Bandaid on a Ruptured Jugular

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Let’s talk about the Fed’s expansion of its securities lending program that the market is so excited about this morning. It seems to me that the market does not understand the implications of this action.

We’ll take this one step at a time.

What is the purpose of borrowing securities from your broker? It’s the same for Primary Dealers borrowing Treasuries from the Fed. Why do PDs borrow securities from the Fed? To sell them short.

The Primary Dealers are heavily short Treasuries at all times. They are heavily long all other debt securities simultaneously.The level of securities lending in recent months is unprecedented in all of human history, by an order of magnitude of 10.

Securities lent by Fed to Primary Dealers
Securities lent by Fed to Primary Dealers

Why is that? Because they were heavily short Treasuries and are being subject to the greatest Treasury short squeeze in history. Their only out was to borrow more securities from the Fed and short more into the market as the public clamor and panic for “safe” Treasury securities rose to a mad crescendo.

The Fed is now responding to the pressure of the imminent collapse of the Primary Dealers and major banks worldwide, because not only are the PDs heavily short the stuff that is going up, Treasuries, they are heavily long the stuff that is going down, which is all other debt securities.

This is the worst of all possible worlds and the Fed’s action is like putting a bandaid on a ruptured jugular vein.

Accordingly, I predict that this morning’s massive short squeeze will be reversed in due course, perhaps no more than a few hours.

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Lee Adler

I’ve been publishing The Wall Street Examiner and its predecessor since October 2000. I also provide analysis and charts for David Stockman's Contra Corner which I developed for Mr. Stockman. I’ve had a wide variety of finance related jobs in the past 44 years, including a stint on Wall Street in both analytical and sales capacities. Prior to starting the Wall Street Examiner I worked as a commercial real estate appraiser in Florida for 15 years. I also worked in the residential mortgage and real estate businesses in parts of the 1970s and 80s. I have been charting stocks and markets and doing analytical work since I was a teenager. My perspective is not of the Ivory Tower. It is from having my boots on the ground and in the trenches of the industries that I analyze and write about today.