(1) For example, the fact of talking in percentage points is part of this summer's « euphoria » operation. Indeed, many banks, whose stock price was close to zero could claim « rebounds » of +200 percent, +300 percent or +500 percent. Taking a look at Natixis, Citi or stock prices helps to understand the trap: regaining 500 percent when the stock fell down to 1, that makes 5... which would leave you holding a loss of 40 if you bought 2 years ago (or if you borrowed money in exchange of this security).
(2) This is illustrated by France's recent announcement that the state wishes to continue to support the banking system until the end of 2010. Source: Reuters, 09/13/2009
(3) See LEAP open letter to the G20 published last April in the Financial Times on the eve of London's G20 summit.
(4) The great « traders' bonus hunt » is morally praiseworthy. However it should not make us forget that traders are nothing but the « privateers » of the banks hiring them and of the financial centres hosting the latter. These employers and their hosts give them their « letters of marque » (or should we say « of bonus »?) authorizing them to buccaneer the seas of global finance. Limiting their bonuses to their total salary would compel banks to hire them as master mariners instead of filibusters.
(5) Source: Times, 09/02/2009
(6) In the United States, the real rate of unemployment growth remains between 600,000 and 1 million new jobless every month, if we include those who decide to stop searching for a job (source: CNBC/New York Times, 09/07/2009). To get an idea of the socially explosive wave currently hitting the US economy, in California, since September 1st, 143,000 new jobless are no longer entitled to insurance benefits (including their families, that makes an extra 1 million people in distress... just for this month) – source : MyBudget360, 09/02/2009. In Europe, Asia, … everywhere, unemployment rates are almost the highest in modern history (at 5.7 percent, Japan already reached its historic high in July – source : Japan Times, 09/08/2009) ... despite all sorts of manipulation to reduce the figures.
(7) As an anecdote, there have been more bankruptcies in the US between GEAB N°36 (June 16, 2009) and GEAB N°37 (September 16, 2009) than during the whole of 2008, including two of the most important bankruptcies of the year. But, of course, the media cannot make their headlines on both swine fever and bankruptcies. The same goes for the rate of US corporate bankruptcies which has reached a 12.2 percent all-time high (source: Yahoo, 09/09/2009). In Spain, the number of bankruptcies in the first semester of 2009 is three times the number in 2008 (source: Spanish News, 08/06/2009). In France, employers expect 70,000 corporate bankruptcies by the end of this year (source: Capital, 09/02/2009).
(8) The accelerating pace of the weakening of the US Dollar is creating new monetary stress worldwide and the upcoming request, by the Obama administration, to increase the authorized US federal debt ceiling by USD 1,500-billion is not likely to slow down the selling of the US currency. Indeed the USD 12,000-billion debt ceiling is about to be reached. Sources: , 09/12/09; Bloomberg, 09/08/2009; Wall Street Journal, 09/12/09
(9) As we said, such a « window of opportunity » existed between spring and summer 2009. This window is now closed.
(10) See GEAB N°22, 02/2008
(11) See GEAB N°32, 02/2009.
(12) For example, US and French unemployment rate reductions at the beginning of this summer, or the growth in Chinese output. Sources: New York Times, 08/10/2009; Expansion, 07/27/2009; Wall Street Journal, 05/25/2009
(13) It is worth reading Marion Selz’s paper entitled « Statistics, a public service twisted » introducing a recently published book written anonymously by a group of French statisticians with the evocative title « The great fiddle: How the government manipulates statistics». Obviously, in these times of global crisis, the information revealed in this book applies to almost all governments. Source: La vie des idées, 09/02/2009
(14) When, in February 2008 in GEAB N°22, we anticipated that the world was heading to a « Dollar carry-trade », not many people believed us. However this is now exactly what is happening on currency markets. Source: , 09/12/2009
(15) Banks which, in April 2009, were eager to get the right to return to the « fair value » system (I estimate my asset is worth 100) (source: Bloomberg, 04/02/2009) instead of valuing their assets at “market value” (on the market, your asset is worth 10). Thus they persist in keeping assets in their balance sheets which they cannot realistically value; precisely because they suspect these assets to be worth 10 or 20 percent of their ‘fair value. The countryside and cities of the US, UK, Spain, Latvia, Japan, China, and other countries are full of houses, flats and buildings that no one buys because their prices are artificially maintained high above the market price so that banks’ balances sheets do not show that they are in fact insolvent because almost all their assets are “rotten”. Bankers too are trying to save time, in the hope of a return to yesterday’s world. Are they old children nostalgic of their golden age or big offenders endangering society? The future will soon tell us as the next phase of global geopolitical dislocation will develop.
(16) Refering to Blaise Pascal’s argument to convince miscreants to believe in God: wager as though God exists because if it is so, paradise is the reward, and otherwise, it simply doesn’t matter; while the contrary wager might take you to hell.
(17) In the next GEAB, the October issue N°38, we shall update our country- and big region-based anticipations, including of course an assessment of the situation regarding US and UK defaults.
(18) With a record-high debt issuance in Europe (EUR 1,100-billion in 2009, and more than EUR 250-billion for the UK only), and with USD 9,000-billion federal deficit over the next ten years, there is no doubt on the fact that the situation is uncontrollable. Source: Yahoo/Reuters, 09/04/2009; CBS, 08/25/2009
(19) In the US, in Europe and in China too. Sources: Reuters, 09/08/2009; Financial Times, 09/06/2009; BBC, 07/26/2009.
(20) On the subject of banks, our team strongly recommends reading the excellent article by Matt Taibbi, “Inside the great American bubble machine” which appeared in Rollingstones on 07/02/2009. It sets out the history of Goldman Sachs and throws essential light on its financial practices and central role in the current financial crisis. In the way of deceased India companies, or the knights templars, it is likely that in five to a maximum of ten years from now, American political power, in the face of a socio-economic collapse and under public pressure, will be obliged to tear apart this institution which interferes in all levels of government activity.
(21) In the end, all these indicators depend on the US Dollar as a measure of value. But if Dollar volatility were to be transferred to a compass, we would see the needle swing between North, South, East and West every month. No wonder then that political, economic and financial leaders are so « disoriented »!
(22) Napoleon too, during the battle of Waterloo, firmly believed th at luck was still on his side and that reinforcements (Grouchy) would materialize at the decisive moment of the battle. Alas, the long awaited troops, whose dust showed their rapid progress, happened to be the enemy’s reinforcements (Blücher). We know what happened next… and we cannot bet that the G20 leaders are strategists as experienced as Napoleon was.
(23) The crisis has somewhat « British humour » and proves that we are far from having seen all its consequences. Indeed, London is now expecting to have to pay a heavy bill in order to rescue its little network of tax havens. The Cayman Islands, for instance, can no longer pay their civil servants. No doubt British taxpayers will be very happy with this perspective! Otherwise, these islands could also resort to a simple idea: create taxes. Source: Guardian, 09/13/2009