Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.The Gallery of Crowd Behavior: Goodbye Stock Market All Time Highs - Doug_Wakefieldth
2.Tesco Meltdown Debt Default Risk Could Trigger a Financial Crisis in Early 2015 - Nadeem_Walayat
3.The Trend Every Nation on Earth Is Pouring Money Into - Keith Fitz-Gerald
4.Do Tumbling Buybacks Signal Another Stock Market Crash? - 26Mike_Whitney
5.Could Tesco Go Bust? How to Save Tesco from Debt Bankruptcy Risk - Nadeem_Walayat
6.Gold And Silver Price - Respect The Trend But Prepare For A Reversal - Michael_Noonan
7.U.S. Economy Faltering Momentum, Debt and Asset Bubbles - Lacy Hunt
8.Bullish Silver Stealth Buying - Zeal_LLC
9.Euro, USD, Gold and Stocks According to Chartology - Rambus_Chartology
10.Evidence of Another Even More Sweeping U.S. Housing Market Bust Already Starting to Appear - EWI
Last 5 days
Pretium - Canadian Golden Elephant - 31st Oct 14
What USA Today Got Wrong About the Stock Market Fear Gauge - 31st Oct 14
Election Result - Labour Wins South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner - 31st Oct 14
Gold Price Falls, Stocks Record Highs as Japan Goes ‘Weimar’ - 31st Oct 14
EUR/USD - Double Bottom Or New Lows? - 31st Oct 14
More Downside Ahead for Gold and Silver - 31st Oct 14
QE Is Dead, Now You Tell Me What You Know - 31st Oct 14
Welcome to the World of Volatility - 31st Oct 14
Stocks Bear Market Crash Towards New All Time Highs as QE3 End Awaits QE4 Start - 31st Oct 14
US Mortgages, Risky Bisiness "Easy Money" - 30th Oct 14
Gold, Silver and Currency Wars - 30th Oct 14
How to Recognize a Stock Market “Bear Raid” on Wall Street - 30th Oct 14
U.S. Midterm Elections: Would a Republican Win Be Bullish for the Stock Market? - 30th Oct 14
Stock Market S&P Index MAP Wave Analysis Forecast - 30th Oct 14
Gold Price Declines Once Again As Expected - 30th Oct 14
Depression and the Economy of a Country - 30th Oct 14
Fed Ends QE? Greenspan Says Gold “Measurably” “Higher” In 5 Years - 30th Oct 14
Apocalypse Now Or Nirvana Next Week? - 30th Oct 14
Understanding Gold's Massive Impact on Fed Maneuvering - 30th Oct 14
Europe: Building a Banking Union - 30th Oct 14
The Colder War: How the Global Energy Trade Slipped From America's Grasp - 30th Oct 14
Don't Get Ruined by These 10 Popular Investment Myths (Part VIII) - 29th Oct 14
Flock of Black Swans Points to Imminent Stock Market Crash - 29th Oct 14
Bank of America's Mortgage Headaches - 29th Oct 14
Risk Management - Why I Run “Ultimate Trailing Stops” on All My Investments - 29th Oct 14
As the Eurozone Economy Stalls, China Cuts the Red Tape - 29th Oct 14
Stock Market Bubble Goes Pop - 29th Oct 14
Gold's Obituary - 29th Oct 14
A Medical Breakthrough Creating Stock Profits - 29th Oct 14
Greenspan: Gold Price Will Rise - 29th Oct 14
The Most Important Stock Market Chart on the Planet - 29th Oct 14
Mysterious Death od CEO Who Went Against the Petrodollar - 29th Oct 14
Hillary Clinton Could Be One of the Best U.S. Presidents Ever - 29th Oct 14
The Worst Advice Wall Street Ever Gave - 29th Oct 14
Bitcoin Price Narrow Range, Might Not Be for Long - 29th Oct 14
UKIP South Yorkshire PCC Election Win is Just Not Going to Happen - 29th Oct 14
Evidence of New U.S. Housing Market Real Estate Bust Starting to Appear - 28th Oct 14
Principle, Rigor and Execution Matter in U.S. Foreign Policy - 28th Oct 14
This Little Piggy Bent The Market - 28th Oct 14
Global Housing Markets - Don’t Buy A Home, You’ll Get Burned! - 28th Oct 14
U.S. Economic Snapshot - Strong Dollar Eating into corporate Profits - 28th Oct 14
Oliver Gross Says Peak Gold Is Here to Stay - 28th Oct 14
The Hedge Fund Rich List Infographic - 28th Oct 14
Does Gold Price Always Respond to Real Interest Rates? - 28th Oct 14
When Will Central Bank Morons Ever Learn? asks Albert Edwards at Societe General - 28th Oct 14
Functional Economics - Getting Your House in Order - 28th Oct 14
Humanity Accelerating to What Exactly? - 27th Oct 14
A Scary Story for Emerging Markets - 27th Oct 14
Could Tesco Go Bust? How to Save Tesco from Debt Bankruptcy Risk - 27th Oct 14
Europe Redefines Bank Stress Tests - 27th Oct 14
Stock Market Intermediate Correction Underway - 27th Oct 14
Why Do Banks Want Our Deposits? Hint: It’s Not to Make Loans - 26th Oct 14
Obamacare Is Not a Revolution, It Is Mere Evolution - 26th Oct 14
Do Tumbling Buybacks Signal Another Stock Market Crash? - 26th Oct 14
Has the FTSE Stock Market Index Put in a Major Top? - 26th Oct 14
Christmas In October – Desperate Measures - 26th Oct 14
Stock Market Primary IV Continues - 26th Oct 14
Gold And Silver Price - Respect The Trend But Prepare For A Reversal - 25th Oct 14
Ebola Has Nothing To Do With The Stock Market - 25th Oct 14
The Gallery of Crowd Behavior: Goodbye Stock Market All Time Highs - 25th Oct 14
Japanese Style Deflation Coming? Where? Fed Falling Behind the Curve? Which Way? - 25th Oct 14
Gold Price Rebounds but Gold Miners Struggle - 25th Oct 14
Stock Market Buy the Dip or Sell the Rally - 25th Oct 14
Get Ready for “Stupid Cheap” Stock Prices - 25th Oct 14
The Trend Every Nation on Earth Is Pouring Money Into - 25th Oct 14 - Keith Fitz-Gerald
Bitcoin Price Decline Stopped, Possibly Temporarily - 25th Oct 14

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Stocks Epic Bear Market

Derivative Monster Alive and Kicking Despite Financial Reforms

Stock-Markets / Derivatives Jun 29, 2010 - 08:23 AM GMT

By: Martin_D_Weiss

Stock-Markets

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleAnyone who thinks the new financial reform law will save us from the next debt disaster must be dreaming. Here are the facts …

Fact: The U.S. derivatives that helped cause the last debt crisis are merely being shifted around like deck chairs on the Titanic.


Fact: Nothing whatsoever is being done about the derivatives monster overseas, which is more than TWICE as big.

Fact: Most important, despite months of debate and thousands of pages of legislation, the two biggest risk-mongers of all — the Treasury and the Fed — didn’t even get a slap on the wrist. They got more power.

Little has been done to address the huge derivatives risks that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) warned about 16 years ago in its landmark study, Financial Derivatives, Actions Needed to Protect the Financial System.

And nothing has been done to address the risks we warned Congress about 15 months ago in our white paper, “Dangerous Unintended Consequences.”

Need proof? Then read on …

Fact #1 Derivatives at U.S. Banks to Be Shifted Like Deck Chairs on the Titanic

In its latest update, the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) reports that the national value of derivatives held by U.S. commercial banks is $216.5 trillion, or nearly FIFTEEN times the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

Moreover, instead of diminishing, they’re getting larger, up by $3.6 trillion — the equivalent of one full quarter of GDP — in just the most recent three-month period.

Yes, regulatory reform takes some steps in the right direction, such as getting a piece of this monster off the street and under the roof of exchanges. But how far is that going to go toward protecting investors if the beast keeps growing bigger?

Despite the new reforms, derivatives will continue to grow in size. And they will continue to be highly leveraged investments that put financial institutions, their trading partners, individual investors, and the entire financial system at risk.

Congress knows — or should know — what these risks are; the GAO explicitly warned about them 16 years ago, long before the 2008 debt crisis began. Derivatives create massive exposure to:

(a) credit risk, defined as “the possibility of loss resulting from a counter party’s failure to meet its financial obligations”;

(b) market risk, “adverse movements in the price of a financial asset or commodity”;

(c) legal risk, “an action by a court or by a regulatory or legislative body that could invalidate a financial contract”;

(d) operations risk, “inadequate controls, deficient procedures, human error, system failure, or fraud”; and

(e) system risk, a chain reaction of financial failures that could threaten the national or global banking system.

Are these risks addressed in financial reform? Only marginally.

Moreover, the GAO warned that a handful of big players accounted for the overwhelming bulk of the derivatives trading — a dangerous concentration of risk.

Has this risk diminished since then? No, it is even more deeply entrenched today: The latest OCC tally of the largest 25 banks (Table 1, pdf page 23) shows that …

  • Just FOUR of the largest commercial banks — JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, and Goldman Sachs — control $205.3 trillion in derivatives, or 94.9 percent of the total held by all U.S. banks.
  • Only 25 of the top banks control $216.1 trillion in derivatives, or 99.82 percent of the total. In other words, for every $100 of derivatives, the big banks hold $99.82; while all the rest of the banks hold a meager 18 cents’ worth.

Does the new regulatory reform address this intense concentration of risk? Hardly. In fact, I fear it could have precisely the opposite effect, tacitly giving the government’s rubber stamp of approval to this dangerous oligopoly.

Fact #2 The Derivatives Monster Overseas Is Twice as Big. But Nothing Whatsoever Is Being Done to Tame It.

The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) reports that, at year-end 2009, the total notional amount of derivatives traded on the over-the-counter market globally was $614.7 trillion.

In addition, the total traded on organized exchanges was $21.7 trillion in futures contracts and another $51.4 trillion in options.

Grand total globally: $687.8 trillion.

Problem: At this juncture, strictly the portion held by U.S. banks (the $216.5 trillion tabulated by the OCC) has anything to do with the new legislation. The balance of $471.3 trillion — TWICE as much — remains outside the realm of any reforms.

Fact #3 Financial Reform Does Nothing to Curb The Two Biggest Risk-Mongers of All: The Treasury and the Fed

The financial reform bill grants both the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve new powers and responsibilities to control and monitor the risk-taking of large financial institutions.

What’s ironic, however, is that these are precisely the agencies that have created — and continue to create — the greatest systemic risks of all:

  • The Treasury, by running the largest federal deficits of all time, exposes the U.S. bond market to the same kind of contagion risk that recently struck Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Hungary. And …
  • The Federal Reserve, by massively increasing the U.S. monetary base, helps create the same kind of speculative bubbles that caused the debt crisis in the first place.

Clearly, Congress has done little more than tinker — fighting the last war, even as it sits on the powder keg of the next one.

My recommendation: Stay safe. And if you have speculative fund available, start now to stake out positions that stand to profit from the consequences of our government’s failure to act decisively — higher interest rates and lower equity prices.

Good luck and God bless!

Martin

Weiss and Weiss Research analysts offering the latest investing news and financial insights for the stock market, including tips and advice on investing in gold, energy and oil. Dr. Weiss is a leader in the fields of investing, interest rates, financial safety and economic forecasting. To view archives or subscribe, visit http://www.moneyandmarkets.com.


© 2005-2014 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