Notes From Underground: The Fed As G-30 Proxy?

August 1, 2021

Last week’s FOMC meeting went as expected but the press conference actually provided some solid questions as the media put some pressure on Chair Jerome Powell. NPR actually received an answer to what TRANSITORY means to the Fed chair: Prices will stay but the process of inflation will stop or slow dramatically. Hmm, the continued use of the LUMBER and AUTO markets did not reflect that definition at all. It seemed that the authorities were pursuing the concept of roll back.

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Notes From Underground: Wow Unto Chair Powell

July 27, 2021
The previous blog post about President Lagarde painting the FEDERAL RESERVE into a corner OUGHT to be revealed tomorrow as there is expected to be no change in FED policy and I believe that Chair Jerome Powell will do his best to pose as dovish as possible. If there is a CHANGE it will be in the mix of the QE as the SOMA will be moved to cut MBS purchases and replace mortgages with longer-term treasuries.

Notes From Underground: Trade Complications (The Power of the Nation-State)

July 25, 2021

That headline is courtesy of Whitewave Trading, an interactive chat room in which high-powered analysis for traders generates some great trades and uses NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND to add a fundamental view. Monday’s Whitwave has this advice: “When and if they ever taper, I’ll turn over the trading card.”

For those never on the trading floor this is in reference to going from the BLUE buy side to the RED sell side. In a follow up to last week’s blog post this makes perfect sense for as it seems that a critical indicator to an equity correction in the U.S. would begin with the FED actually moving to a real TAPERING or in Peter Boockvar’s words, A QUANTITATIVE TIGHTENING.

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Notes From Underground: What A Week (Or Was It a Month)

July 22, 2021

At the beginning of the week, the COVID DELTA VARIANT was the major concern as the weekend brought news of a widespread increase. It seemed world financial markets were in the throes of concern of another pandemic lockdown with the Olympics being cancelled. We at NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND offered context and stressed that the zero interest-rate markets would provide a far different backdrop than what occurred in March 2020. We did learn that zero interest rates lowered inflation concerns and the Olympics are still taking place, although to empty stadiums. SO THE BULL MARKET MUST GO ON.

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Notes From Underground: Are You Ready When Delta Is?

July 19, 2021

I’ve been away minding my two Floridian grandsons (exhausting yet delightful). I did, however, have time to catch up on some reading, particularly W.E.B. Du Bois’s “Suppression of the African Slave Trade,” as recommended by Chris Whalen. Du Bois looks at how the large state-domiciled banks helped finance the importation of African black slaves. This is high quality prose written in 1896, a well documented and enlightening read about the politics of America at its early beginnings. We could all stand to learn from a genuine scholar rather than shouting at each other.

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Notes From Underground: A Question to Ponder

July 5, 2021

Do China and Russia have state authorities investing in the markets?

If the answer is yes then global investors have many issues to consider. The use of massive amounts of leverage (perfectly legal) utilized by Sovereign Wealth Funds and national pension funds have the power to distort prices as much as the involvement by the FED, ECB and BOJ to cause major distortions in the credit markets. Add in the Bank of Canada, Reserve Bank of Australia, the RBNZ and the price of credit is as overvalued as COPPER during the onset of the pandemic.

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Notes From Underground: Plus ça Change, Plus C’est La Même Chose (An Ode to Jerome)

June 21, 2021

As promised, here is the podcast I recorded with Anthony Crudele. There is a great deal expressed in 52 minutes following the June 16 FOMC meeting. The fact that Chair Jerome Powell kept on keeping-on with full blown asset purchases leaves me in the camp of very little change regardless of the DOT PLOTS. As Powell said about the FED (and Wall Street economists), not a very good record of forecasting.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

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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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