Today the Fed delivered as expected, leaving rates unchanged and the market conjecturing about the sincerity of the FED’s data dependency (again). Some analysts and algo readers initially thought the FOMC statement was “hawkish” because the FED removed most of the rhetoric about the headwinds of international global and financial developments. I say most because the Fed left in “net exports have been soft.” This is either a concern about the lack of global growth and/or an overly strong U.S. dollar. It is MY OPINION that the Fed removed the language about international financial risks as an offering to the HAWKS as a way to get consensus.
Posts Tagged ‘RBNZ’
Two central banks announced interest rate decisions today: the Bank of Canada (BOC) and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ). The BOC left rates at 0.50% while the RBNZ SURPRISED markets by lowing its official cash rate by 0.25% to 2.25% as Governor Graeme Wheeler revealed concerns about a slowing Chinese economy and the ever-increasing global financial risks. There was no specific mention about the KIWI but Wheeler voiced concerns about the downward pressure on DAIRY EXPORT PRICES. The KIWI dropped 2 percent against the U.S. and Australian dollars following the surprise move but the explicit notation of slowing Chinese growth should be an alarm for those concerned about the impact of China on global commodity prices.
WARNING: Put on your life lines, foul weather gear and be ready for the boom to come flying about (thanks Whitewave). There are violent winds blowing in the financial seas as equity markets are giving warning that something is amiss. The 200-day moving averages for the DAX, CAC, Nikkei and SPOOS succumbed to selling pressure in synchronized fashion. The Dow Transportation Index looks atrocious, especially when viewed in terms of the steep drop in energy prices. Lower fuel costs are historically a boon to trains, planes and automobiles and most especially trucks. Lower fuel costs lead to increased profits for freight haulers (h/t American Limey and Professor Waspi).
It was ECB President Mario Draghi who declared war on the German economic model of GROWTH THROUGH AUSTERITY, but it was the Chinese central bank that fired the first real shot in response to the “intervention” by Super Mario. As usual, Draghi proposed an increase in the ECB QE program (possibly in December) and also mentioned taking deposit interest rate even more negative. The EURO, of course, depreciated by as much as 3 percent while Draghi stoked the fires of a possible liquidity increase.
Tonight is a brief set of bullet points as I have been sidelined with a sinus infection from the high pollen counts. But the world continues to spin (as does my pillow). The Greek situation continues on with the same cast of characters shouting at each other about prior promises made and the need to adhere to the previous economic and political efforts for Greek solvency. We are getting close to the end because Prime Minister Tsipras launched his final salvo with the Brussels Brigade. It is what NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND offered up as the third rail of European politics: SYRIZA WILL CALL A REFERENDUM ON ANY DEAL STRUCK WITH THE TROIKA.
Late Thursday night, the BOJ surprised the markets with an acceleration in the pace of increasing the monetary base. The bank will increase its asset purchases to 80 trillion yen from a previous annual amount of 50-60 trillion yen. The bank will also purchase ETFs and J-REITs at an added 3 trillion yen a year, a massive amount of increase of its balance sheet. In Japan the BOJ‘s program is referred to as QQE for it is both a quantitative and qualitative program. As it is pointed out, the BOJ will wind up owning 75 percent of the JGB market as banks and pension funds unload BONDS onto the ultimate buyer of last resort. When Japan was in a deflationary economy, owning BONDS made perfect sense as negative prices gave rise to REAL HIGHER YIELDS.
Why do I say this? As expected, the FOMC ended QE3 and left in the forward guidance of “considerable time.” Some analysts believe that the balance of the statement was HAWKISH because the phrase of “significant underutilization of labor resources” to “underutilization of labor resources is gradually diminishing.” The problem is that Chair Yellen has adopted the Labor Market Conditions Index (LMCI) and its 19 variables so without a press conference or until we read the FOMC minutes we have no basis for the change in “significant underutilization” language. The lack of a press conference left investors dazed and confused because there was no explanation for the Fed’s decision. In September we heard about the headwinds of global slowdowns and a strong dollar, but there is no a word about GLOBAL HEADWINDS in the Fed’s statement.
The financial press is filled with articles about the recent EURO weakness. During the last week the EU currency has fallen about 1.5 percent. Many pundits have opined that it is the Ukraine situation and Gaza that have made investors uneasy, thus the move into U.S. dollars. In a July 22 Bloomberg article, “Draghi Cedes Euro Control to Yellen on Fed Bets,” it is suggested that the DOLLAR is rising in anticipation of moves by the FED, especially now that the ECB has gone to negative yields on reserves. The problem for the Fed argument is that yields in the U.S. have actually softened during the last week and Fed communication has been muddled over when interest rates might possibly rise. When the ECB announced a negative interest rate June 5 the EURO/DOLLAR made a low of 1.3503. Today we are trading at 1.3465, a little below the 1.35 low but well below that day’s close of 1.3650.
The tinder of the financial world has dried under the roaring blaze of asset appreciation. Global bond and equity prices reflect that all is well and the world’s major central banks have control of the world’s finances. But in the parlance of Mao, a single unexpected spark can initiate a huge fire. (Also, it is important to note that Mao never missed a PMI number either.) Financial history is replete with events of which investors and bankers were never aware of the depth. It was only in 2007 that Chairman Bernanke called the housing situation and its financial repercussions, “well contained.” Today, the news brought two events that can have far greater impacts than the markets’ calmness revealed.
The equity markets were gaga over the news from Apple and Facebook and trying to push through March’s highs when Twitter was busy raising the issue about a possible Russian incursion into Eastern Ukraine. The “breaking news” failed to gather strength and the markets were soon back into positive territory. Just as the equity markets were absorbing the Russian rumors, the precious metals were making recent lows on the back of stock market strength and better economic news from the U.S. For all you technical-oriented market watchers, the gold and silver both put in outside reversal higher days so we will watch to see if there is any follow through in the metals market tomorrow.