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Tuesday, January 29, 2013
John Ward – Crash 2 : The Mad, The Bad, And The Hysterically Silly
George Osborne yesterday showed once more that he’s ahead of the game by suggesting that Britain faces “a difficult time”, the gdp results were “disappointing”, and thus the Pound is falling…so Brits abroad in the eurozone will “feel the pinch”. The Daily Mail noted all this, and then wrote that the FTSE had ‘smashed through the 6,300 barrier’. No dots were joined up or brain-cells overworked in the reporting of these facts. The phrases ‘currency wars’, ‘selling the Pound to help exports’ and ‘indescribably bonkers’ were absent.
Still, the American ‘recovery’ continues to be the only one in history wherein the Federal Government owes more money every month, over half the public sector pension fund has been thrown at the debt, and the absorption of failed banks by healthier ones is a process taking place 4-5 times a month on average. 53 banks failed in the US last year, and for those of a vengeful disposition, The FDIC has all the gory details.
Doing this sort of thing, of course, simply means that bad banks infect goodish banks with their toxicity….which quietly moves from one balance sheet to another, becoming yet another lump of pulsating radioactive gunk ready to lay the system low.
But heh – volatility is just so now baby. CBOE Holdings, buoyed by the phenomenal success of options and futures contracts based on its Volatility Index (VIX) is ratcheting up its efforts to broaden their appeal.
“The volatility business is only eight years old, but we see terrific growth,” Ed Tilly, CBOE’s president and chief operating officer, told a gathering of reporters in New York recently. “We see hedge funds, prop trading firms, (commodity trading advisors), insurance companies and other institutional users migrating to the product. It’s very important for us.”
‘The volatility business’. Doncha love it? Here we are, it’s the 21st century, and fully grown up adults are gainfully employed building a new sector specialising in calculating the Fanshit Factor. Buy fanshit futures. Compare your own fanshit fear to the fanshit feelings of other calmer souls. Spot the fanshit index falling as more fanshit sprays your new YSL suit an interesting shade of fanshit. Be a fanshit fan: You Know it Makes Sense. Human beings are never funnier than when examining the interior of their own backsides in search of fanshit.
But desperation breeds criminality too – imagine that. Suddeutsche Zeitungreports that Germany’s bank regulator Bafin has now started an investigation against four German banks in connection with alleged manipulation of the Euribor. So far, the German authorities have only cooperated with the Libor investigations, but this is a new investigation.
Do we need a trial to establish guilt here? Probably not: they’re all guilty. Still, some sort of judicial process would be nice. I mean in the sense of politeness to the 65% of us suffering a pythonic grip while the authorities work out how to save themselves. QE does nothing that it claims on the tin. Zirp pauperises anyone on a fixed income with ‘proper’ investments. Libor manipulation screws the borrower. Welfare cuts play well in the markets while leaving all worthy recipients of it even more desperate than the authorities.
They’re called the authorities, by the way, because although they’re rarely authoritative – and never able to command authority through respect – they do have unlimited authority to do WTF they like to anyone and anything at any time they fancy. This is what makes investing such a joy at the moment. But if nothing else, the competition authorities are still on Michael O’Leary’s case, so it’s not all bad.
Ryanair has put out quarterly results showing turnover, profit and passengers continue to rise. The last of these is an especially good sign for any company in the business of getting people into the air, and predictably the results are accompanied by a bullish statement from chief executive Michael O’Leary. As O’Leary could be bullish about the imminence of an asteroid hit, that doesn’t mean much beyond his infinite determination to take over Aer Lingus.
Mad Michael claims that his plan to sell Aer Lingus routes to two separate airlines meets all concerns raised by the competition authorities. They just don’t address my concerns about the possibility of him being a wing short of an aeroplane, but then I’m picky. I once drove a six hundred mile round-trip to pick up four teenage children who unexpectedly found themselves in the Loire thanks to the immaculate scheduling and navigation skills of Ryanair. It is for this and many other reasons that I still think the price of O’Leary buying the national airline of his homeland should be the authorities insisting on rebranding it Cunnilingus.
But just when you thought Absolute Zero Sanity had been achieved, there’s always the Greek austerity problem to prove you wrong. Charis Theocharis, the new Hellenic revenues general secretary, made an astonishing claim in public last week. During his appearance at
the congress of the Association of Property Owners, a number of people
started to shout and protest about the many different taxes imposed on
“I have no money to pay property taxes,” shouted someone from the audience.
An obviously stunned general secretary shouted back, “Me neither”.