Category Archive: 5) Global Macro

Restricted Market Trading Comments

With many markets still under lockdown and some going out on Easter holidays this week, we continue to see amended trading hours. The most notable change has been in India with a reduction in trading hours, while in Nigeria we saw a small amount of liquidity being released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Below are our updates for the week.

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It’s Hard To See Anything But Enormous Long-term Cost

The unemployment rate wins again. In a saner era, back when what was called economic growth was actually economic growth, this primary labor ratio did a commendable job accurately indicating the relative conditions in the labor market. You didn’t go looking for corroboration because it was all around; harmony in numbers for a far more peaceful and serene period.

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Dollar Mixed, Equities Higher as Virus News Stream Improves

It was a relatively good weekend in virus-related news; measures of implied volatility continue to trend lower. The dollar is trying to build on its recent gains; investors continue to try and gauge just how bad the US economy will get hit. The outlook for oil prices remains highly uncertain and volatile.

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If Lockdown Is a Needless Over-Reaction, Then Why Did China Lockdown Half its Economy?

Recall that the initial deaths and related costs are only the first-order effects; policy makers have to consider the second-order effects. Everyone who reckons that the lockdown is needless and more destructive than the pandemic that triggered it has to answer this question: then why did China lockdown half its economy?

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EM Preview for the Week Ahead

EM may get a little support from a potential OPEC+ deal to limit oil.  Even if a deal is struck, the impact is likely to be fleeting as the global growth outlook remains terrible.  We remain negative on EM for the time being.

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When Bulls Are Over-Anxious to Catch the Rocketship Higher, This Isn’t the Bottom

Everyone with any position in today's market will be able to say they lived through a real Bear Market. In the echo chamber of a Bull Market, there's always a reason to get bullish: the consumer is spending, housing is strong, the Fed has our back, multiples are expanding, earnings are higher, stock buybacks will push valuations up, and so on, in an essentially endless parade of self-referential reasons to buy, buy, buy and ride the rocketship...

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Banks Or (euro)Dollars? That Is The (only) Question

It used to be that at each quarter’s end the repo rate would rise often quite far. You may recall the end of 2018, following a wave of global liquidations and curve collapsing when the GC rate (UST) skyrocketed to 5.149%, nearly 300 bps above the RRP “floor.” Chalked up to nothing more than 2a7 or “too many” Treasuries, it was to be ignored as the Fed at that point was still forecasting inflation and rate hikes.

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Dollar Bid as Market Sentiment Worsens

The virus news stream out of Europe has improved a bit. The US is already taking about the next relief bill; the Fed continues to roll out measures to address dollar funding issues. ADP and ISM manufacturing PMI are the US data highlights. Regulators across Europe are asking banks to stop paying dividends; eurozone and UK reported final manufacturing PMIs.

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The Wonderful Insanity of Globalization

So here's an April Fools congrats to globalization's many fools. The tradition here at Of Two Minds is to make use of April Fool's Day for a bit of parody or satire, but I'm breaking with tradition and presenting something that is all too real but borders on parody: the wonderful insanity of globalization.

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China’s Back!

The Washington Post began this week by noting how the US economy seems to have lost its purported zip just when it needed that vitality the most. Never missing a chance to take a partisan swipe, of course, still there’s quite a lot of truth behind the charge. An actual economic boom produces cushion, enough of one that President Trump and his administration may have been counting on it when opting for full-blown shutdown.

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(No) Dollars And (No) Sense: Eighty Argentinas

India like many emerging market countries around the world holds an enormous stockpile of foreign exchange reserves. According to the latest weekly calculation published by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank, that total was a bit less than half a trillion. While it sounds impressive, when the month began the balance was much closer to that mark.

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The New (Forced) Frugality

There are only two ways to survive a decline in income and net worth: slash expenses or default on debt. In post-World War II America, the cultural zeitgeist viewed frugality as a choice: permanent economic growth and federal anti-poverty programs steadily reduced the number of people in deep economic hardship (i.e. forced frugality) and raised the living standards of those in hardship to the point that the majority of households could choose to be...

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Drivers for the Week Ahead

Markets continue to digest the implications of the Fed’s bazooka moment last week. The data highlight this week will be March jobs data Friday; key manufacturing sector data will come out earlier in the week. On Friday, BOC delivered an emergency 50 bp rate cut to 0.25% and started QE.

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It’s Not About Jobless Claims Today, It’s About What Will Hamper Job Growth In A Few Months

You’ve no doubt heard about the jobless claims number. At an incomprehensible 3.28 million Americans filing for unemployment for the first time, this level far exceeded the wildest expectations as the economic costs of the shutdown continue to come in far more like the worst case. And as bad as 3mm is, the real hidden number is likely much higher.

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No Further Comment Necessary At This Point

I would write something snarky about bank reserves, but why bother at this point? It’s already been said. If Jay Powell doesn’t mention collateral, no one else does even though it’s the whole ballgame right now. Note: FRBNY’s updated figures shown below are for last week.

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ECB Approaching its Bazooka Moment

The ECB appears to be moving closer to activating Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT).  Despite being part of Draghi’s “whatever it takes” moment, OMT has never been used.  If the Fed’s open-ended QE is seen as dollar-negative, then OMT should be seen as euro-negative. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS At the regularly scheduled March 12 meeting, the ECB delivered a package of easing measures that were in hindsight quite underwhelming.  The ECB boosted QE...

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The Pandemic Is Accelerating the Breakdown That Began a Decade Ago

The feedback loop has reversed: by saving more, people will spend, borrow and speculate less, draining the fuel from any broadbased expansion. In eras of confidence and certainty, people save less and spend more freely. 

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Three Short Run Factors Don’t Make A Long Run Difference

There are three things the markets have going for them right now, and none of them have anything to do with the Federal Reserve. More and more conditions resemble the early thirties in that respect, meaning no respect for monetary powers. This isn’t to say we are repeating the Great Depression, only that the paths available to the system to use in order to climb out of this mess have similarly narrowed. That’s what’s ultimately going to matter the...

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Helicopter Money: Short-Term Relief Won’t Cure our Financial Disease

The collateral supporting the global mountain of debt is crumbling as speculative bubbles deflate. A great many freebies are being tossed in the Helicopter Money basket. That households experiencing declines in income need immediate support is obvious, as is the need to throw credit lifelines to small businesses.

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Regime Change

Stocks took another beating last week as the scope of the coronavirus shutdown started to sink in. The S&P 500 was down 15% last week with most of that coming on Monday after the Fed’s emergency rate cuts. Our accounts performed much better than that, but were still down on the week as corporate and municipal bonds continued to get marked down.

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