Interest Rate Roundup

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fed fueling new carry trades

There are some good stories at the Washington Post today about how the Fed is fueling fresh carry trades/bubbles by keeping interest rates pegged around zero. I covered this exact same topic a few days ago. The Fed seems to have no other solution for burst bubbles than easy money ... which then fuels new bubbles in other parts of the asset markets.

Here's more from one of the WaPo pieces:

"It turns out that all those bold and necessary steps by the Federal Reserve to prevent the financial system from collapsing wound up creating so much liquidity that it has now spawned another financial bubble.

"Let's start with the $1.45 trillion that the Fed has committed to propping up the mortgage market -- money that, for the most part, was simply printed. Effectively, most of that has been used to buy up bonds issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from investors, who turned around and used the proceeds to buy "safer" U.S. Treasury bonds. At the same time, the Fed used an additional $300 billion to buy Treasurys directly. With all that money pouring into the market, you begin to understand why it is that Treasury prices have risen and interest rates fallen, even at a time when the government is borrowing record amounts of new money.

"As it was printing all that money, the Fed was also lowering the interest rate at which banks borrow from the Fed and each other, to pretty close to zero. What didn't change was the interest rate banks charged everyone else. As a result, "spreads" between what banks pay for money and what they charge are near record highs.

"So who is borrowing? By and large, it's not households and businesses, which are reluctant to borrow during a recession. Rather, it's hedge funds and other investors, who have been using the money to buy stocks, corporate bonds and commodities, driving prices to levels unsupported by the business and economic fundamentals.

"The excess liquidity is even being used to finance a new "carry trade" in which global investors borrow at U.S. rates and buy government bonds in places like Australia, where prevailing rates are higher. Because the carry trade involves exchanging dollars for foreign currencies, it has been a major contributor to the recent decline in the dollar."

1 Comments:

  • Your blog seems lacking at times. You post data but very little analysis of the information. Why not a post on your own performance what you did right and what got away from you. This whole cycle has left everyone wrong in some area. The new bubble they are blowing could go on for quite a while as evidenced by the last bubble they blew.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 23, 2009 at 2:42 PM  

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