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The “VaR Shock” Is Back: Global Bonds Lose $880 Billion In One Week

Markets were in turmoil, S&P futures were locked limit down as traders panicked, the establishment political system was in chaos and global bond portfolios were about to suffer a near record $1.2 trillion in losses in just a few days.

All this took place in the hours and days following Donald Trump’s November 8, 2016 election as a Value at Risk (or VaR) shockwave spread around the globe over fears Trump would ignite an inflationary conflagration that would undo years of unorthodox monetary policy, sending interest rates soaring and crashing stock  markets.

In retrospect it didn’t happen, and as the initial shock from the political revolution in the US fizzled, bond buying resumed and the VaR shock of 2016 faded as an unpleasant memory.

Or rather, it didn’t happen then, because fast forward a little under two years, when the realization that something may is profoundly changing with the US economy has unleashed the latest global bond market Value at Risk, or VaR shock, when in just the span of three days as interest rates blew out both in the US and across the world…

some $876 billion in aggregate bond market value was lost, the biggest weekly drop since the Trump election VaR shock, and wiping out one year’s worth of mark to market profits as the aggregate value of global bonds tumbled to $48.9 trillion, the lowest going back to October 2017.

The immediate catalysts have been extensively discussed here in recent days: a record non-manufacturing ISM, a surprisingly hawkish speech by Fed Chair Powell in which he warned that rates “may go past neutral” and, topping it off, another strong nonfarm payrolls report. Meanwhile, European bonds have tumbled on renewed fears about Italian politics while Emerging Markets have been routed as a result of the strong dollar which in turn has squashed local bonds.

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