Posts Tagged ‘Fed Funds’

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.


Notes From Underground: The FOMC, BOJ and German Elections Lead the Way to Quarter-End

September 18, 2017

As the earth rock keeps spinning we continue to monitor global events that could make investors/traders dizzy. This week the FOMC is EXPECTED to announce that it will begin its quantitative tightening (QT) by revealing the date of its plan to shrink its balance sheet by a net $10 BILLION of assets a month ($6 billion of Treasuries, $4 billion of MBS) and increasing the amounts quarterly so the program results in little market disruption. Remember, Chair Yellen has said she believes that it will be “like watching paint dry.” The world’s equity markets — especially the U.S. — are reflecting little concern about the Fed withdrawing “small” amounts of liquidity.


Notes From Underground: Fischer and Cohn, Out; Draghi In (the Spotlight)

September 6, 2017

In keeping this note as short as possible, let’s start with Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer’s resignation. I am posting snippets from the August 20 entry, in which I noted the great piece in the Weekend Financial Times with its Stanley Fischer interview. The article noted the one open disagreement with Chair Yellen in which he was miffed about not being consulted about an FOMC decision. We don’t know if Stanley Fischer is resigning because of health reasons, personal issues or over policy disputes. But this I am sure: Lael Brainard has been elevated within the group of Fed Governors as she is the confidant of Chair Yellen, thus the FED takes a dovish stance. In her dovish speech she maintains that while desiring to keep FED FUNDS steady there is room to initiate some of the balance sheet unwind. This was also her stance in June when she presented arguments for QT versus raising the fed funds rate. The impact from the initiation of Boockvar’s QT would not be as great on the U.S. dollar.



August 24, 2016

Janet Yellen and company are discussing the wrong issue. A FED FUNDS rate hike has already taken place due to the increase in LIBOR rates, which has led to a pricing of the December eurodollar futures contract, currently trading at 99.08–an effective six month yield of 92 BASIS POINTS. This due to the Oct. 14 regulatory compliance deadline for money market funds. In order to ensure there’s enough liquidity to protect against unknown outflows, institutional prime funds are shortening the maturities of their commercial paper, CD holdings, pushing up the CP/CD rates and LIBOR with it. Some prime funds have converted to government-only to circumvent the impending regulations, which has created more demand for U.S. Treasuries. (According to the SEC’s July money market report, govt funds had inflows of $77 billion while prime funds saw outflows of $41 billion.) As a result, the TED spread has widened 15 BASIS POINTS during the past two months. The September eurodollar/fed fund futures spread is trading at 53 basis points. WHAT THE FED HAS TO DO IS BEGIN SHRINKING ITS BALANCE SHEET BY 100 BILLION ASSETS A MONTH. Why?


Notes From Underground: Allow Me To Play Fed Chair

July 12, 2016

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.


Notes From Underground: *Uncle Charlie Makes the Fed Like Michael Jordan … Can’t Hit the Curve

May 18, 2016

*NOTE: Uncle Charlie is baseball slang for curve ball

Today, the markets validated the recent moves in the YIELD CURVES as the April FOMC minutes reflected a desire by MOST participants to raise in interest rates at the JUNE meeting (kudos to Mr. Art Cashin for presciently discussing the importance of “MOST” prior to the FOMC release, or if you prefer LEAKS). It appears that the “data dependent” FED is certainly prepared to raise the FED FUNDS rate (in addition to the lower-bound reverse repo rate, and upper-bound interest on excess reserves rate) as long as the data is robust enough to signal full employment and is having the desired effect on wage and overall price inflation. The minutes certainly reflect the hawkishness of Rosengren, Mester and Lacker but it begs the question: DOES MONEY TALK AND BULLSHIT WALK? For as hawkish as the April minutes have been defined by the previous five days of price action, HOW COULD THE VOTE HAVE BEEN 9-1 in favor of keeping rates unchanged?


Notes From Underground: Yes, Its Been a Long, Lonely Summer for Mario Draghi

September 2, 2015

It seems that the ECB has been the forgotten soldier in the war against deflation. When Mario and company packed their speedos and the latest research from the BIS and Tomas Piketty, the world became distracted by chaos and crisis other than Greece. Chinese devaluations and daily roller coast like movements in equity markets rendered Greece momentarily irrelevant, especially as Alexis Tsiparis captured the moment from the Greek referendum and steered a somewhat pragmatic course and thought to  placate the Greek center. Greek 3-year yields dropped 3500 basis points as investors bought short-term Greek sovereigns once the fear of GREXIT faded.


Notes From Underground: The Fed Moves From Wall Street to Madison Avenue

August 31, 2015

Last week New York Fed President Bill Dudley opined that the economy looks great but is less compelling in regards to raising interest rates, while the Fed’s Vice Chairman insisted that we only want to do things right. There were also other Fed Presidents offering their thoughts and the markets became more confused. Each FOMC member seems to analyze the data and come to a different conclusion about the timing of a move to raises interest rates. Minneapolis Fed President Kocherlakota went from being considered a hawk two years ago when he proposed an initial target of 6.5% unemployment. Now he has moved his target ever lower and would prefer to wait until the economy runs a “little hot.”


Notes From Underground: Fed Loses Its Patience While I Regain My Voice

March 17, 2015

Never has so much money been riding on ONE WORD from a monetary authority. The issue isn’t the idea of FED PATIENCE in regards to raising rates for if the FED increases the effective rate to 37 basis points from 12 basis points IT IS MEANINGLESS. The issue for the FED is the huge pile of bank reserves sitting at the central bank to the tune of $2.7 TRILLION (and let’s not forget the FED‘s $4.5 TRILLION balance sheet). If the economy begins to heat up and banks begin to circulate those RESERVES, the FED will have a velocity of money problem as the ECONOMY MAY BE AT SOME LEVEL OF FULL EMPLOYMENT. It’s not an interest rate problem for the FED but a RESERVE PROBLEM.


Notes From Underground: Dear Senate Republicans & Banking Committee, STFU

November 13, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Senate: Just put forward the candidacy of Janet Yellen by acclimation because it is a done deal. It cannot be stopped and so any posturing for the voters back home and any potential donors is a waste of time and energy. Also, don’t provide the idiot talking heads with any “red meat” to keep their empty heads talking. This afternoon’s release of Yellen’s testimony proves that Vice Chairwoman Yellen is a very intuitive politician. HERE IS THE MOST ASTUTE POLITICAL PIECE OF THE STATEMENT (in my opinion):