Murmurs From the 10-Year Note
What happened? Just a few weeks ago, we were worried that the treasury market was becoming a "black hole" that would soon suck in all financial assets. Instead, rates have reversed significantly. What does this mean and what does it portend?
First of all, here's where we were back in late July. The 10-year note had just fallen through 1.40% and it had everyone's attention: http://www.tfmetalsreport.com/blog/4046/two-things-my-mind. Here we are, 3-4 weeks later, and were at 1.82%. That is a HUGE move! What the heck happened? I think I have an answer but, first, some background.
Take a look at these two charts. One a is daily 10-year and one is a weekly. Note that the current price of the 10-year is 132.50. This is important because the area around 132 appears to be very important support. You can plainly see horizontal support on the daily chart but, looking at the weekly chart, 132 is also near the trendline from the lows of late spring 2011. Breaking that support and that trend would set a top and would foreshadow a move to 127-128. Now, look at the weekly chart. Notice that 10-year prices have been in a very long term up channel. Then notice that the past three Fed "programs" have been initiated when prices were near the top of the channel.
So, what is going on? Why the sudden dropoff in price? I think I have the answer. I posted this presentation yesterday. You may have already watched it. Watch it again and stop it right at the end, near the 57 second mark.
Simply put, The Fed is out of bullets. The goal of "Operation Twist" was to create demand for the 10-year and the 30-year, thereby keeping rates low and in a downtrend. They accomplished this "sterilized" program by selling their short-term bills and notes and using the proceeds to buy longer term notes and bonds. Now, look at that final frame again. The Fed is now out of paper to sell. Their current holdings in the 1.5 year and less range are negligible. Therefore, they have no more ammo. Now look again at that last frame. The Fed now owns nearly 70% of the outstanding 10-year note inventory. They are that market. There is hardly anyone left besides the Fed and the Fed is out of cash to keep it going. Suddenly, we have a simple imbalance of more sellers than buyers and...down goes price.
Notice what I said above, "the Fed is out of cash". Like athletic momentum or alcohol-induced desire, this is but a temporary thing. Let me state this clearly again: THE FED CANNOT AND WILL NOT ALLOW RATES TO RESET HIGHER. THE RESULTING BURDEN OF HIGHER INTEREST COSTS ON THE ALREADY ACCUMULATED DEBT WILL ONLY SPEED THE DEMISE OF THE PONZI AND THIS CANNOT BE ALLOWED. Therefore, with rates backing up and with the Fed out of liquidity to support a turnaround, the only option left is a re-ignition of overt quantitative easing.
Will this announcement come from Jackson Hole? Will it come from the next FOMC meeting on 9/12-13? Will it come at the following meeting of 10/23-24? It's impossible to say but what is possible to say is this: Watch the 10-year note. It will tell you.
One more thing for which we must be on guard. Look again at the 10-year daily chart. Do you see the sharp drop in price back in early March. If memory serves me right, wasn't that drop blamed for the demise of the JPM "London Whale"? Didn't everyone conclude that that particular, 4-point move in the note caused a derivative loss for JPM to be somewhere between eight and ten billion dollars? Well, since late July, the 10-year has dropped 3 points. I wonder if any of The Fed's primary dealers are feeling a bit of a pinch right now? Something to think about, that's for sure.
Now, before we get ahead of ourselves, we need to examine the Long Bond and The Pig for confirmation. Their charts are clearly rolling over but, unlike the 10-year, they are not in imminent danger of breaking trend. They must be watched closely, though, as a further break down in each will only serve to apply even more pressure to the 10-year note.
OK, just a couple more things and then I'm taking the rest of the weekend off. First, yesterday's CoT was very interesting, particularly in silver. Before jumping to conclusions, I'm going to wait to see what Uncle Ted thinks of the disaggregated report. In the meantime, here's a C&P of my comments from yesterday afternoon:
Submitted by Turd Ferguson on August 17, 2012 - 2:59pm.
I had expected gold to be a non-event and it was. For the reporting week, price fell $10 and OI only fell by 67 contracts. The only item of minor note was the 2,478 net drop in The Gold Cartel net short position which brings their net short ratio back under 2 at 1.98:1. Again, this is historically low and very bullish.
The action and the intrigue is in silver. For the reporting week, silver fell 32c but total OI rose by 4700. Obviously, there was a lot of new buying and selling going on. The question was/is: Just whom was on each side? Well...whaddayaknow...it looks like we have a civil war starting in silver.
For the week, The Silver Cartel total long position grew by 3,202 contracts. This is likely the silver "raptors", as Uncle Ted likes to call them. However, The Silver Cartel total short position also grew by 4,752 contracts. This is likely JPM but I'll wait to see who Ted fingers in his report tomorrow.
I've never seen a Silver Cartel long position this high before. Never. Maybe it has been but I sure as heck don't remember when. For perspective, on 2/28/12 it was 33,802 and on 4/20/11 it was 34,043. Nearly identical levels before sharp beatdowns. On 12/27/11, just before a 2-month, 20% UP move, the total long position was 41,224. Now it's 47, 797!
Similarly, the total short position is unusually large. The last time it was this high was on 3/6/12, just after the peak and subsequent beatdown of late February. In the recent past, it has been as high as 89,827 on 4/6/11 and as low as 55,356 back on 12/27/11.
At first glance, we appear to have the makings of a civil war. Instead of acting collusively, the smaller banks seem to be buying and thus attacking the short position of JPM. To contain price, JPM is being forced to issue new paper independently. Again, this is how it appears. Let's wait until Uncle Ted dissects the report before jumping to any more conclusions.
Perhaps the smaller sharks smell blood in the water. Maybe they sense the opportunity to trap JPM on the short side and squeeze the daylights out of them. Could these banks be expecting an historic, hot and explosive move in the weeks ahead???
And then there's this. While researching this post, I came across this video from March 19th. I don't know who this Ilcyzsyzn guy is but, right now, he looks like Nostra-freaking-damus! Hopefully, he's made himself enough money over the past six months that he can buy himself a couple of vowels.
I hope everyone has a great weekend. Relax and prepare mentally for everything that is soon to come.