giovedì 13 maggio 2010

Come cambierà l'eurozona? Le cause del minicrollo del 6 maggio e la definanzializzazione dell'economia secondo Taleb

L'Economist appena uscito dedica  un approfondimento al futuro dell'Europa dopo il superbailout: giustamente si osserva come le cause della crisi sono ancora tutte lì e si sia soltanto guadagnato tempo
(ma ce n'era bisogno, eccome!)

EUROPE’S €750 billion ($950 billion) plan to defend its single currency may have been received with euphoria, but it was born of despair. When euro-zone leaders gathered over the weekend of May 8th-9th they faced the sickening reality that the fear in southern Europe’s government-bond markets was spreading to its banking system and beginning to infect global credit markets. This plan was not just about preventing Greece’s sovereign-debt crisis spreading to Portugal and Spain. It was about stemming a growing financial panic that could have plunged the world economy back into the quagmire from which it has spent the past two years struggling to escape.
So European leaders were right to act (...) 
In the short term this massive show of financial firepower has worked. Bond markets have calmed; the odds of a cascading series of defaults have diminished. The temptation is to declare victory and move on. Yet the job is not even half-complete. This plan buys time, but it does not repair the fiscal and structural flaws that led the euro zone into this mess in the first place. Worse, it comes with risks attached that Europe urgently needs to deal with. (...)
Hardest of all will be finding the political will to curb profligacy. This struggle will become woven into the conflict that now tugs at the political fabric of Europe. (...)
The one thing that seems clear is that all this will lead to greater interference in countries’ politics (see article). But what sort exactly? (...) The scene is set for an ugly political battle over how to run Europe

Sempre dall'Economist vi segnalo un approfondimento sulle banche nei paesi emergenti e un articolo sul crash del 6 maggio scorso. Quest'ultimo è un tema che mi sta particolarmente a cuore, come avrete ormai capito. Scrive l'Economist:

BEFORE May 6th equities had been seen as that rare thing, a financial market that had continued to function unimpaired through the crisis. It took just 20 minutes to shatter that image.(...)
The search is still on for a specific trigger for what has become known as the “flash crash”.(...)
In the meantime Ms Schapiro is turning her attention to the fragmented structure and lightning speed of stockmarkets. Over the past few years trading has increasingly moved to new exchanges that allow transactions to happen more rapidly and more cheaply. In 2003 the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) handled about 80% of trading volume of its listed stocks, but by the end of 2009, that share had fallen to 25% (see chart). A good chunk has gone to upstart electronic-trading platforms, such as Direct Edge and BATS, which execute trades in milliseconds.
Regulations have not kept up.(...)
Another factor was the sudden retreat by the “high frequency” firms whose algorithmic trading has come to dominate equity markets. In normal times they play a crucial role in providing liquidity. But unlike marketmakers, they are not obliged to do so during bouts of turbulence. Regulators think that some high-frequency traders switched off their programs when prices began to spiral, fearful that their trades would be cancelled because of the severity of the declines. Manoj Narang, the boss of Tradeworx, a hedge fund with a high-frequency trading business, says he shut off when he “noticed the prices were erroneous”, because he knew exchanges would cancel those trades (as they did).
How will regulators prevent another sudden lurch downward? The SEC has suggested a more rigorous, co-ordinated market-wide system of “circuit breakers”, which would require all exchanges to stop or slow trading for a few minutes if the market experiences a certain rate of decline. A stock-specific “circuit breaker”, which would do the same for particular shares, may also be enacted.
Reform will not end there. The struggle to make sense of the billions of trades executed on May 6th gives momentum to a proposal the SEC released in April to require large traders (those trading at least 20m shares or $200m a month) to register with it. This would make it easier for the agency to track high-frequency trading in the future. “Market orders”, which ask for a stock to be sold at the best available price without specifying a minimum—as opposed to “limit orders”, which set a floor—are also coming under fire. It only lasted minutes, but the flash crash will have consequences that last for years.

Secondo CNBC news le nuove regole imposte dalla SEC saranno annunciate già lunedì prossimo ma
occorreranno 1-2 mesi per implementarle.

Il congresso USA cerca di capire come sia stato possibile il minicrollo di giovedì 6 maggio:

Nel crash di giovedì a cavarsela particolarmente male sono stati gli ETF: a quanto pare è colpa degli arbitraggisti che immettono ordini al meglio

Investors have learned to lean on exchange-traded funds for their dependable liquidity. For a few minutes last week, that support fell through.
Some 68% of the wild trades canceled after Thursday's market plunge were transactions involving ETFs, estimates Credit Suisse's Portfolio Strategy Group. That's far larger than the roughly 25% of daily trading volume ETFs typically represent.
Why did ETFs shock so many investors? One reason is that trading by arbitragers has kept some ETFs even more liquid than typical S&P 500 stocks. When an ETF contains a basket of U.S.-listed stocks, for instance, traders can profit by trading the fund until it converges with its underlying value. As a result of this deep liquidity, investors over time became confident enough to trade ETFs without putting price limits on their orders.(...)
The problem is that some investors had placed orders specifying quantity but not price. They got stuck with the best prices available—suddenly well below the price a short time earlier. That likely explains why iShares Russell 1000 Value fell from $60 a share to a few cents. Such trades were deemed erroneous and reversed, but many less-extreme transactions will stand.

 Infine ecco l'opinione dell'esperto mondiale di cigni neri sulla questione, ricostruita attraverso i suoi scritti da un redattore del Wall Street Journal: 

Philosopher and hedge fund adviser Nassim Taleb admitted recently to being bored with Wall Street.
“I am bored with finance and interested in worthier missions,’’ like climate change and medicine, the “Black Swan” author confesses on his website.
We wonder, though, if last Thursday’s flash crash might have piqued his interest again.(...)
Taleb says on his website that he’s not giving interviews ahead of the upcoming release of the updated, paperback version of “The Black Swan. So Deal Journal has been scouring Taleb’s voluminous writings, tweets, and media interviews looking for whether he gave any clues about the rationale behind his fund’s options purchase. Of course, there are none.
The causes of the flash crash may prove out one of Taleb’s more general theories about random events: “People underestimate the amount of luck and overestimate the amount of skills,’’ that determine the fate of market events, he said on the Econ Talk blog.
By Taleb’s logic, then, many of the proposals that are being bandied about today when the heads of the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq testify before Congress are not likely to help prevent another “flash crash.”
That is because measures such as circuit breakers and limits on high frequency trading give what Taleb calls the “illusion of control” over a complex, inter-connected market where black swans are inevitable.
We are not totally helpless, though, Taleb says. While we can’t prevent a black swan event, we can take steps to minimize its impact. Writing in April 2009 in the Financial Times, Taleb outlined 10 principles a “Black Swan proof world.” Many of his ideas have to do with reducing leverage, complexity and moral hazard in the financial system, but he also thinks that one of the biggest problems is that the stock market itself has taken on an over-sized role in the lives of ordinary people.
“Economic life should be definancialised. We should learn not to use the market as storehouses of value: They do not harbour the certainties that normal citizens require. Citizens should experience anxiety about their own businesses (which they control) not their investments (which they do not control),” he writes.

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