Russia Dumps 20% Of Its Treasury Holdings As Mystery “Belgium” Buyer Adds Another Whopping $40 Billion

Back in mid-March, there was a brief scare after the start of the Ukraine conflict, when Fed custody holdings plunged by a record $104.5 billion (if promptly bouncing back the following week), leading many to believe that Russia may have dumped its Treasurys, or at least change its bond custodian. We noted that we wouldn’t have a definitive answer until the May TIC number came out to know for sure how much Russia had sold, or if indeed, anything. Moments ago the May TIC numbers did come out, and as expected, Russia indeed dumped a record $26 billion, or some 20% of all of its holdings, bringing its post-March total to just over $100 billion – the lowest since the Lehman crisis. Continue reading

This Means War: US To Target Putin’s Personal $40 Billion Stash

While the White House has continually threatened further sanctions against Russia for non-de-escalation (even as it un-de-escalates itself), the specifics of the additional sanctions have been sparse. German CEO warnings over blowback from economic sanctions… the “nonsense” of replacing Russian gas with US gas… the Russian warnings of “interdependence” and “boomerangs”… all reduce the West’s arsenal of financial sanctions. But, as The Times of London reports, perhaps the US has found a crucial pain point for Putin – a sanctions regime that would target Putin’s personal wealth, which includes a reported $40 billion stashed in Swiss bank accounts. Continue reading