Federal Reserve

Frontrunning: January 26

  • Alexis Tsipras: the Syriza leader about to take charge in Greece (Guardian)
  • Tsipras to form anti-bailout Greek government after big victory (Reuters)
  • Tsipras Forges Anti-Austerity Coalition in EU Challenge (BBG)
  • East Coast braces, flights canceled as 'historic' blizzard bears down (Reuters)
  • Rebels press Ukraine offensive, Obama promises steps against Russian-backed 'aggression (Reuters)
  • Syriza Victory Brings Hope for Immigrants of EU Access (BBG)
  • For Saudis, Falling Demand for Oil Is the Biggest Concern (BBG)
  • Oil prices fall on market relief over Saudi policy (Reuters)

Axel Merk: Why Asset Prices Must Return To Lower Levels

"...as the Swiss National Bank has shown, risk can come back with a vengeance. The same thing can happen of course, in any other market. If the Federal Reserve wants to pursue an "exit" to its intervention, if it wants to go down this path, well, volatility is going to come back.  Everything else equal, it means asset prices have to be priced lower. That is the problem if you base an economic recovery exclusively on asset price inflation. We are going to have our hands full trying to kind of move on from here. In that context, what the Swiss National Bank has done is it is just a canary in the coal mine that there will be more trouble ahead."

Get Ready For Negative Interest Rates In The US

With Fed mouthpiece Jon Hilsenrath warning - in no lesser status-quo narrative-deliverer than The Wall Street Journal - that The ECB's actions (and pre-emptive collapse in the EUR) means the U.S. economy must deal with a rapidly strengthening dollar that will make American goods more expensive abroad, potentially slowing both U.S. growth and inflation; and Treasury Secretary Lew coming out his crypt to mention "unfair FX moves," it appears The Fed (and powers that be) are worrying about King Dollar. This suggests, as Mises Canada's Patrick Barron predicts, the Fed will start charging negative interest rates on bank reserve accounts as the final tool in the war on savings and wealth in order to spur the Keynesian goal of increasing “aggregate demand”. If savers won’t spend their money, the government will take it from them.

5 Things To Ponder: The ABC's Of The ECB's QE

Well the day has finally arrived that after two years of promises, jawboning and hope - the European Central Bank finally announced they will take the plunge into the Quantitative Easing (QE) pool. Whether or not the ECB's QE program has the desired effect or not will not be realized for a while. However, this week's reading list is a variety of opinions and initial takes on the "ABC's of the ECB's QE."

3 Things - The Fed, Rig Counts And Employment, ECB

The real concern for investors and individuals is the actual economy. There is clearly something amiss within the economic landscape, and the ongoing decline of inflationary pressures longer term is likely telling us just that. The big question for the Fed is how to get themselves out of the potential trap they have gotten themselves into without cratering the economy, and the financial markets, in the process. It is my expectation, unless these deflationary trends reverse course in very short order, the Fed will likely postpone raising interest rates until at least the end of the year if not potentially longer.  However, the Fed understands clearly that we are closer to the next economic recession than not and that they can not be caught with rates at the "zero bound" when that occurs.

The Truth About The Monetary Stimulus Illusion

Since its inception in 2008, easy monetary policy has created very few positive effects for the real economy — and has created considerable (and in some cases unforeseen) negative effects as well. The BIS warns of financial bubbles. While economic policymakers should take a closer look at Japan, China, and yes, the United States, when debating the limits of monetary stimulus and the dangerous nature of financial bubbles; sadly, the discussion is happening too late to be anything more than an intellectual exercise.

Deflation Is A Problem For The Fed

More than six years after the last recession, deflation remains an imminent threat. The continued hope is that the next round of interventions will be the one that finally sparks the inflationary pressures needed to jump start the engine of economic recovery. Unfortunately, that has yet to be the case, and the rate of diminishing returns from each program continue to increase. The collapse in commodity prices, interest rates and the surge in dollar are all clear signs that money is seeking "safety" over "risk." Maybe you should be asking yourself what it is that they know that you don't? The answer could be extremely important.

"Stocks Have Gone Up Due To The Fed" Carl Icahn Warns "It Will Come Home To Roost"

In an awkwardly uncomfortable non-cheerleadery few minutes on CNBC this morning, he-who-must-be-listened-to (when he is buying stuff and not selling it) - Carl Icahn - dropped a few truth bombs on an unsuspecting Scott Wapner. Starting with warnings about energy sector debt, fearing a surge in defaults and "what management can do to hurt you" if you own that debt, Icahn then moved on to discuss today's ECB move and its implications. Confirming his "extremely cautious" stance to the overall market, Icahn explained how "the reason the stock market has gone up is because of the Federal Reserve," and now the rest of the world is jumping on the bandwagon "with all this issuance of money," and the implicitly strengthening USDollar "will come home to roost at some point." While not pointing to a specific point in time, Icahn concluded, "you do have to be extremely cautious and we have hedges on.. and it's too early to buy oil stocks/bonds."