This week brings Prime Minister Abe’s fiscal plan, the Reserve Bank of Australia’s rate decision, the Bank of England’s monetary results and U.S. nonfarm payrolls on Friday. So let’s put some perspective to tonight’s main events. The RBA will announce its overnight interest rate and consensus is calling for a 25 basis point CUT to 1.5%. Analysts believe that the weakness in the natural resource sector is aiding the reduction in capital expenditure. Also, Aussie inflation is at the bottom of the RBA‘s target range, which provides rationale for the RBA. I am not so sure of a CUT for this is coming at the end of Governor Stevens’s term at the RBA. Dr. Phillip Lowe will take over September 16 so this is the penultimate meeting for Mr. Stevens.
Posts Tagged ‘RBA’
Yesterday, it was the issue of imbalances and the need for currency manipulation as seen through the eyes of a hegemon in decline. Today there was more criticism of German intransigence as Mario Draghi was pushing back against criticisms from Wolfgang Schaeuble that ECB policy was igniting the fire of the radical right. President Draghi said the ECB was correct in its policies, and current and trade surplus nations were at fault for the continued economic malaise for not embarking on large fiscal stimulus programs. Mario Draghi is lashing out against the German passion for fiscal austerity and labor restructuring, but the ECB President seems to forget the golden rule: He who has the gold makes the rules. I ASK MY READERS TO PONDER THE QUESTION (AGAIN): Who guarantees the balance sheet of the European Central Bank?
Last week, in the middle of gorging our material senses, Janet Yellen was responding to a letter from Ralph Nader, a well known consumer advocate who took the Bernanke and Yellen to task for keeping interest rates too low, resulting in asset inflation for Wall Street and the very wealthy while MAIN STREET was “rewarded” with zero interest rates and almost NO returns on passive, low-risk credit channels. Yellen repeated her third grade teacher tutorial about how savers have indirectly have benefited because of the bounty of jobs available for them and their children and grandchildren and they should stop complaining because home prices have increased to pre-crisis levels in many parts of the country–all because of the wonderful work of the FED and its QE programs. (Even as Carmen Reinhart and other top-level economists have criticized the FED for prolonging FINANCIAL REPRESSION in order to insure against inflation staying below the FED‘s self-imposed mandate of 2 percent.)
One of the great movies of the 1960s asks who is more insane: Those in the asylum or those who create wars? The present state of central banking can lead one to ask the same question about the overseers of FIAT CURRENCY and those who make investment decisions based on the policies of those academics so in love with their economic models. As the Bernanke victory tour rolls on, the fallback position of the recent anointed savior of the global financial system poses the counter-factual of, “What if we hadn’t acted by embarking on a massive liquidity injection? Aren’t you all satisfied that the unemployment rate is hovering around the defined level of full-employment?”
There is now rampant talk about a revived FED QE4 program, most powerfully talked about by Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio and Larry Summers (from the genetically powered economics family of Samuelson and Arrow). On December 24, Santelli and I considered the possibility of QE4 (see clip below). I posed this question to all investors: How would the equity markets react if the FED had to reignite its large asset purchases?
The outcome of the Greek referendum surprised all, even those who believed a NO vote was imminent. As NOTES has written ad nauseam, the referendum card was the nuclear option for Prime Minister Tsipras and he played it for a resounding impact. Chancellor Merkel was furious with Tsipras for having the audacity to challenge the EU elite by going to the people and testing the concept of the general will. The financial media and its purveyors of pabulum could only see this move by the Greeks in its impact upon the equity markets–and marginally the global bond markets. The outcome for the debt markets is a mixed bag for some bonds rally while the debt of smaller peripheral economies take a hit as the risk-off trade is initiated to the possible negative fallout from the lopsided Greek vote of NO.
Mr. Santelli interviewed me today and the topic evolved into Christine Lagarde and the IMF. The conversation was based on previous blogs as we discussed IMF culpability in the Greek debt crisis. The Santelli Exchange is linked below (click on the image). Also, I would advise reading the comments on the previous blog, especially the words of wisdom from University of Illinois finance professor Kevin Waspi.
Last Thursday, former Fed Chairman ” surprised” the investing public and announced he was adding a second quiver to his “bagged trophies” and taking on a consultancy with PIMCO to complement his other consultancy with Citadel. Mr. Bernanke claims he can work for investment funds because it does not conflict with his previous role as the key supervisor of too big to fail banks. The former chairman is an active blogger but I assume his blogging will cease when he becomes active with his new employers. Yet on April 30, Ben wrote a post on the WSJ’s Editorial Page Watch. The BLOG was criticizing the WSJ for its editorial, “The Slow-Growth Fed.” In the BLOG Bernanke takes the WSJ editorial board to task for criticizing the Bernanke Fed for overdoing QE and its failure to stimulate GDP. Bernanke takes cover by arguing that the WSJ has been wrong in its forecasting because it has argued on its op-ed pages that the FED’s QE policies were going to cause a “… breakout in inflation and a collapse in the dollar since 2006….”
In the song “HOW” from John Lennon’s Imagine, he asks:
How Can We Go Forward When We Don’t Know Which Way we ‘re facing?How can we go forward when we don’t know which way to turn?How can we go forward into something we’re not sure of?Oh no, oh no.
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.)