• Category Archives Economy
  • Deutsche Bank: “The Fed’s ‘Transparency’ Killed Long-Term Investing”

    Two weeks ago, one of our favorite derivatives strategists, BofA Barnaby Martin wrote something we have said for years: “QE has been the most effective way for CBs to ‘sell vol’”, arguing that accommodative monetary policies across the globe amid QE have “clearly supported a strong rebound in fixed income markets.” This should not be a surprise: as Martin calculated, there is now some $51 trillion at risk should rates vol spike, not to mention countless housing bubbles that have been created since the financial crisis where the bulk of middle class wealth has been parked, which in turn have trapped central banks, preventing them from undoing nearly a decade of unprecedented monetary largesse that has pumped over $15 trillion in central bank liquidity.

    The BofA strategist showed that every time the Fed embarked on the different phases of its QE program, credit implied vols declined significantly, while during periods of no monetary easing or when the market started pricing the possibility of easing policy removal (tapering tantrum and the subsequent tapering phase) implied vols advanced.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 23, 2017.


  • Week in Review: September 23, 2017

    Almost a decade later, the Federal Reserve this week announced it will begin reversing quantitative easing. Slowly. Very slowly. The balance sheet currently stands at $4.5 trillion and they will begin allowing $10 billion in assets to roll off their sheets next month. Given the unprecedented nature of QE, even this modest reduction has many market observers on edge. Of course, the fallout from the Fed’s actions are still being felt, while the Trump Treasury is making threats that it would have disastrous consequences if acted on.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on September 23, 2017.


  • Build Your Economic Storm Shelter Now

    If you’re idly conversing with someone you don’t know well, the weather is usually a safe topic. It affects everyone in some way, so it’s a shared experience – but there’s something else, too. The weather is no one’s fault. It is what it is, so you need not worry that the other person will blame you for it. None of us can control the weather. And lately, the weather has been interesting, unless you had to live through its more extreme manifestations. Then it’s been hell. Before this week, I would’ve said that Harvey and Irma wrought devastation in Texas and Florida. But then Maria thrashed Puerto Rico and took devastation to a whole new level. I have a lot of friends who live in Puerto Rico, and I’m not sure how things are going to go for them over the next few months.
    We can prepare for storms when we know they’re coming, but we can’t stop them in their tracks or change their path. That’s true for both hurricanes and the public pension problem I wrote about last week. Where pensions are concerned, we have the financial equivalents of weather satellites and hurricane hunter aircraft feeding us detailed data. We know the barometer is dropping fast. The eyewall is forming. But we can’t do much about the growing storm, except get out of the way.

    This post was published at Mauldin Economics on SEPTEMBER 23, 2017.


  • ‘Never Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste’ – And Short AMZN

    The ‘crisis’ quote above originated with Winston Churchill. Several U. S. politicians have referenced it since then (most recently Rahm Emanuel when he was Obama’s Chief of Staff). I’m sure the Wall Street snake-oil salesmen and economic propagandists are more than happy to attribute the deteriorating economic numbers to the hurricanes that hit Houston and southwestern Florida.
    Retail sales for August were released a week ago Friday and showed a 0.2% decline from July. This is even worse than that headline number implies because July’s nonsensical 0.6% increase was revised lower by 50% to 0.3% (and it’s still an over-estimate).
    Before you attribute the drop in August retail sales to Hurricane Harvey, consider two things: 1) Wall St was looking for a 0.1% increase and that consensus estimate would have taken into account any affects on sales in the Houston area in late August; 2) Building materials and supplies should have increased from July as Houston and Florida residents purchased supplies to reinforce residences and businesses. As it turns out, building supplies and material sales declined from July to August, at least according to the Census Bureau’s assessment. Furthermore, online spending dropped 1.1%. Finally, the number vs. July was boosted by gasoline sales, which were said to have risen 2.5%. But this is a nominal number (not adjusted by inflation) and higher gasoline prices, i.e. inflation, caused by Harvey are the reason gasoline sales were 2.5% higher in August than July.

    This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on September 23, 2017.


  • Time To Lay Low

    Even though we’ve tried to warn and prepare, none of that makes the inevitable Spec wash-and-rinse any easier to watch.
    At the end of the day, it just is what it is. The year 2017 has unfolded almost precisely as we initially forecast back in January with two steps back following every three steps higher. We had carried a target of new highs for 2017, near $1320, through this most recent rally that began on July 10. That we instead reached $1360 was just a bonus, I guess.
    From here and with Bank NET short positions hitting extremes over the past two weeks, we must expect further downside as Specs continue to be washed out and USDJPY/CDG reacts negatively to any hint of positive economic news that serves to reinforce Mother’s hogwash of yesterday. As we discussed in yesterday’s podcast, this period of frustration could very well last all the way through the next BLSBS two weeks from tomorrow. Once that’s behind us…and hopefully haven’t fallen too far from here…the stage will be set for the final three-steps-forward part of this year’s pattern.

    This post was published at TF Metals Report on Thursday, September 21, 2017.


  • Weekend Reading: Yellen Takes Away The Punchbowl

    September 20th, 2017 will likely be a day that goes down in market history.
    It will either be remembered as one of the greatest achievements in the history of monetary policy experiments, or the beginning of the next bear market or worse.
    Given the Fed’s inability to spark either inflation or economic growth, as witnessed by their dismal forecasting record shown below, I would lean towards the latter.
    The media is very interesting. Despite the fact there is clear evidence that unbridled Central Bank interventions supported the market on the way up, there is now a consensus that believes the ‘unwinding’ will have ‘no effect’ on the market.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 22, 2017.


  • Pound Flash Crashes After Moody’s Downgrades UK To Aa2

    In an otherwise boring day, when Theresa May failed to cause any major ripples with her much anticipated Brexit speech, moments ago it was Moody’s turn to stop out countless cable longs, when shortly after the US close, it downgraded the UK from Aa1 to Aa2, outlook stable, causing yet another flash crash in the pound.
    As reason for the unexpected downgrade, Moodys cited “the outlook for the UK’s public finances has weakened significantly since the negative outlook on the Aa1 rating was assigned, with the government’s fiscal consolidation plans increasingly in question and the debt burden expected to continue to rise.”
    It also said that fiscal pressures will be exacerbated by the erosion of the UK’s medium-term economic strength that is likely to result from the manner of its departure from the European Union (EU), and by the increasingly apparent challenges to policy-making given the complexity of Brexit negotiations and associated domestic political dynamics.
    Moody’s now expects growth of just 1% in 2018 following 1.5% this year; doesn’t expect growth to recover to its historic trend rate over coming years. Expects public debt ratio to increase to close to 90% of GDP this year and to reach its peak at close to 93% of GDP only in 2019.
    And so, once again, it was poor sterling longs who having gotten through today largely unscathed, were unceremoniously stopped out following yet another flash crash in all GBP pairs.
    Full release below:

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 22, 2017.


  • Broken Velocity: Yellen’s Low Inflation Quandary (Hint: FHFA Home Price Index Growing At 6.62% YoY)

    Here is a brief summary of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s thoughts from yesterday courtesy of Deutsche Bank’s Peter Hooper: The Fed is on track to raise rates once more this year and three times in 2018. Yellen recognized that inflation has been running low recently, and that while there was some uncertainty around this performance, one-off factors that are not expected to persist, and which have not been associated with the performance of the broader economy, have been important. At the same time, Yellen noted that monetary policy operates with a lag and that labor market tightness will eventually push inflation up.
    Inflation has been running low ‘recently’? Actually, ‘inflation’ (defined as core personal consumption expenditure price growth YoY) has been below 2% since April 2012 and below 3% since July 1992. Notice that hourly wage growth for production and nonsupervisory employees has remained low as well, particularly since 2007.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on September 21, 2017.


  • New York Fed Calculates Inflation Is Running Hottest Since 2007

    As if inflation wasn’t “mysterious” enough to the Fed already, today the New York Fed joined the Atlanta Fed first in releasing its own measure to track underlying inflation called, simply, the Underlying Inflation Gauge. What is notable is that this latest inflation tracker shows prices behaving quite differently from traditional indexes this year.
    According to the UIG’s August measure, broad inflation came in at a red hot 2.74%, the highest since November 2007, according to historical data from the Fed. That compares with just 1.9% annual inflation according to the Labor Department’s CPI and an even more paltry 1.4% as measured by the preferred PCE gauge of Fed policy makers, which matched the lowest since September 2016.

    This is what the latest reading showed:
    The UIG estimated on the ‘full data set’ increased from a revised 2.64% in July to 2.74% in August. The ‘prices-only’ measure increased from a revised 2.09% in July to 2.17% in August. The August CPI showed a further pick up in inflation from June. In response to the firming of CPI inflation, both UIG measures displayed a rise in trend inflation. he UIG measures currently estimate trend CPI inflation to be in the 2.2% to 2.7% range, with both registering above the actual twelve-month change in the CPI.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 22, 2017.


  • German Elections Void of Any Critical Discussion

    The German Bundestag election campaign has seen a total black-out of any discussion of the major crisis that is building in Europe. Nobody is mentioning that Euro crisis, ECB monetary policy, disintegration of the EU, refugee crisis, pension crisis, the municipalities on the brink of insolvency, or the drastic increases in taxation coming AFTER the election that will only lower disposable incomes and extend deflation.
    The politicians, and the press, are in full swing to hide the real trend at foot. The press is running stories why the Germans Love Merkel, yet she has never won even 40% of the popular vote. Even the press outside of Germany is in on the ‘selling’ of Merkel because she is the leader of Europe – good – bad – indifferent.
    Perhaps the monetary policy of the ECB has set the stage for a serious monetary crisis over the coming years that will seriously disrupt the German economy, in one way or another, depending upon the industry. Mario Draghi has experimented with negative rates which has kept the Eurozone governments on life-support – but they have not used the time to reform anything.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Sep 23, 2017.


  • Undun: US Treasury 30Y-5Y Curve Slope Falls To Lowest Level Since November 2007

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Snake Hole Lounge. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    The US Treasury yield curve slope for the 5Y-30Y segment is now at the lowest level since mid-November 2007.

    The US Treasury curve is coming undun.
    And that is pronouced UN-dun, not as is Kim Jong Un-dun.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Anthony B Sanders ‘ September 22, 2017.


  • The Federal Reserve’s Unspoken Truth

    Originally posted at Briefing.com
    The Federal Reserve’s latest policy announcement has generated a lot of opinions about its implications for the capital markets. What it didn’t generate is a lot of movement in the stock market.
    The September Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting was a two-day affair that concluded on September 20 with the issuance of an updated policy directive, the release of updated economic and policy rate projections, an announcement that the Federal Reserve will start its balance sheet normalization process in October, and a press conference by Fed Chair Yellen to discuss it all.
    Check out Interview: Louise Yamada on Stocks, Tech, and Interest Rates
    There was a whole lot of information to digest. The key talking points from the Fed Day bonanza included the following:
    The target range for the fed funds rate was left unchanged at 1.00% to 1.25%. The vote was unanimous. The Federal Reserve said it will start its balance sheet normalization process in October in accord with the framework laid out in the June 2017 Addendum to the Committee’s Policy Normalization Principles and Plans

    This post was published at FinancialSense on 09/22/2017.


  • Fed’s Kaplan Makes A Stark Admission: Equilibrium Rate May Be As Low As 0.25%

    As we have hammered away at for years, “the math doesn’t work”, and it appears The Fed just admitted it.
    In a stunning admission that i) US economic potential is lower than consensus assumes and ii) that the Fed is finally considering the gargantuan US debt load in its interest rate calculations, moments ago the Fed’s Kaplan said something very surprising:
    KAPLAN SAYS NEUTRAL RATE MAY BE AS LOW AS 2.25 PCT, LEAVING FED “NOT AS ACCOMMODATIVE AS PEOPLE THINK” Another way of saying this is that r-star, or the equilibrium real interest rate of the US (calculated as the neutral rate less the Fed’s 2.0% inflation target), is a paltry 0.25%.
    What Kaplan effectively said, is that with slow secular economic growth and ‘fast’ debt growth, there’s only so much higher-rate pain America can take before something snaps and as that debt load soars and economic growth slumbers so the long-term real ‘equilibrium’ interest rate is tamped down. It also would explain why the curve has collapsed as rapidly as it did after the Wednesday FOMC meeting, a move which was a clear collective scream of “policy error” from the market.
    This should not come as a surprise. As we showed back in December 2015, in “The Blindingly Simple Reason Why The Fed Is About To Engage In Policy Error“, when calculating r-star, for a country with total debt to GDP of 350%…

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 22, 2017.


  • You Can’t Make This Up, But You Can Apparently Just Make Up the Data

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Alhambra Investments. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    Back in 2014, the Federal Reserve was convinced that the labor market was better than it appeared to be in various data accounts. Though it was called the ‘best jobs market in decades’, researchers at the central bank were keen on showing it. Primarily lacking in wages and incomes, the labor segment was suspected of missing the very elements of sustainable economic growth.
    They came up with the Labor Market Conditions Index (LMCI), a factor model purported to give less weight to any of the 19 data points embedded within it that might be outliers. I assume they really thought the weaker points would be those outliers, and therefore the LMCI would overall gravitate toward suggesting the very robust jobs market they were sure was there.
    The LMCI, of course, behaved in the opposite fashion. It suggested instead that the labor market was weak and getting weaker, not strong and getting stronger. Worse, after suggesting something like recession, which even GDP revisions have subsequently shown as the correct position, the LMCI failed to indicate a robust rebound befitting the by-then ultra-low unemployment rate.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Jeffrey P. Snider ‘ September 22, 2017.


  • Janet Yellen’s 78-Month Plan for the National Monetary Policy of the United States

    Past the Point of No Return
    Adventures in depravity are nearly always confronted with the unpleasant reality that stopping the degeneracy is much more difficult than starting it. This realization, and the unsettling feeling that comes with it, usually surfaces just after passing the point of no return. That’s when the cucumber has pickled over and the prospect of turning back is no longer an option.
    In late November 2008, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke put in place a fait accompli. But he didn’t recognize it at the time. For he was blinded by his myopic prejudices.
    Bernanke, a self-fancied Great Depression history buff with the highest academic credentials, gazed back 80 years, observed several credit market parallels, and then made a preconceived diagnosis. After that, he picked up his copy of A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz, turned to the chapter on the Great Depression, and got to work expanding the Fed’s balance sheet.

    This post was published at Acting-Man on September 22, 2017.


  • Equifax Breach Is a Reminder of Society’s Larger Cybersecurity Problems

    The Equifax data breach was yet another cybersecurity incident involving the theft of significant personal data from a large company. Moreover, it is another reminder that the modern world depends on critical systems, networks and data repositories that are not as secure as they should be. And it signals that these data breaches will continue until society as a whole (industry, government, and individual users) is able to objectively assess and improve cybersecurity procedures.
    Although this specific incident is still under investigation, the fact that breaches like this have been happening – and getting bigger – for more than a decade provides cybersecurity researchers another opportunity to examine why these events keep happening. Unfortunately, there is plenty of responsibility for everyone.
    Several major problems need to be addressed before people can live in a truly secure society: For example, companies must find and hire the right people to actually solve the overall problems and think innovatively rather than just fixing the day-to-day issues. Companies must be made to get serious about cybersecurity – at a time when many firms have financial incentives not to, also. Until then, major breaches will keep happening and may get even worse.

    This post was published at FinancialSense on 09/22/2017.