This week has presented us with THREE central bank meetings. The results of the BOJ, FED and BOE meetings were no change to the current policies. So, with inflation on the rise and equity markets close to all-time highs for the U.S. and multi-year highs for Europe, the overseers of credit feel no need to tighten monetary conditions. Chair Yellen and her fellow decision makers are evidently comfortable that the wheels of legislation grind slowly and will wait until there is some evidence of fiscal stimulus and tax reform before applying the brakes to a possibly overstimulated economy. The BOJ was cautious ahead of Prime Minister Abe’s meeting with President Trump. To understand the domestic politics of Abe’s possible bilateral deal with the U.S. I am linking to an article from the Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal by Tobias Harris (my progeny).
Posts Tagged ‘BOE’
Yes, the day of decision is upon us and everybody is SURE of a 25 basis hike from the FOMC. IF I WAS IN CHARGE–NO, NOT JOSE CANSECO, WHICH WOULD BE MONETARY POLICY ON STEROIDS–I WOULD RAISE RATES 50 BASIS POINTS AND ISSUE A WARNING OF MORE AGGRESSIVE INCREASES TO COME. Alas, I am but ashes and dust. The FED has prepared the market for a certain 25 but here are the things to watch:
Last Thursday, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney rationalized the Monetary Policy Committee’s aggressive liquidity addition by citing the desire to head off any risk to economic growth and thus increase in unemployment. Rather than wanting to let the markets digest the impact of the Brexit vote, the BOE moved to “reduce uncertainty.” No matter that the British pound had depreciated by 13%, that the Footsie 100 had rallied more than 10% and bond yields actually dropped to record lows.
Wow! Was it quiet in today’s market? The simple answer is yes but Notes From Underground never takes things at face value. The global markets digested Friday’s “robust” employment report and seemed content with the market results: stronger dollar, stronger equities, higher yields and selling of precious metals. The euro and gold were steady today, but the yen and Swiss were weak as the safe haven’s were shunned as the risk-on trade is back en vogue. I have no problem with the market’s assessment of the jobs data but there were other stories that piqued my interest.
This is a brief note attached to a spot I did today with CNBC’s Rick Santelli where we discussed the Bank of England’s decision in full. To my great surprise Mark Carney delivered monetary policy on three fronts: 1. Cut the benchmark rate; 2. Began a new round of QE with purchases of 60 billion pounds of Treasury debt with a 10 billion corporate bond buy kicker; and 3. An enhanced Facility Lending Scheme now labeled as Long-Term Funding Scheme (TFS), which is an imitation of the ECB’s TLTRO, which is meant to get the banks lending the additional BOE-provided liquidity. The British domestic banks will incur penalties if they fail to pass the cheap credit into the financial system. My view still stands. The POWER OF THE TFS IS AMPLE STIMULUS AND THE CARNEY-LED MPC SHOULD HAVE HELD THE RATE CUT AND QE IN RESERVE.
The British Pound dropped 1.5% in response to the aggressive BOE action, the Footsie equity index was up almost 2% and the British gilts rallied as the yields on the long-end of the curve dropped 16 basis points. Carney followed his central bankers down the rabbit hole of “got to do something” for there is a supply shock. My criticism is that the BOE governor acted too quickly and should have let markets continued to seek out the real effects of the Brexit vote. Why are central bankers so terrified of the signals that markets provide about the economy? I will focus on the British pound and the GILTS as a weighing mechanism of market sentiment as we move forward. There is still much to digest concerning Brexit and Prime Minister May has shown herself to be flexible in confronting the EU.
***Tomorrow’s unemployment data is expected to reveal nonfarm payrolls of around 175,000 with a 0.2% increase in average hourly earnings and a jobless rate of 4.8%. Be patient as revisions to last month’s large increase may impact any strong number. If the number is above 280,000 there will be talk of September’s FOMC meeting being in play for a rate rise but after today’s BOE action the FED will be cautious because if Carney fears a large negative impact or supply shock from Brexit Janet Yellen will be loath to raise rates in the face of global headwinds.
Patience is advised in response to a summer market having to decode a great deal of economic nuance. But the most interesting asset class tomorrow will be the U.S. bonds and its reaction to very strong data. Today the U.S. Treasuries rallied strongly on the BOE action, confirming again that global bond markets are all connected by relative value trades. A large nonfarm payroll will test the durability of relative value and most certainly lead to a flattening of the yield curves.
Notes From Underground: The Low Yield of Well-Heeled Boys (Trafficking In Central Bank Counterfactuals)August 3, 2016
Tomorrow the key economic release will be the Bank of England’s interest rate decision. The market is 98% certain there will be at least a 25 basis point rate cut to 0.25%. A majority of analysts also believe that the BOE will increase its asset purchases (QE) from its long, stable level of 375 billion pounds. I DON’T THINK THE BOE IS GOING TO BE AGGRESSIVE AND WILL WAIT TO SEE FURTHER EVIDENCE OF ECONOMIC DATA TO CONFIRM A SOFTENING IN ACTIVITY IS UNDERWAY. A rate cut will accomplish NOTHING except a slight drop in the currency. The recent economic data has been soft but after all the vituperative speech and dire predictions after the vote to LEAVE the European Union, the economy was expected to pause until the market could sort out the hyperbole of negativity.
Was today risk on or risk off? The U.S. dollar continued its recent weakness as the world’s major currencies all rallied against the “safe haven” greenback. The Reserve Bank of Australia cut its interest rate last night but even the Aussie dollar gained against its sister fiat currency. Global equity markets were down as the Japanese Nikkei was weak as the inverse correlated Yen was higher by one-and-a-half percent. Yes, equity markets failed to send the U.S. currency higher.
As I ponder things in the 118 degree heat, it is time for some reflection and perspective:
a. The Bank of England performed beautifully today and took a breath before cutting rates further and/or increasing the BOE’s balance sheet. Now that Prime Minister MAY‘s cabinet is devoid of the idiot George Osborne, it behooved BOE Governor Carney to wait and see if fiscal policy would be the stimulative tool of choice and preserve the monetary policy for future use. I had advised my employers that Carney would be reticent to act because he is a cautious man and his recent plunge into the political realm in cahoots with George Osborne had sullied his reputation. It seems that Carney wants to remove himself from center stage and allow the new cabinet to have a say in just how to provide any stimulus in response to the dire forecasts from the BREXIT outcome.
It was rumored that British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli opined that there are LIES, DAMNED LIES and STATISTICS. Some claim that it was not Disraeli but others who used various phrases similar to this, but regardless the BREXIT debate brings this concept back into everyday nomenclature. The British Treasury and other pro-REMAIN analysts have through the use of STATIC modeling conjecture that if Britain leaves the EU GDP will be significantly lower by 2030. How the statistic gods reach this conclusion is certainly based on the use of static inputs. If Britain were to LEAVE the EU the English would become far more dynamic in their efforts to secure trade around the world. The Obama view on Brexit is laughable for it was only several months ago that the U.S. President and Treasury Secretary Lew were castigating the BRITS for being first movers in joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in direct opposition to the desires of the U.S. It seems that the REMAIN IN block was delighted that President Obama suggested that the Brits would go to the back of the QUEUE in any bilateral trade negotiations if the BREXIT vote succeeded. WHAT RUBBISH.
Lies, lies, you’re tellin’ me that you’ll be true
That’s all I ever hear from you
I shed a million tears for you
And now you’re lovin’ someone new
Someday I am gonna be happy
But I don’t when just now
A-breakin’ my heart
You think you are such a smart girl
And I’ll believe what you say
But who do you think you are girl?
To lead me on this way, hey!
This song can be applied to so many policy makers: Draghi, Lagarde, Kuroda and, of course, Yellen. This week has brought interest rate policies from five central banks and the biggest impact was from the Fed as the market believes that the “dot plot” has thickened since the projections for “four is still in the park” has certainly left the rate increases stranded at SECOND. Today, three banks announced policy decisions. The Swiss National Bank left policy unchanged but noted it believed that the global economy was soft and as usual the Swiss franc was overvalued. The SNB reserves the privilege of intervening to weaken the FRANC whenever it deems it appropriate. The recent strength of the EURO and the stability of the EUR/CHF cross should keep the Swiss quiet but vigilant.