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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Notes From Underground: Did Xi Just Provide a Clue to China’s Yellow Brick Road?

April 28, 2019

In the past week, we have heard from the Bank of Canada and Bank of Japan. There were no surprises as both institutions noted softness in the global economy. The BOC, as reported by Bloomberg, “fully abandoned its bias toward raising interest rates at the economy grapples with a slowdown.” The BOC overnight rate remains at 1.75 percent, which is deemed appropriate by the Governing Council until the global economy removes some of the uncertainties it is struggling to overcome.

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Notes From Underground: What Caused the Panic In Central Bank Park?

April 24, 2019

The pivot by the FED in recent months is still causing analysts to do some serious soul-searching as to what could’ve caused such a quick reversal. Remember, in the span of about three months the Fed shifted from a hawkish tone — and a balance sheet unwind on “auto pilot” — to on hold and an end to the portfolio runoff later this year. So, it’s dramatic, to say the least.

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Notes From Underground: Prairie Fires On the Global Landscape

April 14, 2019

Let me put introduce areas of great concern that markets acknowledge but do not price for as they are too difficult to weigh. The Chinese/U.S. trade negotiations are simple relative to the potential impact from Turkey, Venezuela, Europe, and, of course the final decision on Brexit.

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Notes From Underground: Draghi Is Waiting On a Sunny Day

April 10, 2019

President Mario Draghi’s press conference proceeded as expected as the European Central Bank laid out its plans for dealing with a slowing global economy suffering from the slings and arrows of president Trump’s trade war threats against the Chinese and now the Europeans. The ECB plans on keeping its interest rate policy intact through 2019 and probably longer as it confronts the recent headwinds to growth. The media asked several times about the possibility of tiering of rates in an effort to remove the adverse impact from the NEGATIVE DEPOSIT RATE FOR RESERVES PARKED AT THE ECB.

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Notes From Underground: Wednesday, 6:45 CST … Our Day Begins

April 9, 2019

There are so many issues plaguing Europe right now, and surprisingly, Brexit is not the most significant. On Wednesday morning — yes, Wednesday — the ECB announces its rate decision and it is expected that rates will remain unchanged,  with the main refinancing rate at zero. The only possible news will be that the ECB actually engages in a tiered financing. This would mean that some banks would get relief from the -0.40% rate that the ECB charges banks to deposit cash at the central bank. There have been rumors that the ECB was planning on raising interest rates in the hope that boost for some European domestic rates would help lift the equity valuations of some profit-stressed financial institutions.

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