Posts filed under “Credit”

Quote of the day: Kasriel on Leverage

From the ever readable Paul Kasriel:

"Fund managers and investors have been puzzled why prices across a wide spectrum of assets moved together last week – namely, down. I think it has everything to do with delevering. What is bringing about delevering? When a fund owns assets that are going down in value for some fundamental reason, say mortgage-backed securities whose underlying collateral are defaulting subprime mortgages, and the fund is levered, its creditors start to make margin calls. The fund, then, has to sell assets to raise cash. The fund might end up selling relatively high-quality and liquid assets [Ed: i.e., Gold, Oil] in order to raise the maximum amount of cash quickly to meet its margin call. This puts downward pressure on the prices of assets not tainted by credit risk.

Now price volatility increases in asset classes unrelated to the originally troubled asset class. Many hedge funds engage in seemingly low-risk strategies that have commensurately low returns. In order to boost investor returns, these low-risk funds incur leverage. Many of these funds measure risk by the price volatility of their asset holdings. When there has been an extended period of low price volatility, risk is considered to be low. Therefore, more leverage can be incurred. But when asset-price volatility starts to increase due to the sale of assets to meet margin calls by funds with tainted assets, funds with seemingly “good” assets are forced to delever because of the increased risk these hitherto low-risk funds now face. So, the low-risk funds end up selling “safe” assets in the process of delevering, thereby putting downward pressure on the prices of these “safe” assets.

Leverage is wonderful when asset prices are rising. It is a bear when asset prices start to retreat. It creates a vicious cycle. Both the sinners and the sacred get got in the undertow."
(emphasis added)

That last paragraph us especially sharp . . .

Source:
Diverse Asset Class Correlation and Leverage
Northern Trust Global Economic Research, August 13, 2007
http://web-xp2a-pws.ntrs.com/content//media/attachment/data/
econ_research/0708/document/dd081307.pdf

Category: Credit, Derivatives, Psychology

Open Thread: A Stealth Fed Rate Cut?

Category: Credit, Derivatives, Federal Reserve, Hedge Funds, Psychology

Subprime Credit Rot

Category: Credit, Derivatives, Hedge Funds, Psychology

Quote of the day: Moral Hazard

Category: Credit, Derivatives, Psychology

Ratings Agencies 2007 = Equity Analysts 2000 ?

Category: Credit, Derivatives, Hedge Funds, Psychology, Real Estate

Open Thread: Closing the Barn Door on Sub-Prime ARM Mortgages

To be filed under "Better-Late-Than-Never" regulatory actions: The Federal Reserve is considering the following changes in Sub-Prime lending disclosures:

The federal financial regulatory agencies today issued proposed illustrations
of consumer information for certain adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) products
described in the agencies’ Statement on Subprime Mortgage Lending (Subprime
Statement), effective July 10, 2007. The Subprime Statement recommends
communications that ensure consumers have clear, balanced, and timely
information about the relative benefits and risks of certain ARM products. The
illustrations are intended to assist institutions in providing this information.

(Below is a table of the proposed changes)

So is this a case of too-little-too-late, or might this actually accomplish something positive?

What say ye?

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click for larger table
Sample_loans

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The rest of the proposed changes are after the jump . . .

Read More

Category: Credit, Derivatives, Federal Reserve, Psychology, Real Estate

Money Markets Substitute Halting Redemptions

Category: Credit, Markets, Psychology

Open Thread: Fed Intervention

Category: Credit, Derivatives, Federal Reserve

Fed Treads Moral Hazard

Category: Credit, Federal Reserve, Markets, Psychology

Helicopter Drop

Category: Credit, Currency, Federal Reserve, Psychology