• Tag Archives Monetary Policy
  • ‘The money is just sitting there…doing nothing for society’

    Of all the disturbing side-effects of modern monetary policy, the worst might be the way artificially-low interest rates encourage small savers to take outsize risks. Now governments are starting to insist:
    How Denmark Is Trying to Get Savers to Invest in Risky Assets
    (Bloomberg) – In the country with the longest history of negative interest rates, an experiment is under way. The minister in charge of Denmark’s finance industry wants savers to shift some of the billions of kroner now in bank deposits over to riskier assets.
    Danes have about 840 billion kroner ($135 billion) in bank deposits, the latest central bank figures show. Nykredit, the biggest Danish mortgage bank, estimates that number will continue to grow through the end of 2017, marking a record.
    But those bank deposits pay no interest. Add the effect of inflation, and savers are actually losing money. For corporate clients, banks charge a fee to hold their deposits, making the loss even bigger.

    This post was published at DollarCollapse on NOVEMBER 29, 2017.

  • Walking in Their Footsteps: Powell Will Maintain Status Quo at Fed

    It looks like Trump’s pick to chair the Federal Reserve plans to walk in the footsteps of his predecessors.
    In other words, we can expect the legacy of Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen to continue unbroken. That means a continuation of interventionist monetary policy, artificially low interest rates into the foreseeable future, and plenty of quantitative easing when the time comes.
    Yes. The new boss looks a lot like the old boss.
    Jerome Powell testified before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday. The New York Times described it as a ‘relatively placid affair.’
    Maintaining the status quo doesn’t set off too many fireworks.
    Democrats seem OK with the pick. Interestingly, the people who were against Powell when he was an Obama appointee are OK with him now that he’s a Trump appointee.
    Some Democrats have indicated they might oppose the nomination. But, importantly, Mr. Powell drew little opposition from conservative Republicans who opposed both his nomination as a Fed governor in 2012 and his reappointment in 2014. Senator Dean Heller, a Nevada Republican who voted against Mr. Powell both times, said he was trying to get to yes.’

    This post was published at Schiffgold on NOVEMBER 29, 2017.

  • Dollar Jumps As Yellen Goes Full Bernanke: Warns “Asset Valuations Are High” But Risk Is “Contained”

    Yes, departing Fed chair Janet Yellen used the ‘c’ word…
    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, in prepared remarks ahead of what may be her last appearance before Congress as head of the central bank, somewhat gloated at the steadily brightening picture for the U. S. economy she has left behind for Jay Powell (while downplaying the risks of financial instability).
    ‘The economic expansion is increasingly broad based across sectors as well as across much of the global economy,” Yellen said in prepared testimony to the bicameral Joint Economic Committee on Wednesday in Washington. ‘I expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, the economy will continue to expand and the job market will strengthen somewhat further, supporting faster growth in wages and incomes.”

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 29, 2017.

  • 2017: The Year of the Bubbles

    2017 may well go down in history as the year of the bubble.
    We’ve talked a lot about the stock market bubble in recent months, but there are a whole slew of bubbles floating around out there – most of them created by loose monetary policy that has dumped billions of dollars of easy money into the world’s financial systems over the last eight years.
    Even the Federal Reserve has taken notice of the stock market bubble and seems to be a bit spooked by the monster it created. According to the most recent FOMC minutes released by the Fed, several participants ‘expressed concerns about a potential buildup of financial imbalances,’ in light of ‘elevated asset valuations and low financial market volatility.’
    But the stock market isn’t the only bubble that’s blown up over the last year. Earlier this month, Mint Capital strategist Bill Blain warned us about the bond bubble.

    This post was published at Schiffgold on NOVEMBER 27, 2017.

  • Francesco Filia: The World’s Twin Asset Bubbles Could Collapse Under Their Own Weight

    In this week’s MacroVoices podcast, Erik Townsend interviews Francesco Filia, a fund manager at Fasanara Capital. After exchanging pleasantries, Townsend begins the interview by asking Filia, an analysts who’s widely regarded for his research about how post-crisis monetary policy has impacted distorted markets, about the different metrics he uses to determine whether a certain asset is in a bubble.
    Filia begins by ticking off a laundry list of metrics that all point to the same conclusion: That today’s market is more overvalued than at any point in recent history – including the run-up to the financial crisis.
    Thank you, Erik. I think the equity bubble is quite uncontroversial, is quite unambiguous. There are a lot of different valuation metrics for those that care to look into them. They’ve been valid for over a hundred years of modern financial markets. And this time is no different in that respect. There are the usual metrics that the valuation guys are looking at, like financial assets to disposable income that shows that this market is way more expensive than at any point in history including the big dot com bubble and the Lehman moment in 2007-2008.

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

  • Demographic Dysphoria: Swiss Village Offers Families Over $70,000 To Live There

    Across the world, demographic dysphoria is taking shape, creating numerous headaches for governments. To avoid the next economic downturn, governments are searching for creative measures to increase population growth and deliver a sustainable economy. In Europe, a near decade of excessive monetary policy coupled with a massive influx of refugees have not been able to reverse negative population growth – first spotted in 2012.

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

  • FOMC Signals Dovish Inflation Concerns, Warns “Sharp Reversal” In Markets Could Damage Economy

    With a dumping dollar and collapsing yield curve since November’s FOMC, all eyes are on the Minutes for any signals of The Fed hawkishly ignoring inflation concerns but instead a few Fed officials opposed near-term hikes (on the basis of weak inflation). Furthermore, several Fed officials warned of the potential for bubbles, “in light of elevated asset valuations and low financial market volatility, several participants expressed concerns about a potential buildup of financial imbalances.”
    Bloomberg’s Brendan Murray highlights the key aspects of The Fed Minutes
    Consistent with their expectation that a gradual removal of monetary policy accommodation would be appropriate, many participants thought that another increase in the target range for the federal funds rate was likely to be warranted in the near term if incoming information left the medium-term outlook broadly unchanged. Nearly all participants reaffirmed the view that a gradual approach to increasing the target range was likely to promote the Committee’s objectives of maximum employment and price stability.
    A few other participants thought that additional policy firming should be deferred until incoming information confirmed that inflation was clearly on a path toward the Committee’s symmetric 2 percent objective.
    Several participants indicated that their decision about whether to increase the target range in the near term would depend importantly on whether the upcoming economic data boosted their confidence that inflation was headed toward the Committee’s objective. A few participants cautioned that further increases in the target range for the federal funds rate while inflation remained persistently below 2 percent could unduly depress inflation expectations or lead the public to question the Committee’s commitment to its longer-run inflation objective.
    In light of elevated asset valuations and low financial market volatility, several participants expressed concerns about a potential buildup of financial imbalances. They worried that a sharp reversal in asset prices could have damaging effects on the economy.

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

  • Are Markets Really as Calm as they Seem?

    Indicators for financial market “stress” have reached their lowest levels in decades. For instance, stock market volatility has never been this low since the early 1990s. Credit spreads have been shrinking, and prices for credit default swaps have fallen to pre-crisis levels. In fact, investors are no longer haunted by concerns about the stability of the financial system, potential credit defaults, and unfavourable surprises in the economy or financial assets markets. How come?
    Monetary policy plays the significant role. By slashing interest rates and ramping up the quantity of money in the banking system, central banks around the world have kick-started the economies following the 2008/2009 crash. But this is not the full story. The fact that investors expect central banks to stand at the ready to fend off a slowdown of the economy and price declines in stock and housing markets is by no means less important.
    The truth is that investors expect central banks to provide a “safety net.” This expectation encourages them to make risky investments again (which they would otherwise have declined). That said, central banks have caused a colossal ‘moral hazard’: Investors feel pretty much assured that the risk-reward profile of their investments has become more favorable – that they can enjoy a considerable upside, while the downside is limited.

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

  • Business Cycles and Inflation – Part I

    Incrementum Advisory Board Meeting Q4 2017 – Special Guest Ben Hunt, Author and Editor of Epsilon Theory
    The quarterly meeting of the Incrementum Fund’s Advisory Board took place on October 10 and we had the great pleasure to be joined by special guest Ben Hunt this time, who is probably known to many of our readers as the main author and editor of Epsilon Theory. He is also chief risk officer at investment management firm Salient Partners. As always, a transcript of the discussion is available for download below.
    As usual, we will add a few words here to expand a little on the discussion. A wide range of issues relevant to the markets was debated at the conference call, but we want to focus on just one particular point here that we only briefly mentioned in the discussion. In fact, as you will see we are about to go off on quite a tangent (note: Part II will be posted shortly as well).
    Among the things Ben Hunt specializes in are the narratives accompanying economic and financial trends, and not to forget, economic and monetary policy, which inform the ‘Common Knowledge Game’ (in his introductory remarks, Ronald Stoeferle provides this brief definition: ‘It’s not what the crowd believes that’s important; it’s what the crowd believes that the crowd believes’). This reminded us of something George Soros first mentioned in a speech he delivered in the early 1990s:
    Economic history is a never-ending series of episodes based on falsehoods and lies, not truths. It represents the path to big money. The object is to recognize the trend whose premise is false, ride that trend, and step off before it is discredited.

    This post was published at Acting-Man on November 17, 2017.

  • Draghi Speech: Everything Is Awesome In Europe, No Signs Of Systemic Risks

    Mario Draghi gave the keynote speech at the Frankfurt European Banking Congress this morning in which he focused on the strong outlook for the Eurozone economy and how his monetary policy is playing a vital role. The speech was peppered with upbeat phrases and adjectives like solid, robust, unabated, endogenous propagation, resilient, remarkable and ongoing. According to Draghi.
    The euro area is in the midst of a solid economic expansion. GDP has risen for 18 straight quarters, with the latest data and surveys pointing to unabated growth momentum in the period ahead. From the ECB’s perspective, we have increasing confidence that the recovery is robust and that this momentum will continue going forward. Draghi is confident that future growth will be unabated for three reasons.
    Previous headwinds have dissipated; Drivers of growth are increasingly endogenous rather than exogenous; and The Eurozone economy is more resilient to new shocks. In terms of previous headwinds, Draghi notes that global growth and trade have recovered, while the eurozone has de-leveraged.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.

  • Hayek on Good and Bad Unemployment Policies

    In 1944 Professor Hayek emphasised that sustainable employment de pends on an appropriate distribution of labour among the different lines of production. This distribution must change as circumstances change. Sustain able employment thus depends on appropriate changes in relative real wage-rates. If established producers – both unions and capitalists – prevent such relative changes from becoming effective, there follows an unnecessary rise in unemployment. Sustainable employment now depends on successfully tackling these established labour and capital monopolies. – Sudha R. Shenoy
    One of the obstacles to a successful employment policy is, paradoxically enough, that it is so comparatively easy quickly to reduce unemployment, or even almost to extinguish it, for the time being. There is always ready at hand a way of rapidly bringing large numbers of people back to the kind of employment they are used to, at no greater immediate cost than the printing and spending of a few extra millions. In countries with a disturbed monetary history this has long been known, but it has not made the remedy much more popular. In England the recent discovery of this drug has produced a somewhat intoxicating effect; and the present tendency to place exclusive reliance on its use is not without danger.
    Though monetary expansion can afford quick relief, it can produce a lasting cure only to a limited extent. Few people will deny that monetary policy can successfully counteract the deflationary spiral into which every minor decline of activity tends to degenerate. This does not mean, however, that it is desirable that we should normally strain the instrument of monetary expansion to create the maximum amount of employment which it can produce in the short run. The trouble with such a policy is that it would be almost certain to aggravate the more fundamental or structural causes of unemployment and leave us in the end in a position worse than that from which we started.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 11/16/2017.

  • BoE Deputy Governor Gives Crazy Speech Warning Markets Have Underestimated Rate Rises

    On 2 November 2017, the Bank of England raised rates for the first time in a decade and Sterling’s initial rise was promptly sold off by forex traders as we discussed.
    The 7-2 vote by the Monetary Policy Committee was not the unanimous decision some had expected, while Cunliffe and Ramsden saw insufficient evidence that wage growth would pick up in line with the BoE’s projections from just over 2% to 3% in a year’s time. Ben Broadbent, MPC member, deputy governor and known to be a close confidant of Governor Carney, gave a speech today at the London School of Economics (LSE) in which he warned markets that Brexit issues didn’t necessarily mean that interest rates have to remain low.
    Bloomberg reports that Broadbent stated that the Brexit impact on monetary policy depends on how it affects demand, supply and the exchange rate.
    “There are feasible combinations of the three that might require looser policy, others that lead to tighter policy.”
    Which sounds alot like he doesn’t know, although he stuck to the central bankers trusty tool, reassuring LSE students the Phillips Curve “still seems to have a slope”.

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

  • The Moment Gary Cohn Realized His Entire Economic Policy Is A Disaster

    Ever since 2012 (see “How The Fed’s Visible Hand Is Forcing Corporate Cash Mismanagement“) we have warned that as a result of the Fed’s flawed monetary policy and record low rates, corporations have been incentivized not to invest in growth and allocate funds to capital spending (the result has been an unprecedented decline in capex), but to engage in the quickest, and most effective – if only in the short run – shareholder friendly actions possible, namely stock buybacks.
    We got a vivid confirmation of that recently when Credit Suisse showed that the only buyer of stock since the financial crisis has been the corporate sector’, i.e. companies repurchasing their own shares…

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

  • Sweden: The World’s Biggest Housing Bubble Cracks

    Sweden’s property bubble is probably the world’s biggest, despite which it gets relatively little coverage in the mainstream financial media – although that might be about to change. Warnings about this bubble are not new. In March 2016, Moody’s issued a very explicit warning that Sweden’s negative interest rates were propagating an unsustainable housing bubble.
    The central banks of Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden (all rated Aaa stable) have been among the first to push policy rates into negative territory. A year into this novel experience, Moody’s Investors Service concludes that, from among the three countries, Sweden is most at risk of an – ultimately unsustainable – asset bubble…
    “The Riksbank has not been successful in engineering higher inflation, while Sweden’s GDP growth continues to be among the strongest in the advanced economies,” says Kathrin Muehlbronner, a Senior Vice President at Moody’s.
    “At the same time, the unintended consequences of the ultra-loose monetary policy are becoming increasingly apparent – in the form of rapidly rising house prices and persistently strong growth in mortgage credit”, adds Ms Muehlbronner. In Moody’s view, these trends will likely continue as interest rates will remain low, raising the risk of a house price bubble, with potentially adverse effects on financial stability as and when house prices reverse trends.

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

  • White House Considering Mohamed El-Erian For Fed Vice Chair

    In what will come as a big surprise to many Fed watchers, moments ago the WSJ reported that among other candidates, Mohamed El-Erian, former deputy director of the IMF, former head of the Harvard Management Company, Bill Gross’ former partner at Pimco until the duo’s infamous falling out, and one of the few people who – together with John Taylor – actually deserve the nomination, is being considered for the Fed Vice Chairman role. DJ also added that Kansas banking regulator Michelle Bowman is also being considered. From the WSJ:
    The White House is considering economist Mohamed El-Erian as one of several candidates to potentially serve as the Federal Reserve’s vice chairman, according to a person familiar with the matter.
    The process of selecting the Fed’s No. 2 official began this month after President Donald Trump nominated Fed governor Jerome Powell to succeed Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen when her term expires next February.
    The WSJ adds that there is a broad range of candidates under consideration for post, and that the White House will focus on monetary policy experience for post.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 14, 2017.

  • U.K. Litigation Cases On Defaulted Consumer Debts Soar Beyond 2008 Levels

    Last month, S&P warned that UK lenders could incur 30 billion of losses on their consumer lending portfolios consisting of credit cards, personal and auto loans if interest rates and unemployment rose sharply. Much like in the U. S., S&P warned that “loose monetary policy, cheap central bank term funding schemes and benign economic conditions” had fueled an “unsustainable” yet massive expansion of consumer credit that will inevitably end badly. Per The Guardian:
    The rapid rise in UK consumer debt to 200bn from car finance, personal loans and credit cards is unsustainable at current growth rates and should raise ‘red flags’ for the major lenders, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has warned.
    In detailed analysis of the sector, S&P warned that losses from this form of lending suffered by banks and other financial institutions could be ‘sharp and very sudden’ in an economic downturn and may be exacerbated if the Bank of England increased interest rates.
    It also warned that it could downgrade banks’ credit ratings if the high growth rate persisted or banks took on too much risk in this sector. But it did not fear any system-wide impact from consumer credit.
    ‘Loose monetary policy, cheap central bank term funding schemes and benign economic conditions have supported consumer credit supply and demand,’ S&P said.
    Annual growth rates in UK consumer credit of 10% a year have outpaced household income growth, which is closer to 2%, and become a focus for the Bank which is scrutinising lenders’ approach to the sector.
    ‘We believe the double-digit annual growth rate in UK consumer credit would be unsustainable if it continued at the same pace,’ S&P said.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 14, 2017.

  • Key Events In The Coming Week: Taxes, Inflation, Yellen, Draghi, Kuroda And Brexit

    This week’s economic calendar features several key data releases and Fedspeak. The main data release in US include: CPI inflation, retail sales, industrial production, housing data and monthly budget statement. We also get the latest GDP and CPI reading across the Euro Area; the employment report in the UK and AU, Japan GDP, China IP, retail sales and FAI. In Emerging markets, there are monetary policy meetings in Indonesia, Chile, Egypt and Hong Kong.
    Market participants will also want to pay close attention to tax reform progress in Washington. The House Ways and Means Committee had voted along party lines (24-16) to deliver its bill to the full House. The Senate Finance Committee’s proposal was also revealed last week and is slated for markup this week. Both versions are essentially opening gambits by the two chambers and the hard work begins when the two bills are ‘reconciled’. As a reminder, the Senate version is likely to be closer to the final version. In our view, there is a decent chance that some version of tax reform can be achieved, but this is likely to be a Q1 event and there are numerous potential stumbling blocks along the way.
    With respect to the data, October inflation and retail sales reports are the main focus. Tuesday, DB expects headline PPI (+0.1% forecast vs. +0.4% previously) to moderate following a spike in gasoline prices last month due to hurricane-related supply disruptions. However, core PPI inflation (+0.2% vs. +0.1%) should firm. Analyst will focus on the healthcare services component of the PPI, as this is an input into the corresponding series in the core PCE deflator – the Fed’s preferred inflation metric. Recall that healthcare has the largest weighting in the core PCE.

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

  • Philly Fed President Unconvincing As He “Lightly” Pencils In December Hike

    Speaking in at a conference in Tokyo, the head of the Philly Fed, Patrick Harker said that he has penciled in a further rate hike by the Fed at its December meeting on 12-13 December 2017. However, his use of the word ‘lightly’ suggested that there may be a degree of wavering on his part. According to Reuters.
    A Federal Reserve official said on Monday he expects to back an interest rate hike next month despite caution over low-inflation, as U. S. central bank policy needs to be positioned to deal with future economic shocks.
    Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said he has ‘lightly penciled in’ a December rate hike. However, he flagged he had slightly less conviction about the policy decision than he had last month as he ‘continues to elicit caution’ about weak inflation and also about the way in which it is measured. Harker said he expects the Fed to raise rates three times next year as long as inflation remains on track, and the projected tightening could take policy to what he would describe as a neutral stance. Harker, a centrist voter on the Fed’s monetary policy committee this year under an internal rotation, said the Fed must continue normalizing policy as the economy is ‘more or less at full strength’ and there remains ‘very little slack’ in the labor market. ‘Removing accommodation is the right next step for a few reasons,’ he said in prepared remarks to a Global Interdependence Center conference in Tokyo…

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

  • China Accounts For A Third Of Global Corporate Debt And GDP… And The ECB Is Getting Very Worried

    There is a certain, and very tangible, irony in the central banks’ response to the Global Financial Crisis, which was first and foremost the result of unprecedented amounts of debt: it was to unleash an even greater amount of debt, or as BofA’s credit strategist Barnaby Martin says, “the irony in today’s world is that central banks are maintaining loose monetary policies to generate inflation…in order to ease the pain of a debt “supercycle”…that itself was partly a result of too easy (and predictable) monetary policies in prior times.”
    The bolded sentence is all any sane, rational human being would need to know to understand the lunacy behind modern monetary policy and central banking. Unfortunately, it is not sane, rational people who are in charge of the money printer, but rather academics fully or part-owned, by Wall Street as Bernanke’s former mentor once admitted (see “Bernanke’s Former Advisor: “People Would Be Stunned To Know The Extent To Which The Fed Is Privately Owned“). Actually, when one considers where the Fed’s allegiance lies (to its owners), its actions make all the sense in the world. The problem, as Martin further explains, is that “clearly if central banks remain too patient and predictable over the next few years this risks extending the debt supercycle further.”
    Translated: the bubble will get even bigger. Unfortunately, it is already too big. As Martin shows in chart 9 below, which breaks down global non-financial debt growth over the last 30yrs split by type (household debt, government debt and non-financial corporate debt), “it is currently hovering around the $150 trillion mark and has shown few signs of declining materially of late. Yet, the “delta” of debt growth over the last 10yrs has been on the non-financial corporate side. Government debt growth has slowed down recently as countries have clawed back to fiscal prudence. Households have also deleveraged over the last few years given their rapid debt accumulation prior to the Lehman event.”

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 10, 2017.

  • GOP Tax Plan Increases the Most Insidious Tax

    Last Thursday, congressional Republicans unveiled their tax reform legislation. On the same day, President Trump nominated current Federal Reserve Board Governor Jerome Powell to succeed Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve chair. While the tax plan dominated the headlines, the Powell appointment will have much greater long-term impact. Federal Reserve policies affect every aspect of the economy, including whether the Republican tax plan will produce long-term economic growth.
    President Obama made history by appointing the first female Fed chair. President Trump is also making history: If confirmed, Powell would be the first former investment banker to serve as chairman of the Federal Reserve. Powell’s background suggests he will continue Janet Yellen’s Wall Street-friendly low interest rates and easy money policies.
    Powell is an outspoken opponent of the Audit the Fed legislation. In 2015, Powell delivered an address at Catholic University devoted to attacking Audit the Fed. Like most Fed apologists, Powell claims the audit would compromise the Fed’s independence and allow Congress to control monetary policy. However, like all who make this claim, Powell cannot point to anything in the text of the audit bill giving Congress any power over the Federal Reserve. Powell’s concerns about protecting the Fed’s independence are misplaced, as the Fed has never been free of political influence. The Fed has a long history of bowing to presidential pressure to tailor monetary policy to help advance the president’s political and policy agenda.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on November 6, 2017.