Archive for the ‘United States’ Category

Notes From Underground: Relevant Issues for Today’s Global Macro Environment

May 13, 2019

As the latest drama of the U.S./China trade negotiations unfolds, there are several that continue to boil. The president is tweeting less about stock market valuations and more about the revenue impact from the fresh tariffs On Sunday, Fox News’ Chris Wallace disrobed Larry Kudlow. The economic adviser epitomized the age-old adage: “An honest person sent abroad to lie for their country.” Yes, Mr. President. A tariff is a tax on your populace. If tariffs are great for the U.S. economy, then raise them 1000% and balance the budget without inflicting any harm on Americans’ pocket books. [Yes, that’s sarcasm.]

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Notes From Underground: Back to What’s Driving Markets

May 8, 2019

We have all been bogged down with tweets coming from the White House about China. Because high-speed traders force us to parse the messages and assess the immediate impact on the markets, we’re hostage to President Trump’s tariff policy. The bottom line is that Robert Lighthizer is left to inform the world when China will acquiesce to the U.S.’s demand for reliable and hardened enforcement mechanisms to solidify any genuine agreement. From my perspective, the critical point on global markets is that once China/U.S. trade agreement is done the president will set his sights on targeting the ENORMOUS TRADE IMBALANCE that favors Germany.

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Notes From Underground: Making Sense Of the Jabberwocky

May 7, 2019

Fans of Lewis Carroll should know the whimsical poem from Alice in Wonderland that comes across as complete NONSENSE. The collection of tweets from the White House is the modern day version of the Jabberwocky. On Friday Trump tweeted about how well the talks were going with Chinese and that they were close to completion with a positive outcome. So between that and a strong jobs number, the U.S. equity markets had much to celebrate

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Notes From Underground: The Powell Fed Turns Transient From Transparent

May 2, 2019

May brought another Federal Reserve meeting that sowed more confusion. Maybe there is such a thing as too much transparency. The FOMC statement revealed the Fed thought “growth of household spending and business fixed investment slowed in the first quarter.” Coupled with this analysis was the OUTLOOK that “inflation compensation have remained low in recent months.”

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Notes From Underground: What Caused the Panic In Central Bank Park?

April 24, 2019

The pivot by the FED in recent months is still causing analysts to do some serious soul-searching as to what could’ve caused such a quick reversal. Remember, in the span of about three months the Fed shifted from a hawkish tone — and a balance sheet unwind on “auto pilot” — to on hold and an end to the portfolio runoff later this year. So, it’s dramatic, to say the least.

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Notes From Underground: Lighthizer, Always At the Ramparts Of Trade Battles

April 8, 2019

As the second quarter begins, the financial markets seem fixated on China/U.S. trade frictions, or lack thereof. This narrative is old and stale. For those new to the realm of international relations, be aware that China will slow-walk these negotiations. There will be many attempts to “agree to disagree.” For example, in Monday morning’s SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, there was an article titled, “China Refuses to Give Up ‘Developing Country’ Status At WTO Despite US Demands,” about China’s “privileged position” at the World Trade Organization. In the simplest terms, the WTO allows for countries to self-define as developing country status. This brings certain rights that allow for longer transition periods before they have to be in full compliance with WTO rules and regulations. This is described as “Special and Differential Treatment.”

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Notes From Underground: Quick Note on Friday’s Jobs Report

April 4, 2019
On Friday we have U.S. and Canadian employment. The Canadian report is important because Canada is an important trading partner of the U.S. so any slowing in Canadian employment may reflect of slowing cross-border trade. The consensus is for Canada to have a DECLINE of 10,000 jobs with the unemployment rate holding at 5.8 percent. From a global perspective, Canada is a good look at the continuing narrative about slowing global economy, which is significant as the New Zealand, Australian, European and Japanese central banks have used the slowing global economy as the reason for maintaining their current accommodative monetary policies. The Canadian dollar has been weak versus many of the key currencies so weak jobs should put more pressure on the Canadian dollar.

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Notes From Underground: Fitch Rates U.S. AAA (An Ode to the Printing Press)

April 2, 2019

On Tuesday afternoon the Fitch Ratings assigned a AAA rating for U.S. sovereign debt. This is about as good as rating subprime mortgages AAA up until the housing market crashed, giving way to the financial crisis. The statement acknowledged that the U.S. deficit was 4 percent of GDP this year based on IMF measures, with general government debt reaching 98.9 percent of GDP. Fitch also said by 2028 general government debt could reach 120 percent of GDP.

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Notes From Underground: No Moore. No Kudlow. No MMT

March 31, 2019

In the previous blog post, I suggested that if the FED was afraid of flat yield curves then they OUGHT to CUT overnight rates immediately by 50 basis points in an effort to steepen the curves to a more NORMAL slope. On Friday, in a nod to Notes From Underground, President Trump’s latest Fed nominee Steve Moore and White House advisor Larry Kudlow said that the central bank should slash interest rates by 50 basis points. Unlike my suggestion, the avid supply-siders offered no context for the rate cuts. There was no discussion of yield curves, dollar strength or the problems confronting global growth.

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Notes From Underground: When Doves Coo

March 20, 2019

Wednesday’s FOMC statement and press conference was as dovish as we have heard in many moons. More importantly, the VOTE WAS UNANIMOUS. Even Kansas City Fed President Esther George voted with the group. Why was this dovish?

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