Whazzup, G20? (Keep Your Hand on Your Wallet Edition)
• FT gets its hands on the latest draft of the G20 communique to be released at the end of Thursday’s summit, which includes more money to the IMF, support for free trade, more aid to developing countries, and reform of financial regulation (extending to hedge funds and credit ratings agencies). "It appears to confirm that the summit will not conclude with an announcement about a new fiscal stimulus," says the Guardian.
• Simon Johnson says G20 will "punt" on all the major issues: "[T]he ‘regulatory reform" initiative amounts to building more ornate structures (we’re to get a new Financial Stability Board?!?) on the same weak foundations that got us into trouble. There is simply nothing substantive here that would not have happened without the G20 process; under current dire circumstances, window dressing is not a good reason to hold a summit."
• Angela Merkel will oppose Obama’s request to increase stimulus spending or encourage the European Central Bank to follow the Fed’s lead and pump more money into the system. She’s looking for increased IMF contributions to bail out German neighbors in Eastern Europe.
• Meanwhile, Felix Salmon and Tyler Durden note that banks are showing huge profits in January and February as AIGFT unwinds its contracts. "The size of these unwinds were enormous, the quotes I have heard were ‘we have never done as big or as profitable trades — ever’" said one correlation desk trader.
The whole point of having the government take over AIG was that it wouldn’t need to enter into panicked unwinds. If it went ahead and did that anyway, the levels of competence and oversight at AIG are even lower than most of us had thought. Which is quite an achievement.
• All I can say to that is — good luck to these folks.