• Tag Archives Monetary Policy
  • Weekend Reading: Yellen Takes Away The Punchbowl

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

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


  • 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.


  • German Elections Void of Any Critical Discussion

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

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


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

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

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


  • The forthcoming global crisis

    The global economy is now in an expansionary phase, with bank credit being increasingly available for non-financial borrowers. This is always the prelude to the crisis phase of the credit cycle. Most national economies are directly boosted by China, the important exception being America. This is confirmed by dollar weakness, which is expected to continue. The likely trigger for the crisis will be from the Eurozone, where the shift in monetary policy and the collapse in bond prices will be greatest. Importantly, we can put a tentative date on the crisis phase in the middle to second half of 2018, or early 2019 at the latest.
    Introduction
    Ever since the last credit crisis in 2007/8, the next crisis has been anticipated by investors. First, it was the inflationary consequences of zero interest rates and quantitative easing, morphing into negative rates in the Eurozone and Japan. Extreme monetary policies surely indicated an economic and financial crisis was just waiting to happen. Then the Eurozone started a series of crises, the first of several Greek ones, the Cyprus bail-in, then Spain, Portugal and Italy. Any of these could have collapsed the world’s financial order.

    This post was published at GoldMoney on September 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.


  • 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.


  • “If This Trade Doesn’t Work, You Can Blame Me…”

    In July I wrote a piece titled, ‘Is the real US Dollar Pain Trade Lower?’. At the time the US dollar was sucking wind, but many traders were still playing for a bounce. The prevailing wisdom was that the Fed’s tighter monetary policy, combined with Trump’s business acumen, along with a tax reform bill, and topped off with a massive short covering surge from emerging market US dollar denominated issuers, would ensure the two-year US dollar rally would continue.

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


  • This Fed is on a Mission

    QE Unwind starts Oct. 1. Rate hike in Dec. Low inflation, no problem. The two-day meeting of the FOMC ended on Wednesday with a momentous announcement that has been telegraphed for months: the QE unwind begins October 1. It marks the end of an era.
    The unwind will proceed at the pace and via the mechanisms announced at its June 14 meeting. The purpose is to shrink its balance sheet and undo what QE has done, thus reversing the purpose of QE.
    Countless people, worried about their portfolios and real estate investments, have stated with relentless persistence that the Fed would never unwind QE – that it in fact cannot afford to unwind QE.
    The vote was unanimous. Even no-rate-hike-ever and cannot-spot-housing-bubbles Neel Kashkari voted for it.
    The Fed also telegraphed that it could raise its target range for the federal funds rate a third time this year, from the current range of 1.0% to 1.25%. There is only one policy meeting with a press conference left this year: December 13, when the two-day meeting ends, remains the top candidate for the next rate hike.
    This has been the routine since the rate hike last December: The FOMC decides to change its monetary policy at every meeting with a press conference: December, March, June, today, and December.

    This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ Sep 20, 2017.


  • What the Fed’s New $4.5 Trillion Balance Sheet Plan Means for the Stock Market Today

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    The Federal Reserve is set to announce more details about unwinding its massive $4.5 trillion balance sheet at today’s FOMC meeting. That will officially signal the end of the Fed’s stimulus program, going all the way back to 2007.
    The Five Top Stock Market Stories for Wednesday
    This afternoon, the U. S. Federal Reserve will conclude its two-day meeting on monetary policy. Fed Chair Janet Yellen will hold a press conference to announce the central bank’s plans on how it will unwind its massive balance sheet. This will be considered the official announcement by the Fed that it is ending its stimulus program that began after the financial crisis. Investors should remain cautious, as this truly is the great unknown regarding market risk. In fact, investors should read Lee Adler’s latest commentary on how the central bank’s stimulus programs work and what it means for your investments. Be sure to read Sure Money Investor.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Garrett Baldwin ‘ September 20, 2017.


  • Markets Pause As FOMC Meeting Begins Tuesday

    Global stock markets were mostly weaker overnight. U. S. stock indexes are pointed toward narrowly mixed openings when the New York day session begins.
    Traders and investors worldwide are a bit cautious ahead of the U. S. Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting.
    Gold prices are slightly higher in pre-U. S. day session trading, on some tepid short covering following recent selling pressure that pushed prices to a three-week low on Monday.

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


  • Yesterday’s “Watershed” Central Bank Announcement Which Everybody Missed

    In what may have been a watershed moment in monetary policy – which awkwardly was missed by almost everyone as a result of the concurrent launch of the latest North Korean ballistic missile which immediately drowned out all other newsflow – late on Thursday, the Bank of Canada held a conference on inflation targeting and monetary policy titled “Bank of Canada Workshop ‘Monetary Policy Framework Issues: Toward the 2021 Inflation-Target Renewal” in which, in a stunning shift of monetary orthodoxy, BoC Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn A. Wilkins said that Canada was open to changes in the BoC mandate.
    WILKINS: OPEN TO LOOKING AT `SENSIBLE’ ALTERNATIVES TO MANDATE Or in other words, lowering or outright abolishing the central bank’s inflation target, or explicitly targeting financial conditions and asset prices.
    While still early in the process, the BOC may be setting a precedent, one which other DM central banks may have no choice but to follow: If the Bank of Canada is going to look at alternatives to their mandate (with an emphasis on inflation), it – as several trading desks have suggested – could become the first central bank to officially change its mandate to reflect financial conditions that are too loose in the context of the current low r-star lowflation environment.
    In practical terms, this would mean that instead of seeking chronically easier conditions to hit legacy inflation targets around ~2.0% while inflating ever greater asset bubbles, one or more central banks could simply say that 1.5% (or less) is sufficient for CPI and call it a day, in the process soaking up record easy financial conditions and bursting countless asset bubbles. In the context of a “new supply paradigm” in retail (where even FOMC members now blame Amazon for lack of inflation) and energy (same but with OPEC) which appears to be gaining traction within central banks, as well as frustration with distortion in asset markets, It would make much sense for the Fed to lower the inflation target to 1.5%, declare victory, and normalize policy.
    Why? Because as several banks noted after the BoC conference, we know that central banks world-wide are concerned about the size of their balance sheets and associated dysfunctionality in government and other bond markets, and the ever-increasing risks from the ultimate unwind as the QE programs continue to grow in a war against inflation where the victory looks increasingly Pyrrhic. Furthermore, negative rates have caused money markets to become dysfunctional and less efficient, which could be a structural issue “if the temporary was allowed to become permanent.”

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 15, 2017.


  • Euros, Dollars and Central Bank Manipulations

    Peter Schiff has been talking a lot about the weakening dollar. In a recent Schiff Report video, Peter said he sees the ‘mother of all dollar bear markets’ on the horizon. The dollar has already dropped about 12% on the year, and it’s on track for its worst year since 1985. That was the beginning of a decade long bear market for the dollar. Peter says he thinks this one will be worse.
    I think this one is going to be the mother of all dollar bear markets, and I think the dollar is going to fall much further than it did in any prior bear market.’
    The following article by economist Dr. Daniel Lacalle, published at the Mises Institute FedWatch, provides some further insights into monetary policy by looking at the strength of the euro in relation to the dollar. His analysis sheds light on the relationship between strong and weak currencies, and the cost and benefits of each.
    The primary purposes of the incorrectly named ‘unconventional monetary policies’ are to debase the currency, stoke inflation, and make exports more competitive. Printing money aims to solve structural imbalances by making currencies weaker.

    This post was published at Schiffgold on SEPTEMBER 14, 2017.


  • Trump Can Mold Federal Reserve in His Image

    President Donald Trump will have the opportunity to mold the Federal Reserve in his own image. But what that will look like remains to be seen.
    As Jim Rickards points out, Trump will appoint a higher percentage of the Fed’s board of governors than any president since Woodrow Wilson chose the original board.
    Seven members make up the Federal Reserve’s board of governors. Of course, regional reserve bank presidents also have some influence. But you find the real decision making power on the board. As of last week, four of the seven Fed board seats are vacant.
    Consider the power this gives the president. Four seats makes up a voting majority.
    Trump will own the Fed. Meaning, whatever the president wants monetary policy to be, he’ll get. In other words, Donald Trump will be able to shape the Fed’s majority. But the tricky part is figuring out how he plans to shape it.’

    This post was published at Schiffgold on SEPTEMBER 13, 2017.


  • #FedGibberish!

    Recently on our Twitter feed, @michaellebowitz, we introduced the hashtag #fedgibberish.

    The purpose was to tag Federal Reserve members’ comments that highlight desperate efforts to rationalize their inane monetary policy in the post-financial crisis era. This past week there were two quotes by Fed members and one by the head of the European Central Bank (ECB) which were highly deserving of the tag. We present them below, with commentary, to help you understand the predicament the Fed and other central banks face.
    Lael Brainard
    On September 5, 2017 Fed Governor Lael Brainard stated the following in a speech at the Economic Club of New York:
    ‘We should be cautious about tightening policy further until we are confident inflation is on track to achieve our target.’ – ‘There is a high premium on guiding inflation back up to target so as to retain space to buffer adverse shocks with conventional policy.’

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 13, 2017.


  • Further thoughts on Gibson’s paradox

    ‘The paradox is one of the most completely established empirical facts in the whole field of quantitative economics.’ – John Maynard Keynes
    ‘The Gibson paradox remains an empirical phenomenon without a theoretical explanation’ -Friedman and Schwartz
    ‘No problem in economics has been more hotly debated.’ – Irving Fisher
    Introduction
    Two years ago, I found a satisfactory solution to Gibson’s paradox.i The paradox is important, because it demonstrated that between 1750-1930, interest rates in Britain correlated with the general price level, and had no correlation with the rate of price inflation. And as Friedman and Schwartz wrote, a theoretical explanation eluded even eminent economists, so economists preferred to assume the quantity theory of money was the correct guide to the relationship between interest rates and prices. Therefore, the consequence of resolving the paradox is that the supposed linkage between interest rates, the quantity of money and the effect on prices is disproved.
    Gibson’s paradox tells us that the basis of monetary policy is fundamentally flawed. The reason this error has been ignored is that no neo-classical economist has been able to establish why Gibson’s paradox is valid, as the introductory quotes tell us. Consequently, this little-know but very important subject is hardly ever discussed nowadays, and it’s a fair bet most of today’s central bankers are unaware of it.

    This post was published at GoldMoney on September 07, 2017.


  • Stanley Fischer’s Well-Timed Fed Exit

    Fed vice-chair Stanley Fischer’s surprise announcement of early retirement triggers the obvious question as to whether this could be the fore-runner to a serious market and economic deterioration ahead. Monetary bureaucrats, even if signally bad at counter-cyclical fine tuning, sometimes have a reputation for intuition about how to time their own career moves ahead of crisis. In this case, such suspicion may be wide of the mark given the personal circumstances. Even so, the exit of a Fed Vice-Chair, who in many respects has been the pioneer and the dean of the prevailing doctrine in the global central bankers club, is pause for thought.
    The Early Years When Professor Fischer published his famous paper ‘On Activist Monetary Policy with Rational Expectations’ (NBER working paper no. 341, April 1979), the fiat money world was well into the third stage of disorder following the collapse of the international gold standard in 1914. But things were at a temporary resting point where the skies seemed to be getting clearer. After the violent terminal storms of the gold exchange standard (early 20s to early 30s), and then of the Bretton Woods System, it seemed to many that the ‘monetarist revolutionaries’ had found a better practical monetary navigation route. The Bundesbank, the Federal Reserve, the Swiss National Bank, and even the Bank of Japan were pursuing an ersatz gold rule of low percentage increases in the monetary base or a related aggregate.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Sept 10, 2017.


  • Weekend Reading: The “Real” Vampire Squid

    First, it was Hurricane ‘Harvey’ and an expected $180 billion in damages to the Texas coastline. Now, ‘Irma’ is speeding her way to the Florida coastline dragging ‘Jose’ in her wake. Those two hurricanes, depending on where they land will send damages higher by another $100 billion or more in the weeks ahead.
    The immediate funding needed for relief to Americans is what you would truly deem to be ’emergency measures.’
    But that is not what I am talking about today.
    Nope, I am talking about Central Banks.
    On Thursday, Mario Draghi, of the ECB, announced their latest monetary policy stance:


    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 8, 2017.