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China Braces For December D-Day: The “Unprecedented” Default Of A Massive State-Owned Enterprise

China Braces For December D-Day: The “Unprecedented” Default Of A Massive State-Owned Enterprise

Something is seriously starting to break in China’s financial system.

Three days after we described the self-destructive doom loop that is tearing apart China’s smaller banks,  where a second bank run took place in just two weeks – an unprecedented event for a country where until earlier this year not a single bank was allowed to fail publicly and has now had no less than five bank  high profile nationalizations/bailouts/runs so far this year – the Chinese bond market is bracing itself for an unprecedented shock: a major, Fortune 500 Chinese commodity trader is poised to become the biggest and highest profile state-owned enterprise to default in the dollar bond market in over two decades.

In what Bloomberg dubbed the latest sign that Beijing is more willing to allow failures in the politically sensitive SOE sector – either that, or China is simply no longer able to control the spillovers from its cracking $40 trillion financial system – commodity trader Tewoo Group  – the largest state-owned enterprise in China’s Tianjin province – has offered an “unprecedented” debt restructuring plan that entails deep losses for investors or a swap for new bonds with significantly lower returns.

Tewoo Group is a SOE conglomerate, owned by the local government and operates in a number of industries including infrastructure, logistics, mining, autos and ports, according to its website. It also operates in multiples countries including the U.S., Germany, Japan and Singapore. The company ranked 132 in 2018’s Fortune Global 500 list, higher than many other Chinese conglomerates including service carrier China Telecommunications and financial titan Citic Group. Even more notable are the company’s financials: it had an annual revenue of $66.6 billion, profits of about $122 million, assets worth $38.3 billion, and more than 17,000 employees as of 2017, according to Fortune’s website.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is the Fed Secretly Bailing Out a Major Bank?

Is the Fed Secretly Bailing Out a Major Bank?

Prettifying Toxic Waste

The promise of something for nothing is always an enticing proposition. Who doesn’t want roses without thorns, rainbows without rain, and salvation without repentance?  So, too, who doesn’t want a few extra basis points of yield above the 10-year Treasury note at no added risk?

The yield-chasing hamster wheel… [PT]

Thus, smart fellows go after it; pursuing financial innovation with unyielding devotion.  The underlying philosophy, as we understand it, is that if risk is spread thin enough it magically disappears. In other words, the solution to pollution is dilution.

With this objective, new financial products are fabricated into existence. The risk free rewards of several extra basis points are then packaged up into debt instruments and sold off to pension funds and institutional investors. The search for yield demands it.

Yet as an economic expansion progresses, especially one that has been extended and distorted with the Fed’s cheap credit, these derived financial securities are polluted with more and more toxic waste. Spreading the risk ultimately pollutes the entire pool of liquidity.

At this moment in the business cycle, after a lengthy bull market in stocks and bonds, countless manifestations of the greater fool theory have bubbled up to the surface. Bonds with negative yields epitomize this. Buyers accept a guaranteed coupon loss with the hopes of scoring capital appreciation as yields fall. But when yields rise, it is game over.

German Bund futures contract, weekly. The recent blow-off and subsequent reversal illustrates the convexity effect on bond prices… [PT]

Of course, the greater fool theory extends much deeper and wider than negative yielding debt. It also extends to the polluted world of corporate debt…

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Federal Reserve Is Directly Monetizing US Debt

The Federal Reserve Is Directly Monetizing US Debt

In a very real way, MMT is already here

Sure, it’s not admitting to this. And it’s using several technical jinks and jives to offer a pretense that things are otherwise.

But it’s not terribly difficult to predict what’s going to happen next: the Federal Reserve will drop the secrecy and start buying US debt openly.

At a time, mind you, when US fiscal deficits are exploding and foreign buyers are heading for the exits.

How It’s Supposed to Work

Here’s how it’s supposed to work when the US government issues new debt:

  1. If the US Treasury needs to raise new funds, it announces an upcoming auction of US Treasury bills/notes/bonds.
  2. A date for the auction is set.
  3. Various participants bid for those bills/notes/bonds (including ‘regular folks’ like you and me if we’re using the government’s Treasury Direct program).
  4. At a later date, the Fed can buy those US Treasury bills/notes/bonds. The various holders of that debt submit offers to sell, and the Fed (presumably) selects the best offers on the best terms.

The Federal Reserve, under no conditions, buys Treasury paper directly.  The Federal Reserve’s own website still maintains that this is the case:

(Source)

There are two important claims plus one assertion I’ve highlighted in there, each in a different color:

  1. Yellow: Treasury securities may “only be bought and sold in the open market.”
  2. Blue: doing otherwise might compromise the independence of the Fed.
  3. Purple: the Fed mostly buys “old” securities.

So according to the Fed: it’s independent, it follows the rules set forth in the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, and it mostly buys “old” Treasury paper that the market has already properly priced in a free and fair system.

But that’s not really what’s going on…

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Global Debt Is Up To $188,000,000,000,000 – This Is Officially The Biggest Debt Bubble The World Has Ever Seen

Global Debt Is Up To $188,000,000,000,000 – This Is Officially The Biggest Debt Bubble The World Has Ever Seen

The world is now 188 trillion dollars in debt, and that number continues to grow rapidly each year. It is a form of enslavement that is deeply insidious, because most of those living on the planet do not even understand how the system works, and even if they did most of them would have absolutely no hope of ever getting free from it. The borrower is the servant of the lender, and the global financial system is designed to funnel as much wealth to the top 0.1% as possible. Of course throughout human history there has always been slavery, and the primary motivation for having slaves is to extract an economic benefit from those that are enslaved. And even though most of us don’t like to think of ourselves as “slaves” today, the truth is that the global elite are extracting more wealth from all of us than ever before. So much of our labor is going to make them wealthy, and yet most people don’t even realize what is happening.

Let’s start with a very simple example to help illustrate this.

When you go into credit card debt and you only make small payments each month, you can easily end up paying back more than double the amount of money that you originally borrowed.

So where does all that money go?

Well, of course it goes to the financial institution that you got your credit card from, and in turn that financial institution is owned by the global elite.

In essence, you willingly became a debt slave when you chose to go into credit card debt, and the hard work that it took to earn enough money to pay back that debt with interest ended up enriching others.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The monetary lessons from Germany

The monetary lessons from Germany 

Germany suffered two currency collapses in the last century, in 1920-23 and1945-48. The architect of the recovery from the former, Hjalmar Schacht, chose to cooperate with the Nazi successors to the Weimar Republic, and failed. In that of the second, Ludwig Erhard remained true to his free market credentials and succeeded. While they were in different circumstances, comparisons between the two events might give some guidance to politicians faced with similar destructions of their state currencies, which is a growing possibility.

Introduction

Let us assume the next credit crisis is on its way. Given enhanced levels of government debt, it is likely to be more serious than the last one in 2008. Let us also note that it is happening despite the supposed stimulus of low and negative interest rates, when we would expect them to be at their maximum in the credit cycle, and that some $17 trillion of bonds are negative yielding, an unnatural distortion of markets. Let us further assume that McKinsey in their annual banking survey of 2019 are correct when they effectively say that 60% of the world’s banks are consuming their capital before a credit crisis. Add to this a developing recession in Germany that will almost certainly lead to both Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank having to be rescued by the German government. And note the IMF recently warned that $19 trillion in corporate debt is a systemic timebomb, and that collateralised loan obligations and direct exposure to junk held by the US commercial banks is approximately equal to the sum of their equity.

Then we can say with some confidence that a major credit crisis is developing, and that it will almost certainly be far greater than Lehman.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Half The World’s Banks Won’t Survive The Next Crisis, McKinsey Finds

Half The World’s Banks Won’t Survive The Next Crisis, McKinsey Finds 

More than half of the world’s banks are at risk of collapse in the next global downturn if they don’t start preparing for late-cycle shocks, McKinsey & Company warned in its latest global banking outlook. 

The consultancy firm warned on Monday, in a 55-page report titled The last pit stop? Time for bold late-cycle moves, that 35% of banks globally are “subscale” and will have to merge or sell to larger firms if they want to survive the next crisis. 

“A decade on from the global financial crisis, signs that the banking industry has entered the late phase of the economic cycle are clear: growth in volumes and top-line revenues is slowing, with loan growth of just 4% in 2018—the lowest in the past five years and a good 150 basis points (bps) below nominal GDP growth. Yield curves are also flattening. And, although valuations fluctuate, investor confidence in banks is weakening once again,” McKinsey said. 

Kausik Rajgopal, a senior partner at McKinsey, told Bloomberg that “we believe we’re in the late economic cycle and banks need to make bold moves now because they are not in great shape,” adding that, “in the late cycle, nobody can afford to rest on their laurels.”

The report warned that 60% of global banks are experiencing “returns below the cost of equity.” And even warned that when the next recession strikes, “negative interest rates could wreak further havoc.” 

McKinsey said fin-tech startups are rapidly evolving the industry, and legacy banks risk “becoming footnotes to history” if they don’t immediately invest in technology. For instance, the report said, Amazon and Ping An are two technology firms that are quickly acquiring market share from the traditional banking sector. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Underestimating Them & Overestimating Us

UNDERESTIMATING THEM & OVERESTIMATING US

“Do not underestimate the ‘power of underestimation’. They can’t stop you, if they don’t see you coming.” ― Izey Victoria Odiase

Image result for bernanke, yellen, powell

During the summer of 2008 I was writing articles a few times per week predicting an economic catastrophe and a banking crisis. When the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression swept across the world, resulting in double digit unemployment, a 50% stock market crash in a matter of months, millions of home foreclosures, and the virtual insolvency of the criminal Wall Street banks, my predictions were vindicated. I was pretty smug and sure the start of this Fourth Turning would follow the path of the last Crisis, with a Greater Depression, economic disaster and war.

In the summer of 2008, the national debt stood at $9.4 trillion, which amounted to 65% of GDP. Total credit market debt peaked at $54 trillion. Consumer debt peaked at $2.7 trillion. Mortgage debt crested at $14.8 trillion. The Federal Reserve balance sheet had been static at or below $900 billion for years.

During 2007, a risk averse senior citizen couple (my parents) who had accumulated $200,000 of retirement savings over their lifetime of hard work, could generate $10,000 of interest income in a Vanguard money market fund yielding 5%. This supplemented their modest Social Security income of $20,000 to $30,000 per year. The interest rate on savings during normal economic times was generally 2% above inflation, which hovered around 3% in 2007 according to the data manipulators at the BLS.

As the summer of 2008 progressed, I felt more disconnected. I had been doing everything possible to support Ron Paul’s candidacy for president, but the masses weren’t ready for the truth or the reality of our situation. In my opinion the country was already off-course and headed towards a debt created disaster. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

GOLDNOMICS PODCAST: Prepare Now As Risk Of Contagion In Today’s Fragile Monetary World

GOLDNOMICS PODCAST: Prepare Now As Risk Of Contagion In Today’s Fragile Monetary World 

◆ GOLDNOMICS PODCAST – Episode 13 – Lucky for some !

◆ Why is nobody talking about the real risk of contagion to investors, savers & companies?

Listen or Watch Podcast Here

◆ While all the focus in the UK, Ireland and the EU is on Brexit, the risk of another debt crisis looms as companies, banks, governments and the global economy grapple with massive levels of debt
◆ “Contagion will impact stocks, bonds and deposits and both investments and savings across the spectrum” 
◆ Prepare for the 4 C’s:  i) Counter party risk  ii) Credit and debt crisis  iii) Currency wars and  iv) Contagion 
◆ Complex financial & technology systems in the fintech age make the counter parties which investors and savers rely on more fragile. This highlights the need for direct and outright legal ownership of tangible assets
◆ Financial, economic and monetary contagion risk underlines the importance of real diversification and owning gold in the safest ways possible

We Finally Understand How Destructive Negative Interest Rates Actually Are

We Finally Understand How Destructive Negative Interest Rates Actually Are

We are in the midst of a strange economic experiment. Vast quantities of negative-yielding debt are currently sloshing around the global economy. While the amount of negative-yielding bonds has dropped recently from a mind-boggling number in excess of $17 trillion, reinvigorated central bank easing across the globe ensures that this reduction is only temporary.

We are slowly starting to understand how destructive negative interest rates actually are. Central banks control short-term interest rates in an economy by setting the rate banks receive on their deposits, that is, on the reserves they hold at the central bank. A new development is the control central banks now exert over long-term rates through their asset purchase, or “QE” programs.

Banks profit from the interest rate differential between “lending long” but “borrowing short”. Essentially, the difference between lending and deposit rates determine a bank’s profitability. However, with today’s very low interest rates, this difference becomes almost non-existent, and with negative rates, inverts completely.

When a central bank pushes rates to negative, banks need to pay interest on the reserves they hold there. But they are not relieved of the obligation they have to pay interest on customer deposits, who are understandably reluctant to pay interest on money they place at a bank. Consequently, the whole earnings logic of banking goes haywire if banks are required to pay interest on loans and receive interest on deposits. As profit margins of banks are squeezed, profitability falls and lending activities suffer.

However, the problems created by negative interest rates do not stop there. In 2008, an influential article describing the economic malaise in Japan after the financial crash of the early 1990s found that instead of calling-in or refusing to refinance existing debts, large Japanese banks kept loans flowing to otherwise insolvent borrowers.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Do Banks Require Savings to Accommodate Demand for Lending?

DO BANKS REQUIRE SAVINGS TO ACCOMMODATE DEMAND FOR LENDING?

There is an emerging view held by many commentators that it is banks and not the central bank that are key for the expansion of money. This way of thinking is promoted these days by the followers of the post Keynesian school of economics (PK).[1] In a research paper by the Bank of England’s Zoltan Jakab and Michael Kurnhof, they suggest that

In the intermediation of loanable funds model of banking, banks accept deposits of pre-existing real resources from savers and then lend them to borrowers. In the real world, banks provide financing through money creation. That is they create deposits of new money through lending, and in doing so are mainly constrained by profitability and solvency considerations.[2]

It seems that for the researchers at the Bank of England and PK followers the key for money creation is demand for loans, which is accommodated by banks increasing lending. In this framework, banks do not have to be concerned with the means of lending, all that is necessary here that there is a demand for loans, which banks are going to accommodate i.e. demand creates supply.

According to the Bank of England researchers,

In the real world, the key function of banks is the provision of financing, or the creation of new monetary purchasing power through loans, for a single agent that is both borrower and depositor. The bank therefore creates its own funding, deposits, in the act of lending, in a transaction that involves no intermediation whatsoever. Third parties are only involved in that the borrower/depositor needs to be sure that others will accept his new deposit in payment for goods, services or assets. This is never in question, because bank deposits are any modern economy’s dominant medium of exchange.[3]

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Ghost of Failed Banks Returns

THE GHOST OF FAILED BANKS RETURNS

Last week’s failure in the US repo market might have had something to do with Deutsche Bank’s disposal of its prime brokerage to BNP, bringing an unwelcome spotlight to the troubled bank and other foreign banks with prime brokerages in America. There are also worrying similarities between Germany’s Deutsche Bank today and Austria’s Credit-Anstalt in 1931, only the scale is far larger and additionally includes derivatives with a gross value of $50 trillion.

If the repo problem spreads, it could also raise questions over the synthetic ETF industry, whose cash and deposits may face escalating counterparty risks in some of the large banks and their prime brokerages. Managers of synthetic ETFs should be urgently re-evaluating their contractual relationships.

Whoever the repo failure involved, it is likely to prove a watershed moment, causing US bankers to more widely consider their exposure to counterparty risk and risky loans, particularly leveraged loans and their collateralised form in CLOs. The deterioration in global trade prospects, as well as the US economic outlook and the likelihood that reducing dollar interest rates to the zero bound will prove insufficient to reverse a decline, will take on a new relevance to their decisions.

Problems under the surface

Last week, something unusual happened: instead of the more normal reverse repurchase agreements, the Fed escalated its repurchase agreements (repos). For the avoidance of doubt, a reverse repo by the Fed involves the Fed borrowing money from commercial banks, secured by collateral held on its balance sheet, typically US Treasury bills. Reverse repos withdraw liquidity from the banking system. With a repo, the opposite happens: the Fed takes in collateral from the banking system and lends money against the collateral, injecting liquidity into the system. The use of reverse repos can be regarded as the Fed’s principal liquidity management tool when the banks have substantial reserves parked with the Fed, which is the case today.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Banks Seek Lower Credit Score Requirements, Targeting Over 50 Million New Subprime Borrowers

Banks Seek Lower Credit Score Requirements, Targeting Over 50 Million New Subprime Borrowers

When the next bubble bursts – and it will – be sure to take a look back at this article. It might help explain some things.  Lenders, seemingly unhappy with the vast avalanche of debt they’ve issued over the last decade, are now looking to “move the goalposts” in order to be able to lend even more money to even less creditworthy individuals.

Gone are the old days of relying on a consumer’s borrowing history to determine creditworthiness, and instead lenders now look at such bizarre trivia as magazine subscriptions and phone bills to decide how much should be lent to potential borrowers. Banks like Goldman Sachs Group, Ally Financial and Discover are now experimenting with the new metrics.

The changes are seismic for many large banks, who spent the last 10 years targeting only extremely credit-worthy borrowers. But, as we all know too well, when that pool runs out the show must go on by any means possible. And that is how we got to no-doc loans and subprime CDOs just before the last bubble burst.

At stake is a lot of potential money: banks are targeting the estimated 53 million U.S. adults that don’t have credit scores and 56 million that have subprime scores. The banks claim that many of these people don’t have traditional borrowing backgrounds, often times because they pay in cash or are new to the U.S. That doesn’t make them bad debt slaves prospects, however. Quite the opposite.

The timing also couldn’t be any better: US consumer debt is higher than ever, as Americans continue to borrow in order to finance everything from cars, college, housing and medical care. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Guide To Real History

The Guide To Real History

In the last two centuries, all wars have been machinations orchestrated by bankers pursuing two very simple objectives: profit and a world domination that bears a name: the New World Order.

Education and medias are the main culprits to blame for keeping the important role of bankers in the dark shadows of history. The genuine relevance of Rothschild, Rockefeller, Warburg, Morgan and their peers is voluntarily kept hidden from public scrutiny, so that any investigator that digs in the realms of our past can easily be discredited as a «conspiracy theorist». Author Carroll Quigley once had full access to the Council on foreign relations documents and he confirmed the very real world banking conspiracy designed to dominate the world, in his book «Tragedy and hope».

Bizarrely, education and medias prefer to bring everything back to public figures and politicians like Churchill, Hitler or Stalin, but they will never tell you that these charismatic monsters had no money, nor created it. Hitler was a failed artist that built the most formidable war machine the world had seen in 6 years only, in a near-bankrupt country deprived of any oil production, so do you think he might have had some help?

The Grand Scheme

Before 1971, bank loans were based on their gold reserves, but no bank really owned the value in gold of the money it lent over the years, so the scheme wasn’t very different than today’s fractional system of money creation, in which banks have to own 1/10th of their loans. For example, if bank A has a million dollar, it can lend 10 millions to bank B, which can lend 100 millions to a country, since bank B owns 10 millions. This is basically how the world ended up owing 184 trillion dollars (184 000 000 000 000$) to private banks as of today.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Fantasy of Central Bank “Growth” Is Finally Imploding

The Fantasy of Central Bank “Growth” Is Finally Imploding

Having destroyed discipline, central banks have no way out of the corner they’ve painted us into.

It was such a wonderful fantasy: just give a handful of bankers, financiers and corporations trillions of dollars at near-zero rates of interest, and this flood of credit and cash into the apex of the wealth-power pyramid would magically generate a new round of investments in productivity-improving infrastructure and equipment, which would trickle down to the masses in the form of higher wages, enabling the masses to borrow and spend more on consumption, powering the Nirvana of modern economics: a self-sustaining, self-reinforcing expansion of growth.

But alas, there is no self-sustaining, self-reinforcing expansion of growth; there are only massive, increasingly fragile asset bubbles, stagnant wages and a New Gilded Age as the handful of bankers, financiers and corporations that were handed unlimited nearly free money enriched themselves at the expense of everyone else.

Central banks’ near-zero interest rates and trillions in new credit destroyed discipline and price discovery, the bedrock of any economy, capitalist or socialist.

When credit is nearly free to borrow in unlimited quantities, there’s no need for discipline, and so a year of university costs $50,000 instead of $10,000, houses that should cost $200,000 now cost $1 million and a bridge that should have cost $100 million costs $500 million. Nobody can afford anything any more because the answer in the era of central bank “growth” is: just borrow more, it won’t cost you much because interest rates are so low.

And with capital (i.e. saved earnings) getting essentially zero yield thanks to central bank ZIRP and NIRP (zero or negative interest rate policies), then all the credit has poured into speculative assets, inflating unprecedented asset bubbles that will destroy much of the financial system when they finally pop, as all asset bubbles eventually do.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why The Next ECB Stimulus Plan May Fail

Why The Next ECB Stimulus Plan May Fail

Why The Next ECB Stimulus Plan May Fail

In June 2014 I wrote an article called Draghi’s Plan does not fix Europe. In that article, I explained that the structural challenges of the eurozone -high government spending, excessive tax wedge, lack of technology leadership and demographics- were not going to be solved by a round of quantitative easing.

Now, the evidence of the European Union leads the ECB to hint at another stimulus plan. Gone is the triumphalism displayed by of the European Commission on August 2017 (read).  The “strong recovery” they credited to the “decisive action of the European Union” has all but disappeared. 

The slowdown in the eurozone is not similar to other economies. The ECB has slashed growth estimates consistently and currently expects a level of growth that is half of what they had projected eighteen months ago.

It is fascinating because many analysts tend to discuss the European slowdown as if the stimulus had been abandoned. Far from it. Let us remember that the European Central Bank repurchases all debt maturities in its balance sheet and that it has launched a  new liquidity injection (TLTRO) in March this year.

That is why it is appropriate to discuss the severity of the Eurozone slowdown in the context of the chain of fiscal and monetary stimuli that have been implemented. To understand the serious mistake of constantly stumbling on the same stone, we need to understand the size of the fiscal and monetary programs and their underwhelming results.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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