Notes From Underground: From Tweets to Tweaks

June 20, 2021

Happy father’s day to all who are one and have had one. Just nine months ago the markets were experiencing convulsions as the then-U.S. president would unleash tweet after tweet at all hours. We certainly don’t miss the key-word-driven algos creating volatility with the tip of their finger. The markets got a jolt last Wednesday when the Fed tweaked its administered rates — interest on excess reserves and the offering yield on its reverse repo facility — by 5 basis points in an effort to prevent short-term rates such as TREASURY BILLS from pushing into negative territory on a SUSTAINED basis as cash continues to flood the market, a consequence of the central bank’s ongoing QE ($120 billion a month). Adding to the deluge is the U.S. TREASURY, which has been running down its cash balance from an all-time high of $1.8 trillion.

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Notes From Underground: Schauble Pivots, Brainard Postulates

June 6, 2021

The unemployment data was not as robust as expected but not bad since hourly wages rose above consensus, the work week remained elevated and the jobless rate dropped to 5.8%. The headlines are always subject to severe review doing these tumultuous times. The question remains: Why did the BOND market experience a sizable rally even as the DATA was well within range of expectations. There is a great deal of pressure on the U.S. overnight market as vast amounts of liquidity searches for a home.

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Notes From Underground: An Open Letter To the G-7

June 2, 2021

Every G-7 or G-20 meeting homage is paid to the idea of free markets via the market driven value of each nation’s currency. This is hogwash of the highest order in the world of central bank asset purchase programs. The clarion call is that QE is a domestic-based program meant to meet the inflation target set by the nation’s policy makers and any impact on a nation’s currency is just unintended consequences of keeping a country out of a potential disinflationary cycle. Every central bank statement except the U.S. has a sentence or two about the relative value of a nation’s currency and if too strong then concern about a strong currency being a headwind in meeting the illusion and capriciousness of that 2% inflation target.

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Notes From Underground: A Global Macro Podcast for Memorial Day

May 27, 2021

Just in time for the Memorial Day weekend: A fresh podcast well moderated by the Financial Repression Authority’s Richard Bonugli. This was a conversation with South African Piet Viljoen and we go around the world. It is a pleasure to share thoughts with those outside the U.S. Nothing bothers me more than the arrogance of CNBC’s tagline of “Live From the Most Powerful City in the World.” That’s so irritating, especially when many mornings the most market-moving news is coming from Beijing. Well, pour a stiff libation, perhaps Scotch or a Japanese whiskey, and keep the questions and comments coming.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

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Notes From Underground: To Russia With Love (Or Blinken Blinked)

May 23, 2021

Ten days ago, we published a blog post titled, “Sanctions Are Sanctimonious.” And lo and behold, this past week the U.S. moved to remove sanctions on the completion of the NORDSTREAM 2 pipeline, allowing Russian gas to flow freely and readily into Germany without paying the massive transit fees to the Ukraine. This is the culmination of the project promoted by previous German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.This story is huge for it shows that the world is — as NOTES portrays it — far more dynamic than the static analysts would have us believe.

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Notes From Underground: Is the Fed In a War?

May 16, 2021

I pose this question as a challenge to all of those traders and investors, and a call to action. There is so much discussion about the onset of inflation but do the inflationists have the fortitude to attack the FED where it hurts: the long end of the yield curve? The primary focus of the FED has been on the part of the QE purchases has been the shorter end as 80% of the FED‘s balance sheet is five years or less. If the inflation concern is of the magnitude suggested by the mainstream media then market participants OUGHT to be selling the longer duration Treasuries because as we know the Wall Street mantra is DON’T FIGHT THE FED.

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Notes From Underground: SIN or WIN, It’s a Generational Thing

May 10, 2021

In 1976, when I was beginning my long march toward acquiring knowledge to analyze markets Gerald Ford was running for reelection. Inflation was gaining strength so the FORD campaign was bent on making America believe that he had the fortitude to break the inflation spiral threatening the Middle Class. Campaign buttons said W.I.N. (whip inflation now). Getting inflation under control was seen as the paramount issue.

When I was wandering through a flea market in New York in 2007, I found an original WIN button that I bought for $1.25. See? Paul Volcker did whip inflation. (I gave the button to the best financial plumber, James Aitken, as a token of appreciation for all the knowledge he imbued in me about the plumbing of the short-term funding markets.)

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Notes From Underground: Another Day in the Dark With Dr. Faber

May 9, 2021

Dr. Marc Faber and I had a 65-minute discussion with Richard Bonugli and the Financial Repression Authority. It was about eight months ago since we last discussed the global macro world and while it does not have the pizzaz of CNBC, those who listen to the discourse in 2020 would’ve been rewarded as many of the issues we discussed proved to be highly profitable investments. The themes remain similar although the rapid rise in mining and ag stocks have me leaning on the cautious side even as ADM, BG, FCX, Glencore and certainly KSU power forward to new highs.

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Notes From Underground: Sanctions Are Sanctimonious

May 2, 2021

In today’s world of DOLLAR domination it is easy for the U.S. Treasury — under the guidance of the president — to place sanctions on many different global actors as they strive to use the conduit of SWIFT and other banking facilities to move money around the globe. The U.S. likes to beat its chest and proclaim that it is operating in a rules-based system and therefore sanctions are an appropriate tool in response to the malevolent actions of autocratic-oriented nationalistic actors. But whose rules? And the invocation of sanctions leads to those subject to the whims of U.S. policy to find ways to operate in international grey areas of commerce.

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Notes From Underground: The Arrogance of Janet Yellen

April 8, 2021

Since I last wrote, it has been a time for thought, contemplation and discussion. This week I recorded an FRA podcast with Richard Bonugli and Larry McDonald. It was the equivalent of the “Wide World of Sports” as we traveled around the world looking at profitable investment ideas. Enjoy the best 60 minutes in financial global macro analysis.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

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