Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.SNP Offers Labour Deadly Death Embrace Alliance, Holding England to Ransom, Destroy UK From Within - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Gold And Silver – Most Widely Used Currency In Western World? Stupidity - Michael_Noonan
3.Election Forecast 2015 - Coalition Economic Recovery vs Labour Collapse - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Election Forecast 2015 - Debates Boost Labour Into Opinion Polls Seats Lead - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Why are Interest Rates So Low? Ben Bernanke, Confused as Ever, Starts His Own Blog to Prove It - Mike_Shedlock
6.Leaders Debate Election 2015 - Natalie Bennett Green Party Convincing Anti-Austerity More Debt Argument - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Labour Economic Collapse vs Coalition Recovery - UK Election Forecast 2015 - Video - Nadeem_Walayat
8.China’s Stock Market Mania; How High can Red-chips Fly? - Gary_Dorsch
9.Gold and Misery, Strange Bedfellows - 31st Mar 15 - Dan_Norcini
10.Ed Miliband Debate Election 2015 Analysis - Labour Spending, Debt and Economic Collapse - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 5 days
One Stock Market Where You Haven't Missed the Bull Market Boom Yet - 26th Apr 15
Migrant Crisis - Europe Has Completely Lost It - 26th Apr 15
What Obama's First-Ever Energy Review Missed - 26th Apr 15
Sheffield Hallam Election Battle 2015, School Places Crisis, Can Nick Clegg Win? - 26th Apr 15
Stocks Bull Market Looks to Resume - 25th Apr 15
Gold And Silver - The U.S. Is A Corporation. Precious Metals Stand In The Way - 25th Apr 15
When the Nuclear Money Option Fails - 25th Apr 15
The War on Cash Special Report - 25th Apr 15
China Economic Slowdown Story - Why “Didi Dache” Is a Phrase You Need to Know - 25th Apr 15
The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Death of the Republic - 25th Apr 15
Stock Splitting Caused the Stock Market Crash - 25th Apr 15
China Stock Market Parabolic Mania’s Global Risk - 24th Apr 15
What Will Happen to You When the U.S. Dollar Collapses? - 24th Apr 15
Why 2 of U.S. Dollar's Recent Bottoms Have 1 Thing In Common - 24th Apr 15
UK Economy Debt Timebomb Will Explode After Election - 24th Apr 15
Are Gold Stocks the Cheapest Ever? - 24th Apr 15
God, the Stock Market and Pascal's Wager - 24th Apr 15
Greedy Insurers Are in for a Nasty Surprise – Positioning You for Big Profits - 24th Apr 15
Four Things Missing From Obama’s First-Ever Energy Review - 24th Apr 15
How to Grow a Regenerative Medicine Industry - 23rd Apr 15
Stocks and Bonds Seven Year of Negative Returns; Fraudulent Promises - 23rd Apr 15
The Existential Danger To The Euro Is Elections - 23rd Apr 15
Stock Market No Clear Direction As Investors React To Quarterly Earnings Releases - 23rd Apr 15
Is China The Next United States? - 23rd Apr 15
U.S. Oil Glut: How High Can It Go? - 23rd Apr 15
Distorted Financial System Expect Deflation, Inflation And Hyperinflation - 23rd Apr 15
What McDonald’s Corporate Earnings Report Is Really Telling You - 23rd Apr 15
Gold Price Forecast to Become Priceless - 23rd Apr 15
FDIC Plots a Bank Heist Involving YOUR Accounts - 23rd Apr 15
$GOLD Price Year 2007 Again - 23rd Apr 15
Stocks Bubble - The Spread between Stock Prices and GDP is Blowing Out - 23rd Apr 15
Ukraine War - When Did We All Become Murderers? - 23rd Apr 15
Libya Crisis - EU Leaders Are Indicted for Nazi-Style Crimes against Humanity - 22nd Apr 15
Why Alternative Energy Isn’t Taking It on the Chin Despite Low Oil Prices - 22nd Apr 15
Bill Gross - German 10-Year Bunds Short of a Life Time - 22nd Apr 15
How to Profit from the Drop in the Oil Price - 22nd Apr 15
The U.S. Dollar's Move Is More Dangerous than You Think - 22nd Apr 15
Apple Watch Means Apple Will Become Worlds First $1 Trillion Stock - 22nd Apr 15
Half a Stocks Bubble Off Dead Center - 22nd Apr 15
They Said Go to College - Learning to become Debt Slaves - 22nd Apr 15
Best Cash ISA 2015/16, Instant and Fixed Savings Interest Rates, New Flexible Withdrawal / Deposit Rule - 22nd Apr 15
Unsound Banking: Why Most of the World's Banks Are Headed for Collapse - 21st Apr 15
Bitcoin Recent Low Price Volatility Might Be Deceptive - 21st Apr 15
Currency Wars Back As Russia Buys Gold - One Million Ounces in March Alone - 21st Apr 15
The Greece 'Grexit' Issue and the Problem of Free Trade - 21st Apr 15
Why Europe Lets People Drown - 21st Apr 15
Wealth Destruction for the 99.9 Percent - 21st Apr 15
SNP Publish England's Suicide Note as Pollsters Still Forecast Labour-SNP Election Disaster - 21st Apr 15
Characteristics of Extremely Over-Indebted Economies - 21st Apr 15
Trader Education Week -- a Free Event to Help You Learn to Spot Trading Opportunities - 21st Apr 15
Gold & Silver Alert: Silver Stocks’ Signal - 20th Apr 15
Now is the Time to Buy Resource Stocks, Especially Gold Equities - 20th Apr 15
DJ Transportation & Utility Averages Suggest Stocks Bull Market Is Over - 20th Apr 15
Crude Oil Price Bull Market Hope - 20th Apr 15
Stock Market Bears Get Slaughtered Despite Greece Counting Down to Grexit Financial Armageddon - 20th Apr 15
The Rise of the Paper Machines - 20th Apr 15
Gold and Silver Inflection Point - 20th Apr 15
SP500: A Butcher's Stock Market (Chop Chop Chop) - 20th Apr 15
Are Stock Market Bears Slowly Gaining Control? - 20th Apr 15
Sugar Commodity Price Bear Rally - 19th Apr 15
Avoid the Spread of the Stock Market "China Syndrome" - 19th Apr 15
Stock Market Going Nowhere Fast - 19th Apr 15
An Easy Way to Profit From the Two Biggest Trends in the Stock Market - 19th Apr 15
No Scripture Is Divine, Authentic and Beyond the Creation of the Human Brain - 19th Apr 15

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

The War on Cash!

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.


© 2005-2015 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