May 02, 2017

The Sovereign’s footmen, the regulators, are force-feeding the economy public debt. When will the liver explode?

Sir, Sam Fleming and Robin Wigglesworth report: “The Fed will need to operate with a much larger balance sheet than before the crisis — at least three times as big, say some investors — in part because of regulatory and other changes governing institutions’ appetite for safe assets” “Fed edges towards paring back its balance sheet” May 2.

Of course, in 1988 the Sovereign had his bank regulation footmen declare him risk free, 0% risk weight, while the citizens, they got a 100% risk weight.

When kicking with QEs the 2007/08 crises can down the road, the Fed as well as some other central banks, purchased enormous amounts of public debt.

With Basel III the regulators kept going at it introducing liquidity requirements that much favored “marketable securities representing claims on or guaranteed by sovereigns”.

Insurance companies’ regulators, with their Solvency II, are closely following the same path.

Now when they are thinking of reeling the 2007/08 can in, to sort of prepare for the next crisis, how is the Fed to do that? Well the authors report that accordingly to Mr Rajadhyaksha, head of macro research at Barclays: “Assuming that it wants to get rid of all its $1.8tn of mortgage bonds as it retreats from the home loan market, it may have to start buying Treasuries again at the tail-end of the process” which means more sovereign debt will be purchased.

In other words the Sovereign’s foot soldiers are de facto force-feeding public debt down the economy’s throat. When will the economy’s liver explode?

And the craziest thing is that most experts still take the interest rates on such debts to be market fixed, and to reflect the real risk-free rate.

How could so much statism have been injected in our system without it being noticed?

This statism de facto presumes that government bureaucrats know better what to do with credit than the private sector. That presumption leads of course to disaster. 

We now read in IMF’s Fiscal Monitor 2017 (page x), with IMF acting like the Sheriff of Nottingham for King John, that “the case for increasing public investments remains strong in many countries in light of low borrowing costs” and that “the persistent decline in the interest rates may have relaxed government budget constraints in advanced economies; if the differential between interest and GDP growth were to remain durably lower than it has been in past decades, countries could be able to sustain higher levels of public debt.” “Low borrowing costs” IMF? Do your research and dare to figure out why. Others are paying for that by having less access to credit.

Sir, IMF has the galls to title 2017 Fiscal Monitor as “Achieving More With Less”, while completely ignoring that over the last decades, Sovereigns, have been Achieving So Much Less With So Much More.