Archive for the ‘Commodities’ Category

Notes From Underground: It’s Halloween and Nothing Scares the Markets

October 31, 2017

It has been a few days since the ECB announced its intentions. There was no surprise as President Draghi met market expectations by beginning a NON-TAPER, cutting QE by 30 billion euros beginning in January 2018. So as we considered the outcome of PACE and DURATION, the ECB cut the pace in half and extended the program by nine months to September 2018. The most significant piece of the Draghi press conference was his persistence on making the composition of future purchases. It seems that the ECB will utilize the European corporate bond market to meet its requirement and stay true to its CAPITAL KEY. By buying more corporate debt the ECB will find enough German assets to buy. The major problem for the European markets is that UNLIKE the U.S. financial system, European banks are a much more important actor as they provide far more corporate loans on a percentage basis of GDP than U.S. banks. The U.S. financial system relied to a far greater extent on issuing bonds. We have previously discussed the absurd chart showing European high yield debt to have a lower interest rate than 10-year U.S. Treasuries.

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Notes From Underground: The Chinese Cite Hyman Minsky

October 19, 2017

First a few jokes: My sources tell me that the new Fed Chairman will be Marc Faber; second, as Lloyd Blankfein is chirping about Brexit and Goldman moving to Frankfurt, Germany, he opined several years ago that Goldman was doing God’s work. Well, being the cyclical time in the Jewish Torah of the reading of NOAH, I remind Blankfein that Noah was also part of God’s work. (Pour a scotch and laugh).

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Notes From Underground: Be Very Afraid Of Jerome Powell and His Printing Press

October 3, 2017

Over the past 15 months, I have made light of Fed Governor Jerome (Jay) Powell because of his answer to a question I had asked him at a symposium presented by the Chicago Global Initiative. I asked Governor Powell, “Who guarantees the balance sheet of the ECB?” Without hesitating, Powell said, “THEY HAVE A PRINTING PRESS.” If this is his answer to issues of debt overhang I will be closely watching the precious metals if Powell actually became Fed Chairman. Janet Yellen has proven far more competent than Jerome Powell would be under any top of stressful central bank situation.

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Notes From Underground: The Unemployment Data? I Suppose It’s Meaningless

August 31, 2017

It’s the first Friday of the month so that means we will have the jobs report at 7:30 CDT and 7:29:59 if you are a high frequency trading operation you do the math. Consensus is for 180,000 non-farm payrolls and the overall rate remaining unchanged at 4.3%. The most important piece is the average hourly earnings (AHE), which is predicted to be 0.2% which is lower than the July data. Regardless, with the economic impact from Hurricane Harvey still an unknown the FED will be kept from raising interest rates at its September meeting. But if the AHE is strong the FED may move to commence shrinking its balance sheet because Lael Brainard has already informed us that the FED analysts theorize that QT has far less economic impact then a RISE in the fed funds rate.

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Notes From Underground: Arthur’s Song, Lost Between the Moon and New York City

August 28, 2017

A long-time reader of Notes From Underground posted a comment to a previous post promoting long GOLD/short YEN. When I asked him about this trade he noted the onset of currency wars. There is no question, as I have regularly shown that many foreign central banks’ currency’s strength is a reason to maintain very low interest rates and if in place QE programs. I certainly agree with Arthur about this narrative. But from a relative value perspective the Japanese yen has already benefited from its weakening versus the EURO, Aussie, Kiwi, Canada and Swiss franc.

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Notes From Underground: Can Jackson Hole Foster a “Dynamic Global Economy”?

August 22, 2017

This is the topic of discussion for this week’s meeting in Jackson Hole. For the Federal Reserve system, this is a statement, but I raise it as a question. A long-held theme of this BLOG has been that what the Federal Reserve, ECB, BOJ, BOE and other central banks promote as certainty supported by mathematical models I maintain IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.

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Notes From Underground: Putting This Week In Perspective

August 10, 2017

Just when the volatility sellers were heading to the beaches to bask in the glow of easy money comes the tweeter-in-chief to crush the complacency. The airwaves were full opiners who warned of a market that is fully valued.Gundlach and Dalio added their two cents for measure, espousing the need to hold GOLD as a hedge against geopolitical uncertainties. Again, it is not political uncertainty but the malfeasance of central banks that should be the concern of global investors. Deflation is the ingredient for central bank panic. As Peter Boockvar reminded his readers today: Gold is a monetary haven.

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Notes From Underground: Shelter From the Storm

August 9, 2017

Not a word was spoke between us,there was little risk involved
Everything up to that point ,had been left unresolved
Try imagining a place where it’s always safe and warm
Come in, she said, I’ll give you shelter from the storm

When Bob Dylan released this song 42 years ago it was on the album Blood on the Tracks. When the FED embarked on its QE1, QE2 and QE3 it was to respond to the blood coursing through the streets of the U.S. financial system. The U.S. banking system was threatened with insolvency and the FED‘s monetary injections sheltered the banking system from a storm of forced systemic liquidation of assets. QE1 coupled with a questionable TARP program did prevent a systemic liquidation but QE2 and QE3 I always believed were superfluous but in the land of counterfactuals it is an impossible point to prove.

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Notes From Underground: Trump Delivers on Using the Dollar as a Policy Tool

April 12, 2017

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the tweeter-in-chief was reported to have said, “The DOLLAR IS GETTING TOO STRONG.” As some pundits discussed, instead of Trump calling China a currency manipulator it seems he wants to use the dollar as a cudgel to pressure others into not embarking on policies to weaken their currencies. As I wrote on April 2:

“The Trump Administration’s efforts to curb the U.S. trade deficit may see the executive branch try to depreciate the U.S. dollar if Secretary Mnuchin and Secretary Ross fail to persuade certain global actors to embark upon policies to adjust their current account and trade surpluses. The Fed’s recent tightening has not rallied the dollar–it actually closed lower on the quarter–so if the political status quo is sustained in Europe and no new political crisis emerges, the DOLLAR will become a barometer of Trump’s policies on trade.”

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Notes From Underground: The Unemployment Report Revealed Little

April 9, 2017

The headline nonfarm payroll number was much weaker than expected and confused traders because it was so wide of the April 5 ADP release of 263,000, but the rest of the data was tepid though not weak enough to dissuade the FOMC from further efforts to raise rates. The important average hourly earnings was up 0.2%, in line with expectations, but the weekly hours worked slipped 0.1, which may have been in response to the early March storms. The unemployment rate dropped to a recovery low of 4.5% but that may be because of the amount of workers having left the labor force. The markets’ initial reaction to the headline NFP was the bonds rallied, the dollar weakened and the precious metals rose. By day’s end all the moves reversed from early rallies inspired by the U.S. missiles fired at Syria. The market had deemed the cruise missiles fired at the air force base in Syria as a market destabilizing event, spurring a purchase of what are deemed safe haven assets: GOLD, YEN, BONDS. But the end of day reversal nullified Syria as a one-off event. So the market is confused as to the genuine impact of the unemployment report and we will have to wait for more economic data to weigh all the “communication” coming from FED speakers. Chair Yellen will be speaking with a Q&A session on Monday afternoon so late market action should not be discounted.

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