And so, one by one, the crazy pills theories start rolling out. Yesterday, as we first pointed out, Deutsche Bank made waves when it became the first "serious" organization to suggest that the Fed has now missed its tapering window, and will plough on thorough until the next downturn without ever lowering the pace of Flow (of course the reflexive paradox that the economy would be in an out of control depression without QE in the first place somehow does not figure in that calculation).
And while this has not been a novel idea (we first predicted that once perpetual QE starts it will never taper, long before QE 3, aka QEternity was even publicly announced last summer) today, all the penguin "pundit" copycats have jumped aboard this theory. Well, not all. SocGen has decided to make waves of its own with an even crazier pills idea: instead of no taper... ever... the Fed, that glorious redistributor of wealth from the middle class to the 1%, while happy to adhere to that old saying: "a funded welfare program a day, keeps the guillotines away" will not only not announce a Taper in next week's FOMC meeting but will in fact hike QE!
In retrospect, this suggestion as ludicrous as it is, makes sense....MOREAlthough we assign a very low probability to a decision by the FOMC to increase asset purchases at its October meeting, it is not a possibility we can ignore. Assuming the Fed does not increase asset purchases this year, we consider the bottom of the range on the 10yT to be 2.40%. The market impact of an increase in Treasury and/or MBS purchases would be to rally the long-end of the curve back towards 2.00%, destroy volatility (again), possibly tighten the mortgage basis, and supporting equity, credit and emerging markets.
The potential downsides to increasing asset purchases would be that (1) the market would assume the FOMC was focusing on a very grim economic picture; (2) the perceived risk of inflating asset bubbles in various market segments would rise; and (3) the FOMC may run into a credibility problem (again) by whipsawing the market.
The question now may very well be whether or not the FOMC will choose to increase asset purchases at the next meeting, or whether it will include language in the FOMC statement that indicates they are strongly considering the option. A simple interim solution would be to reinsert the language that appeared in the May through July FOMC statements that “the Committee is prepared to increase or reduce the pace of its purchases to maintain appropriatepolicy accommodation as the outlook for the labor market or inflation changes.”
The outcome for the US rates market going into year-end could vary dramatically based on what the FOMC signals next week.
Scenario 1: The FOMC statement is relatively unchanged, recognizes recent economic weakness as potentially temporary, and suggests that a reduction in asset purchases within the next six months has not been removed from consideration. Probability: 50%.
Lower end of range on 10yT: 2.40% through November; possible sell-off in December if data begins to improve.
Scenario 2: The FOMC statement reinstates language that asset purchases could be increased or reduced, and raises greater concern about recent economic weakness. Probability: 40%.
Lower end of range on 10yT: 2.30% through November; sell-off muted or unlikely unless December FOMC statement and communication begin to reinstate possibility of tapering in Q1 14 in response to improving fundamentals.
Scenario 3: The FOMC increases asset purchases by $10-20bn in October. Probability: 10%, with full disclaimer that our economics team thinks this probability is closer to 0.0001% and that your author is nuts!
Lower end of range on 10yT: 2.00%. The bull flattening of the Treasury curve will run us all over.