Saturday 23rd of October 2021

pricing collateralised debt credibility...

risksrisks

If I was not sceptic nor a sarcastic old kook as I am, I would suggest that "the Chinese government had an influence on the collapse of the Western financial markets in 2008"... I know this is a long shot, but imagine that a bright young mathematician, called Li Xianglin, received a master's degree in economics from Nankai University, one of the most prestigious universities in China...

 

Li Xianglin left China in 1987 at the behest of the Chinese government to study capitalism from the West. There, he earned a MBA from Laval University in Quebec, a MMath in Actuarial Science and PhD in statistics from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario in 1995 with the thesis title "An estimating function approach to credibility theory". This was done under the supervision of Distinguished Emeritus Professor Harry H. Panjer in the Statistics and Actuarial Science Department at the University of Waterloo. Gus says that actuaries are the most serious people who study and forecast risk for financial institutions, including insurance — and few of them do stand up comedy in their spare time...

 

 

From an Article published on 23 February 2009...:

 

In 2008, it was hardly unthinkable that a math wizard like David X. Li might someday earn a Nobel Prize. After all, financial economists — even Wall Street Quants (the "Rocket Scientists of Wall Street") — have received the Nobel in economics before, and Li's work on measuring risk has had more impact, more quickly, than previous Nobel Prize-winning contributions to the field.

 

Today, though, as dazed bankers, politicians, regulators, and investors survey the wreckage of the biggest financial meltdown since the Great Depression, Li is probably thankful he still has a job in finance at all. Not that his achievement should be dismissed. He took a notoriously tough nut — determining correlation, or how seemingly disparate events are related — and cracked it wide open with a simple and elegant mathematical formula, one that would become ubiquitous in finance worldwide.

 

For five years, Li's formula, known as a Gaussian copula function, looked like an unambiguously positive breakthrough, a piece of financial technology that allowed hugely complex risks to be modeled with more ease and accuracy than ever before. With his brilliant spark of mathematical legerdemain, Li made it possible for traders to sell vast quantities of new securities, expanding financial markets to unimaginable levels.

His method was adopted by everybody from bond investors and Wall Street banks to ratings agencies and regulators. And it became so deeply entrenched — and was making people so much money — that warnings about its limitations were largely ignored.

 

Then the model fell apart. Cracks started appearing early on, when financial markets began behaving in ways that users of Li's formula hadn't expected. The cracks became full-fledged canyons in 2008—when ruptures in the financial system's foundation swallowed up trillions of dollars and put the survival of the global banking system in serious peril.

 

From Wikipedia

David X. Li (Chinese: 李祥林; pinyin: Lǐ Xiánglín[1] born Nanjing, China in the 1960s) is a Chinese-born Canadian quantitative analyst and actuary who pioneered the use of Gaussian copula models for the pricing of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) in the early 2000s.[2][3][4] The Financial Times has called him "the world’s most influential actuary",[1] while in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, to which Li's model has been partly credited to blame,[1][2] his model has been called a "recipe for disaster" in the hands of those who did not fully understand his research and misapplied it.[2] Widespread application of simplified Gaussian copula models to financial products such as securities may have contributed to the global financial crisis of 2008–2009.[2][5] David Li is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Waterloo in the Statistics and Actuarial Sciences department.[6]

 

So Li isn't to be blamed for the 2008 financial mess, but those who used his formula to make a quicker buck. At some point on this site we have exposed the derivative market as a massive gambling den and the "Credit Default Swap" as an insurance — for your goods — as if devised by the Mafia. See "greed on credit ..... | Your Democracy". You might be able to find the link...

 

 

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The WIRED article continues...:

 

David X. Li, it's safe to say, won't be getting that Nobel anytime soon. One result of the collapse has been the end of financial economics as something to be celebrated rather than feared. And Li's Gaussian copula formula will go down in history as instrumental in causing the unfathomable losses that brought the world financial system to its knees.

 

How could one formula pack such a devastating punch? The answer lies in the bond market, the multitrillion-dollar system that allows pension funds, insurance companies, and hedge funds to lend trillions of dollars to companies, countries, and home buyers.

 

A bond, of course, is just an IOU, a promise to pay back money with interest by certain dates. If a company — say, IBM — borrows money by issuing a bond, investors will look very closely over its accounts to make sure it has the wherewithal to repay them. The higher the perceived risk — and there's always some risk — the higher the interest rate the bond must carry.

 

Bond investors are very comfortable with the concept of probability. If there's a 1 percent chance of default but they get an extra two percentage points in interest, they're ahead of the game overall — like a casino, which is happy to lose big sums every so often in return for profits most of the time.

Bond investors also invest in pools of hundreds or even thousands of mortgages. The potential sums involved are staggering: Americans now owe more than $11 trillion on their homes [this figure has climbed to stratospheric height by 2021]. But mortgage pools are messier than most bonds. There's no guaranteed interest rate, since the amount of money homeowners collectively pay back every month is a function of how many have refinanced and how many have defaulted. There's certainly no fixed maturity date: Money shows up in irregular chunks as people pay down their mortgages at unpredictable times — for instance, when they decide to sell their house. And most problematic, there's no easy way to assign a single probability to the chance of default.

 

Wall Street solved many of these problems through a process called tranching, which divides a pool and allows for the creation of safe bonds with a risk-free triple-A credit rating. Investors in the first tranche, or slice, are first in line to be paid off. Those next in line might get only a double-A credit rating on their tranche of bonds but will be able to charge a higher interest rate for bearing the slightly higher chance of default. And so on.

 

The reason that ratings agencies and investors felt so safe with the triple-A tranches was that they believed there was no way hundreds of homeowners would all default on their loans at the same time. One person might lose his job, another might fall ill. But those are individual calamities that don't affect the mortgage pool much as a whole: Everybody else is still making their payments on time.

But not all calamities are individual, and tranching still hadn't solved all the problems of mortgage-pool risk. Some things, like falling house prices, affect a large number of people at once. If home values in your neighborhood decline and you lose some of your equity, there's a good chance your neighbors will lose theirs as well. If, as a result, you default on your mortgage, there's a higher probability they will default, too. That's called correlation — the degree to which one variable moves in line with another — and measuring it is an important part of determining how risky mortgage bonds are.

Investors like risk, as long as they can price it. What they hate is uncertainty — not knowing how big the risk is. As a result, bond investors and mortgage lenders desperately want to be able to measure, model, and price correlation. Before quantitative models came along, the only time investors were comfortable putting their money in mortgage pools was when there was no risk whatsoever — in other words, when the bonds were guaranteed implicitly by the federal government through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Yet during the '90s, as global markets expanded, there were trillions of new dollars waiting to be put to use lending to borrowers around the world — not just mortgage seekers but also corporations and car buyers and anybody running a balance on their credit card — if only investors could put a number on the correlations between them. The problem is excruciatingly hard, especially when you're talking about thousands of moving parts. Whoever solved it would earn the eternal gratitude of Wall Street and quite possibly the attention of the Nobel committee as well.

 

To understand the mathematics of correlation better, consider something simple, like a kid in an elementary school: Let's call her Alice. The probability that her parents will get divorced this year is about 5 percent, the risk of her getting head lice is about 5 percent, the chance of her seeing a teacher slip on a banana peel is about 5 percent, and the likelihood of her winning the class spelling bee is about 5 percent. If investors were trading securities based on the chances of those things happening only to Alice, they would all trade at more or less the same price.

But something important happens when we start looking at two kids rather than one — not just Alice but also the girl she sits next to, Britney. If Britney's parents get divorced, what are the chances that Alice's parents will get divorced, too? Still about 5 percent: The correlation there is close to zero. But if Britney gets head lice, the chance that Alice will get head lice is much higher, about 50 percent — which means the correlation is probably up in the 0.5 range. If Britney sees a teacher slip on a banana peel, what is the chance that Alice will see it, too? Very high indeed, since they sit next to each other: It could be as much as 95 percent, which means the correlation is close to 1. And if Britney wins the class spelling bee, the chance of Alice winning it is zero, which means the correlation is negative: -1.

 

Read more:

https://www.wired.com/2009/02/wp-quant/

 

At this stage, the collapse of the financial market in the West, helped the Chinese... https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45493147...

 

Terence Yong Yew Tiek was on the frontline for the bank at the time and remembers how tough it was. 

 

But he says DBS - like so many other businesses in the region - was only momentarily affected, and recovered quickly because of the inherent strength in Asia's economies - and China.

"Fundamentally, there was broad-based growth across Asia," he says. "Whether that was in the auto sector, airlines, consumer goods, commodities, services - all of these things were actually growing because of middle-income growth in Asia. China was also increasingly a factor, and that drove demand across borders within Asia."

 

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My GusHunch is that the Chinese government at the time of sending young Li had an inkling that GREED would overpower any formula that any young actuary could create. It seems to have been too easy to good too well. David Li Xianglin could have been an unknowing weapon (not the first one send to the US to study the Yankee methods — including technologies) in the demise of the West financial markets. I believe that some smart ACTUARIES working for the Chinese government in China had the same formula at hand, the Gaussian copula Li model, and had added the human element of GREED — and waited for the collapse. The Chinese would have been aware of which banks were playing the hardest — and the closest to the highest risk market. Adding a bit of "horoscopic" dimension to the caper, the Chinese could have predicted a September equinox crash — 2008.

 

This is some highly speculative food for thought... The Western financial market has never recovered and the Chinese economy has forged ahead since 2008. At the moment the West is trying to demolish the Chinese economy as much as possible, without wrecking its slavey status to manufacture Western goods... Hence the new CIA division, blah blah blah...

 

See also: https://yourdemocracy.net/drupal/node/41079

 

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not sustainable...

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Like toy blocks hurled from the heavens, nearly 80,000 shipping containers are stacked in various configurations at the Port of Savannah — 50 percent more than usual.

The steel boxes are waiting for ships to carry them to their final destination, or for trucks to haul them to warehouses that are themselves stuffed to the rafters. Some 700 containers have been left at the port, on the banks of the Savannah River, by their owners for a month or more.

“They’re not coming to get their freight,” complained Griff Lynch, the executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority. “We’ve never had the yard as full as this.”

As he speaks, another vessel glides silently toward an open berth — the 1,207-foot-long Yang Ming Witness, its decks jammed with containers full of clothing, shoes, electronics and other stuff made in factories in Asia. Towering cranes soon pluck the thousands of boxes off the ship — more cargo that must be stashed somewhere.

 

“Certainly,” Mr. Lynch said, “the stress level has never been higher.”

It has come to this in the Great Supply Chain Disruption: They are running out of places to put things at one of the largest ports in the United States. As major ports contend with a staggering pileup of cargo, what once seemed like a temporary phenomenon — a traffic jam that would eventually dissipate — is increasingly viewed as a new reality that could require a substantial refashioning of the world’s shipping infrastructure.

As the Savannah port works through the backlog, Mr. Lynch has reluctantly forced ships to wait at sea for more than nine days. On a recent afternoon, more than 20 ships were stuck in the queue, anchored up to 17 miles off the coast in the Atlantic.

 

Such lines have become common around the globe, from the more than 50 ships marooned last week in the Pacific near Los Angeles to smaller numbers bobbing off terminals in the New York area, to hundreds waylaid off ports in China.

The turmoil in the shipping industry and the broader crisis in supply chains is showing no signs of relenting. It stands as a gnawing source of worry throughout the global economy, challenging once-hopeful assumptions of a vigorous return to growth as vaccines limit the spread of the pandemic.

 

The disruption helps explain why Germany’s industrial fortunesare sagging, why inflation has become a cause for concern among central bankers, and why American manufacturers are now waiting a record 92 days on average to assemble the parts and raw materials they need to make their goods, according to the Institute of Supply Management.

On the surface, the upheaval appears to be a series of intertwined product shortages. Because shipping containers are in short supply in China, factories that depend on Chinese-made parts and chemicals in the rest of the world have had to limit production.

 

But the situation at the port of Savannah attests to a more complicated and insidious series of overlapping problems. It is not merely that goods are scarce. It is that products are stuck in the wrong places, and separated from where they are supposed to be by stubborn and constantly shifting barriers.

The shortage of finished goods at retailers represents the flip side of the containers stacked on ships marooned at sea and massed on the riverbanks. The pileup in warehouses is itself a reflection of shortages of truck drivers needed to carry goods to their next destinations...

 

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/10/business/supply-chain-crisis-savannah-port.html

 

 

LONDON — Responding to an escalating crisis, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain reversed course this weekend and offered thousands of visas to foreign truckers to combat a driver shortage that has left some supermarket shelves empty and caused long lines at gas stations.

The decision, announced late Saturday, reflects the growing alarm within the government over a disruption to supplies that has prompted panic buying and, in some places, caused fuel to run out and gas stations to close.

So great is the concern that there has been speculation that the military could be called up to drive trucks. That has not yet happened, but Defense Ministry staff members will be asked to help speed up the process for truck licensing applications.

Late Sunday night, in a move underscoring the growing anxiety over the fuel shortage, the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said he was temporarily exempting fuel companies from the law regulating competition, so that they could share information and optimize supply at stations that need it most.

 

Since January, after Britain completed the final stage of Brexit, employers have been unable to freely recruit European workers, as was previously the case. The coronavirus pandemic has also exacerbated the crisis that stems from a long-term shortage of British truck drivers.

The British Department for Transport said in a statement that 5,000 fuel tanker and food truck drivers would be allowed to work in the country for three months in the prelude to Christmas to provide short-term relief for the commercial hauling industry. The department also noted that letters would be sent to truck drivers in Britain who hold licenses but are not currently working, appealing to them to return. The statement added that visas for 5,500 poultry workers would be made available for the same short period to reduce pressures on the food industry.

Until this weekend, many lawmakers who had backed the withdrawal from the European Union had argued that one of the positive consequences of Brexit was the pressure that it would place on employers to train more British truck drivers and improve the wages for an arduous job.

On Sunday, Grant Shapps, the transportation secretary, defended the move to bring in foreign workers. He told the BBC that while he did not want to “undercut” British workers, he could not stand by while lines formed outside gas stations. Mr. Shapps also said that Britain had adequate fuel supplies, and he appealed to motorists not to buy more than they normally would.

 

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/26/world/europe/trucker-shortage-britain-visas.html

 

assangezassangez

Chinese irredentism...

 

This from February 2021, by Thierry Meyssan...

 

The Biden administration will not adopt a definitive strategy against its Chinese rival until June. An ad hoc committee of the Pentagon will then have to present proposals to the White House.

Under the authority of President Xi Jinping, China has begun its deployment outside its borders. It has already placed 3,000 soldiers in the UN forces and opened a base in Djibouti. Logically, it should, as it did at the time of the historic Silk Road, set up military posts along the roads it is building to secure its international trade. Last but not least, it is relocating to the islets it abandoned in the 19th century in the China Sea.

China first intends to reclaim its living space, which it has been robbed by Western colonists. It is sure of its right and considers that it has every right to take its revenge.

However, in accordance with the strategy outlined in 1999 by General Qiao Liang and Colonel Wang Xiangsui [1], China intends to avoid any direct military confrontation with the United States. It prefers to bypass its adversary and has engaged in undeclared wars on the commercial, economic, financial, psychological, media and other levels.

Chinese irredentism implies excluding the Westerners who have occupied the Far East for a century and a half. It must be distinguished from the Chinese development strategy which has succeeded in a few years in lifting hundreds of millions of its citizens out of poverty.

New China’s economic strategy began in 1978 under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping, but it only really bore fruit in 1994. By that time the Soviet Union had disappeared; the US army had been largely demobilised; President Bush Sr. had declared that the time to make money had come and his successor, President Clinton, had been asked by big companies to open up the Chinese labour market. Indeed, a Chinese worker, albeit untrained, cost about 20 times less than a US worker.

President Clinton would therefore decouple human rights negotiations (in the Anglo-Saxon sense) from trade issues. Then he would bring China into the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Within a few years, the big corporations would transfer their production plants to the Chinese coast for the benefit of consumers and to the detriment of US workers.

Two decades later, the US is consuming Chinese products massively, while its big corporations, which have become transnational, have seen their profits grow exponentially. But at the same time, US consumer goods factories have been relocated or closed while unemployment has spread. The distribution of wealth has been altered so that now there is hardly any middle class left, but mostly poor people and a few ultra-billionaires.

This phenomenon began to affect Europe when US voters chose Donald Trump as their president. He first tried to resolve the balance of payments issue with China (border adjustment tax), but was prevented from doing so by the Democrats and part of the Republicans. Unable to push through a relative border closure, it embarked on a tariff war in which Congress had no say.

In 2021, President Biden officially succeeded him. He was supported by the transnational corporations that derived their immense fortune from economic globalisation. Immediately, he declared his desire to normalise US-China relations. He called President Xi Jinping to talk to him about the situation of the Uyghurs [and] in Hong Kong, but he immediately admitted that Tibet and Taiwan were Chinese, which his predecessor had partially disputed. Above all, at a press conference, he said that each country had its "own standards" and that the political positions of China and the United States each had their own logic. Thus he was able to say, once in the White House, that he "understood" China’s repression of Uighur terrorism, whereas a few weeks earlier he had accused China of "genocide" of the Uighur people under the guise of repression of terrorism.

Over the next four years, the Biden administration should therefore continue the work of Presidents Clinton, Bush Jr. and Obama, to the benefit of the multi-billionaires and to the detriment of its people. It will rely on a ruling class deriving personal benefits from this system.

In order to understand this arrangement, we summarise the eight main personalities supporting the US-China trade alliance. First on the political level: one of the main Democratic icons and the head of the Republicans in the Senate; then on the economic level, the two most important distributors of consumer goods; finally on the governmental level, the decision-makers of the Biden administration.

 

Read more:

https://www.voltairenet.org/article212286.html

 

Read from top. China has known the game being played by the West, for a long time...

 

 

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