The past week has seen some rather sharp selloffs in the U.S. treasury market. Is "Operation Twist" failing? Will we soon see a resumption of overt quantitative easing?
Diligent Turdites will recall that we've been discussing this possibility for months. For me, the key to correctly anticipating the resumption of overt QE is found in watching movements of long-term interest rates. As often stated here, The Federal Reserve cannot allow interest rates to rise. Keeping rates low and funding the federal budget deficit are the two, primary goals of quantitative easing. Therefore, dropping bond prices (higher interest rates) signal that more QE (Fed buying on bonds) is necessary.
Well, what to make of these charts? We know from reviewing the long-term charts of the 10-year and the Long Bond that previous drops in price preceded the announcement of QE1 and QE2. We're almost there again. The 10-year is now perched precariously above the all-important 127.50 level and the Long Bond just had it's initial test-and-hold of support at 135. Note that, prior to these latest drops, the bond and the note had been in rather tight ranges since the Fed began "Operation Twist" in September of last year.
With bond prices being near these critical levels and having gotten there so quickly, we almost have to expect a rally here. The question then becomes: What happens next? I'd expect 127.50 and 135 to hold for a while longer but, if those levels fail, QE3 should be right around the corner. Already, there are some folks out there who think that The Fed will announce QE3 in April or June. https://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2012-10-05/probability-map-morgan-stanleys-vincent-reinhart-still-says-75-chance-fed-qe3 If rates keep rising, those pundits will be proven correct.
The current beatdown in the metals began inexplicably last evening. Whenever you see gold drop seven or eight bucks, out of the blue, on no news, at 9:00 pm EST, you know that a raid is coming. Lo and behold...we got one. Gold reached all the way down to $1640 overnight and silver touched $32. That the selloffs ended there should be no surprise to anyone as those are currently our two main, short-term support levels. For now, the pressure is off but there's really no reason to get excited just yet. The metals remain in their recent ranges. Gold between $1640 and $1670, silver between $32 and $33. Once the metals pop UP and out of those ranges, the bottoms will be set and we can begin to get excited again. Until then, I'm waiting patiently just in case one more leg down toward $1625 and $31 develops.
I hope you have a fun and stress-free Tuesday. TF