Since the US monetary system is (mostly) a closed loop, it has become impossible to rely on the US stock market for anything besides "analyzing" how many hot potatoes the excess reserve-funded Primary Dealers are juggling with each other. However, there may be one place that remains untouched by the Fed's intervention: foreign opinion of the US, which manifests itself in capital fund flows, the same fund flows that the TIC data reports every month with a 2-month delay. Because if foreign capital flows remain the only remaining objective indicator of US economic health, then the US has some very serious problems on its hands...
By pursuing QE too long, the FOMC has engineered a repeat of the periods of market losses and negative accrual that nearly crushed the banking industry in the 1970s and 1980s, only worse.
You want to invest $100,000 in agency paper but find the yield to be too low. How can you increase your yield without assuming additional risk? Easy, here is how...
If the large TBTF banks are really being forced out of the mortgage business, then just how will we achieve these revenue growth rates? How indeed.
Utterly boring Monday session, worsened by year-end inactivity… Won’t get any better going forward, probably. Fiscal Cliff a cliff-hanger (I know, cheap)… Spain on the heavier side with contingent funding holes still popping up here and there.
"Jingle Bell Rock" (Bunds 1,37% +2; Spain 5,41% +4; Stoxx 2628 unch; EUR 1,317 +30)
Strong start in Risk to take out new 2012 highs in Equities and trying to retrace near 2012 Credit lows, too. Core EGBs cool. Bunga Square’s rug pulling scuttled all that easy living by noon, weighting on the Periphery and boosting Core EGBs. ECB gloomy. Equity – bond divergence not a flyer yet, though… US sideways and Risk Watchers back to scanning European politics. EUR falling of the carpet.
"Magic Carpet Ride" (Bunds 1,29% -6; Spain 5,46% +8; Stoxx 2605 +0,6%; EUR 1,297 -100)
Hmmm… Bunds getting trashed by equities and Spailout; Spain getting a lift on the latter, but a break from Greek Troika news and German back pedalling.
Spain better, but had lost 20 bp just yesterday.
Equities stopping out and squeezing. Credit ripping tighter.
Risk On, but not everywhere. Wild...
This Is The Government: Your Legal Right To Redeem Your Money Market Account Has Been Denied - The SequelSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/19/2012 18:05 -0500
Two years ago, in January 2010, Zero Hedge wrote "This Is The Government: Your Legal Right To Redeem Your Money Market Account Has Been Denied" which became one of our most read stories of the year. The reason? Perhaps something to do with an implicit attempt at capital controls by the government on one of the primary forms of cash aggregation available: $2.7 trillion in US money market funds. The proximal catalyst back then were new proposed regulations seeking to pull one of these three core pillars (these being no volatility, instantaneous liquidity, and redeemability) from the foundation of the entire money market industry, by changing the primary assumptions of the key Money Market Rule 2a-7. A key proposal would give money market fund managers the option to "suspend redemptions to allow for the orderly liquidation of fund assets." In other words: an attempt to prevent money market runs (the same thing that crushed Lehman when the Reserve Fund broke the buck). This idea, which previously had been implicitly backed by the all important Group of 30 which is basically the shadow central planners of the world (don't believe us? check out the roster of current members), did not get too far, and was quickly forgotten. Until today, when the New York Fed decided to bring it back from the dead by publishing "The Minimum Balance At Risk: A Proposal to Mitigate the Systemic Risks Posed by Money Market FUnds". Now it is well known that any attempt to prevent a bank runs achieves nothing but merely accelerating just that (as Europe recently learned). But this coming from central planners - who never can accurately predict a rational response - is not surprising. What is surprising is that this proposal is reincarnated now. The question becomes: why now? What does the Fed know about market liquidity conditions that it does not want to share, and more importantly, is the Fed seeing a rapid deterioration in liquidity conditions in the future, that may and/or will prompt retail investors to pull their money in another Lehman-like bank run repeat?
While everyone's attention was focused on details surrounding the household sector in the recently released Q1 Flow of Funds report (ours included), something much more important happened in the US economy from a flow perspective, something which, in fact, has not happened since December of 1995, when liabilities in the deposit-free US Shadow Banking system for the first time ever became larger than liabilities held by traditional financial institutions, or those whose funding comes primarily from deposits. As a reminder, Zero Hedge has been covering the topic of Shadow Banking for over two years, as it is our contention that this massive, and virtually undiscussed component of the US real economy (that which is never covered by hobby economists' three letter economic theories used to validate socialism, or even any version of (neo-)Keynesianism as shadow banking in its proper, virulent form did not exist until the late 1990s and yet is the same size as total US GDP!), is, on the margin, the most important one: in fact one that defines, or at least should, monetary policy more than most imagine, and also explains why despite trillions in new money having been created out of thin air, the flow through into the general economy has been negligible.
This tax is going to happen, and we're going to hate it.
About 6 weeks ago, something changed.
With the FOMC meeting currently in full swing, speculation is rampant what will be announced tomorrow at 2:15 pm, with the market exhibiting its now traditional schizophrenic mood swings of either pricing in QE 6.66, or, alternatively, the apocalypse, with furious speed. And while many are convinced that at least the "Twist" is already guaranteed, as is an IOER cut, per Goldman's "predictions" and possibly something bigger, as per David Rosenberg who thinks that an effective announcement would have to truly shock the market to the upside, the truth is that the Chairman's hands are very much tied. Because, all rhetoric and political posturing aside, at the very bottom it is and has always been a money problem. Specifically, one of "credit money." Which brings us to the topic of this post. When the Fed released its quarterly Z.1 statement last week, the headlines predictably, as they always do, focused primarily on the fluctuations in household net worth (which is nothing but a proxy for the stock market now that housing is a constant drag to net worth) and to a lesser extent, household credit. Yet the one item that is always ignored, is what is by and far the most important data in the Z.1, and what the Fed apparatchiks spend days poring over, namely the update on the liabilities held in the all important shadow banking system. And with the data confirming that the shadow banking system declined by $278 billion in Q2, the most since Q2 2010, it is pretty clear that Bernanke's choice has already been made for him. Because with D.C. in total fiscal stimulus hiatus, in order to offset the continuing collapse in credit at the financial level, the Fed will have no choice but to proceed with not only curve flattening (to the detriment of America's TBTF banks whose stock prices certainly reflect what a complete Twist-induced flattening of the 2s10s implies) but offsetting the ongoing implosion in the all too critical, yet increasingly smaller, shadow banking system. And without credit growth, at either the commercial bank, the shadow bank or the sovereign level, one can kiss GDP growth, and hence employment, and Obama's second term goodbye.
Duration In Pimco's Total Return Fund Soars To Near Record, Highest Since 2007 In Anticipation Of QE3Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/12/2011 16:16 -0500
Bill Gross came, saw, and i) stopped shorting govvies, and ii) doubled down on QE3, after, as he himself said, he did not anticipate how bad the US economy would get. As the just released latest monthly Total Return Fund data indicates, PIMCO now has a substantial net long position in Government Related securities, at $51.5 billion (net of swaps), a more than 100% increase from the $22.1 billion in July (and a far cry from the $9.6 billion short in April). As a reminder, Gross skepticism was predicated by the concern of who would buy bonds in an inflationary environment coupled with the end of QE2. Well, since then the bottom fell out of the market, and the Fed is about to re-enter the securities market to prevent the latest re-depression with Operation Twist if not much more. So while it no longer makes sense to be short bonds (as Gross has figured out the hard way), what makes sense is to be very, very long duration, since this is what the Fed will be buying in Operation Twist/Torque. Enter Exhibit A - the chart of maturity/distribution of PIMCO holdings, of which most notable is the explosion in average holding duration, which from 4.56 in July, has soared to 6.27 in August, the highest since 6.23 in October, and possibly the highest on record (that said our records only go back to 2007). As part of this expansion, Gross has seen his Mortgage Securities soar to $78.5 billion, the highest since February, when Gross was actively reducing his MBS holding profile, and now is doing the opposite, and is accumulating Agency paper hand over fist in an attempt to extend duration. Bottom line: Pimco is now balls to the wall in the QE3 camp, first to be manifested by Operation Twist, and then, likely by outright Large Scale Asset Purchases. Look for numerous other copycat investors to expand the duration of their fixed income holdings from 4-5 to over 6.
Just like in previous auctions post the end of QE2, so today's just concluded $35 billion 2 Year auction closed off with Direct Bidders once again surging to take down nearly as much as the Indirects. Foreign institutions (Indirects) were responsible for 27.67% of the total allocation, while Directs rose from 13.53% to 20.03%: Chinese proxies, Fed, who knows. It wasn't dealers, who supposedly took down just over half or 52.30% of the auction. Otherwise, the bond priced at a 0.417% high yield, modestly higher than June's 0.395% same with the Bid To Cover, which came at 3.14, just higher than the 3.08 previously. With the When Issued trading at 0.42% there were no major surprises into the pricing. Overall, nothing notable except for the increasing role that Direct Bidders continue to play in each and every issuance now that the Fed is briefly not monetizing treasury debt. We expect more of the same in the remaining 5 and 7 auctions in the balance of the week.And an amsuing comment from TD's Richard Gilhooly: "Given the bid in the Treasury market today as spreads widen in Agency paper and mortgages, belatedly in swap spreads, it would suggest that we are seeing an ironic flight to quality into the asset class that is at risk of downgrade." Yeah, who cares though.
For those confused by the cornucopia of assorted debt ceiling "plans" out in circulation, Citi's Amitabh Arora has released the definitive guide for what plan does what in terms of proposed deficit reduction, probability of passage of the Congress, Senate and the President, and likely outcome to the US rating. As table 1 below shows, UBS' prescient call from last Thursday that a US downgrade is inevitable, was spot on. It also explains why the entire sellside industry, and media, have been in damage control over what now appears to be an inevitable AA rating of the world's reserve currency. Alas, just like with Lehman, nobody really has any idea what will happen to capital markets once the Poor Standards or Moody's headline of a AA cut hits the tape: one thing is certain - there are trillions in US invested money market funds, structured finance debt and munis that have rating mandates and demand a super secure (AAA) threshold, and especially an A-1+ short-term rating. Should there be a massive flow out of these securities and into other asset classes, the outcome is absolutely unpredictable. More importantly, Citi touches on a topic that has not seen prominent mention anywhere else: namely the acceleration of the GSEs status from conservatorship to receivership should there be no prompt resolution on the debt ceiling. For agency paper holders this may be a topic that merits much more diligence.