Archive for the ‘trade’ 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: 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: 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: Let’s Not Mince Words, Pepper Spray Davos

January 20, 2019

Let me begin by reiterating that this is NOT a political blog but a place for the exchange of ideas dedicated to those who desire to improve trading and investing in order to increase profits. My STRENGTH is bringing an in-depth knowledge of political economy and 40-plus years of trading my own funds (while also managing other people’s money via hedge funds).

My personal political views OUGHT not to be relevant for when it comes to generating ideas. I adhere to the wisdom of Deng Xiaoping: “I don’t care if the cat is black or white as long as it catches mice.” While I might criticize certain persons in any political administration it is merely to criticize actions as a way of comprehending policy outcomes. (For example, my disdain for Steven Mnuchin is solely based on what I deem to be his incompetence, a similar contempt that I held for Tim Geithner.)

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Notes From Underground: Tell Me Why You Are Crying

October 23, 2018

The current market temperament is causing angst among investors. A relatively strong earnings season is failing to provide support to the U.S. equity markets that many analysts have been promoting. The media is wondering what will halt the continuing slide in stocks around the globe. We at Notes From Underground have pondered what the primary catalyst would be

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Notes From Underground: Powell Seeks to Reestablish the Authority of Markets … Maybe?

October 7, 2018

I am positing this idea because I think it’s critical to current valuations of various asset classes. The nine-year rally in the U.S. (and to some extent the global equity markets) has stretched valuations as ultra-cheap money has pushed investors into taking risks larger than what many money managers and retail investors would do “normal” circumstances. This was ultimately the Bernanke plan the former chairman laid out at Jackson Hole in 2010 (simplified in Bernanke’s Washington Post op-ed as the PORTFOLIO BALANCE CHANNEL). The long-term problem for investors is that Bernanke and Janet Yellen were terrified of market reactions whenever they desired to halt the massive QE programs and their beloved use of FORWARD GUIDANCE.

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Notes From Underground: More Perspective In the Time Of Reflection

September 12, 2018

First, to all of those in the NOTES community who celebrate the Jewish New Year, I wish you a year of health, peace and prosperity. To those who celebrate other spiritual endeavors I offer you a wish for health, peace and prosperity. Now, to the markets. In the past month I have spent time putting issues we’ve been discussing for the last nine years into perspective. Lately, the airwaves are filled with the accolades laid upon the policy makers who SAVED CAPITALISM. Listening  to Paulson, Geithner and Bernanke pontificate on how they acted to save the system is enough to send me into fits of rage as the culprits who failed to act to halt the housing bubble praise themselves for the “Courage To Act.”

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Notes From Underground: Areas of Global Macro Concern

July 24, 2018

President Donald Trump’s continuous tweeting creates volatility in the markets but the impact lessens as participants become hardened to the vagaries of the tweets. An area that does concern me, though, is the amount of insider trading I suspect is taking place.

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Notes From Underground: But National Security IS Trade Policy

June 7, 2018

Tonight I am LINKING to the March 1 post about the White House discussed invoking Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. In an effort to justify the idea of placing tariffs on U.S. allies to curb steel and aluminum imports, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross noted that a strong steel sector is essential for U.S. national security. Section 232 is so broad that it is organic and can used to justify any action the U.S. deems necessary in regards to trade. In a CNBC interview on Thursday, Ross cited Section 232 again and wrapped it into the tariff discussion by maintaining that we must be strong economically to be strong militarily. Later in the interview he pressed that there can be no military security without economic strength.

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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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