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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!

Primary Dealers Go Hog Wild Net Long Treasuries

Back in December I had no idea that a pandemic was coming. I had no idea that COVID19 would cause Treasury supply to increase 10x. Nor did I know that the Fed would buy all of it at first, and then that it would experiment with cutting back until “who knows what.”

But that’s what happened, and that’s what the Fed has done and is doing. I was concerned about supply demand back then, but I had no clue how understated my concern would be. Here’s what I wrote 6 months back.

12/18/19 Primary Dealers continue to carry all-time record inventories of fixed income securities, far above their historically normal bond positions. They are not well hedged. They are overwhelmingly net long and they are massively leveraged…

Furthermore, with more and more Treasury supply constantly on the way, the Fed must keep buying and/or lending the cash to buy to its straw men the Primary Dealers indefinitely. The dealers and the market at large is in no position to absorb $100 billion a month in new Treasury supply.

So the Fed is now trapped. It can’t simply end Not QE without risking a massive system wide crash. It must continue to add cash to the market indefinitely. But can it continue to print endlessly without horrific unintended consequences?

And what will those consequences be? Endless asset bubbles to the sky? Increasing consumer inflation that ultimately leads to hyperinflation?

When the pandemic hit, the Fed at first was flummoxed. It had been printing since September when the money markets blew up, but it wasn’t printing enough. And it was slow to react. So stocks crashed. That’s when the Fed went into panic mode and began printing money as if there would be no tomorrow.

Let’s be clear about one thing. The Fed did not swing into action to rescue the US economy from depression. The Fed’s first order of business when the SHTF was to rescue the Primary Dealers. Which it definitely did.

The dealers were leveraged to the hilt with record long positions in Treasuries. The Treasury was already issuing a trillion a year in new supply. That forced the dealers into the position of having to buy and own mass quantities of US Treasuries. The pandemic meant that they got well paid for that because yields collapsed and Treasury prices soared as the world’s investors dumped stocks and headed for the perceived safety of Treasuries.

But dealers took it on the chin when stocks and all other assets crashed. There’s no question in my mind that they were down and out at that point. We may never know how bad things were. The Fed papered over their problems by buying a couple trillion of their Treasuries and MBS at record high prices.

But we may still find out just how bad things are. Because the dealers remain leveraged to the hilt. And there’s one more thing.

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Treasury Issuance Catches Up With QE and That’s Not Good

Treasury issuance has caught up with QE. There are no more excess funds lying around for dealers to use to mark up stock and bond prices. The balance has shifted. It’s not as bullish as it was, that’s for sure. And it could get much, much worse in the weeks ahead before the Fed reacts.

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Federal Withholding Tax Collections Chart

You Have No Idea How Bad This Really Is

In normal times, the Federal Government has a revenue windfall in April, and runs a large surplus for the month. Revenues are typically at least 140% of outlays. Even more in good years.

Revenues covered just 24% of outlays in April. We borrowed 76 cents of every dollar the Federal Government spent last month.

We knew this was coming. The questions now are how long it can last, when it will start to recover, and whether it might get worse.

The monthly Treasury Statement data illustrates the depth of the budgetary crisis that have engulfed the financial markets. It showed that the Federal Government had to finance a deficit of $742 billion for the month. But that apparently doesn’t include a little cash flow matter of $230 billion the government paid out in tax refunds in April. That’s a gargantuan number that we saw in the Daily Treasury Statement data that I reported last week. Therefore on a cash basis, the deficit was more than a trillion. That had to be financed through debt offerings.

The Daily Treasury Statement data through May 12 shows that the situation is not only not getting better. It hasn’t stopped getting worse. The worst readings on withholding tax collections just happened Friday and Monday. Here’s how it looks now, and guidance on how we’ll know when it’s beginning to recover.

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Fed’s Curve Flattening Starts To Flatten Stock Prices

The Fed has cut back its POMO purchases to an average of $8 billion per day of Treasuries and $6 billion of MBS this week. That’s down from $10 billion and $8 billion last week, and hundreds of billions in the peak of the panic in April.

The effects of that are beginning to show up in stock prices.  Be prepared because here’s what happens next.

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Federal Budget Deficit Hit A Trillion A Month in April

The Federal deficit hit $1 trillion in April. That’s a cool 1,500% increase year to year. That’s for one month.

This is based on the April 30 Daily Treasury Statement month to date totals. It is an estimate based on my simple subtraction of outlays from revenues. It is not official, and the official number may differ when the Monthly Treasury Statement is released on May 13.

Still, a trillion, is a trillion. And the final, official number should be in this ballpark. This is an increase of $941 billion from the April 2019 deficit. Keep in mind that back in the “good old days, before the 2017 tax cut and spending increase, April typically saw a surplus. So even before the pandemic, these numbers were bad.

Obviously, this blowout is due to the Pandemic Pandemonium Panic Relief Programs spending. But it’s also partly due to the plunge in revenue, and embedded increases in regular budgetary spending.

Here are the current horrible numbers, along with the immediate outlook, and what it means for stocks and bonds.

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Look Out! The Fed is Tight Again!

The Fed just posted how much help it will give the market next week and son of a gun! It’s cutting again. The implications of this are yooge! Apparently Jaysus saves not! At least not the stock market. Doesn’t he care? Is this ritual sacrifice?

Here’s what you need to do now to protect yourself from Jaysus Powell’s Revenge.

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The Fed Flattens The Curve – Stocks Follow

Today’s the day. The Fed announces its next plan. You may have already seen it by the time you read this.

But really. What difference does it make? The Fed has trashed its plan without notice 3 times in the past year and a half.

In the past 2 months, it has had no plan at all. It just responds willy-nilly to whatever happens in the news. My god! The Fed bailed out Carnival Cruise Lines. You know we’re in trouble when the Fed bails out Carnival. The blatant cronyism of the plutocrat class is breathtaking. And the sheep just yawn, placated by a few crumbs thrown their way.

So Jerry and the JayJays will sing yet a new song today. Maybe they’ll stick with the new tune for a few weeks or months. Maybe they won’t. We just have to keep tracking what they do and watching the market response.

Here’s what you need to know.

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The Fed is the Ventilinflator

Ever resolute, the Fed kept pumping the cash into Primary Dealer accounts. It kept at it until, as I calculated elsewhere, it had pumped in about $800 billion more than the dealers, and indeed the entire world, needed to absorb the flood of Treasury supply that was hammering it. That happened by the middle of April.

It was enough for the dealers to get back to their fun business of acquiring inventories of stocks, marking them up, triggering short squeezes, and convincing their herds of institutional sheep customers to follow the shorts and dive back into the market with whatever cash they had raised on the way down.

It worked, as we all know. Stocks have recovered around 55% of what they lost in the crash.

But the Fed has started to do the tighten up. Here’s what you need to know.

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