Jeffrey Snider at Alhambra: The Dollar Perspective Matters
The Kingdom’s problem is withdrawal, as in dollars not riyals. The Interbank Offered Rate surged to its highest in seven years last week, as the government prepares to borrow under extraordinary circumstances. The placement of that debt offering is telling; it is to be a $10 billion or so Eurobond flotation. In the mainstream, Saudi Arabia’s problems are pitched as oil prices, and thus quite understandable as being their own.Selling is happening in a buyers market as demand for low risk assets is high. Rates will have nowhere to go but up once the cycle bottoms and investors have better opportunities.
When the TIC figures were updated for July, even the media began to notice that central banks including Saudi Arabia had been selling consistently for some time. In this Bloomberg article, the authors cite this trend as a risk to UST prices as perhaps another sign that “rates have nowhere to go but up”; a cliché that has been constantly deployed since 2011 and has yet to be done so appropriately.
The same can be said of Saudi Arabia, China, and the primary dealers who are not holding bonds as their sacred American duty but hoarding collateral in a repo system that is increasingly unstable. The mainstream is going to great lengths to avoid putting the words “dollar” and “shortage” together because orthodox ideology means that cannot possibly be the case. Therefore, every financial problem around the world that can be otherwise easily distilled by just recognizing the “dollar shortage” is instead chopped up and isolated as if individual anomalies of idiosyncratic circumstances.
It’s Not Really About Deutsche Bank
As has been the typical mainstream reaction, Deutsche Bank is being written about right now in a vacuum as if the actions and behavior (and losses) of last year were left only to last year. When global illiquidity first popped up (again) in the second half of 2014, it was regarded in the same way – a series of purportedly random, unrelated events. They had to be strung together in a benign chain of distinct actions because convention still holds QE to be money printing. Ditching that convention has the effect of connecting all these dots as a logical and ongoing progression of a “rising dollar” that is really a euphemism for “dollar shortage.”
And it really doesn’t take too many dots to connect. This isn’t to say that Deutsche Bank is in danger of a wholesale liquidity run, only that the bank is perhaps far closer to it than anyone in the mainstream will ever admit. As I wrote last year, it really isn’t even about Deutsche Bank.