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Archive for the ‘US Stock Market’ Category

Tell the people the truth about the Markets & NAMA

Do you really want to know what is really going on in the market place?
Ever heard of the “Rigged Market capitalists system”
Are you ready for this news??
Ernst & Young auditors of Anglo Irish Bank now working for NAMA ,
The same auditors for Lehman Brothers .
This is criminal , allowing this to go on, they should all be in Jail !
We must have a new Irish people’s political party that will stop this fraud in its tracks.
A political party that will prosecute all the individuals responsible for this criminal conspiracy
They must be brought to justice
We the people must have our pound of flesh!

Wall St. Helped to Mask Debt Fuelling Europe’s Crisis

As worries over Greece rattle world markets, records and interviews show that with Wall Street’s help, the nation engaged in a decade-long effort to skirt European debt limits. One deal created by Goldman Sachs helped obscure billions in debt from the budget overseers in Brussels.

Even as the crisis was nearing the flashpoint, banks were searching for ways to help Greece forestall the day of reckoning. In early November — three months before Athens became the epicenter of global financial anxiety — a team from Goldman Sachs arrived in the ancient city with a very modern proposition for a government struggling to pay its bills, according to two people who were briefed on the meeting.

The bankers, led by Goldman’s president, Gary D. Cohn, held out a financing instrument that would have pushed debt from Greece’s health care system far into the future, much as when strapped homeowners take out second mortgages to pay off their credit cards.

It had worked before. In 2001, just after Greece was admitted to Europe’s monetary union, Goldman helped the government quietly borrow billions, people familiar with the transaction said. That deal, hidden from public view because it was treated as a currency trade rather than a loan, helped Athens to meet Europe’s deficit rules while continuing to spend beyond its means.

Athens did not pursue the latest Goldman proposal, but with Greece groaning under the weight of its debts and with its richer neighbors vowing to come to its aid, the deals over the last decade are raising questions about Wall Street’s role in the world’s latest financial drama.

As in the American subprime crisis and the implosion of the American International Group, financial derivatives played a role in the run-up of Greek debt. Instruments developed by Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and a wide range of other banks enabled politicians to mask additional borrowing in Greece, Italy and possibly elsewhere.

In dozens of deals across the Continent, banks provided cash upfront in return for government payments in the future, with those liabilities then left off the books. Greece, for example, traded away the rights to airport fees and lottery proceeds in years to come.

Critics say that such deals, because they are not recorded as loans, mislead investors and regulators about the depth of a country’s liabilities.

Some of the Greek deals were named after figures in Greek mythology. One of them, for instance, was called Aeolos, after the god of the winds.

The crisis in Greece poses the most significant challenge yet to Europe’s common currency, the euro, and the Continent’s goal of economic unity. The country is, in the argot of banking, too big to be allowed to fail. Greece owes the world $300 billion, and major banks are on the hook for much of that debt. A default would reverberate around the globe.

A spokeswoman for the Greek finance ministry said the government had met with many banks in recent months and had not committed to any bank’s offers. All debt financings “are conducted in an effort of transparency,” she said. Goldman and JPMorgan declined to comment.

While Wall Street’s handiwork in Europe has received little attention on this side of the Atlantic, it has been sharply criticized in Greece and in magazines like Der Spiegel in Germany.

“Politicians want to pass the ball forward, and if a banker can show them a way to pass a problem to the future, they will fall for it,” said Gikas A. Hardouvelis, an economist and former government official who helped write a recent report on Greece’s accounting policies.

Wall Street did not create Europe’s debt problem. But bankers enabled Greece and others to borrow beyond their means, in deals that were perfectly legal. Few rules govern how nations can borrow the money they need for expenses like the military and health care. The market for sovereign debt — the Wall Street term for loans to governments — is as unfettered as it is vast.

“If a government wants to cheat, it can cheat,” said Garry Schinasi, a veteran of the International Monetary Fund’s capital markets surveillance unit, which monitors vulnerability in global capital markets.

Banks eagerly exploited what was, for them, a highly lucrative symbiosis with free-spending governments. While Greece did not take advantage of Goldman’s proposal in November 2009, it had paid the bank about $300 million in fees for arranging the 2001 transaction, according to several bankers familiar with the deal.

Such derivatives, which are not openly documented or disclosed, add to the uncertainty over how deep the troubles go in Greece and which other governments might have used similar off-balance sheet accounting.

The tide of fear is now washing over other economically troubled countries on the periphery of Europe, making it more expensive for Italy, Spain and Portugal to borrow.

For all the benefits of uniting Europe with one currency, the birth of the euro came with an original sin: countries like Italy and Greece entered the monetary union with bigger deficits than the ones permitted under the treaty that created the currency. Rather than raise taxes or reduce spending, however, these governments artificially reduced their deficits with derivatives.

Derivatives do not have to be sinister. The 2001 transaction involved a type of derivative known as a swap. One such instrument, called an interest-rate swap, can help companies and countries cope with swings in their borrowing costs by exchanging fixed-rate payments for floating-rate ones, or vice versa. Another kind, a currency swap, can minimize the impact of volatile foreign exchange rates.

But with the help of JPMorgan, Italy was able to do more than that. Despite persistently high deficits, a 1996 derivative helped bring Italy’s budget into line by swapping currency with JPMorgan at a favorable exchange rate, effectively putting more money in the government’s hands. In return, Italy committed to future payments that were not booked as liabilities.

“Derivatives are a very useful instrument,” said Gustavo Piga, an economics professor who wrote a report for the Council on Foreign Relations on the Italian transaction. “They just become bad if they’re used to window-dress accounts.”

In Greece, the financial wizardry went even further. In what amounted to a garage sale on a national scale, Greek officials essentially mortgaged the country’s airports and highways to raise much-needed money.

Aeolos, a legal entity created in 2001, helped Greece reduce the debt on its balance sheet that year. As part of the deal, Greece got cash upfront in return for pledging future landing fees at the country’s airports. A similar deal in 2000 called Ariadne devoured the revenue that the government collected from its national lottery. Greece, however, classified those transactions as sales, not loans, despite doubts by many critics.

These kinds of deals have been controversial within government circles for years. As far back as 2000, European finance ministers fiercely debated whether derivative deals used for creative accounting should be disclosed.

The answer was no. But in 2002, accounting disclosure was required for many entities like Aeolos and Ariadne that did not appear on nations’ balance sheets, prompting governments to restate such deals as loans rather than sales.

Still, as recently as 2008, Eurostat, the European Union‘s statistics agency, reported that “in a number of instances, the observed securitization operations seem to have been purportedly designed to achieve a given accounting result, irrespective of the economic merit of the operation.”

While such accounting gimmicks may be beneficial in the short run, over time they can prove disastrous.

George Alogoskoufis, who became Greece’s finance minister in a political party shift after the Goldman deal, criticized the transaction in the Parliament in 2005. The deal, Mr. Alogoskoufis argued, would saddle the government with big payments to Goldman until 2019.

Mr. Alogoskoufis, who stepped down a year ago, said in an e-mail message last week that Goldman later agreed to reconfigure the deal “to restore its good will with the republic.” He said the new design was better for Greece than the old one.

In 2005, Goldman sold the interest rate swap to the National Bank of Greece, the country’s largest bank, according to two people briefed on the transaction.

In 2008, Goldman helped the bank put the swap into a legal entity called Titlos. But the bank retained the bonds that Titlos issued, according to Dealogic, a financial research firm, for use as collateral to borrow even more from the European Central Bank.

Edward Manchester, a senior vice president at the Moody’s credit rating agency, said the deal would ultimately be a money-loser for Greece because of its long-term payment obligations.

Referring to the Titlos swap with the government of Greece, he said: “This swap is always going to be unprofitable for the Greek government.”

source  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/business/global/14debt.html?pagewanted=2

Irish Banks Derivative trading losses

I believe that the banks Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland and Anglo Irish Bank are all hopelessly exposed to huge losses as a result of Derivative trading

They should be asked to come clean and give categorical assurances on their Derivative Trading

Apart from the huge losses on their propriety /mortgages business.ie (subprime desaster),  there is another enormous source of losses from the same banks and that is their trading in the “BOND MARKET” again I believe that they have huge exposure here as well

These Banks have lent approximately 400 billion Euros and all of it borrowed from foreign banks, these funds would have had to have  “Hedging ” or have an insurance taken out ,in case of default !

So what kind of insurance did they get then if not Derivatives?

Derivatives typically have a large notional value. As such, there is the danger that their use could result in losses that the investor would be unable to compensate for. The possibility that this could lead to a chain reaction ensuing in an economic crisis, has been pointed out by famed investor Warren Buffett in Berkshire Hathaway‘s 2002 annual report. Buffett called them ‘financial weapons of mass destruction.’ The problem with derivatives is that they control an increasingly larger notional amount of assets and this may lead to distortions in the real capital and equities markets. Investors begin to look at the derivatives markets to make a decision to buy or sell securities and so what was originally meant to be a market to transfer risk now becomes a leading indicator.

These Derivatives were traded like confetti at a wedding and have about the same value now !

 If a bank goes bust, deals are just canceled and the residual amount is transferred to the legal department. Everyone can live with that. The burden is transferred from the agent (trading floor) to the principal (the shareholders). Because risk cannot be hedged properly by market professionals, it needs to be taken over by a succession of outsiders. If outsiders are not willing to play anymore (Derivative traders) or go bust, (AIG) then risk concentrates again inside the market, where it cannot be hedged and goes Bust.

So derivatives are only as safe as their underlying  risk is liquid and delta-hedgeable.

Brian Cowen was the Finance Minister who oversaw all this gambling activity at the major Irish banks and should be made accountable for the Total Destruction of the Irish financial industry 

Brian Lenihian  is colluding with the Greens to hide the catastrophic nature of the major Banks debts! Indeed I go so far as to say they may be kept in the dark as to the combined total losses which I estimate at Anglo Irish Bank to be somewhere north of 120 Billion Euros alone!

If I am wrong, then prove me wrong, by showing us the figures of Anglo Irish Bank .

Open the books let us see for ourselves

Don’t let anyone tell you that Anglo was nor dealing in Bonds or Derivative Products,

  I call on the Minister of Finance to come out on to the Dail floor and tell the Nation that the Irish Banks have no exposure to these Derivative Markets.

 But before you do I have a question for you!

Why was there this amendment made to the NAMA Legislation?

Page 15 of the draft NAMA legislation says that the definition of a “credit facility” includes instruments such as”a hedging or derivative facility.”  Section 56, starting on page 46, then defines eligible assets for purchase by NAMA as a range of different types of “credit facilities” as well as “any other class of bank asset (Derivatives) the acquisition of which, in the opinion of the Minister, is necessary for the purposes of this Act.”

Why is the National Treasury Management Agency actively looking to recruit a Derivatives Valuation Service Provider to NAMA?

And before you deny that look below!

Title: Appointment of a Derivatives Valuation Service Provider to NAMA
Published by: National Treasury Management Agency
Publication Date: 19/08/2009
Application Deadline:  
Notice Deadline Date: 08/09/2009
Notice Deadline Time: 16:00
Notice Type: Contract Notice
Has Documents: Yes
Abstract: On the direction of the Minister for Finance, the NTMA is seeking to appoint a Derivatives Valuation Service Provider to provide valuation services (the “Services”) in respect of derivatives positions which will be transferred to NAMA. It is envisaged that one firm will be appointed to conduct the valuation of derivative positions transferring from all of the participating institutions. The Service Provider appointed will be expected to: A. Interact closely with participating institutions in order to extract key data items agreed with NAMA and required in order to carry out the valuation of derivatives. B. Determine derivatives’ valuations based on market-accepted methodologies and market rates. Valuations will incorporate adjustments which will be based on the creditworthiness of the derivatives’ counterparties and which will be specified in guidelines agreed by NAMA with the service provider.

C. The Service Provider will be required to work closely with an Audit Co-ordinator appointed by NTMA. The Audit Co-ordinator will collate valuation data and conduct audits of valuations provided by the Service Provider.

D. The Service Provider will be expected to provide a certificate to NAMA on completion of all valuations which confirms that the valuation of derivatives has been carried out on the basis of a market-accepted methodology and assumptions provided by NAMA and represents a fair assessment of the market value of such derivatives.
CPV: 66000000.

Well Boys I can save you the trouble,

There is no way in hell that anybody can put a valuation on these toxic papers /contracts .

With the collapse of the AIG the effective market no longer exists

To prove my point

When Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, it triggered the transfer of large sums in the CDS market to insure buyers of Lehman credit default risk protection against all losses from that event. The sellers of these contracts received the Lehman debt and in return they were obligated to pay the contract buyers (the insured parties) enough money to make the buyers “whole” i.e. to give them their full investment in the bonds back as if they had never bought the Lehman bonds.

The auction for Lehman’s debt occurred on Friday afternoon and the final auction price was $8.62. This means that for each $100 initial par value, the debt is only worth $8.62. The sellers of Lehman CDSs (Derivative contracts) were obligated to pay the insured counterparties 91.375% of the bonds’ face value and, in return, they received the bonds.

Who had to foot the bill for Lehman CDSs (Derivative contracts) Why AIG of course!

There was a 92% loss on the stated value of the Lehman contracts and I would suspect that there in now no value on all other outstanding contracts .Why ,because there isn’t enough money printed all over the world to pay for all the contracts that have being entered into .

The perceived values of these Derivatives were based on “thrust” and not real true values!

  

What are Derivates????

Here is a short introduction I manages to find /compile for those of you that are interested in this the mother of all financial scams.

The current difficulties we are witnessing in the financial markets, is just one leg of a 3 legged stool that has come off .The next leg that is about to fall off is the Derivatives leg

and this is

Derivatives are contracts whose value is “derived” from the price of something else, typically, ‘cash market investments’ such as stocks, bonds, money market instruments or commodities.

An equity derivative, for example, might give you the right to buy a particular share at a stated price up to a given date. And in these circumstances the value of that right will be directly related to the price of the “underlying” share: if the share price moves up, then the right to buy at a fixed price becomes more valuable; if it moves down, the right to buy at a fixed price becomes less valuable.

1.

This is but one example of a particular kind of derivative contract. However, the close relationship between the value of a derivative contract and the value of the underlying asset is a common feature of all derivatives.

There are many different types of derivative contract, based on lot of different financial instruments; share prices, foreign exchange, interest rates, the difference between two different prices, or even derivatives of derivatives. The possible combinations of products are almost limitless. What then are derivatives used for?

Derivatives have two main uses: hedging and trading.

Suppose you have a position in a cash market which you want to maintain for whatever reason – it may be difficult to sell, or perhaps it forms part of your long term portfolio. However, you anticipate an adverse movement in its price. With a derivatives hedge it is possible to protect these assets from the fall in value you fear. Let’s see how.

As we have already said, the value of a derivative contract is related to the value of the underlying asset it relates to. Because of this, with derivatives, it is possible to establish a position (with the same exposure in terms of the value of the contract), which will fluctuate in value almost in parallel with an equivalent underlying position.

It is also possible with derivative contracts to go either long or short; in other words you can take an opposite position to the position you have in a particular underlying asset (or portfolio).

Hedging involves taking a temporary position in a derivatives contract(s), which is equal and opposite to your cash market position in order to protect the cash position against loss due to price fluctuations. As the price moves, loss is made on the underlying, whilst profit is made on the derivative position, the two canceling each other out.

Protecting assets which you hold from a fall in value by selling an equivalent number of derivative contracts, is known as a short hedge.

 2.

A long hedge, on the other hand, involves buying derivatives as a temporary substitute for buying the underlying at some future point. This is to lock in a buying price. In other words, you are protecting yourself against an increase in the underlying price between now and when you buy in the future.

Cash and derivatives markets move together more or less in parallel, but not always at the same time, or to the same extent. This introduces a certain amount of what is called hedge inefficiency, which may need to be adjusted. At other times, an imperfect hedge might be knowingly established, which leaves a small exposure to the underlying market depending on the risk appetite of the individual.

Trading

Derivatives trading, as opposed to hedging, means buying and selling a derivatives instrument in its own right, without, that is, a transaction in the underlying. For instance, a trader can get exposure to the US government bond market by buying and selling US government bond futures without ever dealing in the actual bonds themselves.

The aim when trading derivative contracts is profit, not protection.

The risks associated with derivatives are very different to those incurred in the cash markets. When buying a share for example – a long position – your maximum possible loss is the amount you originally paid for it.

Derivatives, on the other hand, exhibit a lot of different risk profiles. Some provide limited risk and unlimited upside potential.

For example, the risk of loss with a derivative contract which confers a right to buy a particular asset at a particular price is limited to the amount you have paid to hold that right. However, profit potential is unlimited.

Others display risk characteristics in which while your potential gain is limited, your losses are potentially unlimited. 

For example, if you sell a derivative contract which confers the right to buy a particular asset at a particular price, your profit is limited to the amount you receive for conferring that right, but, because you have to deliver that asset to the counterpart at expiry of the contract, your potential loss is unlimited.

Because of the wide range of risk profiles which derivative contracts exhibit, it is vital that you have a clear understanding of the risk/return characteristics of any derivative strategy before you execute it.

Leverage

Apart from the structure of the instrument itself, the source of a lot of the risk associated with derivative contracts stems from the fact that they are leveraged contracts.

Derivative products are said to be ‘leveraged’ because only a proportion of their total market exposure needs to be paid to open and maintain a position. This percentage of the total is called a ‘margin’ in futures markets; and a ‘premium’ in options markets. In this context, ‘leverage’ is the word used in all English-speaking derivative markets.

Because of leverage your market exposure with derivative contracts can be several times the cash you have placed on deposit as “margin” for the trade, or paid in the form of a premium.

Leverage, of course, can work both in your favor and against you. A derivative which gives you a market exposure of 10 times the funds placed on deposit is excellent if prices are moving in your favor, but not so good if they are moving against you, as losses will mount up very rapidly.

 3.

In other words, with leveraged positions, losses are magnified as well as gains.

Follow link to see advertisement

http://www.e-tenders.gov.ie/search/show/search_view.aspx?ID=AUG125404

What is the Bond Market??

 Bond marke

From Wikipedia,

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The bond market (also known as the debt, credit, or fixed income market) is a financial market where participants buy and sell debt securities, usually in the form of bonds. As of 2006, the size of the international bond market is an estimated $45 trillion, of which the size of the outstanding U.S. bond market debt was $25.2 trillion.

Nearly all of the $923 billion average daily trading volume (as of early 2007) in the U.S. bond market takes place between broker-dealers and large institutions in a decentralized, over-the-counter (OTC) market. However, a small number of bonds, primarily corporate, are listed on exchanges.

References to the “bond market” usually refer to the government bond market, because of its size, liquidity, lack of credit risk and, therefore, sensitivity to interest rates. Because of the inverse relationship between bond valuation and interest rates, the bond market is often used to indicate changes in interest rates or the shape of the yield curve.

 

Market structure

Bond markets in most countries remain decentralized and lack common exchanges like stock, future and commodity markets. This has occurred, in part, because no two bond issues are exactly alike, and the number of different securities outstanding is far larger.

However, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is the largest centralized bond market, representing mostly corporate bonds. The NYSE migrated from the Automated Bond System (ABS) to the NYSE Bonds trading system in April 2007 and expects the number of traded issues to increase from 1000 to 6000.[1]

 Types of bond markets

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association classifies the broader bond market into five specific bond markets.

Bond market participants

Bond market participants are similar to participants in most financial markets and are essentially either buyers (debt issuer) of funds or sellers (institution) of funds and often both.

Participants include:

Because of the specificity of individual bond issues, and the lack of liquidity in many smaller issues, the majority of outstanding bonds are held by institutions like pension funds, banks and mutual funds. In the United States, approximately 10% of the market is currently held by private individuals.

Bond market volatility

For market participants who own a bond, collect the coupon and hold it to maturity, market volatility is irrelevant; principal and interest are received according to a pre-determined schedule.

But participants who buy and sell bonds before maturity are exposed to many risks, most importantly changes in interest rates. When interest rates increase, the value of existing bonds fall, since new issues pay a higher yield. Likewise, when interest rates decrease, the value of existing bonds rise, since new issues pay a lower yield. This is the fundamental concept of bond market volatility: changes in bond prices are inverse to changes in interest rates. Fluctuating interest rates are part of a country’s monetary policy and bond market volatility is a response to expected monetary policy and economic changes.

Economists’ views of economic indicators versus actual released data contribute to market volatility. A tight consensus is generally reflected in bond prices and there is little price movement in the market after the release of “in-line” data. If the economic release differs from the consensus view the market usually undergoes rapid price movement as participants interpret the data. Uncertainty (as measured by a wide consensus) generally brings more volatility before and after an economic release. Economic releases vary in importance and impact depending on where the economy is in the business cycle.

Bond investments

Investment companies allow individual investors the ability to participate in the bond markets through bond funds, closed-end funds and unit-investment trusts. In 2006 total bond fund net inflows increased 97% from $30.8 billion in 2005 to $60.8 billion in 2006.[2] Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are another alternative to trading or investing directly in a bond issue. These securities allow individual investors the ability to overcome large initial and incremental trading sizes.

Bond indices

Main article: Bond market index

A number of bond indices exist for the purposes of managing portfolios and measuring performance, similar to the S&P 500 or Russell Indexes for stocks. The most common American benchmarks are the Lehman Aggregate, Citigroup BIG and Merrill Lynch Domestic Master. Most indices are parts of families of broader indices that can be used to measure global bond portfolios, or may be further subdivided by maturity and/or sector for managing specialized portfol

Bond market
   
Bond · Debenture · Fixed income
   
Types of bonds by issuer Agency bond · Corporate bond (Senior debt, Subordinated debt) · Distressed debt · Emerging market debt · Government bond · Municipal bond · Sovereign bond
   
Types of bonds by payout Accrual bond · Auction rate security · Callable bond · Commercial paper · Convertible bond · Exchangeable bond · Fixed rate bond · Floating rate note · High-yield debt · Inflation-indexed bond · Inverse floating rate note · Perpetual bond · Puttable bond · Reverse convertible · Zero-coupon bond
   
Securitized Products Asset-backed security · Collateralized debt obligation · Collateralized mortgage obligation · Commercial mortgage-backed security · Mortgage-backed security
   
Derivatives Bond option · Credit derivative · Credit default swap · CLN
   
Pricing Accrued interest · Bond valuation · Clean price · Coupon · Day count convention · Dirty price · Maturity · Par value
   
Yield analysis Nominal yield · Current yield · Yield to maturity · Yield curve · Bond duration  · Bond convexity  · TED spread
   
Credit and spread analysis Credit analysis · Credit risk · Credit spread · Yield spread · Z-spread · Option adjusted spread
   
Interest rate models Short rate models · Rendleman-Bartter · Vasicek · Ho-Lee · Hull-White · Cox-Ingersoll-Ross · Chen · Heath-Jarrow-Morton · Black-Derman-Toy · Brace-Gatarek-Musiela
   
Organizations Commercial Mortgage Securities Association (CMSA) · International Capital Market Association (ICMA) · Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA)

Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bond_market

     See also Link

(http://www.investinginbonds.com/)

The Derivatives bubble

 

 


 

Derivatives have grew into a massive bubble, some USD
1,144 Trillion
by 2007. The new derivatives bubble was fuelled by five key economic and political trends:

  1. Sarbanes-Oxley increased corporate disclosures and government oversight
  2. Federal Reserve’s cheap money policies created the subprime-housing boom
  3. War budgets burdened the U.S. Treasury and future entitlements programs
  4. Trade deficits with China and others destroyed the value of the U.S. dollar
  5. Oil and commodity rich nations demanding equity payments rather than debt

In short, despite Buffett’s clear warnings,”
in my view, however, derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction, carrying dangers that, while now latent, are potentially lethal.”

That warning was in Buffett’s 2002 letter to Berkshire shareholders. He saw a future that many others chose to ignore. On Buffett’s mind also was His acquisition of General Re four years earlier, about the time the Long-Term Capital Management hedge fund almost killed the global monetary system. How? This is crucial: LTCM nearly killed the system with a relatively small $5 billion trading loss. Peanuts compared with the hundreds of billions of dollars of subprime-credit write-offs now making Wall Street’s big shots look like amateurs. Buffett tried to sell off Gen Re’s derivatives group. No buyers. Unwinding it was costly, but led to his warning that derivatives are a “financial weapon of mass destruction.”


A massive new derivatives bubble is driving the domestic and global economies, a bubble that continues growing today parallel with the subprime-credit meltdown triggering a bear-recession. In five years comes from the most recent survey by the Bank of International Settlements, the world’s clearinghouse for central banks in Basel, Switzerland. The BIS is like the cashier’s window at a racetrack or casino, where you’d place a bet or cash in chips, except on a massive scale: BIS is where the U.S. settles trade imbalances with Saudi Arabia for all that oil we guzzle and gives China IOUs for the tainted drugs and lead-based toys we buy.

To grasp how significant this bubble is let’s look at these numbers

U.S. annual gross domestic product is about $15 trillion

  • U.S. money supply is also about $15 trillion
  • Current proposed U.S. federal budget is $3 trillion
    • U.S. government’s maximum legal debt is $9 trillion
    • U.S. mutual fund companies manage about $12 trillion
    • World’s GDPs for all nations is approximately $50 trillion
    • Unfunded Social Security and Medicare benefits $50 trillion to $65 trillion
    • Total value of the world’s real estate is estimated at about $75 trillion
    • Total value of world’s stock and bond markets is more than $100 trillion
    • BIS valuation of world’s derivatives back in 2002 was about $100 trillion
    • BIS 2007 valuation of the world’s derivatives is now a whopping $516 trillion

Moreover, the folks at http://www.bis.org/statistics/derstats.htm
BIS tell me their estimate of $516 trillion only includes “transactions in which a major private dealer (bank) is involved on at least one side of the transaction,” but doesn’t include private deals between two “non-reporting entities.” They did, however, add that their reporting central banks estimate that the coverage of the survey is around 95% on average.

Also, keep in mind that while the $516Trillion “notional” value (maximum in case of a meltdown) of the deals is a good measure of the market’s size, the 2007 BIS study notes that the $11 trillion “gross market values provides a more accurate measure of the scale of financial risk transfer taking place in derivatives markets.”


The fact is, derivatives have become the world’s biggest “black market,” exceeding the illicit traffic in stuff like arms, drugs, alcohol, gambling, cigarettes, stolen art and pirated movies. Why? Because like all black markets, derivatives are a perfect way of getting rich while avoiding taxes and government regulations. And in today’s slowdown, plus a volatile global market, Wall Street knows derivatives remain a lucrative business.

Recently Pimco’s bond fund king Bill Gross said “What we are witnessing is essentially the breakdown of our modern-day banking system, a complex of leveraged lending so hard to understand that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke required a face-to-face refresher course from hedge fund managers in mid-August.” In short, not only Warren Buffett, but Bond King Bill Gross, our Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and the rest of America’s leaders can’t “figure out” the world’s USD .1,144 Trillion $ derivatives.(see below)

BIS is primarily a records-keeper, a toothless tiger that merely collects data giving a legitimacy and false sense of security to this chaotic “shadow banking system” that has become the world’s biggest “black market?”

Here are some of the types of derivatives that are out there.

Have you ever heard of them?

Chances are your local bank manager hasn’t either!

But I bet his Head office has a few slick traders that are trading these on a Daly bases and I’m

Pretty sure that they must be in it up to their necks!

  • Foreign exchange contracts
  • Listed credit derivatives
  • OTC ( over the counter)
  • Forwards and forex swaps
  •  Currency swaps
  • Options on Interest rate contracts
  • Forward rate agreements
  • Interest rate swaps
  • Options on
    Equity-linked contracts
  • Forwards and swaps
  • Options on Gold & Other commodities
  • Credit default swaps
  • Single-name instruments
  • Multi-name instruments
  • Unallocated instruments
  • CDS (credit default swaps)
    CDSs are derivatives whose cost is determined using financial models and by arbitrage relationships with other credit market instruments such as loans and bonds from the same ‘Reference Entity’ to which the CDS contract refers

     

  • ABS (asset-backed securities)
  • MBS (mortgage-backed securities)
  • OTC derivatives
  • Futures

    To name but a few!

  •  According to various distinguished sources including the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland — the central bankers’ bank — the amount of outstanding derivatives worldwide as of December 2007 crossed USD 1.144 Quadrillion, ie, USD 1,144 Trillion. The main categories of the USD 1.144 Quadrillion derivatives market were the following:

  • 1. Listed credit derivatives stood at USD 548 trillion;

    2. The Over-The-Counter (OTC) derivatives stood in notional or face value at USD 596 trillion and included:

    a. Interest Rate Derivatives at about USD 393+ trillion;

    b. Credit Default Swaps at about USD 58+ trillion;

    c. Foreign Exchange Derivatives at about USD 56+ trillion;

    d. Commodity Derivatives at about USD 9 trillion;

    e. Equity Linked Derivatives at about USD 8.5 trillion; and

    f. Unallocated Derivatives at about USD 71+ trillion.

 

For a more indebt information on the latest actual derivative figures please follow this link

It makes very interesting reading

Link  http://www.bis.org/statistics/derstats.htm

Source http://www.elliottwavetechnology.com

Tom Foremski at http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/mt/archives/2008/10/the_size_of_der.php

Russian-Roulette

 

Let’s consider a well publicized recent sale of Russian gold bullion to itself:

I noticed this article to-day by Rob Kirby

And it is a very worrying development indeed!


Russia sells gold to itself

December 14, 2009 3:47pm by Emma Saunders

The Russian central bank data table appended below is the World Gold Council. It states that Russia possesses 607 [actually, now officially 640 tonnes with the addition of the recent 30-ish tonne purchase from itself] metric tonnes of gold bullion.
will spend $1bn next week, buying 30 metric tons of gold from Gokhran, the state repository. Gokhran had planned to sell 20-50 MT on the open market, but cancelled after news of the sale leaked. The sale would have helped plug Russia’s budget deficit, and, apparently, purchase some diamonds from state-run miner Alrosa….

Does this not strike you as being odd?

In case you missed it, Russia announced that they are selling gold to THEMSELVES!?!?

The source of the gold

The revelation that Russia is “selling gold to itself” and lack of acknowledgment that Gokhran exists – is a MAJOR omission by the World Gold Council in their aggregate gold bullion data.


++Additionally, the World Gold Council also reports that as of October 2009, gold exchange-traded funds held 1,750 tonnes of gold for private and institutional investors.

The World Gold Council’s data keeper is GFMS Ltd. The GFMS web site makes the following claim:

GFMS is the world’s foremost precious metals consultancy, specializing in research into the global gold, silver, platinum and palladium markets.

GFMS is based in London, UK, but has representation in Australia, India, China, Germany, France, Spain and Russia, and a vast range of contacts and associates across the world.

Our research team of fifteen full-time analysts comprises qualified and experienced economists and geologists; while two consultants contribute insights on important regional markets.

Executive Chairman Philip Klapwijk and CEO Paul Walker appear regularly at international conferences and seminars, and their articles have been widely published. All analysts travel regularly and extensively to stay in touch with GFMS’ unrivalled network of contacts and sources of information around the world.

With 15 full-time analysts, two consultants and “representation” in Russia – how is that GFMS [and by extension the World Gold Council] can omit such a large hoard as stored at Gokhran and materially misreport the nature of Russian gold reserves? They didn’t even mention the existence of Gokhran in a footnote.

Gold professionals who have been inside Gokhran [Russian] State bullion depositories have provided me with personal accounts of this bullion depository. They report scenes reminiscent of the movie Gold Finger – on steroids – literally countless metric tonnes of neatly stacked gold bullion.

So, a better question might be, what else – regarding GOLD – has GFMS and the World Gold Council not reported or omitted?

Getting A Beat On Where the World’s Physical Gold Is Stored

It is generally accepted that for the entirety of mankind’s existence on this planet – the earth’s crust has yielded roughly 160 thousand metric tonnes of gold. The World Gold Council / GFMS identifies where roughly 32 thousand tonnes of that total are located.

We might add to what’s listed above, the following:

“No one knows exactly how much gold has been passed from generation to generation and is now stashed in safe deposit boxes across India. But bullion analysts estimate Indian families are sitting on about 15,000 tonnes of gold worth more than $US550 billion ($A600 billion).”

Then, if we conservatively assume that the rest of the world has as much as India stored away in safe deposit boxes – that’s another 15,000 metric tonnes.

Therefore by using reported World Gold Council / GFMS data plus some very conservative assumptions, we can approximately account for 62,000 metric tonnes of the world’s roughly 160,000 metric tonnes ever mined.

By the process of elimination and adjusting for the 62 thousand metric tonnes referenced above, there is a residual 98 thousand metric tonnes of physical gold bullion; the location of which cannot be readily identified.

The very nature of World Gold Council / GFMS data may be characterized as being static and don’t tend to change much year-over-year. This demonstrates that the owners of gold bullion DO NOT GENERALLY
TRADE THEIR PHYSICAL STASHES
– they sit on them!

The Conundrum That “IS” the London Bullion Market Association [LBMA]

The LBMA is considered to be the world’s foremost physical gold market. Here is their data on the number of ounces of gold “transferred” DAILY – by month, year-over-year – from Nov. 08 – Nov. 09:

Month Millions of Ounces Transferred / Day
Dec 08 17.5
Jan 09 18.8
Feb 09 23.8
Mar 09 22.2
Apr 09 20.5
May 09 21.9
Jun 09 20.5
Jul 09 17.7
Aug 09 16.4
Sep 09 20.6
Oct 09 20.8
Nov 09 21.5
Total 242.2

There are 22 business days per month, so the LBMA claims to have traded 151,046 metric tonnes of gold in the most recent 12 month period.

242.2
x
22 = 5,328 million physical ozs or 151,046 metric tonnes

The LBMA reports that they have “transferred” or traded 151,046 metric tonnes of gold – a commodity that when folks possess it, they are demonstrably inclined NOT TO trade it. Using another bench mark, annual global mine production is in the neighborhood of 2,500 metric tonnes. The LBMA claims to have sold last year’s global mine supply over 60 times in 12 months.

The LBMA claims to do this year-in, year-out.

This implies that ANY LBMA physical gold stocks are HIGHLY LEVERAGED through trade in paper gold

London is but one exchange where gold trades. Others include N.Y., Tokyo, Dubai, Bombay and different points in China. Don’t forget, physical ounces traded on ANY of these exchanges are additional ounces that London cannot be trading.

The reality is that every physical ounce of gold reported to be in the vaults of the LBMA and exchanges in general, is sold tens and perhaps more than a hundred times over in paper form. This paper selling suppresses what would otherwise be the freemarket gold price.

The Russians are known to be very shrewd and calculating. It makes one wonder whether the Russian announcement of a sale of gold bullion – TO THEMSELVES – might not have been a “tell” signaling their intention to not only withhold physical metal from the market and ensure that paper promises of delivery of real metal are honored.

Could it be that the Russians are really signaling that the assignment of false, arbitrary values [using futures / derivatives] to finite resources will no longer be tolerated?

If so, the real leverage is in owning physical gold bullion – not the paper promises.

Market Up-Date January 2010

Quarterly Market Brief & Stock Pick

Sent to me by  Chris  at  www.wealthbuilder.ie

 
 

The market is currently trying to find its bearings after the spectacular run up since March 2009.

 
 

On a weekly chart the Dow Industrials and Dow Transports both indicate a definite technical consolidation line being formed. The longer the averages remain in their respective November and December ranges the more the the market will discount the March rise and focus on the new support point. According to Hamilton the greater the duration of this “line of consolidation” the more significant the direction of the trend on “breakout.” On probability the market will move North, once the earnings season indicates there are no major surprises in the offing. However, how quickly the averages approach previous highs is anyones guess but price movement is bound to be choppy due to all of the following:

 
 

A:              Will future earnings eventually justify such rich valuations.

B:              When rates start rising will the hikes be benign or aggressive due to explosive inflation.

C:              Will the Real Estate, Financial & Banking sectors “tank” on rate hikes.

D:              When will unemployment stabilise and improve.

E:              Has the market discounted tax hikes.

 
 

As always the market must try to discount such uncertainty but given the mix I see above average risk in the martket given the weak underlying fundamentals.Therefore I am happy to advise clients to hold onto their fabulous 2009 gains and await a clearer economic tablet or a powerful technical indicator.

 
 

Some folk recommend Gold or Silver but again I see major institutional manipulation which makes a traders life a misery. Trading gold makes good fundamental sense but in actuality the technical picture has been muddied by paper gold in the form of ETFs, so I have moved on.

 
 

The situation since March provides all the emanations that TARP funds found a home in equities. In other words the fix was in. The wonderful gains thus far have given “banks” great profits to repay congress borrowed funds. I use the word bank with great delicacy because they are in effect derivitave traders. For this reason the TARP funds were not used to “stimulate” the real economy and therefore cannot be found in credit card account funding or car finance deals or property mortgages or business overdrafts (no that would be too much work and risk). The funds are in hyper leveraged instruments, cross purchased. Thus this is a synthetic bull run, hence the spectacular market rise.
The sooner congress realises this the sooner the true American economy can regenerate. When will it be accepted in honour and faith that the key to recovery was, is, and will be small enterprise. History educates that small entrepreneurs create 80% of ALL NEW JOBS in America. Support them and all will go well.
Ignore them and a double dip
correction will prove inevitable due
to sustained high unemployment.

 
 

I don’t know if any of you noticed but over the Christmas, during a 7 day period, short term interest rates shot up 600% from .01% to .07% and long term rates jumped 25%. In the first days of the new year they were pulled back but short rates are sill up 200%.  This volality indicates the fact that the FED has a major job on its hands holding the “balanced quantatitative easing” story together. A lot is riding on the holding of rates down and if anyone drops the PR ball there will be hell to pay. Ergo the market is risky until the jobs situation shows definite unmanipulated improvement.

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Stock Pick:

RDSA: Royal Dutch Shell plc.

 
 

Royal Dutch has regained about half of the ground lost since their 2008 peak, supported by a partial recovery in oil prices.

 
 

The refining, chemicals and natural gas lines have not snapped back as quickly as the oil pumpimg business.
However, efficiency measures have been implemented and Shell is targeting a return to growth before too long.

 
 

Expansion is on track for the oil and gas exploration business in 2011, when a couple of extra large gas projects in Qatar are due to come on stream.
These top quality ADRs should appeal to conservative investors. While the issue is untimely strong dividend income underpins the good long-term total return potential that we envision.

 
 

Fundamentals:

Dividend Yield:                                  5.5%

Financial strength:              A++

PE Ratio:                            11.0

Return On Cap:                            12.5%             

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