Chart Of The Day: The Taper In Perspective (And What We Learned Today)

Tyler Durden's picture

What did we learn today?

  • We learned that the repeated pleadings of the TBAC (starting in May and continuing throughout the year) for a Taper, did not fall on deaf ears, and the Fed finally became aware that it is monetizing US debt at too feverish a pace resulting in an acute lack of liquidity in the bond market.
  • We learned that despite the arrival of the taper, Bernanke will end his tenure with the lamentable record of having been the only Fed Chairman never to have started a tightening cycle (remember: according to Bernanke “tapering is not tightening”).
  • We learned that even though the Fed has taken its first step toward balance sheet renormalization one year after launching open-ended QE, it will still inject $75 billion in “Flow” into the capital markets, if not the economy, on a monthly basis, an amount which still means the Fed will consume about 0.25% of all outstanding and newly-issued 10 Year equivalents on a weekly basis (and more if the deficit declines further). The side effect of that will be that as Dealers scramble for the last piece of capital appreciation, even more capital will be sequestered into the US capital markets, leading to even more asset inflation, and even more core CPI deflation (which eventually will result in the Untaper).
  • We learned that even the Fed does not give much credit to the BLS’ definition of inflation, because while the Fed has now repeatedly observed that the unemployment rate is sliding due to the collapse in the participation rate and hence labor improvements are simply a mathematical mirage, its core lament was the very subpar, and outright disinflationary CPI readings. Readings, however, which if taken seriously, would not have allowed the Fed to taper right here and right now.
  • We learned that good news will continue to be bad news, and vice versa, as the faster the economy relapses into a sub-2% growth rate (and Obamacare will promptly help out in that department in the new year), the faster the Fed will take a long, hard look at returning to its baseline $85 billion (or more) per month liquidity injection. Because “data dependent” means that the stronger the data, the faster the Fed’s crutches go away: crutches that have been responsible for 100% of the market upside since March 2009. Or maybe this time the Fed has actually timed the economic recovery flawlessly and indeed a virtuous cycle is emerging. Maybe, maybe not: ask Jean-Claude Trichet who hiked rates at the ECB a few months before the sharpest European crisis flare up forced Bernanke to once again bail out the Old World.
  • We learned that over the past year – based on the pace of security monetization - the panic at the Fed regarding the economy has been greater than during QE1 and QE2 (see chart below). The minimal reduction to $75 billion in QE per month, or $900 billion per year, shows that the panic is still as acute and as pressing as ever, even as the cost of balance sheet expansion gets larger, even as the Fed now owns one third of all 10 Year equivalents, and even as the incremental benefits of QE to the economy – if any - decline with every month. The “good” news (if only for corporate insiders and the 1%): in the absence of capex spending, and organic growth, corporate PE multiples will continue to expand in lockstep with the Fed’s balance sheet, pushing the S&P into ever greater, and ever more unsustainable bubble territory.
  • Perhaps most importantly, we learned that courtesy of very dovish forward guidance, the thresholds for further flow reduction will be very steep, and the unemployment rate will have to drop to 6% before QE ends let alone unleashes the start of a tightening cycle. Of course with unemployment benefits ending, the US may have an unemployment print of 6.5% as soon as February/March. More importantly, it means that without a firm flow reduction schedule, the current monthly liquidity injection amount will remain unchanged for a long time, as the last thing Janet Yellen will want to do as she carefully settles into her new job will be to accelerate what is already a tightening (because, yes, Flow matters, not Stock, and tapering is tightening) monetary regime.

* * *

  • Finally, we learned what the difference between $85 billion and $75 billion is in the grand scheme of things. Or, in case we haven’t, here is a chart showing just how “vast” the impact of today’s announcement will be on the Fed’s balance sheet at December 31, 2014 when instead of printing well over $5 trillion at its old monetization pace, the Fed’s balance sheet will be only $4.9 trillion.

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FieldingMellish's picture

We also learned that "taper" talk is, indeed, bad for PMs.

Ham-bone's picture

and we re-learned for like the 700th trading day since 2011 that real, hard money is not appreciated - nor will be tolerated by those dealing in funny money...

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

A $0.1 trillion here, a $0.1 trillion there, pretty soon we're not even talking real money!

walküre's picture

You've been on my mind these past couple days. God speed with your BTC adventure! Your bearings are bigger than my balls!

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Very kind.  Au coin arrived, BTC bought locally with CA$H, both today!  Also, a training manual for beginners.  I hope to write it all up tomorrow (computer w/ photo is at the office). 

Many thanks go out to many people, especially "Bitcoin Insider".  Even fonestar!



A containerload of Chinese bearings has arrived in Peru too...

seek's picture

All talk is bad for PMs. No talk is bad for PMs. It's just bad for PMs all the way down.

I really hope reality smacks TPTB and Fed upside the head good, real soon.

FieldingMellish's picture

...or maybe it should be smacking us upside the head...

Event Horizon's picture

WE learned that the Bernanke taketh the 10b and giveth the extended ZIRP guidance which is why the market rallied. Extended ZIRP trumps 10b taper

PLira's picture

We also learned that "taper" talk is, indeed, bad for PMs.

Yes, this may be true but it is a gift to PM buyers. I'm waiting till sub 1K to purchase more and would love to see $850 Gold. YMMV

FieldingMellish's picture

Will you love it all the way down to $400 where it could sit for a decade while everything else booms around you?

PLira's picture

I would love a decade more time, even if Gold went to $400, which I doubt it will, I'd be a buyer. I doubt we have more than a few years left. I doubt this charad will last more than a few years, I'm old and can/have left it to my grandkids in the will.

Even with that, I do own extended calls and puts that are doing well, thank you very much PPT.

Imminent Crucible's picture

"all the way down to $400"

LOL!  You have much to learn about the metals markets.  Long before the gold price fell to $400, all gold mines would be shut down and ABX would be subsisting on welfare checks from JPM.

Or, more accurately, all the gold in the world would be stacked in Chinese and Indian vaults, and the U.S. mint would have ceased all bullion coin strikes. 

The dreaded Bananas Fungus strikes again.

ForWhomTheTollBuilds's picture

"We also learned that "taper" talk is, indeed, bad for PMs."


Disagree.  We learned that Dan Norcini has been dead right for a long time about gold.  As long as the equity markets go up boy %20 or %40 per year there is no earthly reason (that a western investor can see) to own an asset with no yield.  This pattern will not change until peoples perceptions change and the crushing of the vix today shows there isnt the slightest inkling of a problem with the way things are right now.

I sometimes wonder what the price of gold would be if not for Indian smuggling and Chinese buying.  Might it have gone from $1920 to $200 in 6 months if the western paper markets operated in a complete vacuum?


disabledvet's picture

what about bitcoin? that has no yield. the fact that a company pays a dividend does not mean you should be a buyer...that is the lesson of this year. the "big dividend payers" were annihilated and Mr. Market didn't even break a sweat as a result. and now we're supposed to be surprised that gold gets crushed? REALLY? again...stop peddling the false narrative that QE is all about equities. historically speaking it should crush equities actually. it certainly hasn't boomed the economy or prevented Detroit from going Chapter 9 (liquidation.) needless to say there will be layoffs going forward as well. there is no tighter run shop than this: got crushed today. one does not have a "war on terror" and one does not "bail out liquidity"...yet we have both of those going on...right here, right now, simultaneously. "that's a lot of assumptions baked in that by definition cannot all be right." would i be surprised to see the equity space go up twenty percent between now and the middle of January? nope.

Cadavre's picture

And we also learned to believe into a disbelief. By that it is meant that a 12% reduction in FED counterfeiting results  in a 2.3% bump in the dow,

And, we also learned that HFT contrived mini crashes are ste still a viable method to milk dry all the loss stops of mom `n pop allocation trading systems working one minute ticks. One would only hope that those systems had the smarts, once all the floors for a given symbol had been breached, to stop trading that symbol for the rest of the market. Some of those shops may have dumped all affected inventories, only to see them climb to levels of unfathomable disbelief in the next 10 minutes of the market.

If the taper is supposed to make the dollar stronger, why are prices still rising? Inquiring minds want to tar and feather the white shoes gadflying on the CSPAN soaps!

Real inflation is 9%

Percentage of per capita "employed" Americans is so deep in the gutter sucking Fukishima irradiated cheese it threatens to breach a tipping point. What we need are more subsidies to offshore providers and more subsidies for offshore buyers! (... right ... and for any beleiving that .. I would like a momement of your time regarding an "Instant Water" franchise (just add water!!!)

Who do these ass wipes think they're fucking with? A bunch of wimp ass Egyptians or FSA fags? Ya see,thats the problem with the self anoints pretending as masters of dominion and smelling up ZOG's K-Street Kiddie Brothels with sour tuna sauce: They never expect what is sure to happen - to happen. As Jaggers sang, " I'll stick my knife right down your throat, baby. And it hurts!


YesWeKahn's picture

The chart doesn't take into account new taper every month

essentially, it is 10, 20, 30. 40. 50. 60. 70. 85. at the end of 2014, the fed asset base will no longer increase.

But, fuck Bernank shit anyhow.

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

" 85. at the end of 2014, the fed asset base will no longer increase"


I LOL'd!!

rotagen's picture

I'm at the edge of my seat wondering exactly how much fake money Rothschilds bitches will be printing this month as I slump in my chair and drool on my Saline Heroin amphetamine IV bag.

LetThemEatRand's picture

"the unemployment rate will have to drop to 6% before QE ends let alone unleashes the start of a tightening cycle."

Man, I hope the bankers like Starbucks.  And tip well.

Harbanger's picture

So do you tip well?  I learned at an early age that rich Libs talk a lot of shit but don't tip well.

LetThemEatRand's picture

What do you do with all of the parrot poop?  Oh, right.  You flush it when you're done.  

Angel Face's picture

How well do you tip vending machines?

LetThemEatRand's picture

The Japanese prefer "vending service entities." 

A Nanny Moose's picture

at least Japanese vending machines sell beer.

trillion_dollar_deficit's picture

The x-axis in the chart is labeled incorrectly.

NoDebt's picture

Looks OK to me.  $3,000 billion is $3 trillion.  Oh, no, wait a minute, that's the Y-axis.  The X-axis is the years.  Um... that looks OK, too.  What's wrong with it?

Imminent Crucible's picture

It shows the Fed's balance sheet spiking upward in late 2007 instead of late 2008.

starman's picture

Buy buy buy , you servival kit, you'll be needing it soon.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

At least Ben can hit the lucrative lecture circuit starting in Feb and say with a straight face that he saved the world AND began the great unwind. /sarc

NoDebt's picture

The /sarc tag was unnecessary.  That's exactly what he's going to do.

FieldingMellish's picture

... one other thing we learned today... gold and silver can also trade like a monkey on a string, just like bitcoin.

ForWhomTheTollBuilds's picture

Totally agree.  Gold was down to $450 today at one point on mtGox.  And they call that a currency?

Mylegacy's picture

What am I missing - above it states, " will still inject $75 billion in “Flow” into the capital markets, if not the economy, on a monthly basis,..." I'm sure that the Bernak specifically said they'd be cutting 10 big ones PER MONTH with a full retreat on the 85 Billion by mid to late year 2014...(85/10= 8.5 months = QE over by end of September 2014).

Ya, I know it's "data dependent" - BUT if the market is going to "celebrate" like they did today as the Taper takes hold - then - to the dismay of all - it would appear QE was not too bad an exercise after all. For the bears to be right - namely that the world will end if QE ends - then there will have to be enough of them to send this market to hell over the next few months as 10 Billion a month is withdrawn from the 1%'s "grab every dollar in the Universe" winning streak...

rosiescenario's picture

Seems like a few folks think the PM action today was due to Taper guess is that the PM's price action got a helping hand....

GreatUncle's picture

Dam I need to get my eyes tested the two lines look the same /sarc.

In the words of the great untaper for all those reading the MSM we have a recovery.

Delightful story of a person moving from employed to a contract position to reduce costs suggests otherwise.

FieldingMellish's picture

"The committee expects to end the asset purchase program by the second half of 2014." Tyler can't read. $10m less per month.


Jan $75b, Feb $65b, Mar $55b... until $0 is reached and the balance sheet is flat once again. Who knows, maybe they will even be able to reduce it into 2015 as the American economy once again becomes a beacon to the world and employment reaches 2% and house prices once again grows at 10% per year. No wonder gold and silver a tanking.


Armstrongs low of $975 gold in mid-2014 begins to look plausible, maybe even optimistic.


I have heard talk by some analysts of mid $400's by 2016. Sounds just as crazy as Sinclairs call for $1650 by 2011 that he made in 2001.


Indian farmers will be made (even more) destitute and the US can finally stick it to the Chinese financially for once.

ForWhomTheTollBuilds's picture

"Jan $75b, Feb $65b, Mar $55b... until $0 is reached and the balance sheet is flat once again. "  " No wonder gold and silver a tanking."


I look forward to $100 gold because it will mean $1 houses.  Not sure where Ill get the money to heat one though.

FieldingMellish's picture

Why not just hold $ bills then?


By the time this is over, miners will be synonymous with tulip bulbs or stock in the South Sea Company.

ForWhomTheTollBuilds's picture

But the miners never really went up to begin with?

A Nanny Moose's picture

Chop your own wood, and it will warm you twice - Henry Ford.

therevolutionwas's picture

Interest rates will rise, no?  Gov't will not be able to pay higher interest rates, no?

holdbuysell's picture

Just waiting for the day that JCP's CEO blames its bankruptcy on Obamacare sapping the spending ability of what would have been its loyal and massively growing customer base. /sarc

Kina's picture

How do they fund the deficit then?


They have to increase their printing year to year...and if they stop paying their bills.....what value usd?

holdbuysell's picture

The most painful part of this reduction in QE is having to update the slope of the increase in the Fed's balance sheet in order to calculate where the S&P will be.

I Write Code's picture

Is he taking the $10,000,000,000 per month as his retirement?

Convolved Man's picture

Invest in America's Future...

The Fed does!

Vote for Bernanke 2016

paid for by your IRS contributions.

chump666's picture

With the Fed managing a stock market as a safe haven for inflows...  Asia selling off it's currencies is all China not the Fed.  DXY should be 20+% bid, it ain't.  Gross says that investors will fill the gap and buy the short-dated treasuries, what will be interesting is the long dated, the 30s have been rising.   This whole play was discussed before Bernanke media thing, hence light speed HFT melt-ups and panic buys.

It's a crony play that's all.