201712.04
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Three Years Ago QE, Last Year It Was China, Now It’s Taxes

China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported last week that the official manufacturing PMI for that country rose from 51.6 in October to 51.8 in November. Since “analysts” were expecting 51.4 (Reuters poll of Economists) it was taken as a positive sign. The same was largely true for the official non-manufacturing PMI, rising like its counterpart…

201712.04
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Just When You’ve Thought You’ve Seen It All

I could understand it if its track record was spotty, or partially mixed. But the level of denial runs deep and wide with the yield curve. There is a growing chorus of nonsense, really, which is attempting to spin the flattening as some kind of benign technical rotation that through illogical convolution equals the opposite…

201710.18
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A Derivatives Look At What Happened To ‘Reflation’

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) reports that total gross notional derivatives contracts owned and outstanding by domestic banks rose for the second straight quarter. The OCC statistics are one quarter behind, meaning that though banks themselves are reporting Q3 numbers with earnings all figures shown here are from the official compilation…

201707.24
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Why It Will Continue, Again Continued

Part of “reflation” was always going to be banks making more money in money. These days that is called FICC – Fixed Income, Currency, Commodities. There’s a bunch of activities included in that mix, but it’s mostly derivative trading books forming the backbone of math-as-money money. The better the revenue conditions in FICC, the more…

201707.12
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Inferring the Relative State of the ‘Dollar’ Shortage In Q1

The OCC reports that total gross notional derivatives outstanding jumped by nearly 8% in Q1 2017 over Q4 2016. At $178 trillion, that is even more than the reported total for Q3 last year. The latest estimates largely confirm the idea that bank balance sheets were relatively more accommodative in 2017 than especially later 2016….

201705.03
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Noose Or Ratchet

Closing the book on Q4 2016 balance sheet capacity is to review essentially forex volumes. The eurodollar system over the last ten years has turned far more in this direction in addition to it becoming more Asian/Japanese. In fact, the two really go hand in hand given the native situation of Japanese banks. As expected,…

201704.12
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An Inside Basis For Unfortunate Continuity

Primary dealer holdings of UST securities have been on the rise again. This sort of warehouse activity is drastically misunderstood, exemplified best when last year around this time surging dealer inventory was blamed on those banks’ purported inability to sell off their holdings. It was an absolutely absurd idea for several reasons, but most prominently…

201703.24
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TIC Analysis of Selling

When the Treasury Department released its Treasury International Capital (TIC) data for December, what was a somewhat obscure report suddenly found mainstream attention. Private foreign investors had sold tens of billions in US securities primarily US Treasury bonds and notes which the media then made into some kind of warning to then-incoming President Trump. It…

201702.16
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Changes In TIC

If there has been a lot different about the past few months, it was reflected in the TIC figures and then some. What is usually pretty easy to decipher, there were instead all sorts of shifts across the most important categories. For one, the foreign official sector was busy in December buying up UST’s and…

201702.14
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Eurodollar Decay, Specifically What’s Missing

Economists have always fashioned themselves in the style of physicists. They endlessly scrawl incomprehensible equations on blackboards because it is the epitome of science, the allure of great intelligence seemingly to do great things. But where physicists have continued to describe and solve some of the world’s great mysteries, Economists only bungle. They described free…