27 April 2013

Matt Taibbi Discusses the Market Rigging in the Swaps and LIBOR Markets By the Banks

Derivatives and many real world calculations of risk and price are based on a relatively few published data, such as LIBOR.

Similarly, the 'spot' price of gold and silver is based in large part on the front month contract for gold and silver on the Comex. And those prices in turn have enormous leverage over the price of mining stocks.

Some have pointed to the 'physical market' in London for metals at the LBMA as the true price market for physical bullion, with their AM and PM 'price fix.'  And while it is true that the LBMA is a market dominated by insiders, with less disclosure than many exchanges,  it has come out that even on the LBMA the price is largely based on paper trading with leverage approaching 100 to 1. 

And LBMA is heavily interconnected with the Comex.

Since those making markets on the Comex in metal futures deliver a very small percentage of the actual gold and silver that is traded on paper, and much of that is settled for cash, the opportunity for price rigging is significant, hugely so.

And as in the case of other long running market schemes, like Bernie Madoff's, the stony silence and arrogant denials of any irregularities, despite very unusual trading activity in quiet hours and around key dates, is disconcerting considering the opaque nature of some unusually large market positions and significant circumstantial evidence with regard to motive and opportunity.

"All of these stories collectively pointed to the same thing: These banks, which already possess enormous power just by virtue of their financial holdings ­ in the United States, the top six banks, many of them the same names you see on the Libor and ISDAfix panels, own assets equivalent to 60 percent of the nation's GDP ­ are beginning to realize the awesome possibilities for increased profit and political might that would come with colluding instead of competing. Moreover, it's increasingly clear that both the criminal justice system and the civil courts may be impotent to stop them, even when they do get caught working together to game the system.

If true, that would leave us living in an era of undisguised, real-world conspiracy, in which the prices of currencies, commodities like gold and silver, even interest rates and the value of money itself, can be and may already have been dictated from above.

And those who are doing it can get away with it. Forget the Illuminati ­ this is the real thing, and it's no secret. You can stare right at it, anytime you want."

Matt Taibbi: Everything Is Rigged