Saturday, December 10, 2011

Rehypothecation and why everyone should know at least one Romance language

Courtesy of the ZH commenters on the re-hypothecation wheeze gradually being discovered by public.  At least the financial services public, who hopefully are getting this news out to the non-finance public.

[Spanish] hipoteca = mortgage

On Wednesday, 7 December 2011 Christopher Elias of Reuters dropped this bombshell:
MF Global and the great Wall St re-hypothecation scandal

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the implications of London's no-holds-bar on re-hypothecation, which I understand to believe that collateral can be pledged ad infinitum.  And because of that rule, MF Global shifted customers' collateral to its London branch to take advantage of that.  And because of that, the money wasn't stolen (it was, but rules and venues changed to cover the practice under the letter of the law) but LOST.  Like losing money at the blackjack table.

And you didn't even know you were gambling.  Have you figured out you're part of the 99% yet?

Monday, December 05, 2011

S&P gets okay to warn six European countries on downgrade

(Reuters) - "Standard & Poor's has warned Germany, France and four other AAA-rated euro zone countries that they might get downgraded in the next 90 days, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

S&P is poised to announce later on Monday that the credit ratings of those six countries -- which include the Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Luxembourg -- are in credit watch negative, the FT said in a story published on its website."
So somebody gave the big green GO to S&P to do some saber-rattling.  And at the time of this writing, the market went from up 140 to up 60.  But yet, still up on the day.  Go figure.

Meanwhile, Europe saw this one coming and started making noises in October that sovereign debt shouldn't be rated.
[WSJ] EU Wants Ratings Firm to Relent on Troubled Nations
BRUSSELS—The European Commission is leaning toward proposing a ban on the issuing of sovereign credit ratings for countries in bailout talks, a top official said on Thursday.
"I think it's legitimate to have a special treatment when a country is in negotiation or is covered by an international solidarity program with the IMF or a European solidarity" program, said Michel Barnier, European internal market commissioner.
Mr. Barnier, rationalizer par excellence.