Tag Archives: government bonds

Leading Australian Stock-Picker: Barnaby Was Right

11 May

Southern Cross Equities’ Charlie Aitken tells his clients to get out of the stockmarket and into cash:

Aitken says anyone looking closely at the markets at the moment has to entertain the possibility of something they have not seen before. “[Nationals senator] Barnaby Joyce was ridiculed last year for saying this, but I’m prepared to say that some sort of US debt default is now on the table as a risk for investors. I never thought I would say that. You would have to say that is the biggest black swan of them all.”

The term black swan refers to a completely unexpected, utterly improbable event. In the investment market sense, a black swan is a scary prospect, with its connotations of a sudden market fall. The origin of the term is in the astonishment of the Dutch explorers who arrived at the Swan River in the 17th century and discovered that swans could be black, when to all European experience they were only white.

Aitken joins ANZ chief Mike Smith, Toscafund’s global currency expert Savvas Savouri, ABC’s Inside Business and Business Spectator‘s Alan Kohler, credit rating agency Standard and Poors, CNBC TV “First in business worldwide”, Deutsche Bank, and Barack Obama, in conceding that Barnaby Was Right about the risk of US debt default.

Barnaby forewarned of the dangers to the global economy – and Australia – back in late 2009 through early 2010.

The “experts” are slowly, and finally catching up with the only politician in the country who is always on the ball.

More from Charlie Aitken – and independent derivatives expert Satyajit Das – in this must-read article.

Labor’s $2.4 Billion Budget Spray

6 May

Thought $2.2 billion more debt this week was impressive?

The Labor party’s just getting started.

The AOFM has just announced next week’s Australian sovereign debt auctions.

A $600 million T-bond auction on Wednesday – to celebrate the myth-making record-deficit Budget Speech the night before, no doubt.

$1.2 billion (2 x $600 million) in T-note auctions on Thursday.

And another $600 million T-bond auction on Friday.

Labor’s $2.4 Billion Budget Spray.

How much more Interest-on-debt must we pay?

And how much will the “Estimates” and “Projections” for Interest-on-debt made in last year’s Budget be .. revised .. in this year’s Budget?

MYEFO 2010-11, Appendix B, Note 10: Interest Expense

According to their own “Estimate” just for this year 2010-11, we’re paying $1,201,712 ($1.2 million) per hour in Interest-on-debt.

Another $2.2bn In Debt This Week

5 May

Yesterday, the AOFM auctioned another $600 million in Treasury Bonds. Lumping the taxpayer with a (weighted-average) interest-burden of 5.35%.

Today, the AOFM will auction another $1 Billion in Treasury Notes.

Tomorrow, the AOFM will auction another $600 million in Treasury Bonds.

How much will this week’s national credit card binge add to last year’s “Estimates” and “Projections” of Interest-on-debt?

MYEFO 2010-11, Appendix B, Note 10: Interest Expense

According to their own “Estimate” just for this year 2010-11, we’re paying $1,201,712 per hour in Interest-on-debt.


Today’s $1 Billion Treasury Notes auction completed.

Slug to taxpayers? 4.73% interest rate (weighted average yield).

Goose’s $2Bn Shock ‘N Awe Intervention

28 Apr

Just checking the AOFM website to confirm any changes to tomorrow’s scheduled $700M Treasury bond auction, and found this bombshell announcement:

(click to enlarge)

So, another $2 billion (that’s $2,000,000,000) in short-dated Treasury debt was auctioned off today.

Did anyone see that coming?  And why the shock ‘n awe of a previously-unannounced auction, to the tune of $2 billion?

Could it be that the rapidly rising Aussie dollar, combined with fast-growing inflationary pressures, has forced this incompetent government into a “necessary” money markets intervention – (ie) selling extra AUD-denominated government debt, in an attempt to keep a lid on the AUD?

Yahoo! Finance - Charts - AUD/USD (click to enlarge)

If so, then when (if ever) will Goose and his fellow incompetents be held to account for driving those inflationary pressures in the first place, with their hundreds-of-billions in reckless and wasteful spending on overpriced school halls, ceiling insulation, the NBN, etc etc?


If this was an intervention in money markets to cap the rapidly rising AUD, it seems to have worked. For now –

(click to enlarge)

For interest, here’s how the AOFM describes its Cash Management program:

Short-term funding needs can be met by increasing the volume of Treasury Notes on issue…

And here’s how they describe the Issuance Program for auctions of Treasury notes (as distinct from Treasury bonds):

Treasury Notes are short-term debt securities used primarily to meet within-year funding flows. Issuance decisions are made weekly and depend on the Government’s projected daily cash position for the weeks ahead. Treasury Notes are not expected to make a major contribution to overall funding for the 2010-11 financial year as a whole…

Tenders for the issue of Treasury Notes will be held on Thursdays, with details of the tenors (sic) and amounts to be offered announced at noon on the Friday of the preceding week.

Unless I missed something, the AOFM did not pre-announce today’s $2bn T-note auction at noon last Friday.  Granted, it was Good Friday. But I did not spot an announcement at any time during this week either.

Given the obvious immediate effect on the AUD this afternoon (see charts), and particularly in consideration of the media storm in recent days that followed the shock inflation figures, I smell a money market intervention – for pure political expediency.

With the public already concerned about rising cost of living, a growing revolt against the carbon tax, and plummeting polls for Labor, the last thing this government needs right now is the public spooked even further by the spectre of further rises in interest rates to hold back inflation.

So could it be that this government is going from bad, to worse, to calamitous, on fiscal management?  Could it be true that they are now compounding their first error of creating inflationary pressures by wanton borrowing-and-spending, by engaging in an ad hoc currency intervention – one that throws us into yet another $2bn of debt – solely in order to cap the rising AUD and calm inflation fears, a few days before the RBA meets to decide on interest rates, and, less than a fortnight out from the Budget?


April 29, 9.14am –

From FXStreet:

AUD/USD Closing In On Yesterday’s High

Well now, that went well, didn’t it Wayne?  $2bn more debt just to save face before the Budget .. and the effect lasts less than 12 hours.

(click to enlarge)

Friday On My Mind – Another $700m In Debt

27 Apr

While most everyone else is obsessing about this Friday’s royal wedding, I’m thinking about another kind of “marriage” contract.

Til Debt Do Us Part.

You see, $189.84 Billion in debt is not a big enough ball-and-chain for the Goose.  Come this Friday, he’s signing us up to another $700 Million in the red contract.

Noone with two brain cells to rub together could still believe this government’s line that they will produce a surplus budget for the year (just 1 year, mind) in 2012-13.  Their ongoing dalliance with debt is all the evidence needed.  They are addicts, who will never go a single year without borrowing-and-spending far more than they take from us in taxes.

The simple fact is, we’ll all be paying for Goose’s indiscretions.  For decades to come.  Our creditors must be paid.

So tell us Wayne … who’s buying now?  Who Really Owns 73% Of Our Debt?

Who Owns 73% Of Our Debt?

24 Apr

Back on the 14th of March last year (“Who Owns Our Debt?“), we discovered that noted SMH economic commentator Ross Gittins was wrong. He had claimed –

You thought the pollies had done little else but spar about deficits and debt? Sorry, different debt. They’ve been arguing about the public debt – the amount the federal government owes (mainly to Australians).

At the time, a search through the RBA’s Statistics tables (“E3.xls”, Commonwealth Government Securities Classified By Holder) proved Gittins wrong.  We found that at September 2009, $65.972bn in Commonwealth debt was estimated to be held by non-residents. From a total of $104.228bn.  In percentage terms, an estimated 63.3% of public debt was actually held by non-residents of Australia.

Naturally we posed the question – Who exactly, are these ‘non-residents’ who hold 63.3% (or more?) of our public debt?

A little over a year later, we’ve had another look at those numbers (click to enlarge) –

Magenta - Total Public Debt. | Blue - Non-resident holders.

According to the updated RBA spreadsheet (“E3.xls”), at December 2010, $127.027bn in Commonwealth debt was estimated to be held by non-residents.  From a total of $174.794bn.

In other words, at December last year we owed $174.794bn.  And of that, $127bn – that is, 72.6% – was estimated to be owed to non-residents of Australia.

We ask again – Who exactly are the ‘non-residents’ who now own 72.6% (or more?) of our public debt?

This Little Goose Went To Market

21 Apr

This Little Goose Went To Market

With the Budget coming up, let’s take a look at how well the government has been managing our >$189 billion gross national debt “investment” portfolio.

The Australian Office of Financial Management’s (AOFM) official Overview of the Portfolio document makes for interesting reading (click images to enlarge) –

AOFM Portfolio Overview - Face Value

AOFM Portfolio Overview - Market Value

Note the difference at 31 March 2011 between the Face Value, and the Market Value, of the “Physical debt” and the “Physical assets“, respectively.

The Market Value of the debt in “our” national portfolio is now greater than the Face Value, to the tune of $7.9 billion.  And the Market Value of the assets in our portfolio is now $3 billion less than the Face Value.

Notice also the standout feature – that our portfolio is being taken ever deeper into the red.  To the tune of $15 billion (15,000,000,000) every 3 months, through end September last year.  And by a further $23 billion (23,000,000,000), in just the last 6 months.

Seems someone forgot to tell Wayne Swan that the GFC peaked 31 months ago, in September 2008.  And, that there is an ongoing and worsening European debt crisis, the US has been placed on negative credit outlook for the first time in history, and the World Bank President has warned the global economy is “one shock away from a full-blown crisis”.

Wayne must be oblivious to all this.  Because this month he authorised the AOFM to “invest” up to $4 billion more in Residential Mortgage Backed Securities (RMBS) – yes, those things that blew up America’s financial system.  Read the detail at the AOFM website, and you’ll see our Swanny is even happy to “invest” more borrowed billions in RMBS’ that hold Low Doc loans exceeding 10% of the initial principal value of the security pool.  Seems he’s never heard of “sub-prime”.

Oh yes, and to pay for these – and the ongoing mega-billion NBN disaster – he’s all set to borrow even more hundreds of millions at the end of next week.

Would you want this Goose managing your investment portfolio?

Bring on an election!

Roast Goose

Same Old Labor Govt – Same Old Debt

9 Oct

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 4th October 2010:

Senator Barnaby Joyce says that the Labor government seems to be getting back to normal. “Our gross debt went up by $3 billion last week, the week before it went up by $4 billion. The gross Federal debt is now $163.152 billion.

This is the issue that should be front and centre of Labor Government’s attention, beyond private members bills for euthanasia, same sex marriage and a bid to cool the planet with a new carbon tax.

The reality is there in the numbers. The debt is racing ahead; it is not under control, it is not going to stop.

There is no argument for this profligate waste of money. How much money do we want to owe people overseas?

This money does not include the states’ debt which is on its miserable way to $240 billion, as noted in front page articles of recent weeks.

We also have to note now that local governments too are expected to borrow money.

If we do not get on top of the debt, these debts will get on top of us.

More Information – Jenny Swan 0746 251500

Australian CDS Spreads Worsen

11 May

Amid all the anxiety over debt-laden European countries and their banks, few seem to have noticed ominous signs for Australia.  Late last week, as fears really began to rise about the Eurozone, spreads on credit default swaps (CDS) for Australia’s sovereign debt widened the most of all countries in the world except New Zealand.

What does that mean?  Simply, as fears rose about European countries defaulting on their debts, the cost of taking out “insurance” against Australia defaulting on its sovereign debt increased by more than almost every other country.

From CMA Market Data‘s “Sovereign Risk Monitor”:

Friday, 7 May 2010 — 23:30

Sovereign Wideners
Entity Name 5 Yr Mid Change (%) Change (bps) CPD (%)
New Zealand 68.27 +13.91 +8.34 5.80
Australia 54.14 +12.35 +5.95 4.64
Chile 98.64 +11.01 +9.78 6.74
Korea, Republic of 129.84 +10.59 +12.43 10.86
Japan 89.39 +10.32 +8.37 7.73
United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland 99.50 +9.26 +8.44 8.44
Qatar 103.29 +8.14 +7.78 7.02
South Africa 190.42 +6.88 +12.26 12.59

Could this reflect the markets losing confidence in Rudd Labor’s ability to manage the economy?  After all, this dramatic deterioration in the markets’ perception of our ability to repay our Rudd-spent sovereign debts also coincides with the government’s announcement of their new Resources Super-Profits Tax –  a tax on our only remaining productive sector (apart from agriculture).

It also comes just days before the next Budget… one which few could seriously believe will genuinely rein in Rudd Labor’s massively wasteful spending and set a determined course for a return to budget surplus.

When it comes to Rudd Labor’s economic (mis)management, it seems the markets are speaking loud and clear.

Is anyone listening?

Eurozone Faces Bankruptcy, Disintegration

10 May

Could the Eurozone go bankrupt? One of Germany’s leading newspapers believes so.

From an excellent major article in Der Spiegel:

Huge National Debts Could Push Eurozone Into Bankruptcy

Greece is only the beginning. The world’s leading economies have long lived beyond their means, and the financial crisis caused government debt to swell dramatically. Now the bill is coming due, but not all countries will be able to pay it.

The euro zone is pinning its hopes on (IMF negotiator) Thomsen and his team. His goal is to achieve what Europe’s politicians are not confident they can do on their own, namely to bring discipline to a country that, through manipulation and financial inefficiency, has plunged the European single currency into its worst-ever crisis.

If the emergency surgery isn’t successful, there will be much more at stake than the fate of the euro. Indeed, Europe could begin to erode politically as a result. The historic project of a united continent, promoted by an entire generation of politicians, could suffer irreparable damage, and European integration would suffer a serious setback — perhaps even permanently.

And the global financial world would be faced with a new Lehman Brothers, the American investment bank that collapsed in September 2008, taking the global economy to the brink of the abyss. It was only through massive government bailout packages that a collapse of the entire financial system was averted at the time.

A similar scenario could unfold once again, except that this time it would be happening at a higher level, on the meta-level of exorbitant government debt. This fear has had Europe’s politicians worried for weeks, but their crisis management efforts have failed. For months, they have been unable to contain the Greek crisis.

There are, in fact, striking similarities to the Lehman bankruptcy. This isn’t exactly surprising. The financial crisis isn’t over by a long shot, but has only entered a new phase. Today, the world is no longer threatened by the debts of banks but by the debts of governments, including debts which were run up rescuing banks just a year ago.

The banking crisis has turned into a crisis of entire nations, and the subprime mortgage bubble into a government debt bubble. This is why precisely the same questions are being asked today, now that entire countries are at risk of collapse, as were being asked in the fall of 2008 when the banks were on the brink: How can the calamity be prevented without laying the ground for an even bigger disaster? Can a crisis based on debt be solved with even more debt? And who will actually rescue the rescuers in the end, the ones who overreached?

So, the GFC is ‘over’, is it Ken?

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