Archive for the ‘Currency’ Category

Notes From Underground: Draghi Is Waiting On a Sunny Day

April 10, 2019

President Mario Draghi’s press conference proceeded as expected as the European Central Bank laid out its plans for dealing with a slowing global economy suffering from the slings and arrows of president Trump’s trade war threats against the Chinese and now the Europeans. The ECB plans on keeping its interest rate policy intact through 2019 and probably longer as it confronts the recent headwinds to growth. The media asked several times about the possibility of tiering of rates in an effort to remove the adverse impact from the NEGATIVE DEPOSIT RATE FOR RESERVES PARKED AT THE ECB.

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Notes From Underground: Wednesday, 6:45 CST … Our Day Begins

April 9, 2019

There are so many issues plaguing Europe right now, and surprisingly, Brexit is not the most significant. On Wednesday morning — yes, Wednesday — the ECB announces its rate decision and it is expected that rates will remain unchanged,  with the main refinancing rate at zero. The only possible news will be that the ECB actually engages in a tiered financing. This would mean that some banks would get relief from the -0.40% rate that the ECB charges banks to deposit cash at the central bank. There have been rumors that the ECB was planning on raising interest rates in the hope that boost for some European domestic rates would help lift the equity valuations of some profit-stressed financial institutions.

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Notes From Underground: Is The FED Afraid of Inversion?

March 26, 2019

Last week, NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND left off asking, WHAT IS THE FED AFRAID OF? The most ostensible fears are of a global slowdown coupled with a potentially too strong DOLLAR, which would create the possibility of a new global financial crisis. The world has borrowed heavily in dollars because of the FED‘s zero interest rate policy. Rates were too low for too long.

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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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Notes From Underground: It’s a Drag Listening to Draghi Get Old

March 7, 2019

ECB President Mario Draghi’s press conference was, once again, another act of flim-flam as he PIVOTED away from any tightening for the next [FILL IN THE YEAR]. There was NO SURPRISE as the TLTRO was well telegraphed various news outlets in recent weeks. What’s amazing is that the currency markets were surprised by Draghi’s press conference as the U.S. DOLLAR staged a sizable rally, reaching its highest level in more than three months. The YEN was stronger as the weak stock markets provided a sense of Japanese repatriation of invested capital, while GOLD performed dismally.

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Notes From Underground: MMT Is Gaining Velocity

March 5, 2019

We at NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND have discussed the issue of MODERN MONETARY THEORY. Now, the battle lines are drawn over the possibilities of a benign outcome to the practical basis of the so-called printing press. Yes, the simplification of MMT bothers its disciples, but the printing press is in essence what the theory purports to avow: Don’t worry about debt, because enough money flooding the system will not push interest rates higher but rather lower as banks take on massive reserves to put out the bid that’s pushing interest rates persistently lower.

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Notes From Underground: The Politics of Money

March 3, 2019

Over the weekend, President Trump blasted a high note from the Conservative Political Action Conference. Again, the president put pressure on the Federal Reserve as he pointed his finger at Powell. He said, “I want a dollar that does great for our country, but not a dollar that’s so strong that it makes it prohibitive for us to do business with other nations and take their business.” He didn’t mention Powell by name but added noted that the U.S. has “a gentleman that likes raising interest rates in the Fed, we have a gentleman that loves quantitative tightening in the Fed, we have a gentleman that likes a very strong dollar in the Fed.”

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Notes From Underground: How Many Fed Speakers Does It Take To Make a Greenspan?

February 24, 2019

More than two decades ago, then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said, “I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you hear is not what I meant.”

It seems that the cacophony of Fed speakers on Friday accomplished what the so-called Oracle did by his own design .The headlines pulled out the narrative of the FED leaving a larger balance sheet and more reserves thus allowing for more liquidity in the U.S. financial system. Equity markets, bond markets and hard assets all experienced a sigh of relief and rallied in anticipation of removal of what Druckenmiller referred to as the double-barrel approach of FED tightening policy. Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida spoke about the FED‘s use of balance sheet and forward guidance dynamics as two exceptional tools the Fed used to combat the Global Financial Crisis. If policy was already at the “effective lower bound” the Fed may invoke a Bank of Japan-type policy of yield curve control (YCC) by capping the rates on longer maturities.

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Notes From Underground: Happy Anniversary Twentieth ZIRPiversary, BOJ!

February 12, 2019

This is the perfect time to discuss the effects of zero interest rates as it has been 20 years since the Bank of Japan embarked upon the path of crushing interest rates in an effort to jump-start inflation in Japan. This is very important as we enter into the discussions about the potential for negative interest rates in the U.S. while also entertaining the idea that the U.S.’s growing debt pile and deficit have no consequence as long as the government borrows in its own currency and optimizes its printing press.

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Notes From Underground: A Hard Brexit Is Going To Fall?

February 10, 2019

The economic fallout from a “hard” Brexit has been debated in the media for the last few months. When I say “hard Brexit,” I mean that the U.K. leaves the European Union without any deal about trade rules, movement of people or any other binding treaty rules concerning the contemporary EU/U.K. relationship. I have refrained from forecasting outcomes because they are beyond the scope of economic analysis since it requires using models built of questionable assumptions. The British have a long history of economic intercourse intertwined with the lines of commerce from its empire.

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