Fear! Interest Rate Derivatives Trading Explodes to $6.5 Trillion Per Day

Brexit, slowing global growth, Central Bank monetary follicies (negative rates). Lots of economic uncertainty and a growing demand to hedge interest rates. In other words, lots of fear.

According to the BIS, daily turnover of OTC interest rate derivatives averaged $6.5 trillion in April 2019, up markedly from the April 2016 survey when it averaged $2.7 trillion per day. This rise appears to have been driven mainly by increased hedging and positioning amid shifting prospects for growth and monetary policy.

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However, other factors also played a role. Much of the turnover in April 2019 was in shorter-term contracts, which are rolled over more often. In addition, the 2019 survey saw more comprehensive reporting of related party trades than in previous surveys. Average daily turnover in April 2019, after adjusting for these trades, is estimated to have been closer to $5.8 trillion in April 2019, up around 120% since the 2016 survey.

The majority of turnover of OTC interest rate derivatives is in swaps and denominated in the mighty US dollar.

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The home of the largest turnover (aka, trading) is in the UK, followed by Hong Kong and then the USA.

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Yes, lots of fear regarding interest rates.

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US Cash Out Mortgage Refinancings Near Housing Bubble Highs Of 2005/2006 As Foreign Homebuyers Pull Out

What happens when home prices soar? We get boatloads of cash out refinancings where homeowners extract accumulated equity in their homes (to pay for things like vacations, college tuition for children, ventures like WUPHF, etc.)

Cash out refinancings, of course, lower the equity cushion that helps reduce default risk. And the US housing market is back near housing bubble highs of 2005 and 2006 (red line).

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Will housing continue its meteoric rise (orange line)? Not if foreign homebuyers continue to retreat.

Recently, the National Association of Realtors reported that home buying in the US by non-resident foreign investors over the two-year period through March 2019 collapsed by 56%. It wasn’t just Chinese investors. It was foreign investors from all major countries, including from Canada and Mexico, that radically slashed their home buying in the US.

I wonder if Jerome Powell and other Fed types will discuss this at the KC Fed’s Jackson Hole annual conference?

Probably the same probability as seeing jackalopes in Jackson Hole.

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