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Category: Fed, Central Bank and Banking Macro Liquidity

Analysis of the major forces of macro liquidity that drive markets. Click here to subscribe. 90 day risk free trial!

Primary Dealers Go Full Reverse Thrusters

We have finally seen the effects of the bond market crisis in dealer inventories, and it isn’t pretty.

Dealer inventories have plunged by $166.6 billion since February 24. This is not simply repricing of the inventory. This is active, aggressive liquidation. We have reason to believe that it is forced liquidation. We know that because we know the degree to which this inventory was bought and carried with insane levels of leverage.

One chart in the report shows the scale of the drop, and relates it to the direction of Treasury securities prices.

Another shows total dealer Treasury collateral repo versus the yield on the 10 year note on an inverted scale. That shows the direction of Treasury prices relative to their total repo borrowings against their Treasury holdings.

Another chart shows all Primary Dealer net borrowings, which is the net of their repo and other financing from their reverse repo and margin lending operations. That’s plotted versus their total Treasury holdings. This chart is interesting because it shows the total amount of leverage employed against the only the safest collateral held.

Then there’s the mother of all charts. The chart shows a four year history of the direction of Treasury prices, overlaid with total dealer fixed income positions, and net dealer borrowings used to finance those positions. At the bottom is the ratio of the net debt financing to the total fixed income portfolio value.

The correlation between all 4 series is clear. The past is prologue. The implications are horrifying.

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FREE REPORT – Proof of How QE Works – Fed to Primary Dealers, to Markets, To Money

Animal Spirits are Waning and Money is Disappearing

In past reports I’ve covered the fact that the proximate cause of the US Treasury’s massive intervention in the Treasury market is the crash in Treasury bond prices and not yields. Dealers are underwater. They’re drowning. And surprise, surprise, they have engaged in more stupid behavior of the kind that causes systemic crashes.

Why are we surprised?  These same Wall Street Mafiosi are behind every financial crash, and they are never held responsible. Quite the contrary, the Fed bails them out and rewards them for their disgusting, criminal malfeasance and wild gambling with other people’s money.

The financial system with the Fed as corrupt cop on the beat, stinks to high hell, but it is what it is. We just have to understand their corrupt rules and play by them in order to preserve and grow our capital. Understanding that game meant that we’ve had to be bullish most of the time for the past dozen years.

Sad.

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Going Going Gone- We Now Know When The Party Will End

On February 23, the US Treasury pumped $55 billion in cash into the accounts of Primary Dealers, banks, money market funds, and other institutions who had held the T-bills that were expiring that day. These redemptions began the US Treasury’s series of massive, twice weekly paydowns of the US government’s short term debt.

The purpose of the paydowns was twofold. First, the Treasury is required by the current budget law to whittle down its cash from a peak of $1.8 trillion last year, to $133 billion by August.  Treasury Minister Janet opted to start the process by paying down existing short term debt.

That accomplished the second goal, which was to force holders of the expiring paper to buy longer term debt. Despite their protestations that all is well, economic policy makers know that the crash in Treasury note and bond prices is causing a crisis in the Primary Dealer system.

Minister Janet works very closely with Lord Jaysus of the Fed, of course. They expected that the T-bill paydowns would help to reverse the decline in the prices of Treasury notes and bonds by forcing cash into the accounts of dealers and investors. It didn’t work. At least not to the extent that they needed. The full report is reserved for subscribers. 

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The Day of Reckoning Is Upon Us

Stock buybacks have been widely reported as being responsible for much of the bull market. That is undoubtedly true. Buybacks reduce the supply of equities, and put cash back in the pockets of sellers. That cash burns a hole in their pockets, stimulating their demand for the reduced supply of equities that remains on the market.

Of course, that ignores the cause. Free money from the Fed promotes these corporate C-suite financial engineering scams. Executives get to issue ridiculous stock option grants to themselves, then they have their corporation do stock buybacks to push up the value of their options. They can then sell into the rallies that result. Nice work if you can get it.

I have warned for several years that such stock retirements are a two way street, that when prices get high, companies will reverse course and start issuing more stock. That is starting to happen.

Fed and US Treasury Are Ensuring that Macro Liquidity Stays Bullish

What else is new?

Tomorrow, the Fed talks. But Fed talk is cheap. The Fed wants you to think that talk – its talk – moves the markets, or keeps them stable. That’s just utter bull. You and I know that from simply tracking the data for as many years as we have. Bottom line, as always, is, money talks, and the Fed’s BS is just that.

All of the discussion and paralysis by analysis in the media is a sideshow. Mass confusion that consistently misses the point. It all boils down to one simple fact. When the Fed pumps money into the financial markets via the Primary Dealers, stock prices follow the money. Everything else that happens in the economy is tangential and irrelevant to trading.

I started tracking and charting the data that goes into this in 2002, courtesy of the NY Fed print shop. Here’s the chart that started it all. It was made famous in 2012 when Rick Santelli featured it in one of his rants on CNBC.

Many, many people have copied this in the years since I began publishing it about 17 years ago. But they all fail one basic test. Here’s what it is and why it matters. It matters so much that it could mean that the end of the financial system as we know it is at hand.

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Treasury’s Bond Market Rescue – Get Ready For the PONT Spread Bulge

The US Treasury’s attempt to rescue the Treasury market began in mid February. It’s not going well. They’ve managed to stop the hemorrhaging. Prices have stopped falling over the past two weeks. But they haven’t turned the tide.

And that’s the problem. Primary Dealer inventories accumulated since last March are way under water. The dealers are the walking dead. If bond prices don’t rally, the Fed will have no choice but to start yield control and infinite QE, and it will need to do it soon.

The Fed must always maintain the appearance that their Primary Dealer strawmen, are alive and functioning as market makers as always. There’s no alternative. This month, the Fed and US Treasury have begun colluding to prime the pump, and they’re about to aim a firehose of liquidity at the problem.

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Here’s The Evidence That The US Treasury is Bailing Out Stricken Primary Dealers

The bear market in Treasuries that started in August devolved into an outright crash last week. Meanwhile, evidence shows that cash in Primary Dealer accounts has exploded to the highest level in history, with the biggest weekly increase in history. There’s also circumstantial evidence that that cash came directly from US Treasury, away from the publicly visible means that we already saw last week.

We are not surprised there’s a crisis. You and I have been watching the situation deteriorate for months. My first guess was that the trouble would start when the 10 year yield crossed 0.8%, That was premature. It was just a preliminary. Then I guessed it would be 1%. Sure enough, within a few weeks after crossing that level, things deteriorated rapidly into last week’s climax.

While the Fed sat on its hands, saying, “Nothing to see here, all is well,” the US Treasury sent in the cavalry. As I covered in the bulletins I sent you over the past week, the Treasury has announced $160 billion in T-bill paydowns. These put cash directly into the accounts of those who hold the expiring bills. This includes dealers, banks, and big investment firms of all types.

Two of those paydowns, totaling $96 billion settled on February 23 and 25. The Treasury, no doubt working with the Fed, absolutely wants the crash in bond prices to reverse. They know damn well that the stability of the system is at stake here. I believe that we have passed the point of no return. They must get Treasury prices back up, or else.

The Treasury will almost certainly continue these cash injections. They still have plenty of money left to do it. It is still sitting on $1.38 trillion in cash.

But oddly, dealer cash accounts rose by more, and Treasury cash fell by more, than what we can account for with these paydowns, and the other things we know about. Here’s the evidence, the implications of it, and a strategy to potentially profit from the coming crisis.

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Treasury Joins Fed to Try to Prevent Imminent System Collapse

And I’ve spewed a whole lot of words over the past 3 weeks. Scary words. Words including warnings that one of the titans of the trading and brokerage industries has now echoed. Words about QE, the Primary Dealers, and the twin issues of current and expected Treasury supply, and the Treasury’s huge pile of cash, that it has just been sitting on.

Apparently, it has decided to start spending it. The first big spend is for paying down outstanding T-bills. Surprise, surprise.

We knew Janet had to spend the money. The 2019 budget law requires her to get the recent balance of $1.6 trillion down to $133 billion by August. We just didn’t know how she would do it – spend it directly in payment of the coming new stimulus legislation, or pay down debt.

Monday, we got our answer. I sent you a bulletin on that news. Click here if you missed it. They’re going to start by paying down a whopping $55 billion in Treasury bills expiring next Tuesday 2/23.

If this is the beginning of a policy of using the cash for debt paydowns, prior to the onset of the new stimulus spending, it would be bullish. It would be like more QE. At $220 billion every four weeks, a lot more.

Bullish. Except for one thing.

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Meanwhile, I saw a comment yesterday that Thomas Peterffy, the founder of Interactive Brokers, said that in the Gamestop short massacre, the brokerage system had actually come to the brink of collapse.

I told you on January 31 that this could happen, that we should all be very careful about protecting our assets. Peterffy confirmed this.

Here’s what I wrote  on 1/31/21

As the market amply demonstrated last week, margin can also work against short positions. Any big leveraged speculators who were short GME and other stocks that the wallstreetbets crowd decided to attack, saw their equity in the position wiped out, and then some. When they can’t come up with the cash, it puts the brokers, like Robinhood, at risk, and the brokers suffer tremendous losses too.

As the dominoes fall, it puts every single one of us at risk. The SIPC only covers so much, and if we are in stock positions, it can take months for those positions to be released, by which time who knows what might happen.

I just don’t like the risks here, either long or short. I have my personal account with a smallish firm that specializes in technical trading and has been around for years. They’re owned by a Japanese institution. Am I safe? I doubt it. I’m in cash at the moment, but I’m considering moving it back into my bank account and then into T-bills via Treasury Direct.

True, maybe big profits lie ahead on the short side, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to access them if that turns out to be right. Systemic collapse is not a good thing from that perspective.

Yeah, I’m paranoid. If this debt financed, hollow, asset price mountain begins to collapse, I’m just not sure that the Fed will be able to reflate it this time. I think we’re all playing a little Russian Roulette here. We haven’t hit the chamber with the bullet yet, but that clicking sound from each spin is terrifying.

I had posted my concerns about things getting this bad way back in October.

10/2/20 A massive amount of leverage has been floated to buy and hold these [Treasury] positions. If yields break out, the mirror image of a price breakdown, the margin calls will go out. The response in the markets will be ferocious. Overleveraged dealers and hedge funds will sell anything that isn’t nailed down, and some stuff that is, to meet those margin calls.

The Fed will be forced to act again to keep them in business. One of these days, this game will stop working. Even assuming we manage to get short in time, I’m not even sure that being short the market at that point would do much good. What if your brokerage firm collapses?

I’m beginning to think that it would be a good idea to hold some assets outside the conventional banking/brokerage system. Whether that’s T-bills in Treasury Direct, bitcoin, gold, or other assets—these are things we need to think about.

We are most assuredly not out of the woods yet.

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Proof of How QE Works – Fed to Primary Dealers, to Markets, To Money

There’s so much confusion out there about how money gets from the Fed into the stock and bond markets. I see the comments in my Twitter feed. People are clueless. Like how M1 is causal. Or how the Fed pumps money into the banking system and that doubles back somehow to speculative bubbles.

This post was originally published for Liquidity Trader subscribers last week. I am posting it here in full now for everyone. If you would like to regularly receive and support this research, please subscribe

The amount of ignorance out there is epic. Few people seem to have any interest in the facts about how monetary policy works- the nuts and bolts aspects. And yet, the process is direct, and much simpler than everyone realizes.

Welcome to today’s world of propaganda overload, particularly Wall Street propaganda. There’s an ocean of free “information” out there, and most of it is worth what it costs.

So, let’s talk about the confusion around QE cause and effect, with financial bubbles and money supply. And let’s get to the point — the proof of how QE actually enters the banking system AFTER it gets pumped into the markets, not before.

Primary Dealers are Dead – Part 2 – Springtime Coming for Hibernating Bears

The Primary Dealers always hedge their fixed income portfolio positions in the futures markets. Looking only at their bond portfolio positions may not give us an accurate picture of how screwed they are, or are not.

We have data for their futures hedging. It’s called the COTS- the weekly Commitment of Traders. Every Friday, the CFTC publishes the positions of various players in the futures markets. Among those reports is the dealer positions.

The rest of the world focuses on the specs, mostly the big specs—the hedge funds. I say, who cares! I want to know how the dealers are positioned. After all, they’re the ones who run the games. The big specs are just the whales at the tables. Some of them are good players, for sure, but they’re not the House. The dealers are the House. We want to know how the House is positioned.

We need to know this information so that we can make a swag on just how impaired Wall Street might be. We want to do our own stress analysis of what’s happening to the dealer portfolios as bond prices move one way or the other.

We know that, since last August, the trend isn’t going well for them. I can’t quantify exactly where the breaking point is, but I think we’re close, if not already past it. In this report, I continue laying out the circumstantial case.

Subscribers, click here to download the report.`

KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW, before the Street does, read Lee Adler’s Liquidity Trader risk free for 90 days!

Act on real-time reality!