Notes From Underground: The Week That Was

December 19, 2021

This past week has been the most challenging to recap because at least 20 central banks released statements about their monetary forecasts and outlooks. The most significant banks that we were watching — the FED, SNB, BOE, ECB and BOJ — performed as expected as the FED, ECB and BOJ announced the expected outcomes.

The Bank of England raised its overnight lending rate by 15 basis points as they had already ended asset purchases so a minimal rate increase was all they had to give in order to slow the rise in headline inflation. The Powell FED took the most DOVISH route possible in an effort to placate the Biden White House and its effort to stem the narrative of headline inflation and election outcomes. We at NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND had contemplated a complete end to QE but Powell (in his efforts to do something) merely doubled the pace of tapering laying the outcome to a finality in March rather than June. This is only important if the FED maintains its “forward guidance” of no rate hikes until the U.S. central bank’s BOND PURCHASES have concluded.

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Notes From Underground: Coal for Some Stockings?

December 12, 2021

If you’re only looking at the headlines from the past 48 hours, there is something major going on. First, on Friday afternoon Bloomberg reported that the G-7 finance chiefs are planning to discuss inflation as prices soar and the Financial Times followed on Saturday about the U.S. Democrats pushing the Federal Reserve for tougher action against inflation. These two stories are everything that we at NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND have been discussing since the Dems’ poor election showing last month.

The White House polls — and thus the political operatives — reflected that inflation concerns were going to be the biggest issue for all Democrats in 2022, which is why there was a sense of urgency to use SPR and release oil to drive headline energy costs down. It’s the classic political ploy to appear to be doing something. What’s next? Wage and price controls?

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Notes From Underground: It’s Hard to Believe

December 8, 2021

A Note From Notes

On December 7, 2009, NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND published its first post and we’ve shared a few thousand thoughts since then (all archived at WordPress and for those on CQG they available thanks to the great efforts of Stan Yabroff). In sifting through this treasure trove I am proud to say this has been an arduous but rewarding endeavor. The amount of work is great especially because so many of these musings have been time sensitive.

Then in the last five years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with the Financial Repression Authority to elevate the discussion surrounding these thoughts with some of the greatest minds in the business — Felix Zulauf, Marc Faber, Jim Bianco, Peter Boockvar, Lacy Hunt, David Rosenberg, Louis Gave and so many others.

So as I scroll through the voluminous posts, podcasts and CNBC appearances, I’m in awe of how we’ve attempted to open up the world of financial markets to deep analytical exegesis of important investment ideas on a time scale from one hour to years depending upon the amount of leverage involved in the trade. As Louis Gave once said, “I am not paid to forecast for my clients but to adapt,” that sums up the endeavor of this blog. Over the past 12 years I have hoped to get my readers to adopt to the illogical exigencies of the geo-political world. The rationalists do not read NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND because they know where prices OUGHT to be.

But, where do we go from here? This is where you come in, dear readers. I’d be interested in understanding how you best consume this information. Maybe it’s a 15-minute daily chat with FRA’s Richard Bonugli and other guests. Either way, we’re going to try and monetize this wealth of information, and offer up my wisdom to large traders, sovereign wealth funds and family wealth offices and the like. It’s been so enriching interacting with many minds around the world. I am beyond grateful to experience, teach and, most importantly, learn from the likes of Dave Richards, Mike Temple, Big Man, Professor Waspi and many more.

In that vein, I am posting a podcast that was recorded about two weeks ago, a roundtable of sorts featuring Jim Bianco and Peter Boockvar. This may be one of the best ways to advance NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND.

Many Thanks,

Yra

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Notes From Underground: Odious, Indeed

November 21, 2021

We at Notes From Underground on Oct. 31 wrote a post titled, “The Odious Designs of ECB Policy.” It noted that during the ECB post-meeting press conference President Christine Lagarde said — in response to a question of whether the ECB would coordinate TAPERING with the world’s other central bank — “comparisons, for good reason are ODIOUS, simply because we are not thinking about the same economies.”

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Notes From Underground: A Possible Solution to the Central Bank Dilemma

November 14, 2021

It’s been. another week in which headline inflation concerns has jolted markets, particularly in the interest rate space, but not as much as many investors and traders would have expected. The yield curves in the U.S. FLATTENED as markets seem want to believe that the FED will raise rates in an effort to CURB the enthusiasm of the stickiness of recent price increases. As Peter Boockvar pointed out in his piece on Friday’s Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey, confidence declined due to rising concerns over the “escalating inflation rate and growing belief among consumers that no effective policies have yet been developed to reduce the damage from surging inflation.”

Consumers noted that the time to buy a car fell to the lowest level on record dating back to 1978. Those thinking it is a good time to buy a home was the lowest rate since 1982 when mortgage rates were far different than today’s very low loan rates.

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Notes From Underground: What Turned the Markets On Friday?

November 7, 2021

The U.S. and Canadian unemployment data both were somewhat stronger than expected. The markets were trading in focus with the robust U.S. data — equities higher, DOLLAR firm, and bonds trying to adjust in the face of the FOMC‘s tapering plans.

Things took a turn around 11 a.m. eastern time. The precious metals began a ferocious rally, bonds rallied, and all the currencies began to rally actually closed higher on the day even as European interest rates moved similar to the U.S. and equities dropped from their all-time highs. What could’ve been responsible for the moves on a day of good data and, more importantly, the prevailing sense that the Biden White House was FINALLY going to get its infrastructure bill.

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Notes From Underground: The Odious Designs of ECB Policy

October 31, 2021

I’m posting this week’s podcast with the highly respected Peter Boockvar. This is one of the best interviews we’ve done with Richard Bonugli as we get into foreign currency, yield curves, energy policy surrounding nuclear power plants, and as usual, an in-depth discussion on precious metals.

The podcast was recorded Tuesday, prior to the interest rate decisions from the Bank of Canada, the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank.

Click here to listen to the podcast. 

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Notes From Underground: Shedding Some Light

October 17, 2021

It has been six weeks since there has been “wisdom” from NOTES as the Jewish Holy Days gave pause to refresh and recharge the cerebral engine. Let’s hope the time away has borne the fruit that I was seeking to consume. We are posting a podcast I recorded with Professor Barry Eichengreen, one of the best economic historians in the land. His work on the GOLD Standard and the Great Depression is worth a read. It was an honor and privilege to be able to sit in conversation with the Financial Repression Authority’s Richard Bonugli as moderator.

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Notes From Underground: Will It Be An Inflated Jobs Report?

September 2, 2021

After FEDERAL RESERVE Chairman Jerome Powell’s Jackson Hole speech, the jobs data may have taken on added significance. Inflation was not a concern for Powell as that is considered transitory within the bowels of the FOMC. The failure of the employment situation to enable all who lost jobs due to COVID “through no fault of their own” has regained paramount importance.

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Notes From Underground: Powell’s Pathetic Political Posturing

August 29, 2021

First of all, my offer of any part of a $10,000 bet with 10-1 odds against Jerome Powell being renominated as FED CHAIR is OFFICIALLY RESCINDED. The Fed Chair’s speech was so pathetic that it can only be explained by his desire to be renamed central bank head. Powell’s speech would be called DOVISH on any given week but there were six FED presidents speaking out in favor of moving up the schedule for tapering QE to counterpunch. It was not only the increased hawkish stances of previous UBER DOVES, which provided cover for Powell but the highly esteemed Mohammed El-Erian and Larry Summers also called for the FED Chair to be bold at Jackson Hole.

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