In a WSJ piece posted today by the FED‘s media darling Jon Hilsenrath–the leak source of choice–wrote an article criticizing the FED and its reliance on flawed models. Readers of Notes From Underground are well aware that the whole purpose of this blog is to challenge the absoluteness of quantitative models when it comes to global macro trading. The release of Hilsenrath piece just sheds light on a very common theme of mine. The bigger story will be is that the FED‘s new communication policy has placed Janet Yellen as the point person for the most important FED information and the reliance on any FED anointed journalist seems to have come to an end. If the market comes to challenge the FED‘s models, the volatility in 2013 will increase dramatically. Happy New Year and we have much to digest going forward. Also, in conjunction with the Hilsenrath article, here’s a link to the December 13 note.
Archive for December, 2012
The ideas CNBC is spreading about the FISCAL CLIFF is just absurd. The addiction to higher stock prices has meant that a failure to get the equity market to rally due to falling off the “CLIFF” prevents quality policy from being attained. Going over the “CLIFF” will at least put spending front and center for we are all sure that taxes are going higher so the discussion must get to a genuine discussion about spending, and yes, that means serious cuts in the bloated defense sector. The FED‘s policy means that monetary policy will support the economy into the medium term and alleviate some of the pain from government spending cuts. It’s not drastic austerity but a realistic plan for dealing with rampant profligacy.
It was only a year ago that the PRECIOUS METALS were laboring under the continued selling of GOLD and SILVER as the John Paulson hedge funds were liquidating long positions to meet the huge amount of redemptions by long-time investors exiting the decade’s best performing FUNDS. In a repeat, Morgan Stanley announced today that it was redeeming its investors out of Paulson’s two largest funds after another year of questionable performance. In today’s world where one hedge fund can hold massive positions, divestment by disgruntled investors can initiate massive corrections. In 1980, when the Hunt Brothers caused great turmoil in the silver markets, they had a mere BILLION DOLLARS to play with (the Paulson funds control close to $15 billion under management.) As traders and investors it’s our job to be cognizant of all the animals in the jungle. When the elephants retrace their steps from the watering hole, small animals can get crushed (Niederhoffer).
Or, a review of why Draghi was the Financial Times’ “Person of the Year.” Here are two blogs, which are reflective of the week that was. We still find relevance in this week as it sets the table going forward as we look to 2013.
The Japanese LDP and its partner the New Komeito Party have seemingly captured more than the 320 seats needed to override the upper-house on most legislation. The two-thirds majority garnered by the ABE COALITION will give the LDP enough power to put pressure on the BOJ to attempt an effort to end the deflation that has encumbered the Japanese economy. The campaign issues promoted by the victorious coalition should lead to further weakening of the YEN although we may see a bout of profit taking as the rumor has become fact. Mr. Abe had promoted the ending of BOJ independence but it is doubtful that promise will be realized. The overall response to the end of central bank independence may unleash a response bigger than the LDP will want to confront. The global financial world have become very supportive of central banks being independent of government control and it seems more likely that PM Abe can influence policy in other ways.
Well, the famed modeler from M.I.T. has finally admitted that he has been an avid reader of Notes From Underground and in the world of global macro finance, 2+2=5. The FOMC statement was a surrender to the work of Michael Woodford as was pre-released in a Janet Yellen speech a few weeks ago. The FED will give great credence to a 6.5% unemployment and a 2% inflation threshold, give or take a 0.5% discretionary prerogative. The 6.5% unemployment threshold is also subject to FED discretion for it seems to depend on whether or not the labor participation rate is increasing while the unemployment rate declines.
Before we get into what the FED announced today, it is imperative to revisit the Jackson Hole Symposium and reexamine at the Woodford research paper that was delivered. It seems that Michael Woodford is the main economist behind current FED policy and that was revealed by Janet Yellen in a speech a few weeks ago. Vice Chair Yellen put the 6.5% threshold out there in the public domain so it must be time for Jon Hilsenrath to go the way of previous FED mouthpieces. The FED has certainly enhanced its communication skills by indicating policy through the speeches of certain FED Governors. Ms. Yellen, you are the anointed one. (Click on link below to read post.)
The FOMC will release the results of two days of policy deliberations at 11:30 a.m. CST Wednesday and the market is convinced that the Bernanke FED will vote to end Operation Twist but increase FED Treasury purchases. It may not be the full $45 billion but something above $25 billion, which would be in addition to the already promised purchases of $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities (MBS). It will be difficult to continue Operation Twist because the FED‘s System Open Market Account (SOMA) is nearly void of debt of less than three-year duration. Any new FED purchases will have to be with cash resulting in an increase in bank reserves. The result be not be a Maturity Extension Program but a new round of Quantitative Easing. It is doubtful that the FOMC statement will allude to fiscal policy but will just remain true to discussion of the dual mandate.
Mario Monti upset the Italian credit markets as he announced his early resignation over the weekend. In an apparent fit of rage after Silvio Berlusconi (aka Captain Viagra) pulled his political support from the sitting prime minister, Mario Monti headed off to the opera in Milan and apparently he was the fat lady that sang. It was a Wagner Opera that Mr. Monti saw so it seems that the political drama playing out in Rome is going to be a long, drawn out affair. I believe that the present Italian PM played a political gambit by announcing his early resignation in an effort to reveal the markets lack of support for the return of Berlusconi. As the Italian bond markets sold off and yields on 10- and TWO-YEAR NOTES increased by more than 25 basis points. It seems that there is little support from the financial markets for a return to the buffoonery of a Berlusconi-led government.