Friday, January 25, 2008

Soc. Gen.

So they lost a few quid. No wonder the ECB has been pushing as much money as possible into the system.
Not really a surprise though - if the trader had been right he would have made fortunes for his bosses and we would only have heard how wwwwwwonderful they all were.
As it is, we had to hear how well they closed out the trades ( except it looks as if everyone spotted what was going on and dropped every price they could which doubled the loss on the day). When everything goes up it's easy to look good. As soon as the reverse ratchet sets in it gets harder and harder to hide it.
But Banks in general have to destroy huge chunks of value every few years, otherwise they feel unloved. Remember sovereign debt? LTCM? And every other debacle over the years?
This is only bigger and better.
We will have to hear about how " prudent" they are being now.
I hate prudence. From many years ago, when there was a huge slump in shipping rates and every fjord, sea-loch and inlet was stuffed with idle ships, there were two main sets of owners - the Norwegians and the Greeks.
Every bank who had lent to the Norwegians told us how secure they were, how prudent, how sober,how carefully managed. The Greeks on the other hand were a feckless lot, gamblers, leading an exuberant lifestyle ( read drunken orgies).
So... have a guess who went bust? Well, it wasn't only the Norwegian shipping companies. Most of the banks who lent to them went bust as well.
And the Greeks?
Well, the one thing a REAL gambler knows about is quitting. The Greeks were - and are - masters of diving for cover when something goes aglae.
They survived.
And bought up the bankrupt Norwegian ships.
At 10 cents on the Dollar.
Who's clever now?

1 comment:

Winchester whisperer said...

timeo Danaos et dona ferrentes