Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Election Forecast 2015 - Opinion Polls Trending Towards Conservative Outright Win - Nadeem_Walayat
2.UK Solar Eclipse - End Time Sign, Judgement Day, Doomsday! - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Gold And Silver - When Will Precious Metals Rally? Not In 2015 - Michael_Noonan
4.Preparing for the Next Stocks Bear Market - Forecast 2015-2016 - Gary_Savage
5.Is a Stock Market Crash Imminent? - David Eifrig
6.Gold Price Slumps as US Dollar Soars, What's Next? - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Dollar Forex Pairs and Gold Chartology - Rambus_Chartology
8.Election Forecast 2015: The Day Labour Lost the General Election - Nadeem_Walayat
9.The ECB Should End QE Next Month - EconMatters
10.Silver Price Poised to Surge - Zeal_LLC
Last 5 days
Is the U.S. Headed for a Recession? - 1st Apr 15
Did The Fed Just Admit to Deep Uncertainty About Our Financial Security In Retirement? - 1st Apr 15
Gold Price Flat In Quarter In Dollars But 5% Higher In Pounds - 1st Apr 15
Financial Market Extremes: Expect Consequences - 1st Apr 15
Iceland Ponders Radical Banking Plan to Eliminate Fractional Reserve Lending - 1st Apr 15
How Traded Options Can Power a 300%-Plus Gain on Twitter - 1st Apr 15
You Can’t Afford Not to Invest in This Latest Yesla Technology - 1st Apr 15
Election Forecast 2015 - Coalition Economic Recovery vs Labour Collapse - 1st Apr 15
Bitcoin Price Down Move Still in the Cards - 31st Mar 15
No Body Understands Debt - Living in a Free-Lunch World - 31st Mar 15
Will Gold Win Out Against the US Dollar? - 31st Mar 15
Middle East Balance of Power Matures - 31st Mar 15
Ed Miliband Debate Election 2015 Analysis - Labour Spending, Debt and Economic Collapse - 31st Mar 15
Gold and Misery, Strange Bedfellows - 31st Mar 15
Why are Interest Rates So Low? Ben Bernanke, Confused as Ever, Starts His Own Blog to Prove It - 31st Mar 15
Don’t Celebrate the U.S. Housing Market Recovery Yet - 30th Mar 15
A Middle East Nuclear Holocaust - 30th Mar 15
Peak Gold? – Goldman Sachs Research Warns of Peak Gold Production - 30th Mar 15
With Yemen Burning, Arab Spring II Is Underway - 30th Mar 15
No FED Bets From the BIS - 30th Mar 15
Election Forecast 2015 - Debates Boost Labour Into Opinion Polls Seats Lead - 30th Mar 15
Economic Recovery, Geopolitics and Detergents - 30th Mar 15
U.S. Dollar, Commodities and the Gold Miners GDXJ ETF Analysis - 30th Mar 15
Stock Market Short-term Downtrend - 30th Mar 15
David Cameron Election 2015 Debate Facts Check - Employment, Immigration, Debt & Deficit - 29th Mar 15
Stock Market About Ready to Crash! - 29th Mar 15
Reflections in a Golden Eye - Gold Market Rejection, Repatriation and Redemption - 28th Mar 15
Stock Market Inflection Point - 28th Mar 15
Gold And Silver - What Moved Price? Bab el-Mandeb And Uranus Square Pluto. What?! - 28th Mar 15
Stock Market Investment Parachutes; Do You Have Yours? - 28th Mar 15
Peak Gold Misunderstanding, is Gold About to Run Out? - 28th Mar 15
Deflation Watch: Key U.S. Economic Measures Turn South - 27th Mar 15
The Hard-Earned Truth About Recreational Real Estate - 27th Mar 15
Bitcoin Price Still in Important Territory - 27th Mar 15
Stocks Bear Market Conditions - Index Market Range Warning - 27th Mar 15
BEA Leaves Q4 2014 U.S. GDP Growth Essentially Unchanged at 2.22% - 27th Mar 15
Brazil Economy Victim of Vulgar Keynesianism - 27th Mar 15
Gold to Fuel Silver Price Upleg - 27th Mar 15
Gold and Silver Stocks Will Rise Again! - 27th Mar 15
Risk of ‘World War’ between NATO and Russia on Ukraine as Yemen Bombed - 27th Mar 15
FOMC Minutes Turned The Gold Tide - 27th Mar 15
Sheffield Hallam Election Battle 2015 - Lib Dems Go to War Whilst Labour Sleeps - 27th Mar 15
Gold Effect On Mining & Shale Wasteland - 27th Mar 15
How Stock Investors Should Play the 2016 Presidential Race - 26th Mar 15
MidEast Energy Alert: Why the Crisis in Yemen Could Get Ugly Very Fast - 26th Mar 15
Stock Market Downward Spiral of Dumbness - 26th Mar 15
The Monetary Approach Reigns Supreme - 26th Mar 15
Stock Market Large Gap Down, Despite the Algos' Push Back - 26th Mar 15
Crude Oil Surges, Gold price Spikes as Middle East Tensions Escalate - 26th Mar 15
The U.S. Housing Market Recovery Is Fabricated Optimism - 26th Mar 15
Why Yemen Is The Next Saudi-Iranian Battleground - 26th Mar 15
The Crude Oil Price Crash and China Economic Slow Down - 26th Mar 15
Global Financial Markets Are More Distorted Than Ever Before - 26th Mar 15
One More Stock Market Rally and Then a Huge Drop Expected - 26th Mar 15
Danger Will Robinson - Stock Market Crash Warning - 25th Mar 15
Learn the Basics of Corrective Elliott Waves - 25th Mar 15
Why CNBC Is Hazardous to Your Financial Health! - 25th Mar 15
Will Your Retirement Accounts Survive The Coming Tax Code "Revolution"? - 25th Mar 15
US Dollar - Americas Phoenix - 25th Mar 15
California’s Epic Drought: Only One Year of Water Left! - 25th Mar 15
What’s Wrong With Silver? - 25th Mar 15
SPX Futures Appear Weak. WTIC and Gold May Be at Max Retracement - 25th Mar 15
We’re at the Dawn of a “New Energy Age” - 25th Mar 15
A Very Weak U.S. Economic Recovery - 25th Mar 15
Zero UK CPI Inflation Rate Prompts Deflation Danger Propaganda For Fresh Money Printing - 25th Mar 15

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

US Economy Still on Life Support

Bank Stress Tests are Not Stressful Enough

Politics / Credit Crisis 2009 Apr 30, 2009 - 12:06 AM GMT

By: John_Browne

Politics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleLast week, when the U.S. Treasury unveiled the basics of their lender "stress tests", the Fed concluded that "most U.S. banking organizations currently have capital levels well in excess of the amounts required to be well capitalized." Simultaneously, they also claimed that the banks needed more capital. Apparently the Fed has little understanding of irony.


Why would our central bankers conclude that "well capitalized" banks need "more capital?" Quite possibly, they believe, as I do, that the rosy economic assumptions that form the basis of the "stress tests" may be far too optimistic. I believe that neither the Fed nor the Treasury have any will to paint a clear picture of our financial turmoil. But that won't stop them from operating under those assumptions.

A brief examination of the stress test assumptions shows why the Fed should be hedging their bets.

First, the level of stress in the tests was set unrealistically low. Their absolute worst case assumption was for a GDP contraction of only 3.3 percent in 2009. This comes as first quarter 2009 GDP shrank at 6.1 percent. And the economy is still slowing. To post a contraction of just 3.3 percent for the year would likely involve an immediate reversal in the rate of contraction and outright expansion by the fourth quarter.

The stress test also assumes a worst case scenario unemployment rate of 8.9 percent in 2009. This is also wildly optimistic when unemployment is already at 8.7 percent and rising at some 20,000 each day. Worse still, if calculated on a pre-Clinton basis, to include all those unable to find anything but part-time employment, the current unemployment rate is a staggering 19.2 percent, or just 0.8 percent from official depression levels! It appears that the U.S. is fast slipping from recession into depression, rendering the stress tests almost meaningless other than as a public morale boosting exercise.

Second, the conclusion that "most" of the banks are well capitalized, as the Fed claims, also strains the bonds of credibility. The nineteen banks tested have total assets of $11.5 trillion. Technically, sixteen of these banks already are insolvent. If any two fail, they will exhaust the current FDIC bank deposit insurance fund. Only three of the banks, accounting for just 6 percent of the group's assets, could survive even the most liberal worst case scenario assumed by the

Treasury. Meanwhile, the five largest and most vulnerable banks, with about $8 trillion in assets, account for some 70 percent of the group's total assets.
Some observers point to the relative security of the smaller regional banks, which did not engage as heavily in leveraged investments. However, the FDIC list of troubled banks has risen in the past three months from 1,568 banks with about $2.3 trillion in assets to 1,816 banks with some $4.4 trillion in assets. The risk has almost doubled, seemingly overnight!

Finally, by suspending the needed discipline of mark-to-market accounting, the profits of many banks have been massaged deceptively upwards. For example, a 'real' loss of more than $2 billion at Citibank was 'fudged' into a published profit of $1.6 billion.

The observers at the Fed and Treasury, as well as the most sophisticated investors around the world, are neither ignorant nor ill-informed. Despite their stress tests, they must be aware of the possibility of massive bank failures and terrifying aftershocks. This belief may have been a factor in a rumor, circulated after the stress tests were announced, that defensive maneuvers to avoid a run on the dollar, including the elimination of hedged short sales against the dollar, would soon be announced. If such a rule were to be put forward it would rightly be seen as a precursor to internationally coordinated foreign exchange controls, that would abruptly bring an end to the benefits of free trade.

Meanwhile, China has used its huge domestic gold production to double its gold reserves. Such clear concern over the viability of paper currency may encourage other central banks and even corporations to follow suit, making physical gold even harder to obtain. Gold therefore, is likely to experience renewed buying pressure as panic buying overcomes the downward 'commodity' selling pressure of depression.

For a more in depth analysis of our financial problems and the inherent dangers they pose for the U.S. economy and U.S. dollar denominated investments, read Peter Schiff's new book For an updated look at his investment strategy order a copy of his just released book " The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets ." Click here to order your copy now .

For a look back at how Peter predicted our current problems read the 2007 bestseller " Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse ." Click here to order a copy today .

By John Browne
Euro Pacific Capital
http://www.europac.net/

More importantly make sure to protect your wealth and preserve your purchasing power before it's too late. Discover the best way to buy gold at www.goldyoucanfold.com , download my free research report on the powerful case for investing in foreign equities available at www.researchreportone.com , and subscribe to my free, on-line investment newsletter at http://www.europac.net/newsletter/newsletter.asp

John Browne is the Senior Market Strategist for Euro Pacific Capital, Inc.  Mr. Brown is a distinguished former member of Britain's Parliament who served on the Treasury Select Committee, as Chairman of the Conservative Small Business Committee, and as a close associate of then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Among his many notable assignments, John served as a principal advisor to Mrs. Thatcher's government on issues related to the Soviet Union, and was the first to convince Thatcher of the growing stature of then Agriculture Minister Mikhail Gorbachev. As a partial result of Brown's advocacy, Thatcher famously pronounced that Gorbachev was a man the West "could do business with."  A graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Britain's version of West Point and retired British army major, John served as a pilot, parachutist, and communications specialist in the elite Grenadiers of the Royal Guard.

John_Browne Archive

© 2005-2015 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014