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Month: November 2015

Sympathy for the repo trader

Sympathy for the repo trader

Sometimes, when you’ve written multiple articles on the same subject, you get bored.

Poetry is what happens when I get bored.

Ballad of the Repo Trader

Regulators do not like us repo guys, that much I do know,
They decided to take aim at us with the net stable funding ratio.
Instead of holding capital against all our riskier stuff,
We have to hold it against everything—it is truly very rough!

Read the Ballad of the Repo Trader over here and apologies in advance for the imperfect Iambic pentameter (this was written in 30 minutes on a quiet pre-holiday Wednesday). For previous coverage on the incredible shrinking repo market and associated fallout, see the links below.

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The world’s smallest oil storage trade

The world’s smallest oil storage trade

All the background is in the story. Ms Kaminska will be writing a follow-up on the blockchain aspect of this trade.

Go here to read the full thing:

“Don’t buy a barrel of oil,” the broker said. “It’ll kill you.”

A fortuitous meeting between a gas trader and his broker at a bar in downtown New York was not going the way I had hoped. After revealing a long-held plan to try to buy a barrel of crude, I was now receiving a disappointingly stern lecture on the dangers of hydrogen sulfides. The wine tasted vaguely sulfuric, too.

Oil may be king of the commodities, but its physical form is tough to come by for a retail investor. Mom and pop can buy gold and silver. They can gather aluminum cans, grow soybeans, and strip copper wiring, if they choose, but oil remains elusive—and for very good reason. Oil, as I would soon discover, is practically useless in its unrefined form. It is also highly toxic, very difficult to store, and smells bad.

If gold is the equivalent of a pet rock, then I can confidently say that oil is the equivalent of playing host to a herd of feral cats; it demands constant vigilance and maintenance. If gathered in sufficient quantities, it will probably try to kill you, or at least severely harm your health …