Posts Tagged ‘Federal Reserve’

Notes From Underground: Walking Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

September 22, 2019

There is no question that the world’s central banks are all living under the shadow of doubt as investors and financial markets are questioning the efficacy of the zero lower bound. The sense of always doing more in an effort to attain a self-conjured 2% level of inflation has led to the continued downward slide in interest rates.

On this note, last week we saw the Powell Fed lower the target range for the fed funds rate by 25 basis points — and its interest on excess reserves rate by 30 basis points — as congestion in the financial plumbing sent overnight rates soaring. (For those who are interested in the nuances, I am linking to one of many splendid pieces from Bloomberg reporters Liz McCormick and Alexandra Harris detailing out the repo market mess.)

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Notes From Underground: “Where Did I Find This Guy Jerome?”

September 8, 2019

Of all the U.S. president’s tweets (and believe he has a lot), Friday’s tweet about Federal Reserve Chairman was one of the best. Unfortunately, there probably should’ve been a comma between “guy” and “Jerome” since one could ask the question about any member of Trump’s economic team. President Trump could be asking the Fed chairman about Secretary Steven Mnuchin, or Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and certainly of Larry Kudlow or Peter Navarro. NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND has been asking that for many months. In my opinion, the only Trump pick that inspires confidence is Robert Lighthizer.

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Notes From Underground: Dudley Do Right Gives the Markets Snidely Whiplash

August 29, 2019

Ok, I couldn’t resist the obvious joke. It seems that former New York Fed President Bill Dudley penned an op-ed for Bloomberg in which he elevated the Fed into an actor in the U.S. political process. The message that Dudley initially tried to convey is one that NOTES has actually expressed concerns: That President Trump has trapped Chair Powell by using TARIFFS as a mechanism to bludgeon the FOMC into lowering rates to counter any of the negative impact from trade frictions unleashed on the global economy. Dudley admonished Powell to play the role of Bartleby the Scrivner in Melville’s short story, that when it comes to cutting rates in response to financial implications of the China/U.S. trade war, simply say “I choose not to.”

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Notes From Underground: The August of Our Discontent

August 7, 2019

When August rolls in the markets thin as Europe heads to the beaches and New Yorkers head to the Hamptons before Labor Day. This means every tweet President Trump is amplified by the LACK of market liquidity. On Wednesday, the president was back in full confrontation with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell because three central banks CUT interest rates last night: India,Thailand, and, most importantly, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, which surprised most market analysts by cutting 50 basis points instead of 25.

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Notes From Underground: We Got Our Answer

July 31, 2019

In Sunday’s blog post I asked whether the tariffs trumped U.S. economic data. Well, we got our answer on Wednesday and it’s a resounding YES. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference Wednesday suggested that he has been sucked into the vortex of President Trump’s media manipulation of the tariff narrative. CNBC’s Steve Likesman asked whether the interest rate cut was an insurance cut instead of a DATA cut. Powell cited these reasons for the Fed’s decision: To insure against global risks /trade tensions, which is unusual as there is not much history of monetary policy responding to economic consequences of trade friction; and the cover all of the world’s largest central banks, which is the need for a faster return to inflation.

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Notes From Underground: The BOJ Leading Off With the Fed On Deck

July 29, 2019

On Monday night, the Bank of japan announces its policy intentions and consensus is for no change. The ECB remained on hold with promises of more liquidity to come so it is doubtful that Governor Kuroda would do anything ahead of the FED.

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Notes From Underground: Does Fear of Increased Tariffs Trump U.S. Data?

July 28, 2019

This is not a rhetorical question but a very direct concern about the leverage that President Trump has in dealings with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

After listening to European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s press conference Thursday and then learning about the White House meeting about the possibility of currency intervention, I am wondering whether the president is using TARIFFS as leverage to satiate his desire for lower U.S. interest rates.

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Notes From Underground: It’s a Drag For Draghi Getting Old

July 24, 2019

On Thursday morning we will hear from the ECB about its desires to raise inflation to its self-imposed 2% target. But on Wednesday we received more tepid economic data from the EU. Then couple that with the ascent of Boris Johnson to the position of British Prime Minister. The rise of Boris Johnson is a problem for Draghi as the possibility of a HARD BREXIT increases dramatically. The market and its DAVOS media sycophants have sold the narrative of a hard Brexit as being devastating for the U.K. economy, the British GILTS, the British pound and the Footsie 100. President Draghi has to be careful that a severe rally in the EUR/GBP cross doesn’t damage the European exporters, especially Germany, who runs a 50 billion-plus surplus with Britain.

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Notes From Underground: Torn Between Two Lovers, Feelin’ Like A Fool

July 21, 2019

This Mary MacGregor ballad released in 1976 notes how a woman is torn between two men she loves and it is “breakin’ all the rules.” This is the situation Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and the FOMC finds itself: The love of its dual mandate and its torrid affair with the beloved Phillips Curve. Now it appears that the FED leadership is abandoning its affair with Phillips Curve while it grows more attached to its other love, Mario Draghi and the European Central Bank.

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Notes From Underground: Back from Hiatus

July 17, 2019

I am posting a podcast recorded last week with David Rosenberg and Peter Boockvar (and moderated by Richard Bonugli) that is still really relevant. On Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell delivered a speech in France at a gathering honoring the 75th anniversary of the since the Bretton Woods agreement. The speech epitomized the Fed’s third mandate as espoused by Vice Chairman Richard Clarida over the past five months.

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