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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…

The Fed’s “Insurance” Rate Cuts Didn’t Work. Now For The Emergency Cuts

The Fed’s “Insurance” Rate Cuts Didn’t Work. Now For The Emergency Cuts

Pity the guys now running the Fed. They’ve inherited an economy that requires ever-bigger infusions of new credit and ever-lower interest rates to avoid financial cardiac arrest. But with interest rates already perilously close to zero the usual leeway is no longer there.

Making the best of a bad hand, Fed chair Jerome Powell has been cutting the Fed Funds rate but managing expectations for future cuts by calling the current ones “recalibration” and “insurance.” In other words, “don’t expect a quick excursion into steeply-negative territory. In fact this latest cut might be all there is.”

But the economy, like any addict, is profoundly uncomfortable with not knowing where the next fix is coming from and is behaving accordingly. From just the past couple of days’ headlines:

US manufacturing survey contracts to worst level in a decade US gross national debt jumps by $1.2 trillion, to $22.7 trillion Growth hits the wall Student loan debt soars, totaling $1.6 trillion in 2019 There is good reason to fear the repo Midwest’s faltering economies will spread pain nationwide Treasury yields sink after U.S. manufacturing weakness raises recession fears 

VC veterans host emergency meeting of unicorns as IPO ‘bubble’ implodes 

Now equities are picking up the anxious vibe. See Global stocks plunge for a second day to start Q4.

What happens next? Almost certainly, a “coordinated” round of aggressive easing by the US Fed, the ECB and BoJ. With some unconventional coercion thrown in by the People’s Bank of China. 

As for the timing, it’s just a question of “the number.” That is, how far does the S&P 500 have to fall before the stampede begins. Since this question will be answered by a bunch of largely clueless men dripping fear sweat and trying to figure out why their models have stopped working (and more poignantly why their life’s work has turned out to be a fraud), the number is unknowable in advance. 

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

Here Is The Megabank Behind September’s Repo Shock

Here Is The Megabank Behind September’s Repo Shock

Over the weekend, when trying to isolate the bank(s) behind the recent repocalypse, we looked at the aggregate cash levels of commercial banks in the US (which include foreign banks operating in the US) as published each week by the Fed, and found that cash at foreign banks operating in the US rose by a respectable $13.6BN in the week ended Sept 18, to $537,8BN, in line with levels where foreign bank cash had been for much of the past two months, while cash at domestic banks plunged.

“In other words”, we wrote “to find the culprit for the latest repo shock, don’t look to Europe (those banks have enough pain on their plate with the ECB recently launching QEternity, to also have to worry about overnight funding in the US) but look for clues among domestic US banks. 

Three days later, Reuters did just that, and in a report which surprisingly flew deep under the radar, appears to have found the one bank that may have been the inadvertent reason for the repo market to lock up on the 11th anniversary of Lehman when the repo rate exploded as high as 10%.

According to Reuters, “JPMorgan Chase has become so big that some rival banks and analysts say changes to its $2.7 trillion balance sheet were a factor in a spike last month in the U.S. “repo” market, which is crucial to many borrowers.

As a reminder, just days after the record repo rate surge, a clearly clueless NY Fed president John Williams told the FT in an interview that the Fed was examining “why banks with excess cash failed to lend to the overnight money market, following a week that revealed cracks in the US’s financial plumbing.

 …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 Fed Created The Everything Bubble And A Liquidity Crisis – What Happens Next?

The Fed Created The Everything Bubble And A Liquidity Crisis – What Happens Next?

It’s an interesting dynamic that the Federal Reserve has conjured in the decade after the 2008 credit crash. They spent several years using artificial stimulus measures to inflate perhaps the largest financial bubble in the history of the US, and then a couple years ago something changed. They addicted markets and investors to easy cash only to then cut off the flow of monetary heroin. The system was so dependent on the Fed’s “China White” that all it took to give everyone the shakes was interest rate hikes to the neutral rate of inflation and a moderate balance sheet selloff. Now, the system is dying from shock and it’s too late for intravenous stimulus to save it.

For many this might seem unprecedented, but it’s really rather common. The Fed has a long history of inflating bubbles using easy liquidity and then imploding those bubbles with the tightening of credit. It also has a long history of pretending like it is trying to save the economy from crisis when it is actually the source of the crisis. As Congressman Charles Lindbergh Sr. warned after the panic of 1920:

“Under the Federal Reserve Act, panics are scientifically created; the present panic is the first scientifically created one, worked out as we figure a mathematical problem…” 

In the latest theatrics of the Fed, a new trend has emerged – The “disappointing Fed”. In order to understand this disappointment, we have to define exactly what markets want from the central bank. Obviously, they want QE4; a massive liquidity program. For the past year at least they have been clamoring for it, and they still have yet to get it. But what does QE4 entail? In order to institute a new QE marathon the Fed would have to:

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

Financial Storm Clouds Gather

Financial Storm Clouds Gather

The price of this “solution”–the undermining of the financial system–will eventually be paid in full.

The financial storm clouds are gathering, and no, I’m not talking about impeachment or the Fed and repo troubles–I’m talking about much more serious structural issues, issues that cannot possibly be fixed within the existing financial system.

Yes, I’m talking about the cost structure of our society: earned income has stagnated while costs have soared, and households have filled the widening gap with debt they cannot afford to service once the long-delayed recession grabs the economy by the throat.

Everywhere we look, we find households, enterprises and local governments barely able to keep their heads above water–in the longest expansion in recent history. This is as good as it gets, and we’re only able to pay our bills by borrowing more, draining rainy-day funds or playing accounting tricks.

So what happens when earned income and tax revenues sag? Households, enterprises and local governments will be unable to pay their bills, and borrowing more will become difficult as the financial markets awaken to the re-emergence of risk: as shocking as it may be in the era of Central Bank Omnipotence, borrowers can still default and lenders can be destroyed by the resulting losses.

The era of Central Bank Omnipotence has been characterized by two things:

1. A disconnect between risk and return. Since “central banks have our backs,” risk has been vanquished, and since central banks socialize losses by bailing out corporations and banks who gambled and lost, then the financial Oligarchs have been free to ignore risk since the Federal Reserve has implicitly guaranteed returns will always be secured by Fed backstops, market interventions, etc.

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

Peter Schiff: The Next Crash Could Bring Down the Fiat Money System

Peter Schiff: The Next Crash Could Bring Down the Fiat Money System

Peter Schiff appeared on RT Boom Bust on Tuesday (Sept. 17) to talk about interest rates, gold and the dollar. Peter said the fiat currency system may not survive the next recession.

The conversation started focusing on the repo operations conducted by the Federal Reserve early in the week, Peter said the financial media and Wall Street are being much too complacent about what’s going on.

Their instinct is to sweep it under the rug as no big deal, but I think it really is a harbinger of what’s to come.”

Peter noted that the Fed has been artificially suppressing interest rates, particularly since the 2008 financial crisis.

And by keeping interest rates artificially low, they have created a bubble that’s much bigger than the one that popped in 2008. And what happened this morning is you could see the air coming out of that bubble, because the market is trying to bring interest rates higher because we have no real savings in this country. We have enormous debt. Everybody is levered up to the max — government, the private sector, business, consumers — because rates have been so low, we’ve borrowed so much money. The market wants interest rates to be higher but the Fed doesn’t want that to happen because the road back to normal interest rates is a very bumpy one because it’s going to take us right through another financial crisis. So, the Fed is trying to keep interest rates artificially low and they almost lost control of it this morning. “

In effect, the Fed created about $50 to $70 billion out of thin air to supply the liquidity that the market needed.

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

Nomura Exposes The Fed’s Imminent “Mega-Shift” – Beware Quad Witch & “Untethered” Markets

Nomura Exposes The Fed’s Imminent “Mega-Shift” – Beware Quad Witch & “Untethered” Markets

“This is a big deal,” warns Nomura’s Charlie McElligott – a man not known for hyperbole – as he reflects on the sudden, dramatic changes occurring in the very deepest levels of plumbing of the world’s supposed most-liquid markets.

Another massively over-subscribed repo liquidity injection this morning, coupled with The Fed’s dramatic loss of control of rates suggest what McElligott calls a “potential mega-shift” in policy from The Fed.

Source: Bloomberg

Nomura Chief Economist Lew Alexander shifted his call for today’s FOMC meeting to include:

An announcement that the Fed will resume the expansion of the balance sheet again in coming weeks (in addition to a 25bps cut and likely announcement of ongoing “as needed” repo transactions in order to maintain short-term interest rates within a range that is consistent with the target range for funds rate—however, we still do NOT anticipate an imminent announcement of a “Standing Repo Facility” nor another lowering of IOER relative to the top of the FF target range today…while we also expect the dots to show no further rate cuts at this juncture, despite our “house” call for one more cut in either Oct or Dec)

McElligott’s Bottom line

Due to the acute nature of the $funding stress dynamic in recent days, I believe the delta of a Fed “balance sheet expansion” headline today (one which would begin imminently) is significantly underpriced in the market and risks catching investors “off guard”.

 The market’s “muscle memory” in the post-GFC period has condition many participants into believing that “balance sheet expansion = QE” and risks a “BULLISH risk-asset sentiment shock” (FWIW, “BS expansion = QE” is NOT actually the case per se, as what we think the Fed plans to do is much more “QE-Lite” in order to offset the Reserve depletion dynamic—NOT inject incremental liquidity “above and beyond” to actually “pump up” Reserves).

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

Liquidity Shortage Getting Worse: Fed’s Repo Oversubscribed As Funding Demand Soars 50% Overnight

Liquidity Shortage Getting Worse: Fed’s Repo Oversubscribed As Funding Demand Soars 50% Overnight

20 minutes after today’s repo operation began, it concluded and there was some bad news in it: as we feared, yesterday’s take up of the Fed’s repo operation which peaked at $53.2 billion has expanded substantially, and according to the Fed, today there was a whopping $80.05BN in bids submitted, an increase of $27 billion, or 50% more than yesterday.

It also meant that since the operation – which is capped at $75BN – was oversubscribed by over $5BN, that there was one or more participants who did not get up to €5 billion in the critical liquidity they needed, and that the Fed will see a chorus of demands by everyone (because like with the discount window, nobody will dare to be singled out) to either expand the size of its operations, implement a fixed operation and/or – most likely as per the ICAP note yesterday –  transition to permanent open market operations, i.e. QE

By comparison this is what yesterday’s repo operation looked like:

What is immediately notable is that except for agency paper, there was a greater use of both Treasury ($40.9BN to $51.6BN) and Mortgage-backed ($11.7BN to $27.8BN) collateral. The only silver lining: the step out rate on agency paper dropped from 3.00% to 2.1% however with virtually nobody using that, it is a largely meaningless easing in terms.

Finally, the worst news is that immediately after the operation, overnight repo remained elevated, with Reuters reporting the rate was 2.25%-2.60% after the latest repo operation, confirming that the liquidity shortage continues with the high end of repo still far above fed funds.

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

Blain’s Morning Porridge – September 18th 2019

Blain’s Morning Porridge  – September 18th 2019 

“There is no equilibrium, we invest into unstable constantly changing markets. ”

Why so Calm? 

Even as the Fed meeting pondered raising rates by a smidge, it had to intervene to pump money into the short-term US financial system for the first time since the 2008 crisis.  That’s a clear sign of financial dislocation – but markets seem utterly unconcerned.  (The wires all quote issues such as tax payments and an imbalance between new funding and low redemptions to explain the sudden lack of cash, but none of my money market chums are convinced. They fear something else, a big No-See-Em is underway.)  

The last crisis started in money markets.  Add that to the ongoing WTF-happened questions about the Saudi bombings, and there seems to be a curious sense of false calm in markets.  No vol, no concern, and gold hardly moving.  I can’t help but think of ducks; serenely floating upstream while their legs are furiously paddling below the surface.  Something is happening, and we don’t know what it is.. 

Since I don’t know either, today is the day to take a pop at the Green Puritan movement:  

There is a great comment from Bill Gates in the FT – Fossil fuel divestment has “zero” climate impact, says Bill Gates.  Worth a read, and maybe get yourself thinking about what damage ESG/Green group-think nonsense is doing? Its distorting the global economy and voiding perfectly sane investment strategies. As regular readers will know, I absolutely believe Climate Change is The Big Threat – but I’m more and more convinced that much of the ESG / Green Investment bandwagon is utter bollchocks!  

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

The Risk of a Flash Crash is Rising

The Risk of a Flash Crash is Rising

The Risk of a Flash Crash is Rising

Disclaimer: first of all, calm down. I’m not predicting anything. In fact mostly I’m just tying threads together between a bunch of market risks that have been highlighted by many for some time. Early perhaps they were, but not necessarily wrong. As investors become such increasingly one-sided in their macro outlook, these risks become more pronounced. 

As stocks rallied last week and the U.S.-China trade itinerary got a nice-sounding update, U.S. economic data continued to beat expectations and is now surprising estimates at a positive rate. One graphic I saw on Twitter caught my eye: SocGen’s take on the biggest event risks, in which they describe the probability and potential scope of a “sharp market repricing” as being low and small.

No alt text provided for this image

It’s consistent with what I see elsewhere. There is a view more consensus right now than any I’ve ever seen: the world economy is slowing and the Fed and other central banks will continue cutting rates. Everyone agrees on the basics, they just have different views on how to play it. Among bulls, there is also a strong consensus view that relentless bond-buying momentum is innocuous and central banks will provide an adequate safety net for whatever risks may be associated with the forces behind this market action. Moreover, the general line of thinking I hear is that, even if there is a big bond selloff, stocks will be immune from blowback.

I disagree. A sharp market repricing should be the fattest swan on that diagram.

The greatest risk to investors, the economy, and the tenuous state of geopolitics, is the price of the S&P 500. That does not mean it is the most likely risk — what it means is that the ripple effect of a sizable selloff in stocks right now is monstrous.

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

Trump Says Fed Should Cut Rates “To ZERO Or Less”, So US Can Refinance Debt And Lenghten Maturities

Trump Says Fed Should Cut Rates “To ZERO Or Less”, So US Can Refinance Debt And Lenghten Maturities

Volfefe begins early today.

One day before the ECB is expected to cut rates further into negative territory and restart sovereign debt QE, moments ago president Trump resumed his feud with the Fed piling more pressure on Powell to cut rates “to ZERO or less” because the US apparently has “no inflation”, while also crashing the conversation over whether the US should issue ultra-long maturity debt (50, 100 years), saying the US “should then start to refinance our debt. INTEREST COST COULD BE BROUGHT WAY DOWN, while at the same time substantially lengthening the term.” 

At least we now know who is urging Mnuchin to launch 50 and 100 year Treasuries. What we don’t know is just what school of monetary thought Trump belongs to – aside from Erdoganism of course – because while on one hand Trump claims that “we have the great currency, power, and balance sheet” on the other the US president also claims that “the USA should always be paying the lowest rate.” In a normal world, the strongest economy tends to pay the highest interest rate, but in this upside down world, who knows anymore, so maybe the Fed has just itself to blame.

Trump’s conclusion: “It is only the naïveté of Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve that doesn’t allow us to do what other countries are already doing. A once in a lifetime opportunity that we are missing because of “Boneheads.”


 · 1h

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. We have the great currency, power, and balance sheet…..


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

Gold Prices Will Keep Rising Because Crash Conditions Are Becoming Obvious

Gold Prices Will Keep Rising Because Crash Conditions Are Becoming Obvious

The price movements of precious metals are difficult for some people to understand. In the world of equities, investors are mesmerized by tickers day in and day out, and market movements occur minute by minute. This realm of investment teaches people to shorten their memories, their attention spans and their patience. In the world of gold and silver, however, investors buy and sell according to cycles that last years – oftentimes decades. It is the complete antithesis to stocks.

This is why gold catches a lot of ignorant criticism at times. The “barbaric relic” does not behave the way day traders want it to behave. It sleeps, they ignore it or laugh at it, and then it explodes. It is not surprising that your average stock market player is usually caught completely off guard when an economic crisis hits Main Street, while the average gold investor already saw the event coming many months in advance. The gold mentality lends itself to caution, observation and historical relevance. The stock market mentality lends itself to carelessness and the denial of history.

I would acknowledge here that there is plenty of evidence of paper market manipulation of gold and silver to the downside by major banks like JP Morgan. Any investor in metals should take this into account. However, it is also important to realize that in moments of economic uncertainty, the physical market can and does overtake paper manipulation, and prices rise anyway. This is exactly what happened in the lead up to the 2008 crash, and it’s happening again today.

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

Weekly Commentary: Dudley Sticks His Neck Out

Weekly Commentary: Dudley Sticks His Neck Out

What a fascinating environment; each week bringing something extraordinary. Yet there is this dreadful feeling that things are advancing toward some type of cataclysm.

“U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade war with China keeps undermining the confidence of businesses and consumers, worsening the economic outlook. This manufactured disaster-in-the-making presents the Federal Reserve with a dilemma: Should it mitigate the damage by providing offsetting stimulus, or refuse to play along? If the ultimate goal is a healthy economy, the Fed should seriously consider the latter approach… There’s even an argument that the election itself falls within the Fed’s purview. After all, Trump’s reelection arguably presents a threat to the U.S. and global economy, to the Fed’s independence and its ability to achieve its employment and inflation objectives. If the goal of monetary policy is to achieve the best long-term economic outcome, then Fed officials should consider how their decisions will affect the political outcome in 2020.” Bill Dudley, Bloomberg op-ed, August 27, 2019

The former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s piece galvanized an overwhelmingly negative response. Virtually everyone agrees it would be an outrage for the Fed to take such a plunge into the political maelstrom.  

A Federal Reserve spokeswoman responded: “The Federal Reserve’s policy decisions are guided solely by its congressional mandate to maintain price stability and maximum employment. Political considerations play absolutely no role.”

Former Treasury official Larry Summers weighed in (from CNBC interview): “The Fed’s job is to stay out of politics. The Fed’s job is to respond to the best assessment they can make of economic conditions and adjust the economy – interest rates – appropriately… But for a trusted former official of the Fed, whose thinking is inevitably going to be tied to the Fed, to recommend that they raise interest rates so as to subvert the economy and influence a presidential election is grossly irresponsible – is an abuse of the privilege of being a former Fed official… It is not the job of non-elected appointed officials to a technocratic role to decide how they’re going to act so as to constrain and influence the behavior the President of the United States – and the behavior of the remainder of the government of the United States. That is to misunderstand entirely the role of appointed officials in a democracy.” 

Former Dallas Fed Economist Reveals “The Ugly Truth About The Federal Reserve”

Former Dallas Fed Economist Reveals “The Ugly Truth About The Federal Reserve”

VIDEO

…see first link above for transcript…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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