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JP Morgan has been the bane of precious metals for quite some time through their manipulation of the futures market and subsequent "spot" price of silver.
"JPMorgan Chase, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, said it suffered a trading loss of at least $2 billion from a failed hedging strategy, a shock disclosure that hit financial stocks and the reputation of the bank and its CEO, Jamie Dimon...
in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that since end-March, its chief investment office has had significant mark-to-market losses in its synthetic credit portfolio — these typically include derivatives in a way intended to mimic the performance of securities.
While other gains partially offset the trading loss, the bank estimates the business unit with the portfolio will post a loss of $800 million in the current quarter, excluding private equity results and litigation expenses. The bank previously forecast the unit would make a profit of about $200 million.
"It could cost us as much as $1 billion or more," in addition to the loss estimated so far, Dimon said. "It is risky and it will be for a couple quarters." (Source)
With the abandonment of the 'Volker Rule'. banks like JP Morgan are free to take as much risk with depositors money as they desire. Heck, they could invest in lottery tickets without so much as a nod from bank regulators. Derivatives are bets on the future value of an underlying asset. Heavy significance on the 'bet' side of things.
When consumers place their money in the bank, they assume that money will remain in a very conservative asset or lent out for a well-underwritten loan. They never thought JP Morgan and other banks were allowed to bet it all on the Las Vegas slots.
"JPMorgan had $2.32 trillion of assets supported by $190 billion of shareholder equity at the end of March — an equity ratio of almost 13 percent, four times the industry mean and ahead of 10-11 percent at Citigroup and Bank of America — and has been earning more than $4 billion each quarter, on average, for the past two years." (Ibid)
According to the Comptroller of Currency, in 2nd quarter 2011:
"The notional amount of derivatives held by insured U.S. commercial banks increased $5.3 trillion, or 2.2%, from the first quarter of 2011 to $249 trillion. Notional derivatives are 11.6% higher than a year ago. Derivative contracts remain concentrated in interest rate products, which comprise 82% of total derivative notional amounts. Credit derivatives, which represent 6.1% of total derivatives notionals, rose 2.2% to $15.2 trillion." (Source)
Why Congress hasn't taken any action on reformingh criminal enterprises like JP Morgan-Chase after the multi-trillion dollar giveaways, remains one of life's biggest mysteries. A simple law banning commercial banks from investing in derivatives would have gone a long way towards stabilizing the global economy.
Interestingly enough, Mitt Romney was the biggest beneficiary from JP Morgan's political donations, with $373,650. Obama received $76,675 and Ron Paul took in a paltry $9,103 for the 2012 election cycle. (Source)