QE – The Gift That Just Kept Giving – Is Now Taking…” The “bubbles” of ’01 and ’08 pale in comparison to the present explosion.”

Thursday, February 1, 2018
By Paul Martin

by Chris Hamilton via Econimica blog,
Thu, 02/01/2018

I know the Federal Reserve doesn’t effectively create money or directly monetize. I know this because then Fed chief, Ben Bernanke, told us so (HERE). But still, something has me wondering about that exchange, now almost a decade ago. The simplest of math.

The plan to utilize quantitative easing and avoid direct monetization went like this. The Fed would buy the Treasury debt and Mortgage Backed Securities (remove assets from the market) from the big banks. However, the Fed would force those banks to deposit the new money at the Federal Reserve. This would avoid the trillions of newly created dollars from going in search of the remaining assets (particularly levered from somewhere between 5x’s to 10x’s…turning a trillion into five to 10 trillion…or far more).

The chart below shows the Federal Reserve balance sheet (red line) and the quantity of those newly created dollars that the recipients of those dollars, the banks, deposited at the Federal Reserve (blue line). But the green line is the quantity of newly created dollars that have “leaked” out…also known as “monetized”.

What is so interesting is the interplay of QE and excess reserves…resulting in the peak QE impact taking effect long after QE was tapered and had ceased. The trillions in assets remaining with the Fed, but the new cash went looking.

The impact of $800+ billion of pure monetization from late 2014 through year end 2016 was spectacular. In the hands of the largest banks (multiplied by “conservative” leverage somewhere between 5 to 10x’s) could easily amount to trillions in new cash looking for assets. A “bull market” beyond belief should not have been surprising.

The chart below shows the Wilshire 5000 in red representing all US equities actively traded, national disposable personal income in blue (all forms of income after taxation), and the net monetization in yellow. The “bubbles” of ’01 and ’08 pale in comparison to the present explosion. However, the increase in income represented by DPI does not justify the increase. However, when the unlevered quantity of monetization is added, the picture is more interesting.

The Rest…HERE

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