Hardest hit were those marginal workers struggling to grab the lower rungs of the ladder. All of a sudden, the rungs were coated in the Fed’s grease. Between 1947 and 1970, this group – the bottom fifth of the U.S. population – enjoyed a 3% annual growth in real disposable income. As the EZ money regime of the 21st century worked its mischief, these annual increases disappeared.
In addition to higher reimbursements, consumers are paying more out of their own pockets. A shift to high-deductible health insurance plans in recent years means that consumers are contributing more to the cost of health care. In August, medical care services prices in the South surged by 1.2% NSA, the biggest increase in any August since at least 1990.
The week ahead is striking in the sheer number of central bank speakers, but with the Fed on hold until December and the BoJ’s new framework now revealed, focus turns squarely from central banks to US politics. The first US presidential debate at the start of the week will be a key focus.
While today's biggest event for both markets and politics will be tonight's highly anticipated first presidential debate between Trump and Hillary, markets are waking up to some early turmoil in both Asia and Europe, with declines in banks and energy producers dragging down stock-markets around the world, pushing investors to once again seek the safety of government bonds and the yen.
After Wednesday’s policy statements by the Fed and Bank of Japan, a harsh light is being shined on the incredible nature of their communications. It would be wise in the current environment to structure investment portfolios with a pro-volatility bias.
The FOMC has no idea what it is doing, just like Bank of Japan officials about a decade before them. Rather than learn from all the experimentation, the power and prestige still, somehow, afforded to all of them is just too much to give up. They would clearly rather keep themselves on top of the political power structure as it relates to the economy than to admit what is increasingly obvious (a second time).
Until minutes ago, this week's rebound in global equities appeared to be running out of steam as oil retreated from a two-week high and a dollar slide ended. However, as noted just around 6am, Reuters reported, citing as it usually does various "anonymous sources", that in a radical departure from its long-held policy of not cutting production, Saudi Arabia was prepared to cut production on condition that Iran freezes output, which led to an instant spike in crude.
We are speaking, of course, of the Fed’s decision to punt yet again, and for a reason that is not mysterious at all. To wit, our financial rulers are petrified of a stock market hissy fit, and will go to any length of dissimulation and double-talk to avoid triggering a crash of the very bubbles their policies have inflated.
Currently no-one expects the Fed to hike today and it probably won’t. It is definitely possible though that the FOMC statement will contain a strong hint regarding a likely rate hike in November or December, since the Fed for some reason no longer wants to surprise markets. Such an announcement could well have the same effect on the markets as an actual hike though.
It turns out that 52% of all the new jobs - 5.25 million - reported by the BLS since the end of the recession were imagined, not counted. This amounts to still another whopper from the government statistical mills, and more evidence that the so-called recovery is based on a tissue of lies.
While the BOJ may have disappointed with its latest iteration of monetary policy, now known as "QQE with Curve Control", Asian and European stocks as well as U.S. equity index futures rallied in early trading perhaps on the back of the bounce in the USDJPY which has now completely faded.
Just after midnight east coast time, the BOJ presented its new and improved monetary policy dubbed “QQE with Yield Curve Control,” in which the central bank said it would buy JGBs such that 10-year yield remain at the current level of around zero percent. The BOJ will also buy JGBs at designated yields, and generally steepen the curve even as it failed to lower rates or add more QE. Wall Street took one look at what the BOJ came up with... and hated it immediately.
The BOJ disappointed by unveiling a lackluster package that sent stocks lower and JPY higher initially - bigger ETF buying, maintains rates (no easing), maintains bond-buying (no easing), unveils "yield curve control" (steepens curve but crushes bank balance sheets through long bond MTM losses). But then offered some hope by noting that the monetary base may fluctuate to achieve yield-curve control (which markets liked as it implies the possibility of more easing).