The Senate is busy tonight: on one they have just started a currency war with China, on the other, they are about to force every bank to cut its GDP forecast now that the prospect of incremental future fiscal stimulus has just been kneecapped, following a widely expected failure to vote through Obama's job plan a move that immediately forcedthat pathological of pathologies, the US Treasury Secretary to announce that "the action by Republicans to block the full plan would likely result in weaker U.S. growth." Somehow, it will all be Bush's fault.
So while the US is setting the stage for a possible retaliation against Iranians hiring Mexicans to kill for them, because they obviously can't do it on their own, the US Senate has just passed the China currency legislation bill in a 63 to 35 vote, which in turn will do miracles for Sino-US foreign relations. According to the legislation, it would let companies seek duties to compensate for a weak Chinese yuan. However, as Goldman indicated first thing this morning, the probability of this bill actually being enacted in its current form, or any, is slim to nil: while the Bill is under review by Obama administration, John Boehner, has called it "dangerous." If only he had an idea... Full Goldman take can be found here.
Two things stand out in the just released September holdings update of Pimco's flagship Total Return Fund: first, what appears to be a record cash short of 19% of the fund's total unchanged AUM of $245 billion, doubling the previous short of -9%. The incremental cash was used almost entirely to purchase Mortgage Backed Securities, which jumped to 38% of total from 32%, even as the fund kept its government exposure virtually flat at 22%( 21% previously). Yet where it gets downright surreal is the duration and maturity exposure of the fund. Duration has gone from a record low 3.6 in March to 4.56 in July to 6.27 in August to... well, just look at the black line on the chart below.