Archive for February, 2019

Notes From Underground: Be Vigilant, Very Vigilant

February 26, 2019

Today, I am writing this for all traders and investors. For many years I have been concerned that the market is sometimes plagued by headlines that create volatility as algos react to six words crossing the wire, only to be completely out of context when the article is published. But the damage is done. Most actors in the investment arena are unaware that MOST data releases and FED documents are provided to the media roughly 30 minutes early so that they can get their headlines and stories written for the scheduled time. My problem is that this antiquated methodology OUGHT to be extinguished because trades and information move in nano seconds rather than on Telex rollers as financial news was reported when this policy was enacted. When high frequency trading groups are spending millions of dollars to get edges in micro seconds it is certainly time to say goodbye to long-held operations.

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Notes From Underground: How Many Fed Speakers Does It Take To Make a Greenspan?

February 24, 2019

More than two decades ago, then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said, “I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you hear is not what I meant.”

It seems that the cacophony of Fed speakers on Friday accomplished what the so-called Oracle did by his own design .The headlines pulled out the narrative of the FED leaving a larger balance sheet and more reserves thus allowing for more liquidity in the U.S. financial system. Equity markets, bond markets and hard assets all experienced a sigh of relief and rallied in anticipation of removal of what Druckenmiller referred to as the double-barrel approach of FED tightening policy. Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida spoke about the FED‘s use of balance sheet and forward guidance dynamics as two exceptional tools the Fed used to combat the Global Financial Crisis. If policy was already at the “effective lower bound” the Fed may invoke a Bank of Japan-type policy of yield curve control (YCC) by capping the rates on longer maturities.

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Notes From Underground: Time To Tidy Up a Few Issues

February 20, 2019

While the markets are busy digesting the January FOMC minutes it is a splendid opportunity to muse on recent events.

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Notes From Underground: Though I Walk Through the Valley of Debt, I Fear No Evil

February 18, 2019

On Friday, U.S. 30-YEAR BONDS were the best performer as the 5/30 yield curve flattened in the face of several divergent asset movements. The GOLD rallied even as the stock markets rose around the world, so no need for haven status. The DOLLAR had actually been strong in the morning but as global stock markets rallied the DOLLAR was actually lower by late afternoon. So why was the 30-YEAR BOND the premier asset? I have no idea. Over the weekend there was a Yahoo Finance story in which Jeffrey Gundlach is quoted as speculating that long-end U.S. Treasuries will see 4 percent yields later this year.

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Notes From Underground: Why So Much Weight on Italy and Its Gold?

February 14, 2019

There has been much discussion this week about how the current Italian government wants the nation’s GOLD to be the “property of the state” instead of on the Bank of Italy’s balance sheet. The coalition of Five Star and League have thought to gain control over the gold and some pundits have raised the idea of Italy selling its gold holdings, the world’s third largest, in an effort to plug holes in the budget. (NOTE: The Italian government is actually the fourth largest when the IMF is included.) Italian Prime Minister Matteo Salvini maintains that the government has no plans to sell any of the people’s GOLD. Maybe the Salvini Government is deciding to take the advice offered for the last eight years here at NOTES and monetize the GOLD by issuing GOLD-BACKED BONDS. (Securitizing the gold by selling bonds backed by one-fifth of an ounce of gold.)

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Notes From Underground: Happy Anniversary Twentieth ZIRPiversary, BOJ!

February 12, 2019

This is the perfect time to discuss the effects of zero interest rates as it has been 20 years since the Bank of Japan embarked upon the path of crushing interest rates in an effort to jump-start inflation in Japan. This is very important as we enter into the discussions about the potential for negative interest rates in the U.S. while also entertaining the idea that the U.S.’s growing debt pile and deficit have no consequence as long as the government borrows in its own currency and optimizes its printing press.

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Notes From Underground: A Hard Brexit Is Going To Fall?

February 10, 2019

The economic fallout from a “hard” Brexit has been debated in the media for the last few months. When I say “hard Brexit,” I mean that the U.K. leaves the European Union without any deal about trade rules, movement of people or any other binding treaty rules concerning the contemporary EU/U.K. relationship. I have refrained from forecasting outcomes because they are beyond the scope of economic analysis since it requires using models built of questionable assumptions. The British have a long history of economic intercourse intertwined with the lines of commerce from its empire.

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Notes From Underground: Things Are On the Boil

February 7, 2019

There are so many things causing angst in the global markets. There was news out of France on Thursday that the government was recalling its envoy to Rome because Italian politicians met with the yellow vest movement. To President Macron I offer this history lesson: In 2011-12 French President Nicolas Sarkozy–with the cooperation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel–crushed the Italian bond market in an effort to remove Prime Minister Berlusconi. The Eurocrats in Brussels parachuted in a preferred bureaucrat, Mario Monti, in an effort to get Italian politicians to halt the fiscal bleeding. The French have a great deal of audacity in complaining about Italian meddling, especially as Salvini/Maio have a legitimate reason: the upcoming European Parliamentary elections.

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Notes From Underground: Chatting With Bill Laggner of Bearing Asset Management

February 4, 2019

On Jan. 30, I had the pleasure of sitting in with Bill Laggner and Richard Bonugli for another Financial Repression Authority podcast. These discussions provide a forum to discuss pertinent issues regarding the efforts of policy makers that impact the creation of wealth, as well as its distribution. I refer to this as POLITICAL ECONOMY. The podcast was recorded four hours before the release of the FOMC statement and Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference. The FED chairman provided further insight into the walk-back of “automatic pilot” as he addressed concerns about the headwinds building in the global economy.

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