fredag den 3. oktober 2008

A little learning is a dangerous thing but a lot of ignorance is just as bad.

A little learning is a dangerous thing but a lot of ignorance is just as bad.
Bob Edwards

I have decided to explain the crisis and why the plan is useless once and for all to myself - it is really an economy of scale issue as it is the question I get the most (Yes, I know you are wondering why people even bother to ask me anything being an European Elitist Arrogant High-horse something as a "friendly anonymous visitor to my site called me!)....these days....but let me try:

The background is this:

Imagine you have a bank - for arguments sake let us call it : Banque Paulson & Bernanke - their corporate motto's is: "We create moral hazards better than anyone else -faster".....

This bank BP&P got an asset side which really mimics a traditonal portfolio:

A little stock, a little government bonds(10%), a little (sorry a lot) of mortgages(30%), a little lending(40%), a little Real Estate(20%) and other on-and-off balancesheet vehicles...

- It is - obviously- all funded day by day in the money market.

The portfolio is leveraged 10 times - which happens to be the average leverage in commercial banks.

Now - the market (portfolio) is down 15% - meaning you are insolvent by 50% -- i.e 10 x 15% = 150% minus your capital = -50% - but your "bank" --- allows you to keep the portfolio because tomorrow they "hope" the market will be better.....(The Church going traders I call them..)

Then one day the Congress and its two parties called We-got-zero-clue and We-got-even-less-clue gets call from The White House - some geezer who doesn't know what an CDO is shouts: "Fire, Fire - pants on fire ......." Please send in the Mortgage Firebrigade..... fast!

Congress goes into panic and decides they will buy ALL MORTGAGES and ALL MORTGAGE INSTITUTIONS in the country.

Fine.....but hang on... lets go through this...

If the GOVERNMENT buys only the mortgage loss from my portfolio what happens next?

Well if we deal a market-prices the mortgage portfolio is off my book @ 20 cents in the dollar... so my cash goes up but the loss remains in place plus taking 30% of loss off still leaves me short a few bucks...but even if they bail-out out without loss' on my mortgages I am still short: (100 USD - 30% in mortgages equals 30 USD x 10 leverage = 300 USD x 15% loss = equals 45 USD I am getting 45 USD back - but I am down 50 USD net - leaving me 5 US dollars short (Yes, this is constructed portfolio but.. point is still the same....)

- and IF... the others parts of the portfolio continues to fall --- BP&B is still even more insolvent.


Because you are NOT dealing with the real issues:

1. Funding is done day by day - with massive mismatch in time - Bad business model is environment of scarce credit creation.
2. Leverage - in a perfect storm EVERYTHING becomes correlated. .meaning falling...
3. Mortgages - there are 4.5 mio. unsold homes, so whether government or private sector owns them does not matter - its all math.....
4. Solvency - portfolio of BP&B still insolvent - why should anyone deal with them?
5. Transperency - how do I know BP&B is honest?

The right solution would be to let everyone go bankrupt - but if you want to spend the tax payers money the government needs to think like a Private Equity Fund - buy on the bid, restructure balance sheet,give new management upside in equity, sack the old management, and buy equity upside leverage.

There was God forbid an excellent Swedish model for this before - Imagine that recommending anything Swedish is a first for me......but DO realise this is PURE SOCIALDEMOCRATIC policy and hence I can not support it, but it did work before....

So......if the deal adresss real issues it will work, but I doubt BP&B will survive longer than a few quarters more, and neither should they....


Calling it a strategy is an insult to the word itself, but.....

85% cash
Long USD vs EUR as we broke uptrend since 2000 - meaning lower EURUSD
Small short T-bonds
Small long upside stocks...

Nice week-end

Steen Jakobsen

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