October 21, 2008

The situation in the States just keeps getting more bizarre … there are major problems in the commercial paper market:

The Federal Reserve will provide up to $540 billion in loans to help relieve pressure on money- market mutual funds beset by redemptions.

“Short-term debt markets have been under considerable strain in recent weeks” as it got tougher for funds to meet withdrawal requests, the Fed said in a statement in Washington. About $500 billion has flowed out of prime money-market funds since August, a Fed official said.

Assiduous Readers will remember my proposal to have banks consolidate their branded MMFs for capital purposes … I thought that was pretty radical, but I’m beginning to wonder if it’s enough. If MMFs are sensitive to runs AND these runs have a major economic effect … perhaps its time to start regulating them as banks.

Whack-a-Mole financial problems continue … this time with Australian mortgage funds:

The East Coast Mortgage Trust, Northern Investment Trust Fund and the Richmond Mortgage Fund — holding a combined $660 million — all froze redemptions yesterday as spooked investors attempted to liquidate holdings.

The latest freezes followed an announcement yesterday by the giant Challenger Howard Mortgage Fund that it had frozen $2.8 billion of funds, claiming the federal Government’s pledge to guarantee bank deposits had exacerbated a run on redemptions.

There has been a lot of chatter lately alleging Fannie & Freddie caused the sub-prime argument. Menzie Chinn of Econbrowser rebuts the charge and provides an interesting graph:

The graph is taken from the IMF Global Financial Stability Report, October 2008 … which I may get around to reading soon!

Accrued Interest continues his push for exchange traded CDSs in a post titled CDS could be fair and simple, but implicitly supports a decoupling of the CDS and cash markets:

Third, in the event of default, the seller of the contract pays the buyer 60 cents on the dollar. No actual bonds change hands.

This type of CDS is known as a “recovery lock” and have been discussed on PrefBlog. The instrument has caused huge problems in connection with the Fannie/Freddie technical default. I cannot support any plan that allows – not just allows, idealizes! – the decoupling of cash and derivative markets.

Meanwhile, there’s a turf-war going on about who gets to regulate CDSs (hat tip: Naked Capitalism): the Fed, the CFTC or the SEC? More jobs for more regulators to tick off more boxes on more forms! Yay!

On the other hand (hat tip: Dealbreaker), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) just wants to ban them:

Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which regulates derivatives and so has a claim to authority over credit default swaps, has repeatedly questioned whether the $60 trillion industry should be outlawed.

“They’ve been touted as reducing risk, but as we have seen, it has actually increased the risk, the systemic risk, of the whole society,” Harkin said during an Oct. 14 hearing exploring the need for greater regulation of the derivatives.

On a brighter note, there is speculation that settlement of CDSs on Lehman has had no effect.

Technical difficulties prevent me from publishing the three regular tables today. I will update this post tomorrow.

Update, 2008-10-23: Tomorrow, indeed! And only one of the tables! Boy, the things you have to put up with in a free blog, eh?

Note that these indices are experimental; the absolute and relative daily values are expected to change in the final version. In this version, index values are based at 1,000.0 on 2006-6-30.
The Fixed-Reset index was added effective 2008-9-5 at that day’s closing value of 1,119.4 for the Fixed-Floater index.
Index Mean Current Yield (at bid) Mean YTW Mean Average Trading Value Mean Mod Dur (YTW) Issues Day’s Perf. Index Value
Ratchet N/A N/A N/A N/A 0 N/A N/A
Fixed-Floater 5.39% 5.61% 70,921 14.75 6 -0.2258% 959.2
Floater 6.61% 6.69% 44,965 12.93 2 +0.3587% 550.2
Op. Retract 5.31% 6.06% 124,480 4.05 14 +0.6078% 994.3
Split-Share 6.10% 9.77% 58,714 4.03 12 +1.6114% 958.9
Interest Bearing 7.49% 12.52% 55,054 3.47 3 +0.0455% 934.0
Perpetual-Premium 6.72% 6.79% 49,406 12.77 1 +0.6494% 923.5
Perpetual-Discount 6.68% 6.75% 174,648 12.89 70 +0.2926% 809.4
Fixed-Reset 5.22% 5.04% 886,644 15.32 10 +0.0686% 1,100.0

2 Responses to “October 21, 2008”

  1. […] did update the October 21 performance; and updated the post regarding the new Fixed-Reset Royal Bank issue with not entirely […]

  2. […] Canadian Preferred Shares – Data and Discussion « October 21, 2008 New Issue: Royal Bank Fixed-Reset 5.60%+267 […]

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