collateral

Insider

Shutterstock

The Coming Valuation Crisis

And why it will be so difficult to contain
Friday, July 27, 2018, 6:49 PM

Executive Summary

  • The Fed's inability to recognize the true dynamics of the 2008 crisis has re-inflated a market bubble and unfairly rewarded the big banks
  • More credit/liquidity cannot solve valuation/collateral crises. But that's exactly what central banks tried to do -- creating today's "Everything Bubble"
  • How the Crisis of 2018/2019 will differ from 2008
  • Why this time, the Fed's fixes will be futile

If you have not yet read The FAANG-nary In The Coal Mine, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first. Note that this Part 2 is an updated version of a report first published in 2014.

In Part 1, we noted the eroding good options for investment capital in today's "Everything bubble" financial markets, as well as the dangerous risks that another 2008-style crisis is brewing. If markets are fractal, as argued by Benoit Mandelbrot, then we can anticipate more “once in a lifetime” crises than economists expect, and that such crises will be less predictable than expected.

In Part 2 of this report, we explain why the policies of the governments and central banks around the world that have boosted assets such as stocks, bonds and real estate to new bubble highs will cause a crisis that will be as damaging as 2008 -- yet unfold quite differently, in ways the system is not prepared for.

Fighting the Wrong Battles

The outlines of the coming crisis were readily visible in 2007; the subprime domino was toppling the market for mortgage backed securities which in turn was toppling the market for credit defaults, collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and a host of other exotic financial instruments.

Those of you who were actively following stock markets in 2007 and 2008 may recall the wild surges of euphoria that accompanied every Fed policy announcement. Stock indices shot up every time, only to falter once again as the liquidity injections failed to resolve the underlying collateral/valuation crisis.

When liquidity programs failed to fix the erosion of collateral, markets went into a free-fall.

We can anticipate that the Fed (and other central banks) will respond to a renewed collateral/valuation crisis in the same way they resolved the crisis in 2009—by buying assets directly in vast quantities.  The Fed’s option of buying stocks directly (for example, index contracts or funds) is sometimes referred to as the Nuclear Option, the ultimate backstop to a global meltdown.

But the nuclear option won't fix anything, because... » Read more

Blog

girardatlarge.com

The Inescapable Reason Why the Financial System Will Fail

Credit cannot expand faster than fundamentals forever
Friday, December 29, 2017, 8:13 PM

Central banks are now trapped.

If they raise rates to provide low-risk, high-yield returns to institutional owners, they will stifle the “recovery” and the asset bubbles that are dependent on unlimited liquidity and super-low interest rates. But if they keep yields low, the only way institutional investors can earn the gains they need to survive is to pile into risk assets and hope the current bubbles will loft higher.

This conundrum has pushed the central banks into yet another policy extreme: to mask the rising systemic risk created by asset bubbles, central banks have taken to suppressing measures of volatility—measures than in previous eras would reflect the rising risks of extreme asset bubbles deflating.
Blog

Get Ready for Rising Commodity Prices

Driven by hot money seeking a low-risk haven
Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 9:27 PM

The human mind seeks a narrative explanation of events, a story that makes sense of the swirl of life’s interactions.

The simpler the story, the easier it is to understand. Thus the simple stories are the most attractive to us.

But conspiracies and power groups do not always provide comprehensive explanations for what we observe. » Read more

Blog

Say Goodbye to the Purchasing Power of the Dollar

Mr. Bernanke goes to Crazytown
Sunday, March 24, 2013, 11:29 PM

On a long solo car trip this past weekend, I downloaded several podcasts to listen to as the miles passed. One was a classic: The Invention of Money, originally released by NPR's Planet Money team back in January of 2011. I highly recommend listening (or re-listening) to it in full.

The podcast is a great reminder of how any currency in a monetary system is a fabricated construct. A simpler way to explain this is to say it has value simply because we believe it does. » Read more

Blog

The Unsafe Foundation of Our Housing 'Recovery'

Overdependence on subsidies, debt, and unfounded optimism
Monday, February 25, 2013, 5:55 PM

What could go wrong with the housing 'recovery' in 2013?

To answer this question, we need to understand that housing is the key component in household wealth. And, that Central Planning policies are aimed at creating a resurgent “wealth effect,” as follows: When people perceive their wealth as rising, they tend to borrow and spend more freely. This is a major goal of U.S. Central Planning.

Another key goal of Central Planning is to strengthen the balance sheets of banks and households. And the broadest way to accomplish this is to boost the value of housing. This then adds collateral to banks holding mortgages and increases the equity of homeowners.

Some analysts have noted that housing construction and renovation has declined to a modest percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP). This perspective understates the importance of the family house as the largest asset for most households and housing’s critical role as collateral in the banking system. » Read more