Tag Archives: SNB

Oh boy, there was more

It all started 4 days ago when I wrote ‘I honestly don’t get it’. I comprehended the stage just fine, it is the lack of comprehension of greed, what people will do to fill their own pockets at the expense of everything and everyone. You see Basel III was published in 2010 after the first meltdown, it was extended to 2015 with extensions going as far as January 2023. So 13 years and the whining bitches (aka banks) still will not learn. SVB is merely one example and the actions by congress made perfect sense. Now we have Credit Suisse and the setting changes.

It now needs (and apparently just received) 45 billion to be ‘secured’. This is a little more than the national budget of Qatar which is 53rd on a list of national budgets with 228 nations with on last place Wallis and Futuna. To give you a better picture, it is twice the amount Oman has for its citizens, they are in 68th position. They need THAT MUCH money. The issue is that big and do not talk to me about journalists or those clowns at the ICIJ. They are all about their Pandora papers and what a joke they are. 

You see, I stated in the first article the Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) and now we see the BBC give us (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-64964881) giving us “After Credit Suisse shares plunged on Wednesday, a major investor – the Saudi National Bank – said it would not inject further funds into the Swiss lender”, it matters and I will get back to this. In the mean time The Guardian gives us “The bank had been forced to delay the publication of its annual report last week after a last-minute call from the US Securities and Exchange Commission relating to what Credit Suisse described as the “technical assessment” of revisions to cashflow statements going back to 2019. The bank said those discussions had now been concluded” I believe it is more, I personally believe that was why Yellen got involved in day one. I think the SVB and others have too many bonds and they are not ready to mature yet and with interest up these things are making banks bleed money and they are bleeding a lot. You see, there is an estimated total of TWENTY THREE THOUSAND BILLION DOLLARS in US government bonds floating around and I reckon the SVB and Credit Suisse are now in levels of pain, they had too many of those. As such the outstanding part, not merely these two represent $23,000,000,000,000 and no one can cover it they are all stretched beyond thin. This is what I expect is happening and I warned for this as early as 2016, there is a point of no return and the banks are way past that. Putting your IP in the USA is about to become one of the most expensive jokes tech firms have faced in well over half a century.

Could I be wrong?
Yes, that is the case, but that can be tested quite easily. You see, if you make a tally of where all these US government bonds were and you set that tally in a mineable solution especially with pre 2016 and past 2016 when Dodd-Frank got cancelled you will learn a few things and this is what I saw on day one, but weirdly enough the media is not going there (neither is the ICIJ), so you get to wonder why.

Oil in the family
now we get back to the Saudi National Bank. In this I agree with Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman. Oil is a commodity, there is no cap, if you need oil more and more, you are working from the wrong business plan and if that relies on exceeding your budget by over 30 trillion dollars you get what’s coming to you. In addition I would add the Republican Party making small talk stating that they need to pull away from Ukraine, I lose the little sympathy I had left for them. The US has slammed Saudi Arabia again and again, in some cases with the assistance of a United Nations essay writer. There is only so much people will take. They had the option to help Saudi Arabia create a nations defence strategy, they bailed out and now China is there. They made fake promises and most were not kept and now we see banks asking Saudi Arabia (in Oliver Twist style) can we have some more please? 

As such we see event after event and now that things are on the rails, the train has speed and they just ran out of rails. This is early and before I expected it, but I never considered the impact of Russia being stupid and attacking the Ukraine, it merely escalated things. 

America has two options, does it become part of China or part of Russia. It seems that the Republicans want to be part of Russia, the rest I do not know, but we are now in the process of the final financial act. And my evidence? Investigate the CET1 setting of EVERY bank (especially the two in trouble) and then look at where the bonds are and how many of these bonds are/were with the SVB and Credit Suisse. I have no doubt they both have too many. Then consider Basel III and see how many banks hold up at that point. They were warned for 13 years, so let them rot, let them collapse and let the investors and share holders take the fall and live life in minimum wage. 

And in all this, too many of the media are all about flaming and not doing too much about it, merely pushing towards bailouts. That time has gone as I personally see it. 

All whilst the Australian Financial Review gives us a mere 45 minutes ago “The failure of Silicon Valley Bank has exposed fresh divisions on Capitol Hill over banking reform, as US lawmakers from both parties trade blame for the lenders’ collapse and squabble over future legislation to shore up the financial system” squabble on something that was shown 13 years ago. Still think I am wrong? 

Enjoy the money you have, there might be a lot less soon enough.


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The economy of change

It is now three months to the day that I wrote ‘A seesaw for three‘, in there I spoke about the Swiss Franc and the changes they decided on. In that article you can read: “So the SNB decided to abandon the ceiling on the franc, in response, the spring-loaded franc shot higher“, makes perfect sense. Why should a nation with a relative low debt hold this much in risk? So now we get a new dance! “The SNB’s decision to suddenly go back on a previous policy it had claimed to be committed to will make markets think twice before taking the bank at its word“.

This was always the issue, why should nations with relative low debt pay for the short sightedness of the incapable? In addition, the claim ‘The SNB’s decision to suddenly go back on a previous policy‘ is also a loaded part, you see, as we see with Greece at present, it seems that policies are not being kept all over the field, even now there is an implied orchestration to let Greece ‘kinda’ of the hook. The words of Christine Lagarde for creditors to go ‘soft’ on Greece is not helping. Then there is the thought I offered with: “Perhaps the question that Katherine Burton (the writer) at Bloomberg should be asking is “How come such managed levels of foreign currency holdings were left out in the open to this extend, especially after the Cyprus issue”“.

The day before that one, I wrote ‘Year of the last Euro?‘ (17th January 2015), there I stated “previous administrations lived under some umbrella with the picture of a sun, which they took as an eternal summer! Instead of caution, they ignored basic rules and just went all out on a spending spree. Now that all the money is gone, the coffers are instead filled with ‘I OWE U’ notes. When every nation spends more than they are receiving, no one will have any money left, yet governments started to borrow to one another. So, those in debt were borrowing massive amounts to one another, even though no one had any money, is no one catching on?

I saw the writing months ago, which is why I have been hammering on the Greek issue, it should not be prolonged, and there should be no ‘alternative‘ or a ‘continuation‘. Now we get the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/18/us-interest-rates-rise-federal-reserve-market-crash), the subtitle ‘Janet Yellen’s decision will have global consequences – and the end of ultra-low rates could mean meltdown for indebted countries‘, whatever are you saying Mr Bond?

I have stated again and again that those in severe debt will feel the consequence at some point. Now we see the increased risk that interest rates will rise. Yet again we see dismissals, now from Olivier Blanchard. Was he not the one who came up with “Rethinking Macroeconomic Policy” (at http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/spn/2010/spn1003.pdf)?

So are we witnessing the start of targeted inflation? The quote that Olivier makes “companies may have hedged their position, while investors and finance ministers were well prepared“, well, in that regard, my response is: ‘companies that are credit maxed are never hedging positions, an elemental truth at times and as for the preparation of investors we can argue that they are usually geared towards greed (relying on a 15% turnover in a 3% world) whilst in addition, finance ministers on a global scale have been pushing things forwards for a long time, relying on the sun returning the next morning. This approach works for a week, but after 157 weeks of clouds, those finance ministers tend to project sunshine from memory, forgetting the reality of the sun’. If you doubt this then consider the list of finance ministers who correctly kept their budget. I tell you now that this list has diminished to zero for some time now. Some even exceeded their budget shortage through managed bad news, a growing trend all over Europe.

In illustration the IMF wrote in regards to the possible financial crash “It highlighted how any shock can send investors fleeing; with only sellers in the market, the price keeps plunging until someone believes it has gone far enough and starts buying“, yes this is how the rich get to be even richer, my immediate concern is the dangers that superfunds and retirement funds are sitting as they might be facing another 15%-30% write off. I wonder how people feel about the consequence of their retirement funds collapsing again and now they will have to work until they are 75-80.

So, is this realistic? Am I in an evangelising ‘panic’ mode?

One might think this, but if you have followed my blog, I have consistently written over a period exceeding a year that the first need was to diminish government debts. It was the number one issue that had to be dealt with, nothing else mattered, because those without debt would get by and those in debt will get a massive invoice. Now we see that danger. So the initial quote that the Guardian had “higher interest rates in the world’s largest economy could come this year” is not just a fab, it is a reality that will push interest payments to new heights. Did Switzerland foresee this, or were they just too unhappy with the risk the Euro had? No matter what, their act seems to have been a good one and releasing the debts they were holding onto is now a second need.

There is a side that seems slightly offensive to me. When we consider “But while it is almost certain Turkey, Brazil, Russia and many others that have seen their businesses and governments borrow heavily in dollars to maintain their spending will suffer higher borrowing costs courtesy of Yellen“, is that true? Is it due to the courtesy of Yellen, or is it because the bulk of politicians cannot get a grasp on their spending spree?

Let’s face it, rates would never remain low and many are following the good news cycle that it will remain, that change is not good and as such, they forget that in their eyes rate rises are not realistic, but they do not control the algorithm. So here we all are, in a place where change is about to befall many, the outcome largely relies on your personal stability, which is a lot easier when your debts are down.

So where lies the economy of change in our favour? That is the true question that matter and I am not sure if I can answer that. I believe it to be dependent on corporations having a balanced realistic long term view. I am however uncertain to predict who those players are. Yet, if we take a look at British politics, we should consider the following; Ed Miliband states “Labour leader tells ‘one nation’ Conservatives he’s on the centre ground and will keep Britain at heart of EU”, how is that a reality? Then there is the quote “Miliband says the past 10 days of the campaign have seen the Tories become the “incredible party”, whose unfunded promises on everything from the NHS to transport and housing have turned them into the party of ‘funny money’“, so how does this relate to the economy of change?

Well, the simple matter is that Labour decided to spend 11.2 billion on an NHS IT system, that system never came, the money is gone and the NHS is weaker still. These are simple facts that you the reader can Google in any browser. There is housing progress, but not as much as many would like. In this time of change, Labour wants to spend more money, get the UK in deeper debt, now consider the US raising the interest by 0.5%, in regards to the 1.7 trillion in debt, that change could cost the tax payer an additional 8.5 billion, considering that the IMF claimed that the UK will be short 14 billion, adding to that will be a very dangerous act.

So will the economy of change require us to throw Greece out of the Euro? Will the change of interest topple France and Italy? There are too many factors, but there is certainty that the markets will be massively impacted once the percentage changes. Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, will come ‘He will cite figures in Health Education England’s (HEE) Workforce Plan for England 2015/16, which he says shows the service will be employing nearly 2,000 fewer nurses over the next four years – for reasons “mainly driven by affordability”’ This is a fact we cannot ignore, yet the fact that many sides are not willing to make the hard calls on certain NHS issues, does have an impact in all other quadrants, this includes nursing staff. So before Andy Burnham comes with the alleged plan that the NHS cannot survive another 5 years of David Cameron, perhaps Andy would like to look into his own party and find the plus 11 billion that they had spent on something that never came to be. I am certain that the cutting of nurses would not have been a reality if the 11 billion had not been lost to virtual plans that never became a reality.

The last of the pork pies can be found here: “Labour has set out a better plan to invest £2.5bn extra each year, on top of Tory spending plans, paid for by a mansion tax on homes worth £2m, to fund 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs.”, the current UK plan is at a deficit, so where is the 2.5 billion coming from? Mansion tax sounds nice in theory, but those places need maintenance too, which means plumbers, electricians and so on. Also, why keep on pounding the ‘wealthy’ places again and again? It is like the wealth tax. Stating on how the rich can afford more tax. The simple reality is, is that those making more than 1 million is only 6,000 people and roughly another 16,000 make £500,000 to £1 million. So how will you tax them? 60% addition? Where will you get the money to fund 28,000 health care workers? The idiocy of Labour as they make these claims is just too unwarranted. Now add to that the news from 7 hours ago that the interest rates could rise. Once they do, the deficit will grow even more.

So as we see these interactions of change, many of them not realistic, we need to realise that Austerity is here to stay for at least two more administrations, not because we want to, but because the increase of a mere 0.5% amounts to the bulk of all NHS costs, we might not survive a third increase, so we must fight now, so that we can all move forward sooner instead of never.


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A seesaw for three

I have heard many things in my life, there was a motorcyclist with a lack of discipline for speed run straight into Bus 70 in Rotterdam (the Netherlands), the consequence is that his brain got tactiled by his motor helmet; neither him nor his helmet was able to overcome the pressure of driving into the side of a bus at full speed. There was a girl jogging on the train tracks, her jogging in the rhythm of the music, she never heard the train whistle, the train was not able to slow down in time, she did not go faster, the girl lost the encounter, the train did not suffer injury!

All this relates to the item at hand, when we consider the seesaw (many child joyed at the mystery of that temporary conundrum) we see that it is a simple game of equilibrium. I push, my partner goes down, my partner pushes, I go down; there is little mystery in this exercise. So, what happens when we have a third player? When we have a double up on either side, that side goes down until that sides kicks off again, the bigger the difference the harder the action. However, there is a second version, in that version party number three is in the centre, on the seesaw axis, there this party defines the balance. That game seems nice, but it is no longer a game, the gamers at the end of the seesaw seem to get nullified playing. This is how I see what happened in the last 48 hours.

The most interesting source in this case is a site called ‘Quartz’ (at http://qz.com/327410/absolutely-everything-you-need-to-understand-what-happened-to-the-swiss-franc-this-week/), with this quote being the most interesting one “Because it was creating new francs and using them to buy euros, the SNB’s currency holdings exploded. This is hugely important. In the United States, the Fed is buying the safest financial instrument in the world, US government bonds. It can hold those bonds until they mature and be virtually assured it will be paid back. The SNB, on the other hand, is acquiring a giant pile of currencies that can whipsaw in value, potentially exposing the bank to large losses“, it is interesting for two reasons. First of all there is this part: ‘the safest financial instrument in the world, US government bonds‘ and there is ‘The SNB is acquiring a giant pile of currencies that can whipsaw in value, exposing the bank to large losses‘. I took a few unessential words out of the second quote. What we get is with one, that the illusion that US government bonds are the safest. With a president unable to control its spending, the US is about to start new wars, setting them back billions, the Dow Jones Index is trusted less and less, whilst in addition more sources are stating that a stock market crash will happen any day now (at http://www.moneynews.com/MKTNews/Market-Collapse-Finance-Stocks/2013/03/01/id/492699/). I have no value on moneynews.com, what they show looks nice, but charts can be explained in more than one way and what is ‘disastrous’ to some, can be explained away by others. I have had similar thoughts on the changes to the markets, but not based on these charts.

So as the stock market would collapse, the dollar would take a massive dive. The Dollar is about to take a dive because it is so intertwined with the Euro in many ways, so as the Euro takes a tumble, so will that mighty ‘safe’ dollar (not to mention the 18 trillion of debt). So now we get the second issue, if the danger to the SNB (Swiss National Bank) is so volatile, why take any risk at all. You see, the Americans (some not too bright) went after all these rich billionaires hiding their funds outside of the US. So the Swiss always played along, because if push came to shove, they had American billions, perhaps even a thousand of them (trillion dollar joke), which means that the risk was relatively small. As America hunted down these artful tax dodgers, those Americans struck deals and took away their cash, so why should the Swiss take any risk for the irresponsible spenders on end of the seesaw? It’s like there is one European on one side, two Americans on the other side and Switzerland was on the axial holding the mess in balance. Now, the axle player stops playing and we get this mess.

So when we see “The bank’s foreign currency holdings have grown to about 75% of GDP” and “So the SNB decided to abandon the ceiling on the franc, in response, the spring-loaded franc shot higher“, makes perfect sense. Why should a nation with a relative low debt hold this much in risk? So now we get a new dance! “The SNB’s decision to suddenly go back on a previous policy it had claimed to be committed to will make markets think twice before taking the bank at its word. That’ll make monetary policy tougher to carry out in the future” shows two sides, one is he term ‘previous policy’. That sounds pretty nice that Switzerland is shown as ‘the bad guy’, yet, is that true? Policy is one thing, but it requires accountability on the other side, for the Franc with a ceiling is one thing, the fact that the roof might be made from papier mâché during a blizzard is not good news if you are Swiss in nature, the ceiling issues requires actions from all involved players. Especially when the foreign currency holdings of Switzerland is set at roughly 75% of GDP (going by the numbers QZ is showing), if you doubt this, then I ask you to remember that small place called Cyprus, when that went pear shaped, the Cypriots were left holding an empty bag (a little under 2 years ago). I am not at all surprised that the Swiss want a better option for themselves and getting out whilst they can is not the worst idea. The last part is seen in this quote: “five years after the worst of the global financial crisis and Great Recession, the world still seems to be tip-toeing toward a deflationary vortex. It will take serious political efforts from governments and central banks to move against the tide. The ECB finally shows signs of joining the fight, which is a good thing. But the SNB’s decision suggests that some governments are giving up and just letting the current carry them away“, this I need to do in the following parts:

  1. It will take serious political efforts from governments and central banks to move against the tide‘, America has not kept their debt in check (as well as the ‘big’ Euro 4), it is still growing with a change of the guard (US presidential re-election) as well as the fact that another US debt ceiling is reached within the next 8 weeks. Add to that the Euro taking a few extra hits, this all adds up to a massive risk to Switzerland.
  2. The SNB’s decision suggests that some governments are giving up and just letting the current carry them away‘, this is the killer. The currency effort of not maintaining its value is implied as the Euro goes down (implied, not a given), in addition we see the Greek news ‘Inside its smoke-filled HQ, the far-left party is making plans to defy the EU over Greece’s debt and abolish draconian austerity measures imposed to shore up the euro‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/17/greek-elections-syriza-europe-eurozone-alexis-tsipras), so next week, if this becomes an issue, the Euro takes another big bashing because the Greeks could not contain themselves or the debt that they had created (their governments), so now the other players must pay for the short-sightedness of the Greeks. Why are there not more political parties very outspoken in this regard? I mean with the debt at hand, your private island could be a nice future (I’ll take ownership of Paros for 499 Euro)!

These elements are all in play, yet no one considered the effect of the risks. That empty headedness (as I personally see it), this part becomes visible when we look at ‘Swiss Franc Trade Is Said to Wipe Out Everest’s Main Fund‘ (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2015-01-17/swiss-franc-trade-is-said-to-wipe-out-everest-s-main-fund.html). This is all interesting, especially “Everest Capital’s Global Fund had about $830 million in assets as of the end of December, according to a client report. The Miami-based firm, which specializes in emerging markets, still manages seven funds with about $2.2 billion in assets. The global fund, the firm’s oldest, was betting the Swiss franc would decline“. Did we not see this before (was it in 2004 or 2008)?

When we consider the additional “The SNB’s decision to end its three-year policy of capping the franc at 1.20 a euro triggered losses at Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG and Barclays Plc as well as hedge funds and mutual funds“, which is due to the line ‘including a wager that the Swiss franc would fall‘. So if that is the case then several people made a very ‘dumb’ wager. The question becomes ‘did they make a bad wager, or was this orchestrated’?

There is no way for me to prove that there was any intent (I am not saying there was any orchestration, only asking on the chance of it). Yet, does this not represent another case of putting a few billion eggs in one basket? Yes, I agree that the statement “The franc surged as much as 41 percent versus the euro on Jan. 15, the biggest gain on record, and climbed more than 15 percent against all of the more than 150 currencies tracked by Bloomberg”, consider when we see the light of the seesaw, and the 75% of GDP that the SNB holds in foreign currency. When it makes this leap against the said 150 currencies, how much discipline are some currency controllers not showing in light of the earlier quote ‘some governments are giving up and just letting the current carry them away‘. Perhaps the question that Katherine Burton (the writer) at Bloomberg should be asking is “How come such managed levels of foreign currency holdings were left out in the open to this extend, especially after the Cyprus issue” is a question that should have run with every front page on the planet (at least 4 weeks ago), so it is not just the SNB that is now getting the spotlight, my questions becomes, which decision makers are now hiding in the shadows for allowing such levels of risk. It seems to me that a ‘policy’ is a poor excuse when people frown on the SNB, whilst not asking how it was allowed these levels of foreign holdings in the first place.

So when we look at the Guardian ‘Swiss currency crisis claims casualties across the world‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jan/16/west-ham-sponsor-alpari-swiss-currency-crisis) “This has resulted in the majority of clients sustaining losses that have exceeded their account equity. Where a client cannot cover this loss, it is passed on to us”, so how many were ‘gambling’ that the Swiss Franc would take a dive and why did no one foresee this risk (when you bet the house and all your belongings on a ‘safe’ bet, you only have yourself to thank for moving to a carton box). The last statement sounds a little crass, but we saw this before then hedge funds took a dive, so why is there a lack of these checks and balances? Yet there is more, the Guardian has two more quotes that show the dangers here “We are very different to Alpari, which was designed for people who want to speculate” and “But I’m surprised they went bust so quickly. Ultimately, they should be able to go back to the client to recover the money they lost” which is the part I expected initially. When we see these levels of speculation, the question becomes, who was checking the window for icebergs ahead?

Finally there is one quote at the beginning, which I steered around. The quote “Shares in FXCM slumped 40% ahead of a formal announcement about its future after it admitted it faced $225m of losses“, should keep you thinking. Consider the question, that one currency jump could have this drastic an effect on Forex Capital Markets, the online Foreign exchange market broker based in the US. So, even though this could happen, the fact that it did, seems to be a nightmare for several players. All this and then we see the most astounding part in Forbes (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2015/01/17/this-is-just-too-lovely-about-fxcm-just-too-lovely-for-words/). Here we see “It’s not entirely obvious that those higher margin requirements would have saved FXCM but still, that is fun, isn’t it? They lobbied against the rules that would have protected them“, if you read the article, you get the whole picture (I was not willing to use three entire paragraphs there), so the need for ‘better’ margins pretty much costed them the farm in the last few days and even though Forex might survive, we need to take a harsh look at the ‘gambling’ that has happened, not just because of the gamblers, but the entire ‘policy’ part from the SNB does not sit well with me. With Cyprus 2 years ago, this issue should never have been allowed to exist in the first place, so before we start blaming and lynching Swiss people, let’s make sure that we get a complete list of all the currencies and the values that Switzerland was holding on 75% of their GDP, because we should be asking those involved parties a few questions on irresponsible parking such amounts.

Tim Worstall wrote the gem in Forbes, but neither him or those who set out the parts in Bloomberg and the Guardian are looking at the bigger picture (as I personally see it), as this economy was playing a game of seesaw, how did these adult players not realise that the person on the axial (SNB) was going to lose interest being at risk on the axle, whilst the other two sides were having the joys and benefits of controlled up and down movements.

The evidence as I see it is a simple as watching children play in the playground, the axle position of the seesaw is not the favourite place to be, not even for a short time!



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