There’s a lot happening, so this installment is teasers and links to several important financial news items.
- Bernanke next week is likely to preside over a decision to launch another round of large-scale asset purchases after deploying $1.7 trillion to pull the economy out of the financial crisis, comments from policy makers over the past week indicate. This time, with interest rates already near zero, the Fed will be aiming to increase the rate of inflation and reduce the cost of borrowing in real terms.
- Estimates for the ultimate size of the asset-purchase program range from $1 trillion at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch Global Research to $2 trillion at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., with economists at both firms agreeing the Fed will likely start by announcing $500 billion after the Nov. 2-3 meeting.
- As if there was any doubt before which way the arrow of control, and particularly causality, points in America’s financial system, the following stunner just released from Bloomberg confirms it once and for all. According to Rebecca Christie and Craig Torres, the New York Fed has issued a survey to Primary Dealers, which asks for suggestions on the size of QE2 as well as the time over which it would be completed. It also asks firms how often they anticipate the Fed will re-evaluate the program, and to estimate its ultimate size. This is nothing short of a stunning indication of three things: i) that the Fed is most likely completely paralyzed due to the escalating confrontation between the Hawks and the Doves, and that not even Bernanke believes has has sufficient clout to prevent what Time magazine has dubbed a potential opening salvo into a chain of events that could lead to civil war: ii) that the Fed is effectively asking the Primary Dealers to act as underwriters on whatever announcement the Fed will come up with, and thus prop the market, and, most importantly, iii) that the PDs will most likely demand the highest possible amount, using Goldman’s $2-4 trillion as a benchmark, and not only frontrun the ultimate issuance knowing full well what the syndicate of 18 will decide in advance of what the final amount will be, but will also ramp stocks on November 3 to make the actual QE announcement seem like a surprise.
- And, incidentally, since the “independent” Treasury will be forced to issue more debt to fill all the demand for $2 trillion over the next 12 months, as there is not enough debt in the pipeline to fill $2TN worth of demand and prevent the entire curve pancaking at zero (i.e., the 30 year yielding precisely 0.001%) it also means that the government will be forced to come up with more deficit programs, which also means that primary dealers will now also determine US fiscal policy.
From this Bloomberg article:
- “If the Fed commits itself to buying back the bulk of the Treasury’s net new issuance through open-market purchases, it will have more than one hand tugging on the wheel of federal debt management policy,” said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Let this picture sink in for a moment. A private institution, the “Federal” Reserve Bank, is asking the major Wall Street and international banks how much new money they should print. If the banks ask for and get a really big number, new federal deficit spending programs are virtually guaranteed.
Do you understand now who runs this nation?