There was a Reuters story yesterday by William Schomberg, “G7 Finance Chiefs to Discuss Bank Reform Push.” Very few people picked up on this but it seems strange that all the sudden a meeting is called to discuss what elements of bank reform. Are they going to try to persuade Germany to get behind the EU push for a banking union and if so why the hurry before the September German elections? The idea of a banking union with resolution authority is sure to be a lightening rod for all the German angst about the bailouts of the peripheral nations. The Reuters piece notes that some G-7 officials are upset that the U.K. called the meeting so soon after the recent IMF talks in Washington. One official said, “I am really annoyed I’ve got to give up my weekend for this.”
Posts Tagged ‘RBNZ’
There is not much news that needed to be dissected so I think it is time for a quick look at yield curves. For simplicities sake I will keep the analysis to the generic 2/10 curves in the countries that have sophisticated capital markets. Why are the curves important? In looking back at the crisis that forced the ECB‘s Mario Draghi to announce “there will be no TABOOS and we will do whatever it takes” to sustain the euro currency and the entire European project. It was the 2/10 curves in Europe that were providing so much of the problem. The talking heads in the media continue to point to the 10-year debt instruments in Europe as being the most significant element. The Italian auction did this. The Spanish auction did that. I urge us to be more attentive to the shorter end of the curve and especially the two-year note.
The FED‘s statement today showed no surprises and the vote even was the same as Kansas Fed President Esther George voted NO in opposition to further monetary accommodation by the monetary authorities. James Bullard of the St.Louis Fed voted with the severe majority as did Chicago Fed President Charles Evans. The Bullard vote did not surprise as he has shown a pragmatic edge over the last several years but the consensus vote by Charles Evans was surprising. President Evans has been the most vocal proponent of increased Fed action over the last year when he was a non-voting FOMC member. Today’s negative number on the GDP should have provided Mr. Evans with a perfect excuse to push for a larger FED asset purchase program. At least Ms. George votes in a consistent manner with her rhetoric. The FOMC release opened with this phrase”… suggest that growth in economic activity paused in recent months, in large part because of weather-related disruptions and other transitory factors.” Again, as in years past, it is a spate of bad luck that has caused last quarters slowdown. Before it was the Tsunami in Japan which Bernanke termed “bad luck.”
Wednesday brings the news of the FED‘s newest intentions. There is no press conference so the FED‘s FOMC statement is released at 1:15 CST. The consensus is for no change in the current FED policy as the recent economic data has been somewhat mixed. Housing data has a positive tone to it but consumer confidence is tepid and even the durable goods data was weaker than the headlines suggested. It seems that some defense orders were brought forward into December to circumvent the possibility of budget sequestration. The VOTE of the FOMC will be of interest as the new year rotation of FED presidents brings a list of new voters. Gone will be Jeffrey Lacker, the dissenter, and the perma dove John Williams from San Fran Fed is a non-voter.
The world awaits a resolution from the fog of U.S. budget battles. The negotiating table was left in a further haze by Secretary Geithner’s comments. In no uncertain terms, the point man for the Obama administration made it “clear” that the White House will let the economy go over the proverbial cliff if tax rates are not increased on the nation’s wealthiest two percent. It is not a good negotiating tactic to back your opponent into a corner from which there is no escape. Immediately after the Geithner comments to CNBC’S Steve Liesman, legislative Republicans responded in a very negative fashion. If the negotiations are mere theater then let the economy feel the brunt of mandated austerity and the STOCK MARKET BE DAMNED. Best economic and budgetary policy cannot be made solely for the sake of saving the equity markets. Bad fiscal policy destroys wealth and jobs anyway so it may be better to push an economic downturn to finally get everybody focused on a genuine long-term reform.
Following up last night’s post, Arthur left a note on the blog linking an article from Bloomberg Businessweek, written by Brendan Greeley. The language of the article is crystal clear and provides another example of a Euro policy maker claiming far more insight than the collective wisdom of Mr. Market. “Investors ,he told the Bundestag, are ‘charging interest rates to countries they perceived to be the most vulnerable that [go] beyond levels warranted by economic fundamentals and justified risk premia. This fear is “unfounded. The market is wrong.’”
Yesterday, the Bank Of Canada surprised no one as Governor Mark Carney held rates steady at 1%. The BOC statement also maintained last month’s idea that “over time, some modest withdrawal of monetary policy stimulus will likely be required, consistent with achieving the 2% inflation target.” The Canadian dollar rallied on the news as it seemed that the market thought the statement would be more dovish following Carney’s comments of October 15, but instead it was steady as it goes. Today, Governor Carney held a news conference and the headline put out by the news services was “Case For Raising Rates ‘Less Imminent,’” which of course led the programmed headline algos to sell the Canadian dollar because of the “dovish headline.” The press conference was so much more than that and really reiterated the BOC statement and reflected the dilemma that the Carney faces in trying to curb private credit growth in a low interest rate world. Nonetheless, the market currency markets kept the pressure on the LOONIE so a risk-off profile was maintained.
In what was a very slow new weekend the most significant story is that Spanish PM Rajoy’s political party held on to power in the PM’s home state of Galicia. This was considered to be an important test for Rajoy for if his support in his traditional support base had turned against him, there would be no chance that the PM would have proceeded down the road of further austerity. Now Señor Rajoy may be emboldened to surrender to the demands of German-imposed CONDITIONALITY so as to receive the proposed bailout from the ESM. This should be short-term bullish for the EURO as it will remove one of the obstacles that was blocking a massive dose of liquidity into the Spanish financial system. The trade-off game of financial support for enacting more austerity should help the markets as near-term fears of a Spanish collapse should be postponed.
The FED provided the markets with everything and nothing at the same time. The FOMC STATEMENT was little changed from the last meeting although it wasn’t short of qualifiers. In discussing the HOUSING SITUATION the FED added the word “DESPITE” in noting signs of improvement the housing sector remains depressed. The FED wants to make sure that housing needs to be for more robust before the siren of all clear sounds (hence the word DESPITE). The FED noted that “STRAINS in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook.”