Foreign Central Banks
The IMF’s Executive Board decision today means that the yuan will be included in the SDR basket from Oct. 1, 2016, effectively anointing the yuan as a major reserve currency and represents recognition that the yuan’s status is rising along with China’s place in global finance. The weight in the basket will be 10.92%, larger than JPY and GBP. However, as politically-motivated as this decision may have been, now comes the hard part for China.
The world of Bubble Finance economies created by the Fed and other central banks is fundamentally different than that prevailing under the “Lite Touch” monetary policies which preceded the Greenspan era. The problem today is that the PhDs running the Fed have an economic model which is a relic of the Lite Touch era. It is not only utterly irrelevant in today’s casino driven system, but is actually tantamount to a blindfold. It causes them to look at a dashboard full of lagging indicators like jobs and GDP components, while ignoring the explosive leading indicators starring them in the face on CNBC. The clueless inhabitants of the Eccles Building do not recognize that they have created a world in which Wall Street supersedes main street.
The internals were mixed with the Bid to Cover sliding from 2.460 to 2.409, which however was above the 12 TTM average of 2.356. Offsetting the slightly weaker BtC print was the jump in Indirects, which rose from 56.4% to 60.3% the second highest on record, as foreign central bankers have again decided that the safety of US paper offsets the duration risk of holding it in a rate hike environment.
Following yesterday's abysmal 3 Year auction, many rates investors were on edge ahead of today's 10 Year auction in the aftermath of the weakness across the curve seen since the "stellar" jobs report which had dragged yields higher across the curve. It turned out fears were premature, and moments ago the $24 billion reopening of 10 Years priced at a yield of 2.304%, which while highest since June, priced 0.8bps through the When Issued showing surprising demand for paper.
In short: end demand far weaker, saved by Primary Dealers, as suddenly foreign central banks are far less interested in US paper just at a time when yields are rising and purchases of said paper that much more attractive.
In the latest example of Washington playing catch up in the global "war" on terror PR battle, “officials familiar with the matter” have told WSJ about a concerted effort to cut off the flow of dollars to ISIS. Allegedly, the US became concerned about the amount of hard currency being shipped to Iraq over the summer. The problem: the requested amounts didn’t seem to be consistent with the country’s economic fundamentals and so, the US cut off Iraq’s access to dollar funding, nearly plunging the country into crisis.
In September, the total physical gold held in custody at the NY Fed dropped another 19.9 tons in September, down to 5,919.5 tons. This was a doubling in gold withdrawals from 10 tons in August, and is the highest withdrawal since January. At just under 5,920 total tons in NY Fed inventory, this is the lowest amount of gold held in NY Fed custody in decades.
No, Ben S. Bernanke will be someday remembered as the world’s most destructive battleship admiral. Not only was he fighting the last war, but his whole multi-trillion money printing campaign after September 15, 2008 was aimed at avoiding an historical Fed mistake that had never even happened!
Central banks are fearful and unwilling to normalize but artificially high valuations across asset classes cannot be sustained indefinitely absent fundamental global growth. Central banks are in a prison of their own design and we are trapped with them. The next great crash will occur when we collectively realize that the institutions that we trusted to remove risk are actually the source of it. The truth is that global central banks cannot remove extraordinary monetary accommodation without risking a complete collapse of the system, but the longer they wait the more they risk their own credibility, and the worse that inevitable collapse will be. In the Prisoner’s Dilemma, global central banks have set up the greatest volatility trade in history.
If yesterday's 3Year auction was solid across the board, then today's sale of $21 billion in 10Y was an all around show-stopper,
The recent scare that investors may be slowly (or not so slowly) waning in the primary market for US Treasurys is rapidly becoming a distant memory, and after yesterday's 3 Month bills pricing at 0.000% for the first time ever, today's strong 3 Year auction should end any debate, if only for the time being, about interest in US paper.
"The dollar fx basis declined further over the past two months. The 5-year dollar fx basis weighted across six DM currencies declined to a new low for the year and the lowest level since the summer of 2012 during the euro debt crisis. In all, continued monetary policy divergence between the US and the rest of the world as well as retrenchment of EM corporates from dollar funding markets are sustaining an imbalance in funding markets making it likely that the current episode of dollar funding shortage will persist."
The One Phrase That Actually Matters In Yellen's Speech: "Nominal Interest Rates Cannot Go Much Below Zero"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/24/2015 16:59 -0500
"...the federal funds rate and other nominal interest rates cannot go much below zero, since holding cash is always an alternative to investing in securities. ... the lowest the FOMC can feasibly push the real federal funds rate is essentially the negative value of the inflation rate. As a result, the Federal Reserve has less room to ease monetary policy when inflation is very low. This limitation is a potentially serious problem because severe downturns such as the Great Recession may require pushing real interest rates far below zero for an extended period to restore full employment at a satisfactory pace."
When we summarized yesterday's very strong 5 Year auction, we previewed today's 7 year issuance as follows: "assuming no material changes in the demeanor of the market over the next 24 hours, expect tomorrow's 7Y auction to also proceed without a hitch. In fact, the more the general sense of risk-off, the stronger tomorrow's auction will likely be." That's precisely what happened.
On Thursday, the Fed made it clear that its reaction function has changed. "Data dependency" is gone (or at least relegated to the backburner in times of global turmoil), and international and financial market developments are now officially guiding the FOMC's (tentative) hand. This epochal shift has left market participants asking one very simple question: "Ok, now what?"