Wednesday's Top 10 with NZ Mint: Trying to regulate shadow banking without crashing the world; Australian mining investment 'in survival mode'; Victoria's Ransom; Dilbert

Here's my Top 10 links from around the Internet at 12 pm today in association with NZ Mint.

As always, we welcome your additions in the comments below or via email

See all previous Top 10s here.

My must watch today is number 1 on shadow banking and how difficult it will be to put it back in the boss without crashing global financial systems.

1. Trying to regulate the shadows - Sebastian Mallaby has written an excellent column at about whether and how central banks should regulate the shadow banking system that operates around the fringes of repo markets, hedge funds, money market funds and securitised mortgage markets.

Mallaby says regulators have yet to really tackle it.

The same pseudo government and central bank guarantees remain, exposing tax payers to the same risks and creating the same old moral hazards.

The numbers are mind-boggling and the implied deleveraging required to bring these markets back to some decent level of leveraging is sobering.

Here's Mallaby's thoughts.

Now that the crisis has receded, what next? On both sides of the Atlantic there is an earnest push to fix the plumbing of the shadow banking system: regulators want money market funds to hold capital buffers; they aim to reduce the repo market’s precarious reliance on vast financing from clearing banks. But, though these initiatives are valuable, policy makers are not grappling with the core dilemma. Should asset-backed securities, money market funds and repo be viewed as a private system? Or should they be entitled to expect more rescues in the future – rescues that depend ultimately on emergency lending from the central bank?

Wherever you come down on these questions, what is really striking is their absence from the public square. It has been politically easier to chase bankers and their bonuses than to reckon with these fundamental problems: is quasi-money real money? If so, under what conditions? Yet until we resolve these issues, large swaths of finance will exist in limbo. There will be implicit guarantees but not explicit ones. There will be moral hazard but no honest recognition that its consequences must be managed. Whatever your preferred understanding of money, this intellectual muddle promises the worst of both worlds.

2. Astonishing Indian power collapse - The BBC covers the second collapse in Northern India's power grid in as many days. This won't help economic growth there, which is already slowing.

3. 'In survival mode' - The West Australian reports (via Yahoo) on the sharp slowdown in investment planning by Australia's mining companies. We need to watch this space as the lucrative 'fly-in-fly-out' jobs dry up for Kiwis and the 'escape valve' for the New Zealand labour market starts to close.

Only a quarter of Australia's mining companies are looking to invest in major projects this year, further fuelling concern the mining investment boom is over.

A report released today says the mining industry appears to be in survival mode, with just 25 per cent of Australian companies planning to invest in major capital expenditure projects in the year ahead, compared to 52 per cent last year.

The Mining Business Outlook report, compiled by Newport Consulting, also found that only 20 per cent of mining leaders were very optimistic, down from 57 per cent last year, and more than a third were not optimistic, compared to just 13 per cent last year.

4. Attacking the mining lobby - Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan has doubled down on his criticism of mining magnates Clive Palmer, Gina Rinehart and Andrew Forrest.

As acting prime minister in March he challenged the "vested interests" of the billionaires in an essay published in The Monthly magazine, in which he accused all three of using their financial muscle to unfairly influence the national political debate.

"My only regret is not going in hard enough, because every criticism I made has been played out almost to the letter on our national stage," he will say in a speech in Melbourne on Wednesday night.

"So one tycoon is using his money to challenge the principle of fair taxation through electioneering," Mr Swan will say, according to a copy of his John Button Lecture address obtained by AAP. "A second is using his money to challenge it through the courts. And a third is using her money to challenge it by undermining independent journalism.

"Parliament, the constitution, independent journalism - all three are fundamental pillars of our democracy, being used as their playthings, supported every step of the way by the leader of the opposition."

5. How will Christchurch pay? - The Press reports the central government is dumping the cost of the big new CBD rebuild on Christchurch ratepayers.

That will only delay the rebuild.

I think there's a case for the government to borrow the money at 3% or simply print it to get this rebuild going.

Ratepayers face having to bankroll most of Christchurch's planned new civic facilities after the city council was given a clear message by the Government that it will not pick up the tab.

While the Government is happy to take the lead on some projects, such as the new emergency and justice precinct, it expects the council to drive the construction of facilities like the new sports stadium, convention centre and metro sports facility.

6. A Victoria's Ransom - The AFR reported San Francisco-based Kiwi entreprenuer Victoria Ransom looks to have done fantastically well from the sale of her Wildfire Interactive social media firm to Google for around US$250 million.

Good on her. Here's a 3News interview from 2011 with her.

7. 'Thursday's meeting will be a nail biter' - Ralph Atkins has a nice preview at of the ECB's key Thursday meeting to decide what 'Super Mario' Draghi meant last week when he said he would 'do whatever it takes' to rescue the euro.

The options are limited by what the Bundesbank will accept. This could get real ugly real fast if the markets are disappointed on Thursday night our time.

Mr Draghi has left a lot of unanswered questions, however. Will the ECB overcome the “seniority” problem of a revamped bond-buying programme by finally taking losses on its Greek bonds? How will he keep the Bundesbank on side, or at least prevent it undermining the credibility of any ECB intervention? Will it somehow try to distinguish between “convertibility” premiums and other factors driving up bond yields?

The unscripted nature of his comments last week – ahead of Thursday’s ECB policy decision – suggests Mr Draghi was trying to bounce some members of its governing council into backing a plan for which he had not yet secured sufficient support. Does that mean a decision could be delayed? Will politicians have to act first, for instance in dealing with Spain? Thursday’s meeting will be a nail-biter.

8. 'Just get on with' - GMO's Jeremy Grantham is always worth watching and now he is saying the world should just get on with letting the chips fall where they may.

Fingers crossed....

Here's his views via Zerohedge.

And here's the full newsletter from Grantham

The economic environment seems to be stuck in a rather unpleasant perpetual loop. Greece is always about to default; the latest bailout is always about to save the day and yet never seems to; China is always about to collapse but instead teases us by inching down; and I swear the Financial Times is beginning to recycle its reports! In the U.S., the fiscal cliff looms along with debt limits and the usual election uncertainties. The dysfunctional U.S. Congress continues for the time being in its intractable ways. The stock market rises and falls and rises and falls again. It is getting difficult to find anything new to say at client meetings. I, for one, wish that the world would get on with whatever is coming next.

One slight change, though, is that fantastic (almost unbelievable) profit margin and earnings gains have finally weakened a little. They, together with Bernanke’s super low rates, have been the twin pillars of the market and not bad ones at all: here we are up 8% for the year in a thoroughly unsettling financial and economic world. With margins weakening, one of the twin pillars is looking shaky and price declines look more likely than before.

9. And then they just disappeared - SinoForest, the Chinese-Canadian company that is now bankrupt after being accused of fraudulently claiming revenues and businesses, has now disclosed it is owed US$500 million by companies that no longer exist...

Be very careful when doing business in China....


Because of rules in China, Sino-Forest used two different models for its business including using subsidiaries and “authorized intermediaries” acting as sales agents, as well as subsidiaries that directly carried on the forestry business in China.

According to its records, Sino-Forest says it is owed $887.4 million from authorized intermediaries, of which $504.8 million is owed from intermediaries that have been deregistered.

Of another $126.2 million owed from other corporate customers, $63.8 million is owed by six Chinese companies, including one of the three main deregistered companies.

Sino-Forest, which was once a stock market darling, has been mired in accusations of fraud, after Carson Block and his research firm Muddy Waters accused the company last summer of being a giant Ponzi scheme.

10. Totally Jon Stewart on 'Despot Housewives'



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We're wondering if Aussie Treasurer Wayne Swan's latest hissy fit at the mining industry isn't because he's realised that his super profits tax won't raise a brass razzoo for him ...... as the prices of commodities are crumbling ......
...... and Swanee's already budgeted on being able to spent that loot , plus return the government's books into the black , next year ....
Bugger ....... cobberdiggermate !

Remarkable isn't it GBH that it never occurred to them to put a super tax on Bank Profits instead ,as they seem to have suffered no such downturn in fortune by comparison.
Drastically falling commodities.....the KIWI soars to 81, ...oh yes this all makes perfect sense,if  your in the business of lending.
Meanwhile back in'll all weighed down upon old Swanee's liver........

I do remember Granny Gummy twittering on about " not counting your chickens until they're hatched " ........
..... someone should tell Wayne Swan , you're in cocka-doodle doo doo , mate !

GBH - I think your "wondering" is correct.  There are a lot of mining plans totalling hundreds of billions that are in jeopardy of going ahead.

BHP is slowing down their plans for a $A 25 billion expansion of the uranium mine at Roxby Downs ...... and some of the LNG plants & wharves up northern Queensland are in jeopardy ..
.... which surprises me somewhat , that some folk think we have an energy crisis , and yet gas prices are so low that projects in LNG are being shelved ....

Renowned climate skeptic Professor Muller (ironically funded by the Koch brothers!) now concludes climate change is a real and a threat.
Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.
Flame on!

Not flaming - you are free to believe what you want. Perhaps you are unaware of this study which has just come out. You are able to put your critical input into this, so why don't you?
A reanalysis of U.S. surface station temperatures has been performed using the recently WMO-approved Siting Classification System devised by METEO-France’s Michel Leroy. The new siting classification more accurately characterizes the quality of the location in terms of monitoring long-term spatially representative surface temperature trends. The new analysis demonstrates that reported 1979-2008 U.S. temperature trends are spuriously doubled, with 92% of that over-estimation resulting from erroneous NOAA adjustments of well-sited stations upward.—Anthony Watts et al., 29 July 2012
Anthony Watts’s paper is a game changer, in my view, with respect to the use of the land surface temperature anomalies as part of the diagnosis of global warming. In direct contradiction to Richard Muller’s BEST study, the new Watts et al 2012 paper has very effectively shown that a substantive warm bias exists even in the mean temperature trends. The new paper shows that a major correction is needed in Muller’s BEST study. Anthony also has shown what dedicated scientists can do with even limited financial support.  Despite the large quantities of funds spent on the BEST study, it is Anthony Watts and his team who have actually significantly advanced our understanding of this aspect of the climate system.  Well done Anthony!—Roger Piele Sr., Climate Science, 29 July 2012

What are you trying to say OMG?  Are you refuting that there is an issue with climate change/environmental degredation or just pointing out that it's not entirely to do with greenhouse gases.
From your Climate Science link

The climate has always changed meh. No one in their right mind endorses environmental degredation. Which greenhouse gases are you referring to?
Natural ones like water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone? Or others such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs),perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) which result exclusively from human industrial processes." Note that water vapour makes up 95% of "greenhouse" gases.
So what exactly are you trying to say, meh, eh? 

Muller claims his research points entirely to greenhouse gasses being responsible for climate change/global warming and that it is all humans fault.
You have provided links to reports that refute his findings/question his testing methods.  What are your reasons for providing the argument - do you deny that we should be concerned about climate/environment issues or are you just providing material that questions the causes of climate change?
I agree the climate will always change but environmental degradation influences our climate as well and are human factors having a greater impact than it should be.  The link I provided (which was contained in your source) proposes the same hypothesis, that there are other human influences. 
I am neither a denier nor a "greenie" but I question mankinds impact on our environment and the very lifeform (Planet Earth) that provides us with life.  I look further and wider than myself and my own ego driven gratification.
You didn't answer my question - what are your reasons for providing the information you did?

I replied to plutocracy's post. Go back and read it. Science is never settled but your response clearly shows you think it is - so I take your second to last sentence with a truckload of salt.. 

In terms of risk management the data is conclusive and over-welming enough to take prudent mitigating steps...
What you are saying is lets can kick and let the future generatiosn deal with it...thats morally corrupt of you IMHO.

Boy do you have balls, steven, calling me morally corrupt. I've posted a link to a scandal the msm has ignored and you claimed it was libellous. To remind you
Furthermore you are one of the very few endorsing the fraudulent IPCC hockey stick graph. Oh, by the way did I ever tell you I taught science? If you have what it takes then do a review of the Watts paper and submit on it. If you can find fault then, all well and good, because that's what the scientific method is all about and the paper won't make it through peer review for publication - this is what happened to Muller's BEST.
Youv'e nowhere else to go when you quote links from the Guardian
My last post on this topic -  people are bored with CAGW and I don't blame them.

So you are chosing to believe a dubiously qualified denier against just about every real climate scientist in the world.
Its like going to a GP with suspect cancer and get the yes answer.....then you keep going to "medical" ppl until you find one a witch doctor that says what you want to hear for a nice fee of course.

Boy, you sure read the watts et al paper in record time. I thought you were all into "science" steven, seems emotion, adhoms and irrationality have got the BEST of you.

and you have?  also have you gone and read the climate scientists take on this paper? 
I have started to, and I can see there are some peer reviewed papers saying that actually the existing data is pretty sound.  Also right now its not peer reviewed, so what would I be reading in detail? we have as yet no way to see that what he has written is correct, sound and truthful, and there are peer reviewed papers that say no.....
So sure you want to read an un-substantiated bible and believe, go ahead. For myself I  want to see some solid supporting material and see it reviewed by real scientists. Especially when the BEST stuff has already affirmed previous studies and works and has been peer reviewed.
Personally I think the evidence for AGW is overwelming and the risk of severe impact high enough that morally and economically fools we are if we fail to act.
Like I said after visiting a handful of GPs and specialists only a fool would go with a witch doctor for a cancer cure.

Interesting comment on this,
seems there is already a lot of work and effort that has been done making sue the AW's work really is the rubbish it looks like.
For instance using un-trained ppl to take snapshots of sites when really its their data taht is of interest....and of importance.

steven, you come from a biased political position and this has clouded your ability to reason. I was for some years a teacher of dangerous global warming until I made the effort to research the topic. I am now ashamed of accepting it uncritically.
Were your ancient ancestors "round earth" deniers? Did your grandparents rubbish Einstein as a maverick? 
If you can't see the massive self-interested financial forces driving the global warming agenda  (and now failing spectacularly) then how can anyone take you seriously?
I'll leave it at that - but go ahead and clog up the thread - you will anyway to try to prevent the truth from leaking out. 

OMG, I have no political bias, I look to reason, I look at maths, engineering and science of which you show just about zero.  I find the far left as incompetant and loony as the rabid right....
LOL, it is you who are the equiv of the flat eathers....
"Independent studies using different software, different methods, and different data sets yield very similar results. The increase in temperatures since 1975 is a consistent feature of all reconstructions. This increase cannot be explained as an artifact of the adjustment process, the decrease in station numbers, or other non-climatological factors."
Shows the AW study needs very careful analysis before blindly accepting its anything more than make believe.

Leaving aside the controversy around whether or not there is man made global warming/climate change - the amount of pollution being pumped out everywhere, into the atmosphere, rivers and oceans has to have a detrimental effect. Seems to me CO2 is the least of our problems compared with the toxic soup of other chemicals. Even if you ignore the global implications (like the huge mass of plastic in the Northern Pacific), what about local pollution? You know it has to be pretty extreme if the Chinese are rioting/protesting in the face of their totalitarian government. All very well having a job if that job or the factory your town depends on kills you.
I've gagged walking on some Auckland streets in summer from traffic fumes yet there are pitiful vehicle emission standards here. Would "cost" too much to comply with.
I've gagged on a Northland beach from the cow effluent running down a stream off an adjoining farm. We have what 6 million cows each producing the waste of 12-14 people and expect the land and waterways to absorb it.
What would be the state of Huntly and the Waikato River if the power station there was still coal fired? Mercury and Nitric acid in your drinking water anyone? Yet globally there are thousands pumping out toxic crap every hour of every day.
How many unremediated timber processing sites and agricultural dumps are there in NZ? Contaminated ex orchard and market garden land? Unlined dumps? Old mining and tailing sites?
Forget the global stuff, its just a diversion to paralyse with its enormity. Let's fix up our own backyard.

Quite agree.

A bouquet wtf for acknowledging that we have multiple issues of pollution and not just dairy.  Quite refreshing to see on this site. :-)

What does this really show? There are lots of different measures (e.g. sea level rise, GLOBAL average temperature, temperature rise in stratosphere v lower in the atmosphere, acidification of oceans, arctic ice reduction) that all support the conclusions that (a) we are suffering rapid (on the climate scale) climate change and (b) the cause is human actions.
In the other corner we have a pre-publication draft paper by A Watts that has not been peer reviewed.

I don't think it is appropriate for either Muller or Watt to publish press releases of papers prior to peer review. Either or both papers could be seriously flawed. I also think it is inappropriate to challenge datasets in the High Court, this stuff is pretty complicated for a lay-person to make a decision on. Skeptics have gone for the surface temperature measures at it is an easy target, the data is messy and limited to 150 years at most. The telling thing is that almost all possible data-sets (ice core samples, tree rings, satellite measures) are showing similar warming trends. Have a read of Jeremy Grantham's piece in the Top 10, he sees commodity price increases due partially to more frequent extreme weather events. His point that scientists tend to be conservative with their estimates is a good one. Recent average temperatures in the US and Greenland are several standard deviations away from the expected mean.

Watts is giving you the opportunity to preview his paper - did Muller do that? Will you be submitting after finding flaws?

I did have a look actually. Lots of pictures of poorly situated weather stations. He has accomplished something useful and pointed out imperfections in the data. Good on him in having a go at writing a paper rather than resorting to the pseudo-science that is normally on his web page. 
I am aware that there are climatologists who are concerned that if Muller's paper is flawed it could affect the public credibility of others who are in no way associated with his BEST study.  Don't go to the media until your work is peer-reviewed and published in a reputable journal.

Did you guys sort out Mr Treadgolds hearing and tardyness issues. The last thing anybody wants is for him to turn up to the court late and be unable to hear the judgement to this case. Lets leave absolutely no error margin for Mr Treadgold to be unclear on if the NZ courts system has joined the climate conspiracy or not.

When was the last time Watts got a paper through peer review? I think you will find he posts them to the media instead, not prior.
The main reason that its pretty foolish to go to the high court is that the court will not be deciding anything on the science, now or ever in fact. So there is not a case at all, by the appalant argument, just some kind of a vague hint of a fraud, which I think that the appallents are studiously not claiming. Its a hysterical waste of court time because the appallant argument doesn't have a point, though like I said, hysterical.

AEP in the ToryGraph is another must-read.

Great article.
The best outcome out of all this mess is a crappy / very sluggish world economy for years.
The worst - and clearly a scenario of reasonable probability maybe at least 40/50% - is a global recession / depression
yet certain economists and housing spruikers (one and the same?) seem to think boom days are just around the corner again!!!!

It certainly appears that Richard Muller is an attention-getter, which he has succeeded at, but, unfortunately, he has demonstrated a remarkable lack of knowledge concerning the uncertainties in quantifying the actual long-term surface temperature trend, as well as a seriously incomplete knowledge of the climate system."

Also his BEST paper was rejected was it not?
More on developments here.
It would all be a laugh if it were not for the fact that governments around the world are making policy decisions - extremely expensive ones  - based on flawed science
"Never mind that the Greenland ice sheet is losing ice at an accelerating rate. That Antarctic ice loss is also accelerating, including east Antarctica which until late 2009 was thought too cold and stable to lose ice. Arctic sea ice is melting, sea levels are rising and glaciers are retreating. These and many other physical realities of global warming are well documented in the peer-reviewed literature. However, to some, the accumulated body of empirical data is no match against the persuasive power of a well-framed photograph."
To take the first one,
"While the Greenland interior is in mass balance, the coastlines are losing ice. Overall Greenland is losing ice mass at an accelerating rate. From 2002 to 2009, the rate of ice mass loss doubled."
Like I keep saying to the deaf it seems, the body of evidence of peer reviewed papers covering many aspects of AGW and its effects simply overwelms one paper of which accuracy and method are unknown as yet....

Bernard , re who will pay for CHCH rebuild . I saw an advert for Govt. Bonds specifically for the rebuild . Why have these Bonds not been more widely touted to both domestic and foreign buyers .
Where's the hype one would have expcted from this ?

5.  Print the bloody stuff or the govt can instruct the Reserve Bank to lend it to the CCC at  half one percent.  Can the Government order the Reserve Bank to do anything these days?

If there was ever a case for Public Credit funded infrastructure (not Convention Centres or covered stadiums) it was Christchurch and some more state housing starting with Christchurch

#5 - Bernard - maybe you could ask Peter Townsend why he is not being more extensive in, "...putting options on the table that he [thinks] the council should consider." including the use of reserve bank credit to fund some of the infrastructure rebuild.
''The council is going to have to find a lot of funds,'' Brownlee said.
He congratulated the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce for putting options on the table that he thought the council should consider.
The business group has been encouraging the council to consider the sale or partial sell-down of its assets to lower the level of debt it is going to take on to finance its share of the city's reconstruction.
Brownlee said it would be a big debate about funding, and the difficulty for local leaders who had to make the decisions should not be underestimated."
Cheers, Les.


Les - this is not shaping up to be an inclusive process - I doubt anyone will be entitled to know what means of capital asset finance will be employed other than I bet it benefits the private sector over the public.
This was not a healthy transparent start:
Green MP Eugenie Sage said yesterday she had asked under the Official Information Act for the Treasury report detailing the Government's discussions with the council about funding for the central city rebuild, but what she got back was a document with nearly every word, bar the title, blacked out. Read Article
The old East German Stasi could not have been less helpful.

Er, does anyone know if "facilities like the new sports stadium, convention centre and metro sports facility" actually make any sense?  Are they just fluff that makes politicians look useful while they rack up the debt load for the next generation?
Re-assure me someone. Please.

They make good photo ops when you cut the ribbon. You even get your name on the plaque. And if you ignore the debt, they give everyone a feel good civic pride I guess. Like the Olympics.

What ever the problem, you can be sure that the National Party has the answer, and the answer is the selling out of the people of New Zealand, the selling of the commonwealth of this country- strangely called asset sales. So now we know that Christchurch is on the block because it is a rainy day. Of course the reason to sell the hydro dams was not becasue it was a rainy day but becasue the capital markets needed the sale- see whatever the problem the Nats have the answer.

Oh now you have spoilt it, I was starting to think they were better than the last lot. You mean it's all made up and they don't know what they're doing either? Oh dear.

My trouble is that I did hope that they were better, but they are probably much worse. because I fear they do know what they are doing.

Oh they know what they want Plan B...if that's the same as knowing what they are doing in terms of ramifications remains to be seen.......but they know what they want...don't get bogged down in semantics.... just follow the agenda......

"Getting a few badly conceived loss making projects underway in the Christchurch CBD" - aargh, I think I might cry.
Look, they've figured out how to knock buildings down now. Might as well finish the job and knock the lot down. I mean why stop half way?

Bravo Victoria Ransom!

Re #6 I watched the interview with Victoria Ransom and I don't get it - doesn't she realise you can make that kind of money buying and selling houses in Auckland? Why bother starting a business like that??

Dismal Manufacturing Numbers Worldwide; US ISM in Contraction Second Month; Why Another Round of QE is Pointless