After last week’s talk with Sam Antar, he got me thinking about our major capital problems, reminding me of something I’d seen earlier in the year on the world running out of capital.
How is that even possible? Isn’t capital just an accounting entry?
In the April piece, it was argued that the global capital trench is not possibly large enough to cater to the budgetary debauchery of the Obama administration. The stimulus. Health care. Afghanistan. Pick one and you can easily identify where the problem lies; put them together and you realize that we are fighting an uphill battle against investor demand for risky assets – including sovereign debt. In other words, T-bills aren’t what they used to be.
So how can regulators impose stricter capital requirements when trillions in fake capital built upon fantasy accounting in the years leading up to the financial crisis was vaporized?
Credit Suisse believes new capital requirements in Europe will cost affected banks £33 billion, some of which will inevitably come from those banks’ clients.
Indeed, one of the theories about why lending by UK banks has yet to pick up — despite the Bank of England’s QEasing efforts — is that banks have been preparing for higher capital rules just like the ones above. That rather implies there are, perhaps less expected, costs for consumers as well.
As the FSA notes in the consultation:As noted in Table 1, costs for firms will rise substantially as a result of these measures and these costs will be passed on, at least in part, to consumers. This increase may manifest itself as lower deposit returns and higher borrowing interest rates. The extent to which this occurs depends on a number of factors, including the extent to which firms may already be able to charge above competitive prices for some products.
Know what’s happening? You’ve got to pay back your share of that fake capital vaporized in the decoupling process. You borrowed against it and bought crap with it and got a raise because of it and now you’ve got to give it back.