Posts Tagged ‘Christine Lagarde’

Notes From Underground: Is Intend a Strong Word?

March 15, 2023

On the Thursday, the ECB will announce its intentions on EU monetary policy. It still looks like the market is still forecasting a 50 basis point increase in its main financing rate as it rises from 3% to 3.5%. At the previous meeting, Madame Christine Lagarde was adamant that the ECB would be a fortress of solitude in its effort to squelch inflation. This will be important for if the European Central Bank crumbles under the potential collapse of Credit Suisse then it means that the global financial system is very worried about a systemic crisis. CRUMBLE infers the ECB PAUSING in an effort to measure the negative effects of a tumultuous global funding market on GENUINE FINANCIAL CONDITIONS.

(more…)

Notes From Underground: Meet the Dwarves of Dovishness

February 12, 2023

Every day my inbox is filled with tweets and stories about which FOMC member said what. It’s been less than a year since the Fed ended quantitative easing and merely eight months since it started unwinding its balance sheet. The Powell-led Fed kept pumping liquidity into the system, even as they started raising rates, which reflects how little confidence policymakers had in their own models.

And now the media lavishes praise on Neel Kashkari, John Williams, Lael Brainard, Susan Collins, Mary Daly, Rafael Bostic and others as if they were great forecasters by continually bombarding the financial pages with the need to have a “terminal rate” somewhere around 5.5%, prompting others to race ahead with calls for 6% or, as we heard from one pundit last week, 8%.

It is time for the Fed to slow their roll and engage in humility for the true FED policy of ZERO rates is the measure of just how far off FOMC forecasts have been, dating back to Alan Greenspan. Most importantly, former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, the progenitor of forward guidance and QE, proclaimed that the SUBPRIME CRISIS was contained just prior to it devolving into the GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS. When Jerome Powell is on target it serves as a reminder to WALL STREET what a poor forecaster the central bank actually is when moving to a much more pragmatic policy.

If you didn’t watch the Powell’s discussion with David Rubenstein last week I would advise doing so as it showed the Fed chair at his best. The most critical part of the interview was when Rubenstein got Powell to walk back his disinflation view that was deemed dovish at the post-FOMC press conference the week before. Many analysts believed Powell would walk back disinflationary rhetoric following the huge jobs number on Feb. 3. Powell didn’t walk it back and seems to be leaning toward slowing the FED in an effort to assess the impact of a year’s rapid increase in interest rates coupled with an effort at quantitative tightening.

Powell has to be careful for in this AGE OF ENORMOUS DEBT there can be no inner VOLCKER. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal Friday by Andrew Duehren titled, “Fed’s Inflation Fight Pushes Up Cost of U.S. Debt.” For several months we at NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND have warned that the politics of percentages was going to come into play as the cost of financing the massive debt piled up by Trump’s ill-conceived tax cuts and Biden’s profligacy was came to be paid. Duehren wrote: “The Treasury’s spending on interest on the debt is up 41% to $198 billion in the first four months of this fiscal year with $140 billion in the same period last year.” The story went on to use the CBO projections about how much the costs of financing the massive deficit will, but the CBO projections were based on INTEREST RATES BEING 1.9% by end of 2022 and 2.6% at the end of 2023.

However, please take this story with a grain of salt because the Congressional Budget Office will release its updated outlook on Wednesday, Feb. 15, which should account for the rise in interest rates.

The key issue for the entire global financial system is how can the price of sovereign debt be able to absorb the blows from inflation at 5% with a massive increase in the cost of financing the debt as central banks seek to remain HIGHER FOR LONGER. Who is buying all the US long-term debt at 3.6%?

***It is also of paramount importance to note that the ECB, BOJ, SNB, BOE, BOC, RBA, RBNZ, as well as many emerging market central banks are striving to raise rates in an effort to keep their currency stable. The ECB will raise rates more aggressively than most as President Lagarde is under extreme pressure from the HAWKS .

Following the Feb. 2 meeting, the hawks were filling the media with calls for faster rate hikes. Lagarde has already committed to a half a percentage point increase at the March meeting in an effort to keep the hawks in place. QT is a dangerous tool for the ECB because it will certainly lead to FRAGMENTATION of the European bond markets, which more concerning for Brussels. If the ECB violates its Lisbon Treaty rules to prevent fragmentation then the anti-EU voices in Germany will be back at the German Constitutional Court creating potential problems for an already besieged Olaf Scholz.

If this is not enough to concern markets we now have rumors that Ueda Kazuo will be the new Governor of the Bank of Japan. This has not been ascertained but is on the boil and I suggest you read the insightful piece by Tobias Harris at Observing Japan on this appointment. It is important to note that Ueda is an MIT PHD in the same group as Bernanke and many other central bankers and I would further advise looking at the members of G-30 to understand why Ueda would be a comfortable fit. But if Japan begins to alter its YCC policy further bond markets will suffer further stress because of the gigantic impact of Japanese banks, pension funds and insurance companies on global financial flows.

Again, many piles of tinder set to ignite on the global financial situation.

Notes From Underground: Powell, Lagarde and Payrolls, Oh My

February 2, 2023

It was the week that was as three main central bank interest rate decisions from the FEDERAL RESERVE, BANK OF ENGLAND and EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK rocked the markets. There is more to follow Friday morning as the vaunted employment data will be released. The market is expecting 190,000 jobs created, a 3.6% unemployment rate, a 34.4-hour workweek and a 0.3% gain in average hourly earnings. After all of the central bank-induced volatility that last data point carries little weight unless it shocks to the robust economic upside.

If the unemployment rate fell too much — to say, 3.3% — or AHE soared above 0.7% it would send bond yields much higher, reversing the recent sizable rally in global bond prices triggered by central banks preparing to “pause.”

(more…)

Notes From Underground: ‘Twas the Week Before Christmas

December 18, 2022

Last week, the leaders of the world’s central banks were attempting to regain their souls. FEDERAL RESERVE Chair Jerome Powell told tales of woe as workers were suffering as inflation rose. Crush the evil inflation out of the system is the battle cry¬† in an effort to recreate the melodrama of Andrew Mellon in 1931: liquidate, liquidate, liquidate in an effort to Calvinize the evil from the economy by crushing demand. Powell did note that housing had weakened SIGNIFICANTLY and financial conditions HAVE TIGHTENED CONSIDERABLY but will have to be patient because monetary policy acts with a lag.

(more…)

Notes From Underground: Returning to the Turmoil

October 20, 2022

After a period of personal introspection it’s time to return to the turmoil of the world. What better way to reenter than with a couple of podcasts.

(more…)

Notes From Underground: A Quick Hit On the State of Chaos

March 6, 2022

First, our hearts go out to all suffering in the world of insanity brought on by senseless wars that diplomacy OUGHT to have been able to prevent. The world always returns to the insanity that brought us to World War I when nobody could stop the trains once set in motion. As Phil Ochs sang, “It’s always the old who lead us off to war, it’s always to fall, look at all we won with the saber and the gun, tell me is it worth it all?” But here we are and as always the world continues to focus on the minutiae of life, including the financial outcomes responding to the high-speed headlines driven by algorithmic speed machines. There is no context to any news just manufactured volatility fabricators of the latest musings of some “news” outlets’ favorite expert. But as Hyman Roth said so clearly: “Michael this is the profession we have chosen.”

(more…)

Notes From Underground: The Soft Bias of Low Expectations

February 3, 2022

Tomorrow is the first Friday of the month so it is known on trading desks as UNEMPLOYMENT Friday — or Unenjoyment Day for some — as volatility will reign in the early part of the trading day. As we have discussed ad nauseum volatility is the predominant theme as all the world’s central banks discuss the removal of QE, as well as raising the cost of money through returning nominal rates from a steep NEGATIVE REAL YIELD to some normal zero or hopefully a POSITIVE REAL YIELD. But headline inflation reveals that all central banks have a great task ahead in an effort to reach what POWELL and others refer to as normalcy.

(more…)

Notes From Underground: The Week That Was

December 19, 2021

This past week has been the most challenging to recap because at least 20 central banks released statements about their monetary forecasts and outlooks. The most significant banks that we were watching — the FED, SNB, BOE, ECB and BOJ — performed as expected as the FED, ECB and BOJ announced the expected outcomes.

The Bank of England raised its overnight lending rate by 15 basis points as they had already ended asset purchases so a minimal rate increase was all they had to give in order to slow the rise in headline inflation. The Powell FED took the most DOVISH route possible in an effort to placate the Biden White House and its effort to stem the narrative of headline inflation and election outcomes. We at NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND had contemplated a complete end to QE but Powell (in his efforts to do something) merely doubled the pace of tapering laying the outcome to a finality in March rather than June. This is only important if the FED maintains its “forward guidance” of no rate hikes until the U.S. central bank’s BOND PURCHASES have concluded.

(more…)

Notes From Underground: Coal for Some Stockings?

December 12, 2021

If you’re only looking at the headlines from the past 48 hours, there is something major going on. First, on Friday afternoon Bloomberg reported that the G-7 finance chiefs are planning to discuss inflation as prices soar and the Financial Times followed on Saturday about the U.S. Democrats pushing the Federal Reserve for tougher action against inflation. These two stories are everything that we at NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND have been discussing since the Dems’ poor election showing last month.

The White House polls — and thus the political operatives — reflected that inflation concerns were going to be the biggest issue for all Democrats in 2022, which is why there was a sense of urgency to use SPR and release oil to drive headline energy costs down. It’s the classic political ploy to appear to be doing something. What’s next? Wage and price controls?

(more…)

Notes From Underground: It’s Hard to Believe

December 8, 2021

A Note From Notes

On December 7, 2009, NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND published its first post and we’ve shared a few thousand thoughts since then (all archived at WordPress and for those on CQG they available thanks to the great efforts of Stan Yabroff). In sifting through this treasure trove I am proud to say this has been an arduous but rewarding endeavor. The amount of work is great especially because so many of these musings have been time sensitive.

Then in the last five years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with the Financial Repression Authority to elevate the discussion surrounding these thoughts with some of the greatest minds in the business — Felix Zulauf, Marc Faber, Jim Bianco, Peter Boockvar, Lacy Hunt, David Rosenberg, Louis Gave and so many others.

So as I scroll through the voluminous posts, podcasts and CNBC appearances, I’m in awe of how we’ve attempted to open up the world of financial markets to deep analytical exegesis of important investment ideas on a time scale from one hour to years depending upon the amount of leverage involved in the trade. As Louis Gave once said, “I am not paid to forecast for my clients but to adapt,” that sums up the endeavor of this blog. Over the past 12 years I have hoped to get my readers to adopt to the illogical exigencies of the geo-political world. The rationalists do not read NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND because they know where prices OUGHT to be.

But, where do we go from here? This is where you come in, dear readers. I’d be interested in understanding how you best consume this information. Maybe it’s a 15-minute daily chat with FRA’s Richard Bonugli and other guests. Either way, we’re going to try and monetize this wealth of information, and offer up my wisdom to large traders, sovereign wealth funds and family wealth offices and the like. It’s been so enriching interacting with many minds around the world. I am beyond grateful to experience, teach and, most importantly, learn from the likes of Dave Richards, Mike Temple, Big Man, Professor Waspi and many more.

In that vein, I am posting a podcast that was recorded about two weeks ago, a roundtable of sorts featuring Jim Bianco and Peter Boockvar. This may be one of the best ways to advance NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND.

Many Thanks,

Yra

(more…)