• Tag Archives Interest Rates
  • Even the Mainstream Sees the Disconnect Between Fed Rhetoric and Actual Data

    The Fed is hawkish about jacking up interest rates, but even the mainstream is catching on to the disconnect between Fed rhetoric and actual data.
    The recent Federal Reserve rate increase and talk of more boosts in the future has sparked a rally for the dollar. This has caused the price of gold to sag. But TJM Institutional Services managing director Jim Iuorio recently said on CNBC’s Futures Now that he’s still bullish on gold because he thinks the Fed’s hawkish tone doesn’t line up with actual economic data.
    I’m a longer-term bull in gold and if you look at the long-term chart the trend is still higher. What the Fed said yesterday is disconcerting to the market, and that’s why the dollar rallied so hard. But as we start to move away from that, we start to see some data that is deteriorating, the dollar should shrink back again and gold should be fine.

    This post was published at Schiffgold on JUNE 21, 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.


  • 5 Ways Fed Rate Hikes May Squeeze Your Wallet

    The Federal Reserve nudged up interest rates another .25 points last week. Of course, nobody was surprise by the central bank’s move. It was widely expected. Nevertheless, the Fed’s latest policy move has everybody bullish on increasing rates into the future
    Of course, nothing has fundamentally changed. As Paul Singer said earlier this month, the financial system is no more sound than it was in 2008. All of this talk about rate hikes will vanish like a vapor if actual economic data continues to point toward a slowdown.
    But since everybody is talking rate hikes right now, this is probably a good time to consider just how rising interest rates will effect your wallet.
    We tend to think about Federal Reserve policy in macro-economic terms. How will it effect the stock market? What kind of bubbles will it blow up? How will it impact the price of gold? But Fed policy also has a direct effect on the average American. In simplest terms, rising rates mean it will cost you more to pay off credit cards and other loans. That’s not good news for an economy buried in debt.
    Here are five ways rising interest rates can put the squeeze on your pocketbook.

    This post was published at Schiffgold on JUNE 21, 2017.


  • Gold Price Slips vs. Falling Dollar as Oil Bounces, Bank of England Split Boosts ‘Brexit-Hit’ Pound

    Gold prices held near 5-week lows against a falling US Dollar on Wednesday, trading at $1243 per ounce as commodities rallied but world stock markets extended Tuesday’s retreat in New York.
    As Brent crude oil rallied $1 per barrel from yesterday’s 7-month lows near $45, that pulled the EuroStoxx 50 index of major European shares more than 1% lower.
    The British Pound meantime rallied after a split emerged amongst senior Bank of England policymakers over holding or raising UK interest rates from the current all-time record low of 0.25% with 435 billion ($550bn) of quantitative easing bond purchases.
    Check out Global Liquidity Reaching a Tipping Point
    The Euro currency also rallied against the Dollar but held 1 cent below last week’s peak, the highest level since Donald Trump won the US presidential election last November.
    The gold price for Eurozone investors fell below 1115 per ounce, near its lowest level since January.

    This post was published at FinancialSense on 06/21/2017.


  • Now China’s Curve

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Alhambra Investments. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    Suddenly central banks are mesmerized by yield curves. One of the jokes around this place is that economists just don’t get the bond market. If it was only a joke. Alan Greenspan’s ‘conundrum’ more than a decade ago wasn’t the end of the matter but merely the beginning. After spending almost the entire time in between then and now on monetary ‘stimulus’ of the traditional variety, only now are authorities paying close attention. Last September the Bank of Japan initiated QQE with YCC (yield curve control). The ECB in December altered its QE parameters to allow for what looks suspiciously like a yield curve steepening bias. And the Fed in its last policy statement declared its upcoming intent to think about balance sheet runoff that, as my colleague Joe Calhoun likes to point out, is almost surely going to be favored in the same way.
    Central bankers spent years saying low interest rates were stimulus. They have yet to explicitly correct their interpretation, preferring the more subtle approach of instead altering their operations as noted above. As I wrote back in December.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Jeffrey P. Snider ‘ June 20, 2017.


  • Doldrums and Summer lows? Pining sez No!

    With analysts at most public PM websites now turning decidedly bearish, with the summer doldrums staring us in the face, with the new rate hike raising interest rates (on paper making gold less desirable as it provides no yield), and with the gold seasonals suggesting that ‘sell in May and go away’ was the play, there is a definite bearish tilt to the sector right now. That’s why (among other things) we have a great risk-reward setup staring us in the face.
    Pining thinks it’s a great place to go long (with stops)! Let me give you a few reasons why, then I’ll outline the trade:
    Sentiment:
    A quick review of 7 popular and publicly available precious metals analytics/trading sites, and a glance through the comments on those sites, made clear to me that there is (at least roughly) a general consensus in the metals complex right now: after failing to break through 1300, and first pushing through then falling back below the long-term downtrend line in gold, the summer doldrums are upon us and consensus sentiment has turned bearish. The two most likely scenarios I saw discussed were either (1) we languish and churn lower for the next few months following typical gold seasonals pattern into a July or August low, or we cascade from here into an earlier low, perhaps late June or early July.
    I like this widespread bearishness very much. This is precisely the type of setup the metals love; wrong-foot the investing public, going against well-known patterns (because it’s never that easy in the metals) and making sure the majority of retail is not on the train and has to chase price. That’s also why the so-so COT doesn’t bother me much, that pattern has been a bit TOO clear recently and has been becoming a little too easy to trade, so I think it’s due for a wrong-foot. In fact it is this ‘juking the crowd’ and subsequent chasing of price on the way up that provides the fuel for the best runs in the metals. This is an excellent setup from a sentiment standpoint. Just ask yourself, when was the last time the majority of retail sentiment was dead-on correct and on the right side of the trade in the metals? Thought so.

    This post was published at TF Metals Report on June 19, 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.


  • Amid Dreary Landscape, Event Funds Stage A Comeback

    The US hedge fund industry is in rough shape as the Federal Reserve’s lift-all-boats monetary policy has made it increasingly difficult to beat the market. US hedge funds endured nearly $100 billion in redemptions last year, as only 30% of US equity funds beat their benchmarks. But as confidence in traditional stock pickers dwindles, so-called ‘event-driven’ funds are attracting renewed interest in investors, particularly in Europe, where near-zero rates and relatively attractive valuations are expected to stoke a boom in M&A activity, Bloomberg reports.

    After these funds experienced some high-profile stumbles in recent years – one such fund managed by John Paulson’s Paulson & Co. posted a 49% loss and endured billions of dollars in redemptions – some Europe-based funds are seeing billions in inflows. Kite Lake Capital Management, Everett Capital Advisors and Melqart Asset Management have garnered billions in fresh investor capital over the past two years.
    ‘Kite Lake Capital Management almost doubled client assets this year, while Everett Capital Advisors nearly tripled its funds since launching in January 2016. The money overseen by Melqart Asset Management has grown 12-fold since the firm started less than two years ago. The three event-driven funds have $1.5 billion in combined assets and invest across Europe, where an increasingly buoyant economy and record-low interest rates are boosting dealmaking. Their resurgence is part of a comeback effort by a hedge-fund industry that’s only now starting to recover from a wave of investor redemptions and years of disappointing returns.

    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.


  • The $31 Billion Hole in GE’s Balance Sheet That Keeps Growing

    It’s a problem that Jeffrey Immelt largely ignored as he tried to appease General Electric Co.’s most vocal shareholders.
    But it might end up being one of the costliest for John Flannery, GE’s newly anointed CEO, to fix.
    At $31 billion, GE’s pension shortfall is the biggest among S&P 500 companies and 50 percent greater than any other corporation in the U.S. It’s a deficit that has swelled in recent years as Immelt spent more than $45 billion on share buybacks to win over Wall Street and pacify activists like Nelson Peltz.
    Part of it has to do with the paltry returns that have plagued pensions across corporate America as ultralow interest rates prevailed in the aftermath of the financial crisis. But perhaps more importantly, GE’s dilemma underscores deeper concerns about modern capitalism’s all-consuming focus on immediate results, which some suggest is short-sighted and could ultimately leave everyone — including shareholders themselves — worse off.

    This post was published at bloomberg


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Democracy Is A Front For Central Bank Rule

    Several years ago when the Federal Reserve had its Fed funds rate at zero to 25 basis points (one-quarter of one percent – 0.25%), there was a great deal of talk, somehow presented as urgent, whether the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates.
    RT asked me if the Fed was going to raise interest rates. I answered that the purpose of low interest rates was to restore the solvency of the balance sheets of the ‘banks too big to fail’ by raising debt prices. The lower the interest rate, the higher the prices of debt instruments. The Fed drives bond prices up by purchasing bonds, and the Fed raises interest rates by selling bonds, or by purchasing fewer of them than previously.
    I told RT that a real increase in interest rates would undercut the Fed’s policy of rescuing the balance sheets of the big banks whose balance sheets were loaded up with bad debt that desperately needed a rise in debt prices for the banks to remain solvent.

    This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on June 19, 2017.


  • German Politicians Hammer the ECB, But Only to Get Votes

    They know: the Eurozone would plunge into a sovereign debt crisis all over again, only worse this time.
    By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. These days it’s easy to tell when general elections are approaching in Germany: members of the ruling government begin bewailing, in perfect unison, the ECB’s ultra-loose monetary policy. Leading the charge this time was Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who on Tuesday urged the ECB to change its policy ‘in a timely manner’, warning that very low interest rates had caused problems in ‘some parts of the world.’
    Werner Bahlsen, the head of the economic council of Merkel’s CDU conservatives, was next to take the baton. ‘The ongoing purchase of government bonds has already cost the European project a great deal of credibility and has damaged it,’ he said. ‘The ECB can only regain trust with the return to a sound monetary policy.’
    As Schaeuble and Balhsen well know, that is not likely to occur any time soon. Indeed, like all other Eurozone finance ministers, Schaeuble is benefiting handsomely from the record-low borrowing costs made possible by the ECB’s negative interest rate policy. But by attacking ECB policy he and his peers can make it seem that they take voters’ concerns about low interest rates seriously, while knowing perfectly well that the things they say have very little effect on what the ECB actually does.

    This post was published at Wolf Street 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.


  • Here Comes Quantitative Tightening

    All of a sudden the Fed got a little tougher. Perhaps the success of the hit movie Wonder Woman has inspired Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen to discard her prior timidity to show us how much monetary muscle she can flex when the time comes for action. Although the Fed’s decision this week to raise interest rates by 25 basis points was widely expected, the surprise came in how the medicine was administered. Most observers had expected a ‘dovish’ hike in which a slight tightening would be accompanied by an abundance of caution, exhaustive analysis of downside risks, and assurances that the Fed would think twice before proceeding any farther. But that’s not what happened. Instead Yellen adopted what should be viewed as the most hawkish policy stance of her chairmanship. The dovish expectations resulted from increasing acknowledgement that the economy remains stubbornly weak. Just like most of the years in this decade, 2017 kicked off with giddy hopes of three percent growth. But as has been the case consistently, those hopes were quickly dashed. First quarter GDP came in at just 1.2%. What’s worse, second quarter estimates have been continuously reduced, offering no indication that a snap back is imminent. The very day of the Fed meeting, fresh retail sales and business inventory data surprised on the weak side, becoming just the latest in a series of bad data points (including figures on auto sales and manufacturing). By definition these reports should further depress GDP growth (much as widening trade deficits already have).

    This post was published at Euro Pac on Friday, June 16, 2017.


  • Carmageddon Crashes into ‘the Recovery’ Right on Schedule – EXACTLY as Predicted Here

    By: David Haggith
    Carmageddon, as Wolf Richter has called it, is hitting the US economy exactly as I said a year and a half ago would start to happen at the very end of 2016 or the start of 2017. Measured year-on-year, auto sales have declined every month of 2017, and are now starting to cause the financial wreckage that I said we would experience in what will become a demolition derby for US auto manufacturers.
    ‘A stretched auto consumer, falling used [vehicle] prices, and technological obsolescence of current cars are ingredients for an unprecedented buyer’s strike,’ wrote Morgan Stanley’s auto analyst Adam Jonas in a note to clients. (Wolf Street)
    Stanley now foresees a ‘multiyear cyclical decline,’ along with a declining ‘willingness of financial institutions to lend as aggressively as in the past.’
    After an eight-year boom, the industry appears ‘to be hitting a point of diminishing returns where the tactics required to attract the incremental consumer may be putting even more pressure on the second-hand market, leading to adverse conditions for selling new vehicles….’ not even record incentives, reaching $14,000 for some truck models, have much impact. Those are the ‘diminishing returns’ – when you throw gobs of money at a problem and it doesn’t have much impact. Lenders, particularly the captives, stepped forward, making loans with very long terms, low and often subsidized interest rates (‘0% financing’), sky-high loan-to-value ratios, and leases that gambled on very high residual values that have now gone up in smoke as used vehicle prices are heading south.

    This post was published at GoldSeek on Sunday, 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.