The FED is on the record as being patient as it tries to achieve its dual mandates of full employment and an inflation rate of 2 percent. In the December 16-17 FOMC release, it said the “… Committee expects inflation to rise gradually toward 2 percent as the labor market improves further and the transitory effects of lower energy prices and other factors dissipate.” While the FOMC statement made no direct mention of the DOLLAR’S STRENGTH, the release of the MINUTES revealed that the dollar had been discussed in reference to inflation. The minutes said: “Participants generally anticipated that inflation was likely to decline further in the near term,reflecting the reduction in oil prices and the effects of the rise in the foreign exchange value of the dollar on import prices.”
The deed has been done .The ECB, under the guidance of President Draghi and the Eurocrats in Brussels, have set out to punish the Bavarian Burghers by drastically reducing the interest rates on their saving accounts. Why do I say “declare war on German savers?” Up until the recently, Mario Draghi’s jawboning has been successful in calming the fears of sovereign insolvency. But now real money is going to be spent in pursuing some benefit from a robust QE program.
Notes From Underground: Are the 23.7% of Unemployed Spaniards Concerned About Portfolio Balance Channels?January 22, 2015
Well, the Earth did not stand still and markets were relatively rational as President Draghi unveiled a “genuine” QE program. It was a variation of yesterday’s leaks except the final amount was larger than what was rumored. The ECB will be financing the purchases of a mix of asset-backed securities and sovereign bonds to the tune of 60 BILLION EUROS every month from March at least until September 2016. The QE program is open-ended in that the ECB will reserve the right to continue purchasing more assets with printed euros if the inflation target is failing to rise to the 2 percent target level. The European equity markets were unchanged and the BUNDS and French oats fell until President Draghi assured the markets that the ECB would even purchase credit instruments with a NEGATIVE YIELD.
In the famous 1951 sci-fi movie, an alien with a ROBOT has the power to threaten the entire Earth and bring human civilization to an end. The only words that can prevent the ROBOT (algorithms) from the total destruction of the world are: KLAATU BARADA NIKTO. Let’s hope that tomorrow ECB PRESIDENT MARIO DRAGHI has those same words at his command. There is so much riding on tomorrow’s ECB decision and the press conference that Mr. Draghi can bring financial ruin to the global money system. In all prior press conferences Draghi has been able to calm markets with mere promises of future actions. The game of securing time in an effort for improved economic performance is over.
Today it was the Danish Central Bank that lowered its interest rates in order to prevent the markets from trying to break the Danish KRONER/EURO peg and lowered the overnight rate to NEGATIVE 0.20% from a NEGATIVE 0.005%. It was unusual that the Danish Bank lowered the rate on a Monday rather than the usual Thursday but some analysts of the Nordic banking system believe the Danes may act again this Thursday after the ECB reveals its QE program. NEGATIVE RATES ARE THE NEW NORMAL! Danish banking authorities maintain that the Danes are not under as much stress as the Swiss were because the reserves at the DCB are 13% below the peak of 2012, the height of the EU financial crisis.
I am reissuing a piece from December 21, 2014 as a reminder of just where the SNB has invested the assets bought by the massive printing of Swiss francs. The Swiss authorities have created a perpetual money machine that “coined” unlimited amounts of francs and exchanged them for other paper assets. The question remains: Who was willing to buy all those francs that the SNB kept selling into the market (and yet the EUR/CHF remained at the 1.20 floor/ceiling)?
We at Notes From Underground have been pondering the global macro landscape and waiting for the inevitable ECB meeting January 22, and, of course, the Greek elections on Sunday, January 25. While waiting for some sensibility from the EU, the SNB abruptly ended its ridiculous intervention policy, which I have been criticizing for the past 12 months. My readers are well aware–as are followers of Rick Santelli–that I have questioned the wisdom of SNB support of the 1.20 EUR/CHF level.
Tomorrow is the release of the U.S. and Canadian Employment reports, which are usually days of increased market volatility. Usually, Notes From Underground provide some insight into possible market movement based on attaining a sense of investor consensus and putting that into perspective based on relevant indicators and pre-release price action across a wide variety of variables.
The translation of the French title says, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” We at Notes From Underground thought it was appropriate as 2015 has just begun and we’re still consumed with the Greek tragedy, which we first wrote about on December 9, 2009, a little more than five years after we started blogging. (The old entry is also posted below.)