Last Thursday, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney rationalized the Monetary Policy Committee’s aggressive liquidity addition by citing the desire to head off any risk to economic growth and thus increase in unemployment. Rather than wanting to let the markets digest the impact of the Brexit vote, the BOE moved to “reduce uncertainty.” No matter that the British pound had depreciated by 13%, that the Footsie 100 had rallied more than 10% and bond yields actually dropped to record lows.
Posts Tagged ‘Mark Carney’
This is a brief note attached to a spot I did today with CNBC’s Rick Santelli where we discussed the Bank of England’s decision in full. To my great surprise Mark Carney delivered monetary policy on three fronts: 1. Cut the benchmark rate; 2. Began a new round of QE with purchases of 60 billion pounds of Treasury debt with a 10 billion corporate bond buy kicker; and 3. An enhanced Facility Lending Scheme now labeled as Long-Term Funding Scheme (TFS), which is an imitation of the ECB’s TLTRO, which is meant to get the banks lending the additional BOE-provided liquidity. The British domestic banks will incur penalties if they fail to pass the cheap credit into the financial system. My view still stands. The POWER OF THE TFS IS AMPLE STIMULUS AND THE CARNEY-LED MPC SHOULD HAVE HELD THE RATE CUT AND QE IN RESERVE.
The British Pound dropped 1.5% in response to the aggressive BOE action, the Footsie equity index was up almost 2% and the British gilts rallied as the yields on the long-end of the curve dropped 16 basis points. Carney followed his central bankers down the rabbit hole of “got to do something” for there is a supply shock. My criticism is that the BOE governor acted too quickly and should have let markets continued to seek out the real effects of the Brexit vote. Why are central bankers so terrified of the signals that markets provide about the economy? I will focus on the British pound and the GILTS as a weighing mechanism of market sentiment as we move forward. There is still much to digest concerning Brexit and Prime Minister May has shown herself to be flexible in confronting the EU.
***Tomorrow’s unemployment data is expected to reveal nonfarm payrolls of around 175,000 with a 0.2% increase in average hourly earnings and a jobless rate of 4.8%. Be patient as revisions to last month’s large increase may impact any strong number. If the number is above 280,000 there will be talk of September’s FOMC meeting being in play for a rate rise but after today’s BOE action the FED will be cautious because if Carney fears a large negative impact or supply shock from Brexit Janet Yellen will be loath to raise rates in the face of global headwinds.
Patience is advised in response to a summer market having to decode a great deal of economic nuance. But the most interesting asset class tomorrow will be the U.S. bonds and its reaction to very strong data. Today the U.S. Treasuries rallied strongly on the BOE action, confirming again that global bond markets are all connected by relative value trades. A large nonfarm payroll will test the durability of relative value and most certainly lead to a flattening of the yield curves.
Notes From Underground: The Low Yield of Well-Heeled Boys (Trafficking In Central Bank Counterfactuals)August 3, 2016
Tomorrow the key economic release will be the Bank of England’s interest rate decision. The market is 98% certain there will be at least a 25 basis point rate cut to 0.25%. A majority of analysts also believe that the BOE will increase its asset purchases (QE) from its long, stable level of 375 billion pounds. I DON’T THINK THE BOE IS GOING TO BE AGGRESSIVE AND WILL WAIT TO SEE FURTHER EVIDENCE OF ECONOMIC DATA TO CONFIRM A SOFTENING IN ACTIVITY IS UNDERWAY. A rate cut will accomplish NOTHING except a slight drop in the currency. The recent economic data has been soft but after all the vituperative speech and dire predictions after the vote to LEAVE the European Union, the economy was expected to pause until the market could sort out the hyperbole of negativity.
As I ponder things in the 118 degree heat, it is time for some reflection and perspective:
a. The Bank of England performed beautifully today and took a breath before cutting rates further and/or increasing the BOE’s balance sheet. Now that Prime Minister MAY‘s cabinet is devoid of the idiot George Osborne, it behooved BOE Governor Carney to wait and see if fiscal policy would be the stimulative tool of choice and preserve the monetary policy for future use. I had advised my employers that Carney would be reticent to act because he is a cautious man and his recent plunge into the political realm in cahoots with George Osborne had sullied his reputation. It seems that Carney wants to remove himself from center stage and allow the new cabinet to have a say in just how to provide any stimulus in response to the dire forecasts from the BREXIT outcome.
The markets are in turmoil and it gets the mind to thinking: What could possibly have caused today’s reversal in the stock market and the long end of the BOND MARKET? The market seemed like it was on the edge of a complete risk capitulation. The dollar was dropping, bonds all over the world were in rally mode and the precious metals were finally finding some technical strength as the GOLD (in pure dollar terms) had finally rallied through its 200-day moving average. Even the SILVER was able to synchronize with the GOLD and break out of three months of resistance. (The silver 200-day is at 15.13, still a bit above its closing price.) The global stock markets were cascading lower as the Nikkei and German DAX took out their lows made the night of the BOJ’s surprise move to a three-tiered negative interest rate policy.
Jim Bullard? Now There Is An Unsavory Chap
Today was not like the other days for the break in the equity markets came early. As all the global markets were in sell mode St. Louis Fed President James Bullard hit the airwaves with thoughts about being wrong in his inflation projections. It appears that the selloff in crude oil is providing the Fed hawk with concerns that the SUMMARY of ECONOMIC PROJECTIONS may be softer than the December FOMC meeting revealed. Bullard sounded as if he would not be in favor of the Fed raising rates because of the inflation rate turning away from the spurious 2 percent mandate. The unsavoriness of Bullard’s comment is not that he fears a downturn in inflation, and maybe lower growth, but that Bullard seemed to find his DOVISH posture as the U.S. markets were heading toward the August lows. Bullard in unsavory because he called out CNBC’s Jim Cramer for “cheerleading for low rates twenty-four hours a day.”
Is it the first Friday of a new month already? If so, then it must be time for the release of the U.S. employment data and preparing for a day of market volatility driven by the machines of madness and their algorithmic masters. In preparation for the trading madness, it seems that the consensus is for a nonfarm payrolls increase of 192,000 jobs, a work week of 34.5 hours, and, most important for Chairman Yellen, an increase in average hourly earnings of 0.2%. It appears that a strong number will result in a higher probability of the FED raising rates at the December 15-16 FOMC meeting. It is the problem of dissecting what a STRONG EMPLOYMENT is that makes trading and investing so difficult for the next six weeks. Is it the number of jobs created and the impact on the unemployment rate that renders the most powerful argument for the Fed hawks? Or is it the level of wages relative to GDP and corporate profits that is the most significant indicator of job strength and possible inflation?
The fact that today is GROUNDHOG DAY means that we have to keep discussing Greece again and again. The alarms sound over the demands of Syriza’s and its leader Alexis Tsipras and his efforts to craft a NEW DEAL for Greece in relation to its creditors. Any debt or interest rate relief Mr. Tsipras can attain from the TROIKA would allow his ruling party to declare victory and also provide a template for renegotiation of all previous austerity measures to which European debt plagued nations agreed. (I am not making a qualitative judgment about the Greek restructuring but just raising the issue of the great uncertainty it will cause in currency and bond markets.)
The Bank of England’s chief-economist had the line of the month in his response to the disinflationary forces confronting Europe and the U.K. It seems that the G-20 did yield much more discussion about Europe’s economic malaise than was revealed in the communique. BOE Governor Mark Carney was warning of stagnant Europe being a drag on the global economy and impacting British growth. Even the economically challenged British Prime Minister David Cameron warned of flashing “red lights” on his economic dashboard. The last inflation data from the BOE revealed that inflation has fallen below its target and the lack of growth in its largest trading partner, the EU, threaten to push inflation lower than previously expected.
Did he really say that about currencies and sovereignty? In an article in tomorrow’s Financial Times it is reported that Mark Carney said during a Q&A that a “… currency union between England and an independent Scotland would be ‘ incompatible with sovereignty.'” Carney said a currency union needed three elements for success. “These were the free movement of goods and services across different parts of the currency, a banking union underpinned by common institutions such as a central bank, and elements of shared fiscal arrangements.” Fanning the flames of criticism against the euro and Brussels, Carney added: “You only have to look across the continent to look at what happens if you don’t have those components in place. A currency union is incompatible with sovereignty.”