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Fourth Turning Accelerating Towards Climax

FOURTH TURNING ACCELERATING TOWARDS CLIMAX

“At some point, America’s short-term Crisis psychology will catch up to the long-term post-Unraveling fundamentals. This might result in a Great Devaluation, a severe drop in the market price of most financial and real assets. This devaluation could be a short but horrific panic, a free-falling price in a market with no buyers. Or it could be a series of downward ratchets linked to political events that sequentially knock the supports out from under the residual popular trust in the system. As assets devalue, trust will further disintegrate, which will cause assets to devalue further, and so on. Every slide in asset prices, employment, and production will give every generation cause to grow more alarmed.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

Economists Predict Great Depression II for US Economy: Fast or V ...

I’ve been writing articles about the Fourth Turning for over a decade and nothing has happened since its tumultuous onset in 2008, with the global financial collapse, created by the Federal Reserve and their Wall Street co-conspirator owners, that has not followed along the path described by Strauss and Howe in their 1997 book – The Fourth Turning.

Like molten lava bursting forth from a long dormant (80 years) volcano, the core elements of this Fourth Turning continue to flow along channels of distress, long ago built by bad decisions, corrupt politicians and the greed of bankers. The molten ingredients of this Crisis have been the central drivers since 2008 and this second major eruption is flowing along the same route. The core elements are debt, civic decay, and global disorder, just as Strauss & Howe anticipated over two decades ago.

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

Fed Launches Repo Facility To Provide Dollars To Foreign Central Bank

Fed Launches Repo Facility To Provide Dollars To Foreign Central Bank

With US dealers no longer using the Fed’s repo facilities (this morning we had another “no bid” overnight repo with just $250MM in MBS submitted for a $500 billion op) as the Fed soaks up all securities via its aggressive QE which is still buying $75BN in paper each day, perhaps Powell felt a bit unloved and at 830am this morning the Fed unveiled yet another “temporary” emergency liquidity providing facility, this time to foreign central banks, in the form of a repo facility targeting “foreign and international monetary authorities”, i.e. foreign central banks which will be allowed to exchange Treasuries held in custody at the Fed for US dollars.

In other words, just a week after the Fed “enhanced” its swap lines with central banks and included a bunch of non G-5 central banks to the list of counterparties, it has found that this is not working – perhaps due to the prohibitive rates on the facility – and is now handing out dollars outright against US denominated securities. We wonder if the central bank uptake will be any higher than the repo facility aimed at US dealers and which is now redundant. Of course, when that fails the Fed can just offer to buy all central bank securities in what even reputable FX strategists now joke is a Fed on full tilt, and intent on buying out all foreign central banks.

And so, just as the financial situation was starting to stabilize, the Fed reminds everyone just how broken everything still is.

Fed launches ANOTHER temporary facility to provide $USD liquidity to foreign central banks (this time foreign central bank holdings of US Treasury’s can be exchanged for dollars).

At this rate, Fed is on course to buy out foreign central banks… and call it an M&A facility pic.twitter.com/iAXRCVoZS9— Viraj Patel (@VPatelFX) March 31, 2020

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

Funding Freeze Getting Worse: Dealers Demand Record $216BN In Liquidity From Fed Repo

Funding Freeze Getting Worse: Dealers Demand Record $216BN In Liquidity From Fed Repo

Yesterday, when showing the sudden spike in the FRA/OIS spread – a key gauge of banking-sector risk which measures dollar shortages – we warned that liquidity in the market is virtually nil quoting a host of traders who confirmed that it was next to impossible to trade without disruptions, while more ominously, the interbank plumbing appeared to be getting clogged up agian.

Moments ago we got confirmation when the Fed reported that one day after it expanded its repo operations, there was a record demand for Fed liquidity in both the term and repo operations.

With the term repo expanded from $20BN to $45BN and the overnight repo ceiling also raised from $100 to $150BN, moments ago the Fed announced that it had received the most liquidity demand on record, as Dealers indicated some $93BN in term repo submissions (which thanks to the expanded facility size meant that the oversubscription dropped from a record 3.6x to 2.1x)…

… alongside a fully allotted $123.625BN in overnight repo (out of $150BN eligible)…

… for a total of $216BN in indicated liquidity. Of this, $168BN in liquidity was released between the overnight and fully-alloted $45BN term repo facility.

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

This Wasn’t Supposed To Happen: One Day After Fed Rate Cut, Repos Signal Record Liquidity Shortage

This Wasn’t Supposed To Happen: One Day After Fed Rate Cut, Repos Signal Record Liquidity Shortage

Yesterday morning, when we discussed the sudden spike in liquidity shortage that resulted in both a (record) oversubscribed term repo and the first oversubscribed overnight repo since the start of the repo crisis, we said that “if going solely by the amount of securities submitted between the term and overnight repo, the overall liquidity shortage today was nearly $180BN, the highest since the start of the repo crisis, and a clear signal to the Fed that it needs to do something to further ease interbank lending conditions.

Less than an hour later the Fed cut rates by 50bps in its first emergency intermeeting action since the financial crisis.

So with its emergency action now in the rearview mirror, did the Fed manage to stem the funding panic that has gripped repo markets following last week’s market bloodbath? The answer, if based on the latest overnight repo results, is a resounding no.

Moments ago, the Fed announced that its latest repo operation was once again oversubscribed, with the full $100 million amount of repo accepted.

In other words, for the second day in a row the overnight funding repo operation was oversubscribed (and it is safe to say that tomorrow’s term repo will be oversubscribed as well).

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

No One Gets Out Of Here Alive

NO ONE GETS OUT OF HERE ALIVE

“The seasons of time offer no guarantees. For modern societies, no less than for all forms of life, transformative change is discontinuous. For what seems an eternity, history goes nowhere – and then it suddenly flings us forward across some vast chaos that defies any mortal effort to plan our way there. The Fourth Turning will try our souls – and the saecular rhythm tells us that much will depend on how we face up to that trial. The saeculum does not reveal whether the story will have a happy ending, but it does tell us how and when our choices will make a difference.”  – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

As we wander through the fog of history in the making, unsure who is lying and who is telling the truth, seemingly blind to what comes next, I look to previous Fourth Turnings for a map of what might materialize during the 2nd half of this current Fourth Turning. After a tumultuous, harrowing inception to this Crisis in 2008/2009, we have been told all is well and are in the midst of an eleven-year economic expansion, with the stock market hitting all-time highs.

History seemed to stop and we’ve been treading water for over a decade. Outwardly, the establishment has convinced the masses, through propaganda and money printing, the world has returned to normal and the future is bright. I haven’t bought into this provable falsehood. Looking back to the Great Depression, we can get some perspective on our current position historically.

The Dow is up 450% since its 2009 low, which is the metric used by the establishment to prove their money printing solutions have succeeded in lifting the country from the depths of despair and depression.

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

State of Denial

State of Denial

Once again investors are made to believe that nothing matters. Only 2 trading days after Friday’s sell off $NDX made new all time history highs. Only 3 days after Friday’s sell-off $SPX made a new all time closing high. Only 4 days after Friday’s sell off $DJIA, $SPX and $NDX make new all time human history highs in premarket. Fours day, four up gaps, all unfilled at the time of this writing. The market of the overnight gap ups.

Why? Because the economic impact of the coronavirus is over or contained? Of course not, it’s far from any of that. Shutdowns persist, warnings of individual companies are mounting i.e. $TSLA, tumbling a day after the technical warning issued,  global economic growth estimates are coming down and with them invariably take downs in earnings estimates.

What do markets do? Make new all time highs, back on the multiple expansion game from 2019 when no slowdown in earnings mattered as the liquidity injections from our central bank overlords overrode everything.

This week the PBOC injected liquidity, the Fed kept flushing repo liquidity into the system, and of course a continued buying of treasure bills.

And so markets continue on their path of never pricing in any bad news and continue to disconnect farther and farther from the underlying size of the global economy no matter the ongoing data:

Baltic Dry Index:

But there are no bubbles central bankers tell us. Don’t insult our intelligence I say. Especially since they perfectly well know that policies and words are closely followed by markets and are market impacting:


Lagarde: Traditionally, as central bankers we have been more comfortable speaking to experts and markets than to the general public. Markets closely follow what we do and what we say, and surveys and studies find that we are well understood by them.


The Impulses of Lunar Fed Policy Under Repo Madness

The Impulses of Lunar Fed Policy Under Repo Madness

This week, while you were busy working, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, took time out from rubbing elbows with fellow movers and shakers at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to share his trepidations:

“The only thing I have trepidation about is negative interest rates, QE, and the diversion between stock prices and bond prices and yield and stuff like that….  I think it’s very hard for central banks to forever make up for bad policy elsewhere, that puts them in a trap.  We’re a little bit in that trap today with rates so low around the world.”

Fair enough.  Though Dimon, in what we presume was an inadvertent omission, failed to share that his firm may have recently walked the Federal Reserve into an elaborate policy trap.  Now the Fed’s stuck.  JP Morgan’s thrown away the keys.  And Dimon’s reaped a significant windfall.

If you recall, between Monday night and Tuesday morning September 16/17 the overnight repurchase agreement (repo) rate hit 10 percent.  Short-term liquidity markets essentially broke.  The Fed had to intervene in the repo market, via overnight repo operations, to push the repo rate back below 2 percent.

Since then, overnight repo operations by the Fed have become a near daily occurrence.  What’s more, these daily operations have ballooned to the order of up to $120 billion and are being maintained indefinitely.

On Tuesday, for example, the Fed created $90.8 billion out of thin air.  Of this, $58.6 billion was added to the overnight repo.  The remaining $32.2 billion was added to the 14-day repo.  Then, on Thursday, the Fed created another $74.2 billion out of thin air.  Of this, $44.15 billion was added to the overnight repo, and the remaining $30 billion was added to the 14-day repo.

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

Some Other People Do Some Other Things

Some Other People Do Some Other Things


An almighty bafflement befogs the nation as the first full business week of 2020 commences and events pile up like smashed vehicles on a weather-blinded highway. Before we even smoked that Iranian bird on the Baghdad airport tarmac, something ominous was tingling away in the financial markets, in fact, has been since way back in September. Perhaps one-in-100,000 Americans has the dimmest clue as to what the repo mechanism stands for in banking circles, but it has been flashing red for months, with klaxons blaring for those who maybe missed the red flashes.

The repo market represents trillions of dollars in overnight lending in which bonds (or other “assets”) are used as collateral for ultra-short-term loans between large banks. Theoretically, this flow of supposedly secured lending acts as mere background lubricant for the engine of finance, like the motor oil circulating in your Ford F-150. You don’t notice it until it’s not there, and then all of a sudden you’re throwing rods and sucking valves, and the darn vehicle is a smoldering goner in the breakdown lane.

The strange action on the repo scene suggests that some big banks are in big trouble, and probably because the “innovative investments” they’ve engineered — as a substitute for the true purposes of capital, such as enabling production of real goods at a profit — are proving once again to be little more than swindles and frauds, like last time. Things like interest rate swaps and credit default “insurance.” Have your eyes glazed over yet? The bottom line is an impressive potential for losses to go critical, multiply daisy-chain style, cascade wildly, and then start wrecking real things — like the supply lines to your supermarket.

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

Repocalypse: The Second Coming

Repocalypse: The Second Coming 

This little monster that feeds beneath the surface of global banking at its core briefly raised one ugly eye out of the water as 2018 turned into 2019. I wrote back then that the interest spike we saw in the kind of overnight interbank lending known as repurchase agreements (repos) was just the foreshock of a financial crisis being created by the Fed’s monetary tightening. I said the Fed’s continued tightening would eventually result in a full-blown recession that would emerge, likely out of the repo market, sometime in the summer. In the very last week of summer, the Repo Crisis raised its head fully out of the water and roared.

When I first wrote of these things at the start of 2019, the Fed had only been up to full-speed tightening for three months, and already it was blowing out the financial system at its core. The stock market had just crashed with the onset of full-speed tightening just as I had said it would. It fell hard enough to where the only index holding just one nostril above the icy water was the S&P 500 at a 19.8% plunge. Even that holdout briefly dipped its last air-hole under water in the middle of the day (i.e., below 20%), but didn’t stay below for the count. All other major indices and most minor ones took the full polar-bear plunge into the deep, dark water by this day in December. 

If not for the obvious bullish bias in all reportage everywhere (except alternative media), the market would have been declared a new bear market at that time (based on the market’s own historic standards where a 20% fall is a bear market), and any bull market after that would be a new bull market, not what is now called “the longest bull market on record.”

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

“It’s Nuts” – The Fed Has Created A “Monstrous Beast Of Over-Inflated Valuation”

“It’s Nuts” – The Fed Has Created A “Monstrous Beast Of Over-Inflated Valuation”

“Own risk assets…everywhere… everywhere” says Embark Group’s CIO Peter Toogood, exclaiming that “this is nothing to do with fundamentals anymore, fill your boots, why not?”

After The Fed entirely flip-flopped from last year, the clearly frustrated manager notes the facts behind the so-called market, “flooding the repo market with $400, $500 billion from The Fed to stop it collapsing after it reversed course massively from last year…”

“..we’ll just keep pumping… and we’ll just keep pumping… and it’s not QE they tell us, definitely not QE… and its worked for the last 8 years so we’ll just keep pumping more…”

It’s quit simple, Toogood notes, “all CTAs have gone long, most macro funds are long, the biggest engines in London are as long as they can be… and vol is on the floor…”

“Just keep going…” he chides sarcastically:

“…until you don’t, until the music stops… I’m being incredibly flippant but for a very good reason…  there is no logic to [buying risk assets like equities] other than to chase the gilded lily… it’s nuts!”

The anchor attempted to get the conversation back on track, by mentioning earnings, to which Toogood scoffed –

“Earnings! Earnings? Are they relevant?”

As the chart below shows, no!

Source: Bloomberg

Everything has changed, “we’ve gone from tightening mode to loosening mode, extremely loose… The Fed says ‘rates are on hold’ but we’ll just keep this ‘little’ repo thing going a little while longer…

Source: Bloomberg

Toogood then took aim at the farcical “phase one” trade deal with China that “doesn’t actually mean anything” and warned that the next year will be full of “phase two talks are going well” jawboning.

This is not reality, “the world was slowing down long before this trade deal became the biggest issue.”

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

Fed’s Emergency Repo Operation Oversubscribed As Repo Rates Spike To December High

Fed’s Emergency Repo Operation Oversubscribed As Repo Rates Spike To December High

Ahead of today’s massive liquidity drain, which according to some calculations will be as much as $100 billion between $54BN in coupon settlements from last week’s Treasury auctions and an additional $50 billion or so in corporate income tax payments to the Treasury…

… which combined would be as large, if not bigger than the Sept 16 cash transfer to the Treasury which sparked the mid-September repo crisis, last Thursday the Fed announced a “kitchen sink” liquidity tsunami, throwing as much as $500 billion in liquidity backstops in the form of expanded and extended repo and term repo operations, while keeping the Fed’s “Not QE” T-Bill monetization chugging along.

The first of these emergency repo operations was scheduled for this morning, ahead of the liquidity drain, in the form of a $50 billion, 32-day repo, which took place shortly after 8am, and was once again oversubscribed as there was more demand for liquidity, or $54.25 billion, than there was total supply.

Specifically, Dealers submitted $29.850BN in Treasury securities, and $24.4BN in MBS, at stop out rates of 1.56% and 1.58%, respectively, and which both came in more than fully subscribed relative to the $28.759BN in TSYs, and $21.241BN in MBS accepted.

This offering, which matures on January17, 2020, was the fourth “turn” repo providing funding past the year-end period.

The fact that the operation was oversubscribed was the first indication that banks are once again reserve-constrained and scrambling to procure as much year-end liquidity as they can get their hands on. Whether repo operations in the coming days are oversubscribed will indicate if the Fed’s roughly $500 billion in repo ops scheduled for the next 4 weeks will be enough to keep the Fed from losing control over overnight rates, as Credit Suisse repo expert Zoltan Pozsar predicted last week in his now infamous “Countdown to QE4” report.

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

When It Becomes Serious You Have To Lie: Update On The Repo Fiasco

When It Becomes Serious You Have To Lie: Update On The Repo Fiasco

Occasionally, problems reveal themselves gradually. A water stain on the ceiling is potentially evidence of a much larger problem. Painting over the stain will temporarily relieve the unsightly condition, but in time, the water stain will return. This is analogous to a situation occurring within the banking system. Almost three months after water stains first appeared in the overnight funding markets, the Fed has stepped in on a daily basis to “re-paint the ceiling” and the problem has appeared to vanish. Yet, every day the stain reappears and the Fed’s work begins anew. One is left to wonder why the leak hasn’t been fixed.  

In mid-September, evidence of issues in the U.S. banking system began to appear. The problem occurred in the overnight funding markets which serve as one of the most important components of a well-functioning financial and economic system. It is also a market that few investors follow and even fewer understand. At that time, interest rates in the normally boring repo market suddenly spiked higher with intra-day rates surpassing a whopping 8%. The difference between the 8% repo rate recorded on September 16, 2019 and Treasuries was an eight standard deviation event. Statistically, such an event should occur once every three billion years. 

For a refresher on the details of those events, we suggest reading our article from September 25, 2019, entitled Who Could Have Known: What The Repo Fiasco Entails.   

At the time, it was surprising that the sudden change in overnight repo borrowing rates caught the Fed completely off guard and that they lacked a reasonable explanation for the disruption. Since then, our surprise has turned to concern and suspicion. 

We harbor doubts about the cause of the problem based on two excuses the Fed and banks use to explain the situation. Neither are compelling or convincing.  

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

“The Fed Was Suddenly Facing Multiple LTCMs”: BIS Offers A Stunning Explanation Of What Really Happened On Repocalypse Day

“The Fed Was Suddenly Facing Multiple LTCMs”: BIS Offers A Stunning Explanation Of What Really Happened On Repocalypse Day

About a month ago, we first laid out how the sequence of liquidity-shrinking events that started about a year ago, and which starred the largest US commercial bank, JPMorgan, ultimately culminated with the mid-September repo explosion. Specifically we showed how JPM’s drain of liquidity via Money Markets and reserves parked at the Fed may have prompted the September repo crisis and subsequent launch of “Not QE” by the Fed in order to reduce its at risk capital and potentially lower its G-SIB charge – currently the highest of all major US banks.

Shortly thereafter, the FT was kind enough to provide confirmation that the biggest US bank had been quietly rotating out of cash, while repositioning its balance sheet in a major way, pushing more than $130bn of excess cash away from reserves in the process significantly tightening overall liquidity in the interbank market. We learned that the bulk of this money was allocated to long-dated bonds while cutting the amount of loans it holds, in what the FT dubbed was a “major shift in how the largest US bank by assets manages its enormous balance sheet.”

The moves saw the bank’s bond portfolio soar by 50%, and were prompted by capital rules that treated loans as riskier than bonds. And since JPM has been aggressively returning billions of dollars to shareholders in dividends and share buybacks each year, JPMorgan had far less room than most rivals to hold riskier assets, explaining its substantially higher G-SIB surcharge, which indicated that the Fed currently perceives JPM as the riskiest US bank for a variety of reasons.

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

GOLD & SILVER UPDATE: Setting Up For The Next Leg Higher In 2020

GOLD & SILVER UPDATE: Setting Up For The Next Leg Higher In 2020

The Day of Reckoning is coming, and it won’t be pretty for the overall markets.  While the Fed liquidity has pushed the major U.S. indexes to new highs, the underlying fundamentals in the economy continue to deteriorate.  Without the record amount of Fed QE and Repo Operations, the market and economy would have gone into a tailspin in 2019.

Now, to give credit where credit is due, the term, “The Day of Reckoning” was the title from the Northman Trader’s most recent public article.  What I like about Sven Heinrich’s work (the Northman Trader), is his ability to use technical and fundamental analysis to provide “PRICE DISCOVERY” in the markets.

Unfortunately, we don’t have price discovery anymore due to the Fed and Central bank decade-long propping up of the markets.  This chart from the Northman Trader shows how the Fed’s interventions have come in to support the markets at key technical levels:

What is quite interesting more recently (2019) is the substantial Fed’s rate cuts, QE, and Repo Operations at a time when there isn’t a downturn in the U.S. economy.  When the Fed started QE1 in 2009, the stock market had crashed to a low, and the economy was in a severe recession.  The Fed continued to support the economy and markets with QE2, TWIST, and QE3 into 2013.  Again, these Fed interventions took place during a struggling economy.

Today, the Fed is pulling out all the FIREPOWER when the markets are at new highs, and the economy is still rolling along nicely.  This is a recipe for DISASTER at some point.  Furthermore, the energy market that is one of the driving forces of the U.S. economy is in serious trouble.

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

The Federal Reserve Is Directly Monetizing US Debt

The Federal Reserve Is Directly Monetizing US Debt

In a very real way, MMT is already here

Sure, it’s not admitting to this. And it’s using several technical jinks and jives to offer a pretense that things are otherwise.

But it’s not terribly difficult to predict what’s going to happen next: the Federal Reserve will drop the secrecy and start buying US debt openly.

At a time, mind you, when US fiscal deficits are exploding and foreign buyers are heading for the exits.

How It’s Supposed to Work

Here’s how it’s supposed to work when the US government issues new debt:

  1. If the US Treasury needs to raise new funds, it announces an upcoming auction of US Treasury bills/notes/bonds.
  2. A date for the auction is set.
  3. Various participants bid for those bills/notes/bonds (including ‘regular folks’ like you and me if we’re using the government’s Treasury Direct program).
  4. At a later date, the Fed can buy those US Treasury bills/notes/bonds. The various holders of that debt submit offers to sell, and the Fed (presumably) selects the best offers on the best terms.

The Federal Reserve, under no conditions, buys Treasury paper directly.  The Federal Reserve’s own website still maintains that this is the case:

(Source)

There are two important claims plus one assertion I’ve highlighted in there, each in a different color:

  1. Yellow: Treasury securities may “only be bought and sold in the open market.”
  2. Blue: doing otherwise might compromise the independence of the Fed.
  3. Purple: the Fed mostly buys “old” securities.

So according to the Fed: it’s independent, it follows the rules set forth in the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, and it mostly buys “old” Treasury paper that the market has already properly priced in a free and fair system.

But that’s not really what’s going on…

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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