Essentially Fed/Treasury are transfering the downside risks from individual companies to the fed/treasury/greenbacks. Note the money pledged to support Fannie/Freddie/AIG could exceed the original number if the problem worsens.
Short term I think it’s a deal for fed. But long term (it seems nobody is caring about long term these days), why should China continue to buy the Fannie/Freddie debt, for some premium over the US treasuries with substantial mortgage market risk (liquidity). I agree the US treasuries and Fannie/Freddie debt are co-related. It seems the greenback will continue to be a large part of China foreign exchange holdings.
But think a minute, if the United States can not sort out this mortage thing, why should China/Japan mess with it? I think the implication of this mortage crisis will be much greater than many peoeple (convention wisdom) think. The house will NOT always go up. The housing sector and homeownership are good thing, but sometimes too much of a good thing could be a bad thing. I think the people in China state investment Cos. should seriously think about their strategy.
(Update, according to WSJ) The deal in summary: the US treasury dept. will put up to 200 billion ($100 billion each) to support the mortgages loss from Fannie and Freddie; the treasury will buy $1 billlon of preferred shares for 10% divivend, the preferred are senior to all other preferred previously issued (I believe all the other preferred holders won’t have much left); the treasury will have warrant to buy FNM and FRE up to 79.9% of company common stock for a nonimal (i.e. the current shareholders such as Legg Mason, Dodge Cox mutual funds will be diluted 1:5 after recent big stock price drop).
It appears the direct cause of the bailout is Chinese and Russian goverments are no longer willing to buy the debt of Fannie/Freddie. So what US goverment did is “all right, we will eat our own dog food”, and hopefully Chinese and Russians will follow.
Yeah, it looks like it. The bad thing is, those executives at Fannie and Freddie have made their money, we (tax payers) are bailing them out. So is the US still a free market capitalism country? Seems more like cronyism capitalism to me 🙂
An emotional day in St. Louis
As you may heard from the news, Anheuser Busch accepted the latest cash offer from InBev, and the AB global headquarter in STL will be the North American HQ of combined company Anheuser Busch InBev. Because it’s a cash offer, the current shareholders (Busch family, and Warren Buffett) will NOT have a stake in the new company. Interestingly, this morning I heard from radio Mayor Slay turned 180 degree about the merger, saying “I will work with AB/InBev starting tomorrow, next day, next week, next month…to ensure the success of AB/InBev in the region”.
Hm, what did he say a while earlier (before AB shareholders and board accepted the sweetened offer from $65 to $70 a share). Something like “this merger will destroy the shareholder value, lay off workers in AB, reduce the commitment to community”. All kind of bad things. What a difference $5 can make. Now everybody is happy.