Could the Fed Ever Exit the Repo Market?

It is stunning how after more than three months, the analysis on the repo market is still nowhere close to reality. I believe that those in the trenches are, like me, afraid to really explain what is taking place for fear they will be blamed for creating a financial panic.

The popular explanation in September was repeated by the Wall Street Journal: “For one, Monday marked the deadline for companies to submit their quarterly federal tax payments.” This was standard analysis put out by the countless pundits the press rely upon and they have to come up with some explanation and quick. When analysts spout out their explanations to mainstream media it is because they are trying to get business. People have often asked me why I do not do mainstream media interviews. First, I do not need the business. Secondly, when you have real clients, they prefer to pay for information and do not want it on the front pages of newspapers for free. They appreciate analysis that is exclusive rather than as common as dirt. Hence, the analysis put out in the press about the Repo Crisis is coming from people who have no real clients in the area and lack the expertise in the field to start with.

Not even the central banks understood what was going on because even they tend to be domestically oriented. Despite the obvious fact that we live in a global economy, all the economic theories, analysis, and experience have been domestically focused. Unless someone has been in the trenches globally, they will never see the wildcard coming from external sources. Hence, we get the calls to explain things ONLY because they know all the other major institutions are also coming to us as some sort of the central point of reference.

The question that is now dominating everyone’s inquiries, can the Fed exit the repo market after being the dominant source of liquidity for more than three months? What will it take for the Federal Reserve to withdraw from its daily liquidity operations in this $2.2 trillion market for repurchase agreements (repos)?

All I am prepared to say publicly is that the solution is beyond the powers of all the central banks combined. The solution is not attainable without political concessions, which politically are just off the table. This is going to require a major reform that is unlikely to take place and will not even be recognized until the crisis erupts on a much larger scale.

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