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Dollar Liquidity Turmoil Returns With First Oversubscribed Term Repo In A Month, $99.9 Billion Liquidity Injection

Dollar Liquidity Turmoil Returns With First Oversubscribed Term Repo In A Month, $99.9 Billion Liquidity Injection

This was not supposed to happen.

After the Fed rolled out the big artillery in response to the sharp, sudden mid-September funding squeeze (which we now know had virtually nothing to do with last month’s tax payments or other one-time events such as the Treasury’s cash rebuild), including the return of both overnight and term repo operations, and culminated with the Fed’s relaunching of QE which would be used to permanently increase the balance sheet with $60BN in T-Bills every month in order to replenish reserves (because we live in a bizarro world where $1.4 trillion in bank cash is not enough for the smooth functioning of bank plumbing), moments ago we got the latest indication that the dollar funding shortage is again getting worse – despite the market having priced in the Fed’s rollout of the “kitchen sink” to ease funding conditions – when the Fed announced that it had its first oversubscribed Term Repo operation since the funding crisis erupted in September.

Specifically, while the Fed’s 2-week term repo operation was capped at $35 billion as has been the case for the past week, dealers submitted $52.2BN worth of securities ($39.9BN in TSYs, $12.3BN in MBS)…

… making today’s term operation 1.5x oversubscribed, which was the first overallotted operation since the second term repo at the start of the funding crisis on Sept 26.

Needless to say, if the funding shortage was getting better, this operation would not be oversubscribed. The only possible explanation, is someone really needed to lock in cash for Halloween (the maturity of the op is on Nov 5) which is when a “No Deal” Brexit may go live, and as a result one or more banks are bracing for the worst.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Not Transitory – Fed Liquidity Handout Surges To Near $90 Billion

Not Transitory – Fed Liquidity Handout Surges To Near $90 Billion

So much for the ‘transitory’ liquidity shortage arguments put forth by commission-takers and asset-gatherers, The NYFed accepted $87.7 billion (in o/n and term) repo today – the highest level yet.

The Fed accepted $20.1 billion in 14-day term repo…

And $67.7 billion in overnight repo…

The biggest overnight repo (liquidity bailout) since September.

Having stabilized in the $30-40 billion range, liquidity needs have surged once again as it seems the big banks just cannot wait for The Fed’s NotQE in November.

Central Banks Are Just Getting Warmed Up

Central Banks Are Just Getting Warmed Up

According to all central banks, one of the main problems they are called to solve is that countries cannot reach their inflation target of (close to but below) 2 percent. Even their religious trust in the long-discredited Phillips curve cannot explain why price inflation is low in many countries despite historically low unemployment rates. Nonetheless, central banks still enjoy immense credibility. It’s common to hear such sentences as “never bet against the Fed,” the “ECB has big bazooka primed”… and all market participants monitor each public meeting to understand what the next policy could be and how they should be positioned when it arrives.1

To reach the inflation targets and “stimulate the economy,” central banks regularly meet to devise ever-new stimulus programs, and do not despair when, inevitably, the one-off unconventional interventions quickly become the new normal. For example, the world-famous Quantitative Easing (QE) was supposed to be a one-time emergency response to the 2008 crisis, except it has now become one of the many tools of regular monetary policy, and a key component in market demand for financial assets. An undesired but perfectly predictable side effect of QE is that it allows governments to increase their spending without care for the deficit, and still pay negative interest rates in real terms, so no discipline is imposed, except for some empty promise to reduce the deficit some time in the future, if the opportunity comes. Several Western countries have embarked in QE, some in many consecutive rounds, but there is no mention of a reverse-course, an eventual, opposite Quantitative Tightening (QT). Only the United States have tried QT, and the Fed has even announced that they were on a stable and data-driven process back to normalization, to try to maintain their reputation of scientific management of the monetary aggregates.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

QE for the People

QE for the People

Myrmikan’s May letter discussed how the Fed had already begun to ease nancialconditions, though the method was so subtle that few understood what the central bank was doing.

Banks are required to keep required reserves at the Fed. Banks that nd themselves with a de cient reserve level have to borrow reserves from those with excess reserves,and the interest rate they pay is called the fed funds rate. The fed funds rate thereby sets the minimum level of funding for the banking system. The Federal Reserve used to set this rate through open market operations: buying Treasuries would add reserves to the banking system and lower the fed funds rate (and vice-versa).

Historically, reserves earned no interest, and so, before 2008, banks maintainedas few reserves as possible—they could always buy a Treasury bill with any excess cash. After the Fed ooded the banking system with reserves during the 2008 panic, banks found themselves with excess reserves, which peaked at $2.7 trillion. The Fedsets the general reserve requirement at 10%, which means the banking system couldhave added $27 trillion of credit to the economy. In fact, certain classes of assets (suchas Treasuries, mortgage-backed securities, etc.) have risk weightings that allow banks to hold as little as 2% reserves against them, which enables 50 times leverage on suchassets (which is how, for example, Citicorp was able to be levered up 48:1 in 2007).

In order to keep trillions of levered up credit from crashing into the economy, the Fed began paying interest on excess reserves (IOER). Given the level of excessreserves, the Fed could no longer use open market operations to manipulate the fedfunds rate.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is Powell Playing Fed Games?

U.S. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell speaks during a discussion at the Economic Club in Washington on Jan. 10, 2019. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell speaks during a discussion at the Economic Club in Washington on Jan. 10, 2019. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Is Powell Playing Fed Games?

The Federal Reserve will be adding assets to its balance sheet again, but Powell insists it’s not “quantitative easing”

The Federal Reserve will be adding assets to its balance sheet again, but Powell insists it’s not “quantitative easing”James GorrieWRITEROctober 10, 2019 Updated: October 10, 2019Share

Apparently, the “repo market” purchases by the Federal Reserve we discussed earlier this week —which don’t count as quantitative easing (QE)—were just the beginning of the new, non-quantitative easing but money printing period.

Fed “repos,” you may recall, are now necessary to boost weak overnight liquidity reserves of the big banks and don’t permanently expand the Fed’s balance sheet, unless they go on forever, in which case they would be QE. Now they are more of a short-term bail-out.

It’s Time for “Non-Quantitative Easing”

But in his Tuesday speech, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell explained that for the first time in five years, the “time is now upon us” for the Fed to resume buying U.S Treasury bills and bonds. That means that come November, the American economy will officially enter into another period of quantitative easing, you know, the Fed buying assets to expand its balance sheet.

Or not.

Typically, when the Federal Reserve buys Treasury assets, it’s because of weakness, either in the economy or in the financial system. A weakness that needs to be papered over by money printing, expanding the Fed’s balance sheet and bank reserves. Or the Fed buys other assets that nobody wants to buy at a decent price, like the purchases of mortgage backed securities (MBS) it conducted after the financial crisis.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Not A QE” Begins: Fed Start Buying $60BN In Bills Per Month Starting Next Week

“Not A QE” Begins: Fed Start Buying $60BN In Bills Per Month Starting Next Week

Just one day after we laid out what Goldman’s revised forecast for the Fed’s “NOT A QE” will look like, which for those who missed it predicted that the Fed would announce “monthly purchases of about $60BN for four months, split across Treasury bills and short maturity coupon Treasuries, in order to replenish the roughly $200bn reserve shortfall and support the pace of growth in non-reserve liabilities”, the Fed has done just that and moments ago – well ahead of consensus expectations which saw the Fed making this announcement some time in November – the US central bank announced it would start purchasing $60BN in Bills per month starting October 15. This will be in addition to rolling over “all principal payments from the Federal Reserve’s holdings of Treasury securities and the continued reinvestment all principal payments from the Federal Reserve’s holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities received during each calendar month.”

In short, the proposed schedule is virtually identical to the one Goldman “proposed” yesterday, one which sees the Fed purchase a grand total of $100BN or so in TSYs the near term, and one which is meant to “engineer a one-off level shift of roughly $200bn over the course of four months.

But wait there’s more, because just as today’s surprising spike in repo use suggested, mere “NOT A QE” may not cut it, and just in case, in order to provide an “ample supply of reserves”, the Fed will continue with $75BN in overnight repos and $35 billion in term repos twice per week, “at least through January of next year.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

After Unveiling ‘NotQE’, Fed Eases Liquidity Rules For Foreign Banks (Rescues Deutsche)

After Unveiling ‘NotQE’, Fed Eases Liquidity Rules For Foreign Banks (Rescues Deutsche)

Having cracked down on Deutsche Bank in the past, The Fed appears to be playing good-regulator/bad-regulator as The FT reports thatDeutsche is expected to benefit most from an imminent change in The Fed’s liquidity rules.

Specifically, US banking regulators have dropped an idea to subject local branches of foreign banks to tough new liquidity rules(forcing US branches of foreign banks to hold a minimum level of liquid assets to protect them from a cash crunch).

As The FT further details, people familiar with his thinking say Randal Quarles, the vice-chair for banking supervision at the Fed, accepts the banks’ argument that any liquidity rules on bank branches should only be imposed in conjunction with foreign regulators.

“Without some international agreement, we could have the situation where each country is trying to grab whatever isn’t nailed down if there is another scare.”

And Deutsche Bank benefits most (or rescued from major liquidity needs) since it has by far the largest assets in US branches…

Why would The Fed do this?

Simple, it cannot afford another Lehman-like move (or even the fear of one)…

Source: Bloomberg

The Repo Market Incident May Be The Tip Of The Iceberg

The Federal Reserve has injected $278 billion into the securities repurchase market for the first time. Numerous justifications have been provided to explain why this has happened and, more importantly, why it lasted for various days. The first explanation was quite simplistic: an unexpected tax payment. This made no sense. If there is ample liquidity and investors are happy to take financing positions at negative rates all over the world, the abrupt rise in repo rates would simply vanish in a few hours.

Let us start with definitions. The repo market is where borrowers seeking cash offer lenders collateral in the form of safe securities.  Repo rates are the interest rate paid to borrow cash in exchange for Treasuries for 24 hours.

Sudden bursts in the repo lending market are not unusual. What is unusual is that it takes days to normalize and even more unusual to see that the Federal Reserve needs to inject hundreds of billions in a few days to offset the unstoppable rise in short-term rates.

Because liquidity is ample, thirst for yield is enormous and financial players are financially more solvent than years ago, right? Wrong.

What the Repo Market Crisis shows us is that liquidity is substantially lower than what the Federal Reserve believes, that fear of contagion and rising risk are evident in the weakest link of the financial repression machine (the overnight market) and, more importantly, that liquidity providers probably have significantly more leverage than many expected.

In summary, the ongoing -and likely to return- burst in the repo market is telling us that risk and debt accumulation are much higher than estimated. Central banks believed they could create a Tsunami of liquidity and manage the waves.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Song Hongbing’s “Currency Wars” – a review

Song Hongbing’s “Currency Wars” – a review 

A revolutionary book from China, where it became a bestseller and is hushed up in Europe for (un)known reasons

Did you know that the FED is actually a private bank and still has the right to issue dollars? Did you know that for over 200 years private bankers have been controlling inflation and deflation, causing crises and even determining world history? Or do you really believe that history is a chaotic process, a melting pot of coincidences, independent decisions by politicians, insane ideologies and carefully planned strategies? Consider the crises in South Korea (1997), Argentina (1998-2002), Greece (2009) and many others in modern world history. Who did the citizens of the affected countries blame for the crisis? Not only their government, but also the international bankers, for whom the governments of the countries affected by the crisis were only a springboard. Would you like to know how these bankers manage to be so powerful and control demand for money almost everywhere in the world and thus control societies? It’s not that complicated and you don’t have to know anything about the economy: just read “Currency Wars” by Song Hongbing. 

It is not a novelty (already published in 2006), but it throws a whole new light on the issues that are tricky today: Currency wars and financial crises. Everyone is asking today: will the yuan strengthen and the dollar weaken? What about the euro? Lagard’s election of the head of the ECB has buried the hope for a stronger euro that was associated with the candidacy of Weidmann – a well-known hawk in financial policies. If she continues to weaken the euro in this way, will interest rates in the euro zone slide so low that pensioners and savers will slowly but surely lose their money? Probably. It’s time for “shearing sheep” as Song Hongbing calls such moments in history (crises, expropriations, etc.). We, the people, are these sheep.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

NY Fed Announces Extension Of Overnight Repos Until Nov 4, Will Offer 8 More Term Repos

NY Fed Announces Extension Of Overnight Repos Until Nov 4, Will Offer 8 More Term Repos

Anyone who expected that the easing of the quarter-end funding squeeze in the repo market would mean the Fed would gradually fade its interventions in the repo market, was disappointed on Friday afternoon when the NY Fed announced it would extend the duration of overnight repo operations (with a total size of $75BN) for at least another month, while also offer no less than eight 2-week term repo operations until November 4, 2019, which confirms that the funding unlocked via term repo is no longer merely a part of the quarter-end arsenal but an integral part of the Fed’s overall “temporary” open market operations… which are starting to look quite permanent.

This is the statement published moments ago by the NY Fed:

In accordance with the most recent Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) directive, the Open Market Trading Desk (the Desk) at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York will conduct a series of overnight and term repurchase agreement (repo) operations to help maintain the federal funds rate within the target range.

Effective the week of October 7, the Desk will offer term repos through the end of October as indicated in the schedule below. The Desk will continue to offer daily overnight repos for an aggregate amount of at least $75 billion each through Monday, November 4, 2019.

Securities eligible as collateral include Treasury, agency debt, and agency mortgage-backed securities. Awarded amounts may be less than the amount offered, depending on the total quantity of eligible propositions submitted. Additional details about the operations will be released each afternoon for the following day’s operation(s) on the Repurchase Agreement Operational Details webpage. The operation schedule and parameters are subject to change if market conditions warrant or should the FOMC alter its guidance to the Desk.  

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Disaster of Negative Interest Rates

The Disaster of Negative Interest Rates

The dollar strengthened against the euro in August, merely in anticipation of the European Central Bank slashing its key interest rate further into negative territory. Investors were fleeing into the dollar, prompting President Trump to tweet on Aug. 30:

The Euro is dropping against the Dollar “like crazy,” giving them a big export and manufacturing advantage… And the Fed does NOTHING!

When the ECB cut its key rate as anticipated, from a negative 0.4% to a negative 0.5%, the president tweeted on Sept. 11:

The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less, and we should then start to refinance our debt. INTEREST COST COULD BE BROUGHT WAY DOWN, while at the same time substantially lengthening the term.

And on Sept. 12 he tweeted:

European Central Bank, acting quickly, Cuts Rates 10 Basis Points. They are trying, and succeeding, in depreciating the Euro against the VERY strong Dollar, hurting U.S. exports…. And the Fed sits, and sits, and sits. They get paid to borrow money, while we are paying interest!

However, negative interest rates have not been shown to stimulate the economies that have tried them, and they would wreak havoc on the U.S. economy, for reasons unique to the U.S. dollar. The ECB has not gone to negative interest rates to gain an export advantage. It is to keep the European Union from falling apart, something that could happen if the United Kingdom does indeed pull out and Italy follows suit, as it has threatened to do. If what Trump wants is cheap borrowing rates for the U.S. federal government, there is a safer and easier way to get them.

The Real Reason the ECB Has Gone to Negative Interest Rates

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Ghost of Failed Banks Returns

THE GHOST OF FAILED BANKS RETURNS

Last week’s failure in the US repo market might have had something to do with Deutsche Bank’s disposal of its prime brokerage to BNP, bringing an unwelcome spotlight to the troubled bank and other foreign banks with prime brokerages in America. There are also worrying similarities between Germany’s Deutsche Bank today and Austria’s Credit-Anstalt in 1931, only the scale is far larger and additionally includes derivatives with a gross value of $50 trillion.

If the repo problem spreads, it could also raise questions over the synthetic ETF industry, whose cash and deposits may face escalating counterparty risks in some of the large banks and their prime brokerages. Managers of synthetic ETFs should be urgently re-evaluating their contractual relationships.

Whoever the repo failure involved, it is likely to prove a watershed moment, causing US bankers to more widely consider their exposure to counterparty risk and risky loans, particularly leveraged loans and their collateralised form in CLOs. The deterioration in global trade prospects, as well as the US economic outlook and the likelihood that reducing dollar interest rates to the zero bound will prove insufficient to reverse a decline, will take on a new relevance to their decisions.

Problems under the surface

Last week, something unusual happened: instead of the more normal reverse repurchase agreements, the Fed escalated its repurchase agreements (repos). For the avoidance of doubt, a reverse repo by the Fed involves the Fed borrowing money from commercial banks, secured by collateral held on its balance sheet, typically US Treasury bills. Reverse repos withdraw liquidity from the banking system. With a repo, the opposite happens: the Fed takes in collateral from the banking system and lends money against the collateral, injecting liquidity into the system. The use of reverse repos can be regarded as the Fed’s principal liquidity management tool when the banks have substantial reserves parked with the Fed, which is the case today.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Weekly Commentary: No Coincidences

Weekly Commentary: No Coincidences

September 20 – Wall Street Journal (Daniel Kruger): “The Federal Reserve Bank of New York will offer to add at least $75 billion daily to the financial system through Oct. 10, prolonging its efforts to relieve funding pressure in money markets. In addition to at least $75 billion in overnight loans, the New York Fed… will also offer three separate 14-day repo contracts of at least $30 billion each next week… On Friday banks asked for $75.55 billion in reserves, $550 million more than the amount offered by the Fed, offering collateral in the form of Treasury and mortgage securities. The Fed’s operation was the fourth time this week it has intervened to calm roiled money markets. Rates on short-term repos briefly spiked to nearly 10% earlier this week as financial firms looked for overnight funding. The actions marked the first time since the financial crisis that the Fed had taken such measures.”

With the Lehman collapse setting off the “worst financial crisis since the Great Depression”, instability in the multi-trillion repurchase agreement marketplace generates intense interest. This market for funding levered securities holdings is critical to the financial system’s “plumbing.” It’s a market in perceived “money” – highly liquid and virtually risk free-instruments. If risk suddenly becomes an issue for this shadowy network, the cost and availability of Credit for highly leveraged players is suddenly in question. And any de-risking/deleveraging at the nucleus of the global financial system would pose a clear and present danger for sparking “risk off” throughout Credit markets and financial markets more generally.

I’ll usually begin contemplating the CBB on Thursdays. This week’s alarming dislocation in the “repo” market was clearly a major development worthy of focus. But I was planning on highlighting the lack of initial contagion effects in corporate Credit, a not surprising development considering the New York Fed’s aggressive liquidity injections.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Ghost of Failed Banks Returns

The Ghost of Failed Banks Returns 

Last week’s failure in the US repo market might have had something to do with Deutsche Bank’s disposal of its prime brokerage to BNP, bringing an unwelcome spotlight to the troubled bank and other foreign banks with prime brokerages in America. There are also worrying similarities between Germany’s Deutsche Bank today and Austria’s Credit-Anstalt in 1931, only the scale is far larger and additionally includes derivatives with a gross value of $50 trillion. 

If the repo problem spreads, it could also raise questions over the synthetic ETF industry, whose cash and deposits may face escalating counterparty risks in some of the large banks and their prime brokerages. Managers of synthetic ETFs should be urgently re-evaluating their contractual relationships.

Whoever the repo failure involved, it is likely to prove a watershed moment, causing US bankers to more widely consider their exposure to counterparty risk and risky loans, particularly leveraged loans and their collateralised form in CLOs. The deterioration in global trade prospects, as well as the US economic outlook and the likelihood that reducing dollar interest rates to the zero bound will prove insufficient to reverse a decline, will take on a new relevance to their decisions.

Problems under the surface

Last week, something unusual happened: instead of the more normal reverse repurchase agreements, the Fed escalated its repurchase agreements (repos). For the avoidance of doubt, a reverse repo by the Fed involves the Fed borrowing money from commercial banks, secured by collateral held on its balance sheet, typically US Treasury bills. Reverse repos withdraw liquidity from the banking system. With a repo, the opposite happens: the Fed takes in collateral from the banking system and lends money against the collateral, injecting liquidity into the system. The use of reverse repos can be regarded as the Fed’s principal liquidity management tool when the banks have substantial reserves parked with the Fed, which is the case today.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Coup Has Begun – The Empire Strikes Back Everywhere

The Coup Has Begun – The Empire Strikes Back Everywhere

“I am altering the deal, pray I don’t alter it any further.”

Darth Vader, “The Empire Strikes Back”

You know I think there are no coincidences in politics. Everything happens on a particular schedule. So when I see a day as crazy as today I have to ask the question, “Why this, why now?”

Look at the headlines and you’ll see what I’m talking about. All of these things happened since I woke up at 7:30am this morning in Florida:

  1. The British Supreme Court just arrogated unprecedented power to itself by inserting itself into any dispute between the Government and Parliament. This upends more than 300 years of constitutional process.
  2. The Democrats have announced they will pursue impeachment charges against President Trump because an unverified, hearsay whistleblower made a complaint about a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski. Impeachment odds soared overnight as someone was tipped off about the Democrats’ plan.
  3. Bitcoin’s hashrate mysteriously flash-crashed more than 40% presaging a massive $1500 drop in price. 
  4. Donald Trump delivered a blistering critique of socialism at the United Nations General Assembly. Too bad he’s nearly as bad as the ones he’s fighting on the far left.
  5. Europe’s Trio of Faded Glory — The UK, France and Germany — joined in the chorus of unverified condemnation of Iran in the attack on the Saudi oil field on the 14th.
  6. The Federal Reserve continues to bail out banks to the tune of $65 to $75 billion per day through overnight repo operations that no one can give us an explanation as to why they’re needed.

This feels to me like a multi-level coup against those that dare stand athwart the global power structure. Both British and American leadership institutions are under sincere attack with these moves.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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