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Japanese bank goes bankrupt – Asia could have a festering banking crisis

Posted by Adrian on February 23, 2009

The alarming aspect of a Japanese bank (Norinchukin Bank) that has just filed for bankruptcy protection is that it was bank that was not listed on the public markets. It was a private bank with over 4000 investors. Although it will be large enough to cause a ripple effect through the Asia markets in particular causing the HK dollar and iTraxx credit spreads to widen. I did indicate that a Japanese bank could be on the brink, that was briefly discussed in Consumers will punish the financial system for governments exuberant money printing – Be careful on equity market ‘rallies’ into next year.

This bank failure in Japan is not so much of a shock but more a revelation that the Asia banks (outside from Japan) could be now straining to hide any toxic junk they have. But regardless I suspect it will cause a withdrawal of confidence that Asian banks could somewhat come out unscathed from a global banking crisis. In saying that it would be worth watching movement of the Japanese Yen. There was speculation that risk aversion could send a reversal of the Yen highs, meaning the US dollar could gain ground with possible highs over the Yen. This didn’t happen short term, as the US Obama administration with their incumbent Reserve Bank could nationalise the whole US banking system (considering the bigger US banks total 20 different banks – all earmarked for huge Government equity stakes). This would further destabilize the USD as investors will be petrified at the massive moral hazard the US government will embark on; the stock market will sink on any reports of nationalisation as will the USD.

This can be seen in the below graph, speculation that the USD could reach 100 against the Yen were diminished after risk aversion caused the USD to be dumped and the Yen to be bought up again.

On a daily USD/Yen graph: Mometum at 37 days (last two lows) is showing a decline, CCI (1) 20 overlapped with the USD/Yen is showing a sharp decline, the CCI (2) is showing a sharp decline that could mirror lows made on 16 DEc 2008 when the USD touched 88 against the Yen.

(click on graph for larger image)



One Response to “Japanese bank goes bankrupt – Asia could have a festering banking crisis”

  1. Mark T. Market said

    Nassim Taleb spoke out in Davos about banks and the moral hazard of bailouts.

    He and Nouriel Roubini were both interviewed at CNBC recently, but soundbite journalists are incapable of handling their views sadly.

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