Home » Posts tagged 'quantitative easing'

Tag Archives: quantitative easing

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Someday They Are Going To Write Books About This!

Someday They Are Going To Write Books About This!

What is occurring today is absolutely mind-boggling. Someday they are going to write books about this! While there have been some messed up financial conundrums over the years none rival the current situation now before us. The dilemma before us is a fast-moving enigma wrapped in a gossamer cloak. Not only are the players that make up the global political-financial complex busy buying up bad debt, stocks, and bailing out those they deem too big to fail, they have destroyed the concept of real interest on loans. They have trampled all over true price discovery the basis of a free market.

The budget forecast be damned, its full speed ahead. The only justification we need is saying it will be far worse if we do nothing.The bungled response of a delusional government so obsessed with the idea that by simply passing legislation they can make things happen should not be overlooked. The Paycheck Protection Program or PPP was originally funded with $350 billion but the money was soon gone. Of the thirty million small businesses in America, only 1.7 million received money from the 2.3 trillion dollar aid package passed to help sustain America during this difficult time.

This resulted in more funding but still, the last report I saw indicated only around 13% of the, less than half the businesses that were eligible, were approved before the fund was again depleted and 60% of these had yet to receive any money.  Just as poorly handled was rapidly getting out money promised to individuals and creating a system where many people could receive more money by collecting unemployment than returning to work. The problem is that when all is said and done, large businesses with access to cheap capital will again be the winners and the big losers are the middle-class, small businesses, and social mobility.

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

Fed Cut Back on Helicopter Money for Wall Street & the Wealthy

Fed Cut Back on Helicopter Money for Wall Street & the Wealthy

Tapered QE-4 Further, Still Hasn’t Bought Junk Bonds or ETFs, Was Just Jawboning.

Total assets on the Fed’s balance sheet rose by $205 billion during the week ending April 22, to $6.57 trillion. Since the week ending March 11, when the bailout of the Everything Bubble and its holders began, the Fed has printed $2.26 trillion.

But the $205 billion increase was the smallest increase since the mega-bailout began with its Sunday March 15 announcement. The Fed is tapering its purchases of Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Repurchase agreements (repos) are falling into disuse. Lending to Special Purposes Vehicles (SPVs) has leveled off. And foreign central bank liquidity swaps, after having spiked initially, only ticked up by a small-ish amount.

The sharply reduced increases confirm that the Fed is following its various announcements over the past two years that during the next crisis – namely now – it would front-load the bailout QE and after the initial blast would then taper it out of existence, rather than let it drag out for years.

This concept was further confirmed by Fed Chair Jerome Powell on April 10 when he said that the Fed would pack away its emergency tools when “private markets and institutions are once again able to perform their vital functions of channeling credit and supporting economic growth.”

Overall, the Fed has cut the big QE purchases by 65% since the peak week (week ending April 1, $586 billion), to $205 billion:

Purchases of Treasury securities get slashed.

The Fed added $120 billion of Treasury securities to its balance sheet, the smallest amount since this began, down 67% from the $362 billion it had added during the peak week:

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

“Down The Rabbit Hole” – The Eurodollar Market Is The Matrix Behind It All

“Down The Rabbit Hole” – The Eurodollar Market Is The Matrix Behind It All

Summary

  • The Eurodollar system is a critical but often misunderstood driver of global financial markets: its importance cannot be understated.
  • Its origins are shrouded in mystery and intrigue; its operations are invisible to most; and yet it controls us in many ways. We will attempt to enlighten readers on what it is and what it means.
  • However, it is also a system under huge structural pressures – and as such we may be about to experience a profound paradigm shift with key implications for markets, economies, and geopolitics.
  • Recent Fed actions on swap lines and repo facilities only underline this fact rather than reducing its likelihood

What is The Matrix? 

A new world-class golf course in an Asian country financed with a USD bank loan. A Mexican property developer buying a hotel in USD. A European pension company wanting to hold USD assets and swapping borrowed EUR to do so. An African retailer importing Chinese-made toys for sale, paying its invoice in USD.

All of these are small examples of the multi-faceted global Eurodollar market. Like The Matrix, it is all around us, and connects us. Also just like The Matrix, most are unaware of its existence even as it defines the parameters we operate within. As we shall explore in this special report, it is additionally a Matrix that encompasses an implicit power struggle that only those who grasp its true nature are cognizant of.

Moreover, at present this Matrix and its Architect face a huge, perhaps existential, challenge.

Yes, it has overcome similar crises before…but it might be that the Novel (or should we say ‘Neo’?) Coronavirus is The One.

So, here is the key question to start with: What is the Eurodollar system? 

For Neo-phytes

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

Takeover

Takeover

We can’t print ourselves out of this crisis again, but that isn’t stopping the Federal Reserve from trying. Thursday’s intervention program, the latest in a string of panic moves to keep the financial system afloat, constitutes a complete takeover attempt of the market ecosphere, only the buying of stocks directly is last missing piece of eventual complete central bank control of equity markets. But seizing control of the bond market is the nearest equivalent step.

Not only that, the Fed is buying junk corporate debt propping up companies that should be let to fail as Chamath Palihapitiya pointed out poignantly this week. But not this Fed, no, with its actions it is again setting up the economy for yet another slower growth recovery, financed by even more debt.

QE doesn’t produce growth, that is the established track record:

Nobody wants to talk about the consequences to come following this crisis, but that doesn’t mean the consequences won’t be a real and present reality.

No, the Fed, while trying to save the world, is once again engaged in vastly distorting asset prices from the fundamental reality of the economy. It is in essence again laying the foundation for the next bubble, while the bursting of this bubble has yet to be fully priced in.

Even the Wall Street Editorial Board has made it perfectly clear what this is all about:


The @WSJ Editorial Board tells you what the new price distortion is all about: Save Wall Street and the top 1% and hope for trickle down economics later:https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-feds-main-street-mistake-11586474912 …

View image on Twitter

Asset price inflation to save markets in the hopes of trickle down growth to come.

Absurd.

The message the Fed is again is sending is to invite reckless behavior on the side of investors, the same reckless, TINA, fueled behavior that got us the bubble blow-off top in February.

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

The Fed’s Balance Sheet: The Other Exponential Curve

The Fed’s Balance Sheet: The Other Exponential Curve

As the threat of COVID-19 keeps millions of Americans locked down at home, businesses and financial markets are suffering.

For example, a survey of small-business owners found that 51% did not believe they could survive the pandemic for longer than three months. At the same time, the S&P 500 posted its worst first-quarter on record.

In response to this havoc, the U.S. Federal Reserve (the Fed) is taking unprecedented steps to try and stabilize the economy. This includes, as Visual Capitalist’s Marcu Lu details below, a return to quantitative easing (QE), a controversial policy which involves adding more money into the banking system. To help us understand the implications of these actions, today’s chart illustrates the swelling balance sheet of the Fed.

How Does Quantitative Easing Work?

Expansionary monetary policies are used by central banks to foster economic growth by increasing the money supply and lowering interest rates. These mechanisms will, in theory, stimulate business investment as well as consumer spending.

However, in the current low interest-rate environment, the effectiveness of such policies is diminished. When short-term rates are already so close to zero, reducing them further will have little impact. To overcome this dilemma in 2008, central banks began experimenting with the unconventional monetary policy of QE to inject new money into the system by purchasing massive quantities of longer-term assets such as Treasury bonds.

These purchases are intended to increase the money supply while decreasing the supply of the longer-term assets. In theory, this should put upward pressure on these assets’ prices (due to less supply) and decrease their yield (interest rates have an inverse relationship with bond prices).

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

This Curve Will Never Flatten Again: Fed Balance Sheet Hits $6.1 Trillion, Up $2 Trillion In 1 Month

This Curve Will Never Flatten Again: Fed Balance Sheet Hits $6.1 Trillion, Up $2 Trillion In 1 Month

Here is an example of a curve that everyone wants to flatten.

And here is an example of a curve that while some  – namely the bears – also wants to see collapse, it will never do so  as that would mean the end of western civilization – which is now entirely contingent on the level of the S&P500 – as we know it. We are talking of course, about the Fed balance sheet which is now well above $6 trillion to make sure stocks and bonds don’t crash.

With that in mind here is all you need to know about this particular “curve”:

Total Fed assets grew by $293Bn to $6.08 trillion as of close, April 8, with the increase primarily driven by $294bn of Treasury securities added to the SOMA portfolio. Through its credit facilities, the Fed also extended $680bn in temporary liquidity to various counterparties, a decline of $61bn from last week.

In the past month, the Fed balance sheet has increased by $2 trillion, more than all of QE3, when the balance sheet increased by $1.7 trillion over the span of a year. The balance sheet increase has also been faster on a weekly basis than anything observed during the financial crisis, increasing as follows:

  • April 8: $$272BN
  • April 1: $557BN
  • March 25: $586BN
  • March 17:$356BN

Since the Fed needs to monetize all debt issuance this year, and probably every other year now that the Treasury and Fed have merged and helicopter money has arrived, the pace of the current QE is like nothing ever observed before:

And since we know what the Fed’s POMO schedule is for next week: an increase of $225BN in TSYs and MBS…

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

“Project Zimbabwe”

“Project Zimbabwe”

Roughly a month ago on the afternoon of Sunday, March 8th, Fed Chairman Powell had an emergency staff meeting.

Powell: I want the nuttiest money printing plan ever. What action plans do we have that are prepared and ready to initiate?

Admin: Well, we have this one named “GFC 2.0”

Powell: Sounds tame and sedate. Won’t impress anyone.

Admin: What about this one named “Whatever It Takes”

Powell: Lemme look… Meh… I want more shock and awe. This needs at least two more zeros.

Admin: Well, we have this other one named “Project Zimbabwe” but it’s so ridiculous that the Fed would forever lose all credibility…

Powell: hmmm… I like the sound of “Project Zimbabwe.” Just makes you want to turn dollars into toasters and washing machines to preserve wealth. This one will force guys so far out on the risk curve that they’ll think crypto-coins are value investments.

Admin: Yeah, it’s absolutely Wuhan-bat-shit nutty. We’d be criminally insane to unleash this on a population that isn’t prepared for hyperinflation…

Powell: Perfect!! Let’s have a press conference.

A few hours later…

Powell: Mr. President, I finally took rates to zero and launched QE infinity. Can you stop trolling me on twitter already? I can’t take any more of my wife cracking jokes about your tweets.

Trump: Be a man. You got it easy. Wait until you see what I do to Biden. He puts the “Dem in Dementia” haha…

Powell: Please, no more nasty tweets. Even my kids laugh at me.

Trump: Fine, but you’re thinking too small with “Project Zimbabwe.” Figure out how to print more aggressively. Look at what Mnuchin is doing with all his bailout programs. He’s gonna blow $10 trillion by early summer, then try to double that by election time. You better crank up that printing press of yours. I’ll stop tweeting if you keep monetizing the “Mnuchin Money.”

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

A Corporate-Debt Reckoning Is Coming

A Corporate-Debt Reckoning Is Coming

Corporate debt is the timebomb everyone saw ticking, but no one was able to defuse. Ratings agencies warned about it: Moody’s, S&P. Central banks and international financial institutions did too: the Fed, the Bank of England, the Bank for International Settlements, the IMF. Financial luminaries expressed concern: Jamie Dimon, Seth Klarman, Jes Staley, Jeffrey Gundlach, Henry McVey. Even a presidential candidate brought the issue on the campaign trail: Elizabeth Warren. Yet, as we’ve documented in these pages for more than two years, corporations have only piled on more debt as their balance sheet health has deteriorated.

Total U.S. non-financial corporate debt sits at just under $10 trillion, a record 47% of GDP. One in six U.S. companies is now a zombie, meaning their interest expenses exceed their earnings before interest and taxes. As of year-end 2019, the percentage of listed companies in the U.S. losing money over 12 months sat close to 40%. In the 12 months to November, non-financial S&P 500 cash balances had declined by 11%, the largest percentage decline since at least 1980.

For too long, record-low interest rates inspired complacency, from companies to lenders to regulators and investors. As we warned in WILTW August 8, 2019corporate fundamentals will eventually matter. Now, with COVID-19 grinding the global economy to a halt, that time has come.

Systemic threats are littered throughout the corporate debt ecosystem. Greater than 50% of outstanding debt is rated BBB, one rung above junk. As downgrades come, asset managers will be forced to flood the market with supply at a time demand has dried up. Meanwhile, leveraged loans — which have swelled by 50% since 2015 to over $1.2 trillion — threaten unprecedented losses given covenant deterioration. And bond ETFs could face a liquidity crisis as a flood of redemptions force offloading of all-too-illiquid bonds (see WILTW January 31, 2019).

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

The Federal Reserve’s One Last Hail Mary

The Federal Reserve’s One Last Hail Mary

Over the last few weeks, the Federal Reserve has been in utter desperation mode to try to revive and keep the American economy on life support. What many in the mainstream media have failed to include in this recent coronavirus economic narrative is that the virus was just the pin of one the biggest bubbles ever created, which we call the central bank bubble revolving around U.S sovereign bonds.

Before we dive deep into this, let’s start with what the Fed has been doing to combat against the coronavirus and to keep markets alive for the time being. To begin, welcome back to the era of the printing press, but this time they have made it clear they will conduct “QE infinity” if this is a prolonged depression, which it will be. 

For some prospective, previous QE programs were: 

  • QE1: $1.7 Trillion 
  • QE2: $600 Billion 
  • QE3: $1.6 Trillion 

With this latest being: 

  •    QE4:$1.6 Trillion 

An overwhelming number in such a short period, making previous QE programs look like peanuts in comparison. In fact, the Fed printed roughly $970,000 every second last week to keep the market afloat. To validate that the Fed is artificially keeping the market alive, just look at this next chart: 

This chart showcases that while the Fed balance sheet has shot up ($5.2 Trillion), corporate earnings have plummeted. The market is clearly on life support with the Federal Reserve as its temporary backstop. Presently, the aviation, hotel, and automotive industries, to name a few, are in a major crisis. This applies to all businesses, but since 2008 companies have taken advantage of prolonged zero interest rates and have gone on a total debt binge, with the majority of this debt going strictly to share buybacks and dividends to shareholders.

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

Nobody Knows Anything

Nobody Knows Anything

The more I read and observe the clearer the message: Nobody knows anything. And by that I mean nobody truly knows how any of this will turn out and I think this point needs to be driven home more clearly.

Tons of projections of this, that and the other. Just stop. I happen to think there are times to simply step back and not make grand predictions. For us that’s ok because we focus primarily on market technicals and that’s an ever evolving picture that offers us pivot points to decide when and where to get engaged in.

But on the macro? Give me a break. Nobody knows anything. Everybody is just guessing.

Exhibit A: GDP forecast for Q2:

Ok great. How’s that helping anyone in trying to value companies, cash flow, revenues, earnings? It doesn’t. -9% is a completely different planet than -40% and so is everything in between.

How does one qualify central bank and stimulus intervention? It changes every single day. Today the Fed cranked out an international repo program. Global central banks unite I guess. Also today Donald Trump tweeted about a $2 trillion infrastructure program. Who knows if it will happen. The Fed already increased its balance sheet by $1.3 trillion since the same time last year and may well be heading toward $9  or $10 trillion balance sheet position within a year. Last week they added $600B, basically all of QE2 in a week.

These are insane numbers thrown around, all on top of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package just passed. What’s the deficit going to be? I guess it depends on whether GDP drops by 40% or 9%.

Give me a break. How do you make any forecasts that have a predictive meaning whatsoever in this environment? Other than a lucky guess, the answer is nobody. Why? Because nobody knows anything.

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

Will Coronavirus End the Fed?

Will Coronavirus End the Fed?

September 17, 2019 was a significant day in American economic history. On that day, the New York Federal Reserve began emergency cash infusions into the repurchasing (repo) market. This is the market banks use to make short-term loans to each other. The New York Fed acted after interest rates in the repo market rose to almost 10 percent, well above the Fed’s target rate.

The New York Fed claimed its intervention was a temporary measure, but it has not stopped pumping money into the repo market since September. Also, the Federal Reserve has been expanding its balance sheet since September. Investment advisor Michael Pento called the balance sheet expansion quantitative easing (QE) “on steroids.”

I mention these interventions to show that the Fed was taking extraordinary measures to prop up the economy months before anyone in China showed the first symptoms of coronavirus.

Now the Fed is using the historic stock market downturn and the (hopefully) temporary closure of businesses in the coronavirus panic to dramatically increase its interventions in the economy. Not only has the Fed increased the amount it is pumping into the repo market, it is purchasing unlimited amounts of Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities. This was welcome news to Congress and the president, as it came as they were working on setting up trillions of dollars in spending in coronavirus aid/economic stimulus bills.

This month the Fed announced it would start purchasing municipal bonds, thus ensuring the state and local government debt bubble will keep growing for a few more months.

The Fed has also created three new loan facilities to provide hundreds of billions of dollars in credit to businesses. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has stated that the Fed will lend out as much as it takes to revive the economy.

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

What Will Be the Unintended Consequences of Printing Trillions of Dollars to Backstop the Entire System?

What Will Be the Unintended Consequences of Printing Trillions of Dollars to Backstop the Entire System?

Stocks are up somewhat this morning.

This marks the second Monday stocks will open in the green (last Monday was a green open as well) following two horrifically bad weekend sessions that saw stocks open limit down or close to limit down (March 2nd and 9th).

In the simplest of terms, the panic in the markets appears to be abating. It is clear stocks have broken the downtrend from the panic (blue lines). What is not clear is whether this rally will continue or not.

Stocks stalled out under resistance (red line) last week. A break above that line would open the door to a run to 3,000.

At the end of the day, stocks are actually a minor player in this mess. The BIG story is what happens with the bond markets.

Going into last week, it was clear the financial system was facing a debt crisis. Across the board everything from corporate bonds to municipal bonds were breaking down in a catastrophic fashion.

The Fed managed to stop this massacre by announcing it would backstop everything.  

The question now is whether that will be enough. Bonds have staged a major bounce in the last five days, but what happens if they turn down again?

Will the Fed’s announcement that it intends to buy corporate bonds be enough to stop the $10 trillion corporate bond bubble from imploding? 

What about the $16-$19 trillion commercial real estate market? Will the shutdown, which has closed so many restaurants and retailers, result in a crisis in this market as businesses begin skipping monthly payments or breaking contracts outright?

And what about the $23 trillion U.S. treasury bubble? Will the $2 trillion in stimulus, which both the President and the Democrats have suggested will be the first of several, be what finally pushes the U.S.’s debt loads into a crisis?

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

The Fed’s Faustian Bargain: “We’re Experiencing The End-Game Of The Great Debt Super-Cycle”

The Fed’s Faustian Bargain: “We’re Experiencing The End-Game Of The Great Debt Super-Cycle”

Echoing many of Jim Grant’s recent fearsGuggenheim Investments’ CIO Scott Minerd fears the consequences of policymakers returning to the same tools employed in the financial crisis as a grand Faustian bargain.

“In Goethe’s 1831 drama Faust, the devil persuades a bankrupt emperor to print and spend vast quantities of paper money as a short-term fix for his country’s fiscal problems. As a consequence, the empire ultimately unravels and descends into chaos. Today, governments that have relied upon quantitative easing (QE) instead of undertaking necessary structural reforms have arguably entered into the grandest Faustian bargain in financial history.

– Scott Minerd “Global CIO Outlook”, August 21, 2012

With the global economy slipping into recession and many economists estimating second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the United States will fall by 15 percent or more, the world is being confronted with the worst downturn since the 1930s.

In the post-Keynesian era, the standard policy solution to a business cycle downturn has been for governments to temporarily offset any decline in demand with increased fiscal stimulus and easy money. This prescription has provided for smaller and less frequent slowdowns. The ultimate consequence is that businesses and households have been carrying larger debt loads and smaller cash reserves, confident that policymakers will restrain the severity of the consequences created by any shock to the economy.

This process of accumulating larger debt balances after each successive downturn is often referred to as the great debt super cycle. Over the past decades, the successful use of Keynesian stabilization policies has increasingly raised the confidence of investors and creditors alike that government can successfully truncate the downside of any recession.

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

Despite Massive QE And Congress Bill, The US Dollar Shortage Intensifies

Despite Massive QE And Congress Bill, The US Dollar Shortage Intensifies

How can the Fed launch an “unlimited” monetary stimulus with congress approving a $2 trillion package and the dollar index remain strong? The answer lies in the rising global dollar shortage, and should be a lesson for monetary alchemists around the world.

The $2 trillion stimulus package agreed by Congress is around 10% of GDP and, if we include the Fed borrowing facilities for working capital, it means $6 trillion in liquidity for consumers and firms over the next nine months. 

The stimulus package approved by Congress is made up of the next key items: Permanent fiscal transfers to households and firms of almost $5 trillion. Individuals will receive a $1,200 cash payment ($300 billion in total). The loans for small businesses, which become grants if jobs are maintained ($367 billion). Increase in unemployment insurance payments which now cover 100% of lost wages for four months ($200 billion). $100 billion for the healthcare system, as well as $150bn for state and local governments. The remainder of the package comes from temporary liquidity support to households and firms, including tax delays and waivers. Finally, the use of the Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund for $500bn of loans for non-financial firms.

To this, we must add the massive quantitative easing program announced by the Fed. 

First, we must understand that the word “unlimited” is only a communication tool. It is not unlimited. It is limited by the confidence and demand of US dollars. 

I have had the pleasure of working with several members of the Federal Reserve, and the truth is that it is not unlimited. But they know that communication matters.

FED BALANCE SHEET 2020

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

Japan’s QE On Verge Of Failure As Nobody Wants To Sell To The BOJ

Japan’s QE On Verge Of Failure As Nobody Wants To Sell To The BOJ

Over a decade since central bankers started a stealthy nationalization of capital markets by purchasing a wide range of securities from Trasuries, to MBS, to corporate bonds, to ETFs and single stocks, their actions are finally catching up to them, and in the process breaking the very markets central bankers have worked so hard to prop up. And nowhere is this more obvious than in Japan, where the shrinking universe of Japanese government bonds (as a reminder the BOJ now owns more than 100% of Japanese GDP in JGBs) is “causing havoc” in Japanese money markets as the Bank of Japan continues to buy while dealers refuse to sell.

The result is that rates in Japan’s repo market, which traditionally connects holders of bonds with investors looking to borrow them, jumped to a record Tuesday (although they since retreated on Wednesday) because as Bloomberg notes, “the introduction of cheaper, more regular dollar-swap auctions has generated huge demand from U.S. currency-starved dealers who are keeping their JGBs to put them down as collateral.”

So here is what the math looks like now that the Fed has launched enhanced swap lines with central banks such as the BOJ, allowing local entities to obtain dollar funding at much lower rates: in last week’s first round of the Fed’s revamped dollar-swap auctions, banks borrowed greenbacks for about 3-months at 0.37%, a massive discount to the near 2% it would cost them in the currency swap market. $32 billion was alloted in the first operation.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase