rosie starts off in style: "If you don't believe there's going to be a double dip, it's because the first recession never ended. If there is going to be a double dip, the odds are certainly higher than 50-50." For those who follow our daily posts and Rosie's periodic letters via Gluskin Sheff (which would be all of our readers), the insights won't be particularly new, but it is always great to hear a rational and sensible person discuss things as he sees them, not as his trading book demands he see them.

 

 

 

Bloomberg (Courtney Schlisserman and Shobhana Chandra):
"The U.S. economy will improve slowly and another round of fiscal stimulus probably wouldn't be effective, former Treasury secretaries Paul O'Neill and Robert Rubin said."

 

EU BANKING CRISIS

   

 

BOND BUBBLE

 KC Fed Chief Hoenig: The Economy Is Recovering, But Bernanke's 0% Interest Rates Are Making Things Worse

 FULL SPEECH
"the recent financial crisis and recession was not caused by high interest rates but by low rates that contributed to excessive debt and leverage among consumers, businesses and government. We need to get off of the emergency rate of zero, move rates up slowly and deliberately. This will align more closely with the economy’s slow, deliberate recovery so that policy does not lag the recovery.

Monetary policy is a useful tool, but it cannot solve every problem faced by the United States today. In trying to use policy as a cure-all, we will repeat the cycle of severe recessionand unemployment in a few short years by keeping rates too low for too long. I wish free money was really free and that there was a painless way to move from severe recession and high leverage to robust and sustainable economic growth, but there is no short cut."

 

'Junk' Bonds Issued at Record Pace  WSJ

When the Fed keeps borrowing rates so low, "you see investors piling more into the high-yield market, it becomes part of a virtuous cycle that allows lower-rated companies to refinance their liabilities."

Companies are using most of the proceeds of the junk-bond offerings to refinance more expensive debt, or in some cases to pay special dividends to their private-equity owners. Many of the refinancings are for companies that took on massive debt over the last decade.

 

Sales of junk bonds set to reach new high  FT

Investor appetite for high-yield bonds drives demand

Investors renew interest in junk bonds  FT

Credit spreads predicted to widen  FT

 

STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT/font>

 

Florida – Much Worse Problems Than the Oil Spill  ZH

 

Huge Battle Looms Over Public Pensions - Who Will (Who Should) Foot the Bill  Mish

Hawaii Furloughs Its Children; Extreme City Moves; Who Is To Blame  Mish

 

 

CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE

 

 

HUNGARY

 

BANKING CRISIS II

 

Bloomberg (Zeke Faux and Jody Shenn):
"Wall Street banks are creating the 'next investment bubble' by selling opaque and unregulated structured notes to investors hunting for yield, according to Christopher Whalen, managing director of Institutional Risk Analytics. Using the same 'loophole' that allowed over-the-counter sales of collateralized debt obligations and auction-rate securities, firms are pitching illiquid structured notes whose value is partly derived from bets on interest rates... 'The only trouble is that the firms originating these ersatz securities, as with the case of auction-rate municipal securities, have no obligation to make markets in these OTC structured assets or even show clients a low-ball bid,' Whalen wrote."

 

DODD FRANK ACT

 

RATING AGENCIES

 

RISK REVERSAL

 

 

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

 

 

RRESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE - PHASE II

 

Bloomberg (Kathleen M. Howley):
"Harvey Collier, a mortgage broker in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, says he gets as many as 10 calls a month from people planning to default on their loans. The twist: They first want financing to buy another home. Real estate professionals call it 'buy and bail,' acquiring a new house before the buyer's credit rating is ruined by walking away from the old one because it's 'underwater,' or worth less than the mortgage. It's an attempt to escape payments on a home whose value may never recover while securing a new property, often at a lower price with a more affordable loan. The practice, which constitutes fraud if borrowers lie on loan applications, is continuing even after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the biggest U.S. mortgage-finance companies, beefed up standards to prevent it..."

 

EXPIRATION FINANCIAL CRISIS PROGRAM

 

 

PENSION & ENTITLEMENTS CRISIS


Happy Birthday, Social Security- Now Here's 22 Scary Facts About America's Pension Crisis  BI

As the first of the 80 million Baby Boomers have begun to retire, it has become increasingly apparent that the United States is facing a pension crisis of unprecedented magnitude.  State and local government pension plans are woefully underfunded, dozens of large corporate pension plans either have collapsed or are on the verge of collapsing, Social Security is a complete and total financial disaster and about half of all Americans essentially have nothing saved up for retirement.

See 22 scary statistics

So yes, to say that we are facing a retirement crisis would be a tremendous understatement.  There is simply no way that we can keep all of the financial promises that we have made to the Baby Boomer generation.  Unfortunately, the crumbling U.S. economy simply cannot support the comfortable retirement of tens of millions of elderly Americans any longer.  The truth is that we are all going to have to start fundamentally changing the way that we think about our golden years.

Once upon a time, you could count on getting a big, fat pension if you put 30 years into a job.  But now pension plans everywhere are failing.  State and local governments are cutting back and are raising retirement ages.  A majority of Americans have even lost faith in the Social Security system, which was supposed to be the most secure of them all.

The reality is that we are moving into a time when there is not going to be such a thing as "financial security" as we have known it in the past.  Things have fundamentally changed, and we are all going to have to struggle to stay above water in the economic nightmare that is coming.

Part of the reason we have such a gigantic economic mess on the way is because we have promised vastly more than we can deliver to future retirees.  When you closely examine the numbers, it quickly becomes clear that a financial tsunami is about to hit us that is going to be so devastating that it will change everything that we know about retirement.


20 Terrifying Facts About The Coming Retirement Crisis  BI
Here's how much PEOPLE think THEY need to retire

Now, here's how much ING thinks you need to retire (the lowest estimate is $675,000).





CHRONIC UNEMPLOYMENT

 

Why Jobs Have Gone AWOL  Financial Sense

There are three primary reasons why the US is suffering from structurally high unemployment:
1- a pervasively irresponsible monetary policy,
2- the continued attenuation of our manufacturing base, and
3- an overleveraged consumer who must now reconcile his balance sheet.

 

A great chart from The Economist show another picture of our dismal jobs growth. Rather than job loss relative to peak employment, it shows job growth following the end of the recession.  Job growth has been this bad two times: the last two recessions. We're suffering in this "recovery" because the last recovery was so bad.



David Rosenberg- Forget The Unemployment Rate, Here's Some Ugly Jobs Data You Probably Missed This Week  BI

No sooner did we receive last week’s poor employment report than we get added confirmation that the battle against joblessness is being lost. I’m being generous in assuming that the U.S. government has even waged a battle on this front as it focused on auto spending, housing consumption, regulatory reform, health care and loan modifications.

INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS
Initial jobless claims rose 2k in the August 7th week from an upwardly revised 482k level the week before — not to mention well above consensus estimates of 464k. A month ago, claims were sitting at 458k and we are now at the highest levels since late January. This is simply awful and if claims back up above 500k, for at least a few weeks, double-dip risks will rise materially.

Even some of the biggest bears — Steve Roach at 40% odds, Gary Shilling near 50% — have yet to make this a base-case scenario. We wonder about that because 98% of the time, when Household employment contracts three months in a row, we are already in a recession or about to head into one. Who knows? Maybe we’ll be lucky and this will be the other 2% this time around.  Now let us pray.

JOLTS (Job Opening Labor Turnover Survey)
The JOLTS (Job Opening Labor Turnover Survey) just came out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and it revealed more adverse news (please don’t shoot the messenger):

GAINS
• The number of job openings dipped 2k in June after a 363k plunge in May. At 2.937 million, they are at a three-month low and this means that there are five unemployed job seekers vying for every job opening. If that doesn’t continue to exert deflationary pressure on wages, we can only assume that the laws of supply and demand have somehow bypassed the labour market.
• Thenumberofnewhiresplummeted327kinJune,theseconddeclineinthe past three months and the steepest falloff since November 2008. The level has rolled back to a four-month low.
LOSSES
• Finally,layoffs rose 130k on top of a 144k bump-up in May, calling into question the veracity of the Challenger survey. At just a snick over two million in June, the number of pink slips that employers handed out were at their highest level in 11 months.

 


GOVERNMENT BACKSTOP INSURANCE

 

 

CORPORATE BANKRUPTCIES

 

JC Penney lowers earnings forecast  FT

 

 

BP - British Petroleum

SULTANS OF SWAP: BP Potentially More Devastating then Lehman!

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

 

Work on BP relief well suspended  FT

 

BP Is Told to Finish Relief Well  WSJ

 

Alabama Suing BP, Transocean Over "Catastrophic Harm" Caused By Oil Spill  ZH

 

Dead Fish Are Washing Up Everywhere . . . Is It Due to BP Oil Spill and Dispersants  ZH

 



 

OTHER TIPPING POINT CATEGORIES NOT LISTED ABOVE

Packing for College, 2010 Style  WSJ
Hidden financial traps are snaring even the best and brightest—and their parents. How to make sure you don't flunk Money 101.

 
Bloomberg (Jeff Wilson and Whitney McFerron):
"The world's appetite for meat, flour and ethanol is expanding faster than the supply of the crops needed to produce them, eroding inventories and increasing the chance of accelerating food prices. Wheat stockpiles may slip to a two-year low... according to 17 analysts in a Bloomberg survey. Inventories of corn, used to feed livestock and make fuel, probably will drop to the lowest level since 2008, even as output tops a record..."

FLASH CRASH - HFT - DARK POOLS

 
Bloomberg (Christine Harper):
"Goldman Sachs..., the bank that makes the most revenue trading stocks and bonds, lost money in that business on 10 days in the second quarter, ending a three-month streak of loss-free days at the start of the year. Losses on Goldman Sachs's trading desks exceeded $100 million on three days during the period that ended on June 30... Today's filing also shows that the firm's traders generated more than $100 million on 17 days during the quarter. Of the 65 days in the quarter, Goldman Sachs traders made money on 55 days, or 85% of the time."

 

MARKET WARNINGS

'Hindenburg Omen' Senses Stock Gloom WSJ

 

Charting Next Week's Bearish Action- Goldman Warns Of A "Meaningful Decline" In Stocks  ZH

 

 

 

 

GOLD MANIPULATION

 

 

VIDEO TO WATCH

 

 

 

 

 
Gregory Simmons, the energetic force behind Scopelabs, is an unorthodox money manager whose legacy exposure, and subsequent disenchantment, with Wall Street forced him into self-enforced exile (Hawaii is sufficiently far from Wall and Broadway), where he now runs an iconoclast trading operation combining elements of quantitative, technical, fundamental and every other possible analysis. Simmons has been striving to expose the core truths, or flaws depending on perspective, about trading (first and foremost that there is no such thing, especially since the vast majority of market participants end up losing to a few select winners, as a sure thing) which many daytraders simply refuse to accept in their pursuit of gambling nirvana, all the while failing to recognize that perceived skill (especially in our current marketplace) has very little if anything to do with profit. The below video is a suitable introduction for Zero Hedge readers who may not be familiar with Scopelabs: appropriately titled "Buzzkill", in it Simmons debunks several of the key doctrines that dominate the numerous streams of Stocktwits momentum chasers, "theory fitters" and other Koolaid drinkers, all of whom, we have long claimed, have far better odds at success in a rigged casino (and not to mention the downside protection of at least getting comped expenses) than trading in the stock market, absent the "information arbitrage" capabilities of those who, to bastardize Sun Tzu, have made the profit before the initiating trade was ever printed.

 

 

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

WEEKEND

08-14/15-10

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.