Patrick A. Heller
February 12, 2009
As horrible as the financial news for currencies and paper assets has been since mid-2007, it looks like the worst is yet to come – perhaps as early as next month.
Over the weekend the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dominique Strauss-Kahn, told a gathering of Southeast Asian central bankers that the world’s advanced economies are already in a depression and that the financial crisis may deepen unless the banking system is fixed.
On Febr. 4, Paul Wolfowitz, the former president of the World Bank, said the IMF and similar institutions are incapable of coping with the global financial crisis because they do not have enough resources.
The market appears to have turned on U.S. Treasury debt. Analyst Adrian Douglas issued a report on Sunday titled “Bond Market Collapse Unfolding.” He used his proprietary Market Force Analysis on the price of the 10-year U.S. Treasury Note. Last September and October, as the value of Treasury debt was falling, it looked almost certain that the U.S. Treasury entered the market to purchase its own debt! This had the effect of boosting the price of Treasury bonds.
However, the futures market for 10-year Treasury debt shows that there have been far more sellers than buyers for more than the past six months, a strong sign that bond prices are destined to decline in the near term. For the past eight weeks, Treasury bond prices have indeed been generally declining (i.e. interest rates have been rising). The U.S. government is almost certain to intervene again, as the Treasury debt is the most important in the world, and whose collapse could wreak havoc across the global financial system.