Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bank lending continues falling -- Are buying US Treasuries instead

Bank lending continues to fall on a year over year basis.  Compared to the previous two recessions in which bank lending stabilized and then renewed growing this time overall bank lending is down and is continuing to decline.

As you can see from the first graph they are instead following the pattern from the last two recessions and are increasing the US Government securities portfolios while cutting lending to the private sector.   Unlike private bank loans Treasuries are very liquid and can be sold immediately if cash is needed.   Capital requirements for Treasuries are also much lower compared to a private bank loan.  Considering the capital positions of most banks in America (I'll have a post on this soon)  are tenuous they need the liquidity and 'safety' of Treasuries.

The year over year change in bank's holdings of US Government securities does not show the full extent of the bank Treasury purchases. As you can see from the second graph the banks continue to load up and the slope is definately upwards.

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