Competitive Currency Devaluations

I have been talking for some time about a ‘rip off’ that the US will attempt to make against China, that it could take a belligerent form (default) or a traditional and less likely to cause a war option (devaluation of the dollar). It seems to be playing out and going for option two.

Competitive currency devaluations are alive and well in the world, why? Well, in early 09′ I wrote about it on the Paddy Power Trader blog:

“One way of paying bond holders back (but not ‘rewarding’ them) is via a devalued currency with an inflationary environment thrown in, in fact the big robbery of this century is going to be (as it was in the past as per the 1870s first, and then via Presidential Executive Order 6102 in the 1930’s) a dollar based one, the only way the US can pay its debts is to essentially rip off the debt holders, domestically that won’t be so bad, but internationally it …

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Interbank Yield Curve: 28th September 2010

It has been a while since I posted on the yield curve, the main reason was that I lost my daily treasury letter from Bank of Scotland when all of their reporting went back to the UK and the daily replacement by Lloyds didn’t offer sufficient time-line to give a full curve.

The interesting thing that has happened in the interim is that the rules regarding forward rate prices between mortgage rates and Euribor rates has disconnected, in the same way that the ECB and Euribor disconnected in 2007, by this I mean that it is fascinating to see the established relationship end but the implications are horrifying for borrowers because it has meant that their monthly payments have gone up at a time the ECB is keeping rates low for the purpose of loosening up the financial cogs.

Take a look at the difference between February of this year and today, we can see that the long term rates are coming down and that flattening of the curve means two things: the ‘new normal’ is predicted to be one …

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Sunday Time: OpEd on Mutual Building Societies

The Sunday Times ‘Money’ section ran an opinion piece by Irish Mortgage Brokers on Mutual Building Societies in which we lamented the end of an era but made the point that the benefits of mutuality no longer exist given the market we are in.

Mutual building societies have an interesting history but their purpose was ultimately financial intermediation which is what banks nowadays perform, that, along with pricing and the test of the market have shown that Mutuals no longer have a place in the market on the basis of their structure, rather the market requires firms that exist on the basis of competition just like anybody else.

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KBC move to 90% LTV

This is a very healthy sign for the mortgage market, and in our opinion it could mean that 2010 might mark the low point for credit that we have been watching out for.

In 2009 KBC under-lent, they had €1bn and didn’t lend out anywhere near that, they are also here to stay, and prior to the crisis they had about 1/8th of the market share. The fact that they are rolling out a higher loan to value is a very confident sign that

Banks have a few internal policy tools to control lending 1.    Curtailing the amount of lending – we see that already, mortgage lending is about 85% down from the peak of 40bn p.a. , peak wasn’t exactly a gauge of normal, but half of that would be normal, and even on that basis it’s down 75% – that story still has to play out 2.    Rate increases: this has the same effect as central bank rate increases, it reduces lending and everybody has increased their margins by at least 1% in the last year, you and …

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EBS rate hikes, the benefit of mutuality?

EBS have announced a rate hike of 0.6% which is a follow on from their last 0.6% hike that was levied against variable rate mortgage holders on the 1st of May, this brings their margin increases to a total of 1.2% for the year to date.

Today’s Indo lead with this story (by Charlie Weston) and rightly pointed out that by the time this is over, a person with a €300,000 mortgage over 30 years could expect to pay just over €3,000 a year (after tax) in increased mortgage payments. For a person on the average industrial wage this is like a full months wages before tax being sucked away by the financial system. Tax hikes and wage cuts aside, this will ultimately reduce the money that is being spent in the economy and it will disappear into the financial system where banks will use it to de-lever further.

The contention for many people is that they are being punished, not for what they have done …

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Who cheats more? Politicians or bankers? With Dan Ariely

Legendary Behavioral Economist Dan Ariely presents a piece about trade off’s between instant gratification versus long term gratification, reward substitution, cheating, trust/revenge, global warming, executive pay and many other fascinating topics. This video is fascinating and for me is a real insight into the psychology behind economics that is so often over looked in classical economics. This is explained in simple terms that we can all understand and relate to, hope you enjoy!

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Irish banks, caught in the perfect funding storm

Irish banks are caught in a perfect storm of funding costs versus lending costs which spells bad value for consumers. This is clearly seen on the deposit and lending fronts, our banks can’t offer headline rates on deposits, nor can they charge sufficiently on lending. This is creating a multi-billion Euro dilemma which will ultimately be paid for by an already unfairly burdened taxpayer.

On the deposit side foreign banks can afford to pay far more than Irish institutions meaning they can hoover up deposits rapidly and with relative ease, on the lending side, Irish banks are unable to obtain the margin they need in order to compete and remain profitable.

When it comes to leading rates for indigenous lenders you will see that Anglo, despite being nationalised and having the inherent backing of the state on all deposits, is paying the highest rates for an Irish institution on  6 month (it is the best of the Irish institutions) and 1yr deposits (it is the best across the board on 1yr deposits) – this is well above the odds they …

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Just who is getting the mortgages?

Caroline Madden wrote an article in today’s Irish Times ‘Just who is getting the mortgages?‘. It is a question that begs answers, at first it seemed to me like asking ‘Who is John Galt?’ (Rand readers will understand). The stories we hear constantly is that banks are hoarding credit, they will not extend credit to particular groups and when they do the underwriting is so strict that even credit-worthy applications are being turned down.

This article features our feelings on the matter, we believe that some of the banking statistics being thrown around make fore ‘good copy’ (good PR) and very little else, as we are not seeing applications turn from approvals in principle into closed loans, and in many cases, approvals are coming in far below what the applicant is actually looking for.

One element of this is natural, after a credit fuelled boom you …

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