Agency MBS

FOMC Minutes: Balance Sheet To Shrink This Year; Some Saw Stock Prices As "Quite High"

Two key messages in today's Fed minutes: i) the Fed hopes to begin reducing its balance sheet this year and  ii) some Fed members are worried that stocks are in a bubble. And then the following surprising admission: the Fed explicitly warns of "downside risks" to its forecasts if "financial markets were to experience a significant correction."

Will The Fed Start Reducing Its Balance Sheet? Here Is Goldman's Answer

"We would be very surprised to see a discussion of asset sales under Chair Yellen’s leadership, but a shift to more active management of the maturity of new Treasury purchases could be an option; shortening the duration of new purchases would quicken portfolio runoff once it begins." - Goldman Sachs

"Home Prices Are Out Of Hand Again"

"Since 1999 year-end through 2015 home prices have risen 76% while household mean real income has grown less than 2%; the millennium-to-date gap between the two growth rates peaked at 84% during 2005-2006 and has risen back to 74% as of 2015 year-end. Gap at year-end 2007 was 75%."

First POMO, Now This: 7-Year Treasury Auction Rescheduled Due To A "Technical Issue"

"The close of the auction has been rescheduled due to a technical issue. The settlement date and all other aspects of the auction remain unchanged from the original announcement. Competitive and noncompetitive  bids that have been submitted will still stand, but bidders may review and update bids until the auction closes."

The Sweet, Sickly Stench Of QE 'Success'

Six years ago, hardly anybody outside financial circles had any idea what Quantitative Easing was – hell, many within financial circles had no idea what QE entailed. The success of the narrative created around QE; that it is the mythical ‘free lunch’ that we all intuitively know can’t exist but secretly hope does, has played perfectly to the public and now, having endured for two electoral cycles, the next wave of politicians also believe it will have no consequences and are actually using it when planning the message they feel will endear them to the electorate. What plays better than free money?

Futures Flat After News Greek Deal Distant As Ever, Dollar Surge Continues

It had been a painfully quiet session in Asia (where Chinese levitation continues with the Shanghai Composite up another 0.6% oblivious of yesterday's rout in the US, because as we explained for China it is now critical to blow the world's biggest stock bubble) and Europe, where the only notable news as that for the first time in months the ECB had not increase the Greek ELA, keeping it at €80.2 billion on conflicting reports that Greek deposit withdrawals had halted even as Kathimerini said another €300MM had been pulled just yesterday, suggesting the ECB has reached the end of its road when it comes to funding nearly two-thirds of what Greek deposits are left in local banks. But the punchline came moments ago when Bloomberg reported that "Greece will likely miss a deadline for a deal with creditors by the end of the week as the two sides have made little progress during talks in recent days."

This Is What Happens When The US Treasury Market Is Taken Hostage By "Malfunctioning Algos"

"In some instances, malfunctioning algorithms have interfered with market functioning, inundating trading venues with message traffic or creating sharp, short-lived spikes in prices as a result of other algorithms responding to the initial erroneous order flow."... "If liquidity is as bad as it is now, what’s going to happen when things really get adverse?” said Richard Schlanger, who co-manages about $30 billion in bonds as vice president at Pioneer Investments in Boston.

"Gold Is A 6,000 Year Old Bubble" - Citi's Dutch Strategist Throws Up All Over Gold, Days After Dutch Gold Repatriation

"Gold is the world’s most persistent bubble: 6,000 years old and going strong" - Citigroup's Willem Buiter.

Dear Willem, thank you for that valiant effort. After reading a few thousands words of shallow propaganda we understand your "confusion": our advice, if you want to understand what gold really is, read the following from Kyle Bass: "Buying gold is just buying a put against the idiocy of the political cycle. It's That Simple." Because if there is a bubble that is even bigger and longer than the "6000-year-old gold bubble" it is that of human corruption, greed, and idiocy. And that doesn't even include the stupidity of those who don't grasp this simple truth.

FOMC Preview: "Steady As She Goes" Or "Quasi Carney"

Goldman Sachs, like most of the mainstream economists believes today's FOMC statement will likely be "broadly neutral" with no indication of sooner rate rises than expected (despite what we have noted as the timing not being better), some modest upgrades to the economic outlook (to keep the "everything's good and you don't need us anymore" meme alive), and continued taper at the same pace (with maybe some acknowledgemnet of the transitory pop in inflation). UBS, on the other side, suggests there is a chance of some FOMC surprises with Janet Yellen pulling a semi-Carney as Citi's Steven Englander has previously noted "the Fed needs more volatility in order to maintain its illusion of omnipotence."

Freddie And Fannie Reform – The Monster Has Arrived

As promised, the Johnson/Crapo bill has finally arrived. There are 442 pages of legal mumbo jumbo, guaranteed to cure all forms of insomnia and those suffering from low blood pressure. The agencies have been providing cheap financing to borrowers, courtesy of the Fed. The agencies have been providing cheap and bullet proof insurance for bond investors, courtesy of the Treasury. The Bill somehow expects some mysterious private capital will come in to insure the first loss position and the Government (including the FOMC) can gracefully exit its role in the mortgage monopoly. That is more than overly optimistic. Can anyone quantify that in dollars as well as mortgage rates? In summary, the Bill is going to increase mortgage compliance costs. It will confuse, rather than clarify, the mortgage application and approval process. It is a disaster. Fortunately, we suspect the Bill has no chance of passing in its present form.