Discount Window Borrowings Spike To Highest In 2011
There was a time when depositor institutions (which nowadays paradoxically includes such entities as Goldman Sachs and its millions of ATMs crisscrossing the land), not flush with unprecedented amounts of bank reserves (which just hit an all time record high of $1.59 trillion), would go to the Fed's discount window for short-term funding needs: a stigmatized act which telegraphed to the street that the borrowing bank was undergoing some form of liquidity crunch. Not surprisingly, the Fed fought tooth and nail to prevent discount window disclosure from becoming public, especially since it was later discovered that the biggest recipients of Fed Discount Window generosity were foreign banks, and especially Dexia. We bring this up because going through the Fed's weekly balance sheet update (yes, it just hit a new all time record, and yes, we will provide a full breakdown soon) we find that weekly borrowings across the Fed's three discount window facilities, Primary, Secondary and Seasonal Credit, surged to a 2011 high of just over $100 million, and also saw the very first usage of the "reserved for really ugly bank" Secondary Credit Facility in the current year to the tune of $9 million. Yes, in the grand scheme of things this is a modest number, but when one considers that with all the liquidity sloshing around there should be no discount window borrowings at all, the fact that we have had such a dramatic spike is troubling to say the least. As for the culprit, we have one guess. If proven correct, this would mean that the emergency liquidity provisioning system of the ECB is starting to get a little "problematic" to put it mildly.
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