Thursday, November 7, 2019

Fed Repo markets are screaming - Update

The New York Fed added $115.14b to financial markets via temporary operations on Thursday. The liquidity additions came in two parts.

One was an overnight repurchase agreement with eligible banks totaling $80.14b, the other was a 14 day repo for $35b. 6.15b was oversubscribed. It was Oct 23 when the Fed announced it was increasing its temporary overnight repo operations to $120b a day from $75b.
US Fed repo operations, 2000-2019The Fed's Repo operation is aimed at ensuring the US financial system has liquidity. The shock came in September when Repo rates were jacked to 10%. The September crisis pointed to a growing disconnect. Last night the Fed added $72.53B, which is becoming common. Yesterday the 3rd consecutive interest rate cut was announced, bringing the gamed rate to a target range of between 1.5% to 1.75%.
“Go across the world and you’ll see either very low interest rates, or negative rates. The President wants to be competitive with these other countries on this, but I don’t think he’ll fire Jay Powell (even if I should!).” We should always be paying less interest than others!
Back in 1987 when I got my degree in Economics there was something called interest, and it was the cost of money. Extremely important it is to put a price on things. Negative interest rates then would have been some mad economic theory. Today it has become fact.

In 2016 Donald Trump accused the US Federal Reserve of using record-low interest rates to create a "false economy." In 2019 Trump assails and hounds the US central bank to cut rates, which they continue to do.
There is a growing group of alarmed folks who suspect the DAILY injections of tens of billions into the world's largest banking system is the 'canary in the coal mine' for a day of reckoning for interest rates that have already been too low for too long. A repo market malfunction can have deep repercussions. Spiking repo rates were a notorious early warning sign of the last financial crisis in 2012.

Between 1981 and 2000 the Fed's balance sheet to GDP was about 6%, today it's 18.5%. US debt has officially surpassed $23T. There has been $289B in newly issued debt in October alone.