Felix Salmon

Derivatives datapoint of the day

Here’s a little table I put together with numbers from the OCC — page 9 of this pdf. Using second-quarter numbers for each year, I looked at the total nominal derivatives exposure of end users — the people for whom derivatives are meant to exist — and for dealers.


Is Nordstrom paying “a healthy $4.2 million a month” in rent for its Union Square store? No. Per year, maybe. — NY Mag

Zero Hedge subsumes Equity Private

Buried in Joe Hagan’s 5,500-word profile of Zero Hedge is the news (at least to me) that it’s the latest home of Equity Private, a/k/a Finem Respice. She started posting at Zero Hedge under the pseudonym “Marla Singer” in May, and even brought her radio show over there (she moonlights as a DJ). Now, however, she has been subsumed into the Borg:

How to compensate consumers under carbon pricing

Greg Mankiw, when it comes to cap-and-trade, is more or less on the side of the angels: he’s quite right that permits should be auctioned rather than given away to polluters. But is the tax code really the best way to compensate consumers for the higher energy prices they’re going to end up paying? Mankiw writes:

Zoellick’s excerpts

Bob Zoellick will say in a speech tomorrow that central banks have proved that they can’t be trusted with regulatory authority, and that in the US Treasury, rather than the Fed, should be the main risk regulator.

Prepaying mortgages

Mike Konczal says that all mortgages should be prepayable without penalty. He’s right — but in fact he doesn’t go far enough. As Tyler Cowen notes, it would be even better if mortgages could be prepaid at a discount when mortgage rates rise — or property prices fall.

The urban diet

James Fallows has a correspondent who drives a lot, and is overweight, and who writes:

Why the vanilla option is necessary

Welcome back Steve! That’s not me welcoming Steve Waldman back to the blogosphere, it’s me urging you to go and welcome him back by reading his latest blog entry, on the end of the vanilla option. It’s magnificent stuff:

Playing chess with bankruptcy

Threatening to file for bankruptcy is a good way to get the attention of your lenders — it makes them that much more likely to agree to restructure your debts, just because bankruptcies are expensive, time-consuming, and unpredictable things. But how much money do you need to owe before your lenders will take you that seriously? In Kent Swig’s case, the number seems to be $28 million: