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Category: 1 – Liquidity Trader

Reports on the Fed and Treasury, Primary Dealers, real time Federal tax collections, foreign central banks, US banking system, European banking system, and other factors that affect market liquidity. Resulting market strategy recommendations. 7-8 reports each month. Click here to subscribe. 90 day risk free trial!

Bullish Macro Liquidity Ends August 20th

Macro liqudity been bullish since early July. That was no secret. We were fully informed and prepared. And it’s no secret that this balance is about to flip to bearish. Really bearish. Can our beloved Fed get ahead of that curve?

The US Treasury issued its quarterly refunding report this week. So we now know what to expect from the US Treasury. We already knew what the Fed’s plans were. It made its policy pronouncement last week. More of the same. Snooze.

But that expectation is only good for the balance of this quarter, that is, through September. The government’s forecast for debt issuance beyond that, for the last calendar quarter, and maybe even for the next 7 weeks, should be taken with 5 pounds of salt.

The Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee (TBAC) does ok for the current quarter when it issues its estimate halfway through the quarter. It helps to know what has already happened for the first half of the quarter. But their look-ahead forecasts to the following quarters are usually revised significantly, and sometimes completely reversed.

So we’ll focus on what we can reasonably expect from now through September. Even though we don’t know how much the government will spend on economic relief.

Here’s the key takeaway.

Open the report to find out what it is, why it is, and what to expect.

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Massive July Tax Haul Boosted Markets, But Fiscal Cliff Dead Ahead

A recovery in withholding tax collections that began in mid June, ended in the last week of July. The one time annual tax windfall is now fini, and more spending is coming. Here’s what it means for the stock and bond markets.

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Light Treasury Supply, Even Paydowns, and Ongoing QE – Still Bullish

Fed QE and Treasury supply remain roughly in balance. The Fed is still funding most, if not all new issuance, either by direct purchase of Treasuries, or indirect funding via purchases of MBS. Meanwhile delayed tax collections are creating a July cash windfall for the Treasury. It’s all bullish for the next two weeks.

But then it gets different. Here’s why, and what to do about it.

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When Deleveraging Isn’t a Good Thing

Several banking indicators have exhibited a mild trend of deleveraging that has now persisted over two months. What we don’t know yet is whether it is just a correction of overborrowing during the initial phase of the pandemic and the Fed’s response.

Or is it the beginning of a persistent trend of deleveraging? That’s important because if it is the latter, it would have the power to change the direction of stocks

That could be a good thing over the long term. But it could also lead to another accident in the shorter term, over the next few months.

Unfortunately, so many aspects of this are uncharted waters for us. We can’t look at history and say, oh, this is just like that, or even something like that. We must take our best shot based on the logic of the current circumstances. Another problem is that, while economists assume that humans are rational actors, we know that that’s not often the case. We have to figure out how humans are most likely to behave, rational, irrational, or otherwise.

Ultimately that boils down to divining the trends in the data as it exists. Let’s just look closely at what we know and ask a few questions. Is the current trend persisting? Are there conditions on the horizon that might lead to change? Is change already underway? What are the signs? How will the Fed respond? And more importantly, how long will it take the Fed to respond.

Fortunately, the last two questions don’t need an answer. Because the Fed doesn’t know what it will do until it does it, neither does the market. And it’s likely to take the market longer to figure it out than it takes us, if we’re paying attention. Which we are.

Here’s what we know and what to do about it.

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Backed By Lansky, Dealers Do Enough To Keep The Players at the Tables

The Meyer Lansky like Fed has cut back QE, but Treasury supply has also receded. So the Fed is still funding most new issuance, either by direct purchase of Treasuries, or indirect funding via purchases of MBS. That has allowed the dealers enough flexibility to keep the players at the gaming tables. Are they being set up for the kill?

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Primary Dealers Deleverage and Grow Cautious

As the Fed has cut back on QE, Primary Dealers have also cut back their inventories of Treasuries and the leverage that they use to finance them. That’s not bullish. Here are the details and a few charts along with a suggested strategy to play the dealers’ game, not the one they want you to play as they set up new traders for the kill.

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