Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

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.”

(more…)

Notes From Underground: ECB, Political Pawn?

July 4, 2019

Warning: There’s a great deal of colorful language in this very important discussion regarding the nomination of Christine Lagarde to the post of European Central Bank president. This is another political move by the EU elite to avoid placing a German at the helm of the ECB. Jens Weidmann may be a tough choice but Lagarde is preposterous, as Jean Claude Trichet might say. If you thought Mario Draghi was a politician and a dove by design, Lagarde will make Draghi look like a HAWK. In my opinion, IMF Director Lagarde has been and remains the ultimate politician. The role she played in the Greek bailout was pure politics and the price paid by the Greek citizenry has been steep. All in an effort to bailout many European financial institutions. Ask Yanis Varafoukis what he thinks of the Lagarde nomination.

(more…)

Notes From Underground: Trump Has Weaponized The Dollar. Do the Longs Know?

June 12, 2019

Some shots were fired last Friday, but it seems that the markets can only hear the siren song of White House tweets. There was an important story from Bloomberg reporter Saleha Mohsin titled, “Trump’s Currency War Plan Puts Treasury and Commerce at Odds.” The article noted that “a Commerce Department proposal to impose countervailing tariffs on countries that it determines have devalued their currencies has alarmed officials at the Treasury Department.”

It appears that President Trump has grown frustrated by Treasury’s failure to name any country as a “currency manipulator.” It has been Treasury’s bailiwick to monitor the foreign exchange interventions of countries who strive to artificially hold down the value of their currencies in an effort gain a competitive advantage versus any G20 country, especially the U.S. (from the Treasury Department perspective).

(more…)

Notes From Underground: Just When It Couldn’t Get More Volatile

June 5, 2019

The above reference is from the wonderful cult movie, Putney’s Swope. The CEO of a major advertising firm has a heart attack during a board meeting and the sycophants don’t realize it as they continue peppering him with questions. When he’s unable to respond they ask, “How Many Syllables, Mario?”

(more…)

Notes From Underground: Back to What’s Driving Markets

May 8, 2019

We have all been bogged down with tweets coming from the White House about China. Because high-speed traders force us to parse the messages and assess the immediate impact on the markets, we’re hostage to President Trump’s tariff policy. The bottom line is that Robert Lighthizer is left to inform the world when China will acquiesce to the U.S.’s demand for reliable and hardened enforcement mechanisms to solidify any genuine agreement. From my perspective, the critical point on global markets is that once China/U.S. trade agreement is done the president will set his sights on targeting the ENORMOUS TRADE IMBALANCE that favors Germany.

(more…)

Notes From Underground: Wednesday, 6:45 CST … Our Day Begins

April 9, 2019

There are so many issues plaguing Europe right now, and surprisingly, Brexit is not the most significant. On Wednesday morning — yes, Wednesday — the ECB announces its rate decision and it is expected that rates will remain unchanged,  with the main refinancing rate at zero. The only possible news will be that the ECB actually engages in a tiered financing. This would mean that some banks would get relief from the -0.40% rate that the ECB charges banks to deposit cash at the central bank. There have been rumors that the ECB was planning on raising interest rates in the hope that boost for some European domestic rates would help lift the equity valuations of some profit-stressed financial institutions.

(more…)

Notes From Underground: Why So Much Weight on Italy and Its Gold?

February 14, 2019

There has been much discussion this week about how the current Italian government wants the nation’s GOLD to be the “property of the state” instead of on the Bank of Italy’s balance sheet. The coalition of Five Star and League have thought to gain control over the gold and some pundits have raised the idea of Italy selling its gold holdings, the world’s third largest, in an effort to plug holes in the budget. (NOTE: The Italian government is actually the fourth largest when the IMF is included.) Italian Prime Minister Matteo Salvini maintains that the government has no plans to sell any of the people’s GOLD. Maybe the Salvini Government is deciding to take the advice offered for the last eight years here at NOTES and monetize the GOLD by issuing GOLD-BACKED BONDS. (Securitizing the gold by selling bonds backed by one-fifth of an ounce of gold.)

(more…)

Notes From Underground: A Hard Brexit Is Going To Fall?

February 10, 2019

The economic fallout from a “hard” Brexit has been debated in the media for the last few months. When I say “hard Brexit,” I mean that the U.K. leaves the European Union without any deal about trade rules, movement of people or any other binding treaty rules concerning the contemporary EU/U.K. relationship. I have refrained from forecasting outcomes because they are beyond the scope of economic analysis since it requires using models built of questionable assumptions. The British have a long history of economic intercourse intertwined with the lines of commerce from its empire.

(more…)

Notes From Underground: Mario the Magician Has Lost His Assistant

January 23, 2019

The Bank of Japan did not surprise the markets as they remained committed to the lunacy of QQE, even with positive growth for many years. In an effort to make the central bank’s policy ever more relevant the BOJ lowered their inflation expectations, which the markets interpreted as lower for longer, resulting in a flurry of YEN selling of against all of the major traded currencies. There was even movement in the Swiss/yen cross as both central banks battle to keep their currencies in check by keeping interest rates negative.

(more…)

Notes From Underground: Germany and France Codify the Premise of Europe

January 22, 2019

In a desperate attempt to deflect from the damage to his presidency, Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday codified what Bernard Connolly has written about for 25 years. As Charles de Gaulle supposedly said to Konrad Adenauer: “Europe is France and Germany, the rest trimmings.” In a resurrection of European history, Angela Merkel and Macron signed a new Treaty of Aachen. While the treaty language is vapid, the symbolism cannot be minimized. Germany and France promise to come to each other’s defense if attacked while also promising to work for a more unified financial and fiscal system.

(more…)