Huge Credit Stress Starting in China May Easily Rock the Whole World

Link: https://mishtalk.com/economics/huge-credit-stress-starting-in-china-may-easily-rock-the-whole-world

Graphic:

Excerpt:

If funding stress signs don’t emerge, don’t conclude that there is no contagion. Contagion is playing out already if you know where to look.”

The mess in China does not stop with Evergrande. 

…..

Everglade shows the theft of wealth and money in a giant Ponzi scheme, not to be confused with real savings (i.e. net tangible assets at true market value)!

There is no savings glut. 

The alleged savings glut is nothing but a fiat Ponzi scheme where central banks have to keep money supply soaring to keep asset prices (based on debt) from imploding!

How much longer this setup can continue before it blows up in a currency crisis, war with China, or some other major economic disruption remains a key mystery.

Author(s): Mike Shedlock

Publication Date: 20 Sept 2021

Publication Site: MishTalk

Elon Musk’s Push to Expand Tesla’s Driver Assistance to Cities Rankles a Top Safety Authority

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musks-push-to-expand-teslas-driver-assistance-to-cities-rankles-a-top-safety-authority-11632043803

Excerpt:

Tesla Inc. is readying a major upgrade of its driver-assistance software but the top federal crash investigator says the move might be premature.

Chief Executive Elon Musk said last week that drivers would soon be able to request an enhanced version of what Tesla calls its “Full Self-Driving Capability.” The upgrade is expected to add a feature intended to help vehicles navigate cities, expanding the suite of driver-assistance tools that had been designed mainly for highways.

Despite its name, Full Self-Driving doesn’t make cars fully autonomous, and Tesla instructs drivers to remain alert, with their hands on the wheel.

Jennifer Homendy, the new head of the National Transportation Safety Board, said Tesla shouldn’t roll out the city-driving tool before addressing what the agency views as safety deficiencies in the company’s technology. The NTSB, which investigates crashes and issues safety recommendations though it has no regulatory authority, has urged Tesla to clamp down on how drivers are able to use the company’s driver-assistance tools.

Author(s): Rebecca Elliott

Publication Date: 19 Sept 2021

Publication Site: WSJ

Massachusetts fines MassMutual $4.75 mln in ‘Roaring Kitty’ case

Link: https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/massachusetts-fines-massmutual-475-mln-failing-supervise-roaring-kitty-other-2021-09-16/

Excerpt:

A MassMutual investment subsidiary has agreed to pay $4.75 million to resolve allegations by Massachusetts securities regulators including that it failed to supervise its agents, among them the social media persona “Roaring Kitty,” whose online posts helped spark January’s trading frenzy in GameStop Corp (GME.N) shares.

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin on Thursday said MML Investors Services failed to detect the activities of Keith Gill, who touted GameStop stock in his spare time while he was working at the company.

Galvin, the state’s top securities regulator, alleged MassMutual also inadequately supervised other agents and failed to review their social media usage or catch excessive trading in their personal accounts.

The company agreed to pay a $4 million fine to resolve those allegations and another $750,000 for failing to register 478 broker-dealer agents. It also agreed to overhaul its social media policies.

Author(s): Nate Raymond

Publication Date: 16 September 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

Insolvency Cost Information Files

Link: https://www.nolhga.com/factsandfigures/InsolvencyCosts.cfm

Excerpt:

File Explanations:

Insolvency Costs Workbook – This Microsoft Excel workbook contains individual spreadsheets for all insolvency cases along with various summary schedules and assessable premium data.

Insolvency Costs Report – This PDF file contains all commentary and notes for the insolvency cost report. It includes general descriptions of categories, brief comments on individual insolvency cases, assessment and premium tax offset provisions, and premiums by state. Also included are the spreadsheets from the Costs Excel workbook, thus creating one comprehensive report. You will need Acrobat Reader to open and read this file.

Insolvency Costs Report – Comments – This file is no longer provided beginning with 2003 since all information is included in the Report PDF file. This Microsoft Word document contains all commentary and notes for the insolvency cost report. It includes general descriptions of categories, brief comments on individual insolvency cases and premium tax offset provisions.

Date Accessed: 20 Sept 2021

Publication Site: National Organization of Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Associations

Yellen, IRS Push Democrats to Require Banks to Report Taxpayers’ Annual Account Flows

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/yellen-irs-push-democrats-to-require-banks-to-report-annual-account-flows-11631727020

Excerpt:

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig pressed lawmakers Wednesday to give the Internal Revenue Service more information about taxpayers’ bank accounts, as the Biden administration tries to salvage its tax-compliance proposal.

In letters to lawmakers, the administration officials again asked Congress to require banks to report annual inflows and outflows from bank accounts with at least $600 or at least $600 worth of transactions, a proposal aimed at letting the IRS target its audits more effectively. It would generate about $460 billion over a decade to cover the costs of Democrats’ planned expansion of the social safety net and climate-change policies, according to the administration.

But after a flurry of opposition from banks and credit unions, House Democrats omitted the proposal from their list of tax-policy changes this week. That was a sign that it lacked the support in the party to advance, though a scaled-back version raising about half as much money could still emerge from ongoing talks between administration officials and Congress.

Author(s): Richard Rubin and Orla McCaffrey

Publication Date: 15 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

How to Stop Politicians From Cooking the Books

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/budget-reform-deficit-government-spending-3-5-trillion-reconciliation-bill-fasb-biden-11631465087

Excerpt:

The federal government ran budget surpluses from 1998 to 2001. Yet the national debt went up in every one of those four years. How can debt go up when you’re running surpluses? Easy, borrow the surpluses then flowing into the Social Security Trust Fund and call it income. Any corporate CEO who tried this stunt would go to jail. But no CEO would try because Wall Street made such boldface accounting fraud impossible more than a century ago.

…..

How can we stop politicians from so casually lying to their stockholders (you and me) for their own short-term political benefit and to the country’s long-term financial detriment? What’s needed is the equivalent of the reforms forced on corporations 140 years ago.

One justification for the Federal Reserve is to keep the power to print money out of the hands of politicians. A Federal Accounting Board would keep the power to cook the books out of their hands as well. Like the Fed, it would be run by a board of seven members, all professional accountants of long experience, serving 14-year terms. They could be removed only for cause. One member would be appointed chairman, serving a four-year term.

The board would take over the duties of the Congressional Budget Office, and the White House Office of Management and Budget would be reduced to formulating the annual budget. The board would estimate future revenue and the costs of all legislation. It would also set the rules for how the federal books must be kept (no calling borrowed money “income”), and would determine if they are accurate and complete, as a CPA does for corporate books.

Author(s): John Steele Gordon

Publication Date: 12 September 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

Libor Transition Stokes Sales of Risky Corporate Debt

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/libor-transition-stokes-sales-of-risky-corporate-debt-11631451601

Excerpt:

Managers of collateralized loan obligations — securities made up of bundled loans with junk credit ratings — are rushing to close deals ahead of the year-end move away from the London interbank offered rate. The interest-rate benchmark underpins trillions of dollars of financial contracts but was scheduled for phaseout after a manipulation scandal.

That is helping push CLO sales to records. U.S. issuance topped $19.2 billion in August, a monthly record in data going back a decade, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence’s LCD.

…..

A wave of CLO refinancings this year allowed some managers to include fallback language shifting to SOFR in their documents, analysts said. But for other deals, CLO managers and investors must negotiate that changeover, which could create conflicts if they have different rate preferences.

Disruptions to the transition could increase the extra yield, or spread, that investors’ demand to hold triple-A rated CLO debt during the fourth quarter of this year, depending on how quickly the loan market transitions and how new CLO deals and investors position themselves, said Citi analysts in a June note.

SOFR is based on the cost of transactions in the market for overnight repurchase agreements, where large banks and hedge funds borrow or lend to one another using U.S. Treasurys as collateral. Unlike Libor, which tends to rise during periods of market stress, it doesn’t adjust for shifts in credit.

During last year’s spring selloff, the difference between three-month Libor and SOFR rose to 1.4 percentage points at its peak, according to BofA. That means CLO debtholders received a higher rate than what they would have if their bonds were linked to SOFR.

Author(s): Sebastian Pellejero

Publication Date: 12 September 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

U.S. Insurance Industry’s High-Yield Bond Exposure Grows Following COVID-19-Related Credit Deterioration in 2020

Link: https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/capital-markets-special-report-covid-related-credit-deterioration.pdf

Graphic:

Excerpt:

At year-end 2020, the U.S. insurance industry reported $286 billion in high-yield bond exposure,
an increase of just over 25% compared to year-end 2019 due in part to the broad-based credit
impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

High-yield bonds accounted for 6.1% of the industry’s total bond exposure, the highest level in
more than 10 years and an increase from 5.1% at year-end 2019.

High-yield corporate bonds, asset-backed securities (ABS) and other structured securities, and
private-label commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) were the primary contributors to
the increase in high-yield exposure.

Author(s): Michele Wong and Jean-Baptiste Carelus

Publication Date: 6 August 2021

Publication Site: NAIC, Capital Markets Special Report

PBGC Issues Interim Final Rule on Multiemployer Bailout Plan

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/news/pbgc-issues-interim-final-rule-on-multiemployer-bailout-plan/

Excerpt:

There are four types of multiemployer plans that are eligible to apply for SFA under the PBGC’s regulation:

A plan in critical and declining status as defined by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in any plan year beginning in 2020, 2021, or 2022.

A plan that had enacted a suspension of benefits approved under ERISA as of March 11, 2021.

A plan certified to be in critical status as defined by ERISA that has a modified funded percentage of less than 40%, and a ratio of active to inactive participants of less than 2:3, in any plan year beginning in 2020, 2021, or 2022.

A plan that became insolvent for purposes of section 418E of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) after Dec. 16, 2014, when the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (MPRA) became law, has remained insolvent, and has not terminated under ERISA as of March 11, 2021.

PBGC has prioritized seven groups of plans that qualify for the aid, ranked by the most impacted plans and participants first. The highest priority is given to applications of plans that are projected to become insolvent under ERISA by March 11, 2022, so that they will not have to reduce participant benefits, and to plans that are already insolvent, to help them reinstate benefits, provide makeup payments to participants and beneficiaries, and restore previously suspended benefits.

Author(s): Christine Giordano

Publication Date: 14 July 2021

Publication Site: ai-CIO

China’s Corporate Crackdown Adds to Junk-Bond Distress

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-corporate-crackdown-adds-to-junk-bond-distress-11629019801?mod=e2tw

Excerpt:

The latest Chinese market to buckle under pressure from Beijing’s wide-ranging corporate crackdown: junk bonds.

Companies from China make up the bulk of Asia’s roughly $300 billion high-yield dollar bond market, thanks to a surge in borrowing by the country’s heavily indebted property developers.

But the investor optimism that drove that borrowing has collapsed.

…..

The widening regulatory crackdown that sparked a big selloff last month in the shares of internet-technology and education companies has also weighed on Chinese credit markets, pushing down prices of even investment-grade bonds.

The moves show China is getting more serious about reining in companies whose business practices are seen at odds with national priorities. Investors are now actively looking for sectors that might be next in the crosshairs.

Author(s): Serena Ng

Publication Date: 15 August 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

ASB Approves Third Exposure Draft of ASOP No. 4

Link: http://www.actuarialstandardsboard.org/email/2021/ActuarialStandardsBoard-aug-9-2021.html

Excerpt:

The Actuarial Standards Board of the American Academy of Actuaries recently approved a third exposure draft of a proposed revision of Actuarial Standard of Practice (ASOP) No. 4, Measuring Pension Obligations and Determining Pension Plan Costs or Contributions. The standard provides guidance to actuaries when performing actuarial services with respect to measuring obligations under a defined benefit pension plan and determining periodic costs or actuarially determined contributions for such plans. The standard addresses broader measurement issues, including cost allocation procedures and contribution allocation procedures. The standard also provides guidance for coordinating and integrating all of the elements of an actuarial valuation of a pension plan.

The comment deadline for the third exposure draft is Oct. 15, 2021. Information on how to submit comments can be found in the exposure draft.

Link to draft: http://www.actuarialstandardsboard.org/asops/measuring-pension-obligations-and-determining-pension-plan-costs-or-contributions-third-exposure-draft/

Publication Date: 9 August 2021

Publication Site: Actuarial Standards Board

America’s Delta data problem

Link: https://www.axios.com/america-coronavirus-vaccines-delta-data-ababc99b-df6b-4ddb-b4b2-341733933a27.html

Excerpt:

The big picture: The Biden administration is ultimately trying to figure out how well-protected different demographics are against the virus, and for how long. From there, they can decide who should get booster shots.

But while the administration waits for more information, telling the public only that boosters aren’t necessary right now, drug companies and other countries are filling the data and communication void.

“Just think we live in a country which is incapable of telling us the percent vaccinated or unvaccinated who require hospitalization for covid. No less any more data about them. Or track breakthrough infections. Thanks @CDCgov,” tweeted Eric Topol, executive vice president of Scripps Research.

Author(s): Caitlin Owens

Publication Date: 9 August 2021

Publication Site: Axios