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Rehypothecated Leverage: How Archegos Built A $100 Billion Portfolio Out Of Thin Air… And Then Blew Up

Rehypothecated Leverage: How Archegos Built A $100 Billion Portfolio Out Of Thin Air… And Then Blew Up

One week after the biggest, and most spectacular hedge fund collapse since LTCM, we now have an (almost) clear picture of how Bill Hwang’s Archegos family office managed to single-handedly make a boring media stock the best performing company of 2021, but then when its luck suddenly ended it was margin called into extinction, leading to billions in losses for the banks that enabled what Bloomberg has dubbed its “leveraged blowout.”

Thanks to detailed reports by the Financial Times and Bloomberg, we now have the missing pieces to complete the picture of the biggest hedge fund implosion of the 21st century.

As a reminder, and as we previously discussed, we already knew how Archegos was building up stakes in its various holdings: unlike most other investors, the fund never actually owned the underlying stock or even calls on the stock, but rather transacted by purchasing equity swaps known as Total Return Swaps (TRS) or Certificates For Difference (CFD). Similar to Credit Default Swaps, TRS exposed Archegos to the daily variation margin on the underlying stock, and as such while the fund would benefit economically from increases in the underlying stock price (and, inversely, would be hit by price drops forcing it to put up more cash as margin any day the stock price dropped) it would never be the actual owner of record of the underlying stock. Instead, the stock that Archegos was long would be “owned” by its prime broker, the same entity that allowed it to enter into TRS in the first place…

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

archegos, rehypothecation, zerohedge, financial markets, leverage

Gold Analyst Warns of Leverage: “There Are About 325 Paper Ounces For Every Physical Ounce Backing It”

Gold Analyst Warns of Leverage: “There Are About 325 Paper Ounces For Every Physical Ounce Backing It”

paper-and-real-gold

Back in September Zero Hedgereported that something snapped in the COMEX market and all indicators suggest there was a relentless outflow in registered gold. At that time there were about 202,054 ounces of gold available for delivery. To put that into perspective, Craig Hemke of TF Metals Report points out that just earlier this year there were nearly one million registered ounces available.

What this likely means is that someone, somewhere is requesting that their paper holdings be converted into deliverable physical gold. All the while many a mainstream pundit has declared that gold is nothing but a relic of times past. Yet, despite its purported unpopularity, since the last time the COMEX snapped in September even more registered gold has disappeared.

As of December, notes Hemke in his latest interview with Crush The Street, we’ve hit an all-time low in registered physical metal at the COMEX which has in turn led to a massive amount of leverage.

We’re at an all time low of about 120,000 [ounces of registered holdings].

But yet the total open interest- the amount of paper contracts based upon that declining amount of physical metal – has stayed the same.

Now, there’s about 325 paper ounces for every one physical ounce backing it. In the past that number was always around 10-to-1 or 20-to-1.

It’s another one of these data points that we follow that seems to indicate a global physical tightness.

In the full interview Hemke explains what this means for the gold market, as well as why the leverage in COMEX precious metals is significantly different than stock markets:


(Watch At Youtube)

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

Anyone Who Believes The COMEX Numbers Is Very Naive (They Are Much Worse!)

Anyone Who Believes The COMEX Numbers Is Very Naive (They Are Much Worse!)

“The information in this report is taken from sources believed to be reliable; however, the Commodity Exchange, Inc. disclaims all liability whatsoever with regard to its accuracy or completeness. This report is produced for information purposes only.”

– disclaimer now posted on the Comex gold and silver daily warehouse stock report as of Monday, June 3, 2013 – Investment Research Dynamics – June 4, 2013

Yesterday we published an article detailing the Comex gold futures to deliverable physical gold ratio that is now north of 200:1.  But an erudite colleague of mine, John Titus of “Best Evidence,” correctly pointed out that:  “They are probably bluffing.  In other words, the real number is significantly higher than 200:1.

 

For the record, John does more thorough research on the economic numbers and reports that he studies than anyone I’ve ever come across.  And he does it with the trained analytic eye of a seasoned patent litigation attorney.

Let’s put everything in perspective.  The numerical reports from which fancy graphs and and dry detailed data presentations are created originate from the Too Big To Fail Banks. I’ve said for quite some time that IF the bullion banks who control the Comex and the LBMA are submitting honest data reports for the Comex and LBMA, it would be the only business line in which they do not hide the truth and report fraudulent numbers.  What is the probability of that?

JP Morgan was recently caught stuffing proprietary Comex futures short-sell trades into the “Managed Money” account category of the COT report.  The CFTC scolded JPM and slapped them with a whopping $650,000 – LINK.    Does anyone really believe that the CFTC wrist-slapping corrected any fraudulent data reporting by the likes of JP Morgan?  Really?

 

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

Comex On The Edge? Paper Gold “Dilution” Hits A Record 124 For Every Ounce Of Physical

Comex On The Edge? Paper Gold “Dilution” Hits A Record 124 For Every Ounce Of Physical

Over the weekend, we got what was merely the latest confirmation that when it comes to sliding gold prices, consumer of physical gold just can’t get enough. As the Times of India reported over the weekend, India’s gold imports shot up by about 61 per cent to 155 tonnes in the first two months of the current fiscal “due to weak prices globally and the easing of restrictions by the Reserve Bank. In April-May of the last fiscal, gold imports had aggregated about 96 tonnes, an official said.”

This follows confirmations previously that with the price of gold sliding, physical demand has been through the roof, case in point: “US Mint Sells Most Physical Gold In Two Years On Same Day Gold Price Hits Five Year Low“, “Gold Bullion Demand Surges – Perth Mint and U.S. Mint Cannot Meet Demand“, “Gold Tumbles Despite UK Mint Seeing Europeans Rush To Buy Bullion” and so on. Indicatively, as of Friday, the US Mint had sold 170,000 ounces of gold bullion in July: the fifth highest on record, and we expect today’s month-end update to push that number even higher.

But while the dislocation between demand for physical and the price of paper gold has been extensively discussed here over the years, most recently in “Gold And The Silver Stand-Off: Is The Selling Of Paper Gold And Silver Finally Ending?”, something unexpected happened at the CME on Friday afternoon which may be the most important observation yet.

Recall that in the middle of 2013, in an extensive series of articles, we covered what was then a complete collapse in Comex vaulted holding of registered (i.e., deliverable) gold.  At the time the culprit was JPM, where for some still unexplained reason, the gold held in the newest Comex’ vault plunged by nearly 2 million ounces in just six short months.

 

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

The Rehypothecation of Gold, and Why It Matters

The Rehypothecation of Gold, and Why It Matters

Claiming to own X quantity of gold is one thing, and reporting how many times the gold has been pledged as collateral is another.

When correspondent Scott A. Batten offered to write an explanation of the rehypothecation of gold and why it matters, I quickly accepted. Like many others, I have breezed over the word rehypothecation with the basic understanding that it means assets pledged by counterparties (such as the infamous copper stored in Chinese warehouses) are reused as collateral/repledged–in effect, the same assets are pledged as collateral multiple times.

But beyond this, I have not had a clear understanding of how the rehypothecation of gold reserves threatens the whole shaky edifice of Infinite Greed, oops, I mean neoliberal capital markets.

 

Here is Scott’s commentary:

When introducing a new concept, it is best to start with the definition of the words to be used. In this case, the discussion of rehypothecation and how it places the world at risk with the fun and games played in the stock market.

Rehypothecation:

Rehypothecation occurs when your broker, to whom you have hypothecated — or pledged — securities as collateral for a margin loan, pledges those same securities to a bank or other lender to secure a loan to cover the firm’s exposure to potential margin account losses.

When you open a margin account, you typically sign a general account agreement with your broker, in which you authorize your broker to rehypothecate.

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

 

 

 

It Wasn’t The Swiss: Continuing Plunge In GOFO Means No Easing Of Worst Gold Shortage In Over A Decade | Zero Hedge

It Wasn’t The Swiss: Continuing Plunge In GOFO Means No Easing Of Worst Gold Shortage In Over A Decade | Zero Hedge.

Yesterday, when we commented on what was largely a pre-determined outcome of the Swiss gold referendum, we said that there still “is the question of what happens to the tension in the gold swap market: as noted last week, the 1 Month GOFO rate had tumbled to the most negative in over a decade. It was not clear if this collateral gold squeeze was the result of Swiss referendum overhang or due to other reasons. The market’s reaction on Monday should answer those questions.”

Well, a few hours ago we got the GOFO update for the “day after” and the answer is clear: it wasn’t fear of the Swiss referendum after all because the 1 Month GOFO just crashed even deeper into negative territory with the entire curve through 6M now red, and with 12 month GOFO just 0.6 bps away from negative for the first time. At this rate, tomorrow’s update will suggest that big institutions expect the gold swap shortage to persist through the end of 2015!

Also, judging by the gold reaction, which is about $50 from the overnight lows, someone else appears to have noticed that the rather shocking shortage of synthetic gold among institutions, which is finally seeping through into that whole “price discovery” process, where supply and demand actually matter.

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

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