Wednesday, October 8, 2008

+++ Mr Bean in Charge of Monetary Stability +++

HM Treasury Press Release

Her Majesty The Queen has been pleased to approve, under the Bank of England Act 1998, the appointment of Charles Bean as a Deputy Governor of the Bank of England for Monetary Stability, for a period of five years.

This explains a lot.

Gordon’s £300 Billion Guarantee : £50 Billion Tier 1 Capital + £200 Billion Inter-Bank Guarantee + £50 Billion Northern Rock

Pretty soon we are going to be talking real money.

Guido has lost track of the repeated Bank of England interventions to try and flood liquidity into the money markets. Those alone could easily be as much as £200 billion or more.

The government bail out, never mind the Bank interventions, is secured against the hard work of Britain’s 28 million taxpayers. The government is risking more than £10,000 for each taxpayer.

UPDATE : The bail-out we are told was finalised at 5 a.m. this morning, the tri-partite authorities meeting in Downing Street was at 5 p.m. last night. Good to know that a £300 billion plan to “guarantee” the economy can be cobbled together in less time than it takes to do a school homework project. Fills Guido full of confidence.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Labour to Implement 1983 Manifesto Pledges

It is a quarter century since Labour’s Michael Foot signed manifesto was rejected by the British people. An unelected Prime Minister is now going to impose some of those plans on the British economy. The socialist dreams so roundly rejected in 1983 sound eerily familiar:
… a National Investment Bank to put new resources from private institutions and from the government…. Exercise, through the Bank of England, much closer direct control over bank lending. Agreed development plans will be concluded with the banks and other financial institutions. Create a public bank… set up a Securities Commission to regulate the institutions and markets of the City… Set up a tripartite investment monitoring agency to advise trustees and encourage improvements in investment practices and strategies… We expect the major clearing banks to co operate with us fully on these reforms, in the national interest. However, should they fail to do so, we shall stand ready to take one or more of them into public ownership. This will not in any way affect the integrity of customers’ deposits.

The National Economic Council of the people’s plutocrats is straight out of that unreconstructed dirigiste mindset. This isn’t going to work.

The big lie that we will hear this morning is that taxpayer’s money will be “invested” and the government may even make a profit – like the Swedes did in the nineties. Except the Swedes didn’t make a profit, Swedish taxpayers lost billions. One bank out of over 114 Swedish banks refused the deal. SEB, Sweden’s largest bank controlled by the Wallenberg family, arranged a private sector recapitalisation and returned to profitability within a year. So could the UK banks. British taxpayers are going to get screwed like they have never been screwed before.

Guido’s Plan to Stabilise UK Markets


Gordon, Alastair, Mervyn and FSA boss Lord Adair are meeting at 5pm today to figure out their plan to stabilise markets. The FT is pointing the finger at Pesto for bank shares collapsing today. The banks concerned have denied his story, it appears his report was the result of a briefing about possible plans. There is real anger in the City because of his reporting. Peston has single-handedly inflamed the situation.

Pesto-Wire Causes More Misery

The FT’s Alphaville blog calls him “Pesto-Wire” and mocks him for replacing the official Regulatory News Service. He is a bit of a market menace because his reports are perceived as based on sources in 10 & 11 Downing Street. So he is a market mover. Guido has thousands of readers in the City and this email is typical of the feeling towards him in the Square Mile:


Dear Guido,

The Peston wrote a blog note this morning in which he suggested that the banks had “asked” the chancellor for capital injections. He did so without being able to be clear on the names, terms or size of such a transaction.


Since it is known that he speaks with the authority of Downing Street, UK banks crashed approximately 20 – 30% on the news taking a (tentatively recovering) market with them. The volatility, of course, is much worse than normal because there are no longer any short sales of banking stocks to absorb the risk.


Had the banking stocks been allowed to follow the market and trade naturally, they might well have been able to continue to go to the market for new capital (Lloyds did this on the day of the HBOS announcement with great success). Of course, this government’s need to be constantly seen to be doing something has triumphed and Peston’s attempt to make the chancellor look important has resulted in the largest one hour crash in banking stocks in living memory on the London market.


We have a regulatory announcement system PRECISELY to stop this kind of activity If material talks take place, a company must announce with absolute clarity what is contemplated so that shareholders are able to judge simultaneously and equally the likely impact on the stock.


Once again, the political imperative to make Gordon Brown look involved and competent has put in jeopardy the already fragile UK banking system and the markets upon which it relies.


Had a hedge fund published this kind of speculation while trading in the stocks, they would now find themselves the subject of an FSA investigation.

Quite. See also Who Told Peston?

UPDATE : RBS in a terse statement say “contrary to press speculation, RBS did not make a request to the Government for capital.” Pesto on the World at One basically shrugged his shoulders when Martha said to him “presumably they mean you”. Carnage in the markets, the banking system further destabilised, billions change hands and all Pesto can say is “ooops”.

+++ RBS Down 39% +++

No short-sellers were involved this morning. Yet Gordon and Darling said they were banning short selling to protect financial institutions (Cable, who should know better, cheered this on). Guido and most objective market observers said it was irrelevant. Today’s market action proves the point. QED

What a Mass Bank Bail-Out Does to the Currency

This is what could happen to the pound if the Treasury decides to print cash to bail out collapsing banks. The Icelandic Króna has lost 40% in value in three months. The Icelandic Króna is not the Great British Pound, the UK economy is far larger and hopefully stronger. Little Iceland could go bust and end up begging the IMF, a humiliation suffered by Britain under the last Labour government. Nothing, however, is impossible.

The FT reports some good news; $500 billion in derivatives contracts related to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were settled yesterday. Friday, 17 October, sees $400 billion of Lehman Credit Default Swaps (CDS) come due for settlement. If this goes through without mishap, market liquidity could improve as fears of systemic failure recede and the biggest ever stress test for derivatives contracts passes.

If…

Monday, October 6, 2008

Just as Well They Banned Short Selling, Eh?

As the markets tank the question is how low can we go? There is quite simply no immediate floor for the FTSE 100, after 4500 the next level is the January 2003 level of 3600, a drop of some 20%. Think that is impossible? Stocks are down more than 20% since the beginning of the year.

So it isn’t hard to see that kind of market capitulation happening. In the tech bust of 1999-2000 many stocks fell 90%. Some bank stocks have already dropped 90%. There is nothing government can do to alter the reality and this has to play out. Tokyo had near zero interest rates for the best part of a decade (sorry Vince that was no panacea). The liquidity problem is/was a precursor to the solvency problem. Governments can flood markets with liquidity but that can’t fix insolvency. This is going to be painful.

Politicians who claim to have solutions to the credit crunch are infantalising the electorate. The best they can do is ameliorate the problems. They can’t alter the underlying reality. Over-priced assets are crashing and bringing down the banks – not all – some like HSBC are relatively unscathed. There are pluses as well, if you are in your twenties you will have a better chance of getting on the property ladder now…

Friday, September 26, 2008

He Who Pays the Piper….

The Senate Banking Committee is the ultimate legislative oversight for U.S. financial regulation. The members of the committee have almost all had donations from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Now they are to decide on bail-out terms?

Incidentally Guido bailed out of all his speculative positions in the early hours of Wednesday morning when it hit the wires that Warren Buffet was taking a $5 billion stake in Goldmans, given his reputation Guido felt Buffet might single-handedly turn market sentiment. That combined with the impossibility of predicting how and when the politicians would go made the markets too random for Guido. Baby Fawkes is unwell and between the 24/7 currency markets and her, the lack of sleep was too draining.

Hat-tip : LFAT

Monday, September 22, 2008

Market Mayhem Watch : Day 1

Gold jumped some $30 on the back of fear. If the U.S. government is going to bail out the banks people realised it was time to bail out of U.S. dollars, bonds and stocks. Guido took profit on the spike, probably far too soon. You don’t go broke taking profits too soon though. Gold carried on through $900 without Guido for the ride.

The euro jumped nearly 2.5% or some 300 pips, biggest move ever. Took profit on that and switched to shorting the dollar against sterling on the possibly irrational idea that other speculators will start to eye a $2 pound and the move against the dollar was not as violent as it was vis-a-vis the euro. The position is a little underwater.

Just to prove what an evil speculator Guido is he shorted the FTSE hard. Am still running the short and marked to market am up some 21.5% overall on the day. A profit or loss of that magnitude in a day signals too much leverage in too volatile a market. Strangely traders never mind violent P&L swings when they are to the plus side. Friday’s broad stock market gains evaporated, oil hit $125 a barrel. Tomorrow can’t be this volatile, can it?

The FT’s Alphaville blog (“The Site That Supports our Shorts”) highlights a Downing Street petition to criminalise consenting behaviour between capitalists. They want to criminalise short selling. Some trade union boss told the Labour Party conference he wants to tax us into extinction. Tax us to the Bahamas more likely.


Seen Elsewhere

Guido’s Column | Sun
NUT’s Loony Defence of Status Quo | Jago Pearson
A Dozen Reasons to Be Cheerful | John McTernan
Political Bloggers Are Equal Opportunities Attackers | ConHome
Michael Gove Should Resign | Conservative Women
Sarah Wollaston’s Naming and Shaming of Bloggers | LibDemVoice
Fraser Nelson: Put Your Money on Ed Miliband to Win | Guardian
Guido Fawkes is Too Aggressive | The Times
Ditch Tobacco Plain Packaging | Grassroots Conservatives
What Farage, Boris and Rob Ford Have in Common | William Walter
Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV


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Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:

“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.

Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).

Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.

I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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