terça-feira, setembro 30, 2008
segunda-feira, setembro 29, 2008
The party has received hundreds of thousands of pounds from hedge fund managers who raked in vast sums by short-selling shares in British banks.
Among the businessmen who donated more than £50,000 to talk privately with him are Paul Ruddock of Lansdowne Partners and Michael Hintze of CQS.
Both their firms made fortunes from betting that the price of Bradford & Bingley and HBOS shares would fall.
Mr Hintze has donated more than £650,000 to the Tories since Mr Cameron became leader and Mr Ruddock has donated £259,500.
Another fund which has admitted short-selling in Bradford & Bingley, GLG Partners, is managed by Pierre Lagrange. His wife Catherine has given £50,000 to the Tories.
The Tories hit back by claiming that one of Gordon Brown's closest political allies, Paul Myners, was a director of GLG Partners. They also said Labour's £1million donor Jon Aisbitt, non-executive chairman of Man Group, one of the world's largest hedge fund managers, had 'profited handsomely' from short-selling.
'No wonder David Cameron and George Osborne wouldn't condemn short-selling or the hedge funds' disgraceful behaviour. Cameron didn't care or dare bite the hedgefund hands that feed them.' »
domingo, setembro 28, 2008
O termo quadrilhão é, pois, plenamente apropriado. Já que reflecte o resultado exacto do labor estrénuo e ponderado de uma descomunal quadrilha cuja desfaçatez só encontra paralelo na audácia.
PS: Evidentemente, se estivéssemos a falar de dinheiro a sério, diríamos quadrilião ou trilião.
sábado, setembro 27, 2008
Atentemos no TOP 10 mundial dos Bancos de Investimento:
1.ABN Amro Bank;
6.Bank of America;
10.JP Morgan Chase.
Portanto, sete bancos americanos, um alemão, um suiço e um holandês. Dos americanos, quatro foram à vida, isto é, desvalorizaram-se calamitosamente e foram absorvidos pelos sobreviventes. Fundiram-se, no melhor dos casos (ou seja, faliram com vaselina); foderam-se, no pior (quer dizer, faliram à bruta - o Lehman Bros).
Dizer eu aqui que pouco ou nada percebo de economia em nada adiantaria à questão. Afinal, como tem vindo a verificar-se monumentalmente, ninguém percebe. A começar pelos chamados "economistas" e pseudo-peritos em mercantilâncias, traficuras e outras trampolinices.
quinta-feira, setembro 25, 2008
"We're on a train headed to the future and there's a bridge out," LaBruzzo said of what he suspects are dangerous demographic trends. "And nobody wants to talk about it."
LaBruzzo said he worries that people receiving government aid such as food stamps and publicly subsidized housing are reproducing at a faster rate than more affluent, better-educated people who presumably pay more tax revenue to the government. He said he is gathering statistics now.»
terça-feira, setembro 23, 2008
domingo, setembro 21, 2008
Quer dizer, o crime, desde que mascarado de jogo, compensa.
“The point everyone misses,” wrote economist Robert Chapman a decade ago, “is that buying derivatives is not investing. It is gambling, insurance and high stakes bookmaking. Derivatives create nothing, bu they serve to enrich non-producers at the expense of the people who create goods and services.”1
Since then, derivative trades have grown exponentially, until now they are larger than the entire global economyt only. The Bank for International Settlements recently reported that total derivatives trades exceeded one quadrillion dollars – that’s 1,000 trillion dollars.3 How is that figure even possible? The gross domestic product of all the countries in the world is only about 60 trillion dollars. The answer is that gamblers can bet as much as they want. They can bet money they don’t have, and that is where the huge increase in risk comes in. »
sexta-feira, setembro 19, 2008
(The FDIC is often appointed as receiver for failed banks. This page contains useful information for the customers and vendors of these banks. This includes information on the acquiring bank (if applicable), how your accounts and loans are affected, and how vendors can file claims against the receivership.)
«At the exchange rate yesterday (Wednesday), 35 trillion British Pounds was equivalent to U.S. $62 trillion (hence, the 35 trillion Pound gorilla). According to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association , $62 trillion is the notional value of credit default swaps (CDS) out there, somewhere, in the market. »
«The Genesis of a Derivative Boom
In the mid-1980s, upon arriving in New York from Chicago with an extensive background trading options and futures (the original derivatives), I was offered a job at what was then Citicorp [today's Citigroup Inc. ( C )]. The offer was for an entry-level post in the bank's brand new OTC (over-the-counter, meaning not exchange traded) swaps and derivatives group. When I asked what the economic purpose of swaps was, the answer came back: “To make money for the bank.”
I declined the position.
It used to be that regulators and legislators demanded theoretical, empirical, and quantitative measures of the efficacy of new tradable instruments being proposed by exchanges. What is their purpose? How will they benefit the capital markets and the economy? And, what safeguards will accompany their introduction?
Not any more. In the early 1990s, in order to hedge their loan risks, J. P. Morgan & Co. [now JPMorgan Chase & Co. ( JPM )] bankers devised credit default swaps.
A credit default swap is, essentially, an insurance contract between a protection buyer and a protection seller covering a corporation's, or sovereign's (the “referenced entity”), specific bond or loan. A protection buyer pays an upfront amount and yearly premiums to the protection seller to cover any loss on the face amount of the referenced bond or loan. Typically, the insurance is for five years.
Credit default swaps are bilateral contracts, meaning they are private contracts between two parties. CDSs are subject only to the collateral and margin agreed to by contract. They are traded over-the-counter, usually by telephone. They are subject to re-sale to another party willing to enter into another contract. Most frighteningly, credit default swaps are subject to “ counterparty risk .”
If the party providing the insurance protection – once it has collected its upfront payment and premiums – doesn't have the money to pay the insured buyer in the case of a default event affecting the referenced bond or loan (think hedge funds), or if the “insurer” goes bankrupt ( Bear Stearns was almost there, and American International Group Inc. ( AIG ) was almost there) the buyer is not covered – period. The premium payments are gone, as is the insurance against default.
Credit default swaps are not standardized instruments. In fact, they technically aren't true securities in the classic sense of the word in that they're not transparent, aren't traded on any exchange, aren't subject to present securities laws, and aren't regulated. They are, however, at risk – all $62 trillion (the best guess by the ISDA) of them.
Fundamentally, this kind of derivative serves a real purpose – as a hedging device. The actual holders, or creditors, of outstanding corporate or sovereign loans and bonds might seek insurance to guarantee that the debts they are owed are repaid. That's the economic purpose of insurance.
What happened, however, is that risk speculators who wanted exposure to certain asset classes, various bonds and loans, or security pools such as residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities (yes, those same subprime mortgage-backed securities that you've been reading about), but didn't actually own the underlying credits, now had a means by which to speculate on them.
If you think XYZ Corp. is in trouble, and won't be able to pay back its bondholders, you can speculate by buying, and paying premiums for, credit default swaps on their bonds, which will pay you the full face amount of the bonds if they do actually default. If, on the other hand, you think that XYZ Corp. is doing just fine, and its bonds are as good as gold, you can offer insurance to a fellow speculator, who holds the opinion opposite yours. That means you'd essentially be speculating that the bonds would not default. You're hoping that you'll collect, and keep, all the premiums, and never have to pay off on the insurance. It's pure speculation.
Credit default swaps are not unlike me being able to insure your house, not with you, but with someone else entirely not connected to your house, so that if your house is washed away in the next hurricane I get paid its value. I'm speculating on an event. I'm making a bet.
The bad news is that there are even worse bets out there. There are credit default swaps written on subprime mortgage securities. It's bad enough that these subprime mortgage pools that banks, investment banks, insurance companies, hedge funds and others bought were over-rated and ended up falling precipitously in value as foreclosures mounted on the underlying mortgages in the pools.
What's even worse, however, is that speculators sold and bought trillions of dollars of insurance that these pools would, or wouldn't, default! The sellers of this insurance (AIG is one example) are getting killed as defaults continue to rise with no end in sight.
And this is only where the story begins.
The Ticking Time Bomb
What is happening in both the stock and credit markets is a direct result of what's playing out in the CDS market. The Fed could not let Bear Stearns enter bankruptcy because – and only because – the trillions of dollars of credit default swaps on its books would be wiped out. All the banks and institutions that had insurance written by Bear would not be able to say that they were insured or hedged anymore and they would have to write-down billions and billions of dollars in losses that they've been carrying at higher values because they could say that they were insured for those losses.
The counterparty risk that all Bear's trading partners were exposed to was so far and wide, and so deep, that if Bear was to enter bankruptcy it would take years to sort out the risk and losses. That was an untenable option.
The Fed had to bail out Bear Stearns.
The same thing has just happened to AIG . Make no mistake about it, there's nothing wrong with AIG's insurance subsidiaries – absolutely nothing. In fact, the Fed just made the best trade in its history by bailing AIG out and getting equity, warrants and charging the insurance giant seven points over the benchmark London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) on that $85 billion loan!
What happened to AIG is simple: AIG got greedy. AIG, as of June 30, had written $441 billion worth of swaps on corporate bonds, and worse, mortgage-backed securities. As the value of these insured-referenced entities fell, AIG had massive write-downs and additionally had to post more collateral. And when its ratings were downgraded on Monday evening, the company had to post even more collateral, which it didn't have.
In short, what happened in one small AIG corporate subsidiary blew apart the largest insurance company in the world.
But there's more – a lot more. These instruments are causing many of the massive write-downs at banks, investment banks and insurance companies. Knowing what all this means for hedge funds, the credit markets and the stock market is the key to understanding where this might end and how.
The rest of the story will be illuminated in the next two installments. Next up: An examination of the AIG collapse, followed by a look at how bad things could get, and what we can do to fix the problem at hand. So stay tuned.»
quarta-feira, setembro 17, 2008
segunda-feira, setembro 15, 2008
sábado, setembro 13, 2008
quinta-feira, setembro 11, 2008
- Não sabeis, fariseus, não sabeis a aventura de Lentullus?
- Não, não! - bradavam alguns penetrados da alegria, do escândalo, de curiosidades inflamadas.
- Lentullus casa com uma virgem patrícia, neta de cônsules: nove meses depois prepara, segundo o costume, para o filho que vai nascer, o berço de tartaruga, coberto de estofos e de ramos de loureiro, e expõe-no às boas palavras dos que passam. Mas toda a nobreza da Via Ápia rompe em risadas. O filho de Lentullus era a imagem viva do bufão Euríalo, e tinha, como ele, três verrugas no queixo.
A risada fazia o ar sonoro. Publius, de pé, manchado, com a túnica rota, descomposto, gritava:
Escutavam com um riso inquieto.
E Publius enfático:
- Os actores - dizia- os gladiadores, os bufões, os tocadores de flauta, os truões, são os pais de todas as crianças que nascem na nobreza romana!»
- Eça de Queiroz, "A Morte de Jesus"
Não devia andar muito longe da verdade, este Publius.
terça-feira, setembro 09, 2008
- Alexandre Soljenitsyne, "Discursos de Harvard" (Junho, 1978)
E ainda a missa vai a metade. Depois dos hamburgueres e da coca-cola, dos shoping-coisos e dos tico-tanques de alguidar, entrou-se agora na época dos gangs e riots. Enfim, esplendores da civilizacinha.
segunda-feira, setembro 08, 2008
No rescaldo amargo da Primeira Grande Guerra, Max Hoffmann, para alguns o mais brilhante general alemão da época, carpia significativamente nas suas memórias :
«Transportando Lenine para a Rússia, animava-nos o firme propósito de inocular a peste no exército russo; mas não pensámos em como esta praga contaminaria também as nossas tropas, arruinando-as.»
domingo, setembro 07, 2008
«Pacheco Pereira contestou, em declarações aos jornalistas, que Manuela Ferreira Leite tenha estado "em silêncio". »
Dá para imaginar a sofisticada argumentação desta galinha tele-poedeira:
«Dinheiro dos contribuintes não pode ser dado às cegas», diz o Presidente da AICEP.
sábado, setembro 06, 2008
Sobre esta misteriosa confissão do último dos grandes escritores, só me apraz dizer o seguinte: também eu.
Estou a falar das ventas besuntadas e asquerosas desta ré-pública?
Nem por sombras .
Porque, nesta república rara,
dito curto, grosso e cru,
ninguém sabe já, com ciência clara
onde raio acaba a cara
e principia, mordorial, o cu.
Assim como nesta naçoa paralítica
império do cuspe e da treta,
já não se distingue o ânus da teta
nem a teta da política.
quarta-feira, setembro 03, 2008
segunda-feira, setembro 01, 2008
Pelos vistos, os furacões, ao contrário das furaconas (como a saudosa Katrina), também sofrem de disfunção eréctil. Na hora H, ficam furaquinhos.
É claro que qualquer relação deste "virar o bico ao prego" Oxidental com isto, com isto, ou com isto, é pura coincidência.
Realce, entretanto, para o sentido de humor do Almirante Russo da Esquadra do Mar Negro:
«Em 20 minutos, limpávamos as águas. Mas esse risco é negligenciável. Nós não dispararemos primeiro, e não me parece que esta gente tenha tendências suicidas.»
Serve tembém de moral da história.