Open Market Operations
Only now, after three years of roller coaster markets, epic debates, and gnashing of teeth, are mainstream financial pundits finally starting to get it. At least some of them, anyway. Precious metals have continued to perform relentlessly since 2008, crushing all naysayer predictions and defying all the musings of so called “experts”, while at the same time maintaining and protecting the investment savings of those people smart enough to jump on the train while prices were at historic lows (historic as in ‘the past 5000 years’)....Those who instead listened to the alternative media from 2007 on have now tripled the value of their investments, and are likely to double them yet again in the coming months as PM’s and other commodities continue to outperform paper securities and stocks. After enduring so much hardship, criticism, and grief over our positions on gold and silver, it’s about time for us to say “we told you so”. Not to gloat (ok, maybe a little), but to solidify the necessity of metals investment for every American today. Yes, we were right, the skeptics were wrong, and they continue to be wrong. Even now, with gold surpassing the $1600 an ounce mark, and silver edging back towards its $50 per ounce highs, there is still time for those who missed the boat to shield their nest eggs from expanding economic insanity. The fact is, precious metals values are nowhere near their peak. Here are some reasons why…
Still confused about why nobody is calling the EFSF expansion Europe's TARP, aside from the fact that this latest European bailout is exactly Europe's TARP? Need a one page summary tearsheet on the European Council Decision as pertains to Greece now and all the other European countries later? Have no fear, because Goldman's Francesco Garzarelli is here again, explaining all you need to know about the ongoing taxpayer-to-insolvent nation-to-bank capital transfer.
Hey, it helps the big banks ... so shut up, already!
Fed Releases Details On Secret $855 Billion Single-Tranche OMO Bailout Program: Just Another Foreign Bank Rescue OperationSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/06/2011 13:09 -0400
A month ago we reported about Bob Ivry's discovery that the Fed had been conducting a secretive bailout operation between March and December 2008, under which banks borrowed as much as $855 billion over the time frame for a rate as low as 0.01%. As the Fed itself explains following a just disclosed launch of a page dedicated to this Saint OMO, "The Federal Reserve System conducted a series of single-tranche term repurchase agreements from March 2008 to December 2008 with the intention of mitigating heightened stress in funding markets. These operations were conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York with primary dealers as counterparties through an auction process under the standard legal authority for conducting temporary open market operations. In these transactions, primary dealers could deliver any of the types of securities--Treasuries, agency debt, or agency MBS--that are accepted in regular open market operations. By providing term funding to primary dealers, this program helped to address liquidity pressures evident across a number of financing markets and supported the flow of credit to U.S. households and business." Well, not really. As the chart below shows the banks, pardon primary dealers, that benefited the most from this secret iteration of Fed generosity were once again foreign banks, with the Top 5 borrowers being Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, RBS and Barclays. Together these five accounted for $593 billion of total borrowings, or 70% of the total. So perhaps the Fed should rephrase the last sentence to "supported the flow of credit to U.S. European households and business" which is to be expected. After all, as we have demonstrated before, the European banking system's liabilities are orders of magnitude greater than the US. So in order to preserve the global Ponzi (a main reason why Greece must never be allowed to fail), the biggest weakness that has to be addressed constantly is and will be in Europe.
A few weeks ago Barclays compiled a useful chart representing the largest holders of Greek debt. Today, the bank's Laurent Fransolet has issued an update "of the table “Top 40 holders of Greek government bonds and Greek debt” (Figure 1), in which we show updated holdings for Q4 10 for AXA and add KA Finanz from Austria to the list. We also clarify that the holder EFG in previous versions is Eurobank EFG." Not surprisingly, despite the refining drill down of secondary exposed parties, the top holders remain central bank and affiliated institutions, explaining the ongoing prerogative to not impair central banks' Greek holdings as a result of a rating agency event of, even selective, default.
Lee: Think like a criminal. Look, it’s a matter of knowing what the Fed’s next move is going to be, and knowing the investment implications.
In the end they cannot fulfill their purpose because the banking system is dead. This is Frankenstein’s monster.
Merely minutes after reporting the third daily surge in the SHIBOR we see a Dow Jones update which confirms that this liquidity escalation is far more serious than a merely transitory jump in short-term lending rates. Per DJ: "China's central bank said Wednesday it will suspend its regular open market operation Thursday, in an apparent response to the tight liquidity conditions in the banking system." As a result of the just reported 7 Day SHIBOR hitting 8.81%, the highest since October 2007, the PBoC will not conduct regularly scheduled open market operations tomorrow when it offers three-month paper, to mop up excess liquidity in the country. "The PBOC sold CNY1 billion ($154.6 million) worth of one-year bills at 3.4019% in its operation Tuesday, after leaving the rate unchanged at 3.3058% for the past 11 weeks. On Thursday last week, the PBOC lifted the rate on its three-month bills by eight basis points to 2.9985%, the first increase on the three-month central bank bill yield since early April. "It is difficult for the central bank to find enough demand for its short-term bill offering amid the severe liquidity squeeze in the money market. If it persisted with the three-month bill offering tomorrow, the yield would jump again, adding pressure to the central bank's operating costs," said a Shanghai-based trader with a local bank."
Next week’s calendar is light, with another paydown on Thursday and plenty of POMO, so if ever stocks had an excuse to rally, this would be it.
Update: Hearing has been delayed until 3 pm.
While we await to find and bring to our readers the channel that will carry today's hearing between the House Financial Services Committee on the topic of "Federal Reserve Lending Disclosure: FOIA, Dodd-Frank, and the Data Dump" chaired by Ron Paul and Fed and NY Fed General Counsels, Thomas C. Baxter, Jr., and Scott G. Alvarez, below we present their prepared testimony that was just released by the New York Fed. The key section from the testimony: "We remain concerned that a more rapid release of information about borrowers accessing the discount window and emergency lending facilities could impair the ability of the Federal Reserve to provide the liquidity needed to ensure the smooth working of the financial system. If institutions believe that publication of their use of Federal Reserve lending facilities will impair public confidence in the institution, then institutions may choose not to participate in these facilities. Experience has shown that banks’ unwillingness to use the discount window can result in more volatile short-term interest rates and reduced financial market liquidity that, in turn, can contribute to declining asset prices and reduced lending to consumers and small businesses." Luckily, courtesy of $1.6 trillion in excess reserves, and the stigma now associated with Discount Window borrowings, for everyone except for Dexia, we doubt the Fed will ever have to worry about the discount window before the banking kleptoracy blows itself up once again.
More Political Capture: Goldman Hires Top Republican Fed Transparency Foe; Spends More Time With SEC Than Any Other BankSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/28/2011 12:55 -0400
The name Judd Gregg is not new to Zero Hedge readers. Back in the 2009-2010 battle for Fed transparency, which continues to be only fractionally on the way to being won, Gregg, who then served as the top Republican on the Budget Committee and a member of the Banking Committee, said that "opponents of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's second term are
guilty of "pandering populism"." Odd that these populism panderers, of which Zero Hedge was a proud member, ultimately succeeded in not only getting a one time Fed audit, but also won the legal case initiated by Mark Pittman to expose the Fed's dirty laundry, without which we would not know that not only did the Fed bail out primarily foreign investment banks during the financial crisis, but also that the biggest user of the Fed's somewhat secret Short Term Open Market Operations facility, also known as a 0.01% subsidy, was none other than Goldman Sachs, contrary to the firm's sworn statements that it did not really need bailing out. Gregg continued: "There's a lot of populism going on in this country right now, and I'm tired of it." Gregg warned that the growing tide of populism would threaten some of the most central institutions to the economy's recovery. "What it's going to do is burn down some of the institutions which are critical to us as a nation and as an economy to recover and create jobs," he warned." It was therefore only a matter of time that Gregg, following the end of his political career, has decided to step down, and work for one of these "central institutions to the economy's recovery" - Goldman Sachs. As such we present the list of companies that courtesy of their "top contributor" status with the senator over the years, are about to get preferential treatment from Goldman's sell side analysts, and see a prompt upgrade to Buy and/or Conviction Buy list in the near term. After all there is no such thing as squid-pro-zero in a world controlled by Wall Street's institutions "central to the economy's recovery."
About a month ago Belgium's biggest bank, and as is now well known one of the most active borrowers at the Fed's discount window in the days following the Lehman crisis, issued €3.2 billion in FRNs with a two year maturity that had an odd feature: an ultra short term put feature (as the Bloomberg screen shows below, puttable June 26, 2011 at par) which can be exercised up to 33 days ahead of the put day (underwritten by Barclays, Citi and MS) or in other words, today. Well, as our source has told us, following recent downgrades of virtually all banks with Greek exposure (a topic further pursed by the below IFR article), the two largest investors in the bond: Blackrock, which owns the bulk or about €2.6 billion, and Barclays (among others) have exercised their put option. The speculation is that "either someone knows something or had a very rapid change of heart" and concludes that "this should make the whole funding thing relevant again" especially since banks continue to rely on the ECB exclusively for short-term liquidity needs. Also possible a jump in Fed Discount Window borrowings if the ECB is unable or unwilling to cross-collateralize even more Greek debt exposure. The advice: "start watching Libor/Euribor and the Forwards basis" for some near-term volatility. If this is confirmed, look for any/all other comparable short-term put deals to suddenly spring the investor option to pull their capital, and the domino avalanche to set off in earnest.
And while the US is no longer allowed to auction off debt, in China the PBoC appears to be no longer able to auction off debt. As Business China reports, "the central bank scheduled the auction of RMB 20 billion worth of
one-year treasury bonds and RMB 10 billion in six-month bonds on the
country’s interbank bond market for May 13. But banks, faced with tight
liquidity, only purchased RMB 11.71 billion worth of one-year bonds and
RMB 9.63 billion worth of six-month bonds, the report said." In other words, there was a nearly 50% miss on the 3 month auction. The key reason: "The reference yield of one-year treasury bonds was raised to 3.0246% from the previous issuance, while the bond yield of 182-day discounted treasury bonds was 2.91%, the paper said." It appears investors don't agree with the central planners that 3% is an appropriate rate to compensate them for surging inflation. That, and also the fact that banks suddenly have no liquidity: "Tighter liquidity was behind the under-subscription, as the central bank resumed selling three-year notes on May 12 after a hiatus of more than five months, a bank analyst who was not named was cited as saying. The central bank also raised banks’ RRRs by 0.5 percentage points on the same day, effective May 18, the fifth consecutive month its has raised RRRs this year." And so the Catch 22 emerges: the more China fights inflation through RRR or rate hikes, the lower the purchasing power of domestic banks to purchase bonds (and yes, the US deficit is just a few hundred billions dollars too wide for it to come to China's rescue). Should the "15 minute" inflationary conundrum continue to express itself, and China be forced to rise rates even longer, very soon the country, just like the US to which it is pegged monetarily, will also be unable to raise any incremental capital.
A game of 20 questions with the Fed Chairman...
"Dear Dr. Paul...There are serious questions about the legality of Quantitative Easing. You are among the few who are well-qualified and well-placed to get to the bottom of it. Most people believe, and the media confirm them in that belief, that the Fed can legally create dollars ‘out of the thin air’ in any quantity, and can do with them as it pleases. This may well be the pipe dream of Dr. Bernanke who is quoted as saying that the U.S. government has given the Fed a tool, the printing press, to stop deflation — but it hardly corresponds to the truth. The Fed can create new dollars only if some stringent legal conditions are satisfied, and then, it can only dispose of them in certain ways prescribed by law." Antal Fekete