Thursday, November 6, 2008

Icelandic CDS Freezer Burn

As some of you may know, Iceland declared bankruptcy about 2 months ago and they had a few banks that had to go through the credit default swap (CDS) auction to determine the amount that protection sellers had to pay for these banks' debt. We haven't heard anything regarding the results, but the below link revealed the results from the CDS auction.

As you will read, the freezer burn from this auction was pretty bad for the protection sellers. It turns out that those entities that sold protection will be on the hook to pay 93.375% of the senior. In comparison, when the CDS auction was performed on Fannie and Freddie debt, protection seller's only had to cover about 10 cents on the dollar. With these Icelandic banks, the protection seller is on the hook for almost 94 cents on the dollar. Ouch!!!!

The good news is that the amount of money that will switch hands for these Icelandic CDS bets is in the ball park of about $34.3 billion. Although this is a huge amount of money, it is really peanuts compared to the $400 billion that was involved in the Lehman CDS bets.



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