by Dave Kranzler, Investment Research Dynamics:
The Fed announced a series of three “expedited procedure, closed” meetings Monday thru Wednesday this week: FRB Board Meetings. The Monday meeting was allegedly “a review and determination by the Board of Governors” of the advance and discount rates charged by the Fed. This is somewhat an absurd waste of time as both of those bank funding mechanisms have become antiquated and rarely used. The discount window collects dust until a specific bank’s credit profile has collapsed to an extent that prevents it from accessing the interbank-lending market. It’s seen as an act of desperation. It’s doubtful that the meeting was convened to discuss the discount rate.
The announced subject matter of the two subsequent meetings are perhaps of more interest: “bank supervisory matter” (Tuesday) and “periodic briefing and discussion on financial markets, institutions, and infrastructure” (Wednesday).
I find the latter two topics in the context of the fact that it appears that the European banking system – to which the U.S. Too Big To Fail Banks are inextricably tied – appears to be melting down.
For me the “tell tale” for the western financial system is Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank has emerged as a “rogue” bank of sorts that had taken on a catastrophic amount of reckless credit market risks. Nothwithstanding its literal financial nuclear portfolio of derivatives, DB thrust its balance sheet into every sector of the global economic system that has been melting down over the past 12-24 months including energy, commodities, “Club Med” European banks and junk bonds. It also began to choke to death on bank debt loans to companies like Glencore and Volkswagen.
The trading action in DB’s stock price has been unable to mask the underlying melt-down going on at the Company:
As you can see, DB’s stock price has been significantly underperforming the BKX bank financial index since mid-July. Coincidentally, or perhaps not coincidentally, the S&P 500 suffered an 11% drop in mid-August.
Bloomberg News released a report about three weeks that surprisingly received little to no commentary in the alternative media world. It was reported that Goldman and JP Morgan were in discussions to buy $1.1 gross “notional” amount of DB’s distressed credit default swaps (LINK). That in and of itself was not necessarily interesting, but the article reported that DB had already sold off two-thirds of its distressed CDS swap book to since October 2015 to Citicorp. The CDS securities were “single-name” direct (not cleared thru DTC) OTC derivatives, meaning they are of the riskiest, most unregulated and most toxic variety.
If you notice on the graph above, around the time that DB was engaged in selling some of its toxic waste to Citi in October, the stock began take a dive and it began to diverge negatively from the rest of the big bank stocks.
I would suggest, and have been suggesting, that there’s been a series of mini-melt downs that have been occurring in the western financial system since late last summer. I also have written analysis which has connected these melt-downs to Deutsche Bank and has connected the “stick saves” in the markets to the Fed.
I’m suggesting here that the Fed is behind the Citi, Goldman and JP Morgan CDS transactions with Deutsche Bank as means of preventing DB’s collapse. After all, the TBTF fail banks in the U.S. are catastrophically tied to Deutsche Bank – and the entire European financial system – via derivatives.
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