Notes From Underground: Draghi and Trump Are Putting Powell In a Difficult Position

June 18, 2019

On Tuesday asset classes around the world got a sharp boost when ECB President Draghi delivered the ultimate dovish speech from the annual conclave in Sintra, Portugal. The ECB has set up this annual meeting in an effort to mirror the Kansas City Fed gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. What did Draghi discuss? The failure of Euorpean inflation to reach the self-imposed target of 2% set by the central bank.

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Notes From Underground: Trump Has Weaponized The Dollar. Do the Longs Know?

June 12, 2019

Some shots were fired last Friday, but it seems that the markets can only hear the siren song of White House tweets. There was an important story from Bloomberg reporter Saleha Mohsin titled, “Trump’s Currency War Plan Puts Treasury and Commerce at Odds.” The article noted that “a Commerce Department proposal to impose countervailing tariffs on countries that it determines have devalued their currencies has alarmed officials at the Treasury Department.”

It appears that President Trump has grown frustrated by Treasury’s failure to name any country as a “currency manipulator.” It has been Treasury’s bailiwick to monitor the foreign exchange interventions of countries who strive to artificially hold down the value of their currencies in an effort gain a competitive advantage versus any G20 country, especially the U.S. (from the Treasury Department perspective).

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Notes From Underground: Just When It Couldn’t Get More Volatile

June 5, 2019

The above reference is from the wonderful cult movie, Putney’s Swope. The CEO of a major advertising firm has a heart attack during a board meeting and the sycophants don’t realize it as they continue peppering him with questions. When he’s unable to respond they ask, “How Many Syllables, Mario?”

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Notes From Underground: Mexico Tariffs Suffer From the Three Ills

June 2, 2019

And what might those be, you ask? Ill-conceived. Ill-timed. Ill-advised.

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Notes From Underground: Welcome Back, Rick

May 28, 2019

On Tuesday, Rick Santelli and I dissected the European Parliamentary elections. The results weren’t far off the projections as the GREEN PARTY was able to siphon off voters from the established left-leaning parties as they attracted more young voters than in previous EU-wide elections. There will be much to discuss as we head into the “horse trading” of Brussels politics but I stick to my insistence that the ECB needs the leadership of Jens Weidmann.

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Notes From Underground: Will Hong Kong Be the Gateway To Understanding China?

May 15, 2019

Last week I was engaged in a Q& A in the White Wave Trading discussion group when one of the participants inquired about the Hong Kong dollar PEG, which has held for almost 36 years.

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Notes From Underground: Relevant Issues for Today’s Global Macro Environment

May 13, 2019

As the latest drama of the U.S./China trade negotiations unfolds, there are several that continue to boil. The president is tweeting less about stock market valuations and more about the revenue impact from the fresh tariffs On Sunday, Fox News’ Chris Wallace disrobed Larry Kudlow. The economic adviser epitomized the age-old adage: “An honest person sent abroad to lie for their country.” Yes, Mr. President. A tariff is a tax on your populace. If tariffs are great for the U.S. economy, then raise them 1000% and balance the budget without inflicting any harm on Americans’ pocket books. [Yes, that’s sarcasm.]

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Notes From Underground: Back to What’s Driving Markets

May 8, 2019

We have all been bogged down with tweets coming from the White House about China. Because high-speed traders force us to parse the messages and assess the immediate impact on the markets, we’re hostage to President Trump’s tariff policy. The bottom line is that Robert Lighthizer is left to inform the world when China will acquiesce to the U.S.’s demand for reliable and hardened enforcement mechanisms to solidify any genuine agreement. From my perspective, the critical point on global markets is that once China/U.S. trade agreement is done the president will set his sights on targeting the ENORMOUS TRADE IMBALANCE that favors Germany.

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Notes From Underground: Making Sense Of the Jabberwocky

May 7, 2019

Fans of Lewis Carroll should know the whimsical poem from Alice in Wonderland that comes across as complete NONSENSE. The collection of tweets from the White House is the modern day version of the Jabberwocky. On Friday Trump tweeted about how well the talks were going with Chinese and that they were close to completion with a positive outcome. So between that and a strong jobs number, the U.S. equity markets had much to celebrate

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Notes From Underground: The Powell Fed Turns Transient From Transparent

May 2, 2019

May brought another Federal Reserve meeting that sowed more confusion. Maybe there is such a thing as too much transparency. The FOMC statement revealed the Fed thought “growth of household spending and business fixed investment slowed in the first quarter.” Coupled with this analysis was the OUTLOOK that “inflation compensation have remained low in recent months.”

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