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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A case for dumping?

A report by the OECD in Bridges Disgest states that aid to the developing world has fallen short.

Read it here

I think a case for developed world subsidies and then, dumping in developing markets is not a totally bad idea.

In fact, I hope as a bi-product of all of the protectionist actions from and within the devloped world that developed countries, start producing goods cheaper and then, it would end up in a profound glut and then they would end up having to dump cheap/subsidized goods in the developing countries--while their tax payers pay for it.

That can be seen as aid as well. In fact, it probably would be better than giving all out cash to developing country governments, in a time of all around financial pressure.

CLICO Bahamas in liquidation!

Well, more on this story as the week progresses. But, preliminary reports have it that CLICO in the Bahamas, is under liquidation.

From Trinidad to now the CLICO in the Bahamas.

Sad!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mr. Sentance should be sentenced!

I see why folks in the UK fear the worst for the economy!! In this recent speech on behalf of the BOE by ANDREW SENTANCE/
MEMBER OF THE MONETARY POLICY COMMITTEE
BANK OF ENGLAND
, is more vague than anything I could have ever imagined.

Knowing how astute Brit's are with the English language, they too can pick up on this truck load of horse radish when they hear/see it. If the logic is inconsistent, then, most likely someone will point it out--perhaps with more celerity than I would or ever could. Such lyrical legerdemain would be exposed in a heartbeat and Mr. Sentance would become bete-noire because of such dodgyness in two heartbeats!

In any event, Mr. Sentance is projecting an uptick in Business Confidence to come about in the next month or so, which will signal the end of the worst part of this recession. He is basing his projections on previous recessionary data and assumptions on those recessionary periods.

However, if this recession and the root cause of it is still yet determined and, considering if whether or not the extra-ordinary measures put in place to secure the economy were more than merely conventional; i.e, re-capitalizing banks and; untangling the confusing web of financial derivatives/swaps, which led to this toxic soup of bad assets, which also need to be stricken off of the books of banks to assist them with having the confidence to lend to other institutions without fear of exposure to more toxic debt liabilities, then, how can he suggest that based on previous performances that he expects the same time frame for business confidence to pick up and show more favourable responses to questionnaire's?

Seems as if Mr. Sentance is using an old play book, for a totally different ball game!

In any event, this speech, honestly, was more of a book report, rather than a policy prescription or economic ukase. He would have gotten a C+ from me--based on his historically accurate account of what has already happened, but no more than that because he based his projections of things to come on a faulty and incomplete premise, as one example mentioned above shows.

In addition, this issue with monetary policy, controlling prices, is a little overstated as well as under examined analytically.

As Mr. Sentance puts it: "Despite the current recession, I still believe that the operation of monetary policy under the current framework of inflation targets has helped greatly to stabilise the UK economy compared with the inflationary boom-bust period of the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. Monetary policy can – over a suitable period of time – maintain price stability broadly defined." (pg. 19)

I think I mentioned the problems I have with Central Banks, trying to convey the feeling that they can control the price of goods and services, through monetary policy--or, as aforementioned in Mr. Sentance's speech, Quantitative Easing (QE).

A Central Bank, cannot control prices, through monetary policy--the contraction or expansion of money supply through interest rates-- if the price of the goods/services are over-valued, through the market pricing mechanism.

Secondly, access to money, will not spur my demand to buy a good/service, I do not want--we have raised people out of abject and pervasive poverty and, access to basic amenities, have become common; i.e, cellular phones; computers and; affordable, personal, transportation.

Thirdly, particularly for investors, if a good is under-valued at market levels due to the lack of information on the exact pricing of that good/service, nothing increasing money supply through the interest rate can do about that--in fact, you would increase inflation in other goods or services.

Misguided inflation? Sounds like a good enough term for it.

For example, if you wish to spur activity in the housing sector, but, if homes are under valued or people have simply just had enough of home buying, or, it is a losers market for buying the second home (lack of possible renters and you risk paying for two homes, in the long run, rather than the one you can only live in at this present point and time)--then, lowering interest rates, would cause a reaction in another sector--let's say the automobile sector-- where the level of prices in automobiles are more than market sufficient.

This is not a policy prescription for dealing with a matter such as price stabilization. In fact, it is ad-hoc and dangerous and, with more regression analysis on specifics of price targets in regards to inflation targets to that of spot prices in the market for goods and business buoyancy measures (CPI and Corporate Debt Issuance in particular), it can perhaps be shown that it [cutting interest rates] acted in the in the opposite (or a misguided) fashion, more often than not. Perhaps, it would also show that it was never effective at all as a price stabilizer/manipulator, either.

I can see why people like Paul Krugman et al, label QE as in-effective, especially in relation to this "liquidity trap"...which is, of course, another story to it self, but its tenets bear repeating here for the sake of the argument and its close resemblance.

Why is it that Mr. Sentance and the BOE, are going to continue this line of logic on QE along with monetary policy in regards to price stabilization through inflation control, when they are totally separate and completely unhinged ideals?

Why give the impression that you can solve a problem, you know full well you can't solve, never solve and have no intention of solving, for the better good moving forward? Unless the government actors want, truly, a big government controlled state, this would not be economically efficient for all parties involved.

I guess it must be true that governments are moving towards COMMUNISM--not socialism-- in a greater more hastened stride.

Go figure!?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Stalling!

The G-20 leaders are stalling with any new regulation for finance. It's taking too long to come to obvious realizations on what needs to be done; derivatives regulation that de-couples that from the true price of goods; carry trades need to be curtailed; credit default swaps and in addition third party swaps.

They have already put the clamp on short selling. This needs to be kept in place.

But, the powers that be are stalling. Europe is stalling. It will take Obama to take them by the ear and slap them around.

Pres. Obama may have to get dirty. This is no time to play.

Cutting the budget deficit?

What!?!?
The pressures of the office have gotten to the ol'e boy

Pres. Obama must be off of his med's. Apparently, Pres. Obama is looking to cut the federal deficit from $1.3 TR to about $530 BN.

LOL....pray tell, how does one do this, when you have tax cuts for the stimulus, an ailing US economy which does not know where it's next meal is coming from and, a stimulus package (with talks of more stimulus in the air), in the next two or three years?

This has to be political rhetoric, with nothing substantial behind it. I guess this is supposed to quell the conservative budget deficit hawks, after he gave them a porky stimulus bill.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Back at Santelli...

I put op a video of the rant by Rick Santelli of CNBC a few days back. I promised a response by the end of that day. But, I do work from time to time.

But, here is my answer to his very shallow demagogy, for lack of a better term, against the Obama housing plan.

Basically, Santelli does not understand "why" the government would want to bail out folks, who can't afford their mortgages. Basic right-winged theory.

However, what he does not realize is is that these people, are losing their homes and taking down their neighbours with them, in regards to their neighbours, losing equity from dilapidated towns and cities after folks are moving out in droves. They [people who can pay for their homes] are losing value on their homes, unnecessarily.

Secondly, MANY of these people, could have afforded the homes, but, have either lost considerable household income, by any means, during this economic slowdown. They can't afford to lose their homes now on top of no prospect of subsidizing their household incomes.

When that happens, as it is happening now, it takes down the entire American financial system--as he has seen it. At least we hope so!

But, more importantly, most of these people are at risk of other social ills, which will manifest itself into degradation of the entire social fabric. Many are either minorities, or, folks who were generational lower middle class American families, who are a stones throw away from anti-social behavior. Helping them, is the humane thing to do.

So, Santelli, as much as I loved the theatrics of the rant, is not thinking about the body economy.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Livni out, Netanyahu in...

What a difference a day makes in Israel!?!?!
Netanyahu forms coalition

I should have guessed this, but really thought that the country, was moving past their nationalist sentiments, to not go with Netanyahu, for the mere sake of having a parliament seat.

Tzipi Livni, the leader of the Kadima party in Israel, who won by one seat (28-27) over her nearest rival, the Likud Party led by former PM Benjamin Netanyahu, has just been side-barred by a coalition of Likud and two other sub-parties.

The parliament in the coalition, said they preferred to back Netanyahu. Surprising that it happened, but not surprising that the coalition sub-parties, chose the side they can extract they best benefits from.

There was no point in joining Kadima, because Kadima had the numbers by party. So, it made sense, to form a coalition, where one, or, maybe two of your MP's, would get a chance to get into the Netanyahu parliament if they struck a deal.

How long will it last, is beyond me. However, Ms. Livni cannot be too pleased,. having power stolen from her by some weak kneed coalition, fractured, with a blood lust nationalist like Netanyahu at the helm.

All he needs [Netanyahu] is a major accident and he can unite Israel under his leadership.

I don't smell anything good of this. Truly!

Israeli's will regret this day!

The Rant heard round the world!

This is the Rick Santelli rant yesterday that shook the entire banking and finance world.

I love the theatrics, although I don't particularly agree--something I will post about later today!

Zimbabwe is starting the process of rebuilding amidst unity Government!

FT article

At least Mugabe is not getting in the way of the financing of public sector workers by Tsvangarai.

I wonder what has changed Mugabe's position? What threat? Only could have been a military assassination and a coup thereafter.

One good thing, however, is that there is nothing there for the MDC to steal. Zimbabwe is flat broke. So, hopefully, they are true angels of mercy, with little or no incentive to plunder like to many other African leaders tend to do.

I am liking the change, tremendously. However, Robert Mugabe has still got to go!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Just what we need! A REAL economic life line!

President Obama, yesterday, talked about a home owners backing in his plan to stave off foreclosures .

This is a CERTAIN step in the right direction, in regards to putting faith back into the economy of the US. The measure will have in it: "The three key elements of the proposal include a program that would allow 4 million to 5 million homeowners with little equity in their homes to refinance into cheaper mortgages; a $75 billion program to keep 3 million to 4 million homeowners out of foreclosure; and a doubling of the government's commitment to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to $400 billion" (Washington Post, 2008)

I said on a blog entry nugget two weeks ago that the American government has to beef up people's homes, one way or another. This plan, while far short of comprehensive and certainly, more important details will be revealed when he unveils all of its splendor, is a good start.

Jamie Dimon of Morgan Stanley, seems to think so as well. In fact, he is elated.

The best way and the most obvious way- even though it costs allot- is to help stave off foreclosures and, not just that, increase the equity in homes at a time when equity in homes and neighborhoods are going south.

The great true first step. You can forget the merits of TARP for a second and, certainly forget about the stimulus plan. This is the saving grace, if he can pull this off.

The next big step is to reverse the credit accounts in arrears and in deep red as well as help companies, sort out their consumer credit facilities. This is a harder sell, but must be done.

This can only be done with cooperation from the financial companies. They have to have some way to profit off of it, and, trust me, they would find a way regardless--but, to avoid another scandal to cripple the industry when Wall St. finds a way to get around the system, the government, should work with them to make the profit making of such a risky venture, legal; and taxable, to a marginal extent.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Industrial Production Shrank!

Federal Reserve Stat Release

Industrial production and Capacity Utilization fell by 1.8% in January from the last month and 10% from the previous year.

No surprise. If OPEC has enough brains to cut capacity to increase demand, so would the other industrial companies do so.

In any event, the issue of overall industrial capacity shrinking is not as cut and dry as OPEC, but, with a shrinking market and increasingly shrinking market, some people are going to go out of business before the stimulus package of the US kicks in.

In fact, the stimulus package is not geared for traditional manufacturing, in and of itself. But, not to discount the provisions for roads, schools and bridges in the stimulus package. We will just have to see how this pans out.

I guess all we have to say to manufacturing companies is to hold on. Hold on to what you have. Forget about Research and Development at this time. Even though the stimulus has provisions for that as well. The damage has been done and you have to wait until you get a whiff of the first bit of stimulus, to get back in the game.

It took too long to get this stimulus to the American industry. Took way too long. Should have been a little bigger, but not with all of the pork. The bill is cluttered with pork and that is what disgusts me with it.

But, in any event, what is done is done.

Nationalization!

The ugly N word. What a conundrum we find ourselves in where the leader of the free-market world, the United States of America, is faced with the word nationalization on and for it's banking industry.

Well, not surprisingly, it will be the Democrats to do it. Not because they are in power, now. And, not because they are the ones who are more inclined, under any circumstance, to nationalize than the Republican party. But, because it is now with President Obama, which is not surprising, seeing his overall disdain for the free-market as it is.

It's no secret President Obama abhors the free market system. These Wall St. fat-cats, epitomize all that is wrong with equity for poor people and all that keep poor people, perpetually poor.

In this event, President Obama is a man for the people. However, another conversely surprising man of the people, is Allan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman.

Some have likened Allan Greenspan to that of "high priest" of laisser-faire economics. The keeper of the free markets. Fighter of inflation. The purveyor of all that is free trade. However, for this once revered free-marketeer, to now, not suggest, but, say quite boldly "It may be necessary to temporarily nationalise some banks in order to facilitate a swift and orderly restructuring...", leaves the rest of his disciples more than disillusioned.

But, not to say I'm jumping on the band-wagon with Greenspan and Co. And, not to say that I am not a free-market averse personality in any regard. But, nationalization, is the best option for one reason; nationalization, will set in place the government systems, so that the banking system, in this case, has the tools to regulate itself post crisis.

Only government can do this. The free-market, can't and won't regulate itself against malfeasance and fraud. In fact, they never have and never will. Regardless of what folks say about the decreases in regulation in the market, in fact, it is quite the contrary. Sarbanes Oxley and a host of other anti-trust regulation as well as corporate governance amendments, speaks otherwise.

The issue has and never will be the regulations put in place, but it is the fact that the actors in the free and private market, are just that smart to get around the rules and regulations put in place.

There is no law to prevent that before the fact. Just laws for blatant theft.

But, not to stray from the point any further than I have, nationalization, is the best option to change this system and set up a new set of operating rules, which would give the government and the system, some time, of, meaningful recovery, before private actors find a way around the system again.

Private actors like Bernie Madoff, and, now, Sir Allen Stanford.

In any event, the best case scenario is obvious. In fact, has been obvious for quite some time now. It was the big pink elephant in the room since the Savings and Loan's debacle of the 1980's.

The democrats have the will and the US has the global power to get it done, however. But, does President Barack Obama have the political guts to risk his second term, on a temporary fix?

We will have to wait and see!

Sir Allen Stanford...

The Caribbean version--of sorts--of a Bernie Madoff.
Sir Allen Stanford is in huge trouble

Man did this guy do allot and got away with more than plenty.

Read the article, you would see he and the SEC, has a very close relationship.

One of the charges, stated that Allen and his associate, has a special off sheet investment portfolio, called a "black box", where he had special arrangements on how to make money.

LOL....

What a joke!

Premier Misick finally resigns!

Bahama Journal link

Well, it was a matter of time before Premier Michael Misick of the Turks and Caicos Island, resigned from his office.

The amount of personal problems and government inefficiencies, was too much, as chronicled on this website and many others.

Step down to lead another day? If he has learned his lesson, why not!?!?!

Monday, February 16, 2009

GM and Chrysler to speed up changes!

FT article

I don't know what's worse; US car companies not being able to make cars people want or, US politicians, thinking that they can make cars that people want.

GM and Chrysler just unveiled plans to revamp their business models, towards a more effective and cost manageable. The government "forced them" to do this.

I think the first place to start is cutting those built in unionized wages. Second, I think it would be a good start, also, if Detroit would make more attractive, "yuppie" type cars.

Let's be fair. American cars are unattractive. Very unimaginative designs they have. Also, they are, by far, greater gas guzzlers.

So, unless the car companies have in mind to fix these issues, there is nothing the companies can do to maintain competitiveness.

The US car company, is a victim of US policy. US energy policy. US labour policy. And, US litigation policy--safety designed cars, which are box uglier than their Japanese counterparts.

Chavez wins referendum!

In a referendum over the weekend, Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president--presumably now for as long as he stands elections and wins--won that referendum to have unlimited terms as president of that country.

This is Chavez's second attempt at this referendum. In his first attempt over a year ago, he lost by a small margin. The second ti,me around, he won by a comfortable 53.4 % of the vote.

I don't think we can blame Chavez for winning. In fact, he won it fair and square. The opposition in Venezuela, is a little soft on the issues.

They just cannot articulate a message that says that ALL Venezuelans will benefit if they were to come to power.

The DC consensus about 'free-markets' in Venezuela post Wall St. crash, rings hollow.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tsvangirai gets to work!

Amidst turmoil and chaos in Zimbabwe, including arrests of Morgan Tsvangirai's- Zimbawean Prime Minister- aide by Robert Mugabe on grounds of treason, Tsvangirai, starts work in earnest in any event.

He has been accepted by Mugabe and the Zanu-PF as the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe and that is all that matters now. Or, is it?

You see, Tsvangirai, has been installed as Prime Minister before. In fact, he won the first round of presidential elections last year. But, not only was there another round of presidential elections, where he and his party "lost" to Mugabe--in the midst of severe voter surpression by Mugabe's supporters.

Also, Tsvangirai, got the right to be in a power share with Mugabe as PResident and he as PM, but that has been met with problems--to say the very least.

Reported on this blog, the power share, sharing the police force and the military, between Tsvangirai and Mugabe, was bound to lead to friction.

Which it did. Tsvangirai has just now returned to country where he won the elections. Go figure!?!?

I hope that this, is a turning point and now, Zimbabwe, can move forward as Mugabe is now respecting the wishes of the international community.

Time will tell..but, from the look of it, this time, it feels different. Tsvangirai and the MDC (his party) has work to do, seriously.

Livni says NO...

Tzipi Livni, the new Prime Minister of Israel, from the Kadima party, said no to a Netanyahu led coalition with his Likud party.

I don't know very much about Livni, as I did with Olmert. However, it was a simply nop to Netanyahu overall in the elections just past.
Fox News Report

Reports have it that PM Livni, is more of a peace dove and a reconciler. While Netanyahu, is hawkish on the Palestinians and terror.

We will see how long this arrangement lasts. Close elections with very narrow margins in parliaments, generally end up in violent uprisings, with the more aggressive winning the hearts of the people through fear or force.

Friday, February 13, 2009

It is finished!!!

The battle is over! The stimulus battle, that is!!!
Senate passes stimulus bill

Thursday, February 12, 2009

China's Trade collapses!


Nice little graph from the Economist. This would also show, as the article showed, that while exports fell, imports, fell much further, continuing the trade surplus China has enjoyed over the past few years.

Economist Article

Monday, February 9, 2009

Temasek changes leadership!

Wall St. Journal article

I wonder what this means for the giant sovereign investment arm? Will the Singaporean investment bank change course?

The WSJ seems to think so. I always think that it is better to bring in fresh folks, when things get opaque--not rough--but, opaque.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

TALF gets new digs!

http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/monetary/20090206a.htm

The unsung acronym--and perhaps the ones that does the most help to average consumers--got new requirements.

This was one of the best things Pres. Bush did. It is not sung primarily, because the liberal media knew that it was a good thing. They, instead, harped in TARP--as obvious as the opaqueness of the TARP was.

They saw a way where they would trap Bush in TARP. They tried to say it was corrupt, but Pres. Obama wants the rest of the TARP money to roll out as well--get a life Olderman and Madcow!

Consumer Credit down 3% in Q4!

So reports the FED. Credit is still shrinking even amidst TARP. We need to bolster households, not just with savings, but also, back, some how, their ability to obtain credit.

Fed Credit Report

Friday, February 6, 2009

Will other banks follow? Watch and see!

Last week CIB/CLICO out of Trinidad, collapsed, prompting the Trinidadian Government via the Central Bank, to nationalize it and then, hand it over to a competitor to be administrated--First Citizens Bank. Of course, CIB/CLICO's license to operate was revoked.

The Central Bank report states that CIB had three major problems, resulting in their downfall;

Excessive related-party transactions which carry significant contagion risks. I should note that the high level of concentration is not specifically prohibited by the present legislation.

An aggressive high interest rate resource mobilization strategy to finance an equally high risk investments, much of which are in illiquid assets (including real estate both in Trinidad and Tobago and abroad).

A very high leveraging of the Group’s assets, which constrains the potential amount of cash that could be raised from the asset sales.


This has to be a recipe for disaster. CIB has yet to put out their end of year reports, but most likely the report would have been as dismal as the 07 and 100% more dismal than the 06 reports'. More importantly, share value, the most reasonable monitor of buoyancy within a corporation, feel by nearly half in 2006 and half of 2006 in 2007, as stated by their end of year financials for both years.

Without a doubt, CIB/CLICO was slip-sliding for a while now. Questions remain, now, why did not the government and share-holder's take control of the situation? This could have been avoided, with an intervention by mid-2008. With a range of packages, least of which a share buy back and then a new PO (Public Offering) as well as a capital injection from the Central Bank, would have staved off this catastrophe--while, albeit, ground for CIB would have still been shaky.

However, the time for that is past and now, Central Banker's and Finance Ministers, have to ask themselves the questions; what other bank's were connected to CIB through investment's and secondary lending and also, which other bank's followed the CIB business model in the Caribbean?

If any of the Caribbean bank's fit the answer, then action must be taken now.

So far, no one else has put out a cry for help in the region. However, there has been a move made by the First Caribbean International Bank (FCIB), in regards to showing some signs of being strapped for cash. While they are not investment focused, they do do allot of capital market and other related investment's and such--like a true investment bank does.

FCIB put out a memo to all customers, stating that they will be charging depositors--yes, you heard me "charging depositors"-- who have less than $500 dollars on their savings account.

FCIB must be begging for a bank run!

With the market the way it is and people strapped for cash as well as people losing their job's, any and all deposits, must be secured and depositors, must be given proper treatment. In addition, by FCIB reducing their "down market" customer base, pushes them further into the deep with their commercial and "up scale" customers, where the problems are more systemic and is where the financial crisis is most volatile. They have apparently thrown away diversification, for the sake of raising a few buck's off of the back's of one half of their customer base.

Here's what's personally funny as well-- I just went to the FCIB and asked about how to set up an account, before the news of the memo hit my country. You can bet that they can scratch this customer from off of their list. Not that I can't maintain a balance of over $500, but, first, I would have to think twice about dealing with a bank that would change procedural taxation on their customers at time like this and second, why would that be an enticing option for me, to join a bank, who is about to tax their customer's as an apparent cash raising exercise, if I am someone who has money to deposit worth more than the taxed minimum?

But, the former point is neither here nor there. The latter is that it appears to be a fact that they are scrambling --and possibly strapped-- for cash.

To be fair, I thought the FCIB would have been the first bank to ask for help or to go under in the Caribbean, amidst the global financial pressure. However, they lasted past CIB. But, for how long will they survive, when the tell tale signs that they are scrambling for cash are upon us?

While they have exposure to real estate as most bank's do, most notably, their commercial real estate exposure is in question-- through their strong corporate focus.

With companies facing drastic issues in this global economic down turn, how has this affected their bottom line--where, it appears, companies are losing profit and people are losing jobs, over night, because of it. Just a note in addition with this, taxation recoverables were down, by nearly 80% in 2007 from 2006.

Also, they have increased their derivatives trading in 2007, by almost double. The derivatives market is where the trouble in the USA started in regards to sub prime exposure. However, the exposure is minimal and they did not dip in too deeply, enough to change the dynamics of their cash flows in 2007.

Investment securities are up 35% from 06 to 07. But, at a volatile time in the corporate market as well as Caribbean government's, facing a time in retaining tax revenue, default on these debt's are a major concern.

With that, deposits grew by close to $140 million in the same period, however, will they be pulling that money out this year due to their recent tax on deposits? This would show up in 09, but disaster can strike right now.

The statements for 2008 aren't out yet. However, from the conservatism seen in the 2007 financial, there was more than enough fluff for FCIB to manage and not for customers, to be too alarmed--at least just yet. But, they are facing a considerable challenge.

While eye's are now open to the way banks in the Caribbean operate, one cannot judge, from a hindsight, how the bank's in the Caribbean are performing.

One issue is, is that there is so much secrecy within the banking network. And, two, high finance and the importance of financing dynamics, to the average consumer in the Caribbean, is not as astute as some may experience in the EU or the USofA.

However, more eye's are watching now. At least we hope.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

First Caribbean charging to deposit?

What!?!?
They have got to be out of their damn minds!

Yea...apparently, they will be charging folks with under $500.00 in their account, $10.00 a month for services. And, folks with under $1000.00 in their checking account, are going to be charged $16.00 a month.

This is not encouraging people to save, this is a cash raising exercise by the FCIB.

CIB/CLICO went under the other day. I though FCIB would have gone first, but by the looks of it, it won't be far after this recent move.

I suspect a severe bank run in the oncoming months and FCIB to go to government's to ask for money to keep them propped up.

So low!! How low??

1% low....UK cuts the rates to 1%.
FT article

Elections are here folks. Gordon Brown is winding up. Soon and very soon...it's on like Donkey Kong!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Did I forget Davos?

Business leaders--and I use that term loosely-- met in Davos for the annual World Economic forum summit over the weekend, with other civic and governmental leaders. How could i have forgotten to tell you about it?

Here is the schedule and a link to the website....
Davos Schedule

Forgive me. In any event, there wasn't anything special as Davos this year lost its mass appeal.

Folks, from world over, normally gather around the story telling circle, to hear about the exploits of the Masters of the Universe. However, the Masters of the Universe, have masterfully dodged the session this year.

Some guys, like the ousted Thain from Merrill Lynch, was supposed to be hosting a party this year as ML normally does. But, because he is no more and the company, is being forced to cut back, the party is off and so is he.

I didn't think it would have been wise to have a party in the midst of all of this turmoil in the financial markets, caused by financiers. It would have been bad PR, to say the very least!

For the most part, bankers got the brunt of the criticism as well they should. Politicians, particularly the ones from Russia and China (go figure), were bashing the entire Western Capitalist model.

Ah well....perhaps we would have better news in 2010?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Breaking News--Daschle and Killefer withdraw their nomination!

Reported by the FT....
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/621c2f86-f20e-11dd-9678-0000779fd2ac.html

...it was just tooooooo much!

Disgusting tax issues!

All of the Obama nominee's are being taken to task for tax evasion issues.

The most recent, post Daschle, is the newly appointed performance chief, Nancy Killefer. She apparently neglected to pay nanny tax.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28994296

This is most embarrassing. One candidate, or, nominee, I can understand. But, there is just so much of them---Geithner, Killefer, Daschle, Richardson and God knows who else who is not in the limelight.

It's amazing that the democrats are the heavy tax people, but are the ones who are breaking the law most frequently in regards to their tax evasions.

Monday, February 2, 2009

CIB/CLICO and the big bust!

As reported earlier, CIB (CLICO Investment Bank)/CLICO of Trinidad, went bust and the Central Bank of Trinidad, has had to step in to ensure depositors of their money.
Central Bank Report

A good ol'e fashioned bank run is what happened and, was most likely sparked by reports and rumours on the much anticipated end of year financial, which would more than likely indicate more losses in 2008 as well as paint a bleak picture for 2009.

The Trinidadian Central Bank has laid the cause of this collapse, at the over leveraging of CIB and their portfolio's entrenchment in illiquid assets. Moreover, their losses in real estate ventures throughout the previous years.

CIB has not posted an end of year report (for 2008), but I have access to the previous year's financial/auditor's reports and they are none to pleasing. In fact, folks may end up in jail for not reporting all of the facts.

Here are downloads of CIB's last financials
See 2007 Report here
See 2006 Report here

Right off of the bat, share prices plummeted by nearly half; from .97 in 2005, to .57 in 2006 to .39 in 2007. Bad sign. The 2008 reports, were probably going to report less than .30 per share. This is most likely the catalyst for the bank run.

Also interesting, is the non reporting of their "Interest Sensitivity of Assets and Liabilities" in 2007, which was reported vividly in 2006--unless I missed it.

The Central Bank reports what the last two financials spoke clearly--the buying up of assets, with little or no share appreciation, with very little cash inflow. By the way, they have also been operating in the red on operating costs.

This is shades of RBS and its aggressiveness, from former chief Sir Goodwin, expanding without regard to global indicators of credit markets.

What CIB should have done to avoid the bank run, is re-capitalize from mid 2008, borrow money from private investors and government(after they talked to the finance ministry officials and the central bank), issue new shares in a PO, buy back old shares-- switch the investor base through this share buy back and issuance-- and sell, at a loss, some of those real estate investments at knock down prices to increase liquidity to their credit arm and in an attempt to pay new investors.

This would have stopped a bank run of this magnitude, especially since all of this, happened during a global financial crisis as well as preempted the consequential nationalization of the bank--which ended up in the revocation of CIB's license and them being handed over to another bank to be administered.

Preventative steps, as mentioned, would not have raised much alarm.

But, this is Monday morning quarterbacking. Hindsight, is always 20/20.