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Fed Securities Holdings Pass $2.5 Trillion As MBS Prepays Grind To Halt, "Other Assets" Hit Record

Tyler Durden's picture


For the first time (and when it comes to the Fed's balance sheet that phrase will be heard many times) the total notional value of Treasurys, MBS and agencies held by the Fed surpasses $2.5 trillion. $2.518 trillion as of May 11 to be precise, of which Treasurys amounted to $1.466 trillion (excluding today's POMO), $927 billion in MBS (unchanged for the third week in a row), and $125 billion in Agency paper. The total is an increase of $24.4 billion from a week prior. Following the last schedule and a half of POMO, it appears the Fed will hold approximately $1.6 trillion in total debt. On the liabilities side, to go with all this debt, the Fed also had a total of $1.544 trillion in total bank reserves (including excess and required), also a record. As the chart below shows, reserve growth has slowed down substantially after it overshot materially following the unwind of the SFP program designed to provide the Treasury with debt space. As noted above, and as we discussed previously, the level of prepayment of the Fed's agency portfolio has slowed substantially (as confirmed by this month's forecast of only $13 billion in monetizations via QE Lite), which means the natural roll off of and remonetization of the Balance sheet will be far slower than some expected. Total Fed paper maturing in under a year continues to be just under $150 billion: a number we don't expect will change substantially. Elsewhere, total other assets continue to climb, and have now hit another record of $130 billion. Lastly, the Fed's lead on the second largest holder of US debt, China, continues to increase.

Total assets:

Maturity distribution of Fed assets:

Slowing MBS prepayment:

Other Fed assets:

And top debt holders of US debt:


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Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:09 | 1270146 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

...MethMan will now explain how perpetual deficits are possible, and why the Fed as the main buyer of treasuries in fact is bearish for gold.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:19 | 1270175 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Well, he can try anyway.

But, he may trade paper.

Not me!  I'll take the physical gold.  And give it away...

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:39 | 1270240 wirtschaftswunder
wirtschaftswunder's picture

Your physical is book entry.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 21:27 | 1270379 tmosley
tmosley's picture

He's hitting the pipe hard, ladies and gents.

What a retard.  

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 21:42 | 1270448 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

wirtschaftswunder, that is not correct.  I own my physical gold.  I have been buying since the 1980s..

And you?

Fri, 05/13/2011 - 01:53 | 1270905 Michael
Michael's picture

Could someone list who the owners of record are of the worlds  central banks for me please?

I need to have the names of those people.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:19 | 1270176 AUD
AUD's picture

But look at foreign holdings of US debt, at another record high. In face of a Federal Reserve with a significant amount of MBS of 10+ year duration on its books! That's a risky book if I ever saw it.

The entire world has gone mad.


Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:21 | 1270191 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

Yeah I see how it's increased by $400bn, while the FRB holdings have accumulated at - at least - twice the speed.

BEARISH FOR GOLD!!!eleventyone11

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:44 | 1270250 AUD
AUD's picture

It's not all about the US. As long as foreigners are willing to hold US debt the current paradigm will continue, albeit in increasingly volatile fashion.

Only yesterday the Central Bank of India said it was a willing buyer of US debt. Spare a thought for the Indians, most are dirt poor as it is.

Fri, 05/13/2011 - 02:48 | 1270952 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

It's not all about the US. As long as foreigners are willing to hold US debt the current paradigm will continue, albeit in increasingly volatile fashion.

This ignores the reality that the largest holder of US debt is the US Government (not the FED). As the trust and pension funds that hold the debt turn from cash flow positive to negative the burden on external buyers increases even with a balanced budget, zero new debt issuance, and a 0% short term borrowing cost.  What are the chances of even a balanced budget in the US? 500-to-1 is probably being to to generous to the elected ass clowns in Washington. 

Fri, 05/13/2011 - 10:46 | 1271692 JeffB
JeffB's picture

Truly a scary thought, UR.


I think we'll be slamming into that wall of reality in short order.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 22:52 | 1270607 cognus
cognus's picture

that's Deflation.... right?

or backwardation?

if gold a month out is worth less than gold today.... well, that would be bearish, eh? ... 

or - it just might mean that sellers are becoming holders

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 21:06 | 1270322 expectplannedevents
expectplannedevents's picture

It makes sense..You delay your "debt obligation" payments till the end.



Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:34 | 1270222 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

I hear that it only costs $5 to dig a coupon yielding Treasury note out of the ground...

But you can't EAT it...


Thu, 05/12/2011 - 23:45 | 1270729 bigelkhorn
bigelkhorn's picture

That guy from FFT is very good and called the market crash back in 2008.


He reckons there is a good chance the market might bounce here. I just

watched his live video today, He is very good and I love his membership site. 


its over at

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:12 | 1270147 NOTW777
NOTW777's picture

sure - its a natural recovery


look at that slowing MBS prepayment

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:14 | 1270158 NOTW777
NOTW777's picture

fitting that the huge Fed bar is in red

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:25 | 1270198 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Good observation. What, it was only a couple of months ago that China had the tallest bar...

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:12 | 1270148 jomama
jomama's picture

QE to infinity, bitchez

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:14 | 1270169 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

+ $1500

But, this of course is good for stocks.  Friday the 13th tomorrow, POMO on!

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:14 | 1270154 tickhound
tickhound's picture

"Lastly, the Fed's lead on the second largest holder of US debt, China, continues to increase"

Hell ya, still in 1st!!  Cuz that's how we roll

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:12 | 1270162 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

It's like the dot com crash only you don't even have to play the game. Just pay taxes.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:10 | 1270155 FunkyMonkeyBoy
FunkyMonkeyBoy's picture

Boy oh boy, that FED must be seriously rich to buy all that debt. You know, i bet, if the FED was audited, you'd find almost everything made from platinum, gold and silver. I bet the Bernanke is tucking in to a couple of foot long sausages right now holding a knife and folk made from pure platinum, sitting on a pure silver chair, at a table made of pure gold. Boy, that FED must be wealthy.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:14 | 1270160 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

Don't you know - gold, platinum and other physical assets are WORTHLESS, only paper dollars are worth anything.

Ask MethMan, he's an expert.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:23 | 1270189 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Oh Shi'ite!  Worthless!  And all that money I spent on gold and platinum.  Oh, but, it's all OK.  I briefly forgot I just joined the Tinfoil Hat Brigade now last week.  I feel better.  Silly me!

Gold and platinum, I guess that will work for me after all.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:22 | 1270197 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

You fool! THERE'S STILL TIME before Bernanke FLOODS the market with WORTHLESS printed gold and silver!!! SELL NOW!

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:26 | 1270204 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Your evil CIA mind-control rays cannot penetrate my tinfoil hat!

But, as someone pointed out earlier today on another thread, I may have to wear tinfoil underwear too.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:31 | 1270211 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Yes! Along with a printing press he has a minting press

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:36 | 1270229 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

... or be "priced in" forever!

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:44 | 1270255 Bay of Pigs
Bay of Pigs's picture

In view of this type of information, which is very USD negative, it is truly amazing and astounding that we see so many gold and silver trolls on this site. I have never seen anything like it. Even former bulls like Mogul Rider have now turned totally bearish and insulting to any PM holders.

This cannot be a coincidence. ZH is being targeted by gov't creeps, financial numbskulls and other assorted assclowns. 

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 21:49 | 1270472 Arrowflinger
Arrowflinger's picture

They aren't all over there with Mish?

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:17 | 1270171 rocker
rocker's picture

Remember these words, "I will not monetize".

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:18 | 1270181 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

I also remember the Dallas Fed (I believe) stating "for the next 8 months, the FRB will monetize the deficits".

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:46 | 1270264 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Also remember, those four words each have infinite meanings. So, four times infinity = plenty of wiggle room.

The ability to speak semi-intelligently while saying nothing is a valued commodity in DC.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:13 | 1270157 ursus.peracto
ursus.peracto's picture

Paper promises never to be honored.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:14 | 1270167 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

They should be happy prepayments are down, prepayment is a risk. Of course non-payment is a bigger risk but what do they care, they have eliminated all risk everywhere.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:21 | 1270177 LudwigVon
LudwigVon's picture

as we discussed previously, the level of prepayment of the Fed's agency portfolio has slowed substantially (as confirmed by this month's forecast of only $13 billion in monetizations via QE Lite), which means the natural roll off of and remonetization of the Balance sheet will be far slower than some expected.

Myself for one, Rickards and perhaps BSack, all must consider the extent to which this # is wholely inadequate. The stock is not the flow. This might have worked if we had a real recovery, like in BSacks Keynesian dream.

Why a high average from here on out of 15B/mo. would mean 90B over a 6 mo. period, or 1/10th of the stimulus we have expected over the QE2 period. This is hardly comforting knowing that a ponzi must grow to be sustained. We do need both QE3 and another war. TD you think we get QE3 official hint Aug jus like 2010?

Also, I would like to see U.S. GDP -government spending. Seriously. Any links on this?


Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:29 | 1270214 IdioTsincracY
IdioTsincracY's picture

I hate decimals ... let's just make it $3 trillion!

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:33 | 1270216 Misean
Misean's picture

Fantasy accounting, really. I mean, if I could print money, then I have no liabilities to account for. And I certainly don't need to balance that with cash flowing assets. The only books I would need to keep would be maintanence records for the equipment and a salary ledger...

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 21:27 | 1270377 km4
km4's picture

Dear Mr. Fantasy

wonder if Ben lit up back in college days ;)

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:35 | 1270224 DeadFred
DeadFred's picture

If the other assets are interest rate puts as expected they should take a dip next time as the regular quarterly expiration dip hits. After todays 30yr auction though the demand may be high enough to disguise the dip.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:35 | 1270226 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

There's so much paper stuffed in the basement at the Fed it's becoming a fire hazard! It's how one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World went down in flames (the library at Alexandria). Maybe this is how the current era comes to a close...

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:36 | 1270239 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

PAPER is a barbaric relic!

It's time to re-enter the STONE age...

Paper covers rock?... Not this time around...


Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:41 | 1270243 zippy_uk
zippy_uk's picture

Absolutely right... in the middle of the night, after buying the insurance cover some bloke called Ben with the petrol can and the lighter...

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:39 | 1270245 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

NO, it's different this time because the Fed IS NOT printing dollars! They are adding it to the reserves of the big banks with reserve accounts with the Federal Reserve! It's is TOTALLY DIFFERENT to printing money.

Fuck me, even printed dollars have some sort of implicit value - electrons notifying $128bn or $256bn have none!

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:56 | 1270281 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Ahh but even if they're not printing dollars...the bulging balance sheet is creating Anti-matter at the center of the financial universe. This creates a fundamental disturbance in the calculus they use for the economy: laws and relations that worked before no longer apply!

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 21:22 | 1270373 davepowers
davepowers's picture

they are using a variant of printing called 'typing.'

they 'type' the reserves.

But typed reserves have a 'value' when used via the Fed Funds market to support stock and commodity speculation. Perhaps 'value' is not the right word, but 'impact' certainly is.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:37 | 1270231 I am Jobe
I am Jobe's picture


Over folks. Stick a fork in the pig.


Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:47 | 1270257 jaffi
jaffi's picture

And, M is having a field day.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 21:06 | 1270318 WmMcK
WmMcK's picture

Steep slope, meet bad intercept.

This will not end well.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:38 | 1270242 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Seems to me that "QE Vapor" just became "QE Vapor-ino"...

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:42 | 1270252 Smartie37
Smartie37's picture

First item to go in asset fire sale?

I vote for Guam.

Fri, 05/13/2011 - 06:42 | 1271071 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

How much Au/Ag for St. Thomas, Virgin Islands?

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:52 | 1270262 expectplannedevents
expectplannedevents's picture

The US is the largest exporter of Dollars.

1)national reserve/exchange currency 2)other nations still paying debt off to the IMF.

The only way to cripple the "Too Big to Fail" Treasury

Is buy gold and silver. You may lose money but you break

the bank though.It would take a lot of nations and people to break the bank.

Your vote does count..the power could be handed back.

The fed has been getting lots of gold in Ally reperation payments since WW2..

Mission Impossible Bernie.. but it can be done. Not as long as we are all divided

or unitedly scammed for our own capitalistic survival!

A True Empire=Imperialistic Sovereignty Domination

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:53 | 1270265 km4
km4's picture

And it going to get fuglier

China should cap forex reserves at 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars

China's foreign exchange reserves increased by 197.4 billion U.S. dollars in the first three months of this year to 3.04 trillion U.S. dollars by the end of March. 

If the Fed is stuck as being the only buyer of US debt than the US ponzi economy blows up



Fri, 05/13/2011 - 05:38 | 1271026 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

'If'? The question is 'when'.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:49 | 1270271 FIAT_FixItAgainTony
FIAT_FixItAgainTony's picture

since the fed has unlimited "currency" and bought the toxic MBS of fannie and freddie, could the other assets be the freshly foreclosed upon American homes?

jus sayin'.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 21:05 | 1270316 expectplannedevents
expectplannedevents's picture

I think they are used for collateral. Homes constantly depreciate in value..

The fed probably mortgaged most of them..

They are selling 14,000 federal buildings for the federal deficit supposedly.

More like Fed T-Bill Assistance..



Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:53 | 1270272 jdrose1985
jdrose1985's picture
THE following link is to a video that will provide the viewer with an overview of how TITLE 12 USC Section 411 can have a positive impact one one's life.  Using "private credit" or the un-restricted use of FRNs is what enslaves us.  Anything we aquire via FRNs does not belong to us because we never bought or purchased anything.  There is an automatic lien on everything we aquire via the use of this "private credit.   Enjoy...
Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:51 | 1270278 DonutBoy
DonutBoy's picture

Only Zero Hedge - nowhere else.  Why is that?

I remember seeing Jim Grant on Bloomberg, years ago, talking to the host about what a faith-based currency is, and the host getting that glazed-over look (You're not seriously talking about this, OMG we will never bring you back...)

At the time I owned no gold.  Flash forward 3 years.  Short dollars, short yen, waiting for the collapse of the faith-based bubble.  This is the final fiat debt bubble because they won't get IMF SDR's stood up in time.  I don't know what will trigger the rest of the world to go to a hard currency, but I'm on one now.

Thank you ZH.  You kept my eyes open.


Fri, 05/13/2011 - 06:41 | 1271073 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Say hello to Dolly Dagger for me...

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 20:56 | 1270290 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

There's very little sneezing room now with all the imbalances that exist in global economics. If someone gets a cold, the whole world may come down with pneumonia and meningitis. 

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 21:04 | 1270310 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

For international settlements there's gold.

For slaves there's paper.

For everything else there's Other Assets Card.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 21:38 | 1270389 expectplannedevents
expectplannedevents's picture

*Card tied to other market values*..housing, other commodities,stocks, bonds,

vehicles..Reselling can be a challange itself on top of market depreciation..

cars are always a great investment like art..

If you bought a Mclaren F1 say a decade ago.. 1994-1998 for $970,000 instead of a big house..most carry a resale value of 3,280,000 dollars.

Hum.. maybe a 2011 McLaren MP4-12C ($268,000)

something to think about.. :-)



Thu, 05/12/2011 - 21:13 | 1270336 Ned Zeppelin
Ned Zeppelin's picture

My first Exhibit when I try to explain to the uninitiated, mass media fed person who is not a ZH reader and who has no idea what is going, is to show them the Fed balance sheet, in color, over the last 3-4 years. The eyes widen, the jaw drops, and the questions begin. 

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 21:17 | 1270357 davepowers
davepowers's picture

The reason growth in bank reserves slowed is that a few weeks back a cool $80 bn of reserves were retyped into the Treasury's checking acct at the Fed. But fear not, for this last week the Treasury wrote $37 bn in checks against the account, which were paid for (viola) by punching up bank reserves by a net $66 bn, said retyping also allowing the QE 2 purchases of approx. $24 bn.

Surely a coincidence, but the two week swoon in bank reserves was followed promptly by a swoon in oil, PMs and commodities in general. There were even a few days where the stock market generally went down.

When Bernanke warns that failure to lift the Fed debt limits threatens chaos perhaps he means that the need to accomodate Fed spending absent a debt increase requires more monkeying with bank reserves in order to top of the Treasury checking account.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 21:23 | 1270367 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

where tf is meth man?

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 21:25 | 1270387 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Give him a break.  He can only post as one sock puppet at a time.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 21:51 | 1270468 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Was that him as wirtschaftswunder trickling in a few minutes ago?

Or is that trickling something else?  I better go check, brb!

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 22:01 | 1270496 earnyermoney
earnyermoney's picture

I think wirtschaftswunder is Billy Bastard.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 22:53 | 1270609 tmosley
tmosley's picture

And long juan silver, and metarzanujane, and many, many others.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 22:50 | 1270600 premier33
premier33's picture

It's hard to say.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 21:24 | 1270372 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

Between the phony rhetoric castigating the banks and the bullshit cries of AUSTERITY for people who actually WORK for a living it's hard to see anything besides godawful, revolting hypocrisy coupled with an extraordinary ability to avoid going to the root of problems.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 21:30 | 1270396 DavidC
DavidC's picture

" debt holders of US debt"

Living in the UK, that chart never fails to amuse me. The UK, 4th largest holder of US debt, ahead of the oil exporters and with its own problems!


Thu, 05/12/2011 - 22:06 | 1270505 RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

- Deficits

- Debt Ceilings Ignored

- Exploding Fed Balance Sheets

It's all good as long as commodity speculators can be point blank executed,

And frequent, brief, sharp stock market corrections keep a perpetual bid in bonds

And inflation can be "whipped" in less than 2 weeks as orchestrated just recently by TPTB.

And future POMO and liqudity operations can be force fed and stuffed into the likes of:



TJ Maxx

Ross Stores




Whole Foods

All of which are pinned at highs.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 22:42 | 1270587 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

walgreens'  econometric modeling for the cadbury eggs was so accurate this year that they turned a profit for the 2nd time in 9 years.../s/

cocoa has been brutal!

Fri, 05/13/2011 - 05:40 | 1271028 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

Fund managers do not like sharp corrections, and insane volatility such as what we just witnesses. The Fed's start-stop-start policy will work - until it doesn't. Then it's game over.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 22:17 | 1270531 Libertarian777
Libertarian777's picture

not to be a stickler, but since ZH often talks in bps (basis), the 'Other Federal Reserve Assets' has ($BN) in its title.

If I am to assume '$BN' means 'BILLIONS', then the Fed's Other assets are $120,000 BILLION or $120 TRILLION.

I haven't been keeping up with POMO lately but not sure if they managed to monetise $106 trillion in the last week or so and I just somehow missed the news?

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 22:46 | 1270597 premier33
premier33's picture

I hear that it only costs $5 to dig a coupon yielding Treasury note out of the ground...

But you can't EAT it...

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 22:51 | 1270602 cognus
cognus's picture

the nearing-impotency Rooster is guarding the nearing-sterile henhouse.

The Golden Goose was unceremoniously dumped some decades ago

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 23:07 | 1270633 Korrath
Korrath's picture

On a somewhat unrelated side note; one day, long after the shit has hit the fan, when they finally have a public audit of Fort Knox and find it filled with empty vaults and candy wrapers from the 1980s, I will be very depressed to have my worst suspicions proved correct. 

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 23:59 | 1270760 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

No gold at Fort Knox probably means anyone with physical will do very well...

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 23:28 | 1270690 glenlloyd
glenlloyd's picture

it looks like it's getting close to reaching escape velocity!


Fri, 05/13/2011 - 03:40 | 1270984 ivana
ivana's picture

Bet that "other assets" are fresh printed bucks "borrowed" to foreign CBs to buy Tbonds

Fri, 05/13/2011 - 03:58 | 1270996 XPolemic
XPolemic's picture


At what interest rate/mortgage default rate does the value all that MBS paper go to zero?


Fri, 05/13/2011 - 08:17 | 1271164 Sandy15
Sandy15's picture

If the Fed can print/digitize money to buy MBS, why can't we print some to pay off our mortgage, car, etc, etc.?   I have a nice copier that can copy double sided......... same value right?

Fri, 05/13/2011 - 08:48 | 1271231 TaxSlave
TaxSlave's picture

It's not my debt.  And I'm not paying it.


The FED creates nothing, LOANS some nothing to government, government spends it to rule over us, and the air-money steals the value from our labor.  That's bad enough.  And now they expect to hold us in bondage to create real value to pay those bonds back with?  Ha!  Ain't happenin'.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!