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“Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?” Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin

Trillion-Dollar Treasury Vacuum Coming For Wall Street Rally. “Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?” Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin

 

"Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?" Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin

* Post-Deal Supply Surge Will Rumble Through Stocks To Credit

* Already-Eroded Liquidity Set To Shrink By $1 Trillion: JPM

 

"Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?" Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin

 

With a debt ceiling deal freshly signed into law Saturday by President Joe Biden, the US Treasury is about to unleash a tsunami of new bonds to quickly refill its coffers.

 

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The Fed Loses Money For The First Time In 107 Years – Why It Matters

Federal Reserve Taps BlackRock To Purchase Bonds For The Government

The ‘Cartel’ Is Back: 8 Banks Caught Rigging Government-Bonds

 

This will be yet another drain on dwindling liquidity as bank deposits are raided to pay for it — and Wall Street is warning that markets aren’t ready.

 

"Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?" Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin

 

The negative impact could easily dwarf the after-effects of previous standoffs over the debt limit. The Federal Reserve’s program of quantitative tightening has already eroded bank reserves, while money managers have been hoarding cash in anticipation of a recession.


 

JPMorgan Chase & Co. strategist Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou estimates a flood of Treasuries will compound the effect of QT on stocks and bonds, knocking almost 5% off their combined performance this year.

 

"Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?" Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin

 

Citigroup Inc. macro strategists offer a similar calculus, showing a median drop of 5.4% in the S&P 500 over two months could follow a liquidity drawdown of such magnitude, and a 37 basis-point jolt for high-yield credit spreads.

The sales, set to begin Monday, will rumble through every asset class as they claim an already shrinking supply of money: JPMorgan estimates a broad measure of liquidity will fall $1.1 trillion from about $25 trillion at the start of 2023.

“This is a very big liquidity drain,” says Panigirtzoglou. “We have rarely seen something like that. It’s only in severe crashes like the Lehman crisis where you see something like that contraction.”

It’s a trend that, together with Fed tightening, will push the measure of liquidity down at an annual rate of 6%, in contrast to annualized growth for most of the last decade, JPMorgan estimates.

The US has been relying on extraordinary measures to help fund itself in recent months as leaders bickered in Washington. The measure brokered between Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy limits federal spending for two years and suspends the debt ceiling through the 2024 election.

With default narrowly averted, the Treasury will kick off a borrowing spree that by some Wall Street estimates could top $1 trillion by the end of the third quarter, starting with several Treasury-bill auctions on Monday that total over $170 billion.

What happens as the billions wind their way through the financial system isn’t easy to predict. There are various buyers for short-term Treasury bills: banks, money-market funds and a wide swathe of buyers loosely classified as “non-banks.” These include households, pension funds and corporate treasuries.

 

"Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?" Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin

 

Banks have limited appetite for Treasury bills right now; that’s because the yields on offer are unlikely to be able to compete with what they can get on their own reserves.

But even if banks sit out the Treasury auctions, a shift out of deposits and into Treasuries by their clients could wreak havoc. Citigroup modeled historical episodes where bank reserves fell by $500 billion in the span of 12 weeks to approximate what will happen over the following months.

“Any decline in bank reserves is typically a headwind,” says Dirk Willer, Citigroup Global Markets Inc.’s head of global macro strategy.

The most benign scenario is that supply is swept up by money-market mutual funds. It’s assumed their purchases, from their own cash pots, would leave bank reserves intact.

Historically the most prominent buyers of Treasuries, they’ve lately stepped back in favor of better yields on offer from the Fed’s reverse repurchase agreement facility.

That leaves everyone else: the non-banks. They’ll turn up at the weekly Treasury auctions, but not without a knock-on cost to banks.

These buyers are expected to free up cash for their purchases by liquidating bank deposits, exacerbating a capital flight that’s led to a cull of regional lenders and destabilized the financial system this year.

The government’s growing reliance on so-called indirect bidders has been evident for some time, according to Althea Spinozzi, a fixed-income strategist at Saxo Bank A/S.

“In the past few weeks we have seen a record level of indirect bidders during US Treasury auctions,” she says. “It’s likely that they’ll absorb a big part of the upcoming issuances as well.”

For now, relief about the US avoiding default has deflected attention away from any looming liquidity aftershock. At the same time, investor excitement about the prospects for artificial intelligence has put the S&P 500 on the cusp of a bull market after three weeks of gains. Meanwhile, liquidity for individual stocks has been improving, bucking the broader trend.

But that hasn’t quelled fears about what usually happens when there’s a marked downturn in bank reserves: Stocks fall and credit spreads widen, with riskier assets carrying the brunt of losses.

“It’s not a good time to hold the S&P 500,” says Citigroup’s Willer.

Despite the AI-driven rally, positioning in equities is broadly neutral with mutual funds and retail investors staying put, according to Barclays Plc.

“We think there will be a grinding lower in stocks,” and no volatility explosion “because of the liquidity drain,” says Ulrich Urbahn, Berenberg’s head of multi-asset strategy. “We have bad market internals, negative leading indicators and a drop in liquidity, which is all not supportive for stock markets.”

 

"Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?" Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin

Updated: 6-4-2023

Biden Debt-Bill Signing Set To Unleash Tsunami Of US Debt Sales

* Treasury Expected To Sell $1 Trillion Or More Of New Debt

* Department Ran Down Cash To Keep Making Federal Payments

President Joe Biden’s signature of legislation suspending the federal debt ceiling has given the Treasury Department the green light to resume net new debt issuance after months of disruption.

Ever since mid-January, when it hit the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, the Treasury has been using special accounting measures to maintain payments on all federal obligations. There were just $33 billion of those left available as of May 31.

It’s also been running down its cash balance, which dropped below $23 billion on June 1 — a level seen by experts as dangerously low given the volatility in day-to-day federal revenues and payments.

The bill Biden signed Saturday suspended the debt limit until Jan. 1, 2025, allowing the Treasury to rebuild its cash to more normal levels. Early last month, the department had penciled in a $550 billion cash-balance level for the end of June. A widening fiscal deficit also puts pressure on the Treasury to step up borrowing.

Debt auctions are now set to swell. The replenishing process — which could involve an amount well in excess of $1 trillion in new securities — could have unwanted consequences, by draining liquidity from the banking sector, raising short-term funding rates and tightening the screws on an economy that many economists see headed for a recession.

Bank of America Corp. has estimated the issuance wave could have the same economic impact as a quarter-point interest-rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

Auction announcements will offer investors guidance on how quickly the Treasury will go about stepping up issuance.

On Thursday, the department said it planned to bolster the size of upcoming three-month and six-month bill offerings by $2 billion apiece in the coming week. It has also already been ramping up its issuance of four-month debt, its newest bill benchmark.

Four- and eight-week auctions, meanwhile, have room to grow after being reduced to $35 billion each for each weekly issuance cycle.

Treasuries started the week on the back foot with benchmark 10-year yields climbing four basis points to 3.73% in Asia trading.

Extraordinary Measures

Meantime, the removal of the debt ceiling will prompt officials to undo the emergency accounting maneuvers they used to make extra funding available after the Treasury had hit the limit.

The unwinding maneuvers will have no impact on borrowing from the public, however, since the process involves issuing nonmarketable securities to certain internal funds, like the Thrift Savings Plan Government Securities Investment Fund for federal employees.

For the past several months, the Treasury had halted the issuance of those securities while continuing to collect the cash coming in to such funds.

 

Updated: 7-13-2023

US Racks Up $652 Billion In Debt Costs As Rates Hit 11-Year High

* Higher Interest Rates Mean Bigger Debt Servicing Costs

* US Budget Gap Widens 170% In First Nine Months Of Year

 

"Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?" Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin

 

The cost of servicing US government debt jumped by 25% in the first nine months of the fiscal year, reaching $652 billion and contributing to a major widening in the budget deficit.

For the nine months through June, the federal deficit hit $1.39 trillion, up some 170% from the same period the year before, according to Treasury Department data released on Thursday.

The widening shortfall may play into Republican lawmakers’ pressure to curtail federal spending. While the GOP, which controls the House, did a deal with the Biden administration to suspend the debt limit earlier this summer, a fresh fight looms over appropriations for the 2024 fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.

Higher interest rates have been a key driver of the deficit, with the Federal Reserve boosting its benchmark rate by 5 percentage points since it began hiking in March last year. Five-year Treasury yields are now about 3.96%, versus 1.35% at the start of last year. As lower-yielding securities mature, the Treasury faces steady increases in the rates it pays on outstanding debt.

The weighted average interest for total outstanding debt by the end of June was 2.76%, the highest level since February 2012, according to the Treasury. That’s up from 1.80% a year before, the department’s data show.

Revenue Hit

Still, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has played down concerns about higher rates. She has instead flagged that the ratio of interest payments to GDP, after adjustment for inflation, remains historically low.

Another key reason for the widening deficit this year has been a weakening in Treasury revenues, thanks especially to a reduced capital gains tax take. Last year’s slumps in stocks, bonds and other assets meant lower receipts for the government.

Inflation has also boosted a number of government spending items.

 

Updated: 7-31-2023

Traders Brace For $102 Billion Wave Of Treasury Bond Sales

* Treasury’s Quarterly Refunding Plan Is Due On Wednesday

* Dealers See Series Of Boosts To Debt Sales In Coming Quarters

The US Treasury is set this week to begin a ramp-up in issuance of longer-dated securities that’s likely to stretch into next year, forced by a rapidly deteriorating budget deficit and soaring interest rates.

For the first time since early 2021, the Treasury will boost its so-called quarterly refunding of longer-term Treasuries, to $102 billion from $96 billion, the consensus among dealers suggests.

While down from the record levels hit during the Covid-19 crisis, that’s well above pre-pandemic levels.

Wednesday’s announcement will likely also see debt managers hoist regular auction sizes for securities across the yield curve — with potential exceptions or smaller bumps for notes less in demand. Dealers will be on watch separately for an update on a coming program to buy back older Treasuries.

Public borrowing needs are on the rise thanks in part to Federal Reserve rate hikes that have taken its policy benchmark to a 22-year high — in turn driving up yields on government debt, making it more costly.

The Fed is also shrinking its holdings of Treasuries, obligating bigger government sales of them to other buyers. It all raises the risk of bigger volatility swings when the government auctions its securities.

"Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?" Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin

“There’s just a lot of supply coming,” said Mark Cabana, head of US interest-rate strategy at Bank of America Corp. “We’ve been surprised by the deficit numbers, which are sobering.”

Larger amounts of debt issuance haven’t translated directly into lower prices and higher yields, as the swelling in US debt alongside historically low yields attests over the past two decades.

But bigger auction sizes contribute to the potential for short-term volatility, at a time when banks have diminished appetites for market making. That was on display in a seven-year auction on Thursday that saw buyers demand a bigger discount to absorb the securities.

What has sent yields higher is Fed rate hikes and inflation, a key dynamic widening the budget deficit. The cost of servicing US government debt jumped by 25% in the first nine months of the fiscal year, reaching $652 billion — part of a global phenomenon propelling public borrowing.

Cabana and his team forecast the Treasury will bump up sales of coupon-bearing debt — as notes that pay interest are known — not only this month, but again in the November and February debt-management policy announcements.

The Consensus Of Dealers’ Projections Shows The Following For The Upcoming Refunding Auctions:

* $42 Billion Of 3-Year Notes On Aug. 8
* $37 Billion Of 10-Year Notes On Aug. 9
* $23 Billion Of 30-Year Bonds On Aug. 10

Beyond those sales, most dealers see a lift in issuance across most maturities at a clip of $2 billion each, with many seeing smaller increases for 7- and 20-year Treasuries, which have seen bouts of poor demand.

Some dealers predict the 20-year bond will be singled out for no change in size. That security has been plagued by weak pricing and liquidity since the Treasury relaunched it in 2020.

“There should be well-distributed auction increases across the curve,” besides slightly smaller ones for the 7- and 20-year debt, said Subadra Rajappa, head of US interest rates strategy at Societe Generale SA. “It’s a one-way trajectory now for the deficit over the next 10 years, with them getting larger. Treasury wants to makes sure they are well funded for the next several years.”

"Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?" Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin

The federal deficit hit $1.39 trillion for the first nine months of the current fiscal year, up some 170% from the same period the year before, showcasing the Treasury’s burgeoning funding needs. On Monday, the department boosted its forecast for borrowing in the July-to-September quarter to $1 trillion, from the $733 billion it penciled in in early May.

What Bloomberg Intelligence Says…

“Coupon Treasury issuance may be slowly increased over the next six months.

“Coupon auctions could climb by $1 billion across the curve in August, with monthly auctions rising an additional $1 billion each month through January.”

— Ira F. Jersey And Will Hoffman, BI Strategists

Meantime, the Fed is shrinking its holdings of Treasuries by up to $60 billion a month, by letting securities mature without replacing them.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell last week also signaled that the portfolio runoff could continue at some pace even after policymakers had begun cutting interest rates, suggesting a longer period than many had thought for the so-called quantitative tightening program.

Another dynamic for Treasury’s managers to consider is the share of bills, which mature in short-term spans of up to a year, in overall debt outstanding.

The Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee, a panel of market participants including buyers and dealers, has long advised a 15% to 20% range for that ratio.

The Treasury lately has been selling a barrage of bills as it sought to rebuild its cash balance in the wake of running it down to dangerously low levels during the partisan battle over the debt limit earlier this year.

Citigroup Inc.’s team said the targeted T-bill share of debt will be among the things they’re looking for this week.

Bills, Buybacks

“Treasury needs to materially increase auction sizes at the November and February refunding,” Citigroup’s Jabaz Mathai, head of Group of 10 rates strategy also said in a note to clients. The later-quarter increases are set to be at “a quicker pace than the post-Covid issuance cycle,” he added.

Another item to watch will be any update to the Treasury’s plans for buybacks, which they first unveiled in May after months of consideration.

One of the aims of buying back older securities and issuing more of the current benchmarks is to help bolster patchy liquidity in the Treasuries market. Another is to smooth out volatility in its issuance of T-bills.

The program is set to start next year, but dealers see the Treasury as still working out the details. The department queried them about again in their pre-refunding survey questions.

US Treasury Boosts Quarterly Borrowing Estimate To $1 Trillion

* Department Had Previously Estimated $733 Billion For Quarter

* Treasury Still Restocking Cash Balance After Debt-Limit Fight

The US Treasury boosted its estimate for federal borrowing for the current quarter as it addresses a deteriorating fiscal deficit and keeps replenishing its cash buffer.

The Treasury Department increased its net borrowing estimate for the July through September quarter to $1 trillion, well up from the $733 billion amount it had predicted in early May.

The new amount, published on Monday, is a record for the September quarter and in excess of what some close watchers of the figure had expected. JPMorgan Chase & Co. had penciled in $796 billion. Lou Crandall at Wrightson ICAP LLC predicted $885 billion.

Part of the higher borrowing estimate is due to a bigger cash balance planned for the end of September. The Treasury bumped that number up to $650 billion, from the $600 billion it had anticipated three months ago. The cash stockpile — known as the Treasury General Account, or TGA — is currently about $552 billion.

Since Congress and the White House agreed to suspend the debt limit in early June, the Treasury has been ramping up its cash balance — which debt managers had run down toward zero as they made good on federal obligations without being able to increase borrowing.

Deficit Dynamics

Bond dealers have foreseen US funding needs rising over the next several quarters thanks to a deteriorating budget deficit and to the Federal Reserve’s shrinking of its holdings of Treasuries — a process that effectively forces the government to sell more to the public.

Jay Barry, head of US government-bond strategy JPMorgan, was among those expecting the Treasury to boost its quarterly financing estimate, based on “the fiscal trajectory, the outlook for the Fed’s balance sheet” and “expectations for Treasury’s cash.”

The Treasury said Monday that $83 billion of the increase in the borrowing estimate for the current quarter was due to projections for weaker revenues and higher spending.

“Extrapolating the current trend, based on historical deficit seasonal trends, would leave the deficit tracking $1.8 trillion,” JPMorgan’s Barry wrote in a recent note. The gap was $1.39 trillion for the first nine months of the current fiscal year.

Meantime, for the October through December quarter, the Treasury said it expects to borrow $852 billion, with a cash balance of $750 billion for the end of the year.

The all-time high for quarterly borrowing of almost $3 trillion was hit in April-to-June 2020, thanks to the pandemic crisis.

The Treasury on Wednesday will announce plans for its so-called refunding of longer-term securities. Dealers expect US debt managers to lift coupon-bearing debt sales across the yield curve — with potential exceptions or smaller bumps for notes less in demand.

 

Updated: 8-10-2023

US 30-Year Treasury Auction Signals Weak Demand To Wrap Up Week Of Big Sales

 

"Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?" Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin


* Week Of Big Sales Indicates Market Struggling To Absorb Deals

* US 30-Year Yield Jumps Higher As Auction Trumps Inflation Data

US Treasuries came under renewed pressure, pushing yields higher, as the market struggled to absorb this week’s final leg of new debt sales.

The moves extended a volatile session Thursday, when soft inflation data for July initially pushed yields lower and fueled speculation that the market would easily accommodate the $23 billion auction of 30-year bonds at 1 pm New York time.

But even with the bonds sold for a yield of 4.189%, the highest since 2011, the amount allotted to primary dealers was the largest since February, a sign of weak demand. Afterward, 30-year yields jumped as high as 4.26% late in New York.

The sale was the biggest test of this week’s auctions, when the Treasury sold a combined $103 billion of new 3-, 10- and 30-year debt, because the long maturity securities usually appeal to select investors such as pension funds and insurers.

The size of the 30-year bond sale was $2 billion larger than last new-issue offering in May, and the market expects further increases given the expected deficits the US government is facing.

“It’s a case of refunding digestion,” and with shorter-dated Treasury yields higher, “you are getting paid to keep duration short,” said Gregory Faranello, head of US rates trading and strategy for AmeriVet Securities. He said the sale also reflects weak summer liquidity.

Treasury yields dropped early in the trading day after the consumer price index’s advance was in line with expectations, supporting anticipation that the Federal Reserve is likely done raising interest rates.

Ten-year Treasury yields dropped as much as 6 basis points to 3.94% before reversing course and jumping back to as much as 4.11% in the late afternoon.

“The selloff feels likes a reaction to the weak auction,” said Subadra Rajappa, head of U.S. rates strategy for Societe Generale. “It caught me by surprise. Dealers had to take down a big chunk of the paper. It feels like there’s not enough of real money participation.”

But, she added, “it’s hard to draw a conclusion for an auction in August” when investors leave for vacations.

The post-auction weakness extended across the market, with yields between the five- and 10-year benchmarks higher by 9-10 basis points and at fresh session peaks at late trading in New York. Traders said the mid-section of the Treasury curve was in focus, with trades favoring under-performance in 5-year bonds.

While the bond market initially warmed to the latest CPI report, traders are still pricing in some risk of another quarter-point Fed hike later this year, with swaps for the November meeting showing a 5.42% policy rate. It’s at 5.33% now.

“The market sees the economy is now in a more disinflationary trend, but the labor market is still strong and that will keep the Fed on its toes,” said Michael Pond, head of global inflation-linked research at Barclays.

Updated: 8-11-2023

Treasury Auctions End On A Downbeat Note This Week After Soft 30-Year Sale

‘If we put all these factors into a blender, for the first time in 10 to 15 years they’re all pointing in the same way and that’s pressure on yields regardless of the inflows that come and go,’ said Gregory Faranello of AmeriVet Securities.

The Treasury market ended the week on a somewhat downbeat note after struggling to absorb Thursday’s $23 billion auction of 30-year bonds despite a record pace of investor inflows.

Demand for the auction was described by strategists and traders as “so-so,” “soft” and “weaker-than-expected.” Thursday’s disappointing sale overshadowed July’s consumer-price report and was the main reason that investors and traders sold off long-dated Treasurys that same afternoon.

The selloff in long-dated U.S. government debt extended into Friday — pushing the 10-year yield  and 30-year rate to one-week highs of 4.166% and 4.271%, respectively — and comes at a time when Treasurys are on track for what BofA Securities strategists see as a record $206 billion of inflows this year. Greater inflows should be pushing yields lower, not higher, but that’s not happening. Instead, yields are rising anyway.

Demand/supply dynamics in the Treasury market have recently changed and “the balance of power seems to be shifting in favor of higher yields” at a time of “runaway” government deficits and increases in Treasury’s debt issuances, said Marios Hadjikyriacos, a senior investment analyst at Cyprus-based multiasset brokerage XM.

In a note on Friday, the analyst said that the soft 30-year Treasury auction “certainly reinforced this notion yesterday, helping to propel yields higher,” alongside commentary from San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly, who said the central bank has more work to do to get inflation down.

This week’s government auctions were seen as a key test as to whether investors could keep up their demand for U.S. government debt amid a deluge of issuance and worries about the fiscal outlook.

However, liquidity during August tends to be low so Thursday’s poorly received 30-year sale is not necessarily indicative of further trouble ahead, considering Wednesday’s $38 billion auction of 10-year notes and Tuesday’s sale of $42 billion in 3-year notes both went well, according to analysts.

On July 31, the Treasury Department released an eye-popping $1 trillion borrowing estimate for the third quarter, which was followed the next day by Fitch Ratings’ decision to cut the government’s top AAA rating. Worries about the trajectory of U.S. finances then spilled into Thursday’s 30-year bond auction.

“The technical picture of the Treasury market heading into auctions this week was weak, and it’s not terribly good right now in the long end after the 30-year sale,” said Gregory Faranello, head of U.S. rates for AmeriVet Securities in New York. “The auction wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as strong as the three-year or 10-year sales on Tuesday and Wednesday.”

At a time when the fiscal outlook looks worrisome, Federal Reserve policy makers are raising interest rates and shrinking the central bank’s $8.2 trillion balance sheet.

In other words, the Fed, long seen as an important buyer of Treasurys which isn’t price-sensitive, “has gone away and the buyers left now are more price sensitive,” Faranello said via phone.

“If we put all these factors into a blender, for the first time in 10 to 15 years they’re all pointing in the same way and that’s pressure on yields regardless of the inflows that come and go,” he said, adding that even financial-stability issues in March weren’t enough to keep Treasury rates down.

“Ultimately, the only reasons that yields would go lower from here is weak economic data, which we don’t have, or central bank policy which changes course. The stars are aligning the other way not just here in the U.S., but globally.”

The yield awarded at Thursday’s 30-year auction was higher than what it was going into the competitive deadline, which means demand wasn’t great. In addition, primary dealers were awarded a higher percentage of the allotment than last month, meaning “people on the sidelines didn’t show up or have much interest,” said macro strategist Will Compernolle of FHN Financial in New York. The poor reception “seemed to surprise most people and I think it’s carried on into today.”

On Friday, traders and investors continued to sell off most Treasurys after July’s producer-price report surprised to the upside.

 

Updated: 9-18-2023

Sub-50 Cent Price On Treasury Bond Underscores Investor Pain

"Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?" Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin

* Long-Term Bonds Sold During Pandemic Hit Hard As Rates Soar

* Positive Convexity Means Debt Could Be Valuable If Yields Fall

Fifty cents on the dollar is a very low price in the world of bonds. In most cases, it signals that investors believe the seller of the debt is in such financial distress that it could default.

So when a US Treasury bond sank below that price Monday, it raised eyebrows. The security, due in May 2050, briefly touched as low as 49 29/32, marking the second time in the past two months it’s fallen below the 50-cent level.

The US, of course, is not in danger of defaulting any time soon. Treasuries are generally considered to be the safest government debt in the world.

What the price does illustrate in this case is the scope of pain inflicted on investors who piled into longer-term debt at rock-bottom interest rates during the pandemic, only to then be caught off-guard when the Federal Reserve carried out the the most aggressive monetary-policy tightening in decades.

The bond due in 2050 has been hit particularly hard, given that its interest rate — 1.25% — is the lowest ever on a 30-year Treasury. Investors got over 4% on 30-year debt issued last month.

“Those bonds have below market coupons and investors need to get compensated for it,” said Nancy Davis, founder of Quadratic Capital Management.

Treasuries maturing in 10 or more years — which have the highest price sensitivity to changes in interest rates, or duration — have slumped 4% this year, following a record 29% plunge in 2022, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

That’s more than double losses across the broader Treasury market, the data show.

"Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?" Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin

Yields on 30-year bonds hit an all-time low of 0.7% in March 2020, before rising to a 12-year high of 4.47% last month. They hovered 4.4% Monday.

The Treasury initially sold $22 billion of the 2050 securities at about 98 cents (it subsequently did two so-called reopenings, adding to the amount outstanding.) Since the bond’s debut, it’s rapidly lost value as newer ones were sold with higher coupons.

The Fed is the largest investor in the debt, holding about 19%, a legacy of its bond purchasing program known as quantitative easing. Other buy-and-hold investors such as exchange-traded funds, pensions and insurance companies also dominate.

Of course, should a decline in inflation fuel a slide in long-term yields, these bonds would just as quickly turn into an outsize winner versus the rest of the rates curve.

They also have at least one other attractive property for investors. Because of the deep price discount, the securities have what’s known as positive convexity, meaning they rise in price more than they fall for a given change in yield.

For instance, the bonds would surge about 11 cents should their yield decline 100 basis points. For a similar yield increase, the bonds would only fall about 9 cents.

“They have very positive convexity, and that make them very interesting bonds, although liquidity is probably very low,” said Mustafa Chowdhury, chief rates strategist at Macro Hive Ltd.

 

Updated: 9-20-2023

Treasury Yields Highest Since 2007 After US Debt Hits A Record $33 Trillion

Billionaire investor Ray Dalio cautioned that the US is at the start of a “classic late, big-cycle debt crisis” characterized by a shortage of buyers for its government bills and bonds. Veteran economist Nouriel Roubini has also expressed similar concerns.

Fitch downgraded the US’s long-term credit rating in August, citing a “steady deterioration in standards of governance over the last 20 years, including on fiscal and debt matters.”

* US National Debt Has Ballooned To $33 Trillion For The First Time.

* The Federal Government Could Face Another Shutdown By The End Of September.

* Treasury Yields Topped A 16-Year High As The Fed Ends Its Policy Meeting On Wednesday.

Treasury yields hit a 16-year high on Wednesday after the US government’s debt burden hit a record $33 trillion this week.

The surge comes as the Federal Reserve concludes its September policy meeting and is expected to hold interest rates steady.

The Fed’s rate rises in recent months have increased the cost of federal borrowing, with the rate on 10-year Treasurys standing at about 4.36%, up from as low as 0.32% in early 2020.

Federal spending increased by roughly half between 2019 and 2021, which contributed to the debt record, the Treasury Department said on Monday.

It also cited tax cuts, coronavirus stimulus packages and lower tax revenues from high pandemic unemployment as other contributing factors in the spike.

The $1.58 trillion increase since the debt ceiling was lifted in June has left some experts concerned about a potential wider crisis.

These include markets commentator Larry McDonald, who last month warned of a “mind-blowing hole” in the public finances.

Meanwhile, another government shutdown looms unless Congress come to a funding agreement by September 30.

 

Updated: 10-4-2023

Bond Selloff Threatens Hopes For Economy’s Soft Landing

"Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?" Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin

Growth prospects and concern over government debt are driving long-term interest rates higher.

A sudden surge in long-term interest rates to 16-year highs is threatening hopes for an economic soft landing, all the more because the exact triggers for the move are unclear.

The Federal Reserve has been raising short-term rates for 1½ years. Those increases are designed to push up longer-term bond yields, combating inflation by slowing the economy.

But the speed of the latest jump might be a case of “be careful what you wish for.” It comes as inflation has eased and the Fed has signaled it is nearly done lifting rates.

The yields on the 10-year Treasury note rose 0.119 percentage point Tuesday to 4.801%, the highest level since the subprime mortgage crisis began in August 2007. On Wall Street, the Dow Industrials fell about 431 points, or 1.3%, giving up all their gains for the year. The S&P 500 declined 1.4%. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.9%.

If the recent climb in borrowing costs—along with the accompanying slump in stock prices and the stronger dollar—is sustained, that could meaningfully slow the U.S. and global economies over the next year.

The swiftness of the recent rise also increases the risk of financial-market breakdowns.

The likeliest causes appear to be a combination of expectations of better U.S. growth and concern that huge federal deficits are pressuring investors’ capacity to absorb so much debt.

Last year’s increases in long-term Treasury yields were driven by market expectations of higher short-term rates as the Fed tightened policy and by investors’ demands for extra compensation to hold longer-dated assets because of fears of higher inflation.

But neither of those factors appears to be driving higher rates now, which is putting the focus on other influences. Those include reduced demand for Treasurys from foreigners, U.S. banks and domestic portfolio managers who have traditionally purchased government bonds as a hedge against a downturn in stocks and other risky assets.

“It’s perplexing,” said Daleep Singh, a former executive at the New York Fed who is now chief global economist at PGIM Fixed Income. “No fundamental explanation is convincing.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Tuesday that it wasn’t clear whether bond yields would settle out at higher levels over the long run. “It’s a great question, and it’s one that’s very much on my and the administration’s minds,” she said during a moderated discussion at the Fortune CEO Initiative conference in Washington.

The lack of an obvious culprit for the latest rise in longer-dated yields suggests that the so-called term premium, or the extra yield that investors demand for investing in longer-dated assets, is rising.

That would mark an abrupt reversal following the low-inflation, low-growth environment that prevailed between the 2008-09 financial crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.

A higher term premium means even if inflation is under control, borrowers will have to pay more than before because investors want extra compensation for the risks associated with locking up their money for longer periods.

A sustained rise in Treasury yields will be costly for the U.S. government because it would face still-higher borrowing costs on a much larger stock of its debt. The publicly held debt of the U.S. has doubled to around $26 trillion over the past eight years.

The run-up in borrowing costs is sending mortgage rates to 23-year highs, with more lenders now quoting rates above 7.5% for the 30-year fixed loan.

Higher borrowing costs could weigh on stocks and other asset prices, leading to weaker investment, hiring and economic activity.

Since the beginning of August, the S&P 500 has shed nearly 8%, while the U.S. dollar has climbed almost 5% against a basket of foreign currencies.

Economists at Goldman Sachs estimate that if the tightening in financial conditions that began in late July is sustained, it could reduce economic output by 1 percentage point over the coming year.

That could weaken the case for the Fed to raise interest rates later this year.

“We’re going to have to watch it,” Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester told reporters Tuesday. “Those higher rates will have an impact on the economy, and we just have to take that into account when we’re setting monetary policy.”

The Growth Outlook Brightens

Investors haven’t changed their expectations in recent weeks that the Fed is nearly done raising rates. They see a rising probability, however, that the central bank holds rates at current levels through next year.

Once the Fed cuts rates, they see fewer reductions than they did three months ago.

The current run-up in bond yields gained momentum at the end of July, when the economy began to show signs of reacceleration in the midst of stronger-than-expected consumer spending.

Since then, investors and Fed officials have scrapped their projections that the economy would stumble.

Fed officials have raised their expectations for economic growth next year because “underlying momentum in the economy is quite a bit stronger than we thought…and I think that’s also what market participants are doing,” said Mester.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged in September that interest-rate hikes hadn’t slowed the economy as much as anticipated.

Some officials believe the government’s response to the pandemic made the private sector more resilient to the effect of higher interest rates, while others have suggested that interest rates simply haven’t been high enough for long enough to meaningfully dent demand.

In the previous decade, when the economy seemed less responsive to more monetary stimulus, officials concluded that the so-called neutral rate that keeps inflation and unemployment stable over time might have fallen.

Now, some are wondering whether the opposite is occurring, leading to a higher neutral rate.

Investors are puzzling over why consumption has been strong despite the Fed’s aggressive rate increases. If it is because the neutral rate is higher, the Fed will keep rates higher for longer, justifying the recent run-up in yields.

If it is because the traditional lags of monetary policy simply haven’t kicked in, then it could be just a matter of time before the economy slows.

“More people were in the lags camp six months ago, and they’ve slowly thrown in the towel on that one,” said Priya Misra, portfolio manager at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. “They are reassessing how long the Fed will have to keep rates here.”

A New Economic Regime?

Investors are also grappling with the possibility that the global economy faces greater inflation volatility in the coming years. That would be the case if many of the forces that underpinned low inflation and low interest rates after the 2008-09 financial crisis—including globalization, favorable demographics and abundant cheap energy supplies—weaken or go into reverse.

A stronger growth outlook could weaken demand for Treasurys as the supply of securities being issued by the government is rising and as some buyers are stepping back from the market.

The Fed, for example, purchased trillions of securities between 2008 and 2014 and again between 2020 and 2022 to provide additional stimulus after driving short-term rates to zero. Officials believed those purchases would lower long-term yields in part by reducing the term premium.

The central bank ended its purchases in March 2022 and three months later began shedding those holdings passively. It has been allowing up to $60 billion in Treasury securities to mature every month this year without replacing them, which could lift the term premium.

The Fed’s asset holdings have declined by nearly $1 trillion over the past year, to around $8 trillion last week.

“What we’re seeing is a reappraisal of how the bond market prices uncertainty itself,” said Singh. “The compensation required to underwrite potentially the new structural regime with more volatile growth and inflation and fewer predictable sources of demand to absorb record amounts of government debt issuance has clearly risen.”

On Tuesday, Yellen said it was premature to conclude that the U.S. was facing a future of persistently higher interest rates. “The structural forces that led us to believe interest rates would be low—they’re alive and well,” she said.

As the Fed raised rates to tame inflation last year, bonds and stocks both fell, a departure from the traditional pattern in which investors could hedge the risk of a downturn in stocks and other risky assets by purchasing Treasurys.

Many investors had expected that as the Fed neared the end of its rate hikes, the traditional negative correlation between stocks and bonds would return.

The big surprise in the past two months is that this hasn’t happened, in part because the Fed might not cut rates as quickly or as swiftly as investors have anticipated.

A strong September employment report this Friday could add to the bond-market rout by underscoring the economy’s resilience, which would push yields higher. On the other hand, signs of weakness could halt the rise in yields.

“These types of things often take on a life of their own until they self-correct,” either through weaker economic data or “a more sinister mechanism, such as a financial stability scare,” said Singh. “Either of those two developments would mark an inflection point back towards lower yields, but we’re not there yet.”

Long Bonds’ Historic 46% Meltdown Rivals Burst of Dot-Com Bubble

* Duration Exposure Fuels Painful Losses For Long-End Investors

* Thirty-Year Yields Hit 5% Wednesday For First Time Since 2007

Losses on longer-dated Treasuries are beginning to rival some of the most notorious market meltdowns in US history.

Bonds maturing in 10 years or more have slumped 46% since peaking in March 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s just shy of the 49% plunge in US stocks in the aftermath of the dot-com bust at the turn of the century.

The rout in 30-year bonds has been even worse, tumbling 53%, nearing the 57% slump in equities during the depths of the financial crisis.

The extent of the losses is a stark reminder of the risk that comes with piling into longer-dated bonds, where prices are the most sensitive to changes in interest rates.

That was part of the appeal of the securities as the Federal Reserve spent the better part of a decade cutting borrowing costs to near zero.

But as the central bank has carried out the most aggressive monetary-policy tightening in decades to rein in runaway inflation, the mix of historically low starting yields, long-maturity debt and rapidly rising rates has proven to be a painful combination.

“It’s quite something,” said Thomas di Galoma, co-head of global rates trading at BTIG and a four-decade market veteran. “To be honest with you, I had never thought I would see 5% 10-year notes ever again. We got caught in an environment post global financial crisis where everybody just thought rates were going to remain low.”

The current losses in long-maturity debt more than double the next biggest slump in 1981, when then Fed Chair Paul Volcker’s campaign to break the back of inflation drove 10-year yields to almost 16%.

It also surpassed the 39% average loss in seven US equity bear markets since 1970, including last year’s 25% slump in the S&P 500 when the Fed started to lift rates from near zero.

Perhaps the single best example of the staggering pain inflicted on investors is the rout in the 1.25%, 30-year Treasury sold in May 2020. The bond has lost more than half its value since it was issued, trading at around 45 cents on the dollar.

Long-end buyers got a reprieve Wednesday from the relentless selling pressure of recent weeks. Ten-year yields initially climbed as high as 4.88% before a dramatic rally during the US session left them down about six basis points at 4.73%. Thirty-year yields topped 5% before sliding to around 4.86%.

“There’s a lot of portfolio suffering,” said di Galoma. “You’ve seen some big moves, but they don’t seem to last. This time, it’s just continuing. It’s kind of like defying gravity here.”

 

 

Updated: 10-5-2023

Bitcoin Enters ‘Quiet Bull Market’ As Safe Haven From Bond Market Turmoil, Analyst Says

Investment research firm ByteTree upgraded bitcoin’s price outlook to “bull” from “neutral” as the crypto benefits as a “safe haven” amid an equity and bond sell-off.

* Bitcoin plunged to $27,300 as its rally above $28,000 proved to be short-lived.

* BTC is in a bull market for defies market rout in equity and U.S. Treasury bond trading, ByteTree CIO says.

Bitcoin (BTC) briefly surged above $28,000 during Thursday U.S. morning hours, then dropped to as low as $27,300 as traders took the opportunity to sell the rally.

The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization was changing hands at $27,500 recently, flat over the past 24 hours, but still outperforming the wider crypto market.

The CoinDesk Market Index (CMI), which features a broad basket of digital assets, was down 0.3%, while ether (ETH) slid 1.8% over the same period.

“In the near term, I expect the market to sell into this rally,” John Glover, chief investment officer of Ledn, told CoinDesk in an email. “In the absence of new capital flowing into digital assets, I believe that this is what this rally will be: short-lived.”

Glover expects a more durable appreciation will materialize later this year and early next year as bitcoin appears to be finished with its corrective move.

“I do believe that BTC prices will be higher in three months than they are today as technically we’ve completed the sell off and I now look for a sustained rally into Q2 2024,” he said.

Bitcoin As Safe Haven From Surging Rates

Investment research firm ByteTree upgraded its BTC market signal from neutral to bull in a report on Thursday. The crypto’s recent price action has defied a rough period for traditional financial markets, offering a safe haven from a rout in equity and bond trading.

“Bitcoin futures look good, especially when you compare them to the crisis in the bond market,” Charlie Morris, chief investment officer of ByteTree, said in the report. “It is the true safe haven from Uncle Sam’s bonds.”

He pointed out that BTC is beating the U.S. stock market at a time when surging bond yields wreak havoc on traditional markets. When interest rates peak and the bond sell-off ends, BTC will be “off to the races,” he said.

Morris noted that during BTC’s latest corrective move, the crypto held above the key $25,000 level, which capped the price between May 2022 and March 2023.” If we can hold that $25,000 level, which we probably will, BTC is very much in a bull market, albeit a quiet one,” he said.

Even if BTC is shaking off rising yields, it has remained “trapped in its $26,000 to $30,000 cage,” according to Edward Moya, senior market analyst of the Americas at forex trading firm Oanda.

“What is also preventing crypto investors from becoming more optimistic is that the bond market sell-off refuses to end and that will cripple many crypto startups,” he added.

Rising Interest Rates Mean Deficits Finally Matter

Investors ignored deficits when inflation was low. Now they are paying attention and getting worried.

The U.S. has long been the lender of last resort to the world. During the emerging-market panics of the 1990s, the global financial crisis of 2007-09 and the pandemic shutdown of 2020, it was the Treasury’s unmatched capacity to borrow that came to the rescue.

Now, the Treasury itself is a source of risk. No, the U.S. isn’t about to default or fail to sell enough bonds at its next auction. But the scale and upward trajectory of U.S. borrowing and absence of any political corrective now threaten markets and the economy in ways they haven’t for at least a generation.

That’s the takeaway from the sudden sharp rise in Treasury yields in recent weeks. The usual suspects can’t explain it: The inflation picture has gotten marginally better, and the Federal Reserve has signaled it’s nearly done raising rates.

Instead, most of the increase is due to the part of yields, called the term premium, which has nothing to do with inflation or short-term rates. Numerous factors affect the term premium, and rising government deficits are a prime suspect.

"Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?" Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin

Deficits have been wide for years. Why would they matter now? A better question might be: What took so long?

That larger deficits push up long-term rates had long been economic orthodoxy. But for the past 20 years, interest-rate models that incorporated fiscal policy didn’t work, noted Riccardo Trezzi, a former Fed economist who now runs his own research firm, Underlying Inflation.

That’s understandable. Central banks—worried about too-low inflation and stagnant growth—had kept interest rates around zero while buying up government bonds (“quantitative easing”). Private demand for credit was weak. This trumped any concern about deficits.

“We had a blissful 25 years of not having to worry about this problem,” said Mark Wiedman, senior managing director at BlackRock. Today, though, central banks are worried about inflation being too high and have stopped buying and in some cases are shedding their bondholdings (“quantitative tightening”). Suddenly, fiscal policy matters again.

To paraphrase Hemingway, deficits can affect interest rates gradually or suddenly. Investors, asked to buy more bonds, gradually make room in their portfolios by buying less of something else, such as equities.

Eventually, the risk-adjusted returns of these assets equalize, which means higher bond yields and lower price/earnings ratios on stocks. That has been happening for the past month.

Sometimes, though, markets can move suddenly, such as when Mexico threatened to default in 1994 and Greece did default a decade later.

Even in countries that, unlike Mexico or Greece, borrow in currencies they control, interest rates can become hostage to deficits, such as in Canada in the early 1990s or Italy in the 1980s and early 1990s.

"Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?" Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin

The U.S. isn’t Canada or Italy; it controls the world’s reserve currency, and its inflation and interest rates are mostly driven by domestic, not foreign, factors. On the other hand, the U.S. has also exploited those advantages to accumulate debt and run deficits that are much larger than those of peer economies.

There’s not much sign that this has yet imposed a penalty. Investors still project that the Fed will get inflation down to its 2% goal. At 2.4%, real (inflation-adjusted) Treasury yields are comparable to those in the mid-2000s and lower than in the 1990s, when the U.S. government’s debts and deficits were much lower.

Still, sometimes bad news accumulates below investors’ radar until something brings their collective attention to bear. Could a point come when “all the headlines will be about the fiscal unsustainability of the U.S.?” asked Wiedman.

“I don’t hear this today from global investors. But do I think it could happen? Absolutely, that paradigm shift is possible. It’s not that no one shows up to buy Treasurys. It’s that they ask for a much higher yield.”

It’s notable that the recent rise in bond yields came as Fitch Ratings downgraded its U.S. credit rating, Treasury upped the size of its bond auctions, analysts began revising upward this year’s federal deficit, and Congress nearly shut down parts of the government over a failure to pass spending bills.

The federal deficit was over 7% of gross domestic product in fiscal 2023, after adjusting for accounting distortions related to student debt, Barclays analysts noted last week. That’s larger than any deficit since 1930 outside of wars and recessions.

And this is occurring at a time of low unemployment and strong economic growth, suggesting that in normal times, “deficits may be much higher,” Barclays added.

Abroad, fiscal policy has clearly begun to matter. Last fall, a proposed U.K. tax cut triggered a surge in British bond yields; the government scrapped the proposal, then resigned.

Italian yields have risen since the government last week delayed reducing its deficit to below European guidelines. Trezzi said that for the past decade the European Central Bank had bought more than 100% of net Italian government bond issuance, but that’s coming to an end.

Foreign investors, worried about inflation and deficits, have been selling Italian bonds, while Italian households have been buying, Trezzi said. “With a weakening economy, it is unclear for how long…households can offset the selloff of foreigners.”

Investors looking for U.S. political will to rein in deficits would take note that both former President Donald Trump and President Biden, their parties’ front-runners for the 2024 presidential nomination, have signed deficit-busting legislation and that both of their parties have pledged not to cut the two largest spending programs, Medicare and Social Security, or raise taxes on most households.

They would also notice that the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives was just ousted by rebels in his own party because he had passed a bipartisan spending bill to prevent the government from shutting down.

True, the rebels wanted less spending. But shutdowns, Barclays noted, represent “erosion of governance.” This isn’t how a country trying to reassure the bond market acts.

Fed’s Bid To Avoid Recession Tested By Yields Nearing 20-Year Highs

* Long-Term Real Rates Have Hit Levels Rarely Seen In 20 Years

* Policymakers Haven’t Taken Chance To Push Back: Ex-Official

The Federal Reserve may be putting its hoped-for soft landing of the economy at risk by tacitly accepting a run-up in long-term interest rates to the highest levels since 2007.

The surge — 10-year Treasury yields rose more than half a percentage point the past month to surpass 4.7% — heightens the danger in the near-term of a financial blowup akin to the regional bank breakdown in March.

Longer run, it threatens to undercut the economy by markedly raising borrowing costs for consumers and companies.

“Ultimately, the feedback effect starts to fuel fears that you’re going to have a hard landing,” said R.J. Gallo, a senior portfolio manager for Federated Hermes, with about $669 billion in assets under management.

What may have a particularly strong impact is the rise in so-called real rates, which remove the impact of inflation. Yields on 10-year inflation-linked Treasuries have soared in recent weeks to levels rarely seen over the past two decades.

"Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?" Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin

Fed leadership has so far not shown much, if any, inclination to resist the rise in long-term rates. While New York Fed President John Williams suggested last week the US central bank may be finished raising rates, he also said policymakers would keep them high “for some time” to bring inflation down to their 2% goal.

“Fed officials have had a chance at various appearances — and they’ve not really taken that opportunity to push back against this,” former Vice Chair Richard Clarida said on Bloomberg Television on Wednesday.

The rise in yields “actually does some of the Fed’s job for it” by slowing economic growth and helping to contain inflation, added Clarida, who is now a global economic adviser for Pacific Investment Management Co.

For her part, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said Thursday officials are watching the rise in yields, though adding that it’s not clear that the increase would be sustained.

The danger is the leg up in long-term rates does more damage than the Fed expects. The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March came in the wake of a rise in bond yields that was partly driven by tough talk on Fed policy by Chair Jerome Powell.

Other Headwinds

“There’s a potential near-term disruptive effect to worry about,” said Bruce Kasman, chief economist for JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The rise in rates is also occurring at a time when the economy is already facing a number of headwinds — from a resumption of student loan payments to a strike by autoworkers.

Indeed, Bloomberg Economics chief US economist Anna Wong says the US economy is probably on the verge of tipping into a recession.

Market participants have identified a variety of triggers for the surge in yields — which moderated slightly Wednesday. Among them: investor concern about burgeoning US budget deficits, slackening demand for Treasury securities from foreign investors including China and expectations that Japan will exit its ultra-loose monetary policy in coming quarters.

Some economists and investors have also cited what they see as a muddled message from the central bank regarding its stance on real interest rates.

Real Rates

“We’ve gotten conflicting signals from the Fed,” MacroPolicy Perspectives LLC founder and former central bank economist Julia Coronado said. In an environment where bond yields were already rising, that “basically just gave the market permission to keep marching higher.”

What’s puzzling investors is how exactly policymakers define real rates. Fed officials have sometimes cited gauges that are based on past inflation and sometimes those tied to prospective inflation rates.

 

"Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?" Janet Yellen #GotBitcoin

The difference can be critical in determining the future path of Fed policy. Williams in August suggested that the Fed would cut rates

next year in tandem with an expected fall in inflation. The aim, he explained, would be to prevent real rates from rising and policy from becoming more restrictive.

But Cleveland’s Mester, who doesn’t vote on monetary policy decisions this year, suggested on Tuesday that’s not inevitably so.

“Real rates should be based on expected inflation, not necessarily current inflation,” she told reporters.

In that case, a slowdown in inflation wouldn’t automatically call for a reduction in Fed rates, unless also accompanied by an easing in expectations. The Fed’s preferred gauge of core inflation, which strips out food and energy costs, was 3.9% in August.

By comparison, a benchmark for expected inflation derived from bond market pricing indicates about a 2.5% pace over the longer term.

Neutral Rate

Powell has also muddied the waters about the so-called real neutral rate of interest — the equilibrium rate that neither spurs nor retards economic growth.

Speaking to reporters on Sept. 20, Powell mused that the neutral rate might have risen, at least temporarily, given how resilient the economy has been in the face of the Fed’s aggressive credit tightening campaign.

His comments came against a backdrop of investors already thinking so-called R-star is permanently higher coming out the pandemic, and some Fed policymakers themselves bumping up their own estimates of the equilibrium rate.

The result: Powell “put a little bit of fuel on the fire” in the bond market, said Adam Abbas, co-head of fixed income for Harris Associates, with more than $100 billion in assets under management.

Whatever the reason for the rise in long-term rates, it’s something that policymakers will need to keep their eye on in case in gets out of control.

“If the moves get extreme or persistent, it could get the Fed engaged,” Clarida said.

 

Updated: 10-9-2023

Treasury-Market Selloff Has Become The Worst Bond Bear Market Of All Time, According To BofA

The Tell

Treasury bonds’ losses over the past three years have amounted to the worst bear market in the nearly 250-year history of the U.S., according to Bank of America’s Michael Hartnett, who included some charts on Treasury performance in his latest “flow show” note shared with MarketWatch late last week.

According to one of these charts, Treasurys had lost nearly 25% on a total return basis between the market’s peak in July 2020 and Halloween 2022, with the market essentially unchanged in the interim.

Over the past week, yields on long-duration Treasury securities like the 10-year note and 30-year bond have touched their highest levels in more than 16 years, according to FactSet data. Bond yields move inversely to prices.

Yields have been marching higher since late July, which has helped heap pressure on U.S. stocks. The runup in long-bond yields accelerated after the Federal Reserve signaled in September that it expected to keep yields higher for longer than investors had previously expected.

“It’s the greatest bond bear market of all time,” said Michael Hartnett, the BofA strategist who authored the note. He pointed out that losses on some 30-year bonds have topped 50%, as MarketWatch has reported.

The latest leg of the bond-market selloff has been particularly painful for investors as bonds and stocks have fallen in tandem, as they did in 2022, leading to dramatic losses in portfolios with exposure to both.

However, investors worried about more bond-market pain to come may find solace in signs that the selloff is starting to look overdone. According to a BofA analysis, Treasury prices are looking overstretched relative to their 200-day moving average.

Bank of America’s hold-to-maturity bond book is seeing huge paper losses amid the selloff, according to analysts’ comments and a recent report by Bloomberg News, which blamed the banks’ long-dated Treasury and mortgage-bond holdings for dragging on profit.

Treasury trading was closed on Monday due to a bank holiday in the U.S., but futures contracts tied to Treasury bonds climbed as Hamas’s incursion into southern Israel over the weekend stoked concerns about escalating geopolitical risk. The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF meanwhile, was up 1.3% at $85.86 a share.

On Monday, Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan said rising Treasury yields could diminish the need for further interest-rate hikes, which could help support bond prices, since concerns about the Fed’s hiking plans have been front and center for bond markets.

 

Updated: 10-14-2023

Bond Market Chaos To Increase by March 2024

The major issue with the bond market right now is the overwhelming amount of bond issuance combined with the notable absence of the usual buyers.

In other words, the illiquidity is already causing U.S. sovereign debt to trade like a microcap penny stock. This dysfunctional trading environment should become exponentially worse by the end of Q1 2024.

The U.S. national debt is now $33.5T, and the interest on that debt is $712b so far this year. That interest expense is set to double over the next few years as our debt is rolling over at much higher interest rates.

Interest payments equal to 17% of all Federal revenue and should easily jump to 35% of all income very soon.

The deficits will be much greater when the recession arrives, as the automatic economic stabilizers kick in, just as revenue also collapses.

Entitlements and debt service payments will equal 100% of all revenue by 2040 at the very latest. At that point, there will be no room for any other government spending.

Our bond market is fracturing, and it is becoming an existential crisis for our financial system. What else would you expect when the nation’s annual deficit is 45% of our revenue, and that is adding on each year to the national debt, which is an incredible 771% of annual federal income!

I have explained the reasons why long-duration bonds have been a no-touch for the past several months. China is having to sell Treasuries to support the Yuan. Japan is doing the same to boost the Yen, in addition to relaxing yield curve control, which increases the relative attractiveness of JGBs over U.S. bonds.

Disinflation is being replaced by reflation, and the Atlanta Fed’s incredible 5% prediction for Q3 GDP is putting more upward pressure on yields and keeping potential buyers at bay.

The big surprise here is that this volatility is occurring while there is still $1.2 trillion in the Fed’s Reverse Repo (RRP) facility. Banks first parked their excess reserves, which were the result of the massive COVID stimulus packages from the Treasury, at the Fed to earn risk-free interest. That figure reached a high of $2.5 trillion in December of 2022.

However, in the last 5 months, the amount in the RRP has crashed by over $1 trillion. This is, in essence, funding the Fed’s Q.T. program. If the current pace of RRP selling continues, the number of excess reserves parked at the Fed will be near zero by March of 2024. It will be at that point that much of the liquidity in the bond market will have evaporated.

As mentioned, most of the carnage in the bond market currently is due to the overwhelming supply issuance, which is a direct consequence of our intractable debt and deficits and the absence of foreign buyers.

In fact, they have become sellers of our debt. Just imagine the chaos that will occur in the next few months when this major source of readily accessible Treasury liquidity runs dry.

There are only two ways to possibly save us from the coming bond market collapse. The first is an immediate and complete restructuring of S.S., Medicare, Medicaid, and Defense that includes humongous cuts in benefits across the board. This will be as easy for Congress to accomplish as a camel going through the eye of a needle.

And if the impossible does occur, the concomitant resulting recession would be so catastrophic that it might end up rendering the nation insolvent anyway.

The other temporary salve would be if the delayed recession were to occur imminently. That would send investors scurrying out of equities and into the relative safety of U.S. bonds.

However, again, the resulting amount of red ink from the election of the automatic economic stabilizers would send deficits and debt skyrocketing from their already untenable $2 trillion level.

During the last two recessions, annual deficits increased by over 200%. Hence, the U.S.’s insolvency fate would be sealed regardless, as the annual amount of red ink could jump to $6 trillion, or an incredible nearly 25% of our entire GDP.

In the same month the RRP facility runs out, the $100 billion in distressed bank assets currently festering in the Bank Term Funding Program are scheduled to return to these financial institutions at a fraction of par value.

Banks must then give the Fed 100 cents on the dollar plus accrued interest. Remember that these impaired assets threatened to render the entire regional banking sector insolvent at the start of this year.

These Treasuries, MBS, and corporate bonds are even further underwater than when Mr. Powell first allowed them to be parked at the Fed. Oh, and by the way, March of next year will also be when the full lagged effects of 500bps in monetary tightening will begin to have their maximum impact.

Hence, within the next 5 months, the bond market should spiral into complete chaos, and the Fed will be forced to end Q.T., start cutting interest rates towards the zero bound, and venture back into Q.E. once again.

The stagflationary ramifications of all this will be staggering, especially since no investor will be duped into believing the Fed can adroitly fight inflation without crippling the banking system and the economy and risking a sovereign U.S. debt crisis.

The stock market will not remain unscathed at all. According to Bank of America, about one-third of all companies in the Russell 2000 are not profitable.

These company’s very existence depends on their ability to borrow money at ultra-low interest rates. Two years ago, they could borrow new funds to keep the lights on below 4%; today it will cost them 9.3%.

This is an existential crisis for 33% of small businesses, which are the engine of employment growth. Therefore, the labor market should begin to fracture by early 2024. A spiking unemployment rate will cause the real estate market to suffer the same dire fate as the bond and stock market.

There is still some money to be made in the overall market until the end of Q1 2024 arrives. However, this is especially crucial for the 60/40 portfolio bag holders; you better be able to identify when the freezing of the debt markets is about to arrive because securities could get wiped out across the board.

The swings between inflation and deflation will become more violent and destructive over time. Active and smart management is the best hope to survive and thrive in this chaos.

By Michael Pento

 

Updated: 2-12-2024

US Government TIPS ETF’s Lose $43 Billion While Bitcoin ETF’s Gain $10 Billion

* Retail Investors Yanked Money After Record TIPS Losses

"Would Someone Please Buy US Treasury Bonds?" Janet Yellen   #GotBitcoin

While Treasury inflation-protected securities, or TIPS, provide additional payments to make up for the rise in consumer prices, they weren’t insulated from the impacts of the Fed’s monetary policy tightening.

Between cash outflows and capital losses, the combined assets of the 10 largest US exchange-traded funds that focus on inflation-linked bonds have tumbled from a peak of more than $99 billion in early 2022 to around $57 billion.

Michael Pond, the head of global inflation-linked research at Barclays Capital, said the losses may have surprised individual investors who flocked to the ETFs, thinking they were a haven. When they lost money instead, many likely decided to pull out.

BlackRock Inc.’s $19 billion iShares TIPS ETF – the largest of its kind — attracted a record $12 billion in 2021, only to see $14 billion withdrawn in the following two years. The fund lost about 5% over the past three years.

“When TIPS had negative returns, many sold them after the fact because they hadn’t performed,” Pond said.

The great market inflation hedge of the pandemic era is officially over.

That’s about what they held in late 2020, before the outbreak of the nation’s first major consumer-price surge since the early 1980s.

The pullback underscores how confident investors are that the Federal Reserve has brought inflation back under control. That’s expected to be evident Tuesday, when economists predict the Labor Department will report that the annual increase in the consumer-price index pulled below 3% for the first time in roughly three years. In June 2022, it was rising at about three times that pace.

The shift in sentiment isn’t surprising, given that Fed officials share investors’ confidence and anticipate that they will be able to start dialing back interest rates this year to avoid stifling the economy.

And ETFs that cater to the investment trend of the moment typically see big pullbacks when investors move on to the next big thing.

“We experienced huge growth post-Covid,” Lindsay Rosner, head of multi-sector fixed income investing at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said about the TIPS flows. “Now, growth feels soft-landing-ish and the need for inflation protection has been lessened. There is less of a demand for this style portfolio allocation.”

But some of the pullback may reflect another fact: The ETFs didn’t actually fare that well as a safeguard against inflation.

As the central bank pushed up interest rates with unusual speed, their prices tumbled along with other fixed-income securities, more than erasing the extra payouts tied to inflation.

A Bloomberg index tracking the TIPS lost a record 12% in 2022. After rebounding 3.9% last year, the benchmark lost 1.2% so far in 2024.

 

 

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Ledger Live Now Supports Over 1,250 Ethereum-Based ERC-20 Tokens (#GotBitcoin?)

Miss Finland: Bitcoin’s Risk Keeps Most Women Away From Cryptocurrency (#GotBitcoin?)

Artist Akon Loves BTC And Says, “It’s Controlled By The People” (#GotBitcoin?)

Ledger Live Now Supports Over 1,250 Ethereum-Based ERC-20 Tokens (#GotBitcoin?)

Co-Founder Of LinkedIn Presents Crypto Rap Video: Hamilton Vs. Satoshi (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Insurance Market To Grow, Lloyd’s Of London And Aon To Lead (#GotBitcoin?)

No ‘AltSeason’ Until Bitcoin Breaks $20K, Says Hedge Fund Manager (#GotBitcoin?)

NSA Working To Develop Quantum-Resistant Cryptocurrency: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

Custody Provider Legacy Trust Launches Crypto Pension Plan (#GotBitcoin?)

Vaneck, SolidX To Offer Limited Bitcoin ETF For Institutions Via Exemption (#GotBitcoin?)

Russell Okung: From NFL Superstar To Bitcoin Educator In 2 Years (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Miners Made $14 Billion To Date Securing The Network (#GotBitcoin?)

Why Does Amazon Want To Hire Blockchain Experts For Its Ads Division?

Argentina’s Economy Is In A Technical Default (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain-Based Fractional Ownership Used To Sell High-End Art (#GotBitcoin?)

Portugal Tax Authority: Bitcoin Trading And Payments Are Tax-Free (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin ‘Failed Safe Haven Test’ After 7% Drop, Peter Schiff Gloats (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Dev Reveals Multisig UI Teaser For Hardware Wallets, Full Nodes (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Price: $10K Holds For Now As 50% Of CME Futures Set To Expire (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Realized Market Cap Hits $100 Billion For The First Time (#GotBitcoin?)

Stablecoins Begin To Look Beyond The Dollar (#GotBitcoin?)

Bank Of England Governor: Libra-Like Currency Could Replace US Dollar (#GotBitcoin?)

Binance Reveals ‘Venus’ — Its Own Project To Rival Facebook’s Libra (#GotBitcoin?)

The Real Benefits Of Blockchain Are Here. They’re Being Ignored (#GotBitcoin?)

CommBank Develops Blockchain Market To Boost Biodiversity (#GotBitcoin?)

SEC Approves Blockchain Tech Startup Securitize To Record Stock Transfers (#GotBitcoin?)

SegWit Creator Introduces New Language For Bitcoin Smart Contracts (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Earn Bitcoin Rewards For Postmates Purchases (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Price ‘Will Struggle’ In Big Financial Crisis, Says Investor (#GotBitcoin?)

Fidelity Charitable Received Over $100M In Crypto Donations Since 2015 (#GotBitcoin?)

Would Blockchain Better Protect User Data Than FaceApp? Experts Answer (#GotBitcoin?)

Just The Existence Of Bitcoin Impacts Monetary Policy (#GotBitcoin?)

What Are The Biggest Alleged Crypto Heists And How Much Was Stolen? (#GotBitcoin?)

IRS To Cryptocurrency Owners: Come Clean, Or Else!

Coinbase Accidentally Saves Unencrypted Passwords Of 3,420 Customers (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Is A ‘Chaos Hedge, Or Schmuck Insurance‘ (#GotBitcoin?)

Bakkt Announces September 23 Launch Of Futures And Custody

Coinbase CEO: Institutions Depositing $200-400M Into Crypto Per Week (#GotBitcoin?)

Researchers Find Monero Mining Malware That Hides From Task Manager (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Dusting Attack Affects Nearly 300,000 Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)

A Case For Bitcoin As Recession Hedge In A Diversified Investment Portfolio (#GotBitcoin?)

SEC Guidance Gives Ammo To Lawsuit Claiming XRP Is Unregistered Security (#GotBitcoin?)

15 Countries To Develop Crypto Transaction Tracking System: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

US Department Of Commerce Offering 6-Figure Salary To Crypto Expert (#GotBitcoin?)

Mastercard Is Building A Team To Develop Crypto, Wallet Projects (#GotBitcoin?)

Canadian Bitcoin Educator Scams The Scammer And Donates Proceeds (#GotBitcoin?)

Amazon Wants To Build A Blockchain For Ads, New Job Listing Shows (#GotBitcoin?)

Shield Bitcoin Wallets From Theft Via Time Delay (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockstream Launches Bitcoin Mining Farm With Fidelity As Early Customer (#GotBitcoin?)

Commerzbank Tests Blockchain Machine To Machine Payments With Daimler (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Historical Returns Look Very Attractive As Online Banks Lower Payouts On Savings Accounts (#GotBitcoin?)

Man Takes Bitcoin Miner Seller To Tribunal Over Electricity Bill And Wins (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Computing Power Sets Record As Over 100K New Miners Go Online (#GotBitcoin?)

Walmart Coin And Libra Perform Major Public Relations For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Judge Says Buying Bitcoin Via Credit Card Not Necessarily A Cash Advance (#GotBitcoin?)

Poll: If You’re A Stockowner Or Crypto-Currency Holder. What Will You Do When The Recession Comes?

1 In 5 Crypto Holders Are Women, New Report Reveals (#GotBitcoin?)

Beating Bakkt, Ledgerx Is First To Launch ‘Physical’ Bitcoin Futures In Us (#GotBitcoin?)

Facebook Warns Investors That Libra Stablecoin May Never Launch (#GotBitcoin?)

Government Money Printing Is ‘Rocket Fuel’ For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin-Friendly Square Cash App Stock Price Up 56% In 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Safeway Shoppers Can Now Get Bitcoin Back As Change At 894 US Stores (#GotBitcoin?)

TD Ameritrade CEO: There’s ‘Heightened Interest Again’ With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Venezuela Sets New Bitcoin Volume Record Thanks To 10,000,000% Inflation (#GotBitcoin?)

Newegg Adds Bitcoin Payment Option To 73 More Countries (#GotBitcoin?)

China’s Schizophrenic Relationship With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

More Companies Build Products Around Crypto Hardware Wallets (#GotBitcoin?)

Bakkt Is Scheduled To Start Testing Its Bitcoin Futures Contracts Today (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Network Now 8 Times More Powerful Than It Was At $20K Price (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Exchange BitMEX Under Investigation By CFTC: Bloomberg (#GotBitcoin?)

“Bitcoin An ‘Unstoppable Force,” Says US Congressman At Crypto Hearing (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Network Is Moving $3 Billion Daily, Up 210% Since April (#GotBitcoin?)

Cryptocurrency Startups Get Partial Green Light From Washington

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee: Bitcoin Pullback Is Healthy, Fewer Searches Аre Good (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Lightning Nodes Are Snatching Funds From Bad Actors (#GotBitcoin?)

The Provident Bank Now Offers Deposit Services For Crypto-Related Entities (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Could Help Stop News Censorship From Space (#GotBitcoin?)

US Sanctions On Iran Crypto Mining — Inevitable Or Impossible? (#GotBitcoin?)

US Lawmaker Reintroduces ‘Safe Harbor’ Crypto Tax Bill In Congress (#GotBitcoin?)

EU Central Bank Won’t Add Bitcoin To Reserves — Says It’s Not A Currency (#GotBitcoin?)

The Miami Dolphins Now Accept Bitcoin And Litecoin Crypt-Currency Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

Trump Bashes Bitcoin And Alt-Right Is Mad As Hell (#GotBitcoin?)

Goldman Sachs Ramps Up Development Of New Secret Crypto Project (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain And AI Bond, Explained (#GotBitcoin?)

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Outperformed Indexes In First Half Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

XRP Is The Worst Performing Major Crypto Of 2019 (GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Back Near $12K As BTC Shorters Lose $44 Million In One Morning (#GotBitcoin?)

As Deutsche Bank Axes 18K Jobs, Bitcoin Offers A ‘Plan ฿”: VanEck Exec (#GotBitcoin?)

Argentina Drives Global LocalBitcoins Volume To Highest Since November (#GotBitcoin?)

‘I Would Buy’ Bitcoin If Growth Continues — Investment Legend Mobius (#GotBitcoin?)

Lawmakers Push For New Bitcoin Rules (#GotBitcoin?)

Facebook’s Libra Is Bad For African Americans (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Firm Charity Announces Alliance To Support Feminine Health (#GotBitcoin?)

Canadian Startup Wants To Upgrade Millions Of ATMs To Sell Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Trump Says US ‘Should Match’ China’s Money Printing Game (#GotBitcoin?)

Casa Launches Lightning Node Mobile App For Bitcoin Newbies (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Rally Fuels Market In Crypto Derivatives (#GotBitcoin?)

World’s First Zero-Fiat ‘Bitcoin Bond’ Now Available On Bloomberg Terminal (#GotBitcoin?)

Buying Bitcoin Has Been Profitable 98.2% Of The Days Since Creation (#GotBitcoin?)

Another Crypto Exchange Receives License For Crypto Futures

From ‘Ponzi’ To ‘We’re Working On It’ — BIS Chief Reverses Stance On Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

These Are The Cities Googling ‘Bitcoin’ As Interest Hits 17-Month High (#GotBitcoin?)

Venezuelan Explains How Bitcoin Saves His Family (#GotBitcoin?)

Quantum Computing Vs. Blockchain: Impact On Cryptography

This Fund Is Riding Bitcoin To Top (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Surge Leaves Smaller Digital Currencies In The Dust (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Exchange Hits $1 Trillion In Trading Volume (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Breaks $200 Billion Market Cap For The First Time In 17 Months (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Make State Tax Payments In Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Religious Organizations Make Ideal Places To Mine Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Goldman Sacs And JP Morgan Chase Finally Concede To Crypto-Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Heading For Fifth Month Of Gains Despite Price Correction (#GotBitcoin?)

Breez Reveals Lightning-Powered Bitcoin Payments App For IPhone (#GotBitcoin?)

Big Four Auditing Firm PwC Releases Cryptocurrency Auditing Software (#GotBitcoin?)

Amazon-Owned Twitch Quietly Brings Back Bitcoin Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

JPMorgan Will Pilot ‘JPM Coin’ Stablecoin By End Of 2019: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

Is There A Big Short In Bitcoin? (#GotBitcoin?)

Coinbase Hit With Outage As Bitcoin Price Drops $1.8K In 15 Minutes

Samourai Wallet Releases Privacy-Enhancing CoinJoin Feature (#GotBitcoin?)

There Are Now More Than 5,000 Bitcoin ATMs Around The World (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Get Bitcoin Rewards When Booking At Hotels.Com (#GotBitcoin?)

North America’s Largest Solar Bitcoin Mining Farm Coming To California (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin On Track For Best Second Quarter Price Gain On Record (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Hash Rate Climbs To New Record High Boosting Network Security (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Exceeds 1Million Active Addresses While Coinbase Custodies $1.3B In Assets

Why Bitcoin’s Price Suddenly Surged Back $5K (#GotBitcoin?)

Zebpay Becomes First Exchange To Add Lightning Payments For All Users (#GotBitcoin?)

Coinbase’s New Customer Incentive: Interest Payments, With A Crypto Twist (#GotBitcoin?)

The Best Bitcoin Debit (Cashback) Cards Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Real Estate Brokerages Now Accepting Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Ernst & Young Introduces Tax Tool For Reporting Cryptocurrencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Recession Is Looming, or Not. Here’s How To Know (#GotBitcoin?)

How Will Bitcoin Behave During A Recession? (#GotBitcoin?)

Many U.S. Financial Officers Think a Recession Will Hit Next Year (#GotBitcoin?)

Definite Signs of An Imminent Recession (#GotBitcoin?)

What A Recession Could Mean for Women’s Unemployment (#GotBitcoin?)

Investors Run Out of Options As Bitcoin, Stocks, Bonds, Oil Cave To Recession Fears (#GotBitcoin?)

Goldman Is Looking To Reduce “Marcus” Lending Goal On Credit (Recession) Caution (#GotBitcoin?)

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