Notes From Underground: William Dudley Starts Goodbye With a “Dud” Speech

November 6, 2017

As reported over the weekend, New York Fed President William Dudley is turning in his keys to the printing press and leaving the Fed in mid-2018 to spend more time with his family (Goldman Sachs). In a speech delivered to the Economic Club of New York, the reigning king of the New York Fed praised the central bank for its effort to prevent a collapse of the global financial system. He laid blame for the crisis on all the familiar miscreants but mostly stressed that “the safeguards put in place in response to the crisis are fully appreciated and respected.” President Dudley maintains that the global financial crisis was a result of lacking the tools to regulate the entire financial system and sums up his analysis: “We had woefully inadequate regulatory regime in place,and while it is much better now, there is still work to do.”

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Notes From Underground: An Assessment of Market-Moving Events (Or, Which Narrative is Most Critical?)

November 5, 2017

Three central bank meetings, the selection of a new Fed chair, the release of a major new tax policy and the unemployment report provided the markets with great potential for increased volatility. Instead the markets yawned and carried equities to new all-time highs.The central bank decisions went as expected; the unemployment was a bit weaker than projected but the weather problems from the hurricanes have probably not been fully tallied.

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Notes From Underground: Quick Note on the BOE and Friday’s Jobs Report

November 2, 2017

Today, the BOE raised interest rates (as expected). But the market deemed it to be dovish and the EUR/GBP rallied 2 percent as the British pound tumbled and the euro strengthened versus the pound and dollar. On Wednesday I cautioned that the EUR/GBP failed to hold below its 200-day moving average and this provided a good technical level. As expected, the FOOTSIE index rallied more than 1 percent as investors appreciated a weaker POUND as beneficial to British corporations regardless of Brexit. The initial release of the statement revealed a 7-2 vote, which on first read was not the expected 6-3 vote so could have been a bit hawkish. But the eight paragraph statement clarified the soft-side of Governor Carney:

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Notes From Underground: A Tale of Three Central Banks

November 1, 2017

The BOJ released its policy statement on Tuesday and it was as expected. The central bank sustained its yield curve control (YCC) policy as the BOJ seeks to ensure that inflation reaches its 2% target. The 8-1 vote by the Governing Committee was a bit dovish as one of the two new members, Goushi Kataoka, voted to extend the purchases further out the curve to prevent 15-year yields from rising. The bank will also have REITS and ETFS to buy if JGB supply runs short. Bottom line is that the NIKKEI made new 27-year highs and the dollar/YEN rallied as the currency gave up some of its recent gains against the U.S. and euro currencies.

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Notes From Underground: It’s Halloween and Nothing Scares the Markets

October 31, 2017

It has been a few days since the ECB announced its intentions. There was no surprise as President Draghi met market expectations by beginning a NON-TAPER, cutting QE by 30 billion euros beginning in January 2018. So as we considered the outcome of PACE and DURATION, the ECB cut the pace in half and extended the program by nine months to September 2018. The most significant piece of the Draghi press conference was his persistence on making the composition of future purchases. It seems that the ECB will utilize the European corporate bond market to meet its requirement and stay true to its CAPITAL KEY. By buying more corporate debt the ECB will find enough German assets to buy. The major problem for the European markets is that UNLIKE the U.S. financial system, European banks are a much more important actor as they provide far more corporate loans on a percentage basis of GDP than U.S. banks. The U.S. financial system relied to a far greater extent on issuing bonds. We have previously discussed the absurd chart showing European high yield debt to have a lower interest rate than 10-year U.S. Treasuries.

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Notes From Underground: A Celebration Of The Greatest Act Of Financial Alchemy (Ever)

October 25, 2017

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has pulled off the greatest act of alchemy by printing copious amounts of Swiss francs (CHF) and turning the currency into real corporate assets. The SNB has grown its balance sheet to CHF800 billionĀ  from CHF500 billion in 2015, 85 percent of which is foreign exchange holdings in various forms. As the SNB struggled to weaken the franc to prevent the ultimate safe-haven currency from strengthening and putting the Swiss economy into a DEFLATIONARY SPIRAL. The Swiss experiment began January 15, 2015 as the SNB officially removed the EUR/CHF PEG, which it was attempting to HOLD. Yet the market kept buying the franc despite the SNB’s efforts (the PEG had a 1.20 floor).

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Notes From Underground: Him Or Me, What’s It Gonna Be?

October 24, 2017

President Trump is the ultimate drama queen. The president is drawing out his FED selection as he titillates the markets with the drips and drabs as to who is the most probable choice. Here is my best guess: Because this president reminds the nation how great he is doing using the stock markets as the barometer it would follow that his choice would be the best one for keeping equity prices elevated. Kevin Warsh and John Taylor would be a problem as the equity markets would become cautious for fear of short-term interest rates rising at a quicker pace. It seems that Jerome Powell and Janet Yellen would be the ones to sustain the current stock rally as they are known entities to the Wall street contingent. Of course the ultimate booster of all asset classes would be Neel Kashkari, the latest dissenter to the previous rate increases in 2017.

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Notes From Underground: Prepping For Draghi

October 23, 2017

Another moment in time with Rick Santelli. We reviewed some of today’s early market reactions to the weekend events. A measure of the impact of President Mario Draghi’s ECB policy was reflected in the prices of European sovereign debt. The political news out of Spain and Italy let alone recent elections in Austria and the Czech Republic SHOULD have sent Italian and Spanish yields HIGHER but because of the ECB’s ongoing LARGE ASSET PURCHASES Spanish and Italian yields on 10-year debt actually dropped the most today.

(Click on the image to watch me and Rick discuss the weekend’s events.)

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Notes From Underground: Elections In Japan, Czech Republic and Italy

October 22, 2017

First: On Oct. 18 I talked with Richard Bonugli from the Financial Repression Authority and financial analyst John Browne, a former member of the British Parliament. I am linking to the transcript of the chat. The conversation was free-flowing and was heavily tilted toward geopolitical concerns and shed light on investment possibilities. But as readers of NOTES well know, many of out best trade outcomes are based on political economy as well as mere yield curves. Last week the 2/10 did challenge the 73.5 basis point level (again) and by Friday the 2/10 had bounced back to 81 basis points.

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Notes From Underground: The Chinese Cite Hyman Minsky

October 19, 2017

First a few jokes: My sources tell me that the new Fed Chairman will be Marc Faber; second, as Lloyd Blankfein is chirping about Brexit and Goldman moving to Frankfurt, Germany, he opined several years ago that Goldman was doing God’s work. Well, being the cyclical time in the Jewish Torah of the reading of NOAH, I remind Blankfein that Noah was also part of God’s work. (Pour a scotch and laugh).

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