Archive for the ‘United States’ Category

Notes From Underground: The Importance of Being Lighthizer

May 24, 2018

The plot thickens as the media is filled with one leak after another in regards to tariffs or threats to embark on a road to perfidy by invoking section 232 of the 1962 Trade Act: Using the broad cover of national security to justify increased import duties on autos. [In a hat tip to A. Limey] It is time to acknowledge that the “brain” of President Trump’s trade team is Robert Lighthizer.

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Notes From Underground: Come On Wall Street Don’t Be Slow, This Is War a Go-Go-Go

May 8, 2018

*NOTE: THERE IS NO POLITICAL VIEW IN THIS BLOG (AND SPECIFICALLY IN THIS POST) I ascribe to the wisdom of Deng Xiaoping. To paraphrase: Quality analysis doesn’t care if the “cat is black or white,” only if it catches mice.

Come on Wall Street, don’t be slow
Why man, this is war a-go-go
There’s plenty good money to be made
By supplying the army with the tools of its trade
But just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb
[Fill in the target of choice] 
                      — Country Joe, “I Feel Like I’M Fixin’ to Die Rag”

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Notes From Underground: New FRA Podcast

April 22, 2018

On April 19, the FRA’s Richard Bonugli moderated a discussion between the highly regarded Cal Professor Barry Eichengreen and yours truly. The discussion centered around the issue of China and the Trump administration’s trade policy. The podcast was a result of a piece Eichengreen published at Project Syndicate that I cited in a recent blog post. It was a great honor to partake in a direct discussion with the professor as I have read his work on the global political economy for many years. I advise googling his earlier work on analyzing gold role in the Great Depression and many of his other articles on the EU and the EURO.

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Notes From Underground: Flattening Curves — All Action and No Talk

April 11, 2018

In the political realm, the concern about tariffs has been lessened as Chinese President Xi took the high road with some silky conversation. It is not in the Chinese interest to raise the level of shouting/tweeting, nor to allow the YUAN to depreciate. The last blog post weighed the harm China would do to itself if the YUAN were to depreciate for it would then have to face the acrimony of many nations it is trying to placate. From a TECHNICAL perspective, it appears that the YUAN is going to test three-year lows between 6.11/6.20 to the dollar. As the Chinese tensions eased, the world now turns its eyes to Syria.

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Notes From Underground: No Chinese Devaluation or Massive Liquidation of U.S. Treasuries

April 9, 2018

There are many questions swirling around what possible responses President XI can bring forward to counteract the heightened rhetoric from the Trump administration on imposing tariffs on Chinese goods exported to the U.S. Many news agencies have carried stories about the Chinese responding to Trump tariffs by entering into a policy of depreciating the Chinese yuan, which is currently trading at 6.3075 against the DOLLAR.

This is an interesting view but it would force China to act against the G-20 accord of not manipulating one’s currency. The XI-led government is looking for international support in its effort to combat a trade war so alienating the international economic community would be detrimental to the Chinese interest of global support. The narrative some analysts are spinning is to recall China’s 2 percent devaluation of its currency in August 2015, which sent global currency and markets into a frenzy, especially as stocks were reeling from deflationary fears.

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Notes From Underground: Does AnyOne Really Care About Jobs Friday?

April 5, 2018

The first Friday in April brings a key data point: the unemployment report. Of course, what most people are concerned about are THE AVERAGE HOURLY EARNINGS. The consensus is for AHE to increase by 0.3%, which is much better than February’s tepid increase of 0.1% rise. The focus on AHE has rendered the NFP growth a distant concern, especially as the participation rate suggests unemployed are returning to the job market. This calls into question how the FED model measures genuine SLACK in the jobs market. For the U.S., the unemployment rate is expected to be 4.0% with a net gain of 190,000 workers in the nonfarm payrolls.

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Notes From Underground: What Hath ALGOS Wrought?

April 2, 2018

The speed at which markets react to political and economic headlines in an ALGO-driven world can create volatility that preys upon key levels. Today was a classic example as the long revered 200-day moving average in the E-mini S&P futures was violated and momentum moved quickly to the sell side. The S&Ps closed below the frequently tested long-term moving average of 2589.76 on a CQG continuation chart of the e-minis. In the last 30 minutes of trading at the New York Stock Exchange, there was a report that the Trump White House was pushing for a NAFTA overhaul deal within two weeks. The Mexican peso staged a late rally for it had been unable to withstand the intense selloff of the U.S. equity market. Several of the regular haven investments experienced rallies (YEN, GOLD, SILVER), but the U.S. Treasuries closed virtually unchanged as economic data reflected fears about underlying price pressures since ISM manufacturing prices rose.

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Notes From Underground: The Second Quarter Begins (the Resurrection of Volatility)

April 1, 2018

On March 26, me and Rick Santelli Rick Santelli discussed a few key issues on CNBC (the video is posted below).  The final week of the first quarter saw the continuation of increased volatility as the market tried to sort through myriad issues. The influence of budget deficits, peace talks with North Korea, trade issues in the U.S. all creating a sense of uncertainty as global investors are forced to calibrate present positions in regards to regards to potential risk. Chinese growth is meeting expectations even as the XI regime is determined to clamp down on increased debt. The copper market tested the 200-day moving average early in the week but managed to close above it at week’s (even as the metal had a weak quarter).

(Click on the image to watch me and Rick discuss global trade.)

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Notes From Underground: The Week That Was …?

March 26, 2018

What a week last week turned out to be (and that was if you just followed the headlines). Tariffs are taxing the global financial markets as they try to guesstimate the economic impact from the effect of tit-for-tat responses to the initial U.S. measures efforts to gain support for dealing with Chinese trade violations. The FOMC added to market volatility as the suspense over three or four rate hikes still impacts the DOT PLOTS. The Bank of England confused markets as they voted 7-2 to sustain the current interest rate policy, even though consensus assumed a 25 basis point increase. By week’s end the confusion reverberating around the globe did serious damage to equity markets as the S&PS were down almost 6 percent on the week and the European stock indices continued their continued their selloff, making them the weakest of all regions (in contravention to the punditry’s call for the buying of European stocks).

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Notes From Underground: The Ball of Confusion Keeps On Rolling

March 22, 2018

Tonight I am posting a PODCAST I recorded Wednesday with Richard Bonugli just after new Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference. Richard and I covered a great deal of ground in discussing the most pertinent issues confronting the world of global macro. Pour yourself a libation and enjoy the interview. I look forward to hearing thoughts from the readers of Notes From Underground.

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