Archive for the ‘Currency’ Category

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?

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.”

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Notes From Underground: Mario Draghi’s Circus

January 24, 2019

The ECB did exactly as expected, which was less than its deposit rate (if that’s even possible). President Draghi answered questions for an hour and said absolutely nothing except that risks were now weighted to the downside. The structural theme of his composed narrative was the concept of persistence and assessment. Draghi laid the need for continued ECB monetary ease on many factors inhibiting growth:

  1. German auto production slowing;
  2. U.S.trade actions are creating greater uncertainty due to tariff threats;
  3. China slowdown; and
  4. Brexit

(more…)

Notes From Underground: Mario the Magician Has Lost His Assistant

January 23, 2019

The Bank of Japan did not surprise the markets as they remained committed to the lunacy of QQE, even with positive growth for many years. In an effort to make the central bank’s policy ever more relevant the BOJ lowered their inflation expectations, which the markets interpreted as lower for longer, resulting in a flurry of YEN selling of against all of the major traded currencies. There was even movement in the Swiss/yen cross as both central banks battle to keep their currencies in check by keeping interest rates negative.

(more…)

Notes From Underground: Germany and France Codify the Premise of Europe

January 22, 2019

In a desperate attempt to deflect from the damage to his presidency, Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday codified what Bernard Connolly has written about for 25 years. As Charles de Gaulle supposedly said to Konrad Adenauer: “Europe is France and Germany, the rest trimmings.” In a resurrection of European history, Angela Merkel and Macron signed a new Treaty of Aachen. While the treaty language is vapid, the symbolism cannot be minimized. Germany and France promise to come to each other’s defense if attacked while also promising to work for a more unified financial and fiscal system.

(more…)