be_ixf;ym_202008 d_06; ct_150

Chart of the Month |
The Fed Rides to the Rescue

May 5, 2020  | by Ivo C. Nenin, Ryan Driscoll

COVID-19 | Market Commentary

The Federal Reserve is determined to support the economy and the normal functioning of capital markets during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 29th, the total asset size of the Fed’s balance sheet reached $6.66 trillion dollars, almost doubling from $3.76 trillion at the end of August last year. The Fed’s balance sheet now stands at over 30 percent of GDP, the highest level in at least 30 years, and higher than it was during the Great Financial Crisis.

Fed buying began in September of 2019 when problems in the REPO market caused the Fed to step in with support. More recently, as the demand for liquidity surged in response to the pandemic, companies moved to increase cash holdings and highly liquid assets. The Fed stepped in again, aggressively buying $75 billion of Treasuries daily to free up dealers to better perform their role as market intermediaries. As spreads have narrowed and markets appear to be returning to something resembling normal, the Fed is expected to end its purchases in early May, with all liquidity-related measures since mid-September amounting to $2 trillion. However, as the Fed moves from restoring liquidity to stimulating economic activity, the Fed balance sheet is expected to continue to grow while effective interest rates remain at or close to zero. The Fed’s direct or indirect lending to corporations, municipalities and the paycheck protection program will likely account for the largest portion of balance sheet expansion, with the size of these programs largely dependent on the depth of the economic contraction.

COM-fed-balance-sheet_2016 Web Chart

Authors

X
Ryan Driscoll is a member of the Commonfund Asset Management Investment team and is focused on macroeconomic research. Ryan serves as the investment officer for the firm’s Multi-Asset Portfolio investors and is also responsible for the design, tailoring, and implementation of custom investment solutions for Treasury clients. Prior to joining Commonfund, Ryan worked at Sailfish Capital Partners, a multi-strategy fixed income fund, where he served on the Emerging Markets team. Prior to that, he was on the fixed income team at Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. and was an equity/fixed income trader at Loring, Wolcott and Coolidge, in Boston. Ryan received his B.S. in Finance and M.S. in Global Financial Analysis (with Distinction) from Bentley University. He is a CFA Charterholder and is a member of the Boston Securities Analyst Society and CFA Institute.
Ryan Driscoll
Managing Director, CFA
X
Ivo Nenin is a member of the Commonfund Asset Management Investment team and is primarily responsible for investment monitoring, rebalancing and reporting for investment portfolios with a focus on our global multi-asset program. Ivo previously assisted in managing Commonfund’s commodities program and as a fund analyst focused on valuation and reporting for the commodities and equity funds. Prior to Commonfund, Ivo worked at AIG in their Domestic Brokerage Treasury Department. Ivo earned an M.B.A. from New York University’s Stern School of Business in Finance and Management and his B.S. in Finance and Accounting from the University of Bridgeport. He holds CFA and FRM designations as well as FINRA 3, 7 and 63 licenses.
Ivo C. Nenin
Director, CFA, FRM
Subscribe to Insights Blog

Disclaimer

Information, opinions, or commentary concerning the financial markets, economic conditions, or other topical subject matter are prepared, written, or created prior to printing and do not reflect current, up-to-date, market or economic conditions. Commonfund disclaims any responsibility to update such information, opinions, or commentary. To the extent views presented forecast market activity, they may be based on many factors in addition to those explicitly stated in this material. Forecasts of experts inevitably differ. Views attributed to third parties are presented to demonstrate the existence of points of view, not as a basis for recommendations or as investment advice. Managers who may or may not subscribe to the views expressed in this material make investment decisions for funds maintained by Commonfund or its affiliates. The views presented in this material may not be relied upon as an indication of trading intent on behalf of any Commonfund fund, or of any Commonfund manager. Market and investment views of third parties presented in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of Commonfund and Commonfund disclaims any responsibility to present its views on the subjects covered in statements by third parties. Statements concerning Commonfund’s views of possible future outcomes in any investment asset class or market, or of possible future economic developments, are not intended, and should not be construed, as forecasts or predictions of the future investment performance of any Commonfund fund. Such statements are also not intended as recommendations by any Commonfund entity or employee to the recipient of the presentation. It is Commonfund’s policy that investment recommendations to its clients must be based on the investment objectives and risk tolerances of each individual client. All market outlook and similar statements are based upon information reasonably available as of the date of this presentation (unless an earlier date is stated with regard to particular information), and reasonably believed to be accurate by Commonfund. Commonfund disclaims any responsibility to provide the recipient of this presentation with updated or corrected information. Past performance is not indicative of future results. For more information please refer to Important Disclosures.

Disclaimer

Information, opinions, or commentary concerning the financial markets, economic conditions, or other topical subject matter are prepared, written, or created prior to printing and do not reflect current, up-to-date, market or economic conditions. Commonfund disclaims any responsibility to update such information, opinions, or commentary. To the extent views presented forecast market activity, they may be based on many factors in addition to those explicitly stated in this material. Forecasts of experts inevitably differ. Views attributed to third parties are presented to demonstrate the existence of points of view, not as a basis for recommendations or as investment advice. Managers who may or may not subscribe to the views expressed in this material make investment decisions for funds maintained by Commonfund or its affiliates. The views presented in this material may not be relied upon as an indication of trading intent on behalf of any Commonfund fund, or of any Commonfund manager. Market and investment views of third parties presented in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of Commonfund and Commonfund disclaims any responsibility to present its views on the subjects covered in statements by third parties. Statements concerning Commonfund’s views of possible future outcomes in any investment asset class or market, or of possible future economic developments, are not intended, and should not be construed, as forecasts or predictions of the future investment performance of any Commonfund fund. Such statements are also not intended as recommendations by any Commonfund entity or employee to the recipient of the presentation. It is Commonfund’s policy that investment recommendations to its clients must be based on the investment objectives and risk tolerances of each individual client. All market outlook and similar statements are based upon information reasonably available as of the date of this presentation (unless an earlier date is stated with regard to particular information), and reasonably believed to be accurate by Commonfund. Commonfund disclaims any responsibility to provide the recipient of this presentation with updated or corrected information. Past performance is not indicative of future results. For more information please refer to Important Disclosures.