Fed Announced it Would Buy up to $300 Billion in Treasury Bonds

If you can’t beat the professionally managed superannuation market (based on yesterday’s research report from APRA) should you join it? That’s one of the questions we take up in today’s Markets and Money. We’ll also discuss the short, happy life of industrial civilization. But before we get to those subjects, a quick review of the night’s financial proceedings is in order.

Stock action on Wall Street was mostly directionless. Stocks have opened lower here in Australia. But all the juicy action is in the bond market, where the Fed is getting its hands dirty again. You wouldn’t think the Fed would have to come in and support bond prices with investors wringing their hands about global growth. But the numbers tell another story.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York bought US$7 billion worth of Treasury bonds maturing between 2013 and 2016, according to Marketwatch.com. Remember, Fed announced last year it would buy up to $300 billion in Treasury bonds to keep interest rates down and borrowing costs low. But there’s a slight problem.

According to Credit Suisse, the Fed would have to buy about $37 billion worth of Treasuries a month from now until September to reach its target. But in actual fact, the Fed’s been averaging $59 billion in purchases per month since March. Hmm.

There are three points to come to mind here. First, the Fed is going to have trouble keeping long-term interest rates down through its repurchase program. Second, if talking up the bond-market and intervening doesn’t work, it wouldn’t surprise us to see the Fed talk down the stock market in order to drive investors back into Treasuries.

And the third point deserves its own paragraph. Debasement has consequences. It is perverse enough that the Fed must purchase U.S. government debt to keep rates down (and the bond market auctions chugging along). No one in the media calls this for what it is: market manipulation. But do you reckon there will come a day-perhaps this year-when a U.S. Treasury auction fails and the Fed is forced to buy up the whole lot with new money?

What do you think will happen to the U.S. dollar then? And here’s a kicker…what happens when the U.S. Federal government begins throwing loan life-lines to debt-distressed states like California?

Dan Denning
for Markets and Money

Dan Denning
Dan Denning examines the geopolitical and economic events that can affect your investments domestically. He raises the questions you need to answer, in order to survive financially in these turbulent times.

Leave a Reply

4 Comments on "Fed Announced it Would Buy up to $300 Billion in Treasury Bonds"

Notify of
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
There seems to be a dissonance between the financial markets and the real economy. The real economy is in a deflationary spiral heading to a repeat of the 30’s. The Fed is trying as best it can to forestall that eventuality. I think they are pissing up a rope. Until the unemployed consumer starts buying toys again (maybe four or five years from now) there won’t be anything except direct stimulus (rebuilding the infrastructure) that will do much good. Putting money directly into the hands of people so they can pay down their debts (the government calls it “savings”) will… Read more »
How about that. I did review that APRA report. From the scatter charts, basically the more the fees & expenses the lower the returns. Howzat! I’d like to get me a piece of that action; Our new corporate motto will be: “We may not give personal customer focus and we don’t always make the returns that the upper 3 quartiles do – and we’re expensive!” I guess I’ll have to first go get one of them-thar Porsche-mobiles, some nice Escada suits, a fancy but fairly useless website, a swanky wood paneled office up in a tall and expensive tower in… Read more »

But won’t the Fed, or the RBA, talking down the stock market just lead to more problems? If people can’t make easy money in shares, they’ll park money in the bank, making companies have to issue debt rather than equity, or worse still (for the government) buy gold, which you should be doing anyway.


re: my previous post

Some may want to read John Mauldin’s http://www.investorsinsight.com/ take on the inflation/deflation question.

I refer to his article from Outside the Box titled “Make sure you get this one right.”

I highly recomend it. He details his arguement meticulously and includes several graphs that make the arguement rather intuitive.


Letters will be edited for clarity, punctuation, spelling and length. Abusive or off-topic comments will not be posted. We will not post all comments.
If you would prefer to email the editor, you can do so by sending an email to letters@marketsandmoney.com.au