Remember, every single Treasury and T-bill out there is utilized as collateral for millions of Dollars worth of trades. So if the big financial institutions begin to refuse to accept some US debt as collateral based on the perceived risk of a deb ceiling debacle there could quickly be capital call in the market similar to what happened when Lehman failed.
"... the announcement of a reduction in asset purchases at this meeting might trigger an additional, unwarranted tightening of financial conditions, perhaps because markets would read such an announcement as signaling the Committee’s willingness, notwithstanding mixed recent data, to take an initial step toward exit from its highly accommodative policy...the tightening of financial conditions observed in recent months, if sustained, could slow the pace of improvement in the economy and labor market... it was noted that if the Committee did not pare back its purchases in these circumstances, it might be difficult to explain a cut in coming months, absent clearly stronger data on the economy and a swift resolution of federal fiscal uncertainties.... postponing the reduction in the pace of asset purchases would also allow time for the Committee to further discuss and to implement a clarification or strengthening of its forward guidance for the federal funds rate, which could temper the risk that a future downward adjustment in asset purchases would cause an undesirable tightening of financial conditions."
As we have discussed previously, the "partial government shutdown" that we are experiencing right now is pretty much a non-event - especially with the un-furloughing of The Pentagon. Yeah, some national parks are shut down and some federal workers will have their checks delayed, but it is not the end of the world. In fact, only about 17% of the federal government is actually shut down at the moment. This "shutdown" could continue for many more weeks and it would not affect the global economy too much. On the other hand, if the debt ceiling deadline (approximately October 17th) passes without an agreement that would be extremely dangerous. A U.S. debt default that lasts for more than a couple of days could potentially cause a financial crash that would make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic. If a debt default were to happen before the end of this year, that would bring a tremendous amount of future economic pain into the here and now, and the consequences would likely be far greater than any of us could possibly imagine.
The cost of protecting against a default on US Treasuries for one-year has surged to 60bps this morning. This is the highest since the Debt-ceiling debacle in 2011 and worse than Lehman. The 1Y cost is the highest relative to the 5Y cost ever. However, many people look at the 60bps and shrug it off as de minimus, after-all, JCPenney trades at 1200bps and is still alive. This is a mistake. The price of protection for US sovereign debt depends on recovery expectations and the EURUSD exchange rate expectations. Based on current levels, USA CDS imply a 5.9% probability of default - the same as JCPenney in July.
Last week we showed the cognitive dissonance, nurtured by a liquidity-providing Fed, that has growth this year between stocks and economic confidence. In the last week, fed by a diet of DC headlines, Gallup's economic confidence index has collapsed. In fact, this is the worst 3-week plunge since Lehman - worse than during the 2011 Debt Ceiling debacle.
Five years later, while some are congratulating themselves on avoiding another depression, no one in Europe or the United States can claim that prosperity has returned. The financial system may be more stable than it was five years ago, but that is a low bar – back then, it was teetering on the edge of a precipice. Those in government and the financial sector who congratulate themselves on banks’ return to profitability and mild – though hard-won – regulatory improvements should focus on what still needs to be done. Some are pleased that the economy may have bottomed out. But, in any meaningful sense, an economy in which most people’s incomes are below their pre-2008 levels is still in recession. An The glass is, at most, only one-quarter full; for most people, it is three-quarters empty.
Moments ago, the just concluded 4 week Bill, with a Cusip which appropriately enough was BK, priced at a stunning 0.35%, blowing through the 0.295% When Issued, the highest yield since October 2009, the lowest Bid to Cover since March 2009, and the largest tail since March 25, 2008. The bond market panic is palpable, and just as we predicted would happen in a market gripped by sheer "Bernanke will kiss and make it all better" complacency.
The appalling fiscal and monetary situation in the U.S. will lead to further dollar weakness in the coming months. This weakness will be most manifest versus gold as other fiat currencies have their own risks.
The euro system has many peculiarities as we have shown extensively on our blog. To a large extent the system can be analyzed as a “tragedy of the commons” problem. As is well known in economics, when a shared resource can be exploited in full by individuals with no exclusive property right, the resource will be overexploited.
The euro is a shared resource. Every national central bank can exploit it to the fullest while the cost will be shared by every member state.
The incentive in such a system is obviously rigged to its disfavor and it will eventually break down.
His government has ramped up spending to ward off unrest, helping drive inflation to a 15-year high last year, and pushing Algerians into the currency and real estate markets as they seek to shield savings.
“To protect themselves against inflation, and therefore the devaluation of the dinar, Algerians are investing in property, gold and foreign currencies,” Abderrahmane Mebtoul, a professor of economics at the University of Algiers, said in an interview.
David Stockman, author of The Great Deformation, summarizes the last quarter century thus: What has been growing is the wealth of the rich, the remit of the state, the girth of Wall Street, the debt burden of the people, the prosperity of the beltway and the sway of the three great branches of government - that is, the warfare state, the welfare state and the central bank...
What is flailing is the vast expanse of the Main Street economy where the great majority have experienced stagnant living standards, rising job insecurity, failure to accumulate material savings, rapidly approach old age and the certainty of a Hobbesian future where, inexorably, taxes will rise and social benefits will be cut...
He calls this condition "Sundown in America".
Another day, another shut government and 1-month T-Bills have surged another 6bps to 18.5bps. Those who read our suggestion from Sept 26 to hedge the political stupidity and debt ceiling debate and put on the 1M1Y flattener have seen the fastest plunge and inversion (to negative!) in the curve since early 2009. Despite the relative calm in repo markets, which is likely due to expectations that any technical default will be for a minim al length, the short-term bills most likely to be affected (the 10/31/13 T-Bills) are seeing the largest daily deterioration yet as traders exit and price in the possibility of missed payment. 1Y USA CDS has spiked by a massive 26bps to 65bps, higher than during the Lehman crisis and second only to Summer 2011.
The US Federal Reserve’s recent surprise announcement that it would maintain the current pace of its monetary stimulus reflects the ongoing debate about the desirability of cooperation among central banks. Discussion of central-bank cooperation has often centered on a single historical case, in which cooperation initially seemed promising, but turned out to be catastrophic. We are thus left with a paradox: While crises increase demand for central-bank cooperation to deliver the global public good of financial stability, they also dramatically increase the costs of cooperation, especially the fiscal costs associated with stability-enhancing interventions. As a result, in the wake of a crisis, the world often becomes disenchanted with the role of central banks – and central-bank cooperation is, yet again, associated with disaster.
During Banca d’Italia’s keynote address Salvatore Rossi the director general told delegates how gold plays a key role in the central bank reserves:
"Not only does it have the vital characteristic of allowing diversification, in particular when financial markets are highly integrated, in addition it is unique among assets in that it is not issued by any government or central bank, so its value cannot be influenced by political decisions or by the solvency of any institution," he said.
BofA's breakdown: "The shutdown will likely add to the budget deficit. It is costly to stop and start programs. The 1995-96 shutdown directly added $1.4 bn to the deficit (about $2.5 bn in today’s dollars) Moreover, the shock to growth will undercut tax revenues. In addition, ironically it does not impact the implementation of Obamacare since it is an entitlement similar to Medicare. However, there is some chance it could delay US economic data releases: in 1996, the December employment report was delayed two weeks as a result of the shutdown then. The Federal Reserve and the Post Office, both of which do not depend on Congressional appropriations, will not see any cutbacks due to a shutdown."