The vote on the Trump health care plan is important only from the perspective of what the Freedom Caucus was promised in return for acquiescing to the desires of the White House. President Trump is desirous of a win, any win and the Freedom Caucus seems to know they have great leverage in the current political scrum. Whatever the House passes the Senate will have home field advantage and last bat so the initial Trump victory will Pyrrhic at best. What was compromised to assuage the conservative wing of the Republican party? How far will Trump have bent to bring this deal to fruition? The strident nature of the Freedom Caucus has been elevated and what value was extracted?
Archive for the ‘SNB’ Category
In an inane study of the world’s countries by the U.N. and released on World Happiness Day (what an absurd concept) the land locked nation with its active printing press was heralded as ranking FOURTH while the U.S. fell to 14th. To paraphrase Tolstoy: Happy countries are all alike; every unhappy country is unhappy in its own way. On March 17 Bloomberg ran a story, “Swiss National Bank (SNB) Foreign Reserves Soar, Signaling Interventions.” In February the SNB’s reserves increased by 3.8% to 668.2 billion francs, “the biggest increase since December 2014.”
Notes From Underground: Chinese Economic Policy Is Modeled on Kelly’s Heroes Paradigm of Sgt OddballMay 4, 2016
It is time to invoke one of the great war movies of the anti-war decade, Kelly’s Heroes. The theme is relevant in two ways. First, a ragtag group is trying to steal a hoard of German gold from a heavily guarded town and divide it up among themselves as booty from the war (similar to Chinese desire for Western-owned gold). Secondly, one of the key characters is Sargent Oddball, a tank commander played by Donald Sutherland,who will not tolerate the negative waves of people who doubt the success of the “mission.” Today, Nasdaq ran the article, “China Warns Economists to Brighten Outlooks.” Through various sources the Chinese authorities said, “Securities regulators, media censors and other government officials have issued verbal warnings to commentators whose public remarks on the economy are out of step with government upbeat statements …” The formal policy is “zhengnengliang,” translated as POSITIVE ENERGY or as Oddball would command, “don’t give me any negative waves.”
You don’t have to be a weather man to know which way the wind is blowing, or so says Bob Dylan. As long as all things are emanating out of China it may be the time to dust off the sayings of Mao for as the talking heads are reminding us daily: “The East Wind Is Prevailing Over the West” in all things financial. THE PROBLEM FOR ME IS I DON’T ACCEPT THAT VIEW AND AM IN THE CAMP OF FORMER DALLAS FED PRESIDENT RICHARD FISHER that all roads lead to the FED and certainly the European Union for providing the tinder for a financial prairie fire. There has been so much volatility during the first six trading days of the year it is difficult to get a handle on what is algo-driven non-fundamental and what may be the commencement of a change in previous momentum trades. Today I will go through a list of POTENTIAL SPARKS TO IGNITE THE FLAMES OF A FINANCIAL FIRE so that we can be aware of what constitutes a genuine change in momentum:
I will be taking a few days of “unwind” before next Wednesday’s Fed meeting and Chair Yellen press conference. Last Friday, Rick Santelli and I talked about the ECB and I am posting that but the last few Christmas Eves Rick has had me on and we discuss predictions about the coming year. There are no safe predictions from this blogger as I will venture far from shore but always try to put my best thoughts forward.
This Sunday begins the Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashanah, which brings on a very solemn 10-day period of deep introspection as God judges the entire world for the coming year. So a very happy, healthy and prosperous year for all readers of Notes From Underground. Following the Monday and Tuesday’s days of reflection we come to the financial market’s judgement day, the Fed’s decision on interest rates. Let’s be as patient in reacting as the FED has been in raising interest rates. Will the FED act to raise rates and disregard all its fears of market turmoil? The FED has a poor history of making firm decisions in the face of creating violent market reactions. The Bernanke Fed failed miserably in an attempt to end QE, cowering in the face of the “taper tantrum.”
Yes, except if the nonfarm payroll numbers comes in above 300,000 jobs created and/or average hourly earnings rise above 0.4%, reversing last month’s -0.2 %. Consensus is for payrolls to grow by 235,000 but that is in line with the average of the last six months so it will have to be a strong number to give some substance to the more hawkish voices on the FOMC Board. More importantly for Chair Yellen will be the wage growth for if wages lag job growth the Fed will be reticent to raise rates, especially in the face of a strong dollar or the euphemism of” international developments.” In my humble opinion, global financial conditions in the light of European instability will play a larger role in the Fed’s decision to raise rates, which is why I maintain it will take a large number to give voice to those Fed voters wishing to raise rates.
In the famous 1951 sci-fi movie, an alien with a ROBOT has the power to threaten the entire Earth and bring human civilization to an end. The only words that can prevent the ROBOT (algorithms) from the total destruction of the world are: KLAATU BARADA NIKTO. Let’s hope that tomorrow ECB PRESIDENT MARIO DRAGHI has those same words at his command. There is so much riding on tomorrow’s ECB decision and the press conference that Mr. Draghi can bring financial ruin to the global money system. In all prior press conferences Draghi has been able to calm markets with mere promises of future actions. The game of securing time in an effort for improved economic performance is over.
Today it was the Danish Central Bank that lowered its interest rates in order to prevent the markets from trying to break the Danish KRONER/EURO peg and lowered the overnight rate to NEGATIVE 0.20% from a NEGATIVE 0.005%. It was unusual that the Danish Bank lowered the rate on a Monday rather than the usual Thursday but some analysts of the Nordic banking system believe the Danes may act again this Thursday after the ECB reveals its QE program. NEGATIVE RATES ARE THE NEW NORMAL! Danish banking authorities maintain that the Danes are not under as much stress as the Swiss were because the reserves at the DCB are 13% below the peak of 2012, the height of the EU financial crisis.
I am reissuing a piece from December 21, 2014 as a reminder of just where the SNB has invested the assets bought by the massive printing of Swiss francs. The Swiss authorities have created a perpetual money machine that “coined” unlimited amounts of francs and exchanged them for other paper assets. The question remains: Who was willing to buy all those francs that the SNB kept selling into the market (and yet the EUR/CHF remained at the 1.20 floor/ceiling)?