Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Fed's Fix: Borrow Short, Lend Long?

Fed’s Plan

"The central bank will buy $400 billion of bonds with maturities of six to 30 years through June while selling an equal amount of debt maturing in three years or less."
Granted, it's only $400 billion, but "lend long and borrow short" is the universally acknowledged suicidal tendency for any bank. And the Fed is just a really big Bank.

Surely the Board of Governors knows this. Why, then, do it? We can only surmise that they are buying $400 bn in treasuries from, say, the ECB, so that the ECB can continue to provide dollars to European banks.
The ECB and central banks in the US, Japan, the UK and Switzerland announced today that they would offer “US-dollar liquidity-providing operations with a maturity of approximately three months covering the end of the year”.
Yes, so let us see: Fed buys treasuries from ECB, giving ECB dollars. ECB buys the "three month or less" notes from the Fed, using them as collateral for the beleaguered banks? Well, if that's what it was all about, why didn't they just come out and say so?

This is a European bailout, plain and simple. Does this mean things are in a very advanced state of decline?


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