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银行与信贷危机---步入次贷以外
新一年的到来总被寄予新的希望,但是银行家还是被恐惧笼罩着。这周,正当他们着力解决由次贷危机带来的影响时,一轮新的放血又开始了。巴克莱资本和加拿大帝国商业银行掉离了世界一流信贷投资银行的长队。没有人感觉到惊奇,Jimmy Cayne 从贝尔斯登投行下台,华尔街的银行和出现问题的对冲基金标志着这场始于去年6月危机的开始。
由于一季度19亿美元房屋抵押贷款的损失,和受到舆论的批评关于他过多的关心自己桥牌和高尔夫技术的提高而忽略了自身银行在市场中的地位,Cayne先生就是在这样的压力下离开了贝尔斯登。在Alan Schwartz 这位值得信任的海军上将接任首席执行官之前,他仍旧可以保留着没有执行权的主席地位,并继续拿着8位数的薪水。
贝尔斯登的问题并非一次性的打击,它的特权的重要部分不是受到客户的违约情况就是将彻底消失。至少在贝尔斯登西方的同僚中存在着关于兼并投机的情况,尽管有时我们不知道是谁。一旦贝尔斯登的巨额损失在美国下滑的房市中暴露出来,并受到次贷相关的法律指控,没有人会敢于应价的。其股价在Cayne宣布辞职后就持续的下跌。
尽管银行家的信心正在耗尽,但事情也许会更糟。在中央银行大量货币资金的支撑下,银行业跌跌撞撞的挺过了这一年。借贷利率仍旧很高,但有小幅下降,资产回购型的商业票据市场在持续了20周的不振后在1月3日出现上涨。随着270亿美元主权财富基金的注入,大银行破产的风险在降低。注入对象包括美林、花旗集团、摩根斯坦利、瑞银。这剂强心剂会将现有的股东格局打乱,并将他们的股份稀释,不过他们也清晰的认识到只要大的出资方稳定不动摇就没有人会出局。
至少现在没有出现,全美最大的房屋抵押贷款公司的股价在1月8日后又下跌了28%,该公司的负责人矢口否认破产清算的传闻。银行业对于股市的打击又将卷土重来,甚至是迄今未收到任何伤害的高盛也未幸免于难。
摩根大通被预期是受次贷冲击最少的一家银行,大约低于20亿美元,但它却遭受着其他的忧患。它是杠杆交易贷款和债券产品的最大持有者,且大多数是在信贷泡沫时期达成的协议。在银行账面上未销售出去的2500亿美元的债券确实令人头疼。
作为信贷违约互换产品(CDS)的主要经营商,合约常常用于支撑一家公司偿还账务的能力。摩根大通也许发现他们正被卷入另一场漩涡中。这些信贷衍生产品近年来发展迅猛,并有着43万亿美元交易的显著记录。由于公司的违约概率处于历史的低点,合约的交易方还没有付出太多的代价。据穆迪评级称,违约情况将会上升。对于那些进入该市场而又没有做好风险分散准备的银行来说,损失的可能性徒增。如果房屋抵押市场是一个例子的话,那么卷入这一阵营的将不是少数。John Mauldin一位有影响的投资家认为违约互换交易对方的风险将是2008年的重头戏之一,特别是那些市场中巨大的但是已经变得脆弱的债券担保机构。
由于担心美国经济的进一步衰退,信用全面恶化的情形同样值得忧虑。商业资产在今天显得很不稳定,同时也波及到汽车贷款、学生贷款和信用卡市场上。所有这些都如同房屋抵押贷款一样,被卷入华尔街这架资产证券化的机器中。
银行股价将进一步的下跌,摩根斯坦利的Betsy Graseck评论到就有形资产的账面价值来说,相对于1989到1991年信贷危机的最低水平来说它们仍旧处于高位。期货市场的财产价格预期会下跌30%,痛苦会向次贷以外蔓延,底线也许会在数月之后。一位美国银行的监管人员说道:“现在看起来没有任何地方使人感到高兴,除非你是一位如同Cayne先生般的逃生大师”。
Banks and the credit crunch Stepping beyond subprime
THE dawning of a new year is supposed to be about hope, but fear remains the dominant emotion among bankers. This week saw another round of bloodletting as they grappled with the effects of the credit crunch. Barclays Capital and CIBC joined the long list of lenders to jettison senior investment bankers. And, to nobody‘s surprise, Jimmy Cayne stepped down as boss of Bear Stearns, the Wall Street bank with the hedge-fund problems that arguably marked the start of the crisis last June.

Mr Cayne had been under huge pressure to go, thanks to $1.9 billion of mortgage write-downs—leading to the bank‘s first-ever quarterly loss—and accusations that he had been more interested in improving his own performance at bridge and golf than shoring up his bank‘s standing in the markets. He will remain as non-executive chairman, continuing to command an eight-figure salary, after Alan Schwartz, a trusted lieutenant, takes over as chief executive. Mr Cayne‘s durability prompted one observer to dub him the “Harry Houdini of the boardroom”.

Bear‘s problems are not limited to one-off hits. Important parts of its franchise are either suffering client defections (prime brokerage) or disappearing altogether (structured-credit products). There is speculation about a merger—although it is unclear who, among Bear‘s Western peers at least, would dare to bid, given Bear‘s oversized exposure to America‘s slumping housing market and the welter of subprime-related lawsuits it faces. Its shares continued to fall after Mr Cayne‘s (partial) resignation was announced.

Depleted though bankers‘ confidence is, things could be worse. Lubricated by copious amounts of central-bank money, banks did at least make it through the year-end in one piece. Interbank lending rates, though still unusually high, are edging down, and the asset-backed commercial paper market ticked up on January 3rd after falling for 20 straight weeks. The risk of a big bank going under has receded as $27 billion (and counting) of capital has flowed into the sector from sovereign wealth funds. Recipients include Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Switzerland‘s UBS (or, as wags now call it, Union Bank of Singapore). These injections may have upset existing shareholders, who have seen their stakes diluted, but they have ensured that although big lenders have wobbled, none has toppled.

At least, not yet. The shares of Countrywide fell by another 28% on January 8th, as America‘s largest mortgage lender was again led to deny rumours of imminent bankruptcy. (It insists it has ample liquidity.) Far from bouncing back, banks have led the stockmarket down since the start of the year. Even Goldman Sachs, hitherto relatively unscathed, has suffered.
One reason for the gloom is that banks‘ residential-mortgage woes are far from over. Although banks have already written off whopping sums over subprime mortgages, they are vulnerable to yet more hits. Their worldwide remaining exposure to subprime loans (excluding off-balance-sheet vehicles) is put at $380 billion; analysts think they are still only roughly two-thirds of the way through tallying their mortgage losses. When the likes of Citigroup and Merrill Lynch confess their fourth-quarter sins on January 15th and 17th respectively, they are likely to be the most shocking yet: forecasts put the two banks‘ additional write-downs at $26 billion, on top of the $15 billion they have kissed goodbye so far. Market gossip points even higher.

JPMorgan Chase is expected to get away with a much smaller mortgage-related hit, probably below $2 billion. But it has other worries. It is a big holder of “hung” leveraged loans and bonds, mostly related to buy-outs agreed on in the credit bubble. The $250 billion in unsold debt on banks‘ books remains a big headache.

As the leading dealer in the market for credit-default swaps (CDS), contracts used to punt on a company‘s ability to repay its debt, JPMorgan Chase could find itself dragged into another maelstrom. These credit derivatives have exploded in recent years, to an outstanding notional amount of $43 trillion. So far the writers of these contracts have had little to pay out because corporate defaults have been at historic lows. But defaults are about to rise sharply, says Moody‘s, a rating agency. That raises the prospect of losses for banks that entered the market but failed to lay off their risks properly. If the mortgage market is a guide, there will be plenty in that camp.

CDS contracts allow investors to take on credit risk without buying the underlying bonds. But not everyone is convinced of their usefulness. Bill Gross, founder of PIMCO, a giant fund manager, thinks they may be banks‘ “most egregious” concoctions to date. If corporate-bond defaults were to climb back to historical averages, contracts worth $500 billion would become payable, he pointed out this month. John Mauldin, another influential investor, thinks counterparty risk in CDS will be one of the big stories in 2008, particularly as already-fragile bond insurers are big in that market. On January 9th MBIA, the largest such insurer, said it will raise new equity to stave off a ratings downgrade.

As fears of an American recession grow, so do worries about a general deterioration of credit. Commercial property looks more precarious by the day, as do car loans, student loans and credit-card debt (Capital One, a card issuer, cut its profit forecast on January 10th). All of these were, like residential mortgages, fed into Wall Street‘s stalled securitisation machine. Many now sit in complex products with the same questionable credit ratings.

Banks have to worry about more than just the fancy asset-backed stuff. Losses on unsecuritised loans are rising faster than expected. American banks‘ average net interest margin—the spread between what they pay depositors and charge borrowers—has fallen to its lowest level since 1991 as banks scramble to reduce their reliance on fickle wholesale markets by raising the rates they offer to depositors.




Investment banks, meanwhile, face a slowdown in a number of businesses, from advising on mergers to equity underwriting. Some areas remain vibrant—commodities, for example, and emerging markets—but much restructuring lies ahead. This week Citi folded several units into a new residential-mortgage business, and UBS was prompted to deny rumours that it will try to offload its investment bank.






The focus for many banks in coming months will be on conserving or bolstering capital—through share issues, dividend cuts and asset sales—as they reduce their leverage and take unwanted assets, such as those in structured investment vehicles (SIVs), back onto their books. That will enforce a more cautious attitude to lending, putting pressure on profits. Were European banks to bring their leverage back to the level of a decade ago, their return on equity would fall to 14%, compared with 21% now, reckons Citi‘s Simon Samuels.





Bank shares may have further to fall. As Betsy Graseck of Morgan Stanley points out, they are still higher, relative to tangible book value, than their lowest level in the credit crunch of 1989-91. With futures markets predicting property-price falls of up to 30% and the pain spreading beyond mortgages, the bottom may be months away. As one American banking regulator puts it: “There aren‘t many places to look now and feel happy.” Unless you are an escapologist of Mr Cayne‘s calibre.



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王博平    2008-01-25
金融中心,着眼本土
迪拜建立全球金融中心的梦想需要施展他们阿拉伯神灯般的魔法

自交易员们首次聚会在伦敦空气闷浊的咖啡屋里和曼哈顿下城具有神话般色彩的悬铃木下以来,世界上伟大的金融中心是经过几个世纪的努力,靠着点滴坚实的积累,才建立起它们的资本市场和国际美誉。
现在一个爆发户(中东沙漠中一个袖珍小国)在一夜间站出来并勇敢的宣布他们要建立世界级的金融中心,这便是迪拜的幻想,一个波斯湾海湾兴旺发达的阿拉伯酋长国,目标着打造一流的资本市场。在富的流油且野心勃勃的奥-马克图姆斯家族的统治下,迪拜丝毫没有掩饰他们希望成为地跨欧亚主要金融中心的野心。


迪拜和它的统治者并不寂寞,伴随着新兴市场的崛起和资本流动性的加强,越来越多的国家政府开始孕育他们自己的金融中心。甚至在离战火连天的达富尔只有几百公里外的喀什穆,也在动用他们的石油收入建立起闪闪发光的摩天大楼和新兴的科学技术。但是,成为一个真正的金融中心,光有梦想和政府的慷慨解囊还远远不够。迪拜和它的效仿者还应牢记,市场不仅仅是靠优惠政策来吸引外商投资,更重要的是着眼本土。


若想在顶级金融中心中占有一席之地,迪拜不能光想着吸引投资者,还要为其寻找出路。银行需要当地企业从而出售他们的股票和债券;
基金经理也需要当地企业为其投资;私募的资本公司同样需要一条风险投资的渠道并期望若干年后所投企业能够上市。迪拜已经从空前的市场流动中获得利润,但并没有为这些资本寻找到合适的本土买家,那这些相同的流动性将会产生负面效应。


两个方案也许可行, 政府应该利用其新兴的资本市场为本土成功的企业如国有电信Etisalat和阿联酋航空公司提供融资贷款。如果伊斯兰债券缺席其中并意图离开,那么它看上去会是一场很艰难的信心投票。其次应当促进政府在本土和周边制定公平的会计制度。这种要求虽然很苛刻,但是十分的重要,应为石油价格将不能永远的保证资本会如此充足的供给。危机就是当中东公司发现资本市场的价值正好转向他们时,大门已经开始准备向他们关闭了。迪拜的金融中心应该为中东地区提供更多的服务,成为区域性廉价金融市场的来源并改进政府的职能。

Financial Centres Think Local
Dubai’s dream of creating a global financial hub needs some local magic

Since dealers first gathered in the fug of London’s coffee houses and under the fabled buttonwood tree in lower Manhattan, the world’s great financial centres have built their capital market and reputations over centuries, one trade at a time. Now along comes an upstart (perched on a tiny patch of Middle Eastern desert, no less) daring to suggest it wants to join them almost overnight. That is the vision of Dubai, a thriving emirate on the edge of the Persian Gulf that aims to create a world-class capital market. Ruled by a wealthy and ambitious family, the al-Maktoums, it makes no secret of its wish to become the main financial centre between Europe and Asia.

Dubai and its rulers are not alone. As emerging market has boomed and capital has become more mobile, a growing number of governments around the world have begun to cultivate a desire to create their own financial centres. Even Khartoum, a few hundred kilometers up the road from war-torn Darfur, is spending its oil bounty on glittering skyscrapers and new technology. Yet it takes more than a dream and government largesse to succeed as a financial hub. Dubai and its imitators need to remember that the market is built not just on subsidies that attract foreigners, but markets that attract locals.


To win a place in the top club of financial centres, Dubai must attract not just providers of capital but users, too. The bankers need companies that want to sell their shares and bonds in the region; fund managers want local companies to invest in; and private-equity partners need a pipeline of enticing ventures and the prospect of listing their companies after a few years. Dubai has sought to profit from the unprecedented mobility of markets, but without local demand for capital, that same mobility will start to count against it.


Two measures might help. The government should use its new capital market to raise money for its own, highly successful enterprises such as Etisalat, its telecoms provider, and Emirates, its airline. It hardly seems a vote of confidence that apart from the occasional sukuk-an Islamic bond-they have tended to stay away. It should also look to promote governance and fair accounting at home and across the region. This is a tall order, but it is important because oil price will not forever guarantee that capital is in such generous supply. The risk is that Middle Eastern companies will discover the merit of turning to the capital markets at precisely the moment when the door starts to close on them. Dubai’s financial centre would do most service to the Middle East as a regional source of cheap capital and a spur to good governance.



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王博平    2008-01-25
金融业工作者。 BA CAU BEIJING, MAJOR: BUSINESS STATISTIC MASTER READING UK MAJOR SECURITY ANALYSIS INTERESTS: ECONOMETRIC、 STATISTIC、INVESTMENT PRODUCTS