IMO silver is the "No Brainer" of commodity investing. It is screaming and gleaming potential major profits during the next 5-10-20 years.
Buying real silver is what got me started trading and I still add to my position whenever the chance presents itself.
Ted Butler has studied silver for 20+ years and has my utmost respect. I feel honored to read what he has to write. If you want to learn about silver and its potential here is an archive link to his weekly commentary.
In gold, the eight largest traders accounted for 95% of the all the COMEX commercial selling in the past three weeks (with the 4 largest making up most of that amount). Without this concentrated short selling, prices would have climbed much higher. The remarkable fact is that the natural hedgers, the gold mining companies, have been retreating from forward selling, leaving the question open as to who the heck the sellers are and what is their legitimacy?
At precisely the time the gold miners hold the lowest forward sale position in many years, the four largest traders on the COMEX hold a record net short position of 75 days of world mine production and the 8 largest traders hold a short position of more than 104 days world production. Goldís concentrated short position, expressed in days of world mine production is the largest of any commodity other than silver.
The 4 or less traders in silver are now net short more than 282 million ounces, or more than 161 days of world mine production, another ugly new record. The 8 largest traders are net short almost 200 days of world mine production. Not only is this a record for silver, it is so far beyond a record for any commodity that I can confidently predict that no commodity will ever again have such a preposterously large short position.
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Cook: Okay. Will you summarize the bullish case for silver and why you think it should be purchased now?
Butler: Itís greatly undervalued compared to its supply and demand fundamentals. Itís undervalued on a relative basis compared to everything else, including gold. Thereís a smaller amount available for investment than at any time in hundreds of years. Itís under-owned, under-appreciated, misunderstood and overlooked by the investment world. Itís about as far away from being in a bubble as it can be, yet is a prime candidate for becoming a future bubble. It has been pre-sold (shorted) to an extent never witnessed in any other item, which guarantees it must be purchased or delivered against at some point. Institutions can easily own it for the first time. It is vital for modern life. It canít go bankrupt or become worthless and can soar in price by many times its current price. It is easy to buy. All these statements can be verified easily and I canít think of one valid reason why it shouldnít be bought.
Cook: Thank you for a great interview.
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* Jill Treanor * The Guardian, * Monday February 18 2008
This article appeared in the Guardian on Monday February 18 2008 on p22 of the Financial section. It was last updated at 00:03 on February 18 2008.
More than £25bn has been wiped off the stockmarket value of Britain's major banks this month as concern about the impact of the credit crunch reverberates around the sector.
The 10% drop in the first two weeks of February underlines investor concern that further write-offs of investments in exotic instruments related to the sub-prime mortgage sector in the US may be needed.
The fall in share prices has occurred as the major banks prepare to report their figures for 2007. Bradford and Bingley began the process last week, shocking the City with its admission that it was taking £226m of one-off charges and write-offs - halving its profits for 2007. Its shares, under pressure even before the figures were released, are more than 30% lower than their level of a fortnight ago. The B&B's stockmarket capitalisation is barely £1bn.
the estimates i've seen indicate that trillions$ of write-offs are gonna be made.
this isn't simply bad mortgages, it's also about "estimating" financial instruments values at too high a price. it's all good until somebody asks to see how much the original instruments on deposit are really worth. somebody did... they ain't worth anything cuz nobody will buy 'em...
-------------------- Don't envy the happiness of those who live in a fool's paradise. Posts: 35827 | From: USA | Registered: Sep 2003
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here's the reason banks won't "loan" to each other anymore. they used REPOS to loan each other money, and nobody wants to be the bag-holder...
Repurchase agreements (RPs or repos) are financial instruments used in the money markets and capital markets. A more accurate and descriptive term is Sale and Repurchase Agreement, since what occurs is that the cash receiver (borrower/seller) sells securities to the cash provider (lender/buyer) now in return for cash, and agrees to repurchase those securities from the buyer for a greater sum of cash at some later date, that greater sum being all of the cash lent and some extra cash (constituting interest, known as the repo rate). A repo is economically similar to a secured loan, with the buyer receiving securities as collateral to protect against default. There is little that prevents any security from being employed in a repo; so, Treasury or Government bills, corporate and Treasury / Government bonds, and stocks / shares, may all be used as securities involved in a repo. However, the legal title to the securities clearly passes from the seller to the buyer, or "investor". Coupons (installment payments that are payable to the owner of the securities) which are paid while the repo buyer owns the securities are, in fact, usually passed directly onto the repo seller which might seem counterintuitive, as the ownership of the collateral technically rests with the buyer during the repo agreement. It is possible to instead pass on the coupon by altering the cash paid at the end of the agreement, though this is more typical of Sell/Buy Backs.
While classic repos are generally credit-risk mitigated instruments, there are residual credit risks. Though it is essentially a collateralized transaction, the seller may fail to repurchase the securities sold at the maturity date. In other words, the repo seller defaults on his obligation. Consequently, the buyer may keep the security, and liquidate the security in order to recover the cash lent. The security, however, may have lost value since the outset of the transaction as the security is subject to market movements. To mitigate this credit risk, repos often are overcollateralized as well as being subject to daily mark-to-market margining. Credit risk associated with repo is subject to many factors: term of repo, liquidity of security, the strength of the counterparties involved, etc.
Repo transactions came into focus within the financial press due to the technicalities of settlements following the collapse of Refco. Occasionally, a party involved in a repo transaction may not have a specific bond at the end of the repo contract. This may cause a string of failures from one party to the next, for as long as different parties have transacted for the same underlying instrument. The focus of the media attention centers on attempts to mitigate these failures.
so the "credit crunch" hits just as this new accounting rule hits too:
November 12, 2007 Why FAS 157 strikes dread into bankers Just when we hoped the worst was over . . . William Rees-Mogg
Few non-bankers have heard of FAS 157 and 159, yet these are the regulations that will set the terms on which the banks will value their assets. The trouble with FAS 157 and 159 is that they are perfectly reasonable regulations in themselves which could have disastrous, though unintended, consequences.
What are FAS 157 and 159? They are the new United States (Federal) accounting standards that have been introduced to regulate the valuation of bank assets. These valuations are of crucial importance because they are the basis of all bank lending: no assets, no lending; no lending, no bank. According to an informative article in The Financial Times, the new standards will apply fully from Thursday. Many US banks have adopted them already. All US quoted banks will have to publish asset figures in conformity with FAS 157 by next spring.
Martin Hutchinson has also analysed the assets of Goldman Sachs. The bank has disclosed $72 billion of level-three assets, out of total assets of $900 billion. That seems reasonable enough, but it compares with Goldman Sachsís capital of $36 billion. Any substantial write off of level-three assets would impact on Goldman Sachs net asset value.
No doubt this is the reform that should have been introduced years ago; that would have saved a great deal of agony and some abuse. But FAS 157 is coming into effect at a most inconvenient time. The sub-prime mortgage defaults have already undermined confidence in mortgage banked securities. These form a significant part Ė perhaps about a quarter Ė of all level-three assets. Level three also includes higher-quality mortgages and leveraged bridged loans for buyouts.
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group estimates that U.S. banks and brokers, already under massive losses caused by the collapse in the subprime credit market, potentially face hundreds of billions of dollars in write-offs because of what are called Level 3 accounting rules, according to Bloomberg.
Janjuah noted that, for example, Morgan Stanley has the equivalent of 251 percent of its equity in Level 3 assets, Goldman Sachs has 185 percent, Lehman Brothers has 159 percent and Citigroup has 105 percent, according to Bloomberg.
On the other hand, Merrill Lynch has Level 3 assets equal to 38 percent of its equity. As a result, Janjuah believes Merrill ''may well come out of all of this in the best health.''
In the fair value hierarchy, Level 1 is simple mark-to-market, whereby an assetís value is based on an actual price. Level 2, known as mark-to-model and used when there aren't any quoted prices available, is an estimate based on observable inputs, Bloomberg explains.
Level 3 consists of unobservable inputs, such as those that reflect the reporting entityís own assumptions about what market participants would use to price the asset or liability (including risk), developed using the best information available without undue cost and effort, according to FASB. There is no verification requirement if the assumptions are in line with those of market participants.