Archive for September, 2017

Notes From Underground: Which Spark Will Start the Prairie Fire?

September 27, 2017

In several blog posts over the last eight years I have used the words of Mao to relate to the potential issues that could cause severe disruption to the global financial system. If you listen to the narrative propagated by the mainstream financial media your concerns would revolve around North Korea, the Trump tax and healthcare plans, the FED starting QT (or else citing the Fed’s ridiculous dot plots), concerns about the potential shutdown of the U.S. government, the economic implications of Brexit, etc. The bottom line is that all the forecasters have been wrong for long as Phillip Tetlock revealed in his wonderful book, Superforecasting. The FED has been worshiped as all-knowing fonts of wisdom when nothing they have forecast has proven correct. Yesterday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen admitted that the FED is as confused about the lack of inflation as most of the prognosticators on Wall Street. This confirmed my theory that what the FED peddles IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.

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Notes From Underground: Angie, Angie (As Told By the Rolling Stones)

September 25, 2017

Mick Jagger was prescient when he sang these words in 1973:

You can’t say we never tried
Angie, you’re beautiful
But ain’t it time we say goodbye
Angie, I still love you
Remember all those nights we cried
All the dreams were held so close
Seemed to all go up in smoke
Let me whisper in your ear
Angie, Angie

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Notes From Underground: German Elections. The Sound of Complacency Shattering?

September 24, 2017

I will start tonight’s BLOG with two very good comments from a long time reader and contributor GREEN AB who hails from Germany. Green has always provided great insight and though we don’t always agree I have great respect for his perspective. On Thursday he posted a very prescient forecast about today’s election and Sunday he followed with a post-election thoughts.

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Notes From Underground: The Sound Of Complacency Shattering

September 19, 2017

First, for all those in the Notes From Underground community who celebrate Rosh Hashanah, have a happy and healthy New Year. For those who don’t I also wish you a happy and healthy New Year. Thanks for your continued support and if I angered you with my thoughts I have to say it was not done to be hurtful but rather to provoke a high-quality discussion around issues in the realm of global-macro finance. When I listened to the Ray Dalio interview on CNBC today it was comforting to know that the mission of this BLOG is similar to what Dalio tries to accomplish with his employees. NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND is not about PERSONAL VALIDATION but about discourse in the crucible of financial ideas, striving to refine the GOLD from the DROSS. Let’s hope the SHOFAR BLAST shatters the complacency of our static thoughts in all matters of our lives.

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Notes From Underground: The FOMC, BOJ and German Elections Lead the Way to Quarter-End

September 18, 2017

As the earth rock keeps spinning we continue to monitor global events that could make investors/traders dizzy. This week the FOMC is EXPECTED to announce that it will begin its quantitative tightening (QT) by revealing the date of its plan to shrink its balance sheet by a net $10 BILLION of assets a month ($6 billion of Treasuries, $4 billion of MBS) and increasing the amounts quarterly so the program results in little market disruption. Remember, Chair Yellen has said she believes that it will be “like watching paint dry.” The world’s equity markets — especially the U.S. — are reflecting little concern about the Fed withdrawing “small” amounts of liquidity.

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Notes From Underground: The More Things Stay the Same, the More the Headlines Change

September 14, 2017

The BOE held true to consensus and kept rates unchanged and maintained its balance sheet at 435 billion pounds, with the votes were exactly the same as the August meeting. The POUND fell on the initial headlines but the algos reversed as it was reported that there MAY be a need to raise rates due to the lessening slack in the economy. Governor Carney is reading from the Mario Draghi book, “Rules For Central Bankers.” He cited Brexit as the cause of a supply shortage because of reduced investment into the U.K. Wow! This is nonsense as stagnant wages are limiting domestic demand but Carney insists the negative fallout is constraining supply. With interest rates at record lows British firms could borrow all the cash they need to finance expansion. Carney needs BREXIT as the cover for his massive error. Remember when he panicked and cut rates following the BREXIT vote?

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Notes From Underground: The Bank of England Reveals Its Decision

September 13, 2017

Thursday, the Bank of England will reveal its most recent interest rate decision. The consensus is for the BOE to leave its overnight interest rate at 0.25%. There is interest in this meeting because the British inflation data has risen and is now above Governor Mark Carney’s desired target. The most recent inflation data released on Tuesday sent GILT yields higher and put a strong bid to the British pound, pushing it to levels against the U.S. dollar unseen since the BREXIT vote. The EURO even lost ground to the British currency as the market NOW ASSUMES that the BOE will have to move to raise rates in response to rising price pressures.

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Notes From Underground: Is Macron a Moron?

September 12, 2017

On September 7, I had the pleasure of chatting with Richard Bonugli of the Financial Repression Authority, covering topics previously discussed on Notes From Underground. The podcast allows for a much deeper analysis of topics covered here (and usually over a shorter span). Enjoy the conversation, and, as usual, please follow-up with questions so we can all benefit from the intelligence of Notes From Underground readers.

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Notes From Underground: A Take On Mario Draghi in Two Parts

September 10, 2017

Part I: Mario Draghi, the master of obfuscation was at his best Thursday as he dodged MULTIPLE questions about the recent STRENGTH in the euro. Journalists were very well prepared and even threw back Draghi’s previous responses about how a 10 percent currency appreciation would lower inflation measures by 0.5 percent. But Draghi met each question with a, “Yes, we discussed it as some members of the ECB Board were concerned about the EURO and its impact on exports and import prices.”

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Notes From Underground: Fischer and Cohn, Out; Draghi In (the Spotlight)

September 6, 2017

In keeping this note as short as possible, let’s start with Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer’s resignation. I am posting snippets from the August 20 entry, in which I noted the great piece in the Weekend Financial Times with its Stanley Fischer interview. The article noted the one open disagreement with Chair Yellen in which he was miffed about not being consulted about an FOMC decision. We don’t know if Stanley Fischer is resigning because of health reasons, personal issues or over policy disputes. But this I am sure: Lael Brainard has been elevated within the group of Fed Governors as she is the confidant of Chair Yellen, thus the FED takes a dovish stance. In her dovish speech she maintains that while desiring to keep FED FUNDS steady there is room to initiate some of the balance sheet unwind. This was also her stance in June when she presented arguments for QT versus raising the fed funds rate. The impact from the initiation of Boockvar’s QT would not be as great on the U.S. dollar.

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