The last two days has seen two of the world’s key central banks deliver fresh interest rate decisions and there was very little in way of surprises. In a salute to the philosopher Isiah Berlin, I have noted that Chairman Bernanke is a HEDGEHOG and President Draghi a FOX. A hedgehog is one who “views the world through a single defining idea.” The economy is slowing, unemployment is high, inflation is low, so it is appropriate for the FED to buy and continue buying Treasury debt. You say it is not having the desired effect? Buy more. In yesterday’s FOMC statement, the FED noted that ”… FISCAL POLICY IS RESTRAINING ECONOMIC GROWTH.” The meaning of this is that Washington is acting irresponsibly, thus the FED needs to possibly INCREASE its bond and mortgage-backed securities purchases. Whatever it is, QE IS THE ANSWER.
Archive for the ‘BOC’ Category
What ailed the markets yesterday seems to have moved to the back pages and the equity markets recovered most of their losses. Gold and silver staged very tepid rallies considering the massive selling that took place during the past week. The global equity markets are still comfortable with central bank policy and even a terrorist attack on U.S. soil cannot shake of confidence of investors seeing high profits, low inflation and no alternative to the returns on equity. It is an old theme but when a market continues to discount unfavorable data and news the power of momentum is in full bloom.
It seems that Mario Draghi has taken the stance that he can hold off doing any further QUANTITATIVE EASING (QE) as he waits for the policies of the British, Japanese and the U.S. to generate enough growth to allow Europe to muddle through its problems for the next few years. President Draghi seems to believe that if the global economy can achieve a growth rate of 4% or more it will buy time for Europe to begin to correct some of its problems and at least put a halt to its economic downturn. The ECB has accepted the slide in the YEN in the hope that stimulating Japanese growth will alleviate some of the stress of the global economy. The Japanese economy has been a laggard for the last two decades, give or take a year here or there, and it was able to muddle though based on the growth of the rest of the world.
Today, ECB President Draghi spoke to the Frankfurt Chamber of Commerce and proclaimed that the DARKEST CLOUDS OVER THE EUROZONE HAVE PASSED. Yes, since the July 26 pronouncement that the ECB would do anything to preserve the euro and its financial system–and also there would be “no taboos” on what the ECB could utilize to save the euro. The markets have certainly quieted, as has been reflected in the Italian and Spanish debt markets, as well as the equity markets across the European Union. In my opinion Mr. Draghi should not put away his boots and umbrella as some clouds may have passed but the radar is citing other severe fronts. President Draghi added in the Reuters piece: “But there is simply no alternative to the path of reform. Despite the good progress so far showing that adjustment is happening, reform efforts need to be sustained …. Countries need competitiveness to sustain growth.”
The tweet heard ’round the world is as meaningless as most of the other rubbish that passes for political discourse in the Grand Republic. It seems that Jim Cramer had it right from the beginning for traders and investors. The only thing that matters is how the markets accept the jobs data and what will its impact be on asset prices going forward. The market is definitely in the mindset of weighing the data in a “more good is good and bad is bad” mode.
First with a hat tip to RF for e-mailing the JOKE of the DAY:
Overheard in the Athens Airport:
Greek Immigration Official:Nationality?
Greek Immigration Official: Occupation?
Tourist: No. Just On Holiday
This morning the Bank of Canada (BOC) voted to keep rates steady as 1% as Governor Mark Carney voiced concern over the troubling situation in Europe. The BOC noted that weakness in the EUROPEAN ECONOMY could spread as more austerity is applied to the profligate peripheries. The Canadians are in a difficult situation as the growth in household debt is growing because of continued low rates and this is causing angst with economic policy makers. Finance Minister Flaherty noted that the Canadian government may have to find other ways to halt the increase in household borrowing. I am not a fan of Mr. Flaherty but it is nice to see a government actually thinking ahead of the problem and looking for ways to “LEAN AGAINST THE WIND.”