Archive for the ‘Fed’ Category

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: 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: 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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Notes From Underground: Hello, 2019

January 6, 2019

“I am a sick man. I am a wicked man.”

So opens the Dostoyevsky novella Notes from Underground. Sometimes I seem to be caught in a similar existential trap as I analyze the global macro data and fundamentals. I am sick because I continue to pursue the opportunities that explode before me. I have taken a turn for the worse and become sick because of the constant flow of manipulated headlines crafted to purposely activate the trading algorithms. Tweets and headlines with no context have become the coin of the realm, especially for high frequency trading operations. But their role in the market jungle does little to dissuade meĀ  from honing my craft. The bottom line: Greater preparation and more patience is needed.

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Notes From Underground: And To All a Good Year

December 23, 2018

We are heading into the last trading week of the year and it’s setting up to be volatile, to say the least. The FED is in motion. Equity investors are harvesting profits from a long-run bull market. Bond markets are uncertain as how to react to the end of QE since the central banks are now beginning to shrink global reserves (at least the Fed is). Commodity prices are struggling due to the fear of a global economic slowdown. And the political backdrop adds great uncertainty as the Trump administration never misses an opportunity to open its mouth and detract from any policy success it may experience. China, Russia, Turkey, Iran and even Saudi Arabia are watching the Western Democracies to see how they respond to Trump’s efforts to disrupt the current trading system and, more importantly, the rollback of PAX AMERICANA.

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Notes From Underground: The Umpire Strikes Back

December 19, 2018

The Fed chairman is situated as the key arbiter of the economy and rules via its DUAL MANDATE. Given that it has a research staff of at least 500 economists the FED positions itself as ALL KNOWING, which is certainly okay as long as it accepts the consequences and lays aside the use of counterfactuals when its policies may turn out to be very misguided.

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Notes From Underground: Seasons Greetings From 1850 K Street

December 18, 2018

On Wednesday the most discussed FOMC meeting in years will take place. The FED has put itself into a box through its use of forward guidance and of the DOT PLOTS to direct investor sentiment. By skipping a rate hike at its November 8 meeting Chairman Powell put the burden on December with a heightened sense of a rate rise as it has a scheduled press conference. There is a murderers row of financial heavyweights arguing for the FED to ABSTAIN FROM A RISE IN RATES and wait for more data to ascertain whether the equity markets are signaling a genuine concern on economic problems, or are merely repricing risk that had premiums WAY TOO LOW during the halcyon days of harmonized QE. As the FED shrinks its balance sheet, the ECB is finished with liquidity. Once you add the BOJ dancing to the tune of a decimated bond market, global liquidity is being restrained.

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Notes From Underground: Markets Are Rounding Third and Sliding Into Home

December 16, 2018

As we head into the final two weeks of the year, the global equity markets are “sliding into home.” Equities sold off again on Friday as the Chinese tariff saga is failing to provide support to the market. Weekend news conveyed the idea that the market was reacting to this week’s FED meeting and the very high probability of another increase in the central bank’s target range. This is a stretch because investors have been aware of the FED‘s limitations under its own “forward guidance,” trapped into a rate hike for fear of spooking the market if no increase was decided.

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Notes From Underground: Seriously, It Ain’t Rocket Science

November 28, 2018
I know my readers are tired of my typical line of cynicism but it has never been more relevant than this week. On Monday, NASA succeeded in landing a space vehicle on Mars. HOWEVER, the FOMC can’t even define what the NEUTRAL RATE of interest is for the U.S. economy.

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Notes From Underground: Much to Be Thankful For. Now Back to Work

November 25, 2018

Tonight, we at Notes From Underground will clean up some unfinished business. We will discuss a couple of important speeches and articles from the past two weeks.

Then I will answer the questions Mike Temple made on the previous blog post. In responding to some of Mike’s points I come back to the idea of INFRASTRUCTURE, which I addressed in a few other blog posts. The reason I foresee aggressive fiscal stimulus put forth by the G-20 is precisely because of some of the fears that Mike raises about the damage coming to the investment grade corporate bond market while the FED’s shrinks its balance sheet and raise interest rates. It may be having a greater impact than the FOMC wants to acknowledge.

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