Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bear Stearns / Carlyle Capital - Another View....

Copy/paste from and Great work and thought provoking. I was hoping not to bastardize it so I pasted a bit more than I would like....Great article I read on Friday

How could the Fed unintentionally have contributed to Carlyle's unraveling? The theory is that the Fed's action made Carlyle Capital's assets more lucrative to the firm's large creditors. Therefore, those creditors had an incentive to let Carlyle Capital fail and seize its assets. Robert Peston, business editor of the BBC, advanced the idea Mar. 13 on his blog, and the notion was quickly picked up and circulated by other bloggers.

More worrying is the explanation for why lenders are seizing the assets, which are US government agency AAA-rated residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS). Carlyle says: “negotiations deteriorated late on March 12 when, among other things, the pricing service utilized by certain lenders reported a drop in the value of RMBS collateral that is expected to result in additional margin calls”.

That statement will reverberate through global markets today.


Well, the point of Tuesday’s dramatic $200bn intervention by the Federal Reserve in mortgage-backed markets was to stabilise the price of US government agency AAA-rated residential mortgage-backed securities and – by implication – to encourage the big banks NOT to seize assets in the way they’ve been doing at Carlyle. In fact, it’s arguable that the banks’ seizure of Carlyle’s $20bn-odd in assets has actually been encouraged by the Fed's mortgages-for-Treasuries offer. Because the Fed’s new lending emergency lending facility allows the banks to swap mortgage-backed debt for Treasury Bills in a way that Carlyle could not do. <--Remember, you have to be a primary dealer.....Hedge funds aren't :)

If that’s the case, there will be some very scared people in hedge-fund land today. Hedge funds that have borrowed from banks against the security of mortgage-backed debt could be about to see their assets sucked into the banking system and their businesses vanish.

It’s a process known as de-leveraging the global financial economy, yet another manifestation of the puncturing of the debt bubble.

Dan Ross

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