• Tag Archives Inflation
  • Global Equities Markets Weaker Amid Falling Oil, Bond Yields

    (Kitco News) – World stock markets were mostly lower overnight, due in part to falling crude oil prices recently and by lower world government bond market yields.
    Slumping oil prices and lower bond yields suggest inflationary price pressures will remain squelched. U. S. stock indexes are also pointed to weaker openings when the New York day session begins.
    On the world geopolitical front, Saudi Arabia has a new crown prince, in a surprise change of leadership for that country. The new prince could take a harder line on Iran, reports said.

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


  • Anti-Gold Propaganda Flares Up

    Predictably, after the gold price has been pushed down in the paper market by the western Central Banks – primarily the Federal Reserve – negative propaganda to outright fake news proliferates.
    The latest smear-job comes from London-based Capital Economics by way of Kitco.com. Some ‘analyst’ – Simona Gambarini – with the job title, ‘commodity economist,’ reports that ‘gold’s luck has run out’ with the 25 basis point nudge in rates by the Fed. She further explains that her predicted two more rate hikes will cause even more money to leave the gold market.
    Hmmm…if Ms. Gambarini were a true economist, she would have conducted enough thorough research of interest rates to know that every cycle in which the Fed raises the Funds rate is accompanied by a rise in the price of gold. This is because the market perceives the Fed to be ‘behind the curve’ on rising inflation, something to which several Fed heads have alluded. In fact, the latest Fed rate hike, on balance, has lowered longer term interest rates, as I detailed here: Has The Fed Really Raised Rates?

    This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on June 21, 2017.


  • SocGen: The Fed Is Raising Rates Too Slowly To Contain Asset Bubbles

    Yesterday, when looking at the divergence between the slowing US economy and the Fed’s insistence on hiking rates, Bank of America’s David Woo asked if there is a different motive behind the Fed’s tightening intentions, namely is the Fed trying to pop the market asset bubble:
    “Can it be the case that its hawkishness was prompted by something other than its reading of the economy? For example, is it possible that the Fed has become concerned about the recent surge in the equity market, especially tech stocks that has been feeding off low interest rates and low volatility? According to our equity strategists, the P/E of the tech sector (19x) is currently at its highest levels post-crisis while the EV/Sales ratio is at the highest sinec the Tech Bubble”
    Today, in a note which may have been inspired by BofA’s rhetorical question, SocGen’s FX strategist Kit Juckes picks up on what Woo said and notes that “Whether the Fed is raising rates too fast given their inflation mandate or not, they are raising them too slowly to contain asset price inflation.” Which, incidentally is confirmed by the latest Goldman data on financial conditions, which since the Fed’s 2nd rate hike of 2017 have continued to loosen and were “easier” by anotehr 5.4 bps

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


  • Trader: “We Need Another 20 Basis Points For The Entire Narrative To Change”

    As noted yesterday, Bloomberg trading commentator Richard Breslow refuses to jump on the bandwagon that the Fed is hiking right into the next policy mistake. In fact, he is pretty much convinced that Yellen did the right thing… she just needs some help from future inflationary print (which will be difficult, more on that shortly), from the dollar (which needs to rise), and from the yield curve. Discussing the rapidly flattening yield curve, Breslow writes that “the 2s10s spread can bear-flatten through last year’s low to accomplish the break, but I don’t think you get the dollar motoring unless the yield curve holds these levels and bear- steepens. Traders will set the bar kind of low and start getting excited if 10-year yields can breach 2.23%. But at the end of the day we need another 20 basis points for the entire narrative to change.”
    To be sure, hawkish commentary from FOMC members on Monday (with the semi-exception of Charles Evans) and earlier this morning from Rosengren, is doing everything whatever it can to achieve this. Here are the highlights from the Boston Fed president.
    ROSENGREN SAYS LOW INTEREST RATES DO POSE FINANCIAL STABILITY ISSUES ROSENGREN: LOW RATES MAKE FIGHTING FUTURE RECESSIONS TOUGHER ROSENGREN SAYS REACH-FOR-YIELD BEHAVIOR IN LOW INTEREST RATE ENVIRONMENT CAN MAKE FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES, ECONOMY MORE RISKY

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


  • Futures, European Stocks Flat As Oil Suddenly Tumbles; Pound Slides

    Maybe not too much of a surprise to see oil prices fall, given how much the G10 economic surprises index has collapsed in recent weeks. pic.twitter.com/aXkvHOzZMt
    — Jamie McGeever (@ReutersJamie) June 20, 2017

    European stocks were flat after starting off strongly earlier, dragged lower by energy stocks. Asian stocks, U. S. futures little changed as oil tumbled with Brent tumbling as low as $45.85/bbl to the lowest intraday since November 30 and taking out a 38.2% Fib support, after a one-minute spike in volume to a day-high 5,208 lots just after 6am, with WTI mirroring Brent’s momentum, and falling as much as 98c to $43.22, lowest since November 14.
    As Reuters’ Jamie McGeever points out, “maybe not too much of a surprise to see oil prices fall, given how much the G10 economic surprises index has collapsed in recent weeks.”
    The pound sank for a second day, with the GBPUSD tumbling to 1.2661, alongside gilt yields as Britain central bank governor Mark Carney reversed the earlier BOE “vote split” hawkishness and said he is still worried about the impact Brexit will have on the U. K. economy and said he “now is not the time” to raise rates. Sterling weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers, and gilt yields declined as Carney said that domestic inflation pressures remain subdued. Speaking at London’s Mansion House on Tuesday, he also highlighted the weakness in the economy and the increased uncertainty as the nation formally starts talks to exit the European Union.

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


  • Argentina (!) Sells 100-Year Dollar-Denominated Junk Bonds

    Yield-desperate investors stop before nothing. What have central banks wrought? Junk-rated, deficit-plagued, inflation-whacked Argentina just sold $2.75 billion of 100-year dollar-denominated bonds. This was the first time ever that a junk-rated country was able to sell 100-year bonds denominated in a foreign currency, or any currency.
    Argentina sports a ‘B’ credit rating from Standard & Poor’s. Five notches below investment grade. Deep junk.
    And 100 years is a very, very long time for Argentina and its regularly beaten-up creditors: Just over the past 65 years, it has defaulted six times – in 1951, 1956, 1982, 1989, 2001, and its ‘selective default’ in 2014. Its default in 2001 on $80 billion of dollar-denominated debt was the largest sovereign default at the time.
    And yet, yield-desperate investors don’t seem to care. According to The Wall Street Journal, demand for the private-placement offering was such that Argentina could sell those ‘century’ bonds at a yield of 7.9%, down from the initial price talk of 8.25%.

    This post was published at Wolf Street on Jun 20, 2017.


  • Why The (Collapsing) Global Credit Impulse Is All That Matters: Citi Explains

    One week ago, we reported that UBS has some “very bad news for the global economy”, when we showed that according to the Swiss bank’s calculations, the global credit impulse showed a historic collapse, one which matched the magnitude of the impulse plunge in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis.
    ***
    But why is the credit impulse so critical?
    To answer this question Citi’s Matt King has published a slideshow titled, appropriately enough, “Why buying on impulse is soon regretted”, in which he explains why this largely ignored second derivative of global credit growth is really all that matters for the global economy (as well as markets, as we will explain in a follow up post).
    King first focuses on the one thing that is “wrong” with this recovery: the pervasive lack of global inflation, so desired by DM central banks.

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


  • Inflation is no longer in stealth mode

    IHS Markit index shows UK households pessimistic about finances for 2017-208 UK household finances remain under intense pressure from rising living costs 58 percent of respondents expected higher interest rates in 12 months time Inflation in the United Kingdom currently at near four-year high Prices up prices by 2.9pc year-on-year, biggest annual increase since June 2013 In May consumer spending in the UK fell for the first time in almost four years By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919)

    This post was published at Gold Core on June 20, 2017.


  • El-Erian Warns “The Fed No Longer Has Your Back”

    In hiking rates and, more notably, reaffirming its forward policy guidance and setting out plans for the phased contraction of its balance sheet, the Federal Reserve signalled last week that it has become less data dependent and more emboldened to normalise monetary policy. Yet, judging from asset prices, markets are failing to internalise sufficiently the shift in the policy regime. Should this discrepancy prevail in the months to come, the Fed could well be forced into the type of policy tightening process that could prove quite unpleasant for markets.
    Setting aside multiple signs of an economic soft patch and sluggish inflation, the Federal Reserve did three things on Wednesday that lessen monetary stimulus, only the first of which was widely expected by markets: It raised interest rates by 25 basis points, reiterated its intention to hike four more times between now and the end of next year (including one in the remainder of 2017), and set out a timetable for reducing its $4.5bn balance sheet.
    These three actions confirm an evolution in the Fed’s policy stance away from looking for excuses to maintain a highly accommodative monetary policy – a dovish inclination that dominated for much of the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis. Rather, the Fed is now more intent on gradually normalising both its interest rate structure and its balance sheet. As such, it is more willing to ‘look through’ weak growth and inflation data.
    This evolution started to be visible in March when Fed officials worked hard, and successively, to aggressively manage upwards expectations that were placing the probability of an imminent rate hike at less than 30 per cent. With that, the hike that followed was an orderly one.

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


  • Inflation Trade: AMZN + WFM

    ‘Markets go up on an escalator, they come down on an elevator. This is the most hideously overvalued market in history.’
    David Stockman
    Last week’s action by the Fed was an effort to restore normalcy, but in the context of extraordinary action by the central bank. When you tell markets that the risk free rate is zero, it has profound implications for the cost of debt and equity, and resulting in different asset allocation decisions. Ending this regime also has profound implications for investors and markets.
    In the wake of the financial crisis, some investors found comfort in the fact that when risk free interest rates are at or near zero, the discounted future value of equity securities was theoretically infinite. Markets seem to have validated this view. But to us the real question is this: If a company or country has excessive and growing amounts of debt outstanding against existing assets, what is the value of the equity? The short answer is non-zero and declining. But hold that thought.
    Reading through Grant’s Interest Rate Observer over the weekend, we were struck by the item on China Evergrande Group (OTC:ERGNF), a real estate development company and industrial conglomerate that has reported negative free cash flow since 2006, but has made it up in volume so to speak. The stock is up over 200% this year, Grant’s reports. The real estate conglomerate has its hands into all manner of businesses and seems to typify the China construction craze.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on June 19, 2017.


  • The Fed’s Policy and Its Balance Sheet

    At its June meeting, the FOMC again raised the target range for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points, to 1 – 1 percent. They did so despite evidence that inflation had moderated and that the second estimate of first quarter GDP growth was clearly subpar at 1.2%. Furthermore, despite the fact that 7 of the 12 Federal Reserve district banks had characterized growth in the 2nd quarter as ‘modest,’ as compared with only 4 banks that described it at ‘moderate’ (the NY bank simply said that growth had flattened), the FOMC in its statement described growth as ‘moderate’ (here one needs to know that in Fed-speak ‘modest’ is less than ‘moderate’). The overall discussion evidenced in the statement and subsequent explanations by Chair Yellen in her post-meeting press conference, together with the fact that the only significant change in June’s Summary of Economic Projections was a slight downward revision in the unemployment rate for 2017, failed to make a convincing argument to this writer that there was a compelling case for a rate move at this time. The principal conclusion we can draw is that the FOMC had already conditioned markets to expect an increase in June and that the FOMC’s main rationale was its desire to create more room for policy stimulus should the economy take a sudden turn to the downside.
    More significant than the rate move, however, was the detail the FOMC provided on its plan to normalize its balance sheet, which elaborated on the preliminary plan it put forward in March. Once the Committee decides to begin that process, it will employ a set of sequentially declining caps, or upper limits, on the amount of maturing assets that will be permitted to run off each month. The cap for Treasury securities will initially be $6 billion per month, and it would be raised in increments of $6 billion every three months until $30 billion is reached. Similarly, the cap for MBS will be $4 billion per month, which would also be raised by that amount every three months until $20 billion is reached. These terminal values would be maintained until the balance sheet size is normalized. Left unsaid was what the size of the normalized balance sheet would be.

    This post was published at FinancialSense on 06/19/2017.


  • Bi-Weekly Economic Review: Has The Fed Heard Of Amazon?

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Alhambra Investments. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    The economic surprises keep piling up on the negative side of the ledger as the Fed persists in tightening policy or at least pretending that they are. If a rate changes in the wilderness can the market hear it? Outside of the stock market one would be hard pressed to find evidence of the effectiveness of all the Fed’s extraordinary policies of the last decade. Even there, I’m not sure QE is actually the culprit that has pushed valuations to, once again, incredible heights. I’m also not sure exactly what the Fed is trying to accomplish and I don’t think it really does either. All evidence points to the nonsensical idea that interest rates need to be raised so the Fed will have room to cut them later. Unfortunately, that is as logical as monetary policy gets these days.
    I may not know what’s going on and Janet Yellen surely doesn’t but the bond market usually does. And unlike Yellen we here at Alhambra do pay attention to what the bond market is telling us. It isn’t a tale of full employment and imminent wage and cost push inflation. It also isn’t a tale of robust growth that needs reining in lest it get out of control and put too many people back to work. So, we are left scratching our collective heads trying to figure out what exactly is motivating Yellen & Co. to try and slow down an economy moving at the speed of a sloth.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Joseph Y. Calhoun ‘ June 18, 2017.


  • Global Equity Markets Firmer As Oil Stabilizes, Greece Gets Bailout Money

    (Kitco News) – World stock markets were mostly higher overnight. Crude oil prices are firmer today, which helped out the equities. Also, Greece’s creditors approved another release of bailout money for the indebted country, which assuaged European investors. U. S. stock indexes are pointed toward slightly higher openings when the New York day session begins.
    Gold prices are modestly up in pre-U. S. market trading, on a technical and short-covering bounce from solid selling pressure seen earlier this week.
    In overnight news, Russia’s central bank cut its key interest rate by 25 basis points. The Russian ruble rallied on the news.
    The Bank of Japan held its regular monetary policy meeting Friday and made no major changes in its policy.
    The Euro zone’s consumer price index for May was reported down 0.1% from April and up 1.4% from a year ago. The numbers were right in line with market expectations but down from the European Central Bank’s target rate of around 2.0% annual inflation.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on June 16, 2017.


  • Hedge Fund CIO: “Why The Hell Did The Fed Hike This Week?”

    The start of another week is upon us, which means it is time for another excerpt from the latest letter to clients by One River Asset Management CIO Eric Peters, who today writes about last week’s Fed decision, the upcoming balance sheet unwind, the lack of inflation, and “disruptive” companies which may themselves soon be disrupted.
    We will have more from today’s letter shortly, but for now here is Peters on a topic still fresh on everyone’s minds: the Fed’s latest rate hike decision, and what it really means:
    ‘You make poor people richer, or rich people poorer,’ bellowed Biggie Too, global chief strategist for one of those Too-Big to Fail affairs.
    ‘Ain’t no other way to reduce inequality.’ The Fed had just fired off another .25 caliber shot – Pop! ‘Brexit, Trump, Corbyn,’ barked Biggie. ‘They all promised to make the poor richer.’ But in no time, they’re cutting healthcare for the most vulnerable. Wage growth remains subdued. Stocks are at all-time highs. And poor people don’t own any.
    ‘So maybe those central bankers finally think it’s time to make the rich poorer.’

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 18, 2017.


  • Return of the Gold Bear?

    It was exactly one month ago we discussed our posture as a ‘bearish Gold bull.’
    The gold mining sector hit a historic low nearly 18 months ago but this new cycle has struggled to gain traction as metals prices have stagnated while the stock market and the US Dollar have trended higher. Unfortunately recent technical and fundamental developments argue that precious metals could come under serious pressure in the weeks and months ahead.
    First let me start with Gold’s fundamentals, which turned bearish a few months ago and could remain so through the fall. As we have argued, Gold is inversely correlated to real interest rates. Gold rises when real rates fall and Gold falls when real rates rise.
    Real interest rates bottomed in February and have trended higher ever since. As we know, the rate of inflation has peaked and is declining. Meanwhile, the fed funds rate has increased while bond yields have remained stable. The real fed funds rate and the real 5-year yield have increased by 1% in recent months. If inflation falls by another 0.5% and the fed funds rate is increased by another quarter point, then the real fed funds rate would be positive by the end of the year. That would mark a 2% increase inside of 10 months.

    This post was published at GoldSeek on 18 June 2017.


  • The Eternal Plea for Inflation

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of The Daily Reckoning. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    We learned in yesterday’s Washington Post that the Federal Reserve ‘needs to learn to love inflation.’
    Economics writer Matt O’Brien argues the Fed’s 2% inflation target is far too modest… that Janet Yellen lacks something in the way of vocational ambition.
    This fellow believes Ms. Yellen should set her cap much higher – 4% inflation:
    The higher inflation is, the higher interest rates have to be to control it – and the more room there is to cut them when the economy gets into trouble. So if a 2% target doesn’t get rates high enough to keep them away from zero, then maybe a 4% one will…

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Brian Maher ‘ June 17, 2017.


  • History May Rhyme, But These Curves Repeat

    What is most tragically ironic about the last decade is that the people who are supposed to have been in charge are the same people claiming it could never happen. Ben Bernanke, for example, made his career on studying the Great Depression. Using Milton Friedman’s brand of primitive monetarism as a base, he and others like him developed the modern central bank based on analysis of all the grave mistakes made primarily by monetary authorities in the 1930’s (updated with further opposite mistakes made in the 1970’s).
    But in starting with Friedman, it is quite apparent they never really listened to him. Economists like Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, or Janet Yellen don’t get the bond market. It’s a problem because they really should given their self-assigned responsibilities, and more than that bonds describe fundamentals better than anything else. Next to every complex and elegant DSGE model ever invented, the simple yield curve is beyond compare.
    In 1987, Ohio State economist Stephen Cecchetti wrote a paper for the NBER examining other characteristics of US Treasury rates during the 1930’s. Nominal rates were not exclusively determined by the outlook for growth and inflation, rather there was great value leftover at maturity. Because of the US deficit situation throughout the decade, the US Treasury Department offered what Cecchetti called an ‘exchange privilege’ that at many times proved quite valuable.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on June 16, 2017.


  • Haunting Yellen

    I wouldn’t put it in the category of LBJ ‘losing Cronkite’, but it is at least a measure of amplified pressure (or just any pressure). This week has been utterly embarrassing for the Federal Reserve, a central bank that refuses to define clearly what it is attempting to do. It leaves questions even for who used to be highly sympathetic.
    Their aim is simple enough as a matter of pure economics. The economy didn’t recover and is never going to (so long as monetary matters remain truly unexamined). Having resisted this possibility for nearly a decade, officials who have now come around wish to avoid having to admit it. So they let the media define the economy by the unemployment rate which projects an image of conditions that simply don’t exist.
    The New York Times has typically been friendlier to the official stance on these matters. Credentials go a long way there, and who has better pedigree than Federal Reserve policymakers? But even they may have to call foul because it’s not like the unemployment rate just yesterday dropped so low. It’s been flirting with official levels of ‘full employment’ for three years, forcing the FOMC’s suspect models to redefine down their calculated central tendency (the theorized range where low unemployment is believed to spark serious wage acceleration and then consumer price inflation) time and again.
    At 4.3%, the unemployment rate doesn’t any longer leave much room for interpretation. It’s go time, now or never.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on June 16, 2017.


  • What Housing Recovery? Real Home Prices Still 16% Below 2007 Peak

    Since the financial crisis, home equity has gone from being America’s biggest driver of (illusory) wealth to one of the biggest sources of economic inequality.
    And while the post-crisis recovery has returned the national home price index to its highs from early 2007, most of this rise was generated by a handful of urban markets like New York City and San Francisco, leaving most Americans behind.
    To wit: home prices in the 10 most expensive metro areas have risen 63% since 2000, while home prices in the 10 cheapest areas have gained just 3.6%, according to Harvard’s annual State of the Nation’s Housing report. And while nominal prices may have returned to their pre-recession levels, when you adjust for inflation, real prices are as much as 16 percent below past peaks.

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


  • Reflation, Deflation and Gold

    One of the most important economic debate today is whether the economy will experience reflation or deflation (or low inflation) in the upcoming months. Has the recent reflation been only a temporary jump? Or has it marked the beginning of a new trend? Is the global economy accelerating or are we heading into the next recession? It goes without saying that it is a key investment issue because of the implications for different asset classes, including the precious metals. Let’s try to outline the macroeconomic outlook.
    As one can see in the chart below, inflation has recently risen both in the U. S. and the euro area. And inflation in the UK has really accelerated recently. It’s true that there was a slowdown in the U. S. after a peak in February, but the level of inflation rates remains much higher than in 2014-2015.
    Chart 1: The CPI rate year-over-year for the U. S. (blue line), the Eurozone (red line), and the UK (green line) over the last ten years.

    This post was published at GoldSeek on 16 June 2017.