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Westpac, NAB Survive On US Federal Reserve Life Support

24 Dec

BREAKING NEWS

UPDATE: Aggregate balance of US Fed loans to Westpac = USD87.52 billion, NAB = USD378 billion (csv file 1e_Fed Dated Estimated Income Ranking Text Only)

From Bloomberg:

Fed’s once-secret data released to the public

Bloomberg News today released spreadsheets showing daily borrowing totals for 407 banks and companies that tapped Federal Reserve emergency programs during the 2007 to 2009 financial crisis. It’s the first time such data have been publicly available in this form.

To download a zip file of the spreadsheets, go to http://bit.ly/Bloomberg-Fed-Data. For an explanation of the files, see the one labeled “1a Fed Data Roadmap.”

The day-by-day, bank-by-bank numbers, culled from about 50,000 transactions the U.S. central bank made through seven facilities, formed the basis of a series of Bloomberg News articles this year about the largest financial bailout in history.

“Scholars can now examine the data and continue the analysis of the Fed’s crisis management,” said Allan H. Meltzer, a professor of political economy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and the author of three books on the history of the U.S. central bank.

The data reflect lending from the Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility, the Commercial Paper Funding Facility, the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, the Term Auction Facility, the Term Securities Lending Facility, the discount window and single-tranche open market operations, or ST OMO.

Bloomberg News obtained information about the discount window and ST OMO through the Freedom of Information Act. While the Fed initially rejected a request for discount-window information, Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, filed a federal lawsuit to force disclosure and won in the lower courts. In March, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to intervene in the case, and the Fed released more than 29,000 pages of transaction data.

As we saw in “Our Banking System Operates With Zero Reserves”, a previous data release showed that Australian banks … including the Reserve Bank of Australia … secretly borrowed billions from the US Federal Reserve to survive during the GFC. In the case of the RBA, the value of its loans totalled around AUD88 billion given the exchange rate at that time:

National Australia Bank Ltd, Westpac Banking Corp Ltd and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) were all recipients of emergency funds from the US Federal Reserve during the global financial crisis, according to media reports.

Data released by the Fed shows the RBA borrowed $US53 billion in 10 separate transactions during the financial crisis, which compares to the European Central Bank’s 271 transactions, according to a report in The Australian Financial Review.

NAB borrowed $US4.5 billion, and a New York-based entity owned by Westpac borrowed $US1 billion, according to The Age.

This new data release allows us to see more detail about the secret loans to Westpac and NAB.

Two of the four pillars of our allegedly “safe as houses” banking system.

And now we can see that it wasn’t just a “New York-based entity owned by Westpac” that borrowed from the Fed. It was Westpac itself.

Between 20 Dec 2007 and 16 Jan 2008, Westpac secretly borrowed USD90 million per day from the US Federal Reserve.  Between 9 Oct 2008 and 1 Jan 2009, Westpac borrowed USD1 billion per day. For a total of 113 days, Westpac was surviving on daily loans from the US Fed:

Click to enlarge

For a total 252 days straight, between 6 November 2008 and 15 July 2009, National Australia Bank survived by secretly borrowing USD1.5 billion per day from the US Fed:

Click to enlarge

[Don’t forget that during the GFC, the AUD plummeted from 98c to the USD, to 60c … where the RBA actively bought AUD’s in order to keep it propped at 60c. So these USD quoted loans were in fact dramatically higher when considered in light of the relative value of the Aussie dollar at the time]

Half of our “Four Pillar” bankstering system survived on USD2.5 billion per day of US Fed-supplied life support during the peak GFC “fear” period … and in NAB’s case, for many months afterwards.

And all on the hush hush.

We’d never know about it, except for Bloomberg News taking the US Fed to court when they refused an FOI request for the information.

How’s your con-fidence in our AAA-rated Ponzi now?

If you’ve not read it yet, and if like most Aussies you are oblivious to the hushed up bank run that was occurring right here in Oz during the GFC, then you should take the time to read my June 24 blog, “Our Banking System Operates With Zero Reserves”:

Ian Harper, one of Australia’s leading financial economists, spent much of the weekend of October 11-12, 2008, reassuring journalists that Australian banks were safe.

But there was something about the calls Harper was getting from reporters over that weekend that worried him.

“There was a whiff of panic,” he recalls. It had been building all week. He had no doubt that the government and the Reserve Bank would be able to manage a run on cash, but it might take days to arrest. Panic has been an unpredictable force in the history of banking. And the instant world of electronic banking had never been tested with a full-scale crisis of confidence.

He talked about media calls with his wife. “Come Monday morning and they tell us one of the banks is in strife and internet banking is down, I can’t look you in the eye and say you can pay this week’s grocery bills.”

The man who had just been reassuring everyone there was nothing to worry about went down the street to the ATM and made a sizeable withdrawal to make sure his wife would have enough cash.

All around the country, banks were facing unusual demands for cash. Small businesses in Queensland and Western Australia were switching their deposits from regional banks to accounts with the big four banks.

An elderly woman turned up in the branch of one bank in Queensland with a suitcase and asked to withdraw her term deposits of $100,000 or more. Once filled, she took the suitcase down to the other end of the counter and asked that it be kept in the bank’s safe.

A story did the rounds of the regulators about a customer who wanted to withdraw his six-figure savings. The branch manager said he did not have that quantity of cash on hand, but offered a bank cheque, which the customer accepted, apparently unaware that the cheque was no safer than the bank writing it.

It was a silent run, unnoticed by the media. Across the country, at least tens and possibly hundreds of thousands of depositors were withdrawing their funds. Left unchecked, there would soon be queues in the street with police managing crowd control, as occurred in London at the Golders Green branch of Northern Rock a year earlier.

“With a bank run, or any rumour of a bank run, you can’t play games with that,” says Treasury Secretary Ken Henry.

“You can’t pussyfoot around that stuff. It’s a long time since Australia has had a serious run on a financial institution, but it’s all about confidence, and you cannot allow an impression to develop generally in the public that there is any risk.”

Now, what was it that I wrote just hours ago … about our AAA-rated Ponzi economy?

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Reagan’s Budget Director Agrees: Barnaby Was Right

26 May

h/t ZeroHedge

Former US President Ronald Reagan’s budget director, David Stockman, appears on Bloomberg TV to discuss the USA’s debt crisis, and says that a “technical default is now a virtual certainty“:

According to Stockman, both major political parties are implicitly pushing for a US default.  At the same time, thanks to their inability to reach a political compromise, each party is blaming each other for this inevitable outcome:

The real problem is the de facto policy of both parties is default. When the Republicans say no tax increases, they’re saying we want the U.S. government to default. Because there isn’t enough political will in this country to solve the problem even halfway on spending cuts. When the Democrats say you can’t touch Social Security, when you have Obama sponsoring a war budget for defense that is even bigger than Bush, then I say the policy of the White House is default as well…That is the question that really needs to be understood better and appraised by the bond market. Both parties are advocating default even as they point the finger at each other.

Add a former US budget director to the evergrowing list of those who now agree that Barnaby Was Right in 2009 when he warned about the risk of US debt default.

Take a moment to review Barnaby’s prescient warning (“Barnaby Warns Of Bigger GFC“).  A warning that cost him his job as Opposition Finance Spokesman, and now is deserving of a knee-scraping apology from the likes of Swan, former Treasury chief Ken Henry, “$1M Man” RBA Governor Glenn Stevens, and the rabid media pack who denounced Barnaby as an economic illiterate, when in fact he is more qualified to manage money than the entire Labor economic team put together.

Then, take a much longer moment to ponder Barnaby’s most recent warning.

That our government plans to steal your superannuation, to pay down spiralling government debt (“No Super For You!“, “Grand Theft Pēnsiō“, and “Grand Theft Pēnsiō – Europe’s ‘Economic Superstar’ Steals 5% Of Private Super Funds“).

Bloomberg: ‘Down Under Hypocrites Bet All On China’s Boom’

13 May

Bloomberg savages the hypocrisy and incompetence of Labor’s budget:

All in.

That’s essentially the message Treasurer Wayne Swan is sending about Australia’s odds-defying bet on Chinese growth. The government’s latest budget pledges to deliver the quickest improvement in the nation’s finances on record — without specifics about how that will happen.

The absence of such detail is telling and can be boiled down to one thing: an even bigger gamble on China’s 10 percent growth and its voracious appetite for Australia’s resources. It’s risky to so fully hitch the hopes of 23 million people to a single nation that’s still developing.

Hypocrisy was in the room last month when Australia rejected a Singaporean offer for its stock exchange. Swan called slapping down Singapore Exchange Ltd. (SGX)’s $8.8 billion bid for ASX Ltd. a “no brainer.” The whole shareholders-come-first vibe that pervaded before the global crisis lost its oomph among voters.

The debate distracted attention from a far bigger takeover happening by stealth: China’s designs on all things down under. Down under the ground, that is.

Obama Agrees – Barnaby Was Right

24 Apr

Even the US President concedes that Barnaby was right

President Barack Obama, on a cross-country trip to sell his deficit reduction plan, said yesterday that the nation’s finances are “unsustainable.”

“We have an unsustainable situation,” he said. “We face a critical time where we are going to have to make some decisions – how do we bring down the debt in the short term, and how do we bring down the debt over the long term?”

S&P Agrees – Barnaby Was Right On US Debt

20 Apr

It’s taken a while.  But the wheels of the locomotive named Inevitability grind relentlessly onwards.

For the first time in history, Standard and Poors has placed the USA’s credit outlook on “negative”, warning that the government must take meaningful steps to reduce debt.

Back in October through December 2009, Barnaby Joyce forewarned of the possibility of the US defaulting on its debts.  He was roundly mocked and ridiculed by all the usual suspects – mainstream media, “expert” economists, (now former) Treasury Secretary Ken Henry, and the ALP’s band of genii led by “Goose” and Tanner.

Now, here we are barely 18 months later.  The US credit outlook is being downgraded.  It has almost completed a $600 Billion QE 2 (“Quantitative Easing”) – which means creating literally hundreds of billions of dollars out of thin air, Zimbabwe-style. There is every indication that QE 3 will inevitably follow.

(Printing money inflates the money supply, devalues your currency, and so effectively reduces your debt burden “by default”. Devaluing your currency is the most common form of national debt default.)

And the World Bank President warned a few days ago that the world economy is now just “one shock away from a full blown crisis”.

Barnaby was right.

Thanks to a hostile and clueless media pack, egged on by the “expert” ridicule of the likes of Henry and “Goose”, Barnaby was blasted out of his brief role as Opposition Finance Minister in early 2010.  Despite his being better qualified than the entire ALP cabinet combined.

46 US States In Debt Crisis

29 Jun

46 out of 50 US state governments are now technically bankrupt.  To understand how bad that is for the global economy – including Australia – consider the fact that California alone has an economy that is larger than that of Russia.

From Bloomberg:

California, tied with Illinois for the lowest credit rating of any state, is diverting a rising portion of tax revenue to service debt, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its August issue.

Far from rebounding, the Golden State, with a $1.8 trillion economy that’s larger than Russia’s, is sinking deeper into its financial funk. And it’s not alone.

Even as the U.S. appears to be on the mend — gross domestic product has climbed three straight quarters — finances in Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and other states show few signs of improvement. Forty-six states face budget shortfalls that add up to $112 billion for the fiscal year ending next June, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington research institution.

State budget woes are a worsening drag on growth as the federal government tries to wean the economy from two years of extraordinary support. By Jan. 1, funds from the $787 billion federal stimulus bill will dry up. That money from Washington has helped cushion state budgets as tax revenue has plunged.

State leaders won’t be able to ride out this cycle the way they have in the past. The budget holes are too large.

What will the US do when nearly every state government is facing Greek-style deficits?

According to an RBS note to its clients, prepare for unprecedented money printing.

From the UK’s Telegraph:

As recovery starts to stall in the US and Europe with echoes of mid-1931, bond experts are once again dusting off a speech by Ben Bernanke given eight years ago as a freshman governor at the Federal Reserve.

Andrew Roberts, credit chief at RBS, is advising clients to read the Bernanke text very closely because the Fed is soon going to have to the pull the lever on “monster” quantitative easing (QE)”.

We cannot stress enough how strongly we believe that a cliff-edge may be around the corner, for the global banking system (particularly in Europe) and for the global economy. Think the unthinkable,” he said in a note to investors.

Societe Generale’s uber-bear Albert Edwards said the Fed and other central banks will be forced to print more money whatever they now say, given the “stinking fiscal mess” across the developed world. “The response to the coming deflationary maelstrom will be additional money printing that will make the recent QE seem insignificant,” he said.

Barnaby Joyce began warning about a bigger GFC in October last year. No one wanted to listen.

He was roundly ridiculed by the “experts” – such as the genius academic who designed the controversial RSPT, Treasury secretary Ken Henry – for suggesting the possibility that the USA could default on its massive debts.

The simple fact is this.  The USA is defaulting on its debts.

Printing money (euphemistically called “Quantitative Easing”) is technically a form of sovereign default.  When you cannot pay your debts, printing money devalues your currency, and makes it easier to pay back your debts.

It also means high inflation.  Possibly hyperinflation.  Think Weimar Germany in the 1920’s.  Or Zimbabwe today.

Barnaby is right.

China May ‘Crash’ In 9-12 Months

4 May

Noted investor and publisher of the fabled “Gloom, Boom and Doom” report, Dr Marc Faber, warns that the Chinese economy may crash within the next 9 to 12 months.

From Bloomberg:

Investor Marc Faber said China’s economy will slow and possibly “crash” within a year as declines in stock and commodity prices signal the nation’s property bubble is set to burst.

The Shanghai Composite Index has failed to regain its 2009 high while industrial commodities and shares of Australian resource exporters are acting “heavy,” Faber said. The opening of the World Expo in Shanghai last week is “not a particularly good omen,” he said, citing a property bust and depression that followed the 1873 World Exhibition in Vienna.

“The market is telling you that something is not quite right,” Faber, the publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom report, said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Hong Kong today. “The Chinese economy is going to slow down regardless. It is more likely that we will even have a crash sometime in the next nine to 12 months.”

Faber joins hedge fund manager Jim Chanos and Harvard University’s Kenneth Rogoff in warning of a crash in China.

China is “on a treadmill to hell” because it’s hooked on property development for driving growth, Chanos said in an interview last month. As much as 60 percent of the country’s gross domestic product relies on construction, he said. Rogoff said in February a debt-fueled bubble in China may trigger a regional recession within a decade.

For those who doubt that China is currently experiencing the global mother of all real estate bubbles, take a look at these pictures from Time magazine, showing just how massive speculative over-investment in property construction has left China with literal ‘ghost cities’.

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