Archive for the ‘Debt Market’ Category

Notes From Underground: For The Sin Of …

October 7, 2019

Let me wish all those celebrating the Jewish New Year a Healthy and Happy New Year (and I wish the same for those who don’t celebrate the Jewish calendar). Tuesday night begins the Day of Atonement in which the individual is obligated to acknowledge any shortcomings, ask GOD for forgiveness and announce the desire to rise to a higher level in the coming year. There is a list of 44 sins confessed publicly, which covers the entire litany of transgressions the individual/community has most probably engaged in. (I’ve linked a list here.)

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Notes From Underground: Walking Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

September 22, 2019

There is no question that the world’s central banks are all living under the shadow of doubt as investors and financial markets are questioning the efficacy of the zero lower bound. The sense of always doing more in an effort to attain a self-conjured 2% level of inflation has led to the continued downward slide in interest rates.

On this note, last week we saw the Powell Fed lower the target range for the fed funds rate by 25 basis points — and its interest on excess reserves rate by 30 basis points — as congestion in the financial plumbing sent overnight rates soaring. (For those who are interested in the nuances, I am linking to one of many splendid pieces from Bloomberg reporters Liz McCormick and Alexandra Harris detailing out the repo market mess.)

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Notes From Underground: Should We Fear the Repo Man?

September 17, 2019

Just as Saudi Arabia was becoming less of a story the NEW YORK FED‘s mishandling of Tuesday’s repo operation has created a new round of angst for traders if not investors. The best coverage on the FED‘s recent efforts to calm the overnight funding markets (and repo turmoil) has been done by Liz Capo McCormick and Alex Harris at Bloomberg News. Now they have another article out discussing another REPO operation tomorrow morning.

Tuesday’s operation injected $53 billion of liquidity, even though $75 billion was on offer. While the FUNDS level went as high as 10% today the repo operation brought the level down to 2.50% to 2.25%, calming fears of any type of solvency/liquidity situation. Even though we’re around the 11th anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse, It has been a decade since the markets had to be truly focused on the FUNDING marketsĀ  so many people are left with more questions than answers.

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Notes From Underground: Woody Hayes’ Advice to Mario Draghi

September 4, 2019

Football season in the U.S. is just beginning. That said, it would be appropriate for President Mario Draghi to refrain from any type of new QE program or cut in interest rates at next week’s meeting. There have been several comments from ECB members during the past week advising against more QE or additional interest rate cuts.

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Notes From Underground: Another Fine Mess You Got Us Into, Olli Rehn

August 18, 2019

The Federal Reserve just won’t admit that President Trump and the European Central Bank are holding its policy designs captive. Trump ramps up talk of tariffs in an effort to keep the financial markets uncertain while the ECB wishes to pursue an ever expanding balance sheet in an effort to reach an ambivalent inflation target. There is no doubt that REAL YIELDS throughout the European Union are NEGATIVE. Even the Italian 10-year is trading around 1.35%, which is below the inflation level however dubious it is calculated.

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Notes From Underground: The August of Our Discontent

August 7, 2019

When August rolls in the markets thin as Europe heads to the beaches and New Yorkers head to the Hamptons before Labor Day. This means every tweet President Trump is amplified by the LACK of market liquidity. On Wednesday, the president was back in full confrontation with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell because three central banks CUT interest rates last night: India,Thailand, and, most importantly, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, which surprised most market analysts by cutting 50 basis points instead of 25.

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Notes From Underground: If You Don’t 2+2=5, Then Read No Further

August 6, 2019

The tagline of this blog has always been “where 2+2=5 is also a wonderful thing.” If you believe that the world is balanced and rational in all things financial then this BLOG is not for you. Unlike Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s character, I am not a sick man, nor a spiteful man. I use my deep knowledge of political and economic history to analyze financial markets from myriad angles. This allows for a belief that context is supreme. In this context I posit that President Trump’s decision Monday to name China a “currency manipulator” is a way out for the U.S. from the dissension that has arisen within Trump’s team of advisers as reported over the weekend. If Bob Lighthizer was opposed then indeed President Trump is in a more difficult position than previously thought.

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Notes From Underground: We Got Our Answer

July 31, 2019

In Sunday’s blog post I asked whether the tariffs trumped U.S. economic data. Well, we got our answer on Wednesday and it’s a resounding YES. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference Wednesday suggested that he has been sucked into the vortex of President Trump’s media manipulation of the tariff narrative. CNBC’s Steve Likesman asked whether the interest rate cut was an insurance cut instead of a DATA cut. Powell cited these reasons for the Fed’s decision: To insure against global risks /trade tensions, which is unusual as there is not much history of monetary policy responding to economic consequences of trade friction; and the cover all of the world’s largest central banks, which is the need for a faster return to inflation.

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Notes From Underground: Draghi and Trump Are Putting Powell In a Difficult Position

June 18, 2019

On Tuesday asset classes around the world got a sharp boost when ECB President Draghi delivered the ultimate dovish speech from the annual conclave in Sintra, Portugal. The ECB has set up this annual meeting in an effort to mirror the Kansas City Fed gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. What did Draghi discuss? The failure of Euorpean inflation to reach the self-imposed target of 2% set by the central bank.

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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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