Here Comes the Debt Pushback (Where's the Fed with the Firehose?)
Bernanke wobbles but he won't fall down
Down go the dominoes. The out-of-the-loop financial media will probably blame this largely on the Fed ending its MBS program but let's be honest about the real factor behind it: remedial economics. Surprise surprise; when the market is flooded with supply with few takers, you get bond auctions like we got last week.
It had to end at some point.
For more than a year, analysts have been warning that record sized debt sales by the US Treasury were at odds with a 10-year yield sitting comfortably below 4 per cent. This week, the yield on 10-year notes jumped from 3.65 per cent to a peak of 3.92 per cent on Thursday. On Friday it was 3.87 per cent.
I'm afraid someone has to point out the obvious here: credit markets don't like getting the crack unceremoniously taken away, no more than the investors who have been buying into this ridiculousness thinking the free money will never end. Guess what? It's over.
WSJ on last week's wake-up call:
Mortgage investors got an unwelcome wake-up call last week after Treasury yields surged, a jolt that indicated that the Federal Reserve's exit from the market may not go as smoothly as thought.
As the yield on 10-year Treasury notes jumped, yields on Fannie Mae's benchmark 30-year bond followed, rising to 4.45% from 4.33%. That sent mortgage rates above 5%.
It was an unsettling surge as the Fed prepares to end its $1.25 trillion program of buying mortgage securities on Wednesday. Many in the market had come to believe the Fed's exit would have little effect on mortgage bonds. They reasoned there were enough investors hungry for extra yield that they would step in to buy once the Fed left.
Here's what I see... the skittish Fed, scared to death to let markets work out their own kinks lest they allow the cancerous bits to rot off (that might put Fannie and Freddie in an uncomfortable position), backpedals on its plan to start unloading MBSs and instead holds on to (and/or increases) its holdings to wait out the expiration of the first-time homebuyer credit in April, despite dismal numbers after the December extension. If you call 180,000 new homes dismal.
Yeah? Sounds about right.
I wonder if they have consulted with Tim Geithner on this - after all, any indigestion on the part of the housing market might not pair well with his unlimited bailout plans.