Tag Archive: Interest rates

FX Weekly Preview: Cutting to the Quick

Central banks are prepared to take fresh measures to strengthen and extend the business cycle primarily because price pressures are below what their predecessors thought would be acceptable levels. Draghi, speaking for the ECB, the Federal Reserve, and the Bank of Japan ratcheted up their concerns, which, even without new initiatives, were sufficient to drive interest rates lower.

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Europe Comes Apart, And That’s Before #4

In May 2018, the European Parliament found that it was incredibly popular. Commissioning what it calls the Eurobarameter survey, the EU’s governing body said that two-thirds of Europeans inside the bloc believed that membership had benefited their own countries. It was the highest showing since 1983. Voters in May 2019 don’t appear to have agreed with last year’s survey.

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FX Weekly Preview: The Green Shoots of Spring

Investors have worked themselves into a lather. Equities crashed in Q4 last year amid on corporate earnings and concerns about growth. The Fed’s tightening decision in December was made unanimously. The above-trend growth, the preferred inflation measure was near target, unemployment was the lowest in a generation and real rates were historically low.

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FX Weekly Preview: The Week Ahead

The combination of the dovish hold by the Federal Reserve and the eurozone's miserable flash Purchasing Managers Index casts a pall over the economic outlook.  Japan's flash PMI remained stuck at February's 48.9, while core inflation unexpectedly eased.  Three months after the European Central Bank stopped buying bonds, the German 10-year Bund yield fell below zero for the first time since 2016.

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Sinking Shippers Signal Global Goods Troubles

It infects every boardroom across the world. Big business requires decent forecasting, yet time and again it seems they are deprived of what they desperately need. Instead, even after this last decade, the world’s largest companies continue to be surprised by weakness that is far more prevalent than strength.

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FX Daily, February 13: QT is not the Opposite of QE

The Federal Reserve has long been clear on the sequence of events as it innovated the playbook during the Great Financial Crisis. There would be a considerable period between when the Fed would finish its credit easing operations that involved purchasing Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and its first-rate hike.

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Bond Curves Right All Along, But It Won’t Matter (Yet)

Men have long dreamed of optimal outcomes. There has to be a better way, a person will say every generation. Freedom is far too messy and unpredictable. Everybody hates the fat tails, unless and until they realize it is outlier outcomes that actually mark progress. The idea was born in the eighties that Economics had become sufficiently advanced that the business cycle was no longer a valid assumption.

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Monthly Macro Monitor – January 2019

A Return To Normalcy. In the first two years after a newly elected President takes office he enacts a major tax cut that primarily benefits the wealthy and significantly raises tariffs on imports. His foreign policy is erratic but generally pulls the country back from foreign commitments. He also works to reduce immigration and roll back regulations enacted by his predecessor.

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Living In The Present

It’s that time of year again, time to cast the runes, consult the iChing, shake the Magic Eight Ball and read the tea leaves. What will happen in 2019? Will it be as bad as 2018 when positive returns were hard to come by, as rare as affordable health care or Miami Dolphin playoff games? Will China’s economy succumb to the pressure of US tariffs and make a deal?

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Insane Repo Reminds Us

It was only near the quarter end, that’s what made it so unnerving. We may have become used to these calendar bottlenecks over the years, but they still remind us what they are. Late October 2012 was a little different, though. On October 29, the GC repo rate for UST collateral (DTCC) surged to 52.6 bps. The money market floor, so to speak, was zero at the time and IOER (the joke) 25 bps. We also have to keep in mind the circumstances of that...

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Monthly Macro Monitor – November 2018

Is the Fed’s monetary tightening about over? Maybe, maybe not but there does seem to be some disagreement between Jerome Powell and his Vice Chair, Richard Clarida. Powell said just a little over a month ago that the Fed Funds rate was still “a long way from neutral” and that the Fed may ultimately need to go past neutral.

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Monthly Macro Monitor – October 2018

Stocks have stumbled into October with the S&P 500 down about 6% as I write this. The source of equity investors’ angst is always hard to pinpoint and this is no exception but this correction doesn’t seem to be due to concerns about economic growth. At least not directly.

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We Need a Free Market in Interest Rates

We do not have a free market in interest rates today. We have not had one since the creation of the Fed in 1913. The Fed began buying bonds almost immediately, which pushes up the price and hence pushes down the interest rate. However, as I discuss in my theory of interest and prices, the Fed creates a resonant system with positive feedback loops.

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Monthly Macro Monitor – September

This has already been one of the longest economic expansions on record for the US and there is little in the data or markets to indicate that is about to come to an end. Current levels of the yield curve are comparable to late 2005 in the last cycle. It was almost two years later before we even had an inkling of a problem and even in the summer of 2008 – nearly three years later – there was still a robust debate about whether the US could avoid...

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Illicit Arbitrage Cut by Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Report 3 Sep 2018

This week, we are back to our ongoing series on capital destruction. Let’s consider the simple transaction of issuing a bond. Party X sells a bond to Party Y. We will first offer something entirely uncontroversial. If the interest rate rises after Y buys the bond, then Y takes a loss. Or if the interest rate falls, then Y makes a capital gain. This is simply saying that the bond price moves inverse to the interest rate.

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Global Asset Allocation Update

The risk budget is unchanged again this month. For the moderate risk investor, the allocation between bonds and risk assets is evenly split. The only change to the portfolio is the one I wrote about last week, an exchange of TIP for SHY.

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Global Asset Allocation Update

Note: This will be a short update. We are shifting the timing of some of our reports. The monthly Global Asset Allocation update will now be published in the first week of the month, aiming for the first of each month. I’ll put out a full report next week. The Bi-Weekly Economic Review is shifting to a monthly update, published on the 15th of each month.

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Great Graphic: US 2-year Premium Grows and Outlook for G3 Central Banks

A cry was heard last week when President Trump expressed displeasure with the Fed's rate hikes. Some, like former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, claimed that this was another step toward becoming a "banana republic." Jeffrey Sachs, another noted economist, claimed that "American democracy is probably one more war away from collapsing into tyranny."

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Bi-Weekly Economic Review

This will be a fairly quick update as I just posted a Mid-Year Review yesterday that covers a lot of the same ground. There were, as you’ll see below, some fairly positive reports since the last update but the markets are not responding to the better data. Markets seem to be more focused on the trade wars and the potential fallout. I would also note that at least some of the recent strength in the data is related to the tariffs.

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Great Graphic: Two-year Rate Differentials

Given that some of the retail sales that were expected in June were actually booked in May is unlikely to lead to a large revision of expectations for Q2 US GDP, the first estimate of which is due in 11 days.  Before the data, the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow projects the world's biggest economy expanded at an annualized pace of 3.9% in Q2. 

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