Posts Tagged ‘BIS’

Notes From Underground: Some Areas Of Concern and Importance

October 16, 2017

As the tinder of prairie fires builds, these areas of concern are important because of the potential impact they can have on the market:

1. Sunday’s election results in Austria give rise to concerns about the rise of euroskeptic groups in several European nations. Yes, the anti-immigration sentiment appears to be the dominant variable in bringing a right-wing government to Vienna, but the sparks from xenophobia can manifest into an anti-ECB issue as domestic citizens are asked to foot the bill for bail-outs of Italian banks. Many citizens of various European states have borne the costs of bailing out Italy, Spain, Ireland, Greece and Cyprus through negative interest rates, the ultimate tool of financial repression. German two-year notes are currently -73 basis points, even though German inflation is approaching 1.7%, resulting in a real yield of NEGATIVE 2.5% for the savers in German-based banks. Regardless of what the ECB does in terms of quantitative tightening President Draghi has maintained that negative rates will remain lower for longer. Financial repression will be the next theme for the European right.

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Notes From Underground: The Sound Of Complacency Shattering

September 19, 2017

First, for all those in the Notes From Underground community who celebrate Rosh Hashanah, have a happy and healthy New Year. For those who don’t I also wish you a happy and healthy New Year. Thanks for your continued support and if I angered you with my thoughts I have to say it was not done to be hurtful but rather to provoke a high-quality discussion around issues in the realm of global-macro finance. When I listened to the Ray Dalio interview on CNBC today it was comforting to know that the mission of this BLOG is similar to what Dalio tries to accomplish with his employees. NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND is not about PERSONAL VALIDATION but about discourse in the crucible of financial ideas, striving to refine the GOLD from the DROSS. Let’s hope the SHOFAR BLAST shatters the complacency of our static thoughts in all matters of our lives.

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Notes From Underground: Merkel’s Boner, Take Two

September 26, 2016

It seems that 108 years is enough time to pass to relive history. For those who are not sports fans, Merkle’s Boner is a famous mistake made by New York player Fred Merkel, who didn’t touch second base and was called out erasing the “fact” that the New York Giants had beaten the Chicago Cubs. The major GAFFE led to the Cubs beating the Giants and the CUBS moving to the World Series where they defeated the Detroit Tigers for their last World Series championship only 108 years ago.

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Notes From Underground: Draghi Fires a Water Pistol at Global Liquidity

March 10, 2016

After the smoke had cleared from ECB’s announcement to cut the deposit rate another 10 BASIS POINTS to NEGATIVE FORTY, the central bank ADDED MORE MONEY TO THE SYSTEM VIA AN INCREASE IN QE TO EIGHTY BILLION EUROS A MONTH. The press called this a BAZOOKA but I THINK IT IS A WATER PISTOL. The most significant piece of the press release on monetary policy decisions was item six, “A NEW SERIES OF FOUR TARGETED LONGER-TERM REFINANCING OPERATIONS (TLTRO 2), EACH WITH A MATURITY OF FOUR YEARS, WILL BE LAUNCHED, STARTING IN JUNE 2016. BORROWING CONDITIONS IN THESE OPERATIONS CAN BE AS LOW AS THE INTEREST RATE ON THE DEPOSIT FACILITY.”

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Notes From Underground: To Print or Not to Print (For the BOJ and SNB)

November 24, 2014

In the time of “secular stagnation,” the burden of economic policy has fallen on the world’s central bankers. Whatever the question of economic malaise the answer is to print money and stave off the fear of deflation. This is why Ben Bernanke was the captain of the ’37ers, the cadre of central bankers who learned that the mistakes made by the U.S. Secretary of Treasury and the Federal Reserve would not be repeated. As it goes, it is easier to stop inflation then it is to prevent the pains of a deflationary spiral. The central banks of all the developed world economies are in full stop deflation mode. Thus, when in doubt, PRINT.

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Notes From Underground: Santelli Exchange–Fischer’s Fed View

July 13, 2014

Yra on Santelli ExchangeClick on the image to watch Rick and I discuss the battle between Janet Yellen and the BIS, as well as Fischer’s July 10 remarks.

Notes From Underground: Sunday’s World Cup Final = Creditor/Debtor Bowl?

July 10, 2014

There’s a little levity during a very stressful week of trading. Germany meeting Argentina in the World Cup final is symbolic of the battles being waged by the world’s central bankers. Jeremy Stein and the BIS view the threat of financial stability a potential concern of Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi. The world’s financial markets will be watching to see what style of play on the pitch prevails: The aggressive Argentinian speed or the more AUSTERE and supreme defensive style of Germany. In the spirit of global macro humor I ask these questions:

  1. Will presiding referee Thomas Griesa issue a RED CARD to the entire Argentinian team for defaulting on its debt?
  2. If the Argentinians get control of the ball will someone from Elliott Associates come and grab it as Griesa deems it an asset of the debtors?
  3. If  Argentina prevails, will the trophy be confiscated and given to the intransigent creditors for sale on E-Bay?
  4. Will Griesa suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as he is deemed by FIFA to be a biased American judiciary with no genuine knowledge of the international beautiful game of debtor/creditor?

***The question to which we keep returning: ARE THE WORLD’S CENTRAL BANKS THREATENING THEIR CREDIBILITY? A corollary  question: DOES THE FED UNDERSTAND ITS OWN FALLIBILITY? As yesterday’s FOMC minutes revealed, confusion reigns within the FED as to the strength of the real economy, especially in ways to measure the OUTPUT GAP of the employment data. How much slack exists in the labor pool to prevent a dramatic rise in wages is of paramount importance for the Fed’s “forward guidance” (and signaling to markets future FED intentions). The FED speaks with great confidence in its projections but if past performance is a guide investors should treat all Fed projections with skepticism. It was the highly regarded Ben Bernanke who maintained well into late 2007 that the housing slowdown was well contained and should pose no problems for the U.S.economy. Yet, the impact of the U.S. credit crisis was severe enough to effect banks and bondholders across the globe. The bottom line is that the FED is fraught with failings and for investors to treat all Fed releases as pearls of perfection should proceed with caution.

In an Financial Times piece published yesterday, Axel Merk wrote the following:
“Ms. Yellen told us that policy under her leadership is not rules based. As such, market participants have to rely on the Fed’s ad hoc assessment. And that is very much like reading tea leaves, as the Fed is looking at backward-looking indicators such as the most recent unemployment report. Forward-looking indicators, such as the yield curve, are less reliable as the Fed itself has actively managed gauges. That, in turn, forces market participants to try to read Ms. Yellen’s mind. Her statements make it clear that her focus is on keeping rates low to help promote job growth until inflation readings get enough over the targeted 2 percent level to warrant concern in her mind.”
So, again, the price of the FED‘s certainty can be found in a weak DOLLAR and ultimately strong precious metals. If Yellen and Bernanke admit to not understanding GOLD, I advise measuring your own fallibility and putting that into your projections.
***And now back to Europe. Readers of Notes From Underground have known that the European financial markets have never fallen off the radar as the rally in peripheral debt and certain European banks were deemed to be a fool’s paradise. Today’s news about Portuguese bank, Banco Espirito Santo, missed a bond payment sent chills through the market. Banks have never healed but have been recipients of the ECB‘s liquidity efforts. However, non-performing loans have continued to plague the balance sheets of many Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese financial institutions. (Yep, the PIIGS have returned to the headlines.) More importantly, if the ECB and the BIS continue to disagree about interest rates and financial stability, the BIS can inflict pain on Europe’s banks by pushing for sovereign debt to some type of risk-weighting, requiring the need for more bank capital. Banco Espirito Santo have only survived through the European debt crisis by loading up on Portuguese sovereign bonds. (That is, borrowing from the ECB at very low rates, buying Portuguese debt and earning the differential, all risk free.) If the BIS keeps pushing back against the ECB and the FED, more bank problems will arise.
***However, in the eyes of the French and Mario Draghi there was a positive result from the Banco Espirito Santo: the weakening of the EURO against most currencies. The move was not dramatic but did provide some respite from recent euro strength. THE KEY TO THE EURO MAY BE IN THE EURO/SWEDE CURRENCY CROSS. On July 3 the Riksbank slashed interest rates in an effort to keep the KRONER weak against the EURO (in my opinion). IF THE EUR/STOKIE TAKES OUT THE LOW OF THE CROSS FROM JULY 3 IT WILL BE A CRITICAL STATEMENT ABOUT INCREASING PROBLEMS IN THE EUROPEAN FINANCIAL SYSTEM. The range for the EUR/STOK on the day in question was: a high of 9.3580; a low of 9.1540 with a close of 9.2856. Today the close was 9.2340, which is lower, but the July 3 low of 9.1540 should become the critical number.

Notes From Underground: Who Knows What Lurks In the Mind Of the BOE, the Shadow?

July 9, 2014

Tomorrow the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee meets to decide interest rates. Governor Mark Carney has recently confused markets by saying that interest rates would probably rise sooner than forecast. Then Mr. Carney changed directions by following the FOMC and suggesting that the slack in the labor market would allow the BOE to stay the present course and keep interest rates at present levels for an extended period. Overnight rates are currently at 0.50% and with the British pound strengthening against most currencies the BOE is expected to maintain the status quo.

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Notes From Underground: BIS Warns About “Euphoric” Markets

July 1, 2014

The big news story from the weekend has been the warning from the central bankers’ banker, the Bank For International Settlements (BIS), that financial markets have become “… detached from the reality of a lingering post-crisis malaise, as it called for governments to ditch policies that risk stoking unsustainable asset booms.” The BIS annual report warns about leaving ultra-low interest rates for too long a period. The Financial Times article reported what I consider to be the most significant piece of the report: “Particularly for countries in the late stages of financial booms, the trade-off is now between the risk of bringing FORWARD THE DOWNWARD LEG OF THE CYCLE AND THAT OF SUFFERING A BIGGER BUST LATER ON” (emphasis mine).

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Notes From Underground: The COLLATERAL DAMAGE From Bernanke’s Fed Policy

June 24, 2012

Is there anyone involved in financial markets who doesn’t  believe that GLOBAL BOND MARKETS ARE BROKEN AS INDICATORS OF PREDICTED ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE? The FED has pursued a policy of TWISTS AND QEs as it pursued a policy of forcing real long-term yields to ultra-low levels in an effort to stimulate the housing market, capital investment and the portfolio balance channel in forcing investors to opt for riskier assets to enhance yield (Greenspan’s beloved wealth effect). The problem is that as the FED and other CENTRAL BANKS have bought TRILLIONS of sovereign debt in an effort to stimulate the global economy much COLLATERAL has gone onto the books of the monetary authorities and left the REPO markets lacking the necessary collateral.

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