* * *
Please support I. U. … if you can …
These are getting to be serious amounts.
The QE Unwind is ramping up toward cruising speed. The Fed’s balance sheet for the week ending May 2, released this afternoon, shows a total drop of $104 billion since the beginning of the QE Unwind in October – to the lowest level since June 11, 2014.
During the years and iterations of QE, the Fed acquired $3.4 trillion in Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities. The mortgages underlying those MBS are guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The “balance sheet normalization,” as the Fed calls it, was nudged into motion last October. But the pace accelerates every quarter until it reaches up to $50 billion a month in Q4 this year.
This would trim the balance sheet by up to $420 billion this year, and by up to $600 billion in 2019 and every year going forward, until the Fed considers the balance sheet to be adequately “normalized” — or until something big breaks, whichever comes first.
On Friday, we reported that among the five “nuclear” options available to Beijing to retaliate against Trump’s latest $100BN in proposed import tariffs, was the choice whether to sell US Treasuries. But what if Beijing did not want to unleash a full-blown market nuke, and instead was hoping for a targeted, EMP hit?
Then it would simply stop buying US paper, instead of dumping it outright; in the process it wouldn’t hurt the US too much – avoiding a furious tit-for-tat response – but would still send a clear signal to the White House, whose fiscal spending plan will more than double net Treasury issuance this year from under $500BN to over $1 trillion, and which needs every possible marginal buyer of US paper, both domestic and foreign.
Russia is adding gold to its reserves at the fastest pace in 12 years …and dumping US Treasuries at the fastest pace since 2011.
The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has been increasing its holdings of gold every month since March 2015. The country is currently the sixth-largest gold owner after the United States, Germany, Italy, France and China.
According to the CBR, gold reserves spiked to $455.2 billion between March 2 and 9 hitting a historic high not seen since September 2014.
“Our international reserves increased by $2.9 billion or 0.6 percent in a single week, mainly on the strength of positive re-evaluation,” said the regulator.
According to World Gold Council data, last year the CBR became a world leader in stockpiling gold.
The bank has more than doubled the pace of its gold purchases, statistics showed. It has been increasing Russia’s gold reserves to meet the goal set by President Vladimir Putin to make it less vulnerable to geopolitical risks. The Russian gold cache has increased by more than 500 percent since 2000.
And while the Russian central bank is buying gold with both hands and feet, it is dumping US Treasuries at the fastest pace for a January since 2011…
* * *
A totally sustainable development and absolutely nothing to worry about…
* * *
Ombudman’s report says introduction of ‘robo-debt system’ put unreasonable burdens on welfare recipients and staff
An ombudsman’s report on the roll out of Centrelink’s automated debt recovery service has identified multiple failures that placed unreasonable burdens on welfare recipients and staff.
The self-initiated investigation was announced in January after months of complaints that the problem-riddled system was sending incorrect debt notices to people.
H/t reader kevin a.
* * *