At some point in the great collective peyote dream that was last month’s debt ceiling crisis, we asked you to imagine the Fed buying defaulted US Treasuries.
Fortunately, the US central bank was thinking about it too. Read more
Every Federal reserve bank shall have power…
…To buy and sell in the open market, under the direction and regulations of the Federal Open Market Committee, any obligation which is a direct obligation of, or fully guaranteed as to principal and interest by, any agency of the United States.
– Section 14.2(b)2, Federal Reserve Act
Now, reading that carefully…
Does that mean the Fed can’t buy defaulted US government debt? Read more
Scott Skyrm noted on his blog earlier this week that it took only six months of Fed QE purchases to move GC rates from an average of 0.24 per cent in December 2012 to an average of 0.05 per cent this month.
There is, consequently, a growing distortion in the short-term funding markets, which is clearly one of the first unintended consequences of the QE programmes to surface: Read more
What’s really responsible for higher US yields? Falling demand from domestic and western investors? Or Chinese and Japanese official flows?
Earlier in June, TIC data sent us a very important message. Abenomics was somehow prompting the repatriation and redistribution of money held in long-term USTs by Japanese investors, as this chart from Nomura shows:
Now north of 2.5 per cent:
Here’s an interesting thought. Could the gold sell-off be related to a squeeze on collateral brought on by a series of very different bank crises in Europe, starting with the SNS Reaal nationalisation and Anglo Irish emergency assistance operation and culminating with the Cyprus crisis?
It’s a theory being considered by Jeffrey Snider, chief investment strategist, at Alhambra Investment Partners.
The basic point being, when you haven’t got anything to repo and funding becomes tight, gold is likely to sell-off in anticipation of further banking and asset problems. Read more
US Treasuries are kicking up with the 10 year threatening to push through 2 per cent for the first time in quite a while. It’s a little bit of economic optimism — better data means more chances of Fed tightening.
Capital Economics did the needful and put voice to the idea that the bull rally in Treasuries might have further to run for all sorts of not very contrarian reasons (our emphasis): Read more
It’s not perfect, we know. But the weekly CFTC derivative positioning report is still a useful barometer when it comes to gauging investor sentiment.
On which note here’s the breakdown of the latest report with respect to UST spec positioning, courtesy of TD Securities: Read more
Last week, Kit Juckes at SocGen was one of many analysts who, after looking at the latest FOMC minutes, found fit to arrive at one overriding conclusion: the era of Risk-on, Risk-off (RoRo) investing is arguably coming to an end.
As he explained… Read more
This is reassuring (or not – we can’t decide). The Global fixed income strategy team at HSBC *believe* they’ve come up with a non-consensus view on the effects of QEternity:
Our non-consensus view is that QE3 will drive US Treasury yields to new lows Read more
Arvind Krishnamurthy and Annette Vissing-Jorgensen have an interesting variation on what the Fed should do next: start buying MBS while selling longer-term Treasuries.
Buying MBS, of course, has been widely discussed as a potential option if the Fed chooses to begin another round of large-scale asset purchases, but Krishnamurthy and Vissing-Jorgensen are the first economists we are aware of to advocate also dumping long-term Treasuries. Read more
The US borrowed for 10 years at the lowest rate ever in Wednesday’s auction (technically a reopening of an existing bond).
It is impossible for all investors to be invested in safe assets all at the same time.
That’s because risk can never truly be eliminated. It can only be transferred or managed. The more people pour into “safe assets” at the expense of “risky assets”, the more they transfer risk into the original “safe asset”. Read more
As noted in the February quarterly refunding statement, Treasury believes that there are benefits to issuing floating rate notes (FRNs). In recent weeks Treasury has received a significant amount of feedback on the topic, in part through a formal request for information published in the Federal Register. Read more
Professor Lew Spellman, from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, has posted on on what he calls gold’s changing role in the global economic landscape.
Amongst other things, he says the epic hunt for “safe collateral” — which has driven down yields on traditional fixed-income investments in the process — is the direct result of there being too many debt liabilities/obligations relative to safe collateral in the system. Read more
Fitch Ratings’ report on repo and shadow banking from February 3 has just been posted on the Fitch Ratings website — available to all who sign up for a login.
While its key themes were covered extensively by our FT colleagues back in February — namely that the use of lower-rated debt as collateral had returned to pre-crisis levels — one table buried deep in the report did catch our eye: Read more
Something on the Treasury sell-off last week from RBC’s Michael Cloherty, which we found interesting… it’s another theory about what caused the selling, and whether it’s ‘the big one’ for risk.
We noted earlier that during the sell-off, the yield curve flattened, i.e. the rise in yields on longer-dated bonds was more or less matched at the short end. Whereas you might expect (say) 30-year Treasuries to be particularly sold off, if a fundamental paradigm shift in real rates is suddenly here. So – Cloherty says the selling of short-dated bonds reeks of a carry trade being closed out. Read more
Real rates, to cut a long story short. Treasuries should be returning to trade inversely to equities, although stocks didn’t soar on the two days this week that bonds have slumped.
While eurozone sovereign debt did improve. Read more
Pimco’s Total Return Fund, managed by Bill Gross, now holds Treasuries to the greatest extent since July 2010, departing from sharp cuts to its holdings in 2011, Bloomberg reports. Holdings of US government debt rose to 38 per cent last month from 30 per cent in December. The fund gained 2.13 per cent in January, beating almost all of its peers, according to Bloomberg data. Gross nevertheless faces rising doubts that the $250bn Total Return Fund has become too big to manage and too reliant on derivatives, says Reuters in a special report.
Global stocks hit a fresh six-month high as hopes for a worldwide economic recovery outweighed the sentiment-sapping impact of the lingering eurozone fiscal crisis, the FT reports. The FTSE All-World equity index was up 0.5 per cent, its best level since the start of August, while traditional “risk on” features populate ddealers’ screens. S&P 500 futures suggested Wall Street would start the session with a gain of 0.2 per cent, leaving the benchmark index just 1 per cent shy of its best close since the summer of 2008. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was advancing 0.6 per cent as miners and banks showed form. Industrial commodities were seeing demand, with copper up 1 per cent to $3.92 a pound, and Brent crude consolidating above $116 a barrel. US 10-year bonds moved back to the 2 per cent level, up 2 basis points on the day, as residual haven buying was counteracted by optimism that the US economy was gaining some traction, following Friday’s stronger than expected jobs report. The US Treasury is set to auction $72bn in securities this week, with $24bn of 10-year Treasuries up for grabs on Wednesday.