Open Market Operations

Volatility Is The Square Root Of Time & Fat Tails

The trio of macro-prudential policy, the onset and evolution of shadow banking, and the nebulous concept of financial stability may have become a toxic cocktail which can be instrumental in moving forward the Federal Reserve’s timeline for lift-off zero bound rates.  The intuition here is stooped in concepts of volatility and how market structure evolution may contribute or detract from asset volatility. Volatility is the square root of time. Financial repression times time equals volatility. Financial repression and/or macro-prudential policy times time equals the inverse of financial stability. Financial stability inverted equals volatility squared.

NY Fed's "Plunge Protection Team" Starts Chicago Trading Floor "In Case Of Disaster Or Other Eventuality"

We have known for quite some time now that the NY Fed's market group, aka the Plunge Protection Team, is opening a second office in HFT-capital Chicago. What was not known is what is the official reasoning behind the Fed's move to be even closer to its Citadel executions arm. Overnight, courtesy of Reuters we found that the "The New York branch of the U.S. Federal Reserve, wary that a natural disaster or other eventuality could shut down its market operations as it approaches an interest rate hike, has added staff and bulked up its satellite office in Chicago."

Central Banking Refuted In One Blog - Thanks Ben!

Blogger Ben’s work is already done. In his very first substantive post as a civilian he gave away all the secrets of the monetary temple. The Bernank actually refuted the case for modern central banking in one blog. The truth is the real world of capitalism is far, far too complex and dynamic to be measured and assessed with the exactitude implied by Bernanke’s gobbledygook. In fact, what his purported necessity for choosing a rate “somewhere” actually involves is the age old problem of socialist calculation.

ECB QE Week 1: Germany 3, Greece -9

And so the first week of Draghi Open Market Operations (DOMO) ends and while yields have been pushed lower, the benefits of massive money printing are very much skewed to The North and not The South. Spanish sovereign bond risk ended the week unchanged (not exactly the exuberance Draghi hoped for) and Italy only 2bps lower. In equity land, the divergenes were enormous - German stocks soared to new record highs (up 3% this week and 21% year-to-date) as the rest of the majors rose less than 1%. Spanish stocks fell 0.6% but Greek stocks cratered over 9% on the week. Inflation breakevens also fell 6bps on the week...and Europe's VIX rose 0.3 to 18.85... oops.

This Was Not Supposed To Happen

As Mario Draghi unleashes his trillion euro bond buying program - aimed from what we are told, at lowering risk premia in credit markets to stimulate the eurozone's economy from utter stagnation - things are not going according to plan. Away from Greece, peripheral bond spreads are all up 8bps on the day and stock indices are mixed on this first day of DOMO (Draghi Open Market Operations) Of course, the other reason for Q€ is to implicitly (because one would never explicitly admit to joining the currency wars) devalue the currency - thus improving competitiveness and exports for the EU; but that's not working out so well as Germany's exports dropped and missed by the most since August... this was not supposed to happen.

Frontrunning: January 23

  • Saudi Arabia’s New King Probably Will Not Change Current Oil Policy (BBG)
  • Saudi King’s Death Clouds Already Tense Relationship With U.S. (WSJ)
  • Oil Pares Gains as New Saudi King Says Policies Stable (BBG)
  • Kuroda Says BOJ to Mull Fresh Options in Case of More Easing (BBG)
  • U.S. pulls more staff from Yemen embassy amid deepening crisis (Reuters)
  • Putin Said to Shrink Inner Circle as Hawks Beat Billionaires (BBG)
  • A Few Savvy Investors Had Swiss Central Bank Figured Out (WSJ)

The Day The POMO Died

For those who follow the Fed's daily intervention in the stock market, today is a historic, if bittersweet day: this is the day when the Permanent Open Market Operations (or POMO) as a result of the QE3 program launched in December 2012, finally die (at least until they are reincarnated yet again). Today, at 11:00 am, the NY Fed's market desk will conclude its 933rd POMO since August 25 of 2005, when it will inject just about a $1 billion in the stock market in the form of a $0.85-$1.05 billion buyback of long-end bonds. And with that, Simon Potter's open market operations desk located on the 9th floor of Liberty 33, will be put on temporary hiatus.

The Plunge Protection Team Is Opening An HFT-Focused Chicago Office

"The Markets Group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York manages the size and composition of the Federal Reserve System’s balance sheet consistent with the directives and the authorization of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), supports debt issuance and debt management on behalf of the U.S. Treasury, provides foreign exchange services to the U.S. Treasury and provides account services to foreign central banks, international agencies and U.S. government agencies. Markets Group is establishing a presence at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and has openings for both experienced professionals and recent graduates.

China Launches CNY500 Billion In "Stealth QE"

It has been a while since the PBOC engaged in some "targeted" QE. So clearly following the biggest drop in the Shanghai Composite in 6 months after some abysmal Chinese economic and flow data in the past several days, it's time for some more. From Bloomberg:

  • CHINA’S PBOC STARTS 500B YUAN SLF TODAY, SINA.COM SAYS
  • PBOC PROVIDES 500B YUAN LIQUIDITY TO CHINA’S TOP 5 BANKS: SINA
  • PBOC PROVIDES 100B YUAN TO EACH BANK TODAY, TOMORROW WITH DURATION OF 3 MONTHS: SINA

Just as expected, the Chinese "derivative" currency, the AUD, goes vertical on the news, and the S&P 500 goes vertical alongside:. As for those confused what the SLF is, here is a reminder, from our February coverage of this "stealth QE" instrument.

Fed Unveils Only 11 Days Of POMO In September For A Mere $15 Billion

As they say in England, we appear to be getting to the vinegar strokes of the Fed's buying efforts. As expected, the NYFed announced its Permanent Open Market Operations (POMO) schedule for September which covers just 11 days (including no Fridays at all) summing to a mere $15bn of Treasuries planned to be purchased... (with only 5 days in size).