Category Archive: 5) Global Macro

The Obligatory Europe QE Review

If Mario Draghi wanted to wow them, this wasn’t it. Maybe he couldn’t, handcuffed already by what seems to have been significant dissent in the ranks. And not just the Germans this time. Widespread dissatisfaction with what is now an idea whose time may have finally arrived.

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Dollar (In) Demand

The last time was bad, no getting around it. From the end of 2014 until the first months of 2016, the Chinese economy was in a perilous state. Dramatic weakness had emerged which had seemed impossible to reconcile with conventions about the country. Committed to growth over everything, and I mean everything, China was the one country the world thought it could count on for being immune to the widespread economic sickness.

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A Bigger Boat

For every action there is a reaction. Not only is that Sir Isaac Newton’s third law, it’s also a statement about human nature. Unlike physics where causes and effects are near simultaneous, there is a time component to how we interact. In official capacities, even more so.

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Is The Negativity Overdone?

Give stimulus a chance, that’s the theme being set up for this week. After relentless buying across global bond markets distorting curves, upsetting politicians and the public alike, central bankers have responded en masse. There were more rate cuts around the world in August than there had been at any point since 2009.

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EM Preview for the Week Ahead

Despite some positive developments last week, we think the three key issues for risk assets have not been resolved yet.  Hong Kong protests continue, while reports suggest the US and China remain far apart.  Even Brexit has likely been given only a three month reprieve.  We remain negative on EM until these key issues have been ultimately resolved.

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These Are Not Signs of a Healthy Market

The implicit narrative of the latest rally in stocks is that this is just another normal rally in the ongoing 10-year long Bull market. Nice, but do these three charts look "normal" to you? Let's take a quick glance at a daily chart of the S&P 500 (SPX), a weekly chart of TLT, the exchange-traded fund of the US Treasury 20-year bond, and silver.

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Just Who Was The Intended Audience For The Rate Cut?

Federal Reserve policymakers appear to have grown more confident in their more optimistic assessment of the domestic situation. Since cutting the benchmark federal funds range by 25 bps on July 31, in speeches and in other ways Chairman Jay Powell and his group have taken on a more “hawkish” tilt. This isn’t all the way back to last year’s rate hikes, still a pronounced difference from a few months ago.

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Will Everything Change in 2020-2025 or Will Nothing Change?

Any domino-like expanding crisis will unfold in a status quo lacking any coherent response. Longtime readers know I've often referenced The Fourth Turning, the book that makes the case for an 80-year cycle of existential crisis in U.S. history.

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United States: The ISM Conundrum

Bond yields have tumbled this morning, bringing the 10-year US Treasury rate within sight of its record low level. The catalyst appears to have been the ISM’s Manufacturing PMI. Falling below 50, this widely followed economic indicator continues its rapid unwinding.

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Copper Confirmed

Copper prices behave more deliberately than perhaps prices in other commodity markets. Like gold, it is still set by a mix of economic (meaning physical) and financial (meaning collateral and financing). Unlike gold, there doesn’t seem to be any rush to get to wherever the commodity market is going. Over the last several years, it has been more long periods of sideways.

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Latest Thoughts on the US Economic Outlook

The US economy is starting to show cracks from the ongoing trade war. While we do not want to make too much from one data point, we acknowledge that headwinds are building whilst US recession risks are rising.

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Big Difference Which Kind of Hedge It Truly Is

It isn’t inflation which is driving gold higher, at least not the current levels of inflation. According to the latest update from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation calculation, the PCE Deflator, continues to significantly undershoot. Monetary policy explicitly calls for that rate to be consistent around 2%, an outcome policymakers keep saying they expect but one that never happens.

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Drivers for the Week Ahead

We remain dollar bulls; this is an important data week for the US. Final August eurozone manufacturing PMIs will be reported Monday; UK reports August PMIs this week. RBA meets Tuesday and is expected to keep rates steady at 1.0%; BOC meets Wednesday and is expected to keep rates steady at 1.75%.

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Labor Day Reflections on Retirement and Working for 49 Years

What happens when these monstrous speculative bubbles pop? Let's start by stipulating that if I'd taken a gummit job right out of college, I could have retired 19 years ago. Instead, I've been self-employed for most of the 49 years I've been working, and I'm still grinding it out at 65.

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GDP Profits Hold The Answers To All Questions

Revisions to second quarter GDP were exceedingly small. The BEA reduced the estimate by a little less than $800 million out of nearly $20 trillion (seasonally-adjusted annual rate). The growth rate therefore declined from 2.03502% (continuously compounded annual rate) to 2.01824%.

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Dear Trump Advisors: Prop the Market Up Now and Lose in 2020, or Let the Market Crash and Win in 2020

One of the more reliable truisms is that Americans vote their pocketbook: if their wallets are being thinned (by recession, stock market declines, high inflation/stagnant wages, etc.), they throw the incumbent out, even if they loved him the previous year when their wallets were getting fatter. (Think Bush I, who maintained high approval ratings but ended up losing the 1992 election due to a dismal economic mood.)

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Monthly Macro Monitor: Market Indicators Review

The Treasury market continues to price in lower nominal and real growth. The stress, the urgency, I see in some of these markets is certainly concerning and consistent with what we have seen in the past at the onset of recession. The move in Treasuries is by some measures, as extreme as the fall of 2008 when we were in a full blown panic.

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The Fantasy of Central Bank “Growth” Is Finally Imploding

It was such a wonderful fantasy: just give a handful of bankers, financiers and corporations trillions of dollars at near-zero rates of interest, and this flood of credit and cash into the apex of the wealth-power pyramid would magically generate a new round of investments in productivity-improving infrastructure and equipment, which would trickle down to the masses in the form of higher wages, enabling the masses to borrow and spend more on...

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Japan: Fall Like Germany, Or Give Hope To The Rest of the World?

After trading overnight in Asia, Japan’s government bond market is within a hair’s breadth of setting new record lows. The 10-year JGB is within a basis point and a fraction of one while the 5-year JGB has only 2 bps to reach. It otherwise seems at odds with the mainstream narrative at least where Japan’s economy is concerned.

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Emerging Markets: FX Model for Q3 2019

The broad-based dollar rally remains intact despite the market’s overly dovish take on the Fed. We still believe markets are vastly overestimating the Fed’s capacity to ease in 2019 and 2020. What’s clear is that the liquidity story is not enough to sustain EM. MSCI EM FX is on track to test the September 2018 low near 1575 and then the April 2017 low near 1568.

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