There's Something Happening Here...

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Dec 17, 2023 - 09:20 PM

There’s something happening here
But what it is ain’t exactly clear

- Buffalo Springfield

Something is not right, and the drastically divergent messages from Powell and his cronies at the Fed over the last month and a half confirm this suspicion.

The Burning Platform's Jim Quinn writes that the current situation does remind me of September 2019 when the repo market revealed the underlying mechanisms within the financial system were malfunctioning and were about to lead to another massive financial crisis.

Powell restarted QE and “luckily” the COVID scamdemic was rolled out, so Powell and and our corrupt political class could pump trillions into the system and keep it alive.

Powell and his fellow tough guys at the Fed had increased rates to 5.3% and have talked tough about keeping rates up until inflation got back to their 2% target.

With GDP supposedly accelerating at 5.2%, unemployment still near all-time lows, and corporate profits still booming, there should be no fear about rates being too high by Powell and his sycophants.

But suddenly this week Powell and these economic “rocket scientists” now are saying they will be cutting rates soon and more than anyone expected.

The Fed Since November 1st:

1. Nov. 1: Getting inflation to 2% "has a long way to go"

2. Nov. 21: "No indication of rate cuts at last meeting"

3. Dec. 1: Talks about rate cuts are "premature"

4. Dec. 1: "We are prepared to tighten policy further" if needed

5. Dec. 13: Rates have peaked, 3 rate cuts coming in 2024

6. Dec. 15: Fed "isn't really talking about rate cuts"

What is happening here?

Source: The Kobeissi Letter (@KobeissiLetter) December 15, 2023

The stock market exploded to all-time highs and interest rates plummeted.

This seems odd, when more than half the country is struggling to put food on the table.

It’s almost as if Powell and his pals know something really bad is about to happen and want to front run the event, or, like September 2019, they see something terribly wrong within the financial system and are trying to fix it before it blows up.

We do know the Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks have close to $700 billion of unrealized losses on their books due to interest rates hitting 16 year highs.

We also know these banks have been increasingly utilizing the Fed’s emergency facility every day.

All it would take is some sort of emergency, whether global crisis, natural disaster crisis, or war breaking out between global powers, to start a run on the banks.

If that were to happen, those unrealized losses would become realized, and the entire financial system would begin to collapse.

Is that why Powell and the Fed are now desperate to drive interest rates lower, in order to eliminate those unrealized losses before they become realized?

Whatever the reason, they are trapped.

Drastically lowering interest rates will just reignite inflation again.

It looks like Powell has chosen inflation rather than deflation as we spiral into the abyss.

[ZH: as we warned on Friday, "trouble is brewing" in the banking system]

...the key warning sign continues to trend ominously lower (Small Banks' reserve constraint - blue line), supported above the critical level by The Fed's emergency funds (for now)...

Source: Bloomberg

As the red line shows, without The Fed's help, the crisis is back (and large bank cash needs a home - green line - like picking up a small bank from the FDIC).

All of which makes us wonder - you know, just thinking out loud - are we setting up for another banking crisis in March as:

1) BTFP runs out (it was only a 12 month temporary program), and

2) RRP drains to zero, at which point reserves get yanked which means huge deposits flight.

Is that why The Fed needed to bring rates down massively and fast, to reduce the bond losses on banks' books?

[ZH: Or, as we detailed here, is there another reason for Powell's big pivot?]

Enjoy the show and buy more ammo.

I think it’s time we stop
Children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down

Buffalo Springfield