Did The Fed Quietly Bail Out A Bank On Tuesday?

Over the past month we have been closely documenting a major funding squeeze in the all important shadow economy – the “synthetic liquidity” conduit which far more than traditional sources of cash, has become all important for proper bank functioning over the past decade. Courtesy of adverse development in Europe, one by one various components of this unregulated funding scheme have become frozen necessitating the first of many central bank interventions on November 30 to provide liquidity to global banks, primarily to offset such shadow conduits as locked up commercial paper, repo and money markets. Logically, as noted over a week ago, European banks scrambled to obtain cheap dollars by borrowing over $50 billion from the Fed, and plug dollar shortfalls. Yet as all band aid measures designed to offset a broken liquidity equilibrium fail eventually, it was only a matter of time before we saw a direct bail out by the Fed of one or more banks in the aftermath of the November 30 global “bail out.” Sure enough, we have our first clue that “something” happened in the week ending Wednesday December 14 that involved an upgrade of the Fed’s indirect (and thus untargeted) bailout of global banks, to a focused, and very much targeted rescue of one (or more) banks. And with some additional diligence, it may be possible to narrow down the date of an actual bank bailout: Tuesday, December 13.

Exhibit A – Reserve Bank Credit

Two years ago, when discussing the transition of the world to one coordinated, centrally-planned regime we said that the only financial statement of any importance, updated weekly, is the Fed’s H.4.1, or the “Factors Affecting Reserve Balances” which traces that flow of “last resort” cash from the Fed to the various organization that make up the reserve bank, primary dealer, and various other financial entities under the Fed’s Lender of Last Resort umbrella. Simply said, anything abnormal in this weekly report of “flow and stock” (a simplistic distinction where the Fed is far more focused on what the absolute level of reserve numbers is, whereas Zero Hedge and the market believe it is the “flow”, or marginal change, that determines, artificially, asset prices) would confirm our speculations that the Fed has stepped into into its now traditional role of bailing out the world.

The first thing that caught our attention was the all important total reserve bank credit – the most important big picture metric announced by the Fed on a weekly basis. As the chart below shows, after having plateaued with the End of QE2, and remaining stable during the duration of the “sterilized” Operation Twist (as it should), in the week ended December 14, total reserve credit soared by a whopping $81 billion or the most since May 27, 2009 when the Fed was actively undergoing the early stages of QE1 damage control.

So what was the reason for this huge jump in reserve credit? Two things – on one hand we had the already long-ago telegraphed increase in Fed liquidity swap lines by over $50 billion, or from $2.3 to $54.3 billion to be exact. However that does not explain the remainder. So where did the other $30 billion in credit expansion come from?

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