– The Powers That Be Don’t Want Sovereign Bonds… They Want Gold (ZeroHedge, Nov 19, 2012):
Last week I outlined the issue of collateral and how it is the most critical issue in the financial system today. For a review of that article, click here now.
If you want further evidence that the financial elites are already preparing for a default from Spain and a collateral crunch, you should consider that the large clearing houses (ICE, CEM and LCH which oversee the trading of the $700+ trillion derivatives market) have ALL begun accepting Gold as collateral.
Gold as Collateral Acceptable for Margin Cover Purposes
From 28 August 2012 unallocated Gold (Loco London) will be accepted by LCH.Clearnet Limited (LCH.Clearnet) as collateral for margin cover purposes.
This addition to acceptable margin collateral will be subject to the following criteria;
Available for members clearing OTC precious metals forwards (LCH EnClear Precious Metals division) or precious metals contracts on the Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange. Acceptable to cover margin requirements for all markets cleared on both House and ‘Segregated’ omnibus Client accounts.
CME Clearing Europe to Accept Gold as Collateral on Demand
CME Clearing Europe will accept physical gold as collateral, extending the list of assets it’s prepared to receive as regulators globally push more derivatives trading through clearing houses.
CME Group Inc. (CME)’s European clearing house, based in London, appointed Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), HSBC Holdings Plc and JPMorgan Chase & Co. as gold depositaries. There will be a 15 percent charge on the market value of gold deposits and a limit of $200 million or 20 percent of the overall initial margin requirement per clearing member based on whichever is lower, Andrew Lamb, chief executive officer of CME Clearing Europe, said today.
“We started with a narrow range of government securities and are now extending that,” Lamb said in an interview today. “We recognize there will be a massive demand for collateral as a result of the clearing mandate. This is part of our attempt to maintain the risk management standard and to offer greater flexibility to clearing members and end clients.”
Is it coincidence that this began ONLY when the possibility of a sovereign default from Greece or Spain began? Nope. This actions show that the large clearinghouses see the writing on the wall (that defaults are coming accompanied by a mad scramble for collateral) and so are moving away from paper (sovereign bonds) into hard money.
They know that when Spain defaults the system will be rocked even harder than it was with Lehman in 2008. And they are doing everything they can get access to real collateral (Gold) when paper collateral (Spanish bonds) becomes worthless.
Remember, history has shown us time and again that defaults come in waves. So when Spain defaults, it will be only a matter of time before the rest of the PIIGS, the UK, Japan, and then the US do as well.
However, for now Spain is the biggest issue. As a result of this, Treasuries, Japanese bonds, German bunds and even French sovereign bonds remain attractive to the big banks as collateral… for now.
Indeed, it is the search for high grade collateral that has caused such periodic spikes in Treasuries, German Bunds, French sovereign bonds, and Japanese bonds (all of these have yielded 0% or even negative yields in the last five years). Big banks are moving away from PIIGS bonds into safer havens.
This is also why the Fed isn’t touching Treasuries with QE3 and why it won’t touch short-term Treasuries with Operation Twist 2 (this program sees the Fed selling short-term Treasuries to buy long-term Treasuries): the Fed wants to keep as much good quality collateral in the system as possible (long-term Treasuries are problematic because institutions know it’s highly likely the US will default within the next 30 years).
However, even this move is problematic because much of the Treasury market is locked up with governments both foreign and domestic.
Total US Sovereign Debt $16 trillion Foreign Nation holdings $5 trillion Intergovernmental holdings $4.8 trillion US Federal Reserve $1.5 trillion Remaining $4.7 trillion
Again, this is why clearinghouses (which oversee the derivatives markets) are now allowing Gold as collateral: they know that eventually sovereign bonds will be worth less or even worthless. And they want access to their clients’ Gold for when this happens.
This is why I’ve been warning that the 2008 was just a warm-up. It’s why the Powers That Be in Europe are absolutely terrified of what’s happening there. And it’s why those investors who do not prepare in advance for what’s coming will lose everything.
If you do not want to be one of them, you need to get moving.
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