July 28, 2008
Elaine Meinel Supkis
The Australians decided, without warning, to zero out their SIV losses totally. This daring move had to be done just like throwing excess weight overboard when a plane is in trouble. Lending via the normal channels is falling to zero, also. But in my next article today, we will discuss the resumption of the Japanese carry trade, a subject of greatest fury here. The US people are seeing public services die rapidly now. Even as we spend record amounts trying to control the entire planet. Which is, incidentally, undergoing a huge rash of bombings by 'terrorists'. Hedge fund hell hounds are howling because of the SEC's restrictions on short sales and of course, their attempt at capitalization via bidding up oil futures is now failing, too. Citigroup's other chairman leaves with over $40 million in severance pay. Tax the rich!
NAB, National Australia Bank, was just forced to write down over ninety percent of its exposure to US mortgages via so-called SIV’s or conduits last Friday, to the order of $830 million dollars.
This was by no means a matter of choice for NAB. The bank had just issued and sold $850 million worth of new debt paper. Buyers of that debt are now screaming bloody murder. They are asking why this information, which surely must have been known to the bank at the time of the debt sale, was not disclosed to the market beforehand. They are now demanding their money back or some other way to back out of the deal.
Yet, what happened to this single Australian bank is nothing compared to what will happen to US equity and bond markets when they wake up on Monday morning, July 28, 2008. Robert Gottliebsen of The Business Spectator, an Australian financial news and analysis portal, wrote a commentary pointing to the possible consequences of NAB’s write-down.
This storm began last July. I warned about the consequences of the shift in the value of the yen from 127 to the dollar to the yen rising to around 96 to the dollar. This caused a massive global train wreck. To this day, the participants in this mess have been steadfast in refusing to connect the end of the carry trade from the Bank of Japan with the resulting banking collapse in the G7 nations. More about that later. Right now, the big issue is how this stupid Japan carry trade working in tandem with the Federal Reserve dropping interest rates to Japanese levels: both of these forces fueled one of the biggest joint corporate/housing bubbles in history. All over the planet, not just in the US, suddenly housing 'values' shot to the moon.
In Europe, England, the US, northern Africa, Asia, South America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, everywhere on earth saw this exact same housing bubble. Now, it is popping. This is due to two factors: people's incomes fell far behind the cost of housing to the point, the principal could no longer rise no matter how low the lending costs. The other factor is the end of the Japanese carry trade. Which, incidentally, has resumed this week. Not roaring ahead like in 2004 but it has revived somewhat. The yen is still too strong for it to be a done deal.
Australia's attempt at simply shoveling this mess off the cliff is predicated on the possibility of the Japan carry trade refueling the lending markets. This is how I see it: once all these crummy SIVs are dumped into the Pacific, the banks no longer have them on the books and can now restart lending! Isn't that cute? And the hit isn't direct since they can now all go to the Bank of Japan for easy loans that will refill the tanks at home with more red ink that can happily continue flowing over Australia. For everyone on earth is addicted to easy credit! If the Japanese credit was realistic, there would be no carry trade.
Japan has inflation! They can't have zero interest rates!
Banks struggling to recover from multibillion-dollar losses on real estate are curtailing loans to American businesses, depriving even healthy companies of money for expansion and hiring.
Two vital forms of credit used by companies — commercial and industrial loans from banks, and short-term “commercial paper” not backed by collateral — collectively dropped almost 3 percent over the last year, to $3.27 trillion from $3.36 trillion, according to Federal Reserve data. That is the largest annual decline since the credit tightening that began with the last recession, in 2001.
The scarcity of credit has intensified the strains on the economy by withholding capital from many companies, just as joblessness grows and consumers pull back from spending in the face of high gas prices, plummeting home values and mounting debt.
We want more liquidity! We want more loans! We need more money! This is obvious. All the machinations of our ruling elites is aimed squarely at getting this lending madness restarted. There is no attempt at limiting the spending that lies a the root of this mess. In the US, we are seeing a squeeze in outcome of spending but spending itself is up. Schools, for example, must spend much more on fuel, energy, heating today compared to in 2000. This spending means budgets must cut elsewhere.
As cash-strapped school districts across the nation scale back sports programs or try to pass on part or all of their costs to students and parents, some fear that the tradition of the scholar athlete is at risk. In Mount Vernon — where this year more than 700 students were expected to participate on 55 teams in basketball, football, volleyball, tennis, cross country, track, soccer, wrestling, swimming, baseball, softball, golf and cheerleading — many teachers and parents say that sports not only keep children coming to school but also keep them away from crime, drugs and gang activity.
We are seeing the results of wild overspending: the US will see a drop off in our lifestyles. We will pay more and live poorer. Across the board, inflation and paying debts off will reduce our options. People will be fired as money is redirected towards paying bills, paying for energy, etc. The US public has idly allowed military spending to double and redouble and not a peep from the masses. This is because there was no rationing, not paying higher taxes, etc. The Great Society promises continued. But since this 'guns 'n butter' regime has been launched, US public debt has shot upwards and will now head towards $11 trillion thanks to Congress and Bush raising the fake debt ceiling. As I showed last night, this thing was supposed to stop overspending until it reached $0 in 1991. Instead, military spending has shot upwards.
The need to keep the populace at bay is important to DC. But they don't care about LOCAL politics. So letting all the cities and states go bankrupt is OK, I guess. Except this will hammer both taxpayers and the public. I lived in NYC when it nearly went bankrupt at the end of the Vietnam War. It was very dangerous there! I formed a street patrol and it used to be a daily battle, fighting off the forces of chaos. When the entire city went dark one summer night, looting and riots broke out. The police vanished, the governor was too scared to call in the National Guard and for three days, my neighborhood burned down. I did not like this. I spent one night on the roof with a hose, trying to prevent the sparks flying past us from igniting the house and burning it down.
Every store but one in my community was looted and burned. Going bankrupt is very dangerous! Right now, all is quiet due to the full future effects of these rising bankruptcies are still in the future. But having lived through this in the past, I assure everyone, riots lie just below the time/event horizon. Another thing to consider: when people think their homes are valuable, they take great care of them. When the government owns or controls housing, it deteriorates. When we had draconian rent control laws in NYC, for example, many, many apartment buildings went into steep decline and many of them ended up looted or burned. I got my first building this way: the rent controls killed the building and it was a burnt wreck when I came in with crowbars and hammers. I had to have large dump trucks park in front and my crew and I threw literally tons of debris into them. Once the building was freed of the plague of government interference, its value shot upwards tremendously.
The housing bill is just like this: it will destroy, not save, housing! Since the government gets 50% or more of any value added for the entire time the owners keep the houses, this is tremendous disincentive to even mow lawns, much less, upkeep the value of the house! So I see 20 years of housing destruction, not growth. This is totally infuriating, by the way! Housing gains value ONLY if it serves a function. In this case, sheltering people who have jobs! If the jobs are gone, the housing is worthless. Look at Flint, Michigan! Housing there can't even be given away! People have no need to live there anymore. So the government's function should be to provide jobs by protecting industries!!!!! DUH!!!!!
This means stopping the free trade stuff from draining all our manufacturing base. This is laughably easy to do: tariffs and barriers! I keep hammering on this because the mythology of the Great Depression and how this was brought about not by three major global empires reneging on WWI debts owed to the US but rather, due to the US protecting its home base from a flood of imports from the three empires that owed us billions of war loans! So today, we go nakedly forwards, sword in hand, hoping our rival trade partners won't strip us of our skin.
The Pentagon on Monday will unveil its proposed 2009 budget of $515.4 billion. If it is approved in full, annual military spending, when adjusted for inflation, will have reached its highest level since World War II.
That new Defense Department budget proposal, which is to pay for the standard operations of the Pentagon and the military but does not include supplemental spending on the war efforts or on nuclear weapons, is an increase in real terms of about 5 percent over this year.
Spending on schools has not declined. It has been REDIRECTED. Oil companies are happy. Students are going to hell. The elderly will freeze this winter but Bagdad will be patrolled. Our cities will see riots just like when our troops were in Vietnam and Europe. And no one will save us when this happens. We used to have a National Guard, now they have been shipped out, too. National Guards working overseas means the money they spend is spent overseas. There is no job creation going on in America thanks to the military spending, this money is strictly for overseas uses. To defend the entire world against what? China? HAHAHA. China, our biggest trade partner who is running huge surpluses with us?
As military spending as well as spook spying spending shoots upwards, US spending on domestic services is declining as far as wages and real services are concerned. The appearance of spending increases is entirely sucked up by higher fuel costs. So the net gain in economic welfare is negative, not positive.
During the Reagan/Bush I era, military spending took off. We didn't see riots in America only because oil prices and lending rates began to fall rapidly. But our trade deficit as well as government overspending increased tremendously. Thus, the desire for a 'ceiling'. This failed because the government's ruling elites wanted more military spending no matter what! So it was never cut and they never dared cut domestic spending for fear of these pesky riots. The Clinton years saw a reduction in military spending and an increase in domestic spending coupled with the lowest oil prices of the last 40 years as well as the beginning of the Japanese carry trade.
Starting in 2000, defense spending shot upwards and now surpasses the Reagan years and at the very beginning of all this, domestic spending shot upwards, too. But this peaked in 2004. Since then, military spending has climbed rapidly while domestic spending is collapsing. This year, Congress and the President have jointly decided to boost domestic and military spending which is why they had to sneak past everyone the raising of the debt ceiling to $11 trillion.
(Bloomberg) -- Hedge funds may post their worst month in at least five years after bets on financial stocks falling and on crude oil rising backfired.
Hedge Fund Research Inc.'s Global Hedge Fund Index of more than 55 funds slid 3.2 percent through July 24, heading for the biggest monthly drop since the measure started in 2003.
Wagers on a decline in financial stocks and homebuilders, one of the most popular, soured after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shares more than doubled in the six trading days to July 23. Bullish bets on crude oil turned to a loss as oil slid 15 percent from a record $145.29 a barrel on July 3 after doubling in a year.
The expansion could require increased capital to finance the borrowed shares during the three days before trades settle, as well as make short selling more cumbersome and labor-intensive. It is expected that the industry will push back forcefully on any attempt to expand rules.
The SEC is also working to make short-selling rules permanent. The SEC staff is expected to narrow down the options and recommend them to the four SEC commissioners, which could happen as soon as Monday. The rules wouldn't be finalized until later this year.
If Iran Kitty can restart the hissing battle with Miz Liberty, oil prices will go up. Israel is very anxious to restart the cat/naked US battle of witlessness. But the US is being slightly cautious now. Some Americans have finally put the obvious 2+2 together and figured out there is a direct connection between what Iran says and world oil prices! Saddam used to play this game but not as ruthlessly as Iran. He needed higher oil prices after the Iran/Iraq war. One way to do this was the threaten his neighbors so prices would shoot upwards. He became so accustomed to doing this, even I noticed the connection! Heh.
It was painfully obvious, of course. One of the things Europe wanted when he was forced to sell via the UN for a set price after Gulf War I was for there to be oil stability in pricing. When Russia entered the markets and tanked oil prices, Iran was hammered hard by this. Saddam couldn't raise oil prices anymore so they set out to do the same thing, I suppose. They also want to destroy the US imperial war machine and killing the US economy does the trick. So they are not aiming at our navy which sits like a bunch of rubber duckies, square in the sights of Iranian rockets but rather, they zero in on our economy. Sinking the US supertanker is their goal.
The hell hounds and pirates who run hedge funds are the unwitting fools being used by the Iranians. Since many of these hell hounds and assorted others are also Jewish, this is tremendously ironic, we call this, 'Digging your own grave'. This mob of gnomes rush from one 'money making' scheme to the next one. They can't help themselves! The 'bid up the price of oil' scheme has blown up just like the 'bid up the price of food commodities' has collapsed due to enraged governments coping with riots and revolutions shut down that system.
This leaves 'naked short selling' and plain short selling! Which the SEC is cutting off. The need to devour something is very strong with these sharks. They have to eat someone! So we see this peculiar battle as the sharks bribe Congress to defang the SEC so they can attack...Goldman Sachs! HAHAHA. The pirates want to attack the pirates! This battle is vicious. If the SEC closes the 'three day' loophole that is an left over from the pre-computer days on Wall Street, then all sorts of mayhem will happen. The gnomes will go stark raving mad. They need some glitch, some hole to exploit to the max! They cannot make easy money without the help of inefficiency and bungled systems. Just like they love the floating currency regime: if they can see or create trends they control, they can go onwards forever. A prime example being the Japan carry trade business.
Wall Street executives expect the Securities and Exchange Commission to extend the temporary limits it has placed on short-selling and expand them to cover additional stocks beyond the 19 financial companies it targeted two weeks ago. The limits are set to expire Tuesday, and executives, lobbyists and hedge-fund representatives of the Managed Funds Association, the biggest hedge-fund industry group, have been talking throughout the weekend, trying to come up with possible approaches to asking the SEC to reconsider expanding the rules, according to people familiar with the talks.
A call with regulators on Friday gave the funds group "a fair degree of certainty" that the SEC intends to seek an extension of the emergency period, these people said. Regulators said an extension could be for as short as 60 days and could involve insurance, housing-industry and a broader range of financial stocks, according to these people. SEC Chairman Christopher Cox indicated last week the rules might be extended to all stocks.
And here is confirmation that the SEC is finally getting enough support to impose controls on short trades. Short trades should not exist. They are a problem, not a solution. Insane amounts of fake wealth was created via this hole in the system. This money is very volatile. It also contributes directly to inflation. The profits are not 'capital' or printed dollars, it is pure made-up bookkeeping numbers. No value-added labor or production is involved. It is pure money creation which is why the gnomes adore this. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are now in danger from this system they love. They, themselves, are now shark bait! So they have run off to the government for protections which they denied their own victims in the past.
Note that they wanted this protection to be LIMITED. Not legal rule for all time. The SEC is doing this to them and they hate it but they can't stop the SEC or they will be eaten up by short traders. They want a temporary fix that vanishes when they resume short selling others. This is VERY lucrative! Very. So they are torn in two, hoping to resume the status quo after suspending it selectively to protect their own asses.
Kravis and Roberts, both 64, filed for an initial public offering in New York more than a year ago. The cousins, who started the firm in 1976 with their Bear Stearns Cos. colleague Jerome Kohlberg, put the plan on hold as stock markets dropped and credit dried up. Kohlberg hasn't been with the firm since 1987, when he left to start his own firm, Kohlberg & Co.
Announced private-equity deals dropped more than 70 percent to $163.1 billion in the year through July 25 from the same period in 2007, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Banks are reluctant to fund leveraged-buyouts after the subprime mortgage crisis triggered more than $466 billion in writedowns and losses among the world's largest financial institutions.
``You can't get bank debt right now, and KKR or any other private-equity firm can't get the returns they're looking for without bank debt,'' said Palisade's Veru. ``They require more equity investment than leverage.''
Private equity=Japan carry trade. This, they hope to also resume. They need this so bad, it is making them all grind their fangs is fury and rage. They hate the weak dollar. They need the strong dollar just like Japan needs this. China exploits all of this, of course, for their own benefit. Why not? When a huge empire is suicidal and stupid, just like a two ton pig ready for slaughter, it gets killed and eaten.
(Reuters) - Citigroup Inc agreed to pay departing executive Michael Klein about $42.6 million, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.
Klein, a former investment banking head, is receiving roughly as much as the bank awarded Charles Prince, the Citi chairman and chief executive, who retired in November as the bank prepared to post billions of dollars of write-downs.
But Klein's payout comes at a cost: under the agreement, he cannot work for, advise, or solicit clients for 12 major commercial and investment banks through October 4, 2009. He also cannot solicit or hire Citi employees during that period.
This is all the result of those stupid tax cuts. The gnome community loved these cuts and have exploited this historic opportunity to renege on paying for the government that feeds them. Yes, it feeds them! They benefit from deficit spending, hugely benefit. Not only do they not pay taxes, this spending is for THEM. They get government contracts and government hand outs. The 'privatization' scam they pushed is enriching them and making everyone else poorer...IN THE FUTURE. This is significant! Being gnomes, they don't care if this destroys everything in the future. Their motto is, 'Eat, drink and rip off everyone!' So they are happy so long as this process benefits them. If it grinds them down, they halt the system and fix it until they can resume their negative actions that grind down everyone else.
This is why I call them traitors. Since most of our budget deficit is, by definition, caused by 'defense' spending that doesn't protect Americans, this is an overhead that does NOT benefit us at all! It benefits them. They are 'internationalists' in that they don't care about America, they care about themselves. They certainly don't love European or Asian workers! They despise Africans and South American peasants! This is for THEM, not any of us. So we have the tragic situation where the US taxpayers get to foot the future bills for all this and the rich get rewarded with multi-million dollar golden parachutes after they wreck everything they ran. Citibank is bankrupt. It limps along because the Saudis don't want it to sink. But it is dead in the water. Giving this huge handout to a ridiculous man who screwed everything up is pure insanity. He should be taxed at the old 90% rate. All executives should be taxed at this rate. Then they might stop this nonstop looting.