Financial Regulatory Forum

U.S. Treasury nominee: some swaps may stay off exchanges

WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) – The nominee for the U.S. Treasury’s top domestic post on Tuesday said he believed certain derivatives contracts, such as dollar swaps, could be exempted from being traded on exchanges under Obama administration proposals to boost market transparency.

Jeffrey Goldstein, who was named in July 2009 to become Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance, told the Senate Finance Committee that the administration’s market reform proposals would prevent abuse and promote transparency, but there were certain cases where derivatives might be better off not traded on exchanges.

“I think that the exemptions would be in certain markets where you could adversely affect the trading of some important securities — including the dollar swaps, and other things,” Goldstein said, answering a question during a confirmation hearing. He added that he looked forward to examining the issue further with lawmakers.

Goldstein was asked about his views on currency swaps by Senator Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington state, who criticized the use of cross-currency swaps employed by Goldman Sachs & Co¬† on behalf of Greece as disguising the amount of Greece’s public debt.

“It’s all perfectly legal, but in my opinion its a scam, and we ought to have these regulated and on exchanges and have transparency and go through clearing houses,” Cantwell said.

Major central banks to end emergency dollar lending

By Kristina Cooke and Marc Jones

NEW YORK/FRANKFURT, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Major central banks on Wednesday said they will stop the emergency U.S. dollar lending introduced during the financial crisis, a significant milestone indicating growing confidence that the financial system is returning to health.

The decision, announced in coordinated statements, marked the first unified retraction of central banks’ extraordinary support for financial markets.

The European Central Bank, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and the Swiss National Bank, as well as the central banks of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Brazil and Sweden said they will let their dollar “swap” arrangements with the U.S. Federal Reserve expire on Feb. 1.