As The Yield Curve Crashes To 10 Year Lows, Trader Shows “How To Put On A Steepener”

Yesterday saw the US Treasury yield curve collapse to a fresh cycle low – the flattest curve since Oct 2007 – erasing the hoped-for trend change shift from last week…
And this is occurring as net positioning in the long-end has never been more bullish.
Between that and the effect of Trump’s tax reform plan, The Macro Tourist’s Kevin Muir lays out his thesis for getting long a steepening trade into the new year and details how to do it…
Over the Christmas break, there has been a lot of chatter about this great chart from 13d Research that has been labeled, ‘the most important chart in the world.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Thu, 12/28/2017 –.

‘Twas The Week Before Christmas: US Dollar Swaptions Dive To Lowest Point Since 2005 As US Treasury 30Y-2Y Curve Lowest Since Sept 2007

Twas the night week before Christmas, when all through the (financial) house
Not a creature trader was stirring, not even a mouse;
With the exception being traders sending 2Y30Y Swaptions down to their lowest level since 2005. Not to mention sending the 2Y30Y Treasury curve down to 86 basis points, the lowest since September 2007.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on December 18, 2017.

The Flattening US ‘Yield Curve’? NIRP Refugees Did it

Sez Fitch & Yellen
US Treasury securities are doing something that is worrying a lot of folks, including Fed Chair Janet Yellen: While short-term yields are rising in line with the Fed’s hikes of its target range for the federal funds rate, longer-term yield have done the opposite: they’ve been declining. This has flattened the ‘yield curve’ to a level not seen since before the Financial Crisis.
This chart shows the yield curve of today’s yields (red line) across the maturity spectrum against the yields of exactly a year ago, after the rate hike at the time. Note how short-term yields on the left have risen in line with the rate hikes, while toward the right of the chart, long-term yields have fallen:

This post was published at Wolf Street on Dec 14, 2017.

How Fed Rate Hikes Impact US Debt Slaves

But savers are still getting shafted.
Outstanding ‘revolving credit’ owed by consumers – such as bank-issued and private-label credit cards – jumped 6.1% year-over-year to $977 billion in the third quarter, according to the Fed’s Board of Governors. When the holiday shopping season is over, it will exceed $1 trillion. At the same time, the Fed has set out to make this type of debt a lot more expensive.
The Fed’s four hikes of its target range for the federal funds rate in this cycle cost consumers with credit card balances an additional $6 billion in interest in 2017, according to WalletHub. The Fed’s widely expected quarter-percentage-point hike on December 13 will cost consumers with credit card balances an additional $1.5 billion in 2018. This would bring the incremental costs of five rates hikes so far to $7.5 billion next year.
Short-term yields have shot up since the rate-hike cycle started. For example, the three-month US Treasury yield rose from near 0% in October 2015 to 1.33% today. Credit card rates move with short-term rates.
Mortgage rates move in near-parallel with the 10-year Treasury yield, which, at 2.39%, has declined from about 2.6% a year ago. Hence, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are still quoted with rates below 4%, and for now, homebuyers have been spared the impact of the rate hikes.

This post was published at Wolf Street on Dec 11, 2017.

Treasury Forecasts Tax Reform Will Lead To Longest Period Without Recession In History

One week ago, in its latest assessment of the current state of tax reform in the aftermath of the Senate’s passage of the tax bill, Goldman analysts calculated that while growth impact from tax reform had increased fractionally to around 0.3% in 2018 and 2019 “reflecting the slightly larger amount of tax cuts in the Senate plan following revisions, and our expectations regarding the eventual compromise”, it expected a very modest – if any – boost to US economic growth from tax reform.
Today, in a report prepared by the US Treasury – which as reminder is run by former Goldmanite Steven Mnuchin – and which was meant to bolster the case for the economic growth to be unleashed by the Trump tax cuts, and distract from the spike in deficit funding, the Treasury’s Office of Tax Policy (OTP) calculated that – somehow – the Senate’s version of tax cuts will result in 2.9% real GDP growth rate over 10 years.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 11, 2017.

Bitcoin Mania Shows The World Financial System Is a Con

The hidden agenda in the so-called tax reform bill is to act as stop-gap quantitative easing to plug the ‘liquidity’ hole that is opening up as the Federal Reserve (America’s central bank) makes a few gestures to winding down its balance sheet and ‘normalizing’ interest rates. Thus, the aim of the tax bill is to prop up capital markets, and the apprehension of this lately is what keeps stocks making daily record highs. Okay, sorry, a lot to unpack there.
Primer: quantitative easing (QE) is a the Federal Reserve’s weasel phrase for its practice of just creating ‘money’ out of thin air, which it uses to buy US Treasury bonds (and other stuff). The Fed buys this stuff through intermediary Too Big To Fail banks which allows them to cream off a cut and, theoretically, pump the ‘money’ into the economy. This ‘money’ is the ‘liquidity.’ As it happens, most of that money ends up in the capital markets. Stocks go up and up and bond yields stay ultra low with bond prices ultra high. What remains on the balance sheets are a shit-load of IOUs.
The third round of QE was officially halted in 2014 in the USA. However, the world’s other main central banks acted in rotation – passing the baton of QE, like in a relay race – so that when the US slacked off, Japan, Britain, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of China, took over money-printing duties. And because money flies easily around the world via digital banking, a lot of that foreign money ended up in ‘sure-thing’ US capital markets (as well as their own ). Mega-tons of ‘money’ were created out of thin air around the world since the near-collapse of the system in 2008.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on December 8, 2017.

Bitcoin’s ‘Message’ & Tax Reform’s ‘Hidden Agenda’

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,
The hidden agenda in the so-called tax reform bill is to act as stop-gap quantitative easing to plug the ‘liquidity’ hole that is opening up as the Federal Reserve (America’s central bank) makes a few gestures to winding down its balance sheet and ‘normalizing’ interest rates. Thus, the aim of the tax bill is to prop up capital markets, and the apprehension of this lately is what keeps stocks making daily record highs. Okay, sorry, a lot to unpack there.
Primer: quantitative easing (QE) is a the Federal Reserve’s weasel phrase for its practice of just creating ‘money’ out of thin air, which it uses to buy US Treasury bonds (and other stuff). The Fed buys this stuff through intermediary Too Big To Fail banks which allows them to cream off a cut and, theoretically, pump the ‘money’ into the economy. This ‘money’ is the ‘liquidity.’ As it happens, most of that money ends up in the capital markets. Stocks go up and up and bond yields stay ultra low with bond prices ultra high. What remains on the balance sheets are a shit-load of IOUs.
The third round of QE was officially halted in 2014 in the USA. However, the world’s other main central banks acted in rotation – passing the baton of QE, like in a relay race – so that when the US slacked off, Japan, Britain, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of China, took over money-printing duties. And because money flies easily around the world via digital banking, a lot of that foreign money ended up in ‘sure-thing’ US capital markets (as well as their own ). Mega-tons of ‘money’ were created out of thin air around the world since the near-collapse of the system in 2008.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 8, 2017.

Banks and the Fed’s Duration Trap

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of theinstitutionalriskanalyst. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
Atlanta | Is a conundrum worse than a dilemma? One of the more important and least discussed factors affecting the financial markets is how the policies of the Federal Open Market Committee have affected the dynamic between interest rates and asset prices. The Yellen Put, as we discussed in our last post for The Institutional Risk Analyst, has distorted asset prices in many different markets, but it has also changed how markets are behaving even as the FOMC attempts to normalize policy. One of the largest asset classes impacted by ‘quantitative easing’ is the world of housing finance. Both the $10 trillion of residential mortgages and the ‘too be announced’ or TBA market for hedging future interest rate risk rank among the largest asset classes in the world after US Treasury debt. Normally, when interest rates start to rise, investors and lenders hedge their rate exposure to mortgages and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) by selling Treasury paper and fixed rate swaps, thereby pushing bond yields higher.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by (Admin) Bill Patalon ‘ November 30, 2017.

Biggest Bubble Ever? 2017 Recapped In 15 Bullet Points

Yesterday we presented readers with one of the most pessimistic, if not outright apocalyptic, 2018 year previews, courtesy of BofA’s chief investment, Michael Hartnett who warned that in addition to the bursting of the bond bubble in the first half of the year, the stock market could see a 1987-like flash crash, potentially followed by a sharp spike in (violent) social conflict. However, in addition to his forecast, Hartnett also had one of the more informative, and descriptive, reviews of the year that was, or as he put it: 2017 was the perfect encapsulation of an 8-year QE-led bull market.
Here are his 15 bullet points that show why in 2017 we may have seen the biggest bubble ever (and why we can’t wait to see what 2018 reveals).
Da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ sold for staggering record $450mn Bitcoin soared 677% from $952 to $7890 BoJ and ECB were bull catalysts, buying $2.0tn of financial assets Number of global interest rate cuts since Lehman hit: 702 Global debt rose to a record $226tn, record 324% of global GDP US corporates issued record $1.75tn of bonds Yield of European HY bonds fell below yield of US Treasuries Argentina (8 debt defaults in past 200 years) issued 100-year bond Global stock market cap jumped1 $15.5tn to $85.6tn, record 113% of GDP S&P500 volatility sank to 50-year low; US Treasury volatility to 30-year low Market cap of FAANG+BAT grew $1.5tn, more than entire German market cap 7855 ETFs accounted for 70% of global daily equity volume The first AI/robot-managed ETF was launched (it’s underperforming) Big performance winners: ACWI, EM equities, China, Tech, European HY, euro Big performance losers: US$, Russia, Telecoms, UST 2-year, Turkish lira

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 22, 2017.

U.S. Treasury Becomes a Laughing Stock

U. S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin appears to have inaugurated a perpetual bring your wife to work day. It’s become so farcical that it frequently feels like the United States Treasury Department has morphed into a low-budget, badly scripted reality TV show where the female star is so out-of-touch that she must continually scurry about in her haute couture erasing the haughty things she has written about the little people on multiple continents. We’ll get to that shortly, but first some background:
It all started back on January 19 when actress and then fiance Louise Linton sat by her man during his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing to become U. S. Treasury Secretary. At the hearing, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon had this to say about his repugnance to see Mnuchin fill the post as U. S. Treasury Secretary:
‘Mr. Mnuchin’s career began in trading the financial products that brought on the housing crash and the Great Recession. After nearly two decades at Goldman Sachs, he left in 2002 and joined a hedge fund. In 2004, he spun off a hedge fund of his own, Dune Capital. It was only a few lackluster years before Dune began to wind down its investments in 2008.
‘In early 2009, Mr. Mnuchin led a group of investors that purchased a bank called IndyMac, renaming it OneWest. OneWest was truly unique. While Mr. Mnuchin was CEO, the bank proved it could put more vulnerable people on the street faster than just about anybody else around.

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade By Pam Martens and Russ Marte.

Those Controlling the World Admit: The United States Can’t Borrow Indefinitely

Speaking from the center of control over world policies, the Council on Foreign Relations, the CEO of one of the most powerful banks in the world, Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan, admits, “It’s virtually assured, the question is when and how.”  That was his immediate response to the question put to him regarding the possibility of the international bond market moving against the US because of its inability to get its fiscal house in order.

What the crazy conspiracy theorists have been saying for years, the conspirators are now admitting openly.  Does this mean the end-game is fast approaching?  Maybe.  According to CNN, the Treasury Department has said the U.S. government must raise the amount of money it can borrow or else it would be unable to pay its bills.  When you get into a situation where you need to perpetually borrow in order to pay off the debt and keep the game running, you’re following in the footsteps of Charles Ponzi.  And as ZeroHedge has noted, Ponzi Finance is the policy being followed at this point, which is likely a precursor to the end-game.



140 Years of Monetary History (In 10 Minutes)

Here again is Mika Maloney from GoldSilver.com with a great (and quick) review of what’s happened to the global monetary system in the last 140 years.  Mike explains how the world’s monetary system went from the classical gold standard in the late 1800’s to the floating fiat paper being used today.  Also quite interesting is the observation that the world’s monetary system seems to change approximately every 40 years. America’s “good as gold” dollar became the world’s reserve currency after World War II and has enjoyed its status as the world’s reserve currency.  After Nixon removed the dollar’s tie to gold in 1971, it freed the Federal Reserve & US Treasury to allow money to be created without limitation.  But now, too many dollars have been printed so we may be about to see another change in the global monetary system.

Sign the Petition to Audit US Gold Reserves

Update: February 9, 2013

The Whitehouse.gov site has removed the petition because it failed to gain enough support in the time allotted. It lacked approximately 18,000 signatures of the 25,000 necessary. It seems not many people care about this issue.

January 11, 2013

For many years, the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) has been gathering official government documents that indicate the US gold reserves are insufficient and cannot cover the paper obligations assigned to them.  Through leasing and swap agreements with other nations, the details of which are hidden from the public, the nation’s gold could be in jeopardy and at the very least, over-reported. Some people have even openly speculated that the Fort Knox facility contains mostly empty space.

There is now a movement to have the gold reserves audited.  As the description in the petition notes, the reserves have not been audited since 1953!  Prior to that, there were semi-regular audits. In the last 60 years, there has been too much turmoil to simply assume normality in this matter. A prudent and measured action is necessary.

It’s amazingly easy to create a White House account and sign the petition – all you need is a valid email address and zip code.  If the petition gets at least 25,000 signatures, the White House must take action to take the issue to the next step for further study.   Read and sign the petition today.

Fort Knox

Is More QE Coming, Or Not?

With the Fed purchasing 61% of all the US debt, it’s somewhat confusing why potential precious metals investors want to see more QE before making their move. And as the following chart from the St. Louis Fed shows, the money supply is still at uncharted, nose-bleed levels and showing no signs of decreasing.

US Dollar Money Supply

Nevertheless, analyzing a derivative of the TIPS Spread to identify when the Fed might reintroduce even more easing is what the economists over at Agora Financial have been doing.  As the chart below shows, the Fed may be waiting for the “Breakeven Inflation Rate” to drop below 2.2% prior to accelerating those printing presses.

Five-Year Forward Break-Even Inflation Rate

Subtle Fleecing of the U.S. Currency

January 5, 2012

The changes have been subtle and even span generations, which accounts for few people even noticing. Yet, looking back over the history of the US currency, one immediately sees that the citizens have been fleeced!

In 1929, all newly issued US currency was standardized in size and general appearance. For example, the $10 bill would now always be printed with Alexander Hamilton’s portrait. At this time, it’s interesting to note that bills were issued in different series

All these issues had the same general appearance, but differed primarily in their obligation to the bearer of the bill.

For example, here is a Federal Reserve Note from 1928. (Click on images for better clarity.)  The obligation is stated as “REDEEMABLE IN GOLD ON DEMAND AT THE UNITED STATES TREASURY, OR IN GOLD OR LAWFUL MONEY AT ANY FEDERAL RESERVE BANK”

1928 10 Dollar Federal Reserve Note

Similarly, here is a Gold Certificate from 1928. This is not a note, but rather a certificate representing a specific amount of gold on deposit at the Treasury. Starting at the top of the bill and ending at the bottom, the whole concept is written as “THIS CERTIFIES THAT THERE HAVE BEEN DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TEN DOLLARS IN GOLD COIN PAYABLE TO THE BEARER ON DEMAND”

1928 10 Dollar Gold Certificate

But in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt took America off the Gold Standard, thus citizens were no longer able to redeem their bills for gold coin. Gold Certificates were not printed anymore. Furthermore, the words “IN GOLD” were removed from the obligation statement of the Federal Reserve Note, leaving the redemption option to “LAWFUL MONEY” as can be seen in this 1934 note:

1934 10 Dollar Federal Reserve Note

The US Constitution doesn’t contain the words LAWFUL MONEY. But Article 1, Section 10 prohibits states from making “any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts;”  While gold was withheld from the public at this time, silver was still accessible and Silver Certificates were still redeemable for silver coin.

1933 10 Dollar Silver Certificate

The Treasury, therefore, had to keep silver in their vaults in order to keep the promise of redemption. But the value of silver was increasing and people were trading in their certificates for the real metal. The Treasury’s silver was drying up. As the certificates were redeemed, they were destroyed as no new silver was put in the vault to maintain proper backing.

Finally, in 1964 the Treasury halted silver redemption. All that was left then, was the Federal Reserve Note, which was now being printed with a completely relaxed obligation.

1963 10 Dollar Federal Reserve Note

There is no longer any promise to redeem anything on demand of the bearer. Only a statement is made that this fiat paper note is “LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE.”  Even though there is nothing but more paper backing this bill, citizens yearn for more of this stuff as if it’s worth something more than the empty promises of the issuing government.

They might have spruced it up a bit recently, but as the saying goes, it’s like putting lipstick on a pig…. it’s still a pig!

2004 10 Dollar Federal Reserve Note