Posts Tagged ‘QE’

Notes From Underground: So Long, Mario

October 24, 2019

A quick summation of ECB President Mario Draghi’s final press conference:

1. The Draghi Era is ending and I have to say that this was one of his best press conferences. Draghi exited, stage left, not PURSUED BY A BEAR and he did it with grace and aplomb. He took a BOW for his self-imposed mandate of PRESERVING THE EURO BY DOING WHATEVER IT TAKES. The desire to keep on keeping on by sustaining QE, TLTRO, MTO and most significantly, NEGATIVE INTEREST RATES will be a testament to the judges at the COUNTERFACTUAL HALL OF FAME. How much QE was enough? What was the political damage that resulted from the bond buying program? This will be an issue that the cheerleaders of lower for longer will never entertain.

2. Again, Draghi stressed the need for greater synthesis of the EU in monetary, fiscal and political harmonization. He was laying the groundwork for Christine Lagarde and what I have maintained is Lagarde’s dual mandate of the creation of the true EUROBOND with a massive EUROWIDE fiscal stimulus program. Drahi urged those with budget room should ramp up spending while the deficit stressed OUGHT to get their fiscal houses in order. This is nonsense for once Germany capitulates to an infrastructure program fiscal stimulus will bloom all around the European Union. As an aside, the Financial Times had a story about how that the progenitor of the SCHWARZE NULL came out in favor of German fiscal stimulus in an effort to replace worn infrastructure. Spend while money is cheap.

3. Draghi still made a statement that the limits on each country’s bond purchases are self-imposed by the ECB so there may be room for the central bank to play with the amount of bonds purchased on any given day. The relevance of the CAPITAL KEY is in the stock of BONDS, not the FLOWS. This is important when trading any individual sovereign under duress. (I think Draghi is on thin ice here but something he failed to note as self-imposed by the ECB is the 2% inflation target.) Lagarde’s task is not to build the balance sheet. It is fiscal. Maybe President Lagarde could dispense with the new round of QE if Germany would ramp up fiscal stimulus.This seems to play to Jens Weidmann.

4. In response to a question about any mistakes the ECB made under the Draghi regime, the outgoing president said there was an overstretched commercial property market in Europe but felt that was a result of foreign investors seeking to be involved in EURO investments. Mario doesn’t see any BUBBLES. He did suggest the  SHADOW BANKING SECTOR was a blindspot because of the lack of transparency. But Draghi said the corporate bonds and leverage markets were not as significant in Europe as in the U.S. because of the structure of capital markets so he was not overly concerned. Enter Christine Lagarde and we will prepare for the change of leadership.

Notes From Underground: The ECB and the Swan Song of Mario Draghi

September 10, 2019

We are coming to the end of Mario Draghi and the “Whatever It Takes” era. Remember, the head of the European Central Bank said he would do whatever it takes to preserve the EURO. This fealty to the currency has resulted in a -40 basis point deposit rate, a massive expansion of the ECB’s balance sheet via sovereign and corporate bond purchases.

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Notes From Underground: Woody Hayes’ Advice to Mario Draghi

September 4, 2019

Football season in the U.S. is just beginning. That said, it would be appropriate for President Mario Draghi to refrain from any type of new QE program or cut in interest rates at next week’s meeting. There have been several comments from ECB members during the past week advising against more QE or additional interest rate cuts.

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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: 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.

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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.

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Notes From Underground: Hello, 2019

January 6, 2019

“I am a sick man. I am a wicked man.”

So opens the Dostoyevsky novella Notes from Underground. Sometimes I seem to be caught in a similar existential trap as I analyze the global macro data and fundamentals. I am sick because I continue to pursue the opportunities that explode before me. I have taken a turn for the worse and become sick because of the constant flow of manipulated headlines crafted to purposely activate the trading algorithms. Tweets and headlines with no context have become the coin of the realm, especially for high frequency trading operations. But their role in the market jungle does little to dissuade me  from honing my craft. The bottom line: Greater preparation and more patience is needed.

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Notes From Underground: Rome Is Alive With the Sound of Music

October 31, 2018

There was singing in Rome when Angela Merkel announced that she is stepping down as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union. The two most recent German regional elections has solidified the unmitigated truth about the weakened condition of the German chancellor. For the last six years, I have been highly critical about Merkel’s policies. The bumbling French President Nicholas Sarkozy out-maneuvered Merkel in 2011 as he prevented then-Bundesbank President Axel Weber from leading the ECB.

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Notes From Underground: Mario Draghi, The Magician of Frankfurt

October 24, 2018

After the Swedish Riksbank’s decision on Wednesday to keep rates at -50 basis points and pledging to raise rates in the coming months, the Bank of Canada met market expectations by raising its overnight rate by 25 basis points. The most important information from Governor Poloz is that the BOC raised rates even though last week’s inflation data was much softer than expected. The BOC official statement noted that the global economy is solid, the reconciliation over the USMCA is positive and “rates to rise to a neutral stance to achieve inflation target.”

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Notes From Underground: The Tweets Controlling the Market Gyrations

July 1, 2018

Now that the first six months of the year have come and gone, the markets have a cacophony of events to look forward to as algos react to price, and fundamental macro analysts are trapped between WHAT OUGHT TO BE. The current concerns over tariffs, trade wars, strife between friends/allies, political uncertainty in Europe, Middle East conflagrations, the Russia/Saudi alliance on energy, Chinese growth concerns, RISING U.S. INTEREST RATES AND INCREASED QUANTITATIVE TIGHTENING (along with elevated TREASURY FUNDING NEEDS), decrease in capital inflows into emerging market economies leading to potential dollar funding concerns and U.S. Congressional elections. Yet, the markets remain are not pricing in the relevance of such concerns. Wise traders and investors do not fight markets but profit from the opportunities presented. To do otherwise is mere commentary. So to paraphrase John Maynard Keynes: When the facts change so do I, what do you do madam?

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