Trillion-Dollar Treasury Vacuum Coming
No one knows what this will do. It will be unprecedented.
(Bloomberg) -- With a debt ceiling deal freshly signed into law Saturday by President Joe Biden, the US Treasury is about to unleash a tsunami of new bonds to quickly refill its coffers.
This will be yet another drain on dwindling liquidity as bank deposits are raided to pay for it — and Wall Street is warning that markets aren’t ready.
The negative impact could easily dwarf the after-effects of previous standoffs over the debt limit. The Federal Reserve’s program of quantitative tightening has already eroded bank reserves, while money managers have been hoarding cash in anticipation of a recession.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. strategist Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou estimates a flood of Treasuries will compound the effect of QT on stocks and bonds, knocking almost 5% off their combined performance this year. Citigroup Inc. macro strategists offer a similar calculus, showing a median drop of 5.4% in the S&P 500 over two months could follow a liquidity drawdown of such magnitude, and a 37 basis-point jolt for high-yield credit spreads.
The sales, set to begin Monday, will rumble through every asset class as they claim an already shrinking supply of money: JPMorgan estimates a broad measure of liquidity will fall $1.1 trillion from about $25 trillion at the start of 2023.
“This is a very big liquidity drain,” says Panigirtzoglou. “We have rarely seen something like that. It’s only in severe crashes like the Lehman crisis where you see something like that contraction.”
It’s a trend that, together with Fed tightening, will push the measure of liquidity down at an annual rate of 6%, in contrast to annualized growth for most of the last decade, JPMorgan estimates.