Tag Archive: jay powell

Still Stuck In Between

There wasn’t much by way of the ISM’s Manufacturing PMI to allay fears of recession. Much like the payroll numbers, an uncolored analysis of them, anyway, there was far more bad than good. For the month of October 2019, the index rose slightly from September’s decade low. At 48.3, it was up just half a point last month from the month prior

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From Friends to Nemeses: JO and Jay

It was one of the first major speeches of his tenure. Speaking to the Economic Club of Chicago in April 2018, newly crowned Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was full of optimism. At that time, however, optimism was being framed as some sort of bad thing. This was the height of inflation hysteria, where any sort of official upgrade to the economic condition was taken as further “hawkishness.”

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The Inventory Context For Rate Cuts and Their Real Nature/Purpose

What typically distinguishes recessions from downturns is the inventory cycle. Even in 2008, that was the basis for the Great “Recession.” It was distinguished most prominently by the financial conditions and global-reaching panic, true, but the effects of the monetary crash registered heaviest in the various parts of that inventory process. An economy for whatever reasons slows down.

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Three (Rate Cuts) And GDP, Where (How) Does It End?

The Federal Reserve has indicated that it will now pause – for a second time, supposedly. Remember the first: after raising its benchmark rates apparatus in December while still talking about an inflationary growth acceleration requiring even more hikes throughout 2019, in a matter of weeks that was transformed into a temporary suspension of them.

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CPI Changes On Energy: The Inflation Check

After constantly running through what the FOMC gets (very) wrong, let’s give them some credit for what they got right. Though this will end up as a backhanded compliment, still. After having spent all of 2018 forecasting accelerating inflation indices, from around New Year’s Day forward policymakers notably changed their tune.

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From JOLTS Series Shift To Series of Rate Cuts

I’ve said all along that they would be dragged into them kicking and screaming. After all, the Federal Reserve undertook its last rate hike in December 2018 – just as the markets were making clear he was completely mistaken in his view of the economy. What followed was the ridiculous “Fed pause” which pretty much everyone outside of the central bank and the Economics profession knew wasn’t the end of it.

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Head Faking In The Empty Zoo: Powell Expands The Balance Sheet (Again)

They remain just as confused as Richard Fisher once was. Back in ’13 while QE3 was still relatively young and QE4 (yes, there were four) practically brand new, the former President of the Dallas Fed worried all those bank reserves had amounted to nothing more than a monetary head fake. In 2011, Ben Bernanke had admitted basically the same thing.

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ISM Spoils The Bond Rout!!! Again

For the second time this week, the ISM managed to burst the bond bear bubble about there being a bond bubble. Who in their right mind would buy especially UST’s at such low yields when the fiscal situation is already a nightmare and becoming more so? Some will even reference falling bid-to-cover ratios which supposedly suggests an increasing dearth of buyers.

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Waiting on the Calvary

Engaged in one of those protectionist trade spats people have been talking about, the flow of goods between South Korea and Japan has been choked off. The specific national reasons for the dispute are immaterial. As trade falls off everywhere, countries are increasingly looking to protect their own. Nothing new, this is a feature of when prolonged stagnation turns to outright contraction.

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Money Markets: Sizing Up the Cavalry

There’s been an unusual level of honesty coming out of Liberty Street of late. Not total honesty but certainly more than the usual nothing denials and dismissals. If you don’t immediately recognize the reference, that’s the street in NYC where FRBNY and its Open Market Desk resides. What is supposed to be the moneyed centered of the universe. After all, as Ben Bernanke famously threatened in November 2002, that’s the printing press.

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What’s The Verdict On This Week?

Jay Powell’s disastrous week is coming to a close, not yet his long nightmare. He has been battling fed funds (meaning repo) for his entire tenure dating back to February 2018. This week wasn’t the conclusion to the contest, just the latest and biggest round of it.

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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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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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The Path Clear For More Rate Cuts, If You Like That Sort of Thing

If you like rate cuts and think they are powerful tools to help manage a soft patch, then there was good news in two international oil reports over the last week. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) cut its forecast for global demand growth for the seventh straight month. On Friday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) downgraded its estimates for the third time in four months.

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US Economic Crosscurrents Reach the 50 Mark

In the official narrative, the economy is robust and resilient. The fundamentals, particularly the labor market, are solid. It’s just that there has arisen an undercurrent or crosscurrent of some other stuff. Central bankers initially pointed the finger at trade wars and the negative “sentiment” it creates across the world but they’ve changed their view somewhat.

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As Chinese Factory Deflation Sets In, A ‘Dovish’ Powell Leans on ‘Uncertainty’

It’s a clever bit of misdirection. In one of the last interviews he gave before passing away, Milton Friedman talked about the true strength of central banks. It wasn’t money and monetary policy, instead he admitted that what they’re really good at is PR. Maybe that’s why you really can’t tell the difference Greenspan to Bernanke to Yellen to Powell no matter what happens.

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When Verizons Multiply, Macro In Inflation

Inflation always brings out an emotional response. Far be it for me to defend Economists, but their concept is at least valid – if not always executed convincingly insofar as being measurable. An inflation index can be as meaningful as averaging the telephone numbers in a phone book (for anyone who remembers what those things were).

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All Of US Trade, Both Ways, And Much, Much More Than The Past Few Months

The media quickly picked up on Jay Powell’s comments this week from Chicago. Much less talked about was why he was in that particular city. The Federal Reserve has been conducting what it claims is an exhaustive review of its monetary policies. Officials have been very quick to say they aren’t unhappy with them, no, no, no, they’re unhappy with the pitiful state of the world in which they have to be applied.

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Janus Powell

Again, who’s following who? As US Treasury yields drop and eurodollar futures prices rise, signaling expectations for lower money rates in the near future, Federal Reserve officials are catching up to them. It was these markets which first took further rate hikes off the table before there ever was a Fed “pause.”

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The Transitory Story, I Repeat, The Transitory Story

Understand what the word “transitory” truly means in this context. It is no different than Ben Bernanke saying, essentially, subprime is contained. To the Fed Chairman in early 2007, this one little corner of the mortgage market in an otherwise booming economy was a transitory blip that booming economy would easily withstand. Just eight days before Bernanke would testify confidently before Congress, the FOMC had met to discuss their lying eyes....

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