Oh dear, off I go again scribbling about a subject that is way above my pay grade - not, mind you, that I get paid for this rubbish. I did think once about opening a site 'tip-jar' on this distinguished blog for grateful readers to contribute to the well-being of an old-age pensioner but then I realised that I'd be lucky to get an old Scottish groat from 'DM', a recipe for home-made bourbon from 'JK', a few empty cans of Fosters from 'AussieD' and that would be about my lot! Anyway, back to my subject today which, as opposed to my personal finances, is not so much high finance as stratospheric finance. As usual, I am obliged to Mr. Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge, always an interesting site to visit even if I only understand about one word in three.
Today he returns to a subject he reported on back in February and upon which I commented soon after. His opening remarks are not for those of a nervous disposition because he reports that yesterday at 9.00am on the dot, the mighty US Treasury Department released its carefully husbanded statistics on who was holding what in the way of US Treasury paper (USTs) in January. So far, so boring, except that three hours later they withdrew them quickly and replaced them with a new, dare one say, 'freshly laundered' set of figures! These were just some of the quickly revised - a world speed record, perhaps? - statistics:
- Instead of a $14 billion increase, China's revised holdings were only $3.5 billion higher.
- Instead of unchanged, Japan's holdings suddenly mysteriously increased by $19 billion in January.
- Instead of plunging by $17 billion, the Caribbean Banking Centers were down by a tiny $1 billion.
- And instead of the previously reported increase of just under $1 billion, the all important Russia was revised to have sold $7 billion, bringing its new total to just $132 billion ahead of the alleged previously reported dump of Fed custody holdings in mid-March.
But still, none of that is quite as interesting as the statistic showing who is holding what in the way of US paper, in particular who holds the third biggest slice of the lot. The best way to describe it, as always for dummies like me, is a diagram:
BELGIUM!!!!! 'You're 'avin' a laugh, ain'tcha?' I mean, that's three times larger than Belgium's entire Gross Domestic Product! Alas, I must report that Mr. Durden does not accept these US Treasury figures - I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked - and he suspects the hidden hand of the Federal Reserve but what they might be up to, apart from incompetence, of course, he simply does not know.
My advice is simple - SELL! Mind you, I wish I had something to sell which brings me back to my tip-jar idea . . .