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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!

If Bonds Sell Off, Dealers are in Trouble and So Is the System

Primary dealers have maintained huge and heavily leveraged long bond positions. They are only lightly hedged. Just today, the bond market is threatening to reverse the long term downtrend in yields/uptrend in prices. It’s bad news for the bond market, and for the system as a whole. And that includes stocks.

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Mr. Minuschin’s Erection To Boost The Election

We have known for a couple of months that there would be a mountain of Treasury supply hitting the market at the end of September. We also knew that Fed QE would be far from adequate to absorb this supply. So I have expected something bearish for stocks at the end of September. This could spill over into the first week of October.

But then things get hairy for bears, with potentially happy days for bulls. Unfortunately, we have a little problem this week. There’s no visibility. We don’t know what they have planned for the next couple weeks. That’s different from usual, where we can usually see ahead for a week or two because we know the Fed’s QE schedule, and also pretty much know how much Treasury supply to expect.

Now, thanks to the exigencies of the past pandemiconomic US Treasury fund raising back in March and April, we don’t have that luxury on Treasury supply, which forces us to surmise some things.

Here they are.

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Macro Liquidity Rising But Other Issues Intrude

Composite liquidity continues to rise, but at a slower pace than in the second quarter as the Fed has slowed QE. That reduces the cash flowing into Primary Dealer accounts, which in turn contributes to a slowing in secondary liquidity drivers.

“Slowing” is a relative word, however. Historically, the numbers remain gargantuan.

No, something else is holding the market back. Here’s what that something is, and what we’re going to do about it.

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Market Dough Gets Punched Down

Surprise, surprise! They pumped the money in but the market didn’t rise.

The Fed has been in the process of pumping $88 billion into Primary Dealer accounts this week in the form of its regular monthly MBS purchase settlements. Most of it is done. $22.7 billion of it will settle on Monday September 21. That will be the last MBS settlement until October 14-21.

Meanwhile, the Fed continues to purchase and settle Treasuries virtually every day. Over the past week that’s amounted to a total of about $37 billion. That means that a total of $103 billion in QE settled this week. That’s how much cash the Fed pumped into Primary Dealer accounts.

It didn’t matter. The stock market sucked gas. Bonds treaded water. It sure looks as though the Fed has somehow managed to magically peg bond yields just below 0.80% on the 10 year. The Treasury issued $104 billion in new coupon paper over the past week and that didn’t depress the market? It’s a miracle.

But isn’t it strange that the amount of QE and the amount of Treasury coupon issuance was virtually the same.

Uh… No.

But some other stuff sure as heck is, and you need to know about it.

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Why No More Pandemic Spending Is Bullish

The economic rebound from the depths of the pandemic panic in April and May has ended. The economy may be rolling over again. Bad news for workers and consumers, but not necessarily for investors.

The US Government did no pandemic relief spending in August, and none is on the immediate horizon. Despite that, the monthly budget deficits are freaking enormous and frightening.

Tax receipts are weak and they will provide no relief from those deficits. The US Treasury will continue to borrow massive amounts of money in the markets.

Sounds like bad news for the stock market, right?

Eh, not quite.  Here’s why.

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Mr. Minus-chin Conspires With QE for September Happy Ending

Well…

The selloff that we expected as a result of the scheduled month end liquidity shortage happened.

Just one problem.

It came a week later than expected. Unfortunately, in a business where timing is everything, that matters. When the selloff didn’t happen right away, I stopped expecting it. Ooops. Apparently we need to build into our forecasts an allowance for a one week lag between money injections and market reactions.

So this week, the market had a little Wile E. Coyote moment, looked down, and plunged. But suddenly yesterday, it sprang back to life.

Why? The Fed didn’t step in. It is maintaining its schedule of about $18 billion per week in Treasury purchases, and a similar or slightly larger amount of MBS purchases which varies according to the amount of MBS prepaid off the Fed’s balance sheet the prior month. No change there.

As we know, those are forward contracts which only settle in the third week of the month. The September settlements start Monday, September 14. We need to watch out for that.

In the meantime, Dr. Evil’s sidekick, Mr. Minus-chin, the keeper of the US Treasury cash hoard, rode to the rescue yesterday.

Should we expect more of the same?

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August Federal Deficit Decline is Worse Than It Looks

Tax collections have leveled off at a negative year to year rate. That will allow the Fed to continue to paper things over at the current level of support it is providing. Here’s what it means for stocks and bonds, not to mention the US economy.

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