A month ago, we showed something disturbing: the weekly increase in savings deposits held at Commercial banks soared by a record $132 billion, more than the comparable surge during the Lehman Failure, the First Debt Ceiling Fiasco (not to be confused with the upcoming second one), and the First Greek Insolvency. And while there were certainly macro factors behind the move which usually indicates a spike in risk-aversion (and at least in the old days was accompanied by a plunge in stocks), a large reason for the surge was the unexpected rotation of some $70 billion in savings deposits at Thrift institutions leading to a combined increase in Savings accounts of some $60 billion. Moments ago the Fed released its weekly H.6 update where we find that while the relentless increase in savings accounts at commercial banks has continued, rising by another $70 billion in the past week, this time there was no offsetting drop in Savings deposits at Thrift Institutions, which also increased by $10.0 billion. The end result: an increase of $79.3 billion in total saving deposits at both commercial banks and thrifts, or an amount that is only the third largest weekly jump ever following the $102 billion surge following Lehman and the $92.4 billion rotation into savings following the first US debt ceiling debacle and US downgrade in August 2011.
In total, there has been an increase of $112 billion in deposits in savings accounts in the past month alone, roughly the same as the total non-M1 M2 momey stock in circulation.
Ironically, it was only yesterday that we demonstrated the relentless surge in bank deposits despite the ongoing contraction in total bank loans, and explained how it is possible that using repo and rehypothecation pathways, that banks are abusing the endless influx of deposits into banks and using this money merely as unregulated prop-trading funds, a la JPM’s CIO. In other words the “money on the sidelines” now at all time record highs, is anything but, and is in fact about $2 trillion in dry powder to be used by the banks as they see fit.
But most importantly, we showed how even as those happy few who can still afford to save, are fooling themselves int believing that they are pulling money out of other assets and storing it in what they perceive to be electronic mattreses at their friendly neighborhood JPM, Wells or Citi branch, and thinking this money is safe and sound. Alas, nothing could be further from the truth.
Because by depositing money into banks, ordinary Americans (and companies) are merely providing even more dry powder for the banks to trade on a prop, discretionary basis, either as directly investable capital or as asset collateral, and by handing over their hard earned cash to the banks are assuring that the scramble to bid up any and all risk assets continues indefinitely.
Yes, dear saver: the reason why stocks continue to soar above any fundamentally-driven level, is because you just made that bank deposit.
It also means, that come the New Year, and the unlimited insurance of various deposits comes to an end, and when banks once again represent a counterparty danger to savers (where they will be merely a general unsecured claim over and above any FDIC insured limit, be it $250,000 or less), should said deposits be pulled out of banks (and according to the WSJ there is about $1.5 trillion in deposits that may be impacted), the net result of such capital reallocation would be far more disastrous to stock markets than anything the fiscal cliff and/or debt ceiling theater could possibly do as it would mean unwinding an ungodly amount of trades that have had$1.5 trillion as real assets, with subsequent repo and re-repo leverage applied to them.