• Tag Archives Fed
  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Stocks and Precious Metals Charts – Ubi Sunt? Not With a Bang, But a Whimper

    ‘Love does not make you weak, because it is the source of all strength, but it makes you see the nothingness of the illusory strength on which you depended before you knew it.’
    Lon Bloy
    Stocks were a little wobbly today, although the VIX continued to be at quite low levels for this year at least.
    The economic news is mixed, as usual.
    The dollar gave a little of yesterday’s sharp rally higher back today. The rally itself was more technical than anything else, given the long decline that it has already seen. Certainly any notions of a hawkish Fed raising rates with enough fortitude to make a difference in the dollar is sheer fantasy.
    The Fed may have one more rate increase in them for this year, but they are already on thin ice given the weak recovery and lingering lack of organic growth. The reasons are so obvious one really hates to keep repeating them. The economists certainly know them, but they are reluctant to discuss the Emperor’s nakedness. Alas, they are too often a craven careerist lot as a whole. But such are the times.
    As my Greek attorney put it just today, “Hillary just wants to tweak the status quo because it works well for her and her donors Bernie wanted to change the status quo, so he was a threat to everyone but the public.”
    Indeed. The credibility trap is alive and well, and crippling the impulse and efforts to reform.
    Have a pleasant evening.

    This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 21 SEPTEMBER 2017.


  • Fed QT Stocks, Gold Impact

    This week’s landmark Federal Open Market Committee decision to launch quantitative tightening is one of the most-important and most-consequential actions in the Federal Reserve’s entire 104-year history. QT changes everything for world financial markets levitated by years of quantitative easing. The advent of the QT era has enormous implications for stock markets and gold that all investors need to understand.
    This week’s FOMC decision to birth QT in early October certainly wasn’t a surprise. To the Fed’s credit, this unprecedented paradigm shift had been well-telegraphed. Back at its mid-June meeting, the FOMC warned ‘The Committee currently expects to begin implementing a balance sheet normalization program this year’. Its usual FOMC statement was accompanied by an addendum explaining how QT would likely unfold.
    That mid-June trial balloon didn’t tank stock markets, so this week the FOMC decided to implement it with no changes. The FOMC’s new statement from Wednesday declared, ‘In October, the Committee will initiate the balance sheet normalization program described in the June 2017 Addendum to the Committee’s Policy Normalization Principles and Plans.’ And thus the long-feared QT era is now upon us.
    The Fed is well aware of how extraordinarily risky quantitative tightening is for QE-inflated stock markets, so it is starting slow. QT is necessary to unwind the vast quantities of bonds purchased since late 2008 via QE. Back in October 2008, the US stock markets experienced their first panic in 101 years. Ironically it was that earlier 1907 panic that led to the Federal Reserve’s creation in 1913 to help prevent future panics.
    Technically a stock panic is a 20%+ stock-market plunge within two weeks. The flagship S&P 500 stock index plummeted 25.9% in just 10 trading days leading into early October 2008, which was certainly a panic-grade plunge! The extreme fear generated by that rare anomaly led the Fed itself to panic, fearing a new depression driven by the wealth effect. When stocks plummet, people get scared and slash their spending.

    This post was published at ZEAL LLC on September 22, 2017.


  • Household Wealth Hits A Record $96.2 Trillion… There Is Just One Catch

    In the Fed’s latest Flow of Funds report, today the Fed released the latest snapshot of the US “household” sector as of June 30, 2017. What it revealed is that with $111.4 trillion in assets and a modest $15.2 trillion in liabilities, the net worth of US households rose to a new all time high of $96.2 trillion, up $1.7 trillion as a result of an estimated $564 billion increase in real estate values, but mostly $1.23 trillion increase in various stock-market linked financial assets like corporate equities, mutual and pension funds, and deposits as the market soared to new all time highs thanks to some $2 trillion in central bank liquidity injections this year.
    Total household assets in Q2 rose $1.8 trillion to $111.4 trillion, while at the same time, total liabilities, i.e., household borrowings, rose by only $15 billion from $15.1 trillion to $15.2 trillion, the bulk of which was $9.9 trillion in home mortgages.

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


  • Stocks and Precious Metals Charts – Not With a Bang, But a Whimper

    ‘Love does not make you weak, because it is the source of all strength, but it makes you see the nothingness of the illusory strength on which you depended before you knew it.’
    Lon Bloy
    Stocks were a little wobbly today, although the VIX continued to be at quite low levels for this year at least.
    The economic news is mixed, as usual.
    The dollar gave a little of yesterday’s sharp rally higher back today. The rally itself was more technical than anything else, given the long decline that it has already seen. Certainly any notions of a hawkish Fed raising rates with enough fortitude to make a difference in the dollar is sheer fantasy.

    This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 21 SEPTEMBER 2017.


  • Albert Edwards: “Citizen Rage” Will Soon Be Directed At “Schizophrenic” Central Banks

    Perhaps having grown tired of fighting windmills, it was several weeks since Albert Edwards’ latest rant against central banks. However, we were confident that recent developments out of the Fed and BOE were sure to stir the bearish strategist out of hibernation, and he did not disappoint, lashing out this morning with his latest scathing critique of “monetary schizophrenia”, slamming all central banks but the Fed and Bank of England most of all, who are again “asleep at the wheel, building a most precarious pyramid of prosperity upon the shifting sands of rampant credit growth and illusory housing wealth.”
    Follows pure anger from the SocGen strategist:
    These of all the major central banks were the most culpable in their incompetence and most prepared with disingenuous excuses. And 10 years on, not much has changed. The Fed and BoE are once again presiding over a credit bubble, with the BoE in particular suffering a painful episode of cognitive dissonance in an effort to shift the blame elsewhere. The credit bubble is everyone’s fault but theirs.
    First, some recent context with this handy central bank holdings chart courtesy of Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid which alone is sufficient to make one’s blood boil.

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


  • Bill Blain: “Let’s Pretend”

    Blain’s Morning Porridge – Fed Acts, ECB Smoking – but what?
    The Fed acts. Normalisation. Hints of a rate rise in December, confirmation of further ‘data-dependent’ hikes to come next year, and ending the reinvestment of QE income. Exactly as expected – although some say three hikes in 2018 is a bit hostage to the global economy. The effect: Dollar up. Bonds down. Record Stocks. Yellen threw the bond market a crumb when she reminded us low inflation will require a ‘response.’
    Relax. US markets will sweat, but not break. Dollar ascendant.. Yen collapses.. What about Yoorp?
    Not quite as simples in Europe.
    I’m indebted to my colleague Kevin Humphreys on BGC’s Money Market desk for pointing out yet another Northern European central banker with a smug self-satisfied smile on his face this morning.
    Klass Knot (Holland) has been telling us the European reflationary environment is improving to the extent where the tail risk of a deflationary spiral is no longer imminent. He said ‘robust’ economic developments have improved confidence inflation will rise in line with the ECB’s mandated aims. He added the appreciation of the Euro reflects an improving assessment of the EU’s economic success. And, he concludes the ECB should focus on the more important structural and institutional issues facing Europe, rather than the short-term stabilisation and crisis management – WHICH ARE NO LONGER REQUIRED.

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


  • “So What Did We Learn From Yellen?”: Deutsche, Goldman Explain

    For those still unsure what Yellen’s rambling, disjointed press conference meant yesterday, or are still in shock over the Fed’s admitted confusion by the “mystery” that is inflation, here is a quick recap courtesy of Deutsche Bank and Goldman, explaining what we (probably) learned from the Fed and Yellen yesterday.
    First, here is DB’s Jim Reid:
    So what did we learn from the Fed and Yellen last night? Firstly we learnt that stopping reinvestment is a sideshow for now and that the market still cares more about the probability of a December hike and where the Fed thinks inflation is heading. Just briefly on the balance sheet run-off, they have committed to the plan from the June meeting of $10bn per month ($6bn USTs and $4bn Mortgages) with an incremental increase every 3 months until we get to $50bn. However on the rates and inflation outlook the committee and Yellen were on the hawkish side. As DB’s Peter Hooper discusses in his note, barring negative surprises in the months just ahead, the Fed is on track to raise rates once more this year and three times in 2018. Yellen recognised that inflation has been running low recently but put a higher blame on one-off factors than was perhaps anticipated. At the same time she noted that monetary policy operates with a lag and that labour market tightness will eventually push inflation up.
    The complication for markets though is that beyond 2017, the FOMC will see a huge upheaval in its membership which could easily mean current member’s thoughts are meaningless in a few months time and also that Mr Trump’s fiscal plans (or lack of them) have the ability to completely change the debate. So its difficult to read too much into the current FOMC’s forecasts. However for now December is very much live with the probability of a December rate hike moving from a shade under 50% to 64% by the US close (using Bloomberg’s calculator).

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


  • Spot The Moment Inflation Turned Exponential

    In the aftermath of a surreal Janet Yellen press conference, in which the Fed chair admitted that Fed “no longer understands” the “mystery” that is inflation, we did our best to explain to Yellen that the reason why the Fed’s search for inflation has been fruitless, is because for nearly a decade it has been looking in the wrong place: the “real economy” where the Fed’s impact has been negligible, as opposed to “asset prices” where the Fed has unleashed near hyperinflation.
    ***
    Sadly, we doubt the Fed will understand what the above chart means.
    Which of course, is ironic, because it was the Fed’s arrival in 1913 that was the catalyst for inflation to snap and unanchor from 700 years of patterns, and to mutate from gradually upward sloping to spike exponentially over the past 100 years. Furthermore, as Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid writes, nothing will change, and Inflation remains the most likely outcome “until a new global financial system found.” Incidentally, he adds the latter because even chief credit strategists of major banks have come to the same “tin foil” conclusion we unveiled in 2009, namely that the existing financial and economic (if not social) system is doomed as long as an unconstrained fiat regime, which creates ever greater and greater asset bubbles, remains.

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


  • Gold Investment ‘Compelling’ As Fed May ‘Kill The Business Cycle’

    Gold Investment ‘Compelling’ As Fed Likely To Create Next Recession
    – Is the Fed about to kill the business cycle?
    – 16 out of 19 rate-hike cycles in past 100 years ended in recession
    – Total global debt at all time high – see chart
    – Global debt is 327% of world GDP – ticking timebomb…
    – Gold has beaten the market (S&P 500) so far this century
    – Safe haven demand to increase on debt and equity risk
    – Gold looks very cheap compared to overbought markets
    – Important to diversify into safe haven gold now
    ***
    by Frank Holmes via Gold.org
    Global debt levels have reached unprecedented levels, pension deficits are rising and the US interest rate cycle is on the turn. Frank Holmes, chief executive of highly regarded investment management group US Global Investors, believes that investing in gold is a logical response to current, unnerving conditions.
    For centuries, investors and savers have depended on gold in times of economic and political strife, and its investment case right now is as compelling as it’s ever been.

    This post was published at Gold Core on September 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.


  • Running Out The Clock; They Really Don’t Know What They Are Doing

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Alhambra Investments. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    If it wasn’t perfectly clear before, and it really was, there is no way it isn’t now. The Fed is not in any way data dependent. The data on the economy remains in some category of insufficient, longer-term stuck much too far in the direction of atrocious. Yet, the central bank will exit anyway because there is nothing left for them here in the present.
    The economy is, in their judgment, what it is. Monetary policy, such that it is, must now turn toward tomorrow. After fighting yesterday’s battles for ten years, and losing, the FOMC knows that time is against it in more ways than one. Even in traditional terms viewing the period after the Great ‘Recession’ as somehow a business cycle, it is already a long one. Recession is inevitable, and there is no longer anything the Fed can do about the last one to make the next one more tolerable.
    So they will focus entirely on the next one before the clock strikes zero. That means getting their main interest rate levers back up near as normal as they possibly can, and the balance sheet as close to whatever and however they define neutral in this brave new world without actual growth.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on September 20, 2017.


  • Questions Remain as the Fed Finally Begins to Reverse QE

    Today the Federal Reserve announced that it will finally begin the process of reversing quantitative easing. Following the process it outlined earlier this year, the Fed will start allowing assets (Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities) to mature off its balance sheet, rather than re-investing them as had been its prior policy. The current plan is to start with a $10 billion roll off in October, and increasing quarterly until it reaches $50 billion by October of next year. Considering the Fed’s balance sheet currently stands $4.5 trillion, the Fed is envisioning a slow, multi-year process. As Philadelphia Fed president Patrick Harker described it earlier this year, the goal is for it to be ‘the policy equivalent of watching paint dry.’
    Of course the old saying about the ‘best laid plans of mice and men’ also applies to central planners, and as Janet Yellen once again noted today, ‘policy is not on a pre-set course.’ Should markets react negatively, as they did when Bernanke hinted at reducing their purchases in 2013, the markets have reason to expect the Fed to act. In fact, when asked, Yellen kept the door open to both lowering interest rates and stalling its roll off should market conditions worsen. In fact, it appears that markets are already betting on the Fed to not follow through on its projected December rate hike.
    As the Fed has been signaling for months now that a taper was in the works, the mainstream narrative suggests that tapering has been priced in (though stocks dropped on the news.) There are still major questions left unanswered.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on September 21, 2017.