Posts Tagged ‘Gold’

Notes From Underground: Looking at 2020 With Imperfect Vision

January 9, 2020

On Monday, I had a chat with Anthony Crudele about the global macro impact on markets in 2020. As I always warn (in an effort to mimic MAO), there are many potential prairie fires in the world that COULD be ignited by a single spark. The Middle East is a potential prairie fire — every year. We were reminded of this over the last week as multiple events in IRAQ/IRAN brought the world to the precipice of cataclysmic outcomes. For now, the situation seems to be contained as GOLD, sovereign bonds and other tools of wealth protection.

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Notes From Underground: Whistling Past the Tombstones

December 29, 2019

As we approach 2020, it seems as though the financial world is unconcerned about the dramatic increase in DEBT. Yes, the airwaves are alive with news of the extremely low level of mortgage delinquencies but fail to discuss the growing delinquency of 90-day auto loans and the $1.5 trillion pile of student loan debt, an albatross for college graduates over the 20 years. Corporate debt has increased by the magic of financial engineering in which share buybacks and dividend increases are greased with the benevolence of central banks caught in a trap of their design.

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Notes From Underground: Same Old Song With a Different Beat

December 1, 2019

There are few questions about the one-dimensional nature of the driving force of markets around the world. Cheap money sustains equity markets as the vast amounts of central bank liquidity continues to provide support for low-cost borrowing and a lack of alternatives for investors. A subset of the cheap cost of capital has been the “hoped” for resolution to the China/U.S. trade conflict which without question has disrupted global trade. South Korea’s recent economic performance is a reflection of the impact suffered by key components of the global supply chain driven export-oriented economy.

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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: The King of Hearts Searches for Sanity

September 15, 2019

The inmates are running the asylum as policy makers are busy putting out old prairie fires. The European Central Bank’s move on Thursday was a final curtain call for President Draghi as he sought to cement his legacy as the man that would do whatever it takes to “preserve the Euro” and would have no taboos in his efforts. But it seems like the opposition to both the rate cut and new QE was far greater than the magician of Frankfurt let on at his final obfuscation. It is amazing how the dissidents find their voice the day after. Oh well, so it goes in the world of consensus-driven outcomes.

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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: Another Fine Mess You Got Us Into, Olli Rehn

August 18, 2019

The Federal Reserve just won’t admit that President Trump and the European Central Bank are holding its policy designs captive. Trump ramps up talk of tariffs in an effort to keep the financial markets uncertain while the ECB wishes to pursue an ever expanding balance sheet in an effort to reach an ambivalent inflation target. There is no doubt that REAL YIELDS throughout the European Union are NEGATIVE. Even the Italian 10-year is trading around 1.35%, which is below the inflation level however dubious it is calculated.

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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: When a Slower Fool, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

June 30, 2019

First things first: There were no surprises out of the G-20, at least for those who read Notes From Underground and listened to the discussion that took place in the Whitewave Trading room. The most significant outcome was that President Trump held off from installing additional tariffs while President Xi confirmed that China would be buying more U.S. production, especially in the agricultural sector. In Thursday’s podcast with the Whitewave participants I advised that with the current weather problems in the U.S. heartland the Chinese would have to be vigilant about the cost of global grain prices rising as supply was hampered by poor planting conditions.

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Notes From Underground: Lighthizer, Always At the Ramparts Of Trade Battles

April 8, 2019

As the second quarter begins, the financial markets seem fixated on China/U.S. trade frictions, or lack thereof. This narrative is old and stale. For those new to the realm of international relations, be aware that China will slow-walk these negotiations. There will be many attempts to “agree to disagree.” For example, in Monday morning’s SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, there was an article titled, “China Refuses to Give Up ‘Developing Country’ Status At WTO Despite US Demands,” about China’s “privileged position” at the World Trade Organization. In the simplest terms, the WTO allows for countries to self-define as developing country status. This brings certain rights that allow for longer transition periods before they have to be in full compliance with WTO rules and regulations. This is described as “Special and Differential Treatment.”

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