Friday, November 4, 2011

What if foreigners sell Treasuries? Another myth exploded.



For a long time we’ve heard all the “America is broke, debt-doomsday, we're borrowing from the Chinese” crowd tell us that one day foreigners will start dumping their holdings of Treasuries and interest rates in the US will spike to Greek-like levels.

Well, guess what?

Since August 24th of this year, foreigners have unloaded an unprecedented $100 BILLION of Treasury holdings and INTEREST RATES WENT DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

August 24, foreign custodial holdings of US Treasury securities: $3.49 trillion.
Rate on the 10year Treasury: 2.30%

Nov 2, foreign custodial holdings of US Treasury securities: $3.39 trillion. Rate on the 10 year Treasury: 1.98%

Another myth exploded.

9 comments:

Neil Wilson said...

Not in the minds of those who believe it though.

I keep getting the 'quantitative easing has devalued the Pound in your pocket' - even though the figures show that Sterling went up against the dollar, euro and even the Yen during that period.

They *believe* the linear models just like the creationist believe the young earth myths.

Little things like facts aren't going to get in the way.

Mike Norman said...

Right. But there's a difference between truth and belief. They're still wrong.

marris said...

Looks like a 2.8% drop in foreign holdings. Hardly dumping. Can you tell us what happened to non-foreign holdings?

Mike Norman said...

Domestic holdings went up, including Fed holdings. The notional value of those foreign sales was the largest ever in the history of these holdings. Also the largest percentage liquidation. Foreign selling has no impact on rates if the central bank has anything to say, which it does as rates all along the curve are anchored by central bank rate policy, not the Chinese or the Europeans or anyone else.

beowulf said...

Just a drop in the pocket compared to the $65 trillion in Tsy debt issued last year (Table III-A).
https://www.fms.treas.gov/fmsweb/viewDTSFiles?dir=w&fname=11093001.txt

Mike Norman said...

Beo:

Exactly. If that didn't cause rates to spike, then what could? And where did the "savings" come from to buy those? The Chinese?

Ryan said...

I don't think Ron Paul and Speaker Bohner got this memo. This is the doomsday scenario these guys repeat in every speech they give.

Anonymous said...

This MMT stuff is really garbage...what are you going to tell me next, that the earth is round?

Dan Kervick said...

They *believe* the linear models just like the creationist believe the young earth myths.

Some of the Austrians I've talked to seem to believe that the mere minting or creation of additional money is enough to erode its value, and that inflation doesn't even have anything to do with how and whether money circulates in the economy.