But Who the Heck Bought the $1.2 trillion in New US Debt Over the Past 12 Months?

Japan systematically dumps US Treasuries while China hangs on.

China increased its holdings of US Treasury bonds, notes, and bills by $11 billion in March to $1.19 trillion, the highest since October last year, according to the Treasury Department’s TIC data released Tuesday afternoon. Thus China is the number one holder of US Treasuries, a position it gave up for eight months during its era of peak capital-flight from October 2016 through March 2017.

At the low point, in November 2016, China’s holdings of Treasuries fell to $1.05 trillion. It has since added $138 billion to its stash.

The increase in February and March of nearly $20 billion might have been a goodwill gesture to President Trump, saying in essence, “We’re not interested in a trade confrontation, we’re interested in getting this worked out.”

Japan however has been systematically cutting its exposure to Treasuries. Since July 2016 it has slashed its holdings by $111 billion, including $16 billion in March, to $1.04 trillion, the lowest since October 2011.

This chart of the holdings of China (red) and Japan (blue) shows China’s peak capital-flight era and the recovery since, but also the systematic downtrend of Japan’s holdings:

Here are the top holders of Treasuries, after China and Japan – many of them tax havens and alleged money laundering centers, and tiny countries or jurisdictions with inexplicably huge balances. For example, Ireland, which is in overall third position behind China and Japan, holds $318 billion of Treasuries, higher than its GDP ($304 billion in 2016).

  • Ireland: $318 billion
  • Brazil: $286 billion
  • United Kingdom (“City of London!”): $264 billion
  • Switzerland: $245 billion
  • Cayman Islands: $243 billion
  • Luxembourg: $222 billion
  • Hong Kong: $196 billion
  • Taiwan: $170 billion
  • India: $157 billion
  • Saudi Arabia: $151 billion
  • Belgium: $125 billion

Note that Germany, a country with a massive trade surplus with the US and the rest of the world, and the fourth largest economy in the world, only holds $76 billion in Treasuries.

In total, foreign holdings edged up by $2.3 billion In March, to $6.294 trillion. Over the past 12 months, these holdings gained $220 billion.

So official foreign entities are overall adding relatively small amounts of Treasuries to their balances. But who picked up the rest, and how much was the rest?

Over the same 12-month period through March 31, 2018, the US gross national debt surged by mind-boggling $1.24 trillion with a T to an even more mind-boggling $21.1 trillion. This is split in two ways:

  1. Debt held internally by US government entities has risen by $185 billion to $5.66 trillion
  2. Debt that is publicly traded has soared by $1.06 trillion to $15.4 trillion.

This publicly traded debt of $15.4 trillion is held by these entities:

  • 15.6% or $2.4 trillion by the Fed as part of its QE
  • 41.0% or $6.3 trillion by foreign official entities (see above).
  • 49.4% or $6.7 trillion by, well, mostly Americans, directly or indirectly.

But here’s the thing: the Fed’s Treasury holdings have decreased by $51 billion over the 12-month period through March 2018, as it has started the QE unwind. Foreign official holdings have only increased by $220 billion. Leaves $891 billion. So who bought this crazy tsunami of publicly traded US debt over those 12 months?

It’s mostly Americans directly and indirectly, via bond funds pension funds, and other ways, along with some “unofficial” investors from other countries. For them, Treasuries have become more attractive as yields have now risen sharply – though they remain relatively low. These “risk free” Treasury yields from three month and up now even exceed the S&P 500 dividend yield, and they practically blow away the yields in the twisted NIRP regions of Europe and Japan. So that’s a deal.

And those Treasury yields are crossing some big lines. Read… US Treasury 10-Year Yield Breaks Out, Mortgage Rates Jump to Highest in 7 Years 
 

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  70 comments for “But Who the Heck Bought the $1.2 trillion in New US Debt Over the Past 12 Months?

  1. CC
    May 16, 2018 at 12:37 am

    Wolf,

    New Maths?

    “This publicly traded debt of $15.4 trillion is held by these entities:

    15.6% or $2.4 trillion by the Fed as part of its QE
    41.0% or $6.3 trillion by foreign official entities (see above).
    49.4% or $7.6 trillion by, well, mostly Americans, directly or indirectly.”

    (adds up to 106% and 16.3 T)

    But I get the point. Per your previous article, appears people are fed up with savings and CD rates, and it’s more easy than ever for the public to be direct purchasers of public debt.

    • May 16, 2018 at 12:58 am

      Thanks. I’m dyslexic or something. That “$7.6 trillion” should have been (and is now) $6.7 trillion.

      • Gershon
        May 16, 2018 at 1:07 am

        Dyslexics of the World, Untie!

        • May 16, 2018 at 8:14 am

          Amen yo that brother!

      • d
        May 16, 2018 at 2:05 am

        No, you are just normal.

        Thats a standard and common Figure transposition, or reversal.

        The commonest reason for tellers not to balance at the end of their shift. Happens millions of time a day globally.

        Ireland, Luxembourg, the Caymans, and Belgium, dont have economies to match those T holdings, any way of finding more detail in who is ho holding those notes in those places??

        • May 16, 2018 at 8:21 am

          Concerning Ireland, I have a theory but there is a missing link, so I don’t want to bring it up, but I will bring it up anyway to see if someone else can provide the missing link or provide evidence that the theory is wrong.

          Ireland is a favorite destination for US corporations to park overseas profits (under the old US tax law) due to its low corporate tax rates. So Apple and others have billions of dollars of “overseas cash” registered at mailbox entities in Ireland. This “overseas cash” is invested in Treasuries, among other things. Everything is electronic. It’s just a matter in what legal entity these securities are registered. So this could explain the large amounts of Treasuries in “held” by Ireland.

          But here is the missing link: These securities are held by corporations, not by “official” foreign entities. “Official” means “central bank” or “government.” So why would these corporate-owned securities show up in “official” accounts?

        • d
          May 16, 2018 at 4:20 pm

          “But here is the missing link: These securities are held by corporations, not by “official” foreign entities. “Official” means “central bank” or “government.” So why would these corporate-owned securities show up in “official” accounts?”

          The Irish Govt has been VERY ACCOMMODATING to a large group of Foreign Corporates, that have lined its pockets.

          Are we seeing a “Held in trust” facility, provided by Ireland, to these Corporates??

          Everybody forgets the Irish fathered Organized Crime in America and Australia, among other places, they are even more bent than the Italians, The Italians simply have a greater propensity for violence.

          The Italians controlled drugs, with the aid of Irish policemen.

          The fact that the Double Irish exist, shows you how bent they really are. They are blatantly stealing revenue from most of the planet, even the Swiss couldn’t come up with something that bent.

          They are just as bad as the chinese yes you can manufacture Heroine, and Methamphetamine here as long as you pay us well and never sell it in china.

          The Irish are facilitating and enabling Tax evasion on a grand scale, They are an EU state, and nobody does a thing.

        • Petunia
          May 16, 2018 at 9:01 am

          Wolf,

          Maybe they pay their 12% tax with US treasuries. They might get a discount for doing so as well. It might be a better bet than hoarding Euros.

        • d
          May 16, 2018 at 4:36 pm

          ‘It might be a better bet than hoarding Euros.’

          MIGHT????????????

          Compare Club med banking liabilities and NPLS to the US system then review that “Might”.

          Currency union without Fiscal union is an unworkable insanity.

        • Smingles
          May 16, 2018 at 11:22 am

          Wolf,

          Your theory is correct as I understand it, no missing piece.

          The US Treasury does not differentiate between the identity of foreign owners of treasuries, i.e. central banks + private institutions are not separated.

          In Ireland’s case, yes it’s companies like Apple and Alphabet, but Ireland also has a fairly large number of hedge funds, private equity, real estate funds, etc. domiciled there as well.

          For Belgium, Euroclear holds a big portion of treasuries.

        • Quadra
          May 18, 2018 at 12:17 am

          Luxembourg is the second biggest investment fund country in the world. With plus 4 T EUR so these holdings are held by various funds. including US banks European fund offering.

        • d
          May 18, 2018 at 12:36 am

          “Luxembourg is the second biggest investment fund country in the world. With plus 4 T EUR so these holdings are held by various funds. including US banks European fund offering”

          This I know.

          I wish to know a little more of the who/which.

          Some of those names will be quiet interesting.

          T note’s are effectively non voting shares, in a Nation State.

          There should be a “Shareholder list’ For them. Especially as they are all numbered.

          Other wise we should be able to get “Bearer Bonds” again.

          I like Bearer Bonds.

          At the moment the big players are still getting anonymity, whilst the intermediate and small cant.

      • CH
        May 16, 2018 at 7:18 am

        Also critical to break down the change to the maturities the Fed holds…they have been and continue dumping their 5 to 10 year holdings (sold over $600 billion of $900 billion once held) whiley buying nearly as much short duration. Long bonds are essentially unchanged.

        • trent
          May 19, 2018 at 9:32 pm

          Playing With $100 Billion, Warren Buffett Is Giant Trader of U.S. Treasury Bills

      • Dar Robbins
        May 16, 2018 at 9:38 am

        Awesome question! Who indeed?

        FED says: here’s a buck (swap) and buy the stuff for me
        ECB says: Ok that’s great and I get to weaken the Euro too

        https://twitter.com/planetponzi/status/901084090543288320

        PS. The USA is the largest money laundering center in the world where dirty money is being recycled in US assets and primarily in Real-Estate.

        • sierra7
          May 16, 2018 at 11:35 am

          Yes, my Q also: “Who is buying the Crap that the Fed is peddling?”
          And, you know “….what rolls downhill!”
          Thx Mr. Wolf for another great article…..even tho I don’t understand some of the comments I try and am learning…….
          As an addendum:
          Traveling to Modesto CA yesterday (I am in the Sierras) passing a connector road to #108 on the outskirts of Oakdale CA, there was a “cluster” of more than 6 real estate signs for properties for sale in that area. A scene I haven’t seen since the RE crash. Rising interest rates already having an effect on short term RE contracts that reset?? Already an Omen of what is to come? Remember that the RE crash was begun in the CA Central Valley.

    • roger lagerfeldt
      May 16, 2018 at 1:09 am

      Buy gold/silver instead of this “can be worthless papers”. What a risk to sit with this US papers backed with nothing.

      • Gershon
        May 16, 2018 at 1:19 am

        Testify, Brother Roger.

        Can I get a “Hallelujah!” in the house?

        • RD Blakeslee
          May 16, 2018 at 9:25 am

          Hallelujah! from under the house.

      • Lenz
        May 16, 2018 at 1:22 am

        Yup, Nothing behind it. Just 18+ aircraft carriers, the armada that follows and 3000+ US bases world wide. Now if only we could figure out what puts the “dollar” in the Petro-dollar. Its probably the colour, I know personally i’m a sucker for green eyes.

        Wolf,
        Germany not playing nice like China?
        All that trade surplus and they’re not helping us borrow cheaper?

        • Tom Welsh
          May 16, 2018 at 5:04 am

          That’s 11 aircraft carriers, not “18 plus”. Each of them a huge, unmissable target for either hypersonic missiles or silent submarines. As for “the armada that follows”, I am willing to bet that hypersonic missiles cost less than US Navy warships – and that there are more of them.

          And the USA has about 800 military bases abroad, not “3000 plus”. Each of them another huge, vulnerable target. Their total cost is conservatively estimated at $85 billion a year – that $255 for every American man, woman and child. Money well spent, eh?

        • Sneaky Pete
          May 16, 2018 at 6:51 am

          In olden days, relatively speaking, some countries also had the most powerful weapons and military. Rome was very powerful once, as was Spain and France. Why didn’t they use un-backed currency too and keep the gold for themselves, if military might is sufficient?

        • California Bob
          May 16, 2018 at 11:16 am

          re: “That’s 11 aircraft carriers, not “18 plus”. Each of them a huge, unmissable target for either hypersonic missiles or silent submarines.”

          Carriers are for conventional ‘force projection’ (the Chinese get it). The carriers and bases will only be attacked moments before the war goes nuclear, which makes all other weapons moot.

        • d
          May 16, 2018 at 4:40 pm

        • sierra7
          May 16, 2018 at 11:37 am

          Yes….remember the saying: “McDonald’s globally is backed by the ‘Mailed Fist’!”

        • Lee
          May 16, 2018 at 3:12 pm

          Base – unattended communications antenna out in the middle of nowhere or co-located at a host country facility.

          Never let the facts get in the way of numbers.

        • alex in san jose AKA digital Detroit
          May 16, 2018 at 5:16 pm

          Tom Welsh – I’m poor as shit and even I don’t hold a grudge against paying $255 a year.

          The problem is, I suspect our huge military is costing the average citizen far more. We don’t have a National Health Service, for instance. We don’t have a National Passenger Train Network. We don’t have nationally funded education like France does.

        • d
          May 17, 2018 at 2:14 am

          “We don’t have a National Health Service, for instance. We don’t have a National Passenger Train Network. We don’t have nationally funded education like France does.”

          Thats has got Nothing to do with military expenditure, and everything to do with the GOP.

          W ho want private enterprise, that lines their pockets, to profit from those thing’s, the democrats mostly go along, as they are owned by the same gravy train.

          Whats even worse, is America insist on exporting this FAILED, FOR PROFIT. Healthcare and Education model. Wherever it can.

        • Gandalf
          May 16, 2018 at 10:52 pm

          Sneaky Pete,

          The Roman Empire was one of the most predatory and warlike societies of its time. Its success was indeed built entirely upon its great prowess at waging and winning wars. To be fair, though, that was just standard operating procedure for all powerful societies at the time. The only reason that schoolchildren in the West today are taught that the Romans were the noble founders of Modern Western Civilization is that the Romans crushed their enemies, erasing all traces of their civilizations, so that only THEY got to write their history.

          Julius Caesar, for instance, wrote his “The Gallic War”, making himself look heroic in the process of committing genocide (an estimated 1 million Gauls died at the hands of the Romans) solely for the purpose of stealing the gold of the Gauls. We now know the Gauls were culturally quite sophisticated, and wealthy, having some 400 gold mines. Caesar needed that gold to gain power.

          And so, throughout its history, the Roman Empire was built on military conquest – destroy, loot, and enslave the peoples that resisted, and co-opt and tax the peoples who were willing to become tributary allies.

          As the Empire expanded to its fullest limits, it ran out of easy prey to loot and enslave, and so heavy taxation of the conquered lands became the norm. Eventually there was not enough silver to make the coins that were needed to pay for its government and military. So the Romans started to debase their currency by progressively decreasing the silver content of their coins.

          This did cause high levels of inflation, which contributed to the general decline of the Roman Empire.

        • d
          May 17, 2018 at 2:19 am

          NO.

          CORRUPTION and Religious infighting, brought down the Western Roman empire.

          The Eastern Roman Empire lasted until the Muslim’s eventually overran it in 1450 (APP)

          Aproixamatly 42 years before Columbus used a chinese map to get to Hispaniola.

      • Off The Street
        May 16, 2018 at 10:39 am

        Gold just took a big hit. Anyone care to opine as to why and how potentially related to any other financial market and/or political actions?

        • Smingles
          May 16, 2018 at 11:51 am

          Could be related to real yields moving higher. With gold being a non-yielding asset, it is less attractive relative to other income producing securities.

          Doesn’t do a great job explaining long term behavior, but could explain the short term dip at least.

        • Mugsy777
          May 16, 2018 at 12:37 pm

          Sure……just a shot however…fear of global recession…when foreign debt bomb approaches detonate “risk off” money will short term flock into dollar denominated assets in a desperate attempt to protect their capital weaker sovereign renunciation and bankruptcy….to buy dollar assets you need dollars…dollar goes up, gold goes down in dollar terms…this also makes perverse sense in that markets always find the vulnerable spots regardless of the underlying fundamentals…gold will retain its purchasing power but leveredged dollar denominated gold traders will be forced to liquidate before they see the major move up in dollar terms..in ruble or even euro gold will surge higher, but the underlying currency devaluations will negate any real gains until US has to face the music of its own financial lunacy….then gold and commodities become haven of last resort and explained de higher…happens incrementally at first but picture becomes more defined as world wide default becomes a reality…you asked….what do you think….plausible?

        • Lee
          May 16, 2018 at 3:16 pm

          “With gold being a non-yielding asset” – just like Tesla, Netflix and numerous other high flying stocks in the USA…….

          And they have to continue to raise finds to stay in operation or go bust…………….

  2. OutLookingIn
    May 16, 2018 at 1:34 am

    The “Bond Funds”

    A global mutual bond fund that shall go unnamed with $2.2 billion in so-called “assets” under it’s roof, holds 21.99% of offset derivatives and the remainder of it’s “book” with only 7.07% of AAA’s, and the triple B’s, double B’s, and B’s totaling 65.03%.
    The fund turn over rate is 13.98%.
    Calendar Year Returns:
    2008 @ 24.45%
    2017 @ 1%
    As you can see the past ten year trend is quite plain.
    These are the types of toxic “investments” that your pension fund has bought into, thinking they are “safe”.

  3. MC01
    May 16, 2018 at 2:04 am

    6-month Treasuries yielded 2.09% to the last count. 10-year Italian sovereign bonds presently yield 1.98%. Unless you are a bank hoping to flip the Italian securities to the ECB member banks before the hangover kicks in it’s a no-brainer, even with currency risks.

    Sure, long term Treasury yields are still abysmal: all things considerd there’s no point in buying anything over 7-year (3.04% vs 3.08% of the 10-year), but with security markets bound to enter a loooong correction short maturities may actually be a better deal for many investors and are just as “risk-free” as their longer-maturing counterparts if you plan to just have fixed yield and hold to maturity.

    But, again, as Wolf Richter always say “The Fed hasn’t missed a beat” since they embarked on their normalization path.
    Now it’s time for the other cnetral banks to follow suit, as it has been the case for decades.

    • Dan Romig
      May 16, 2018 at 7:09 am

      Good points MC01, and that’s why I recently parked some cash in FDIC backed CDs. My breakdown is 25% in 3 month, 25% in 6 month and 50% in 1 year (13 months more accurately).

      I hope the short term yields continue to rise as it’s nice to get a return without tying up one’s money for more than a few months.

      • The Man
        May 16, 2018 at 2:15 pm

        What rate are you getting on 3 and 6 mo CDs? I just looked on bankrate and didn’t see anything as high as putting your cash in an online savings account like Synchrony or Goldman! I may be missing something here!

        • TXRancher
          May 16, 2018 at 4:51 pm

          Need to go read Wolfs earlier articles on Brokered CDs.

  4. Covey
    May 16, 2018 at 2:58 am

    I suspect that the Ireland holdings of US treasuries is mostly down to Apple and Google who hold/held huge amounts of overseas profits pending the tax deal in the USA.

    Apple are having to place €13Bn in real money against the EU Court case in Dublin so would probably offer up part of their US Treasuries to cover it.

    Both companies have turned tax avoidance in the EU through Ireland in to an art form!!

  5. raxadian
    May 16, 2018 at 6:47 am

    And the US wants War with China anyway… or does it? First they sink a Chinese company now they wanna save it…

    Americanos must be crazy!

    • Setarcos
      May 16, 2018 at 8:08 am

      Simply negotiation. Some approach nego very strategically, but 75% of people aren’t wired to view situations that way. Only time will tell.

      • TJ Martin
        May 16, 2018 at 9:05 am

        A clue . Strategy , logic nor common sense is playing any part in the current US vs China ‘ discussions ‘ There has yet to be anything even vaguely resembling negotiations ) Its all bluster , bs , mob like threats and bloviating from our end ( US ) with China holding the upper hand keeping their cards close to their chest .

        Suffice it to say our current negotiators and leaders could learn a helluva lot if they’d take the time and effort to read Sun Tzu’s ” The Art of War ” before attempting in vain to bluff China … especially when China has their claws so deeply embedded into the US economy as well as the personal assets of the ‘ so called ‘ negotiator in chief and his family members businesses

        • Setarcos
          May 16, 2018 at 10:48 am

          TJ, At least we agree that we are losing the war, though guess I’m hopeful for anything resembling an effort. Admittedly, I am really not plugged in to any progress or lack thereof and not even plugged in to reports that are objective. With that said, assessing success generally requires a long view and few are wired for that.

      • nick kelly
        May 16, 2018 at 10:20 am

        China agrees to invest 500 million in Trump project, problem with Chinese firm goes away. Trump says he did it to ‘to save jobs in China’

    • WT Frogg
      May 16, 2018 at 8:10 am

      As I have said MANY times: ” Follow the MONEY !!! ” Find out who they owe and you will know who owns them :

      https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/05/is-china-straight-up-bribing-donald-trump-zte

      • TJ Martin
        May 16, 2018 at 9:08 am

        Follow the money indeed . Just take a look at where 90% + of all Trump branded ( Ivanka and Donald ) products are manufactured . China !

  6. blindfaith
    May 16, 2018 at 7:17 am

    And so go the dollar shortages as well as the interest rates rising.

    Just imagine the foreign debt dominated in US dollars…something like 38% of the world debt (non US debt) having the repayment terms as US dollars and a big red flag is waving. And, there is no way to calculate the derivative exposure off the books or on the books.

    Say what you will about Russia, but ‘they’ traded oil for dollars with the Chinese so the roughly 50 billion is Russian corporate debt could be paid in full, free of the US dollar. Smart. Dollar goes up, the debts become harder to pay off. Now add interest rates climbing, and you ain’t seen nothun yet, these debts will bring down companies, people, and countries too. Peachy, no one is paying attention.

    Not good, not anywhere. Won’t even add in the crazy wild card of rising oil, or the disruptive nature of tariffs and counter tariffs. Cash in king again.

  7. Eastwind
    May 16, 2018 at 7:21 am

    Thanks for this top-down view that really puts perspective on the trends large and small. Much appreciated.

  8. Paulo
    May 16, 2018 at 7:58 am

    We’re sitting in a bar somewhere over in Asia having a few too many. Holidays. Some golfing. High times for sure. My Chinese friend Xi, (who drove by the way), has been doing pretty well lately and said, “Don’t worry about it mates, tab’s on me tonight”. Our American buddy, (who owes us all because he hasn’t worked for awhile), is starting to get belligerent and seems to be picking fights with the whole table. It looks like the night’s catching up to him. (He’s a big bugger and always has been a bit of a self-righteous lout…..racist too). Says he’s going to pick up and go home. Says he might kick our ass before he goes. Asks for car fare, (just a loan mind you). He looks pretty nasty when anyone else reaches for chips and wings. Now he’s starting to glare at us. He’s getting louder…..

    Xi’s quiet. Seems thoughtful and tries to change the subject. It’s not working………. Xi has a whole bunch of new friends, billions of them in fact. He looks around and motions a few over and starts talking to them down low, whispers actually. He’s been here before, I guess.

    Okay, reader can now finish the story____________

    • California Bob
      May 16, 2018 at 11:21 am

      ‘My Chinese friend Xi, (who drove by the way), has been doing pretty well lately and said, “Don’t worry about it mates, tab’s on me tonight”.’

      Obviously, you don’t actually know any Chinese people.

      • George Chan
        May 17, 2018 at 7:37 pm

        We Chinese fight over who picks up the tab, among friends and family. You must be the outsider.

  9. May 16, 2018 at 8:18 am

    This was quite informative and makes me shudder. Sheep to the slaughter. That this next go around is going to be the worst in my lifetime, I’m in my 70th year) there can be no doubt.

  10. Robert D
    May 16, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Wonder what the BOJ is doing (or needs to do) with all that cash?

  11. RD Blakeslee
    May 16, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Woops?

    Wolf, you ask a question and don’t post a “reply” link:

    “So why would these corporate-owned securities show up in “official” accounts?”

    Is it too simplistic (I’m a poor little micro guy. What do I know about Macroeconomoics? [no reply link needed])) to speculate that the money parkers buy the bonds of the country they park in, which country the re-parks the money in U.S. Treasuries?

    • phathalo
      May 16, 2018 at 9:54 am

      Who in their right mind would buy Irish bonds?

      Wolf,
      Your breakdown of T-holders doesn’t allow for foreign private entities. How come? Also, is the breakdown based on primary market data or secondary market activity?

      • May 16, 2018 at 10:12 am

        phathalo,

        It does – last paragraph:

        “It’s mostly Americans directly and indirectly, via bond funds pension funds, and other ways, along with some “unofficial” investors from other countries. For them, Treasuries have become more attractive as yields have now risen sharply – though they remain relatively low. These “risk free” Treasury yields from three month and up now even exceed the S&P 500 dividend yield, and they practically blow away the yields in the twisted NIRP regions of Europe and Japan.”

    • May 16, 2018 at 10:11 am

      RD Blakeslee,

      I was fourth in line, and in that position, even I don’t get a reply button :-]

  12. Mark B
    May 16, 2018 at 10:28 am

    In one of his recent webcasts, Gundlach talked about how the US Treasury yields weren’t as great of a deal as you might think, once you take into account currency hedging. If I understood correctly, you aren’t comparing apples to apples if you don’t include currency differences.

    At least that’s what I think he was getting at….

    • Smingles
      May 16, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      Sure, whenever you compare assets priced in different currencies you have to take into account what actually happens to those currencies.

      You could theoretically invest in a foreign bond that yields 0%, and if that foreign currency strengthens enough, it could still end up making you more money than a higher yielding US bond. If I buy a country X bond for $100 with a 0% yield, and their currency doubles in strength relative to the USD, when it matures and is translated back into USD, it would be worth $200.

  13. Mike Silva
    May 16, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Could be the same effect of a ponzu scheme. Over sell the true value of the notes. Then pull out just before it ultimately goes bust.

  14. Alex
    May 16, 2018 at 11:14 am

    And there must be a lot of foreign demand indicated by $ going higher (needs $’s to buy treasuries). Maybe this is the reason EU economic activity went down.

  15. May 16, 2018 at 11:42 am

    As for Ireland or Belgium, the bonds stay right were they are, they can register them to the dark side of the moon if they like, and they go off balance sheet and government spending is monetized. (In the next crisis the debt will be taken off balance sheet and no one will blink)
    There are enough dark corners (contracts) in the DOD budget, and ME is basically a computer room where men in black routinely use their trading desk. Are any Fed banks or officials complicit in the Cohen MS money transfers to Russia, ATT, etc which weren’t reported (SARS)? Real question is and always has been what’s the Fed’s role in illegal money transfers.

  16. William Murphy
    May 16, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    The mystery to me is why they are holding all this toilet paper, I mean Treasury paper. Why wouldn’t the Chinese convert their dollars to gold and just keep demanding the delivery of more and more physical until there is none left to deliver? Is it because this would destroy the entire dollar Ponzi scheme?

    • May 16, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      Gold is even LESS liquid than 30yr bonds. China accepts treasuries in the BIS settlement, and the trade deficit has been widening, which explains why they appear to be buying (they aren’t buying those bonds). They could accept dollars, but if the US has nothing to sell or inflating the money supply makes everything more expensive then what is the point, and anyway they cut it the falling dollar exchange rate is going to erode the value of those bonds or dollars held in reserve. The Chinese do plan to back the Yuan with gold, which makes matters more difficult. They are also putting capital to work on the belt and road initiative. Geopolitically they would be closer to Iran, so you see where THAT is probably going.

    • d
      May 16, 2018 at 4:49 pm

      Read some History.

      China did that with silver. It caused a global silver crisis which lead to teh Opium period and finally the Opium wars.

      Its also why Western states using Fiat as nobody can hoard all of something you can print. Than chinese Hoarding for that.

      Chinas economy was destroyed, not by the opium war’s or the west, but by its refusal to move from silver, when the west stared using other mediums in international trade. Which is odd really as they invented printed paper money for the Masses (Perhaps it was only for “The Masses”).

      If they have all the gold so what. Nobody who matters, uses it any more.

  17. Covey
    May 16, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Ireland which is in the EU was a Net Recipient of EU funding for 40 years because their economy was so poor, It is only in the last couple of years that they are now a Net Contributor to the EU coffers.

    As Ireland is in the Euro Zone, it will conduct trading operations on behalf of the ECB, especially in connection with the QE purchases which might stay on their books. However, the ECB QE operations are mostly targeted at euro bonds and are not usually in USD.

    So who is parking $318bn in the Irish central bank? My guess is that Apple are being allowed to use the Irish Central Bank!!

  18. JB
    May 16, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    could explain why the recent strength in the dollar

    • Alex
      May 16, 2018 at 2:50 pm

      You need $’s to buy Treasuries!

  19. Old Codger
    May 17, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    As the wise man said, “there is a sucker born every minute”. Would not touch a Share or a Bond witha 40′ barge pole!

    JMO

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