The most troubling article I have read in a while...

Discussion in 'Economics' started by Mvic, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. Mvic


    International demand for long-term U.S. financial assets weakened in October as foreign investors sold American stocks, corporate bonds and agency debt.

    Total net purchases of long-term equities, notes and bonds slowed to a net $1.5 billion in October from $65.4 billion the previous month, the Treasury said today in Washington. Including short-term securities such as stock swaps, foreigners bought a net $286.3 billion, compared with net buying of $142.6 billion the previous month.

    Foreigners sold a record amount of debt issued by mortgage- finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and other agencies, offsetting demand for Treasuries. The rise in short-term holdings reflected investor demand for dollars as they sold longer-term assets, said Michael Woolfolk, senior currency strategist at Bank of New York Mellon Corp.

    “Global investors, whether in the U.S. or not, are selling U.S. assets whether they are stocks or bonds,” Woolfolk said. “The radical swing between the long-term and short-term data reflects investors scared of being long anything and getting into cash.”

    Economists predicted international investors would buy a net $40 billion of long-term securities in September, based on the median of five estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

    Stock Selling

    Investors abroad sold equities for the fourth month in five, reflecting the biggest decline in stocks in 21 years in October. The Federal Reserve cut its benchmark rate to 1 percent on Oct. 29, its second reduction in three weeks and cited downside risks to growth.

    The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 17 percent in October, with the sell-off erasing more than $9.5 trillion in value of stocks worldwide. The dollar rose 4.9 percent in October, the third straight month of increases, according to a trade-weighted index of major currencies.

    The Treasury’s reporting on long-term securities captures international purchases of government notes and bonds, stocks, corporate debt and securities issued by U.S. agencies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which buy mortgages.

    Foreign purchases of Treasury notes and bonds increased by a net $34.6 billion, compared with purchases of $20.7 billion a month earlier. Net foreign official selling of Treasury bonds and notes totaled $1.1 billion, after net purchases of $4.9 billion the previous month.


    Two-year securities returned 1.1 percent in October, according to Merrill Lynch & Co.’s Treasury Master Index, for their fifth straight monthly advance.

    Foreign demand for U.S. agency debt from companies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fell from a month earlier. Sales of long-term agency debt totaled a net $50.2 billion, compared with net purchases of $6.2 billion in September.

    The Treasury’s figures include both agency debt and mortgage-backed securities and aren’t restricted to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds. Mortgage-backed securities of Ginnie Mae and corporate debt of the Federal Home Loan Bank System are also included in the report.

    U.S. residents sold a net $36.3 billion of long-term foreign securities in October, compared with net sales of $35.4 billion a month earlier, the report showed.

    China remained the biggest foreign holder of U.S. Treasuries, after its holdings rose by $65.9 billion to $652.9 billion. Japan, the second-largest holder, increased its holdings by $12.3 billion to $585.5 billion.

    U.K., Caribbean

    The U.K., which through London acts as a transit point for international investors, especially those in the Middle East, bought $21.9 billion of Treasuries, bringing holdings to $360.2 billion.

    Caribbean banking centers, where many hedge funds are based, expanded holdings by $34.2 billion to $219.5 billion, the report showed.

    Some economists say the difference between the trade deficit and securities purchased by foreigners is an indicator of how easily the U.S. can finance its external obligations.

    The U.S. trade gap unexpectedly widened 1.1 percent in October to $57.2 billion as faltering global demand led to a third consecutive drop in exports, the Commerce Department said on Dec. 11.

    To contact the reporters on this story: John Brinsley in Washington at
    Last Updated: December 15, 2008 10:14 EST
  2. Why do we need foreigners to buy our treasuries when we are willing to buy them for 0.0005% yield? And why should we worry about long rates when we have direct intervention and purchasing of them to monetize the debt?

    There is much that is troubling, it is true, but Globalization III has failed. Time for the next round.
  3. BVM88


  4. rc5781

    rc5781 can only fuck over the world so many times....
  5. You have a short-sighted view.

    Falling demand for a nations debt means falling demand for the nation's currency.

    How do you expect to buy the imported goods if the importers ask to be paid in a different currency than your domestic one?
  6. Daal


  7. Mvic


    Don't confuse flight to safety demand at the short end of the curve for the support our debt needs at the long end. If it doesn't come back you can kiss 30 year mortgage rates under 10% goodbye along with the USD's purchasing power.

    I wonder if this is what is behind the Feds idea to float its own debt?

    China's stimulus and this and afew other bits of news that have come out in the last several months are starting to flash red signals to me that confidence in the USD is starting to erode in an unprecedented way.
  8. Mvic


  9. You forget .Without us who are the Chinese gonna sell to? Themselves? Good luck with that.
  10. Not saying the Chinese per say. But, there are MANY countries (Latin American, the NEW Russia, most of the mideast, most of Europe, etc...) that would screw over their own economies and people to include decades of hardship if it means bringing down the good ole USofA. Most of today's US citizens have a hard time understanding this concept.

    It is time for recession, pain, savings, job losses, and a smart (not cold turkey) return to nationalism and moderate isolationism.
    #10     Dec 15, 2008