China’s Selling Tons of U.S. Debt. Americans Couldn’t Care Less.

Move along now, nothing to see here. Continue shopping, watching the NFL and don’t forget to keep up with the Kardashians. Everything is just fine.

 

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For all the dire warnings over China’s retreat from U.S. government debt, there’s one simple fact that is being overlooked: American demand is as robust as ever.

Not only are domestic mutual funds buying record amounts of Treasuries at auctions this year, U.S. investors are also increasing their share of the $12.9 trillion market for the first time since 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The buying has been crucial in keeping a lid on America’s financing costs as China — the largest foreign creditor with about $1.4 trillion of U.S. government debt — pares its stake for the first time since at least 2001. Yields on benchmark Treasuries have surprised almost everyone by falling this year, dipping below 2 percent last week. Continue reading

The Chinese ARE Dumping our Treasury Bonds

We warned about this in our Pentagon research back in late 2008 and early 2009 but there were plenty of skeptics. We emphasized the risk in the 2012 NY Times bestseller, Secret Weapon. In Chapter 9, we made a strong case that China could dump their Treasury bond holdings and work fervently to establish the Yuan as a reserve currency alternative to the American dollar. We pointed out how multiple Chinese sources were planning for this and labeled it “financial warfare.” We made it clear that this would prove deflationary for China but said “If China can tolerate such deflation and if it can transition effectively, it will be sitting in the shade.”

While we knew then that the time had not yet arrived for China to make her move, we also knew it was just a matter of time. Starting in 2011, we began to address the risk of financial warfare in this Blog. Just look back at this February 2011 post where we argued that China had a long-term view and a five-year plan:

The Chinese Take a Long Term View; Evaluating Their 5YP Continue reading

Will China Dumping US Bonds Undermine Global Finance?

China, Russia and Brazil have recently been selling US Treasuries, hedging their fiscal risks and stirring volatility on Wall Street, potentially signaling a more significant slowdown in the global economy coming up.

Kristian Rouz — Several emerging markets, including China, Brazil, Russia and Taiwan, previously among the biggest buyers of US governmental bonds, have recently been selling them at the fastest pace since 1978. US bonds, commonly referred to as ‘Treasury notes’ or ‘Treasuries’ are, however, widely regarded as being among the most ‘safe haven’ assets in the financial world, meaning the emerging markets must have serious reason to cash those out for the more volatile money liquidity. Continue reading

How the Chinese Will Establish a New Financial Order

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For many years now, it’s been clear that China would soon be pull­ing the strings in the U.S. financial system.

In 2015, the American people owe the Chinese government nearly $1.5 trillion.

We are stuck with an enormous debt we can never realistically repay… And the Chinese are trapped with an outstanding loan they can neither get rid of, nor hope to collect. So the Chinese govern­ment is now taking a secret and somewhat radical approach.

China has recently put into place a covert plan to get back as much of its money as possible – by extracting colossal sums from both the United States government and ordinary citizens, like you and me. Continue reading

CBO: Debt Headed to 103% of GDP; Level Seen Only in WWII; ‘No Way to Predict Whether or When’ Fiscal Crisis Might Occur Here

(CNSNews.com) – Testifying in the U.S Senate yesterday, Congressional Budget Office Director Keith Hall warned that the publicly held debt of the U.S. government, when measured as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, is headed toward a level the United States has seen only once in its history—at the end of World War II.

To simply contain the debt at the high historical level where it currently sits—74 percent of GDP–would require either significant increases in federal tax revenue or decreases in non-interest federal spending (or a combination of the two).

Historically, U.S. government debt held by the public, measured as a percentage of GDP, hit its peak in 1945 and 1946, when it was 104 percent and 106 percent of GDP respectively.

In 2015, the CBO estimates that the U.S. government debt held by the public will be 74 percent of GDP. That is higher than the 69-percent-of-GDP debt the U.S. government had in 1943—the second year after Pearl Harbor. Continue reading

Major Money Manager Braces for Bond-Market Collapse

TCW Group Inc. is taking the possibility of a bond-market selloff seriously.

So seriously that the Los Angeles-based money manager, which oversees almost $140 billion of U.S. debt, has been accumulating more and more cash in its credit funds, with the proportion rising to the highest since the 2008 crisis.

“We never realize what the tipping point is until after it happens,” said Jerry Cudzil, TCW Group’s head of U.S. credit trading. “We’re as defensive as we’ve been since pre-crisis.”

Continue reading

What The World’s Biggest Banks Have In Store For The U.S. Dollar

Central bankers from Beijing to Brasilia have been acquiring a lot more dollars of late, but the overweight of the greenback has reached its limits. There is only one way left to go. It is time to sell the dollar once again.

Or so says Jerome Booth.

Booth has been in the currency and fixed income markets since 1999. That’s when he helped launch the Ashmore Group, one of the largest pure-play emerging market fund managers in the world with around $70 billion under management. Before he retired to write books and launch his new private equity firm New Sparta Limited, Booth was a regular source of mine here at FORBES. He’d talk about the wonders of emerging market debt; their relative strength compared to the Western world and how they’ve improved  from their “Third World” days of yesteryear; and the day of reckoning that would come when the Chinese yuan becomes a reserve currency. Continue reading

Oil-Rich Nations Are Selling Off Their Petrodollar Assets at Record Pace

In the heady days of the commodity boom, oil-rich nations accumulated billions of dollars in reserves they invested in U.S. debt and other securities. They also occasionally bought trophy assets, such as Manhattan skyscrapers, luxury homes in London or Paris Saint-Germain Football Club.

Now that oil prices have dropped by half to $50 a barrel, Saudi Arabia and other commodity-rich nations are fast drawing down those “petrodollar” reserves. Some nations, such as Angola, are burning through their savings at a record pace, removing a source of liquidity from global markets.

Continue reading

The Coming Public Debt Crisis

 

COMMENT: Hi Martin

I am a macro manager. I read your article on April 9th about Public/ private.

I agree it will happen but Commercial banks hold only a tiny part of the US Treasury as you will see from the graph attached. They will probably buy on the way up and China reserve growth is slowing making domestic buyers the prime target . There is scarcity of quality collateral with all new type of regulations (Dodd, Basel III etc..)

Thanks for your good work. Continue reading

A Chinese Gold Standard?

LONDON — While the 70th anniversary of D-Day last month received a lot of attention, another event, in July 1944 — the Bretton Woods conference, named for the mountain resort in New Hampshire where it was held — was perhaps even more significant in shaping the modern world. It not only led to the creation of what are now the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, but it also confirmed the central position of the United States dollar in the international monetary system.

Why does this matter for us now? Just as America displaced Britain as the world’s pre-eminent economic power in the interwar period, so, too, the large debts and fiscal pressures confronting the West, and the rise of China and other economic powers, challenge us to think about the future of finance.

For most of the 19th century the British pound had been the world’s “reserve currency,” the currency in which trade and finance were denominated. “As sound as a pound” became a widely used expression. The pound was pegged to gold at a fixed rate of just under £4 per ounce. Continue reading

Billionaire Tells Americans to Prepare For ‘Financial Ruin’

The United States could soon become a large-scale Spain or Greece, teetering on the edge of financial ruin.

According to Trump, the United States is no longer a rich country. “When you’re not rich, you have to go out and borrow money. We’re borrowing from the Chinese and others. We’re up to $16 trillion in debt.”

He goes on to point out that the downgrade of U.S. debt is inevitable.

“We are going up to $16 trillion [in debt] very soon, and it’s going to be a lot higher than that before he gets finished. When you have [debt] in the $21-$22 trillion, you are talking about a downgrade no matter how you cut it.” Continue reading

Who Is The New Secret Buyer Of U.S. Debt?

On the surface, the economic atmosphere of the U.S. has appeared rather calm and uneventful. Stocks are up, employment isn’t great but jobs aren’t collapsing into the void (at least not openly), and the U.S. dollar seems to be going strong. Peel away the thin veneer, however, and a different financial horror show is revealed.

Employment has been boosted only in statistical presentation, and not in reality. The Labor Department’s creative accounting of job numbers omits numerous factors, the most important being the issue of long term unemployed. Millions of people who have been jobless for so long they no longer qualify for benefits are being removed from the rolls. This quiet catastrophe has the side bonus of making it appear as though unemployment is going down. Continue reading

World top bankers warn of dire consequences if U.S. defaults

(Reuters) – Three of the world’s most powerful bankers warned of terrible consequences if the United States defaults on its debt, with Deutsche Bank chief executive Anshu Jain claiming default would be “utterly catastrophic.”

“This would be a very rapidly spreading, fatal disease,” Jain said on Saturday at a conference hosted by the Institute of International Finance in Washington. Continue reading

U.S. Treasury, Fed planning for possible default – source

U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve officials worried about the growing possibility of a catastrophic default are crafting contingency plans to mitigate the economic fallout if Congress fails to extend America’s borrowing authority, a source familiar with the plans said.

With just eight days before the Treasury Department says the U.S. will hit its $16.7 trillion (10.46 trillion pounds) borrowing limit, lawmakers and the White House remain far from a deal to extend it. Officials are examining what options might be available to calm financial markets if a U.S. debt payment is missed.

The specifics of their planning remain unclear, but the source said an area of special focus is a key bank funding market known as the tri-party repurchase agreement, or repo, market, where banks often use Treasury bills, notes and bonds as collateral for short-term loans from other banks and big money market funds. Continue reading

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