• Tag Archives BOJ
  • Gold and Yen at Key Inflection Points; Watch for Possible Breakdown

    Key trend changes in the yen have a close correlation with major moves in the price of gold Both yen and gold are at another major inflection point Diverging monetary policy between the Fed and BOJ suggest next move is to the downside Background: Moves in the Japanese yen have been a reliable indicator for gold due to the effects of the yen carry trade. Given ultra-low interest rates in Japan, its currency has been the funding currency for global speculators who borrow in cheap yen and then speculate in other assets. When the yen weakens, there is greater borrowing of the currency to chase financial assets all over the globe. This pushes financial assets higher and reduces overall market volatility, which decreases the allure for gold as a safe haven asset. A weak yen relative to a stronger dollar is also negative for gold since a stronger dollar is typically associated with lower overall inflation rates. Thus, when the Bank of Japan (BOJ) decided to embark on a massive money printing program in 2012 to end deflation in Japan, that effectively marked the end for the bull run in gold.
    In this chart and those that follow, I show the yen inverted (in red) next to gold (in black) to illustrate the relationship over the key timeframes discussed. Here is the price of yen and gold from 2007-2012:

    This post was published at FinancialSense on 10/06/2017.


  • Central Banks at Risk of Default?

    Central banks do not play games with the markets but it sure feels like we are being played by someone! Earlier this year the Bank of Japan, Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank all had similar balance sheets at around $4.5 trillion. As we know, over the past ten years all three have risen from lower levels but have seen faster expansion by the BOJ and the FED gaining pace to now catch the ECB. Foreign exchange rates are always subjected to inherent volatility that is thrown into the mix. However, given the recent extremes on all fronts, there has been uncanny similarity around end of Q1′ 2017.
    Typically, a central bank balance sheet would off-set Assets against Liabilities and capital.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Oct 4, 2017.


  • Japan’s “Deflationary Mindset” Grows As Household Cash Hordes Reach Record High

    After being force-fed more stimulus than John Belushi, and endless rounds of buying any and every asset that dares to expose any cracks in the potemkin village of fiat folly, Japan remains stuck firmly in what Abe feared so many years ago – a “deflationary mindset.”
    As Bloomberg reports, cash and deposits held by Japanese households rose for 42nd straight quarter at the end of June as the nation’s consumers continued to favor saving over spending.

    The “deflationary mindset” that the Bank of Japan is battling to overcome was also evident in the money laying idle in corporate coffers, which stayed near an all-time high, according to quarterly flow of funds data released by the BOJ on Wednesday.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 21, 2017.


  • Traders Yawn After Fed’s “Great Unwind”

    One day after the much anticipated Fed announcement in which Yellen unveiled the “Great Unwinding” of a decade of aggressive stimulus, it has been a mostly quiet session as the Fed’s intentions had been widely telegraphed (besides the December rate hike which now appears assured), despite a spate of other central bank announcements, most notably out of Japan and Norway, both of which kept policy unchanged as expected.
    ‘Yesterday was a momentous day – the beginning of the end of QE,’ Bhanu Baweja a cross-asset strategist at UBS, told Bloomberg TV. ‘The market for the first time is now moving closer to the dots as opposed to the dots moving towards the market. There’s more to come on that front. ‘
    Despite the excitement, S&P futures are unchanged, holding near all-time high as European and Asian shares rise in volumeless, rangebound trade, and oil retreated while the dollar edged marginally lower through the European session after yesterday’s Fed-inspired rally which sent the the dollar to a two-month high versus the yen on Thursday and sent bonds and commodities lower. Along with dollar bulls, European bank stocks cheered the coming higher interest rates which should help their profits, rising over 1.5% as a weaker euro helped the STOXX 600. Shorter-term, 2-year U. S. government bond yields steadied after hitting their highest in nine years.
    ‘Initial reaction is fairly straightforward,’ said Saxo Bank head of FX strategy John Hardy. ‘They (the Fed) still kept the December hike (signal) in there and the market is being reluctantly tugged in the direction of having to price that in.’
    The key central bank event overnight was the BoJ, which kept its monetary policy unchanged as expected with NIRP maintained at -0.10% and the 10yr yield target at around 0%. The BoJ stated that the decision on yield curve control was made by 8-1 decision in which known reflationist Kataoka dissented as he viewed that it was insufficient to meeting inflation goal by around fiscal 2019, although surprisingly he did not propose a preferred regime. BOJ head Kuroda spoke after the BoJ announcement, sticking to his usual rhetoric: he stated that the bank will not move away from its 2% inflation target although the BOJ “still have a distance to 2% price targe” and aded that buying equity ETFs was key to hitting the bank’s inflation target, resulting in some marginal weakness in JPY as he spoke, leaving USD/JPY to break past FOMC highs, and print fresh session highs through 112.70, the highest in two months, although it has since pared some losses.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 21, 2017.


  • Ahead Of Tomorrow’s Historic Fed Meeting, Here Is The Only “Cheat Sheet” You Need

    Ahead of tomorrow’s historic Fed announcement, in which for the first time the Fed is expected to announce the phasing out of bond reinvestment and the shrinking of its balance sheet by roughly $10 billion per month starting in October and November, but fear not the BOJ and ECB will more than offset this decline..

    … there are various other unknowns with which Yellen could still surprise the market, including the Fed’s signalling on policy rates, economic projections, a shift in the “dots”, comments on asset prices and, last but not least, whether Yellen will stay or leave when her term expires in Feb 2018.
    Below, courtesy of ING, is the definitive “cheat sheat” matrix laying out all possible permutations of what can happen tomorrow, as well as the most likely market reaction.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 19, 2017.


  • WTF Chart Of The Day: BoJ Now Owns 75% of Japanese ETFs

    While ECB President Mario Draghi faces his own German-bond-market constraints in his hubristic bond-buying-bonanza, cornering him to taper sooner than later; the Bank of Japan appears to have thrown every textbook out of the window and cranked their plunge-protection to ’11’, as Bloomberg reports, The Bank of Japan now holds 75% of the nation’s ETFs.
    Since December 2010 – when The Bank of Japan held no ETFs at all – the central bank has been buying ETFs (doubling its annual buying target to 6 trillion yen in July 2016) as part of unprecedented economic stimulus. While the Nikkei 225 Stock Average has risen 89% since December 2010, the BOJ’s dominance of the ETF market has raised concerns.
    In fact, in a circular vicious cycle, the Bank of Japan’s purchases have helped assets managed by ETFs surge almost 10-fold since the end of 2010 to 25 trillion yen ($230 billion).

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 11, 2017.


  • Central Banks And Housing Prices: A Tale Of Three Countries (US, Germany and Japan)

    The US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of Japan (BOJ) have all been hyper-active in recent decades. But the low-rate policies have not produced the same outcomes.
    The US, after home prices declined in 2008 and 2009, took a while to recover. Only in 2012 did US home prices begin to rise again.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on September 11, 2017.


  • BofA: Even The Bubbles Are Becoming More “Bubbly” Thanks To Central Banks

    Back in June, Citi’s credit strategist Hans Lorenzen pointed out that while QE had failed to spark inflation across the broader economy, it had achieved something else: “the principal transmission channel to the real economy has been… lifting asset prices.” That however has required continuous CB balance sheet growth, and with the Fed, ECB and BOJ all poised to “renormalize” over the next year, the global monetary impulse is set to turn negative in the coming year. Meanwhile, as financial markets scramble to maximize every last ounce of what central bank impulse remains, we get such bubbles as London real estate, bitcoin and vintage cars, or as Citi puts it: “the wealth effect is stretching farther and farther afield.”
    ***
    Three months later, the latest to tackle the issue of central bank bubble creation, is BofA’s Barnaby Martin, who in a note released overnight asks rhetorically “are bubbles becoming more ‘bubbly’?

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 5, 2017.


  • Japan’s Second Largest Bank Plans To “Plow” 100 Billion Yen In Stocks

    It used to be that just the BOJ (via ETFs) and the largest Japanese pension fund, the GPIF (the largest in the world), had an implicit green light to allocate funds (in the case of the former, created out of thin air) to equities. That is no longer the case: according to Bloomberg, Japan’s second largest commercial bank, Japan Post Bank Co., has decided to follow in the footsteps of its giant peers, and plans to “plow” an 100 billion yen ($904 million) directly buying stocks “when it finds the right opportunities.”
    Unable to generate required returns through conventional means such as lending, Japan’s second-largest bank by deposits, which currently invests in equities only through passive investments in funds, plans on becoming a giant prop-trading hedge fund and aims to boost active stock holdings to several hundred billion yen in the next five to 10 years, said Katsunori Sago, executive vice president at the Tokyo-based company.
    In addition to stocks, the bank is also looking to buy “more higher-yielding overseas bonds”, (although in a time when junk bonds have near record low yields, one wonders just what the bank envisions) and alternative assets as it seeks to boost growth “in an environment where returns are being depressed by the central bank’s policies of negative interest rates and yield-curve control.” The allocation change is a huge departure for the lender which hold about 2 trillion yen in stocks, however all these are non-discretionary, through passive trust investments.
    Speaking to Bloomberg, Sago said that “It’s not right to only rely on passive investment for our stock holdings. At the same time, making the whole 2 trillion yen portfolio active would end up being passive anyway, so we need both passive and active portfolios to gain an edge from the active investment.’

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 31, 2017.


  • Total G-3 Central Bank Control

    There’s a lot of amazement and wonder at how the “stock market” can be up today with the devastating news out of Texas and the latest North Korean missile launch. Longtime readers of TFMR know exactly how this market levitation is accomplished so this post is designed as a public service in order to better educate and inform everyone else.
    Let’s just keep it simple…
    In 2017…and, actually, since 2008…the “markets” don’t actually exist. Oh sure, there are trades and prices but in terms of what the markets were 20 years ago?…those days are long gone. Instead, what we have now is total HFT domination. Over 90% of all volume on the NYSE and NASDAQ is now done through HFT machines that swap positions back and forth. This is common knowledge and if you and I know this, then you can be assured that The Fed, The ECB and the BoJ (known henceforth as the G-3) know this, too.
    To that end, since the G-3 are dedicated to market stability and the wealth effect, these central banks clearly seek to influence the direction of the equity markets by influencing the two key drivers of the HFT machines. And what are these drivers? The currency pair of USDJPY and the volatility index known as the VIX. Simply stated, if your wish is to drive “the stock market” higher, all you need to do is buy the USDJPY while at the same time selling the VIX. It truly is that simple.

    This post was published at GoldSeek on Tuesday, 29 August 2017.


  • Are Central Banks Nationalising the Economy?

    The FT recently ran an article that states that ‘leading central banks now own a fifth of their governments’ total debt.’
    The figures are staggering.
    Without any recession or crisis, major central banks are purchasing more than $200 billion a month in government and private debt, led by the ECB and the Bank of Japan. The Federal Reserve owns more than 14% of the US total public debt. The ECB and BOJ balance sheets exceed 35% and 70% of their GDP. The Bank of Japan is now a top 10 shareholder in 90% of the Nikkei. The ECB owns 9.2% of the European corporate bond market and more than 10% of the main European countries’ total sovereign debt. The Bank of England owns between 25% and 30% of the UK’s sovereign debt. A recent report by Nick Smith, an analyst at CLSA, warns of what he calls ‘the nationalization of the secondary market.’
    The Bank of Japan, with its ultra-expansionary policy, which only expands its balance sheet, is on course to become the largest shareholder of the Nikkei 225’s largest companies. In fact, the Japanese central bank already accounts for 60% of the ETFs market (Exchange traded funds) in Japan.
    What can go wrong? Overall, the central bank not only generates greater imbalances and a poor result in a ‘zombified’ economy as the extremely loose policies perpetuate imbalances, weaken money velocity, and incentivize debt and malinvestment.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on August 25, 2017.


  • Global Stocks Rise Amid Unexpected ECB “Trial Balloon”; Dollar Flat Ahead Of Fed Minutes

    European markets continued their risk-on mood in early trading for the third day, rising to the highest in over a week and rallying from the open led by mining stocks as industrial metals spike higher after zinc forwards hit highest level since 2007, lifting copper and nickel. The EUR sold off sharply, boosting local bond and risk prices after the previously discussed Reuters “trial balloon” report that Draghi’s speech at Jackson Hole would not announce the start of the ECB’s taper. The EURUSD has found support at yesterdays session low. Bunds have rallied in tandem before gilts drag core fixed income markets lower after U. K. wages data surprises to the upside. Early EUR/JPY push higher through 130.00 supports USD/JPY to come within range of 111.00.
    In Asia, Japan’s JGB curve was mildly steeper after the BOJ continued to reduce its purchases of 5-to-10-yr JGBs; the move was consistent with the BOJ’s desire to cut back whenever markets stabilize, according to Takenobu Nakashima, strategist at Nomura Securities Co. in Tokyo. The yen is little changed after rising just shy of 111 overnight. The S. Korean Kospi is back from holiday with gains; The PBOC weakened daily yuan fixing; injects a net 180 billion yuan with reverse repos; the Hang Seng index rose 0.9%, while the Shanghai Composite closed -0.2% lower. Dalian iron ore declines one percent. Japan’s Topix index closed little changed. South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.6 percent, reopening after a holiday. The Hang Seng Index added 0.8 percent in Hong Kong, while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.2 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.5 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index was Asia’s worst performer on Wednesday, falling as much as 1.1 percent, as banks and interest-rate sensitive stocks dropped.
    The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.7%, the highest in a week. The MSCI All-Country World Index increased 0.3%. The U. K.’s FTSE 100 Index gained 0.6%. Germany’s DAX Index jumped 0.8% to the highest in more than a week. Futures on the S&P 500 Index climbed 0.2% to the highest in a week. Global markets are finally settling down after a tumultuous few days spurred by heightened tensions between the U. S. and North Korea. Miners and construction companies led the way as every sector of the Stoxx Europe 600 advanced as core bonds across the region declined. Crude gained for the first time in three days after industry data was said to show U. S. inventories tumbled 9.2 million barrels last week.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 16, 2017.


  • “Mystery” Central Bank Buyer Revealed: SNB Now Owns A Record $84 Billion In US Stocks

    In the second quarter of the year, one in which unlike in Q1 fund flows showed a persistent and perplexing outflow from US stocks and into European and Emerging Markets, a trading desk rumor emerged that even as institutional traders dumped stocks and retail investors piled into ETFs, a “mystery” central bank was quietly bidding up risk assets by aggressively buying stocks. And no, it was not the BOJ: the Japanese Central Bank’s interventions in the stock market are familiar to all by now, and for the most part the BOJ keeps its interventions local, mostly propping up Japanese stocks, whether the Nikkei 225 or the Topix.
    The answer was revealed this morning when the hedge fund known as the “Swiss National Bank” posted its latest 13-F holdings. What it showed is that, as rumored, the Swiss National Bank had gone on another aggressive buying spree in the second quarter, and following its record purchases in the first quarter, the central bank boosted its total equity holdings to an all time high $84.3 billion, up 5% or $4.1 billion from the $80.4 billion at the end of the first quarter.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 9, 2017.


  • “We May Be Very Close To The Turning Point”: Selloff Blamed On This Note From JPM’s Marko Kolanovic

    While nobody knows what catalyzed for the sharp selloff over the last hour, with Citi blaming it on Acrophobia, or fear of heights, saying that “US equities opened at record highs, key levels were being approached in fixed income while USD enjoyed a bid across the board… However since then, it looks like markets have gotten a small case of cold feet”, Bloomberg had a different idea, when it observed that stocks erased gains around 12:30 p.m. as S&P 500 fell 0.5% over 60 minutes to low of 2,469.51. It notes that the “weakness occurred as traders circulated a note by JPMorgan quant strategist Marko Kolanovic that cautioned investors on the risks of record-low volatility in the equity market.”
    In his latest note, reposted below, Kolanovic, aka the JPM quant “Gandalf” popularized on this website over the past two years writes that “volatility near or at record lows by a handful of measures should ‘give pause to equity managers,’ and that ‘low volatility would not be a problem if not for strategies that increase leverage when volatility declines.’
    “In what is akin to the law of ‘communicating vessels,’ once inflows in bonds stop, funds are likely to start leaving other risky assets as well, including equities. The FOMC statement yesterday alleviated immediate fears – normalization of balance sheet will start ‘relatively soon,’ but only if ‘the economy evolves broadly as anticipated.’ This reasonably dovish stance pushes this market risk out for a few weeks (the next ECB meeting is Sep 7th, Fed Sep 20th, BoJ Sep 21st). This gives volatility sellers and other levered investors a limited window to position for a seasonal pickup in volatility and central bank catalysts in September.”
    For the TL/DR crowed, picking up on an article posted here two days ago in which MS explained what would happen if VIX went “bananas“, Kolanovic writes that “strategies that boost leverage when volatility declines, such as option hedging, CTAs and risk-parity, share similar features with the dynamic ‘portfolio insurance’ of 1987,’ which ‘creates a ‘stop-loss order’ that gets larger in size and closer to the current market price as volatility gets lower.’ Additionally, growth in short-vol strategies suppresses both implied and realized volatility, and with volatility at all-time lows ‘we may be very close to the turning point.’

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 27, 2017.


  • When Will The ECB Run Out Of German Bunds To Buy: Here Is The Math

    Speaking earlier on Monday, ECB governing council member Ewald Nowotny said that despite growing market concerns, the ECB “sees no need to set a timetable to end bond buying” adding that “the question is not when but how to continue. That will depend on the economic projections for 2018, which we will have in the fall […] It’s not about an abrupt halt, but about registering that we are no longer confronted by such an acute crisis as we were when we implemented the measures. I consider it wise to step off the gas slowly.”
    In other words, just like all other central bank pronouncements, this too was meant to instill confidence in the economy. There is just one problem: the question which Nowotny tried so hard to ignore is precisely the one that matters as we most recently explained in “Both ECB And BOJ Are Just Months Away From Running Out Of Bonds To Buy.” The question is even more relevant considering it has been the ECB’s purchases of corporate (and government) bonds that has led to a record drop in European credit spreads as we showed yesterday.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 25, 2017.


  • BoJ Keeps Rates Unchanged, Postpones 2% Inflation Deadline

    The Bank of Japan kept its monetary stimulus program unchanged even as it pushed back the projected timing for reaching 2 percent inflation for a sixth time.
    The downgraded price outlook will raise more questions about the sustainability of the BOJ’s stimulus at time when other major central banks are turning toward normalizing their monetary policy. The European Central Bank, which is said to examine options for winding down quantitative easing, concludes its own governing council meeting later on Thursday.
    By again delaying the timing for hitting its price goal, the BOJ acknowledged the need to continue easing for at least several more years, probably beyond 2020 because of a sales-tax increase scheduled for late 2019, said Hiromichi Shirakawa, chief Japan economist at Credit Suisse Group AG and a former BOJ official.
    “Going forward, there will be even more attention on the sustainability of the stimulus from market participants and lawmakers,” Shirawaka said.
    BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said it was regrettable the central bank needed to push back its inflation goal again, saying it hadn’t intentionally made its forecasts too optimistic. He noted that central banks in the U.S. and Europe had also overestimated inflation.

    This post was published at bloomberg


  • Why the Gold Price Could Continue Beyond Today’s 4-Week High

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning – We Make Investing Profitable. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    Over the last week, the gold price has bounced back above the $1,200 threshold. With the metal currently trading at $1,251, it’s set to post a weekly gain of 1.7%. The price of gold’s rally this week to its highest level since June 23 came mostly on the back of comments from Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB). Draghi said during the bank’s policy meeting on Thursday that the ECB had not yet formalized plans to roll back monetary policy stimulus.
    The Bank of Japan (BoJ) also said its inflation expectations were not meeting targets, with the current 1.1% inflation rate below the previous forecast of 1.4%. The BoJ noted that a dovish monetary policy would persist for some time.
    And that echoed what U. S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said in her Congressional testimony last week, when she admitted the global inflation slowdown could call for an ‘adjustment’ to the Fed’s policy.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Peter Krauth ‘ July 21, 2017.


  • The Elephant in the Room: Debt

    It’s the elephant in the room; the guest no one wants to talk to – debt! Total global debt is estimated to be about $217 trillion and some believe it could be as high as $230 trillion. In 2008, when the global financial system almost collapsed global debt stood at roughly $142 trillion. The growth since then has been astounding. Instead of the world de-leveraging, the world has instead leveraged up. While global debt has been growing at about 5% annually, global nominal GDP has been averaging only about 3% annually (all measured in US$). World debt to GDP is estimated at about 325% (that is all debt – governments, corporations, individuals). In some countries such as the United Kingdom, it exceeds 600%. It has taken upwards of $4 in new debt to purchase $1 of GDP since the 2008 financial crisis. Many have studied and reported on the massive growth of debt including McKinsey & Company http://www.mickinsey.com, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) http://www.imf.org, and the World Bank http://www.worldbank.org.
    So how did we get here? The 2008 financial crisis threatened to bring down the entire global financial structure. The authorities (central banks) responded in probably the only way they could. They effectively bailed out the system by lowering interest rates to zero (or lower), flooding the system with money, and bailing out the financial system (with taxpayers’ money).
    It was during this period that saw the monetary base in the US and the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet explode from $800 billion to over $4 trillion in a matter of a few years. They flooded the system with money through a process known as quantitative easing (QE). All central banks especially the Fed, the BOJ and the ECB and the Treasuries of the respective countries did the same. It was the biggest bailout in history. As an example, the US national debt exploded from $10.4 trillion in 2008 to $19.9 trillion today. It wasn’t just the US though as the entire world went on a debt binge, thanks primarily to low interest rates that persist today.

    This post was published at GoldSeek on Friday, 21 July 2017.


  • World Stocks Hit Record High For 10th Consecutive Day In “No-Vol Nirvana”

    The relentless risk levitation continued overnight, as global shares extended their stretch of consecutive record highs on Thursday for a 10th day after a cautious BOJ lifted Asian stocks to a decade high with a dovish announcement that offered no surprises, while pushing back Kuroda’s 2% inflation target to 2020, the 6th consecutive delay. With all eyes on the ECB in just over an hour, US equity futures are in the green, following solid gains around the globe. European stocks extended their biggest gain in a week while Asian equities maintained their rally. Microsoft, Blackstone, Philip Morris and Ebay are among companies reporting earnings. Initial jobless claims data due.
    Traders – so mostly algos – are riding a global risk “high” in stocks as Asia’s and then Europe’s early 0.4 percent gains ensured MSCI’s 47-country All World index was up for a 10th straight session. This is the longest winning streak in global stocks since February 2015 and shows little sign of fatigue even as bond yields edged modestly higher again. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.3 percent as of 9:53 a.m. in London. The U. K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose 0.5 percent to near the highest in a month. The MSCI Emerging Market Index fell 0.1 percent, the first retreat in almost two weeks. The VIX index closed below 10 for a record fifth consecutive day. Appropriately, Bloomberg dubbed the move a “no-vol” nirvana, in which stocks and bonds keep rallying as volatility evaporates.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 20, 2017.


  • Gradually… And Then Suddenly

    What do socialism and modern monetary policy have in common? Magical thinking. For both, it’s true on the giddy years up, and it’s true on the sad years down.
    If you’ve been reading my notes immediately before and after the June Fed meeting (‘Tell My Horse’ and ‘Post-Fed Follow-up’), you know that I think we now have a sea change in what the Fed is focused on and what their default course of action is going to be. Rather than looking for reasons to ease up on monetary policy and be more accommodative, the Fed and the ECB (and even the BOJ in their own weird way) are now looking for reasons to tighten up on monetary policy and be more restrictive. As Jamie Dimon said the other day, the tide that’s been coming in for eight years is now starting to go out. Caveat emptor.
    The question, then, isn’t whether the barge of monetary policy has turned around and embarked on a tightening course – it has – the question is how fast that barge is going to move AND whether or not the market pays more attention to the actual barge movements than what the barge captain says. I promise you that the barge captains of both the Fed and the ECB believe they can tighten and taper without killing the market so long as they jawbone this constantly. This is the Common Knowledge Game in action, this is the Missionary Effect, this is Communication Policy … this is everything that I’ve been writing about in Epsilon Theory over the past four years! And as we saw with the market’s euphoric reaction to Yellen’s prepared remarks for her Humphrey-Hawkins testimony last Wednesday, which were presented as oh-so dovish when they really weren’t, this jawboning strategy could absolutely work. It WILL absolutely work unless and until we get undeniably ‘hot’ inflation numbers – particularly wage inflation numbers – from the real world.
    So what’s up with that? How can we have wage inflation running at a fairly puny 2.5% (Chart 1 below) when the unemployment rate is a crazy low 4.3% (Chart 2 below) and other indicators, like the NFIB’s survey of ‘Small Business Job Openings Hard to Fill’ (Chart 3 below) are similarly screaming for higher wages?

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 19, 2017.