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SEVERELY Bearish Treasury Development

Not exactly a vote of confidence, courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker

SEVERELY Bearish Treasury Development

From Marketwatch:

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Dresdner Kleinwort Securities has withdrawn from the Federal Reserve’s primary U.S. government security dealers, the U.S. central bank said Friday.

The change is net neutral in terms of numbers as a new dealer just came online, but in general this is a major net negative for the Treasury market.

Why?  Because being a primary dealer is, in general a license to print money.  You get to field customer orders for Treasuries and make your spread, and you have a privileged trading position with The Fed.

There’s only one fly in the ointment, and that is that the position comes with a requirement that you bid.  This is distinct from most other nations where no such system exists, and essentially guarantees that there can never be a "failed" Treasury auction.

There was no reason cited for the withdrawal but one can surmise that the issue is that they’re stuffed to the gills with Treasuries and are finding it difficult or impossible to earn their spread, think there is a material safety risk in their participation (e.g. getting stuck long with a deteriorating position), or both.

Either way there is no possible means to read this as bullish.  While the issue may be with their liquidity demands and thus not reflect severely on the Treasury market with the issuance that has gone on this year and will for the foreseeable future I wouldn’t take that bet.

The "Chosen" or "Protected" dealers will of course never withdraw but if the changes made to reporting of indirect bid are in fact concealing deteriorating demand and these folks have detected a potential problem in the offing we are fixing to get a severe spanking in our government debt issuance in the near future.

Beware.


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