Last Thursday [Nov. 2], for example, the Fed executed $2.5 billion in overnight repos and $8 billion in 14-day repurchase agreements. These were reported on the financial wires. // The Treasury completed a $5.5 billion repo operation on the same day under what it calls the Term Investment Option. There was no mention of the Treasury operation on the wires. In the Fed's repo deals, the banks temporarily turn over securities to the central bank in exchange for cash.The result of these agreements is to increase the money supply, even as the Fed steps up interest rates, keeping financial institutions flush with credit to loan. Even more so since the Fed stopped reporting M3. Thanks to new sources of M3 reporting, Barry Ritholtz of The Big Picture can tell us that
M3 is growing quite rapidly, with the annual rate of change now over 10%. Prior to the announcement of M3's demise, its growth was in the range of 3 - 7%. // Anytime a government agency stops reporting about their goings on, it should raise a few eyebrows. Now we see what happened once the reporting of M3 was killed -- that measure of money supply spiked much higher -- a rate of change that's even greater than 10%+.
I'm not knowledgeable enough about the nation's banking system to hazard much of a guess at what's up here, but it looks like the Treasury has been stimulating an economy already floating on a credit bubble. Was this an election year gambit to stave off a recession until after the mid-terms? Is it a less cynical attempt to engineer a soft landing? Or is it just a way for people at the treasury to shovel more money towards the financial sector? I don't know, and it could, of course, have a more benign explanation as well. But it seems pretty fishy to me.