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Old 02-10-2013, 09:42 AM
Franc Tireur Franc Tireur is offline
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So, Why That Mysterious $114 Billion Bank Deposits Withdrawal in Early January?

Lambert Strether writes at Corrente.

It’s with some trepidation that I post something on actual finance, but the $114 billion withdrawal story struck me as strange at the time, and then… it vanished, as mysteriously as it had appeared. I don’t like patterns like that, or loose ends like that. So I’m putting the the mystery before the NC commentariat, in the hopes that they’ve got better answers, not than I do (that would not be hard), but than the business press did in their coverage. As the great Peggy Nooonan once remarked: “It would be irresponsible not to speculate!”

I’ll start with the Russia Today AFP story on January 25, because that’s where most of the blog coverage (and especially CT blog coverage) began:

US Federal Reserve is reporting a major deposit withdrawal from the nation’s bank accounts. The financial system has not seen such a massive fund outflow since 9/11 attacks[*].

*The first week of January 2013 has seen $114 billion withdrawn from 25 of the US’ biggest banks, pushing deposits down to $5.37 trillion, according to the US Fed. Financial analysts suggest it could be down to the Transaction Account Guarantee [TAG] insurance program coming to an end on December 31 last year and clients moving their money that is no longer insured by the government.

Bloomberg, in its January 23 story, had concurred on the TAG theory:

“Customers may be moving money no longer insured by the U.S., drawing down year-end balances and investing in advancing equity markets…. What you are seeing now is probably TAG money,” Subadra Rajappa, a fixed-income strategist at New York-based Morgan Stanley, said in a phone interview. “Some of the banks’ corporate customers have said they were going to take the money out” if the program expires as it did, she said.

Unfortunately, the TAG theory seems not to be correct. From the Businessweek coverage on January 23**

But hold on: The Fed data show $114 billion leaving the 25 biggest banks—about 2 percent of their deposit base. Only $26.9 billion left all the others, equivalent to 0.9 percent of their deposit base. Experts had predicted that the end of TAG would hurt the nation’s small banks because the big ones are still considered too big to fail. … Small banks fearfully lobbied the Senate to extend TAG, with analysts telling the New York Times that they expected $200 million to $300 million—yes, with an m—to move from affected accounts into money market funds or elsewhere.
Read the entire article at: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/...y-january.html

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