As oil prices have risen on geopolitical concerns (that have been printed away by central banks in stocks), so gas prices at the pump in the US have risen to their highest for this time of year since 2008 (and that did not end well). We are not alone in our concern as Morgan Stanley's (and esx Fed) Vince Reinhart warns that a more extreme jump in oil prices would be enough to stall the recovery (lowering real GDP growth by 1.7 percentage points one year out; and perhaps more worryingly, raise CPI growth by about 3.6pp, lowering real consumer spending growth by a full two percentage points).
On the day after Chairman Yellen’s press conference, investors aggressively bid up inflation trades across numerous asset classes. Gold and silver rallied sharply, TIPS implied inflation breakevens widened (despite a new slug of 30-year supply), Treasury yields rose, and the yield curve steepened. Based on investor positioning and market sentiment (CFTC’s Commitment of Traders data show record net short positions exceeding $1.5 trillion in notional rates exposure among speculators in the eurodollar futures markets), there’s decent potential for additional gains in these inflation expressions in the days and weeks ahead.
As of this moment, US equity futures are perfectly unchanged despite what has been an almost comical reactivation of the 102.000 USDJPY tractor beam. Considering the pair has been trading within a 75 pips of the 102.000 level for the past month, one has to wonder when and what the next BOJ Yen equilibrium level will be reset to. Oddly enough, even as the USDJPY is very much unchanged, the Nikkei continues to rise suggesting that, as Nikkei reported, the GPIF is already investing Japanese pension funds in stocks. Which is great for the Nikkei catching up with the global bond bubble, what is not so great is what happens when the market realizes that the largest holder (excluding the BOJ) of JGBs is dumping, and the world's most illiquid major sovereign bond market rushes for the exits. Just recall the daily halts of Japanese bond trading from the summer of 2013 - we give it 3-6 months before it returns with a vengeance.
The only thing that can be said about Janet Yellen’s simple-minded paint-by-the-numbers performance yesterday is that the Keynesian apotheosis is complete. American capitalism and all political life, too, is now ruled by a 12-member monetary politburo, which is essentially accountable to no one except its own misbegotten doctrine that prosperity flows from the end of a printing press.
An interesting dynamic taking place in financial markets on Thursday as Gold saw some substantial buying interest up $22 to the $1295 an ounce area.
Yellen has got to be the most dovish Fed chairperson going into the most important policy initiative withdrawal phase ever to be recorded since the inception of the Federal Reserve!
Don't worry about the surging food and gas prices you face each and every day... Janet Yellen says "it's just noise" and is actually "evolving exactly as they expected." It is this kind of mind-blowingly ignorant of the facts statement that has the central banks of the world losing more and more credibility (just take a look at the dot plot's 0.5 to 4.25% rate expectations for 2015). The following exchange between Yellen and Liesman is simply priceless in its ignorance.
it is suddenly not fun being a Fed president (or Chairmanwoman) these days: with yesterday's 2.1% CPI print, the YoY rate has now increased for four consecutive months and is above the Fed's target. Concurrently, the unemployment rate has also dipped well below the Fed’s previous 6.5% threshold guidance, in other words the Fed has now met both its mandates as set down previously. There have also been fairly unambiguous comments from the Fed’s Bullard suggesting that this is the closest the Fed has been to fulfilling its mandates in many years. Finally, adding to the "concerns" that the Fed may surprise everyone were BOE Carney’s comments last week that a hike “could happen sooner than the market currently expect." In short: continued QE here, without a taper acceleration, merely affirms that all the Fed is after is reflating the stock market, and such trivial considerations as employment and inflation are merely secondary to the Fed. Which, of course, we know - all is secondary to the wealth effect, i.e., making the rich, richer. But it is one thing for tinfoil hat sites to expose the truth, it is something else entirely when it is revealed to the entire world.
You can ignore and even downplay for a while, but eventually and as sure as the fundamental law of nature that everything has a cost....
A Moment Of Truth From JPM: "It's Hard To See The Recent Growth-Inflation Mix As Anything Other Than Discouraging"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/17/2014 11:59 -0400
"While some may cheer an earlier Fed rate hike, its hard to see the recent growth-inflation mix as anything other than discouraging." - JPMorgan
Stick A Fork In Yet Another "Housing Recovery": Starts Tumble, Multi-Family Permits Collapse Most Since LehmanSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/17/2014 09:11 -0400
Blame it on the... spring?
The Fed is losing its reasons for printing, leaving it desperate to revive the meme that the US economy is in self-sustaining recovery mode. At 2.0% Core CPI has caught up with the hot-flation of PPI removing the crutch of low-flation easement the Fed has been relying on. While Ex-Food-and-Energy is surging (well above expectations), the food index rose 0.5% in May after increasing 0.4% in each of the three previous months; and the index for food at home increased 0.7%, its largest increase since July 2011. This is all happening against a backdrop of real hourly wages dropping 0.1% YoY.
With newsflow out of Iraq having slowed down as has the ISIS offensive, which appears to have been halted north of Baghdad, the market now shifts its attention to the Fed's two-day meeting which begins today and continues through tomorrow afternoon, when it will be leaked by media outlets to ultra-wealthy speculators and robots, breaching the embargo (in exchange for a hefty payoff) some 10 minutes before 2 pm.
The Fed is now pre-occupied with an unanswerable and fanciful question, according to Jon Hilsenrath’s pre-meeting missive on the Fed’s current monetary policy “debate”. Figuratively estimating the number of angels which can dance on the head of a pin, Fed officials and economists suppose they can specify the the appropriate money market rate down to the decimal place for virtually all time to come... Of course, every one of these three magic numbers are perfectly arbitrary, academic and silly. Due to the structural failures of the US economy owing to decades of destructive Washington policies, the “unemployment rate” today is not remotely comparable to what was being measured in the 1950s and 1960s when today’s Keynesian theology with respect to the Phillips Curve, Okun’s Law and full-employment policy was being formulated.
This week brings some key events and releases in DMs, including US FOMC (Goldman expects $10bn tapering, in line with consensus), IP, CPI, and Philly Fed (expect 13.5), EA final May CPI (expect 0.50%), and MP decisions in Norway and Switzerland (expect no change in either).