9 August 2009

Timing withdrawals is always tricky....

Zero Hedge looks at the "monitisation debate", the key question who is actually buying the treasuries? You can be sure that the US government is..thats what QE is all about. The question is this; can Ben keep pumping the stimulus until it works and yet still "pull out" before hyperinflation and a reserve currency credibility crisis is well and truly conceived.

As a strategy it has all the same failings of the contraception technique: skewed incentives and an "agency problem" of deep discontinuities in the costs and benefits.


A bigger question is the degree to which the US stimulus is working, it looks like it probably; its enabling massive credit creation in China.....

The startling conclusion: $32 billion of Treasury Bonds spread across 7 CUSIPs, were purchased by the FED within 10 days of their initial auction and allocation to primary dealers. The amount purchased by OMOs represents an average of 32.4% of the total allocated to primary dealers in the respective auctions. Furthermore, almost two third of total OMO Operations for bonds issued in 2009, or $62 billion, affects Bonds issued within 30 days of the OMO purchase. These purchases account for a total average of 29% of the total amount allocated to primary dealers. While one may make the argument that on the run bonds are preferred on average by the Fed for purchasing and by the primary dealer community for selling, the data presents a marked skew in the Fed's desire to monetize very recently issued Treasuries.

The key questions remain: allocations to primary dealers in 2009 Bond auctions is an undisputed majority (55%) of all auctions - this is troubling due to the the recent change in the definition of indirect purchasers as well as the markedly reduced interest of foreign buyers such as China and other indirects, for US Treasuries. Could a reason for the Chinese lack of appetite be due to the fact that while primary dealers represent not just a majority of all Treasury purchases, that these dealers may also have an implicit understanding that come hell or high water for auctions that lack indirect interest, the Fed could potentially make any dealers whole on purchases and subsequent sales at a loss such as the highlighted CUSIP 91282LD0 example (explicitly, at a loss for taxpayers who have to fund the primary dealers shortfall, in this case the difference between 99-26 and 99-07)? Would the Chinese be interested in playing in a rigged playing field when indirects are potentially impaired vis-a-vis direct purchasers? Furthermore, is Bernanke pulling a Clinton and while claiming under oath the he is not monetizing debt, he is effectively doing just that on well over $30 billion in Treasuries, which the Fed acquires within 10 days of issuance? And lastly, is the rapid uptake by the Fed a means to goose up auctions which have a potential likelihood of failure: the 7 Year in question came hot on the heels of a 5 Year that for all intents and purposes was quite close to a failed auction? Absent an implicit backstop, which everyone knows the Fed is very keen on making these days: as the SigTarp demonstrated, to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars, what is the likelihood the 7 Year would have fared as well as it did, had not the primary dealers really stepped up, for reasons known and unknown.

Zero Hedge is not making any claims, but merely asking questions. And while we appreciate the opinions of self-professed experts such as John Jansen, these answers should really come from the proper authorities - the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve of the US.

As time allows, Zero Hedge will next conduct a comparable study on Agency and MBS debt repurchases by the Federeal Reserve.


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