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Thursday, February 22, 2007

BBB- ABX Contracts are "going to zero"

by Calculated Risk on 2/22/2007 08:42:00 PM

From Bloomberg: Subprime Mortgage Derivatives Extend Drop on Moody's Reviews

The perceived risk of owning low- rated subprime mortgage bonds rose to a record for a fifth day after Moody's Investors Service said it may cut the loan servicing ratings of five lenders.

An index of credit-default swaps linked to 20 securities rated BBB-, the lowest investment grade, and sold in the second half of 2006 today fell 5.6 percent to 74.2, according to Markit Group Ltd. It's down 24 percent since being introduced Jan. 18, meaning an investor would pay more than $1.12 million a year to protect $10 million of bonds against default, up from $389,000.
Graph from Markit:

The BBB- rated portions of ABX contracts are ``going to zero,'' said Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital, a securities brokerage in Darien, Connecticut. ``It's a self- perpetuating spiral, where as subprime companies tighten lending standards they create even more defaults'' by removing demand from the housing market and hurting home prices, he said.