Friday, September 19, 2008

Murky support for the dollar

Brad Setser looks at data from the US Treasury International Capital System (TIC), trying to work out what's been going on in the money supply and why the dollar hasn't collapsed in all this brouhaha. Setser, who gave evidence to a Congressional committee last year, admits that the picture is not clear, despite his expertise.

He thinks real purchases of Treasury securities (2000 - mid-2007) are about double the official amounts, and points out that when the dollar weakens, it is supported by further buying from central banks. Also, Americans have sold a lot of foreign equities recently and the money has come home.

A significant change in the pattern is the reduction of private holdings of Treasury securities - more and more, the support is coming from official sources, as the following graph suggests:

This seems to me like another straw in the wind: "power to the people", not.

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