Fed Money Pump Update
Happy MLK Day! As my long term charts have not produced anything salient I spent the day crunching some updated numbers I extracted from the New York Fed’s Open Market Operations page. The last time we talked about POMO auctions was in late October 2011 – more than a year ago! Since then the Fed’s repo activities have been relatively muted but seem to be picking up steam again in recent weeks:
It’s a big one so you may want to click on the chart to catch more context. Shown here is the 20-day rolling total of Permanent Open Market Operations (POMO), total par accepted, and in Billions. This gives us a more directional plot as there’s a focus on recent activities. Clearly visible are the QE1 spike in 2009 and the QE2 spike in 201 as the Fed was conducting purchases of treasury and agency debt, thus injecting money into banks in exchange of (less than stellar) debt instruments.
As you can see during the past year the rolling total has been swinging around the zero mark, which is due to a shift toward Operation Twist, an effort to affect the treasury yield curve via the purchase of longer term debt and selling short term paper. In theory both actions are supposed to offset each other but as they are done on different days it obviously had an effect on how stock prices were responding to additional liquidity. Throughout 2012 we saw deeper corrections but obviously the trend continues upwards which indicates that the Fed is using additional measures to inject liquidity into the banking system.
Here’s the running total – truth to be told I had to tweak the numbers as my data was only going back a few years. I do recall that the Fed reached the $1 Trillion mark in late December of 2010, so I was extrapolating based on that. Again we peaked around August 2011 and it’s been sideways since. However, most noteworthy is the little pick up lately, which correlates nicely with the recent run up in equities. Coincidence? I think not 😉
I literally spent all day formatting the imported data, adding missing days, removing weekends, adding up double auctions, etc. Suffice to say I’m not a big with Excel but I somehow managed – Google is your friend. I promise to keep a close eye on this one again moving forward, in particular if I see more pertinent activities. By the way – this little tidbit posted on January 15th raised my eyebrows, but as the old saying goes: Don’t listen to what they say – pay attention to what they do.