Foreign Central Banks
$35 Billion In 2 Year Treasurys Price As Primary Dealers Take Down Half, More Retirement Funds Squeezed To Make Room Under CeilingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/24/2011 12:15 -0500
The fact that the US is at the debt ceiling, and every incremental dollar of debt issued has to be met with a comparable underfunding in retirement funds is not bothering the SecTres (at least until August 2 at which point all mechanisms to delay the ceiling breach expire). Which is why today's auction of 2 Year paper passed with barely a glitch: $35 billion (CUSIP QZ6) priced at 0.56% (89.7% allotted at high), the lowest yield since December 2010. The Bid To Cover was a sizable jump to recent auctions, coming at 3.46, nearly half a turn higher than last auction's 3.06, and higher than the LTM average of 3.38. Not surprisingly, at 31.29% Indirect interest was the lowest since January, as foreign central banks and investors are dealing with tightening concerns of their own, meaning the bulk of the auction went to Primary Dealers (half) and the balance to Direct Dealers, who took down a 2011 high of 19.15%. The direct bidder hit rate was a surprisingly solid 32.22%. Nonetheless, with the WI trading almost on top of the auction High Yield, there were no surprise in the short-end of the bond market, where investors once again are forced to look ever further right for any yield, as short-term rates have plunged to lows last seen just when the equity market was about to flip over (not to mention the quirks currently in the money market funds which has snagged the shadow economy rather bad since the FDIC fee assessment was imposed).
"The market now sits right on a major trendline. If it is decisively broken, a bigger decline could lie ahead after the end of POMO."
And just as everyone was starting to bet on the great USD renaissance, here comes Thomas Stolper to spoil the party, by not only refusing to close out his EURUSD trade reco after losing 800 pips in two weeks (and still being profitable), but by actually doubling down: "We have changed our forecasts to project more Dollar weakness."The reason is that the US apparently has a thing called a massive trade deficit that has to be normalized: "Since the last revisions to our forecasts, the Dollar decline has roughly tracked the expected path. Large structural imbalances in the US are highlighted by weakness in the tradable goods sector.The outlook for monetary policy differentials and BBoP trends remains USD-negative. Dollar weakness is common during periods with slowing GLI momentum." The bottom line: "We now see EUR/$ at 1.45, 1.50 and 1.55 in 3, 6 and 12 months, and $/JPY at 82, 82 and 86". Oddly enough, there is no mention of the real reason to position for a USD plunge. (Hint: Hewlett Packard). On the other hand, this may be the time to go balls to the wall long the USD, as it appears that Goldman is doing another USD fundraising campaign courtesy of its clients. Oh, and speaking of Goldman's clients, it's best to baffle them with bullshit. Here is Goldman's Jim O'Neill with a blurb from his Sunday note on why China is going down (among other things): "it seems to me that a bigger risk premia is still necessary for the Euro. I can’t see how it can remain at about 1.40." Yes. From Sunday. If your head didn't go boom yet, that's ok. It will soon enough. And way to cover your bases there Goldman...
At 9 am, Treasury released its March TIC data. While the headline number of $116 billion in total net TIC flows was slightly higher than February at $116.0 billion compared to $97.7 previously, the net number (offset by US transactions in foreign securities) missed expectations of $33 billion, printing at $24 billion. Notably, of the $116 billion in foreign flows into US securities, foreign central banks were ($10) billion (and privates were $126 billion), indicating that the central banker cartel may be in need of some additional funding soon. Net foreign purchases of long-term U.S. securities were $54.7 billion. Of this, net purchases by private foreign investors were $44.9 billion, and net purchases by foreign official institutions were $9.9 billion. Foreign holdings of dollar-denominated short-term U.S. securities, including U.S. Treasury bills and other custody liabilities, decreased $18.3 billion. Foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury bills decreased $21.9 billion. And while we will provide a full breakdown later in the day, the key trend in US paper holdings continues to be China, whose total US debt holdings dropped for the 5th consecutive month in a row at $1144.9 billion, and the largest one month decline since November 2010.
The Real Inflationary Threat - Decreasing Foreign Reserves: Why the US Should Expect 8% Inflation For The Next Three YearsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/29/2011 14:04 -0500
There is some money which is printed, but does not make it into the money supply. Consider the scenario that the Fed prints a dollar that is then either lost or destroyed. It then cannot be used to buy goods, or be lent out and thus does not create inflation. There is something else which can happen to our money which has the same net effect. Foreign central banks can take cash printed from the Fed and place it on their balance sheet. US dollars on foreign banks balance sheets gives investors confidence that their own currency will not be debased. In other words, the real threat of inflation is not the current printing of money which Bernanke et al have been doing. It is the previous printing of money which has been taken out of circulation. The threat is as great as its ever been. The amount of money in foreign reserves is about one third or more of M2, or every dollar which is held by US bank account (business or retail), and all currency combined.
Over the past few years, mainstream analysts have shown a tenacious blind faith in the U.S. economy and the dollar that goes far beyond religion to the point of mindless cultism, so, when even they begin to question the future of American finance (as has been occurring more and more everyday), you know its time to worry. For those that have been following my work since 2007, the events of the past few months have not been a surprise at all, however, for those just waking up to the ongoing implosion of our fiscal infrastructure, the bubbling inflationary meltdown just over the horizon and the nightmare unfolding around our national debt is rather shocking. Living through a full spectrum catastrophe is, to say the least, confusing, especially when you have no idea where the whole thing began. Until now, the mainstream media has provided nothing but economic fantasy for the masses. They have satiated the public with what amounts to financial toddler talk for helpless preschool minds averse to any research beyond their daily 15 minute sippy cup of New York Times, CNN, MSNBC or FOX cable news sound bites. I mean, have you ever actually stopped and read a Paul Krugman article more than once? Or listened carefully to an MSNBC economic piece? It’s like being violently accosted by a band of slobbering mental deficients with securitized ARM mortgages stuffed in their pants. Of course, fewer and fewer people are now buying what these hucksters are selling. With gasoline nearing $5 a gallon, grain prices doubling, and shelf prices beginning to skyrocket, it’s hard for even the most ignorant suburban schlep to remain oblivious to the problem anymore. We are no longer on the edge of the abyss; we have fallen into it head first…
Live blogging the S&P conference call. The Q&A session will be critical. A rather interesting one: "Did the Federal Reserve Board's program of quantitative easing contribute to your decision to revise the outlook to negative? Answer - No. We find that risks of deflation in the U.S. have lessened and that there are few indications that inflation expectations have become untethered. Although it will be challenging to sequence the unwinding of these operations while raising policy interest rates once the recovery has become firmly rooted, we believe that the credibility of monetary policy will continue to be a credit strength for the U.S."
If the objectives of Quantitative Easing 2 (QE2) were to: a) raise interest rates; b) slow economic growth; c) encourage speculation, and d) eviscerate the standard of living of the average American family, then it has been enormously successful. Clearly, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight these results represent the Federal Reserve’s impact on the U.S. economy, regardless of their claims to the contrary...Why the Fed would believe the economy could benefit from the addition of $600 billion (the QE2 target) in reserves to a banking system that already had over $1.1 trillion in unused, idle, but potentially inflationary reserves on hand nearly defies understanding. The action, however, was not lost on holders of the $8 trillion Treasury securities outstanding. This increase in the level of interest rates occurred, not only during QE2, but in QE1 as well. Thus the Federal Reserve engineered a rate increase, and the injection of excess reserves had several other deleterious ramifications for the U.S. economy.
If the Fed desists or scales down its Treasury buying, the stark trillion dollar question becomes who will buy them?”
Intragovernmental debt holdings have been one of the more underreported topics during the last few economic cycles. This isn’t surprising. We’ve turned the federal debt argument into a legal, rather than financial or moral, debate where the fairness doctrine of universal applicability means any inconsistency of logic on the part renders the whole invalid. The result of this is the public grossly misunderstands the burden of proof to be the lack of controvertible evidence, and with it any hope of meaningful discourse is lost in the chicanes of grandiose political gestures. Arguments get boiled down into easy-to-swallow pills ready for mass consumption. We rally against illegal immigration without questioning who built our houses, and condemn illegal drug use while washing down an oxycodone with a highball of scotch. National debt is now far too high and government spending and waste far too pervasive. We must stop at nothing to rid ourselves of this indentured servitude... Oh, dear Faust, if it were only that easy.
Less than a month ago, Zero Hedge thoroughly debunked an article written by Bloomberg's Susanne Walker and Wes Goodman, titled "China Adding to $1 Trillion of U.S. Debt Caps Rise in Rates" which had one purpose only: to eliminate public panic arising from the imminent removal of the Fed as a buyer of first and last resort, and attempt to convince naive readers that China is in fact adding to its holdings. To wit: "China, the largest investor in U.S. government debt after the Fed,
increased longer-term notes and bonds by 39 percent to $1.145 trillion
in December from a year earlier." As we showed previously this statement was based on a completely unfactual apples to oranges comparison of pre and post-revision TIC data, further showing that if the authors had conducted their analysis properly it would have actually shown a decline in China's Treasury holdings in a 12 month period. Then in a development so ironic it would even make Alanis Morisette blush, we disclosed the very next day that Bill Gross dumped all of his Treasury holdings, pending an answer to the question of "who will buy US Treasurys once the Fed stops monetizing", immediately refuting Bloomberg's "all is rosy on the foreign front" argument, reinforcing our thesis that with the Fed gone, foreigners will promptly cease to co-bid alongside the bidder of biggest resort, and in essence ending any artificial attempts to make the US paper demand picture any better. Yet today, less than a month later, Bloomberg's Daniel Kruger, in an article titled "Fed Exit Means No Pain for Obama as Foreigners Buy 60% of Notes at Auction" repeats precisely the same mistakes as his colleagues which we have since corrected, cheery picks some other data, and goes on to present a goalseeked argument to a conclusion that once again appears to have come from "above." Frankly, we are stunned by this persistence to refute Bill Gross' (not to mention Zero Hedge's) factually based view that foreign demand is declining materially for US bonds, and without QE3, it is very possible that it may disappear entirely. So allow us to debunk Bloomberg's second attempt (which we again hope is merely a function of misunderstanding of the subject material) at outright factless spin.
No more copy paste from the world's biggest bond deflationist. A day after the NYT announced it will soon see its traffic plunge courtesy of a paywall, David Rosenberg says he is going the premium route as well. "Since first publishing Breakfast with Dave when I started with Gluskin Sheff + Associates back in May 2009, we had always notified our readership that the report was going to be made available on a free trial basis. For clients of our firm, the report is still going to be made available for free. But for non-clients, the free trial period will finish by the end of March. At that time, the Breakfast (and other meals) with Dave will become a paid subscription service with an annual fee of CAD $1,000." Sad - no more copy paste from one of the smarter macroeconomists out there.
European Sovereign Debt Crisis Deepening - Risk of Contagion And Bond Market Crash, And Why Rising Rates Mean Gold StrengthSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/16/2011 09:26 -0500
There is a real sense of the “calm before the storm” in markets globally. Complacency reigns, despite signs that the sovereign debt crisis in Europe is deepening and that Japanese and US bond markets also look very vulnerable due to rising inflation, very large deficits and massive public debt. US Treasuries have been sold by some of the largest investors (both private and sovereign) in the world recently (see news). These include large creditor nations Russia and China but also PIMCO, the largest bond fund in the world. A global sovereign debt crisis is now quite possible. At the very least, we are likely to have a long period of rising interest rates which will depress economic growth. Contrary to some misguided commentary, rising interest rates will benefit gold as was seen when interest rates rose sharply in the 1970s. It was only towards the end of the interest rate tightening cycle in 1980, when interest rates were higher than inflation, that gold prices began to fall.
Just like in yesterday's 3 Year bond auction, the surface results belie the fireworks within the internals in today's auction. First, the superficial data: the $24 billion in 10 Years came at a 3.67% high yield, the highest since April 2010 (around the time the market starting nosediving and had to be rescued from a double dip through QE2). The Bid To Cover was 3.23, compared to 3.3 previously and 3.17 LTM average, so nothing special, right? Wrong. The take down is where the true story is: after Indirect interest in yesterday's 3 Year bond plunged to a multi-year low, today nothing could be further from the truth as the Indirect Take down was an all time high 71.3%, with foreign central banks taking down $17 billion of the $24 billion total. And maybe even more curious was that for the first time in over 2 years, the Direct Bidders were virtually non-existent, taking down a tiny $118K of the $24 million or about 0.5%. Compare this to the 14.9% in the last auction, and the 12.21% in the last twelve auctions, and a big red alarm should be going off. Basically, someone said "No Directs" in today's auction: the hit rate was a ridiculous 2.2%! Something major has changed in the auction dynamics and it started with yesterday's 3 Year. We wish someone smarter than us could explain to us how there is such a huge aversion to the short end by Indirects, and such a sudden love affair to the 10 Year, coupled with the complete expiration of the Direct bid.
With the physical gold market remaining very small when compared to the futures and paper gold market (futures, CFDs etc) there are increasing concerns of illiquidity due to the scale of demand and lack of supply. Pertinently, the size of the physical gold and silver bullion markets is tiny compared to the size of international equity, bond and currency markets. Not to mention the hard to fathom humongous international derivatives market (see chart below). The gold market remains one of the most liquid markets in the world. The market is more liquid than many government bond markets in Europe, with daily trading volumes normally exceeding $100 billion. UBS wrote about “illiquid conditions” in the gold market this morning. They did not clarify but they may have meant illiquidity in the physical gold bullion market.