Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bailout Mysteries (probably) Solved

As I previously blogged, two looming questions in the Bailout are: (1) how to value the assets the Treasury will purchase and (2) who are the beneficial counterparties to the nominal bailout beneficiaries. 

The Treasury has put forth its answer on the former (greater than market prices) and the answer to latter is apparently Goldman Sachs.  

In a story by Julie Creswell and Ben White in today's NYTimes, it was reported that:
Goldman was A.I.G.'s largest trading partner, according to several people close to A.I.G. who requested anonymity because of confidentiality agreements.

So, under my theory, it is Goldman as opposed to A.I.G. who is being bailed out because without the infusion of Treasury money, A.I.G. would not be able to settle the contracts it had with Goldman, who would then be unable to settle contracts it had with (insert name), and so on....

In other words, systemic risk (this is one of the positions of the Treasury).

Just a reminder that every derivative contract has a winner and a loser, and that a lot of the money the government plans on investing in the losers will be transferred directly to the winners, including, apparently, Goldman Sachs.  

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