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Infographic: Visualising The Size Of Australia’s Carbon Derivatives Time Bomb

24 Apr

On July 1, 2012, the government’s Clean Energy Future scheme will officially begin.

You know it as the carbon “tax”. It has been called a “tax” over and over and over again, by politicians, economists, bankers, and other vested interests, for a simple reason.

There are many who want you to think that the scheme to “put a price on carbon” is safe; that the government’s implementation of a “carbon price” is careful, methodical, and prudent.  A “fixed price” on carbon dioxide for 3 years. And only after 3 years, a transition from a fixed price to a “floating price” emissions trading scheme.

But there is something very important that they are not telling you.

There is a Ticking Time Bomb Hidden In The Carbon Tax.

It is called “derivatives”.

Carefully buried in 1,000+ pages of legislation, just 2 tiny, opaque clauses (109A and 110) have been included that allow the banks to immediately begin creating and trading unlimited quantities of unmonitored, unregulated carbon “securities” (another term for “derivatives”).

What are “derivatives”?

SHORT STORY: Pick something of value, make bets on the future value of “something”, add contract & you have a derivative. Banks make massive profits on derivatives, and when the bubble bursts chances are the tax payer will end up with the bill. This [graphic below] visualizes the total coverage for derivatives (notional). Similar to insurance company’s total coverage for all cars.

LONG STORY: A derivative is a legal bet (contract) that derives its value from another asset, such as the future or current value of oil, government bonds or anything else. [Example] A derivative buys you the option (but not obligation) to buy oil in 6 months for today’s price/any agreed price, hoping that oil will cost more in future. (I’ll bet you it’ll cost more in 6 months). Derivative can also be used as insurance, betting that a loan will or won’t default before a given date. So its a big betting system, like a Casino, but instead of betting on cards and roulette, you bet on future values and performance of practically anything that holds value. The system is not regulated what-so-ever, and you can buy a derivative on an existing derivative.

Most large banks try to prevent smaller investors from gaining access to the derivative market on the basis of there being too much risk. Deriv. market has blown a galactic bubble, just like the real estate bubble or stock market bubble (that’s going on right now). Since there is literally no economist in the world that knows exactly how the derivative money flows or how the system works, while derivatives are traded in microseconds by computers, we really don’t know what will trigger the crash, or when it will happen, but considering the global financial crisis this system is in for tough times, that will be catastrophic for the world financial system…

Australia’s banks already trade in derivatives. Most of their derivatives bets are on movements in Interest Rates and Foreign Exchange Rates. And they have a total exposure to just these forms of derivatives, that is truly mind-boggling.

The numbers are so big, that no one can comprehend them.

You have to see it for yourself.

First, via the superb demonocracy.info website, here is an infographic to help you visualise what $1 Trillion looks like (click image to enlarge):

Click to enlarge | Graphic source: demonocracy.info

Got that?

$1 Trillion is a lot of money*.

The value of all Australians’ superannuation savings combined, is about $1.3 Trillion. As is the claimed annual “GDP” of the Australian economy.

Now, here is an infographic showing the Australian banks’ recent record high total “Off-Balance Sheet” derivatives exposure.  Remember, this is before the official start of a “price on carbon” allows the banks to start creating and trading carbon derivatives too (click image to enlarge):

Click to enlarge | Graphic source: demonocracy.info | Data source: RBA statistics

I want to emphasise the point made earlier.

Almost everyone incorrectly believes that no trading will happen until 2015. But the truth is, the banks can begin creating and trading in carbon derivatives from Day 1. Even though the scheme is supposed to be a “fixed price” scheme for the 3 years up to 2015.

Those 2 little clauses I mentioned earlier (109A and 110), are the reason why trading will begin from Day 1. Trading in carbon derivatives, that is.

They are opaque, easy-to-overlook clauses stating that the Clean Energy Future legislation does not prevent the creation of and trade in carbon “securities”.

The designers of the legislation (no, not the politicians), know full well that the banking industry can and does create and trade derivatives on everything.

Including the date of your death. That’s right. We have previously documented how banks are trading in Death Derivatives.

All that is needed, is for there to be a “price” put on some thing, effectively making that thing a “commodity”.

Once there is an underlying price, then banks can create a derivative.

Provided there is no law specifically preventing them from doing so.

It is that simple.

And that is why the Clean Energy Future scheme has those two little clauses buried inside. As Explanatory Memorandum 3.36 confirms, they are “included for the avoidance of doubt” that the government does NOT wish to prevent the banks creating carbon derivatives.

That is also why, just 3 days after the government released its draft legislation for “putting a price on carbon”, it was reported that:

Australian banks are eyeing opportunities to cash in on the proposed carbon tax by developing new financial products and services that capitalise on a market seen to be worth billions of dollars annually, according to a report by the Australian Financial Review.

Australian financial firms that have experience in European carbon markets, such as Macquarie Group Ltd, Westpac Banking Corp Ltd and ANZ Banking Group Ltd are particularly keen to establish their presence in the Australian market….

ANZ’s head of energy trading said the value of the derivatives carbon market would dwarf the $10 billion initially raised by the government, according to the AFR.

You have now seen just how mind-bogglingly enormous is our banks’ exposure to (mostly) Interest Rate and Foreign Exchange Rate derivatives.

$17.93 Trillion is equivalent to nine (9) skyscrapers made of pallets of $100 bills, each towering more than twice the height of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The $10 billion that the government will raise from forcing companies to buy carbon permits – the basic mechanism for “putting a price on carbon” – is almost nothing compared to the value of derivatives that banks will create and trade.

Unmonitored.

Unregulated.

Off-Balance Sheet.

The government’s claimed $10 billion in expected revenue from the Clean Energy Future scheme, is equivalent to just one (1) of the 10 x 10 squares of pallets forming the base of one (1) of those derivatives skyscrapers pictured above.

That’s one (1) storey in two hundred (200).

I hope that you now have a better idea – a clear picture in your mind’s eye – of what the ANZ Bank’s head of energy trading meant, when he gleefully said that the value of the carbon derivatives market would dwarf the $10 billion initially raised by the government.

A government that has followed the lemming-like lead of Ireland, by explicitly and implicitly putting taxpayers on the hook for the deeds (and misdeeds) of the banks, by placing the nation as guarantor for the solvency of the Australian banking system.

Meaning, just like the rest of the West, our banks are Too Big To Fail.

And from July 1, thanks to the Clean Energy Future scheme and those two little clauses, the government has handed the banks a licence to print.

It is really a licence to kill.

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

* If you wonder how it is possible that banks can have so much money just in derivatives bets, you might like to learn the truth. The “money” does not really exist. Almost all of the “money” in the world, is just electronic code in computers. And banks truly rule the world, by creating “money” (digits in computers) out of thin air, and lending it to you, at interest. Even the biggest central bank in the world, the Federal Reserve Bank, has admitted that this is how banking works. Learn more here.

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Flash Crash “Had Something To Do With Some Derivatives” Says Goldman Trader

10 Aug

Rio Tinto "flash crash" - 8 August 2011

You probably missed the following little news item, lost in all the screaming red headlines of recent days.

It has important implications for our understanding of what our so-called Clean Energy Future will really look like, under the government’s carbon pricing scheme scam.

Because as we have previously seen from the details buried in the government’s official website, their “carbon pricing mechanism” is nothing whatsoever to do with “saving the planet”.

Instead, it is all about preparing the way for international banking’s latest casino – carbon dioxide futures and derivatives trading.

A mega-casino with trading via the bankers favourite new toy, HFT (High-Frequency Trading) – advanced computerised platforms directly linked into the stock exchanges and able to execute fully-automated trades in under 10 milliseconds.

From Dow Jones Newswires via The Australian (emphasis added):

Rio Tinto trades under investigation after share crash

Some trades in the Australian listing of Rio Tinto are under investigation after the company’s stock lost nearly 98 per cent in four minutes and briefly dropped to its lowest level since the 1970s, the Australian Securities Exchange said today.

A series of trades between 11:24 and 11:26 AEST are being investigated, the ASX said.

Exchange data shows a series of equity options combinations were traded at $1.43 to $1.91 between 11:24 and 11:26 AEST against a typical price of around $71.00 per share.

A total of $489,981 in shares were shown changing hands at the subdued prices, giving an average price of $1.81 per share.

However, a trader at Goldman Sachs said the stock had not actually reached that level.

“It had something to do with some derivatives and I’m sure it will be unwound later in the day,” said the trader, who didn’t want to be named.

… automated trading programs have been known to cause rapid and short-term fluctuations in the prices of securities or so-called “flash crashes”, which have become an increasingly-noticed feature of financial markets.

Hmmmmm.

“It had something to do with some derivatives…”.

Regular readers may recall my analysis of the government’s newly-announced “carbon pricing” scheme on the day after Carbon Sunday – Our Bankers’ Casino Royale – “Carbon Permits” Really Means “A Licence To Print”.

They may also recall my follow up article only a few days later – I Was Right – Our Banks Begin Preparing Carbon Derivatives Market.

To briefly summarise, this is what we found buried in the government’s new website, regarding derivatives:

The “creation of equitable interests”, and “taking security over them”, simply means this.  The carbon permits can be used as the basis for bankers to create other, new financial “securities”.

Carbon derivatives, in other words.

Derivatives (or “securities”) are the toxic, wholly-artificial financial “products” that were at the heart of the GFC.  The same bankster-designed “widgets” that the world’s most famous investor, Warren Buffet, spoke of as “a mega-catastrophic risk”, “financial weapons of mass destruction”, and a “time bomb”.

You can stop reading this piece right now if you like.

Because from that Table 6 alone, you now have conclusive proof that this is nothing whatsoever to do with the climate.

We also identified that setting up the basis for a carbon futures market is part and parcel of the “mechanism”:

Furthermore, the “advance auctions of flexible price permits in the fixed price period” proves beyond all shadow of doubt, that I was right.

That this “carbon pricing mechanism” is the bankers’ CPRS by another name. From Day 1.

Why does it prove it?

The advance auctions of flexible price permits “in the fixed price period” means this.

From Day 1, the government is effectively allowing the setting up of a futures trading market, for Australian CO2 permits.

Futures trading of nothing. Before the nothing is even created.

Now, one could try to argue that the government’s documentation quoted above and in more detail in my analyses, does not actually use the specific word “derivatives”, or “futures”.

And so, one could try to argue that I have no concrete proof.  That I have simply inferred that “creation of equitable interests” and “taking security over them” means “derivatives”, but if the government has not used those exact words, then I might just be making it all up.

Dear reader, if there is any lingering doubt in your mind that the Green-Labor government is setting up a scheme purposefully-designed to serve as the basis for carbon derivatives and futures trading, then doubt no longer.

Here is the government’s Clean Energy Future Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS): 03-Clean-Energy-Future-RIS

And here is a snippet of what it says on page 75 (emphasis added):

10.3 Advance auctioning of future vintages

In consultations undertaken on this issue for previous proposals, most stakeholders supported the auction of future year vintages as future vintages may be an alternative to the spot market and any associated derivative markets for liable entities seeking to manage future emissions obligations.

Advance auctions of future vintages are not required for carbon futures prices to emerge. For example, derivative markets have developed in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme without advance auctions.

Assessment

The preferred position is that there will be advanced auctions of future vintage permits.

So there you have it.

The government’s scheme is all about putting in place the necessary laws to allow banksters the legal right to create trillions of new carbon “securities” – that is, new carbon derivatives, and futures “products”.

The kind of “products” that lead to “flash crashes” which can wipe out 98% of the sharemarket value of one of the world’s biggest mining companies in less than 4 minutes.

Brilliant, isn’t it?

And do not doubt for a moment, dear reader, just how many carbon dioxide derivatives the bankers can (and will) create.

To give you just a tiny hint of the scale, take a look at the following graph of our Aussie banks’ total Off-Balance Sheet derivatives based on Foreign Exchange and Interest Rate bets (euphemistically called “hedges”, of course), current to end March 2011:

Click to enlarge

That’s $16.83 Trillion in Off-Balance Sheet derivatives “Business” (red line), versus only $2.68 Trillion in On-Balance Sheet “Assets” (blue line) – 2/3rds of which “assets” are actually loans.

According to David Bloom, global head of HSBC Foreign Exchange, our banks are racing towards “a bigger Armageddon” in foreign exchange markets … and they are racing towards it sitting atop that monster red line mountain of derivatives bets.

Try to imagine if you will, just how many derivatives that international (and local) bankers will create on top of the underlying “value” of Australia’s $23 starting price carbon “permits”, from the moment that the Brown-Gillard economic planking platform is rammed through Parliament.

And then, think carefully about the words of that Goldman trader just a couple of days ago, when one of the world’s largest miners almost vapourised off the sharemarket in 4 minutes flat.

“It had something to do with some derivatives”.

Aussie Banks’ $14.2Trillion “Time Bomb”

16 Aug

With all the recent turmoil in Europe, and grave questions being asked over the solvency of the European banking system, perhaps it’s time to again ask the question – How safe are our Aussie banks?

Back on March 4th (“Aussie Banks Not So Safe“), we saw that Aussie banks were holding $13 Trillion .. yes, TRILLION .. in Off-Balance Sheet “business”.  By comparison, they were holding only $2.59 Trillion in on-balance sheet assets.

The latest RBA statistics show an interesting change.

Our banks’ Off-Balance Sheet “business” has blown out by a whopping $1.2 Trillion.  It now stands at $14.2 Trillion (RBA spreadsheet here).  That growth alone – in just months – is equivalent to the entire Australian economy.

By comparison, their on-balance sheet assets have only grown by $26.6 Billion, to  $2.62 Trillion (RBA spreadsheet here).

The chart below shows our banks’ assets in blue, with Off-Balance sheet business added on top in burgundy (click to enlarge):

$14.2T in derivatives vs $2.6T in assets = MEGA-RISK

The vast bulk ($13.1 Trillion) of that $14.2 Trillion in “Off-Balance Sheet” business, is in the form of OTC derivatives.  Specifically, it is in the form of Interest Rate and Foreign Exchange “swaps” and “forwards”.

What are derivatives?

Derivatives are the exotic financial instruments at the very heart of the GFC.

Back in 2003, the world’s most famous investor, Warren Buffet, famously called derivatives “a mega-catastrophic risk”, “financial weapons of mass destruction“, and a “time bomb”.

Our “safe as houses” Aussie banks are buried up to their eyeballs in the things.

UPDATE:

Alarmingly, it seems Australians are increasingly inclined to trust their savings with the banks.

From today’s The Australian:

Banks sit on record holdings as wary consumers save

The war for deposits has prompted Australians to save more than ever, driving the money on call at banks to record levels.

Australian households have lodged $461.8 billion with banks in June, up 8.4 per cent on the same time last year. It’s a trend underscoring the risk aversion that still exists among investors.

The major banks are the biggest beneficiaries of consumers’ flight to cash.

June data published yesterday by the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority shows there is $1.266 trillion in deposits at all of the banks in Australia.

The amount is almost the size of the Australian economy, and a 3 per cent increase compared with June last year.

Most of the savings come from households…

Few Australians know that we had the beginnings of a bank run in late 2008.  At the height of fear in the GFC, Australians quietly withdrew $5.5 Billion in savings to stash away under the mattress.  A year later, only $1.5 Billion had been redeposited.

From The Australian:

The private banks keep reserves of cash distributed in 60 storerooms across the country with an average of about $35 million in each. They get topped up by the Reserve Bank before Christmas, when demand for cash typically rises by about 6 per cent, and at Easter, when there is a smaller increase.

But in early October, the Reserve Bank started getting calls from the cash centres for more, especially in denominations of $50 and $100.

The Reserve Bank has its own cash stash. It is coy about exactly how much it holds, but it is understood to be in the region of $4 billion to $5bn.

As the Armaguard vans worked overtime ferrying bundles of $10,000 out to the cash centres, the Reserve Bank’s strategic reserve holdings of $50 and $100 notes started to run low and the call went out to the printer for more. The Reserve Bank ordered another $4.6bn in $100s and another $6bn in $50s. It was the first time it was forced to do this since the Y2K computer bug scare in 1999.

Households pulled about $5.5bn out of their banks in the 10 weeks between US financial house Lehman Brothers going broke – the onset of the global financial crisis – and the beginning of December. That is roughly 80 tonnes of cash salted away in people’s homes. Mattress Bank is doing well, was the view at the Reserve. A year later, only $1.5bn had been put back.

Could it be that Aussies are now feeling a little safer about the GFC, and are starting to put their money back in our banks … at the very time the banks are loading up even more rapidly than ever on derivatives – those “financial weapons of mass destruction”?

UPDATE 2:

16 August 2010

Greg Hoffman of The Intelligent Investor explains the significance of Aussie banks’ derivatives exposure.

From the The Age:

Bank headlines you won’t want to see

‘Australian banks in half trillion dollar derivatives scare” is a headline no-one wants to read. And while it’s unlikely to ever appear, it is possible. So forewarned might be forearmed.

In Monday’s column I showed how Australia’s banks have far more in loans outstanding than they have in deposits.

Now it’s time to explore how that situation came to be and how the banks deal with the risks it presents.

The RBA’s figures show that as at March 2009 ”around 20 per cent of banks’ total liabilities were denominated in foreign currencies.”

This percentage has remained relatively stable over time, but the raw numbers involved ballooned through the credit boom, to the point where the banks’ net foreign currency exposure is more than $300 billion.

If the banks simply borrowed these foreign funds without doing anything else, then they’d have direct exposure to the notoriously fickle Australian dollar exchange rate. Their profits would be violently thrown around (soaring when the currency rises and plunging when the Australian dollar dives).

Yet the banks have produced a string of comparatively smooth profits, at least until the past couple of years. The RBA explains; ”Despite this apparent on-balance sheet currency mismatch, the long-standing practice of swapping the associated foreign currency risk back into local currency terms ensures that fluctuations in the Australian dollar have little effect on domestic banks’ balance sheets.”

Derivative trick

The trick involves the banks entering into hundreds of billions* of dollars worth of derivative contracts known as ”swaps”. These contracts represent an agreement to exchange interest rate and/or currency exposures for a set period of time.

* [Ed:  Mr Hoffman badly underestimates here.  The latest RBA spreadsheet B04hist.xls shows not mere “hundreds of billions”, but rather $6.7 Trillion in Interest Rate swaps, and $1.57 Trillion in Foreign Exchange swaps.  So that’s $8.3 Trillion of the total $14.2 Trillion in off-balance sheet business]

Using such contracts, Australia’s banks can arrange a schedule of payments with another party that match off against their foreign currency-denominated debt. In this way, the banks know their exposure from day one.

Any gains or losses that arise on the loan due to currency movements are offset by an opposite result on the swap contract. That’s how a financial hedge is supposed to function and these contracts have worked nicely for our banks over the years.

Yet one of the expensive lessons taught so savagely by the crisis to financial institutions around the world is that arrangements that have worked smoothly in the past may not always do so in the future.

That lesson brought the business models of lenders dependent on securitisation to a screaming halt in 2007, when previously deep and liquid markets simply seized up. And at some point in the future, it might just pay Australian bank shareholders to have spent a few minutes today considering the risks they’re exposed to as a result of our banks’ reliance on offshore borrowings.

What’s the risk?

I suspect that few people fully understand how dependent our banks are on foreign debt and the mechanism by which they mitigate their exposure (through a series of swap contracts designed to insulate against currency and interest rate movements). And that brings us to the key issue.

Should future convulsions in the global financial markets send any of the institutions on the other side of these contracts to the wall, our banks would become more exposed to the harsh winds of the international financial markets.

This is the nature of ”counterparty risk”, a concept former customers of HIH Insurance came face to face with when that institution couldn’t make good on its financial contracts.

And if the past few years are any indication, the Australian dollar tends to fall in times of uncertainty. So the very conditions which might bring about the failure of the banks’ counterparties would be highly likely to coincide with a plunging Australian dollar: thus blowing out the repayments of foreign currency-denominated debts in local terms.

This is the nightmare scenario…

Indeed.

At the height of the GFC, the Aussie Dollar plummeted from a high of 98c (vs the USD) to just 60c.  In fact, the RBA had to step in on multiple occasions and buy the Aussie Dollar on the open markets, just to defend its exchange rate value at the 60c level.

Given Mr Hoffman has so woefully underestimated our banks’ massive exposure to Interest Rate and Foreign Exchange derivatives, perhaps he should have opened his article as follows:

“Australian banks in 8 trillion dollar derivatives scare” is a headline no-one wants to read.

Bankers – The Root Of Evil

11 May

Banking was conceived in iniquity and born in sin. The Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create deposits, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take away that power, and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear — as they ought to in order to make this a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of Bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let them continue to create deposits.

Sir Josiah Stamp (1880-1941), one time governor of the Bank of England, in his Commencement Address at the University of Texas in 1927. Reportedly he was the second wealthiest individual in Britain.

Bankers have become even more ‘sophisticated’ in the many decades since Sir Josiah Stamp let the cat out of the bag. Now, not only do they create ‘money’ out of thin air by signing you up to a loan – which is entered into a computer as a brand new “deposit” for you to spend – they also ‘manufacture’ all kinds of ‘synthetic’ money substitutes too.

They’re called “derivatives”. Or, as Warren Buffet called them, “Financial weapons of mass destruction”.

And bankers can create as many of them as they wish, because there is absolutely zero regulation of the derivatives markets. To give you some idea, at the peak of the first wave of the GFC in 2008, there was around 1.44 Quadrillion $USD worth of OTC (“Over The Counter”) derivatives in existence.

Why is this important?

Because the $1 Trillion funding to save the Eurozone announced yesterday is meaningless.  The Eurozone cannot be saved, no matter how much money the EU tries to beg, borrow, steal… or print.  Because banksters like Goldman Sachs can simply create ever greater mountains of ‘synthetic’ derivatives with which to attack debt-laden countries, one by one, starting with the weakest.

From ZeroHedge:

Jim Rickards: “Goldman Can Create Shorts Faster Than Europe Can Print Money”

Jim Rickards, who recently has gotten massive media exposure on everything from the JPM Silver manipulation scandal, to the Greek default, was back on CNBC earlier with one of the most fascinating insights we have yet heard from anyone, which demonstrates beyond a doubt why any attempt by Europe to print its way out of its current default is doomed: “Look at what Soros did to the Bank of England in 1992 – he went after them, they had a finite amount of dollars, he was selling sterling and taking the dollars, and they were buying the sterling and selling the dollars to defend the peg. All he had to do was sell more than they had and he wins. But he needed real money to do that. Today you can break a country, you don’t need money you just need synthetic euroshorts or CDS. A trillion dollar bailout: Goldman can create 10 trillion of euroshorts. So it just dominates whatever governments can do. So basically Goldman can create shorts faster than Europe can create money.

The world is not ruled by politicians.  It is ruled by banksters.  Most of us simply don’t quite understand that, because we don’t understand how they do it.

It is very simple.  Well before most of us were born, bankers were given the exclusive power to create ‘deposits’.  Which you and I know as ‘debt’.  And which is now called ‘credit’ … because it appeals to our Pride, and sounds so much nicer, to delude ourselves that we have been given ‘credit’.

When in reality, what we have been given is a Debt.  By accepting the offer of ‘credit’ (Debt), we sell ourselves as slaves to the bankers.

They know it.  They’ve always known it.

Now you do too.

Aussie Banks Not So Safe

4 Mar

From Money Morning:

We dropped the line yesterday about the banks having $13 trillion of off-balance sheet business. We’ve mentioned this number several times over the last year, but if you’re a new reader to Money Morning, here’s a link to the Reserve Bank of Australia spreadsheet that contains the awful truth.

To be precise, it currently runs to $13,058,814,195,842.70.

Just to put that in perspective, the banks have a total of $2.59 trillion of on-balance sheet assets. We’re sure the banks and the RBA will claim that all the off-balance sheet business is completely offset, so that losses are contained.

Personally, we don’t think you should believe a word of it. The number one risk with the off-balance sheet business is counterparty risk. As long as each counterparty can keep the ponzi scheme going then sure, everything will be tickety-boo.

But as we all know, that can’t happen. We’ve seen counterparties collapse before (Lehman, Bear Sterns, etc…) and they’ll collapse or need bailing out again.

There’s only so long that banks can keep the ponzi going. They’ve scraped through by the skin of their teeth thanks to an unprecedented bail-out by the taxpayer.

You see, $13 trillion is $13 trillion. It’s the big unspoken risk that the banks have created for themselves.

You can see the growth in off balance sheet business for yourself here:

$13 Trillion - AU Banks' Off Balance Sheet "assets"

$13 Trillion Off Balance Sheet Business = RISK

So let me make one thing clear. When you hear all the talk about banks deleveraging and de-risking, don’t believe a word of it. As you can see from the chart above, they’re in as deep as they’ve ever been.

The issue of counterparty risk is precisely why the Greek debt crisis is a threat to Australia – despite what Ken Henry and Glenn Stevens would have us believe.

Hummel: The US Will Default On Its Debt

26 Feb

Barnaby warned about the possibility of US sovereign debt default. San Jose State University economist, Professor Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, makes a prediction:

It is not literally impossible that the Federal Reserve could unleash the Zimbabwe option and repudiate the national debt indirectly through hyperinflation, rather than have the Treasury repudiate it directly. But my guess is that, faced with the alternatives of seeing both the dollar and the debt become worthless or defaulting on the debt while saving the dollar, the U.S. government will choose the latter.

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