CDS’s House of Cards

It’s been called a ticking time bomb by Investor’s Business Daily. CNNMoney asks if this will be the next disaster. Yet the Feds are delaying one key in bringing stability to our financial markets.

As a $62 trillion dollar over the counter market, CDSs need an exchange or central clearinghouse to provide transparency and collateral requirements. CME (formed from the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange) and the Clearing Corp (formed from 17 financial players including UBS and Goldman Sachs) have stepped up to the plate. Clearing Corp could have had a clearinghouse up and running within a week or so; however, the Fed has pushed Clearinghouse to obtain a banking license which will probably delay its opening until next year. But with each bank that is removed from this house of cards the threat of meltdown is increased. The banks are falling one after another internationally, and with the CDSs so intertwined, its only a matter of time until when you take away one more card and they all fall.

According to Bloomberg
, “Barclays analysts estimated in February that if a financial institution that had $2 trillion in credit-default swap trades outstanding were to fail, it might trigger between $36 billion and $47 billion in losses for those that traded with the firm. That doesn’t include the market-value losses investors face as the cost to protect companies against a default widens.”

Perhaps it would be a good idea for the Feds to speed their approval process?