A HERETIC I AM's Journal - Archives
The primary reason to invest in bonds is for the income they produce. For the most part (and when I say "for the most part" I mean basically "overwhelmingly". I am going to use that phrase several times because it means what I am saying is almost always the case, but there are exceptions, OK?) bonds issued in the USA, be they government, corporate or Municipal pay a so called "Coupon" payment that is paid bi-annually, on the date the bond will mature and 6 months later. In other words, if a bond matures on July 1st, 2025 it will pay its coupon payments every year on July 1 and February 1st. Regardless of what the coupon rate is, this payment is split into these two payments. In other words, if the coupon is 5%, you are going to get half on Feb 1st and the other half July 1st.
For the most part bonds issued in the US have a "Par" or face value of $1,000.00. Regardless of what they are purchased at, when they mature, the issuer will give the holder $1000.00 back, provided of course, that there is no default.
The coupon rate is ALWAYS figured from this par value, so if a bond has a coupon of 5% it means it pays $50.00 per year in interest split into two payments of $25.00 each paid 6 months apart.
This regular, reliable income is why bonds are often referred to as "Fixed Income investments". The amount of money you will receive on an annual basis is fixed. It doesn't change.
What CAN change with bonds is yield. What that refers to is the difference between the cost of the bonds and it's coupon payment on an annual basis.
ABC Company issues a 5% coupon bond that matures in ten years. Since ABC Co. is a well known and respectable company that pays its bills on time, its bonds are rated "Triple A". Once the bond issue is underwritten and they begin to trade, they hold their value and sell for exactly their Par value. If you bought one of these bonds, your coupon is 5% and your yield is 5%.
If these bonds FALL in price and you are able to buy them for less than Par, your yield will be higher because not only are you going to get your $50 per year in interest, you will get the grand back when they mature. If you were able to buy them for ...say $900, you will make $100 in gain when they mature, PLUS your annual interest, therefore the bond yields more than its coupon.
If the contrary is the case and the bonds are bid UP - to say $1100 and you buy them, your yield will be LESS than the coupon rate for exactly the same reasons stated above.
The primary advantage to owning bonds is the interest payments.
The primary advantage to owning Municipal Bonds is the tax free interest.
So how do Bond Mutual funds work?
All Mutual Funds are basically a portfolio (or basket, if you like) of various stocks and/or bonds, selected by the fund manager to achieve a specific purpose. In the case of bond funds, these might be things like high income, high credit rating, overseas issues, etc., and this is stated in the fund Prospectus.
So here's a hypothetical bond fund for clarification;
ABC Mutual Fund company forms the "Steady Freddy Bond Fund". The manager purchases 100 each of 100 different bonds, all with a 5% coupon and all of them purchased at par. He has 10,000 bonds in his portfolio. 10,000 X $1000 means the "Net Asset Value" (NAV) of the fund is $10,000,000 divided by the total number of shares issued. He sells shares to investors like you and me. Lets say there are 1000 investors and each of us buys an equal number of shares. We now own an equal share of those 100 issues and therefore we each own an equal share of those 10,000 bonds. Now lets also assume that these bonds have similar maturities - ten years but they mature in different months so that there is an almost constant stream of interest payments coming in almost every month of the year. If they all have that 5% coupon then it is easy to calculate that there is $500,000 in interest payments coming in every year. This interest money is transferred directly to the shareholders. In the case of Mutual Funds, you are given the option of receiving that money as cash or having it re-invested into the mutual fund and more shares are purchased. Therefore, your initial purchase of 1000 shares grows quickly with each successive interest distribution.
Here's where the problems begin with Bond funds. For the most part, bonds trade "Over The Counter" and are priced each time they trade. Since these trades happen all the time, the market price of a given issue can and will change regularly. Since the share price of a mutual fund is valued essentially like I describe above - the aggregate value of all the issues held by the fund divided by the number of shares issued equals the NAV. This is calculated each business day for every single mutual fund out there. That means the price of your bond fund can go down or it can go up, but since ALL bonds mature at Par and their price doesn't vary that wildly on a day-to-day basis, the share price of a bond fund doesn't fluctuate nearly a much as a pure stock fund or even a blended fund. Most bond funds price between $10 and $20.00/share, typically between $12.00 & $14.00. The thing is, they just don't go up in value as a general rule. They tend to hold a steady share price, varying by only a few cents on a daily basis unless something dramatic happens in the bond market and/or with a specific issue the manager has taken a large position with. The other thing that can change is the yield, as the manager may be selling and buying various bonds in and out of the fund all the time, doing his best to keep it in line with the objective stated in the prospectus. Since he is trading bonds into and out of the fund, he is getting bonds with different coupon rates and therefore different payments. This affects the amount of income being brought in by the fund and as a consequence, the amount paid to the shareholders.
In my hypothetical fund above, the fund is receiving interest payments of $500,000 per year divided by 12 months = roughly $41,667 per month. But what happens if he sells 25 of those 5% coupon issues and buys 25 issues that have a 4.5% coupon? Now the monthly income has fallen and as a consequence, all the shareholders will get less next month than they got this month. In that scenario, 25% of the portfolio now has a 4.5% coupon and 75% of the portfolio has a 5% coupon. It lowers the funds yield a bit. Also, what if those new bonds were bought at a discount to Par? Their price is now going to drop the share price of the fund. This is a bad thing for you if you want to sell your shares now, but a good thing for new buyers, as they are getting a better price than you did for almost the same yield.
Here is the Morningstar quote page one of the largest Bond Mutual Funds in existence;
American Funds Bond Fund of America
That page shows the price range per share over the last 52 weeks has only varied by $.56. Compare that to an average all stock mutual fund like American Funds Investment Company of America (one of the oldest Mutual Funds in existence, formed in 1934) whose price has varied by over $6.00 per share over the course of the last year.
BTW, all "Closed End" Mutual Funds have a 5 letter ticker symbol and it always ends in "X". You may want to bookmark that Morningstar page for future reference on funds you have in your own 401(k). If you come across a Mutual Fund with a 3 letter ticker, it is a "Closed End" fund (CEF). Also, "Exchange Traded Funds" (ETF) can also be thought of, and are sometimes referred to as Mutual Funds, but they exist under different rules and ETF's and CEF's trade on an exchange like a stock does. Open End Mutual Funds do not trade on an exchange. They are issued and redeemed strictly by the Mutual Fund company. Each time you buy a share of an open end Mutual Fund, you are essentially buying a new issue of a security. That's why you are given a prospectus.
The thing is, people tend to flee to bonds and bond funds when the market is shaky and/or falling. At times like this, bond prices are almost always higher and yields are lower (as is the case right now). This forces the manager to buy bonds at a premium to Par generally, in order to fill out the fund portfolio to accommodate the new investors. When things start looking better in the stock market, the money flows the other way, but by that time, prices for bonds have typically fallen and yields have risen. When people sell out of bonds and bond funds, it forces the manager to generally take less than he paid for the bonds and it forces the price of the fund down.
The best way to look at holding a bond fund is for the LONG TERM, much like with any Mutual Fund. Re-invest the interest and just grow the number of shares. Just don't expect to buy shares for $10 and sell them for $100. It isn't going to happen with bond funds.
As far as municipal bonds are concerned,
Since most states have a state income tax (only 7 do not, and my state (FL) is one of them), the income produced by Munis issued by OTHER states is taxable. However, it is almost always the case that interest paid by bonds issued in your home state are NOT taxable. This is, BTW, one of the small advantages of living in a state with no state income tax, as you can buy Munis issued anywhere and get the interest tax free.
There is a specific class of Municipal bonds whose interest payments ARE taxable and those are so-called "Private Use" bonds. That means things like issues for a pro sports stadium, for instance, or a road network inside an industrial park. The municipality may have a vested interest in building the stadium or those roads, but at the end of it, they are for the use of a private entity and therefore the IRS and the states don't allow the interest to be tax free.
NOW.....there is absolutely NO ADVANTAGE WHATSOEVER in owning Municipal bonds inside a 401(k) or an IRA or ANY kind of tax deferred account. It is pointless because interest paid by any bond or dividend paid by any stock held inside these types of accounts are not taxed on an annual basis anyway, so holding Munis inside these accounts makes no sense and no 401(k) provider that I am aware of offers them.
Obviously they aren't FDIC insured ...No, not FDIC, but many if not most Municipal bonds ARE insured against default. Few do, however.
... but how do they rank in terms of "safety"?Depending on how much faith you have in the rating agencies and the ratings they assign to bonds - there's your answer! For the most part, investing in bonds tends to be safer than investing in equities. You just get a lower return on your investment as a result.
I ask wondering if a 401K investing in a bond mutual fund still has one futzing about in the stock market and subject to the uncertainties of what seems anymore to be high stakes gambling?No, not really. As I said above, one should think of bond funds strictly as a way to generate income. Inside a 401(k) you are going to simply re-invest the interest payments and build shares that way.
Also, is there any such thing as "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Investing" which contains really useful information?Sure. Plenty. A visit to either Amazon or your local large bookstore will have lots of them.
Hope that wasn't too long, too boring and was at least of some help.
Without looking it up, I'll bet it was started under Carter and the Camp David Accords.
Shore up their economies by backing their debt and you have financial and therefore political stability.
as a participant.
The Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, as it is officially known, and in the past as "The International Speepstakes" and still called "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" is an American icon with few peers.
Now I know there are many of my fellow DU'rs who don't give a rats ass about this race and I also know there are many who are watched today's race and do so religiously.
Indulge me and allow me to give you some perspective from the point of view of a guy who was paid to be there for 6 years straight during it's true heyday - the early 1990's. What it was like, the things I hated and the things I loved about the place and the race.
The race and the track have an extraordinary history and one that is easily available by a simple Google search. I won't bore you with those details.
The first time I set foot on the grounds was in 1988, when I was working for a company owned by Drag Racer Kenny Bernstein. It was my first gig working in motor racing and in those days, the Buick Motor Division was heavily involved in every major racing series in the US. They had the Buick Regal in NASCAR, built a V-6 for the "Indy Lights" series (which was called the "American Racing Series" then), built a turbo-charged engine for Indy and a turbo-charged, intercooled engine which ran in the IMSA Prototype class in road racing. They had a big presence.
In 1989 I went to work for Ilmor Engineering, who in those days was the builder of the "Chevrolet Indy V8", a 2.65 liter, 32 valve engine that produced in excess of 650 horsepower, and spun up to better than 12,000 RPM's. As it turns out, the company I once worked for is now the exclusive re-builder of all the Honda engines used in today's race, so they get to add one more to the win category today. Congratulations to all my old friends at Ilmor in Canton, Michigan.
Back then, as it had been for decades, the race meeting lasted for 3 entire weeks - the longest race meeting of any in motorsports and likely in all sport worldwide. The next closest is probably for the 24 hours of Le Mans.
The schedule has been dramatically shortened since then, down to a mere(!) 16 days, so what follows refers to how it used to be, during the years I attended as a participant/badge holder from 1990 thru '95.
If you count backward from Memorial day weekend, race day is and always had been the Sunday before Memorial day.
The 90 days of May
It had been referred to as such for quite a long time, as it seemed when one spent the entire month of May at the Speedway, it never ended. As a truck driver for my company, I got there the Thursday before opening weekend and when you go to the track every day at 6 or 7 AM and leave at 6 or 7 PM, day in and day out for almost an entire month, you get to the point where you want to be almost ANYWHERE else. The month just seemed to drag on, as after the excitement of Opening day and Pole Day were over, you looked at two more weeks of tedium, getting ready for the race. The Speedway property includes a golf course and in those days, 9 of the holes were inside the oval itself. I played several rounds during practice sessions, teeing off while cars roared down the back stretch. Addressing a golf ball while AJ Foyt, Rick Mears, Al Unser JR and many other famous names whizzed by at 200 MPH only a hundred yards away was quite an experience, let me tell you.
The Saturday 3 weeks before Memorial Day Weekend.
A big event for the Speedway and the city. Big crowd, and by that I mean a quarter million people. The place still looked almost empty as most of those were either in the infield or walking around, so the stands weren't full all the time. Still, the front stretch had a big crowd and the stands looked well populated. Back in the 90's, one tradition that popped up was the attempt by a driver for "Dick Simon Racing to be the first on the track when the gun sounded. In all the years I attended, a Simon Racing car was indeed, the first on the track. They never won the race, however. I got to know Mr. Simon personally and he was a great personality, widely loved in the garage area. He had many rumors that followed him, including that one that suggested he was "DB Cooper", as Dick had essentially come out of nowhere with a large sum of money and entered into racing and that coupled with the fact that he was known to be a sky diver perpetuated the myth. It was said he had been a movie stuntman in his earlier days and was tasked with jumping out of a plane to chase a parachute, put it on in mid-free fall and float to the ground. When the director didn't get the shot quite right, Dick said he would do it again! Indy had its share of characters over the years, to be sure.
The First week of Practice
After Opening weekend, the real business of prepping for Pole Day began. Teams are busy making the small changes necessary during practice to get the most out of their cars for a simple, 10 mile run. Keep in mind that qualifying for Indy is a series of 4 timed laps and a lap around Indy is 2.5 miles. So they are basically trying to get the car to run like a bat out of hell for 11 or 12 miles, including warmup and cool down laps. What goes into that process could fill a novel. There were many a Wednesday afternoon that would find 50,000 + at the Speedway watching practice sessions. I've listened in on conversations with the likes of 4 time winner Rick Mears talking about "Loaing" the suspension as he turns in to turn one, and how th front end wants to just let go and push the car toward the outside wall, called "Understeer" and how it becomes a game of riding on a knifes edge. Turning in to a 90 degree turn at 220 MPH and that turn looks like it is a HARD left hander at that speed (the turns at Indy are exactly 1/4 mile long) ....feeling the front end wanting o let go...to push to the outside; Or hear him and others talk about how the rear end wants to come around as power is applied - called "oversteer" and how unsettling that sensation is, especially when traveling at that speed. Those drivers have my respect. Doing that would have the majority of us shitting our pants, I don't care HOW good you think you are.
The gates open early (6:00 AM) and the crowd is happy and enthusiastic. Back then, there was a lot of infield viewing areas and the inside of turns 3 and 1 became known over the years as the "Snake Pit" in which all sorts of debauchery took place. Literally. From prostitution to wild drunkenness, the Snake Pit was where you went if you wanted to go a bit crazy. Pole day was also the second heaviest day in the city of Indianapolis for hotel stays. Most hotels were booked years in advance and required a minimum of a 3 day stay. Many companies, both large and small brought big groups of their employees to Indy for Pole Day and the atmosphere in Indy for that weekend was electric. The rules stipulated that every entered car would be provided the opportunity to qualify for the race. If you had your shit together and got your car inspected and certified, you could have a shot at the pole position on that Saturday. In 1993 I remember a crowd estimation on Pole day of over 300,000 people. There are major races the world around which don't get three hundred grand through the gates on RACE DAY! It was often said in those days that the largest single day gate take of any major racing event in the world was the Indy 500. The second largest was Pole Day at the speedway. Those were the days, my friends! I was in pit lane when Emerson Fittipaldi set 4 consecutive lap records during his qualifying attempt, each lap faster than the last and each a track record. Unbelievable.
The Second Week of Practice
After the excitement of Pole Weekend and now that the polesitter is known, the real work of setting the car up for the race begins. Teams spent hours and hours working on their cars, tweaking this and altering that, then sending the driver out for a run of 20 or 30 or 100 laps to see how things go. Lots of work, repetition and ...well...tedium begins.
The second weekend of qualifying
So now we've had an entire week of practice, a weekend of qualifying and another week of practice. Now comes the second weekend of time trials. Saturday is built around filling out the field. Sunday is "Bump Day" in which the teams and cars that have struggle all month are given a chance to secure a spot among the 33 starters. You may have heard the expression "On the Bubble" which referred to the current 33rd qualifier. He was in danger of being "bumped" from the field if someone else was able to run faster than his qualifying time on bump day. The way the qualifying rules worked back then (and they may be the same now, I don't know) it was actually possible for a car to have run a faster qualification run than the polesitter on the second weekend but have to start 22nd, for instance. Indy was the only motor race in the world in which it was possible for the fastest qualifier to not be the polesitter.
The Week before Race Weekend
In those days, the traditional race after Indy was Milwaukee and many teams that had qualified on Pole Weekend actually packed up and left town to go to Milwaukee to test for the next race! The place seemed to be deserted on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday asn there was no practice sessions and everyone waited for Carb Day. This is when the silliness began in a big way. There was, and still is, I'm sure, a security office at the entrance to the garage area from the truck parking lot. They would do public service announcements by request. "Mrs. Johnson, please meet your child near the South Gate"......"Jim Fredericks, please return to your garage"...etc. The tedium starts to take hold and guys from various garages would start to ask for really off the wall pages;
"Mr. Frank N. Stein, please report to the Dick Simon Garage" etc. It got really out of hand at times and the doofus at the mic never seemed to get it!
A big day for the track. 150,000 thru the gates at least. Basically a 2 hour practice session but there was, and still is a Pit Crew challenge that takes place, among other events and special happenings. It's all over by 3:00 but still a fun day.
The gates opened at 5:00 AM, signaled by a cannon shot! 500,000 people are waiting to get in the gates and will all be in and have taken their places in a mere 5 hours. The race started at 11:00 AM Central time in those days and it always amazed me that the facility was able to get so many people in and arranged in that space of time. There is a parking lot at the north end of the track and a 4 lane tunnel under the north short chute, between turns 3 & 4 that is a major entrance to the infield. Back then, when the cannon would go off, they would open the gates and it was a mad rush of cars and pickups into the infield for the best spot. I was there one year when it was reported that a drunken fan, overwhelmed by the thrill, stood up in the back of the pickup he was riding in as it went under the 8' clearance tunnel. He was decapitated. Something macabre seemed to happen every year.
I was charged with providing breakfast for the team and guests. I found that staying inside the track and staying up all night preparing, putting out the breakfast and getting the coffee ready was easier than trying to get out of the speedway on Saturday night and then trying to wake up and get back in at 3:00 AM on Sunday. So that's what I did. For 5 years in a row, I was awake from Saturday morning of race weekend until late Sunday night after the race. The busiest year I fed over 125 guests and VIP's, starting at 5:30 Race morning.
Many in the crowd are already drunk and hammered by 6:00 AM, as they have been up all night partying outside the track. The crowd steadily increases as the morning drags on to the point that the stands are full and there are still tens of thousands milling around the infield. The pageantry is going on and things get ready until......
The cannons go off, the balloons are released and the race begins. The Greatest Spectacle In Racing is on! I've been there when the fastest 500 in history happened - Arie Luyendyk in 1990, averaging 185.981 MPH over 500 miles and two years later saw one of the slowest in the modern era when Al Unser JR. won with an average speed of 134.477 which also included the closest finish in race history. I tried as often as I could to stand as near the fence in turn one as the race started. Seeing 33 open wheel cars turn in to that corner after getting the green flag is a thrill on has to experience to describe. Breathtaking, to say the least.
I loved my time in the business, truly. I had the opportunity to walk and talk, one on one with AJ Foyt in Surfers Paradise, as we both walked to the pitlane from our hotel. I rode my Harley with Rick Mears and Johnny Rutherford. I've danced with Al Unser Jr's wife! I've had the chance to meet many celebrities and famous persons.
But the Indy 500 is special.
Because it is what it is. And if you don't get it, you never will.
Edited, as usual, for spelling
I am hoping some of you might find this interesting. I'm sure some of you will find this completely and utterly boring, but that is DU, after all!
Last week (5/5/11) I was assigned to pick up a load from Enterprise Rent a car in Tempe, going to the Mannheim Auto Auction in Aurora, CO. There are several ways to get from Phoenix to Denver, one of the prettiest takes you north to Flagstaff, north on US 89 toward the Utah line and Page, AZ, then right onto US 160 toward the 4 Corners area and into Colorado. US 160 then heads up into CO, goes through Durango and Pagosa Springs and up and over Wolfs Creek Pass. It continues all the way over to I25 and beyond.
Here is a photo essay of that trip, beginning with me being empty at the Enterprise facility in Tempe, right off I 10, south of downtown Phoenix. I apologize for the quality of the pics, as they were taken with my camera phone.
My truck. It is a 2000 model year Volvo with a 8 car capable trailer made by Boydstun. It has a 3 car "headrack" so it is possible to load 11 very small cars on this truck - Miata's or Pontiac Solstice's for instance. This load was only 9 units, but with their size and weights, I could have loaded 10. I started loading at about 4:00 PM. Temp outside - 104F! It took a solid hour just to locate my nine units. It took about 2 hrs and 45 minutes total to finish and roll away.
3 cars on board and the other 6 stretched out behind. At this point I have to begin chaining them down before I load the next unit, as the 3rd on has to be lifted up to get the 4th on.
Here's the top loaded and the decks lifted all the way up and pinned in place, ready to load the bottom units. Note the #3 is slid forward and is currently clearing the #2 unit by only a few inches. This is necessary in order to get the #4 unit high enough to get vehicles underneath it. Also note I now have my jump skids (that's what I call them, anyway!) from the bottom forward trailer position to the rear bottom of the tractor. This bridges the gap and allows me to back a car behind the cab.
All nine on and ready to lower the decks down to height. The statutory height on the interstate system is 13'6", though AZ and a few other states allow 14' loads. If you want to be safe however, 13'6" allows you to travel on almost every mile of US Highways as well as all the interstate system. With a car hauler I am allowed an overhang at the front of 3' and an overhang past the tail lights at the rear of 4'.
I finished and rolled away from Enterprise about a 1/2 hour after sundown and ran up to the north side of the metro area and got a room. This is a shot of the truck with the decks down, the clearance between truck and trailer expanded so I can turn the rig and I'm ready to roll. (This isn't meant to be a promo shot for Days Inns! It was just where I was parked and made a good shot in the morning sun)
Here's a detail shot of the stack on the trailer. 4 units nose over nose over nose over tail. There is about 6" of clearance between each unit. This allows for any possible flex in the suspensions so that they don't contact each other going down the road.
On I 17, northbound to Flagstaff. This is the top of the grade leading down to Camp Verde, AZ. Not an unusual grade in the western states, but nothing to sneeze at. it is in fact 2 miles longer and just as steep as the famous "Grapevine" hill on I 5 north of LA This grade has NO letup or transitions at all. It is a solid 6% to the bottom. I'll run down it at about 35 mph. with the Jake Brake doing all the work and my feet flat on the floor. I want my brakes nice and cool if I need them.
Down the grade we go. This is about 1/3rd the way down.
Topping off the tanks in Flagstaff at the Little America there. This place has old fashioned single side fueling. The pumps have extra long hoses so you have to fill one tank then throw the nozzle under the truck and fuel the other tank.
Here's the line coming under the truck and topping off the left hand tank. On this truck I have dual 100's, but 104 gallons filled me up. Bill? $450 or so. This type of fuel island used to be commonplace but are now fairly rare. Most modern truck stop fuel islands look like.....
This. A primary pump on one side and a "satellite" pump on the other side, slaving off the primary. This allows for both tanks to be filled simultaneously and is much quicker. This pic BTW, was taken 4 days later in Laramie, WY, the day I took the shots in this thread
Big Truck. Bigger landscape. The scenery on the way to 4 Corners, East of Kayenta, AZ. This is South of the Monument Valley area and is pretty stark, but still gorgeous.
The road to 4 Corners.
Parked at the 4 Corners Monument. The monument is on Reservation land and is not part of the National Park system. $3.00 to get in.
Standing in four states at once! (Nice outfit, eh? What a fucking fashion plate!) My left nipple is in Arizona, my right in Utah, my left buttcheek in New Mexico and my right in Colorado! Obviously, the photo is looking straight east and late in the day. This was on 5/6, BTW. I turned 52 years old. This trip was my own little B'day present to myself. I called it a day a couple hours later in Durango. Total miles on the day - 440. Total hours driving - 8 1/4.
The next morning at the base of Wolfs Creek Pass, elevation 7850'. The scar in the mountainside at the middle of the pic is the cut made for the road way.
From the same spot looking to the North.
The summit. The snow looked to be about 2 - 3' deep. My GPS said the elevation was 10,864' It was 8 miles of 7% grade climbing to the top. There were almost more bicyclists climbing the hill than there were vehicles!
The summit looking to the West. On the way up there are some spectacular views of the valley to the West, but I didn't stop to get any shots as stopping a heavy truck on a climb like that is a really bad idea, because shifting up to get rolling on a steep grade puts enormous stress on the drive train. I don't want to break anything!
On the way down, Eastbound. 8 miles of 6%. I set the trans in 6th and crawled down at about 25 MPH in order to let the Jacobs engine retarder ("Jake Brake") do all the work. I want the truck to hold a steady speed all the way down, neither speeding up or slowing down. An occasional touch of the foot on the brakes was all it took. In the days before engine retarders this would have taken about 15 mph and a steady brake pressure all the way down.
Further down. Photographs do not do ANY justice as to exactly how steep this is. And long! The 6% portion is by no means the end and is at about 9200', as it levels out a bit but continues down in varying degrees of grade for probably another 10 miles to the valley floor at elev. 8400'. It took about 20 minutes to go the 8 miles and another 20 to get all the way to the bottom.
At the summit of La Veta pass, elev. 9435', the last hill before I 25 which is about 25 miles away at this point.
The last mountain grade, down La Veta pass. Not too bad - 4 miles of 6%. Piece of cake.
The Big Road! Yay!
Northbound on I 25. 165 miles to the drop and smooth sailing. A few hills that get a little steep, but nothing real long. The big clump of something in the lower left is an ice cream I got at the truck stop a few minutes earlier. Yum.
Calling it a day in Castle Rock, CO. HMMMM... I wonder what they named the town after. Total miles on the day - 352. Total hours driving time - 7 1/2. I'm about 40 miles to my drop and this is Saturday afternoon. I can't drop till Monday morning.
Put to bed at the motel. This is what they call "Truck Parking"! Sometimes you get a big dirt lot that can hold 40 trucks and sometimes you get two spaces you have to back into off the street. You never know. Again, not meant to be an endorsement of the hotel chain!
I dropped in Aurora, East of Denver on Monday, the 9th.
I'm in Portland, OR, tonight and empty. Again, stuck till Monday before I can get loaded. Think I'll play a round of golf in the morning.
Hope you enjoyed it!
Posted by A HERETIC I AM in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Sep 29th 2009, 08:05 PM
Oh unrec, you message board feature sublime,
Have you simply appeared ahead of your time?
Why is it you gather such silly attention?
When all you want is a little affection.
At times your usage makes some come unglued
when your result is simply nonsense subdued.
Even though your application is most voluntary
the contempt for you is oddly quite scary
It's as if in your absence, a thread that's not hot
still warranted a greatest page-ward swat.
Some will insist the jury's still out
But the job you've done is nothing but stout.
Eliminating crap and gratuitous clutter.
Place self serving bullshit in a well deserved gutter.
"I WON'T POST! I WON'T POST! I WON'T POST NO MORE!
IT'S YOU UNRECCERS MAKING LIFE SUCH A CHORE!"
Suggesting all threads of obscure import
deserve to be making the greatest page sort
is like saying a toddlers crude block construction
earns inclusion in Architecture Today's production
Oh unrec, oh unrec, you feature supreme
make it easy to see if a thread holds esteem
by a majority of our fine message board
instead of just five that are easily scored.
From ; http://www.democraticunderground.com/discu... ;address=114x66770
It is important to remember that the Chinese government (or whichever referred to entity that is Chinese and buys Treasuries) does NOT buy their bonds directly from the U.S. Treasury Department. They buy and sell them on the secondary market just like everyone else. The Federal Reserve Bank is not a player in secondary Treasury paper to the degree this supposes. There is a small group of primary dealers who participate in the auctions of and deal in US Treasury paper. None of them are foreign governments.
There are a number of premises put forward by the narrator in the video in the OP.
Here is the page on which can be found the entire podcast from which the YouTube poster took the audio. Under the bio for "Jim Willie", click the link that says "China and the dollar". A player will open. The portion on the YouTube video starts just short of 1/2 way. The audio seems to be an interview conducted by a reporter speaking with this Jim Willie fella. I'll refer to him as the "narrator" as his is the primary voice heard in the video from the OP. He might be very well qualified and knowledgeable but it seems to me he's clueless on account setup standards.
One of them seems to be that a hedge fund manager can have his margin policies and procedures dictated to him by an account holder.
I say bullshit.
Another seems to be that these nefarious accounts would be so large that a wholesale margin call would have a deleterious effect on the market for Treasury Bonds. Again I say bullshit. No hedge fund manager with half a brain would allow an account holder to demand terms that would put the manager at greater risk than he was willing to take.
He also puts forward the idea that somehow, the United States Government will decide to intentionally and with nefarious intent, meddle with the commodities market. More bullshit. There is a limit to the amount of sway available here and the narrator blows right by it in my opinion.
If this premise were to have any legs at all (and it doesn't seem to, really) the Chinese would have to put an enormous amount at risk and why would they do that? Treasuries are redeemable in Federal Reserve Notes and nothing else. They trade in dollars. The owners of Treasury bonds have no desire at all to see a devaluation of the dollar.
But for the sake of argument, let's say the idea goes ahead. The Chinese open these accounts to the tune of billions and they deposit various holdings of US paper into these accounts. All of that paper is traded on what is essentially the most liquid bond market on the planet and a bid on virtually any quantity of any series of notes can be gotten in a matter of minutes through any major brokerage firm in the country with a bond desk. They use that account value (which can be "marked to market" continuously) to borrow against and buy other things; Commodities contracts, for instance. The only ways to get a margin call is if the value of the reserve securities or the securities purchased on margin to fall in value. If they get a margin call, as I said in a previous post, they will have choices. They can either deposit cash or additional securities to cover the call, or allow the sale of bonds currently held in the account. The narrator assumes they will intentionally allow the sale of assets to cover and thereby flooding the market with paper. I underlined that word because the procedures for such circumstance are clearly spelled out in every margin agreement.
The market on Treasury paper tends to self adjust. US Debt paper is seen on the global stage, despite what you or any other DU'r might think, as a virtually risk free investment. If too much is sold in a short amount of time the price drops, thus raising the yield. At some point the yield would again get high enough that buyers would flock back in. It balances out. Here's the Bloomberg page for Government bonds. Do you remember in the early 1990's when yields for the 30 year were at 8%? You can still buy 30 year notes issued in 1992 that have an 8% coupon, it's just that at current yield, they sell for 140 cents on the dollar. A 30 year bond bought in January of this year had a 3.5% coupon and is currently selling for around 85 cents on the dollar. If a huge quantity of paper was dumped in one or just a few transactions, the price of the bonds would fall. At some point, if not right away, the account holder stands to lose money. Bonds like the Chinese hold do not trade on an exchange and large transactions have to have a buyer. It's quite likely that bids on a large block (say ten billion, just for yuks) would be received in numerous lots from perhaps dozens of parties. Each one will be somewhat different. Not every single bond in a large or varied lot will necessarily sell for the same amount.
The Chinese know this. As the narrator says at some point on that audio, they aren't stupid. That's right pal, and they aren't stupid enough to put a large quantity of a valuable security at undue risk.
On edit to add this:
westerebus, I apologize for any comments I've made in the past that were snarky or mean spirited. Each of us are free to write anything we care to on this board as long as it isn't a violation of our hosts rules. None of us are compelled to read it. I have been unduly pithy with you in the past and it was unnecessary.
Posted by A HERETIC I AM in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon May 04th 2009, 09:00 PM
at least for a while, anyway.
It's made out of paper, so it might not be up to the task of holding the contents too well, so haste is of paramount importance. Mixed throughout the contents are various bits and thingamabobs of extraordinary value, originally placed in the bag by well meaning individuals. The dark smelly substance surrounding those bits and bobs has been put in there over the years by certain not-so-well meaning individuals. You can have some help sorting through the substance, but there is no guarantee the people helping you will do that job up to your expectations or those of anyone else. You are free to hire the finest bit and bob cleaners in their respective fields, but no one, and I mean NO ONE will be happy with ALL of your choices, regardless of how well they have previously established themselves as smelly, substance covered bit and bob cleaners.
Your job is to pick out all the bits and bobs, clean them off and put them into a new bag. You don't get gloves. In fact, you only get to wash your hands after every third bit or bob picked out and cleaned off and there are going to be cameras and people recording and commenting on every single move ad nauseum, criticizing you relentlessly if you happen to miss even the tiniest speck of the offensive material. Most of those people helping you will have differing views on the concept of clean and some are going to be so fastidious they will be a drag on the whole procedure. The ones that don't clean their bits completely out of either a concern for speed or efficiency or a lack of proper sanitary procedures will rarely if ever bear the brunt of any criticism. It will always be your fault.
A certain quantity of the offensive smelly material is of vital importance. Which part, where it is (top of the bag, middle, bottom, etc.), how much and whether it is the smelliest part or not are pieces of information you may or may not be made aware of. Some of it will be told to you AND ONLY YOU and/or a few of the aforementioned bit and bob cleaners. Some of the material can never be revealed or shown to the people surrounding you, no matter how bad it smells. Some of the material really should be revealed, but there are lots and lots of reasons not to do so. Some of the material will be shown to everyone but it will be so disgusting that many will blame you for putting it in the bag in the first place.
You have 4 years to sort this bag out (did I mention it's a really big bag?) and there are at least 300 million people counting on you to get the entire procedure exactly right. (it could be argued there are over 6 billion people counting on you, but I don't want you to feel too much pressure) You can have another 4 years but only if you can convince at least 51% of the 300 million people you've done a good enough job thus far.
A couple of other things;
Some people are going to constantly try to put more of the offensive substance into the bag. They WILL succeed to a certain extent and there is NOTHING you can do about it.
Some people will occasionally put a beautiful, shiny bit or bob in the bag, only to have it instantly coated with the substance.
Some people will try and put a nice bit or bob in the bag but it will intentionally get coated with the substance before it even reaches the bag. There is damned little you can do about it, but you are still expected to complete the task and clean up the new bits too.
Some people will deliberately throw large quantities of the substance not at the bag, but at you. And your wife. And your kids. And your extended family. And your dog. You can not stop them. Ever. The people that do this will do it for any number of reasons. Some of them do it because they hate you. Some of them claim they like you, but will scream when a particular bit or bob they like wasn't cleaned properly or wasn't cleaned first. There is a piece of paper in a vault in a building down the street that says they can do this.
Best of luck.
Posted by A HERETIC I AM in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sun Jun 10th 2007, 08:34 PM
It is sure to be deleted, but here goes.
Middle Eastern men must have incredibly tiny dicks.
There is simply no other explanation. Sure, tell me it is cultural or religious in origin and i will counter that is has to do with a deep seated insecurity on the part of the males of those cultures. Why else is it that so many cultures in that area of the world repress women, restrict their education and otherwise subjugate them in so many ways?
Why is it so terrifying to the men that a woman might do as she wants?
Why is it so terrifying to the men that a woman might have an education?
Why is is so terrifying to the men that a woman might want to express her beauty in public?
Because Middle Eastern Men are terrified they will lose their women to other men because they have a deep seated, ancient concern about the size of their dicks.
And they must be truly tiny.
I started working for Ilmor Engineering in 1989. Ilmor is a company based in Brixworth, England, outside Northampton formed in 1983 by 2 former Cosworth engineers, Mario Illien (the "IL") and Paul Morgan (the "MOR", of Ilmor) with backing from their old friend, Roger Penske. Penske used his pull with folks he knew at General Motors to arrange financing and form an engine maker specifically to produce engines for Chevrolet to run in the CART series and the Indy 500. They built a 2.65 liter engine that within 2 years of its debut, began to dominate the series. Their 1st win at Indy came in 1988 in a Penske car driven by Rick Mears. In 1993, Chevrolet thought they had a deal inked for the following years. Late in '93 Ilmor announced that it had decided to turn down the offer from Chevrolet in favor of an offer from Mercedes Benz. (There is a HUGE amount of back story here, but i don't have the inclination to spell it all out just now)
So, for the 1994 season, the "Chevrolet" nameplates came off the engines and "Ilmor Indy V8" went on. The key to the deal with M-B however was the production of an engine specifically for Indy, the 500I that exploited a provision in the USAC rules at Indy that allowed for a pushrod "stockblock" engine of larger displacement to be allowed more turbo boost, primarily because pushrod engines have a fraction of the durability of an overhead cam engine at the high RPM's the OHC engines were running at (12,000 RPM's). Buick had been running their racing V6 with this extra boost for years but no one had been able to successfully make a V8 that could run competitively for 500 miles and the Buick's, while fast and competitive in qualifying, could not keep up with the thoroughbred racing engines.
Shortly after the announcement it became clear that there were some SERIOUS noses bent out of shape in Warren, Mi (GM's tech center and the home of Chevrolet Racing) because it meant they weren't going to be represented at Indy in '94 and they felt that they were shut out by a company that they had helped form (Ilmor). Those bent noses coupled with plenty of people surrounding IMS President Tony George that had axes to grind, convinced George to create the Indy Racing League with the intent of essentially bringing home Indy car racing from the foreign (Mostly British) chassis and engine makers. In other words, "If we can't win against the foreigners, we'll make it so they cant run here" became the mentality at the speedway.
The 500I was very successful (again, plenty more back story here, including a little known fact; The engine didn't complete it's first 500 mile durability test until the 1st week of May that year, just before opening day at the speedway) and if Emerson hadn't crashed in his qualifying attempt the 1st weekend, they would have had the entire front row with Al Jr., Paul Tracy and Fittipaldi. Ilmor and M-B held the engines for the exclusive use of Penske Racing that year but they had cast something on the order of 200 sets of blocks and heads for next year, if the project turned out to be a success so as to supply any other teams that wanted the engine.
Of course, the Speedway (read Tony George) changed the rules and dis-allowed the pushrod V8 for subsequent years. This rule change forced Ilmor and M-B to send several million dollars worth of castings to the shredder.
Over the course of the rest of '94, the Ilmor V8 and Penske racing absolutely DOMINATED the series, winning a total of 12 races, 10 pole positions and a total of 28 podium finishes between the 3 aforementioned drivers. This success further pissed off the folks at the Chevy "Raceshop". After all, it was essentially the same engine that ran the year before with "Chevrolet" emblazoned on it. Chevy lost all that good press and they weren't happy about it one bit.
The plans for the IRL progressed over the course of the 1995 season and began in earnest in 1996. Tony George laid out a rule for the 1996 500 that completely stunned the team owners. If they didn't compete in the first 3 races of the new IRL schedule, then any CART team that wanted to qualify for the 1996 500 would be fighting for 8 positions at the rear of the grid only. The majority of the team owners basically said "Fuck you" and ran at Michigan on the same day as the 500.
Tony George is basically an asshole. He knew he had the ace in the deck, the 500 - but he had very few other cards. He had AJ Foyt (His godfather, BTW) and he had a pissed off General Motors that wanted to win at Indy. Tony George is truly a member of the lucky sperm club, having ZERO business acumen and in fact, a history of cocaine abuse that has been noted but hushed up by the Hulman family. He was made a member of the board of CART in the early 90's primarily because he felt he should be involved in the rest of Indy Car racing outside the speedway but i have it on very good authority that every meeting he ever attended, he was either silent or when he did open his mouth, he added little or nothing to the conversation. He is a moron, basically and all the team owners know it. If it wasn't for his mother, Mary Hulman George, the Chairman of the IMS and daughter of the late Tony Hulman, Tony George would be a quiet, dopey nobody son of a wealthy midwestern family. Unfortunately for open wheel racing, he is in charge of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
There is a whole hell of a lot more to this story. The folks in the background whispering in George's ear, the guys in Warren who dropped the ball and let Ilmor get away, AJ Foyt who HATES street courses, etc. Perhaps someday, Tony and the remaining team owners holding out as "Champ Car" will get together and return Indy to it's rightful place as "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing".
I won't hold my breath.
On edit to add these Wiki links for your edification.
Posted by A HERETIC I AM in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Apr 17th 2007, 06:51 PM
Welcome to our town. Care to take a little walk with me?
I've lived here for about 4 years now and i like it just fine. It's very diverse, vibrant, active and fairly peaceful. Oh, we have our differences but for the most part, everyone gets along just fine.
We have several Churches; A Catholic Church, a small Episcopal Church, A Baptist Church, a rather large non-denominational Church as well as a Synagogue and a Mosque. Oh, and a fairly good sized Unitarian Universalist congregation too as well as a vocal and passionate non-religious group. There are clubs and civic organizations to meet all tastes. Here on main street is where many of our inhabitants work, whether it is in the small businesses they own or for some of the national chains that have decided to adhere to our strict zoning laws and scaled down from the large, big-box stores they set up elsewhere. We have a Mall on the edge of town where others work. Very few folks from outside town come here to work but quite a few commute to the city. We have a thriving Industrial park on the other side of town where many more of our inhabitants are employed. Seems to me our unemployment rate is about the same as the national average. We have a few folks on the outskirts that have rather large properties, a cattle ranch and a few hobby farms. The folks that live here come from all walks of life and do almost anything you can think of. We have several Banks, Restaurants, a couple Brokerage Firms, Real Estate offices and Insurance companies. At the end of the block is a gun shop that has a shooting range inside and there is an active group of hunters. There is a Golf Course, a Bowling Alley, Hair Salon and a Barber Shop. Oh....and the Bars. We have several of them. There is quite a lively night life here. In fact, one street is referred to as "The Lounge" because it is lined with Cocktail Lounges and Bars of all types. If you stray over there, make sure you take a serious sense of humor with you. You'll find most are very accommodating and you rarely have to buy your first drink if you are new in town.
The age range is from teenagers to the elderly. I know there are small children here because i can hear them but i never see them. There are a few celebrities, a number of published authors, several filmmakers and quite a few cranky old farts thrown in for good measure! It is rumored that several of our quietest residents are famous in politics and the arts, but they don't say much, they seem to just watch the town through the windows of their homes. All of these tend to add style and color that we quite frankly would miss if they were for some reason to leave our fair city. We have Truck Drivers, Pilots, Sanitation Workers, Waiters and Waitresses, Carpenters, Bricklayers, Craftsmen, Clerks, CPA's, Attorneys, Stockbrokers, a Veterinarian or two, Doctors and Nurses, Cooks and Chefs, Seamstresses, and maybe a Tailor. I haven't met him yet but there is his shop, right over there.
Often the national media, be it a Newspaper or a TV Network reports on what goes on here. We think thats fine. It's good to know we get noticed.
One thing you'll find out right away is that there are conversations that spring up on almost every street corner and in every business about any number of subjects at all times of the day and night. Our residents LOVE to talk. Sometimes, the conversations are just between 3 or 4 people about something as silly as what shampoo to use on a cat. Other times, huge crowds will gather with dozens shouting their opinions. It can get rather lively. Usually when it gets to be really big, it draws several of the cops to circle around and stroll through the crowd, looking to stop anyone who might be ready to throw a punch. Once in a while there is a push or a shove and on occasion a punch is thrown. Rarely is the injury any more severe than a bloody nose or damaged pride. More often than not, when tempers flare, the antagonist or protagonist will just walk away. In the most severe cases the local police will break up the conversation and make everyone leave. They do, but it is usually just down the street a little where another conversation will start again. Sometimes these conversations last for days and days. There's several big ones going on right now. You can tell the ones that get heated as they tend to drift up to the top of the street, near the Courthouse, while everyone is sweating and there are several cops in the crowd.
We have a small Police Force, maybe less than 100 Deputies, a Mayor, a Sheriff and a Marshall. The Deputies rotate out every few months so there are no career cops. They carry no guns but they have a weapon no other Police Force in the country has; the magical ability to make someone shut up! It seems to work pretty well. It is rumored that the Mayor, the Sheriff and the Marshall are the town fathers, but i think they just hung a phone on a post in the woods, stuck a flag in the ground, named the town and within days, this town started to grow, but that's just my opinion. I wasn't here then, but i passed through this area before it existed and it was just wilderness. The Mayor is a decent sort, very opinionated but firm in his convictions. The Sheriff writes a weekly column in the paper that is widely read and the Marshall...well....he stays out of sight. I think he sits in his study, playing with electrical devices all day, trying to create a time machine maybe. Who knows? Sometimes an outsider will come into town and start conversations or enter into them and cause nothing but trouble. Then, all of the sudden, he or she disappears. Perhaps that is the machine the Marshall is working on all the time - a disintegrator. (Tip - Watch what you say)
Our history has had it's share of serious problems. Soon after the towns founding, hundreds and hundreds of people came rushing in to the area, trying to tell the Mayor that he had no business setting up a town here, that he was a maniac, that the water was poisoned (or that it WOULD be if he didn't leave) that the grass would die, that no one would come to live here, etc. As you look around, i think you can tell those predictions were all wrong.
Is it a perfect place to live? Surely not. But what place is perfect? We have clean air (we see to it) clean water (that too) good schools and good food. We have births and we miss those that pass away. New folks come to town all the time. Some stay for years, others leave soon after they arrive. Some, for some strange reason, insist on telling everyone they are leaving. This often gathers a crowd of either well-wishers or smart Alec's or both. I could never understand that, but there you go. But all in all, it is a wonderful place to live. Just walk down the street and listen in to the conversations. There is so much to learn and so many incredibly intelligent people that live here. I learn something just about every minute of every day!
Just remember, when you come across one of those large conversations that seems to have drawn a large crowd, try and listen in for a bit. You don't want to say the wrong thing and get the cops pissed at you. Trust me, I know. I was escorted almost to the edge of town at least once!
Well, I hope you enjoyed my 5 cent tour. I'm heading home. Have a good time and I'll see ya around!
I hope i can answer the basic question you are looking for. If what i have written below does not do that, please let me know and i will try and expand later. If any economists read anything that i get wrong, please correct me. The following is, I admit, a very simplistic explanation but i think it is accurate.
From what i gather reading the two articles linked, China is simply trying to diversify it's debt holdings and it's cash reserves. These are two different things but i want to concentrate on the question of the 1.5 Trillion Yuan denominated Bond issuance;
Consider this scenario:
You own a company and on your books in the assets column are millions in Swiss Francs (SF). Why would you have SF's? Your company makes things that are highly valued by the Swiss watch and cheese making industries and by the people of Switzerland in general. When they buy your products, they pay you in their currency, either by sending you a check drawn on their bank or by literally sending you a shoe box full of SF's. Since you are American, you can't really buy anything at your local store or from your suppliers with SF's and you need to switch them to dollars. But if you sold something worth ten dollars and on tuesday you received 10 dollars worth of SF's, by Wednesday the value of the SF's could have gone down. You want, need and deserve the $10 so you wait until the currency exchange rate comes back up. On Thursday it does, so you go to the bank with your SF's and ask for US$. All is well.
What happens if business is so good that you are sending entire container ships of your products to Switzerland every week? Now you have so many SF's that even the slightest change in the value of an SF - even on the scale of 100th's of a percentage point - could mean millions of dollars difference. One way to alleviate this problem would be to spread out those exchanges over time so that if you exchanged some at a lower rate and some at a higher rate, it would all even out and you would still get your moneys worth. But that idea has drawbacks because you are sitting on a large chunk of money that is not doing anything for you. Here's an idea; Loan the money back to the Government of Switzerland so they can buy new uniforms for the Swiss Guards that look after Vatican City. Oh...and a new section of Railway. And a State owned tourist attraction needs a new coat of paint (You get the idea). The Swiss government takes your money and promises to pay it back over the course of a decade or two PLUS INTEREST. You just purchased Swiss Government Treasury Bonds. Now, not only is your money working to make more money, the stream of payments are guaranteed by the Oh-so honest Swiss! You can make the exchanges over time and average them out so you get closer to the real value of the goods you sold in the first place.
2 years go by. The Swiss have been making regular interest payments to you, you have been converting the payment into dollars and everyone is happy. But your company is wildly successful and you are sending 5 container loads of stuff to them every week. You have taken all those SF's and bought even more Swiss Treasury Bonds. You are up to HERE with Swiss bonds now. What happens if Switzerland has 5 warm winters in a row and no one goes there to ski? Or all of the talented watchmakers and cheese makers retire? Or the Vatican decides the Italians can guard them just fine and there are no more new uniforms to purchase?
You realize you are holding too many Swiss bonds and you need to diversify. So you decide to turn the stream of payments you are receiving from the Swiss into a bond issue of your own. Except now you are going to denominate your bonds in US $ and demand that they be bought from you in US $.
Here's the problem: You don't actually have the SF's in the bank anymore (or in the shoe box). What you have is a stack of papers printed with nice gilded edges that say the Swiss Government is going to pay you back over time with interest. Now everyone around you agrees the Swiss are great people, they're honest and hardworking and they make a great cheese. No one doubts you are going to get your money from them. But by issuing this bond offering, what you really want is your money NOW. How do you get it?
Bankers from NY, London, Berlin, Hong Kong, Singapore and other major financial centers realize that they can give you the money (underwrite your bond issue), sell the bonds on the open market and begin receiving payments FROM YOU. The money you are going to pay is money you are getting from the Swiss every day. But now, instead of having either a shoe box full of SF's or a locker full of papers with gilded edges, you have a HUGE PILE OF US DOLLARS!
That is in effect what the Chinese are trying to do. They want to convert the stream of payments they are getting from the US Treasury into Yuans.
The problem is that the Yuan has been artificially propped up by the Chinese government for years and is not traded on the international currency exchanges with the reliability that other major currencies trade. Any bond issue by them must be underwritten by banks, be they central banks of countries or the major commercial and merchant banks of the world. Those banks will want and are entitled to an expectation that the Chinese are reliable. That they will do what they say they will do and that they will pay the interest on time and in full. That is in essence, the "Risk" part of all this. What is the likelihood the Chinese will default? What if they don't make regular payments? No one can go knock on the door of the Chinese Parliament and demand their money back. The Chinese have an ARMY for cryin out loud! There is a way the banks can diversify all that risk by using derivatives. (That's another essay! See link below) The articles mention that the bond issue will have to be drawn out over 3 years or so in order to make sure the underwriting banks don't have to go and borrow themselves in order to buy and issue the bonds. That is the "liquidity" problem. How much actual cash do these underwriters have on hand? Quite frankly, $200 Billion is a drop in the bucket of international finance but it is still a huge chunk of change.
I hope this was of some use. The concept of "derivatives" is an interesting one and i found this web page that explains the concept for you; http://www.investinginbonds.com/learnmore....
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