The biggest news in a very slow week of news is the beginning of the Brexit plan as Prime Minister May sent a six-page memo to Brussels as Article 50 begins and the two-year time period allotted for extrication from the EU starts the clock ticking in a very formal fashion. I SAY THIS TO ALL MY READERS: Two years is a very long time. There are many political and economic events (unforeseen by the static minds of entrenched power elites) that can dynamically change currently perceived outcomes. The fragility of global politics can wreak havoc with the certainties laid down by the likes of Jean Claude Juncker. The current position of the Brussels bureaucrats is the desire to punish Britain for the temerity of its citizens to vote to exit the “UTOPIAN” construct of the European Union.
Posts Tagged ‘Brexit’
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).
On Friday, Chair Yellen delivered a speech at the Boston Federal Reserve Conference, “At The Elusive Great Recovery: Causes and Implications for Future Business Cycle Dynamics.” Her speech was titled, “Macroeconomic Research After the Crisis.” My short response to the questions posed by Janet Yellen have been answered by many NON-FED economists and most prominently by Richard Koo in his great work on BALANCE SHEET RECESSIONS. My sense is that the FED is an insular organization and pays little note of those outside its Ivory tower. Yellen’s second question was: “Whether individual differences within broad groups of actors in the economy can influence aggregate economic outcomes–in particular, what effect does heterogeneity have on aggregate demand?” Now, GET REALLY SCARED:
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.
This week brings Prime Minister Abe’s fiscal plan, the Reserve Bank of Australia’s rate decision, the Bank of England’s monetary results and U.S. nonfarm payrolls on Friday. So let’s put some perspective to tonight’s main events. The RBA will announce its overnight interest rate and consensus is calling for a 25 basis point CUT to 1.5%. Analysts believe that the weakness in the natural resource sector is aiding the reduction in capital expenditure. Also, Aussie inflation is at the bottom of the RBA‘s target range, which provides rationale for the RBA. I am not so sure of a CUT for this is coming at the end of Governor Stevens’s term at the RBA. Dr. Phillip Lowe will take over September 16 so this is the penultimate meeting for Mr. Stevens.
Over the weekend there was a new and improved G-20 communique, which was supposed to offer reassurance that the primary economic decision makers have things under control. It is disconcerting that so much time was spent discussing the global uncertainty posed by BREXIT for the global equity markets have deemed the British vote to Leave the EU as non-event (at least for now) and maybe even a positive for the Davos elite to adjust previous policy decisions. It appears that some G-20 members look forward to dealing with the U.K. on trade issues outside an EU establishment that is reticent to foster trade agreements because of German and French elections scheduled for 2017.
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.
Every once in a while I entertain the fantasy of being at the helm of the Federal Reserve. In a moment of megalomania I am proposing this solution to situation that the FED finds itself: The velocity of money is extremely low as zero interest rates have led to a massive buildup of overnight reserves at the FED. Money’s low velocity is compounded (pun intended) by the bloated balance sheet that the Fed has attained through its massive QE program. Certain voices are maintaining that the severe flattening of the yield curve is precluding domestic banks from making greater profits, which results in less lending activity. It is not only the low profits impeding bank lending but also the massive amount of high quality collateral controlled by the FED that diminishes financing activity from the shadow banking sector via the REPO market. IF THE FED WERE TO BEGIN SHRINKING ITS BALANCE SHEET BY SELLING TREASURIES OF A 10-YEAR OR LONGER DURATION, THE YIELD CURVE WOULD STEEPEN AND THE REPO MARKET WOULD SPRING TO LIFE AS MORE HIGH QUALITY COLLATERAL WOULD CIRCULATE IN THE MARKET.
I am posting today’s story on the Santelli Exchange I taped today. Rick and I were back on the most important topic facing the world: THE ECB’s ROLE IN CREATING A SITUATION THAT MAKES GERMANY LIABLE FOR THE DEBT OF THE ENTIRE EUROPEAN UNION. The world is still abuzz about the BREXIT referendum and its implications for the U.K.. There’s also chatter about what it might mean for other EU nations contemplating STAYING OR GOING in terms of subjecting their citizens to the capriciousness of Eurocratic regulation. The question for me (and will continue to be): WHO GUARANTEES THE ECB, AND, OF COURSE, THE COROLLARY QUESTION, SHOULD ALL SOVEREIGN DEBT BE A ZERO WEIGHTED RISK ASSET CLASS?
Notes From Underground (Repost): A Celebration to the End of Q2, “A Single Spark To Light a Prairie Fire” (January 11)June 30, 2016
The world is sitting on piles of tinder. Two of the potential dangers have passed in the last seven days. The Brexit vote has taken place and the Spanish elections have finished without any new disruption to the European political scene. In fact, Spain was interesting as Spanish voters seemed to be afraid of a Brexit-type market reaction and moved more support to the center-right as a vote for the known.
BUT TODAY THE ECB HAS POTENTIALLY IGNITED THE FLAMES OF GERMAN ANGER AS DRAGHI MOVED FOR THE QE PROGRAM TO BUY LOWER GRADE DEBT. THEY HAVE RUN OUT OF HIGH QUALITY BONDS TO BUY. This will not sit well with the AfD supporters in Deutschland. There were massive moves in the European sovereign spreads after the news release and more will certainly follow as the program becomes clearer.