The Federal Reserve expanded its record holdings of US Treasuries in the fourth quarter of 2020 as it continued monetizing the massive federal debt.
The Federal Reserve added another $253 billion to its Treasury holdings in Q4 according to the Fed’s Treasury International Capital data released on Feb. 16. That brought the central bank’s US bond holdings to $4.7 trillion. The Federal Reserve now holds a record 17.5% of all US debt.
The US government is spending money at a torrid pace. Uncle Sam blew through $547 billion in January. That brings total spending through the first four months of fiscal 2021 to $1.92 trillion.
And the spending spree is only going to increase. Congress continues to debate another $1.9 trillion stimulus package and there’s already talk of an infrastructure spending bill in the pipeline after that.
This raises the $1.9 trillion question: how is the government going to pay for all this?
After running the biggest December budget deficit in history, the US government followed up with another massive budget shortfall in January.
According to the Monthly Treasury Statement, the January deficit came in at $162.83 billion. That’s nearly five times bigger than the January 2020 shortfall.
The Joe Biden administration got underway last week. The newly inaugurated president issued a flurry of executive orders, many of them relating to the economy. In his podcast, Peter Schiff talked about the potential impact of these EOs. He said it looks like Americans voted for Joe Biden, but they ended up with Bernie Sanders.
The US government ran the biggest December deficit in history last month and there is no end in sight to the borrowing and spending. President Biden unveiled a new $1.9 trillion stimulus plan this week. So what? Why does it matter? Can’t this “rescue the economy?” Host Mike Maharrey talks about all of the spending and the money printing necessary to support it on this week’s Friday Gold Wrap podcast.
With the coronavirus pandemic serving as a backdrop, 2020 was a record-breaking year in many ways. And some of the economic records that fell were, shall we say, less than ideal. In fact, the impacts of these records will almost certainly ripple through the economy as we move into 2021.
Here are three records that fell last year that didn’t get nearly as much attention as they should have.
The US government kicked off fiscal 2021 with the biggest October deficit in history. But with the first of November falling on a weekend, some November spending got shifted into October, inflating that month’s deficit. Now that we have the November monthly Treasury Statement, we have a better sense of how big deficits are running in the new fiscal year.
In two words — really big.
After a dismal November, gold and silver are starting to show some signs of life. But what caused the big drop in the price of precious metals last month? Was it warranted? In this episode of the Friday Gold Wrap podcast, host Mike Maharrey looks at the economic and monetary fundamentals and tries to bring us back to reality. He argues that despite the optimism about a coronavirus vaccine, nothing will fundamentally change.
The US government is increasingly relying on the Federal Reserve to prop up the Treasury market and absorb the trillions of dollars in bonds it’s issuing in order to fund its massive budget deficits. The Fed now holds a record 16.5% of US debt. And it’s going to have to buy trillions of dollars of additional Treasuries in 2021 to keep pace with government borrowing.
In other words, there is no end in sight to quantitative easing. In fact, the central bank will have to double its scheduled monthly QE in 2021 to catch up to where it was in 2020.