Wednesday, January 11, 2012

11/01/2012: Risk-off or 'Grab that Straw, Man'?

Another day, another historical marker falls under the weight of the euro area mess:

US Treasury auctioned off USD21bn of 10 year notes today achieving the yield of 1.90% - lowest on record for an auction. Cover was 3.19 times the offering, slightly ahead of 3.15 average for previous four 10 year notes auctions. Direct bidders demand was up to 17.4% of sales against the average 10%. 10 year secondary markets yields sliped to 1.91% from 1.97% pre-auction.

Here's the IMF illustration (all charts below are from Cottarelli November 2011 presentation) of the evolution of holdings of US debt:
Which, funnily enough, is pretty diversified when compared to that found in Europe:

But the US yields are, of course, purely irrational:

Then, again, not as irrational as those found in Japan:

Altogether elsewhere, vast... German bund auction - 5 year, €4 billion - attracted cover of 2.24 and the average yield of 0.9%. That is well below inflation - however measured - and even below expected inflation, accounting for the potential slowdown. In other words, investors are now so scared, they are paying German government money to store their cash. In the secondary markets, German 1 year bonds turned negative yield back at the end of November, for the first time in history. German 10-years are currently trading in the 1.87% yield territory. According to FT, 10 year bund yields fell from 3.49% in April 2011 to a low of 1.67% in September last year.

Risk-off raging as EU vacillates... or rather, as its leaders consider how to by-pass Belgian General strike that has derailed their January 30 summit.

Nice one, folks. The insolvent Rome burns, the leaders are having summits galore and the unions are demanding more insolvency, while country output shrinks due to striking.

We are no longer in risk-aversion or even loss-aversion world, we are in a grab-anything-that-might-float world.

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