Hedge funds count the cost of trading losses

Guardian.co.uk – Hedge funds and banks are expected to bear the brunt of derivative losses estimated at $15bn (£9.4bn) linked to the collapse of Iceland’s three major banks – Landsbanki, Glitnir and Kaupthing – which failed in rapid succession last month.

The complex unwinding of trades linked to debt issued by the banks began yesterday with a settlement auction to determine the payout price on credit default swap (CDS) contracts – insurance taken out against the risk of debts going bad – for Landsbanki.

Payouts on all three banks are expected to be some of the largest ever seen in the $54.6tn CDS market – greater than those relating to Lehman Brothers, whose collapse triggered the meltdown of the global financial system.

The high settlement prices for Icelandic bank CDSs will be a blow to hedge funds, banks and other derivative traders who insured the debt.

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