Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Default Events, Legal Contracts, Derivatives, and Greece

Barry Ritholtz, who generally knows better, blew a gasket at ISDA for yesterday’s ruling that Greek bonds are not yet in default. Specifically, “The International Swaps and Derivatives Association said on Thursday that based on current evidence the Greek bailout would not prompt payments on the credit default swaps.” > Here is a question for […]

Notes Toward Modeling a Risk-Free Rate with Default Possibilities

Brad DeLong asks why it hasn’t been done, if it hasn’t been done.  The biggest problem I can see is that you don’t know how insane the participants are—and that will have a major effect on how much damage is done when. Don’t get me wrong; the damage is already being done; it has been […]

Financial Services Intermediation

Traditionally, non-commercial banking (i.e., everything except savings deposits and consumer loans) was about one of two things: Tax arbitrage or Regulatory arbitrage The rest is window dressing; that is, it was basic financial intermediation, usually for the purpose of helping Corporate and/or High Net Worth clients.* That was until the late 1990s and the Noughts, […]

There’s a reason they talk about 2 August: What the Republican Mainstream Hath Wrought

Reuters reports that the mainstream Republican Party has decided to jump the shark admit it is insane: David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and a Republican advocate for raising the debt limit, said he holds regular question-and-answer sessions with Republican congressman over a beer. “I have yet to meet one Republican […]

Greece will not be ‘allowed’ to default until policy shores up the Irish bond market

Just look at Tracy Alloway’s imagery at FT Alphaville, and you’ll know what’s expected: an imminent Greek default. I still argue no, although European policy tactics are quite enigmatic and their next move is really anyone’s guess. Alas, here’s mine. Assuming that Greece does not secede from the Euro area, I give you three reasons […]

Reducing household financial leverage: the easy way and the hard way

In case you haven’t noticed, I have become slightly less “optimistic” about the prospects of a sustainable U.S. recovery. I used to think that the household deleveraging story was more of a decade-long project, and the economy would cycle throughout. But recent deficit hysteria has me worried; income growth might lapse. What differentiates this recovery […]

Name the Year: Declining Home Prices and Equity Removal

UPDATE: In this context, Dr. Black catches Jamie Dimon expressing what is at best ignorance: However, [Dimon] cautioned, until the market meltdown “you never saw losses in these products, because home prices were going up.” All that research in 1984 and 1990 was for naught, apparently. I’m still away (things are better, but still not […]

Why Can Asset Prices Fall

Robert Waldmann Brad DeLong boldly attempts to exhaustively list the factors which can affect the value of a fixed income asset. This is some Mac generated i document and I can’t cut and paste. Go here and search for “there are four”. The four are called “default”, “the safe real interest rate”, “risk”, and adverse […]