Ten days ago, in the latest example of how criminal Wall Street behavior leads to zero prison time, Wells Fargo admitted that it deceived and defrauded the U.S. government. Its punishment: a $1.2 billion settlement, one which will ultimately be paid by the bank's shareholders as no executives go to prison. And now, less than two weeks later it's time for Wells to get its reward: the NY Fed just announced it would grant Wells Fargo the much coveted Primary Dealer status.
Prices are actually falling faster than the official CPI number indicates, and have not picked up as oil has stabilized. In fact, the US has been in deflation for the past five months. So it’s no surprise that people who are actually buying the stuff that’s falling in price would register this fact and answer surveys with deflationary sentiments. It’s also no surprise that central banks, which presumably see the same data, would be looking for ways to ease even further (Japan and Europe) or walk back their previous threats to tighten (the US Fed) - apparently in the hope that increasing the dose will cure the credit addiction.
While the market is still enjoying the post-NFP weekly data lull, economic data starts to pick up again in the coming days, alongside the start of the reporting season. Below are this week's key events.
Caution is called for because of Fed’s limited ability to reduce policy rate, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley says, Dudley comments in text of speech in Bridgeport, CT. “Although the downside risks have diminished since earlier in the year, I still judge the balance of risks to my inflation and growth outlooks to be tilted slightly to the downside”
Nefarious foreign hackers, blacked out CCTV systems, corrupt local bank managers, shifty go-betweens, and $30 million in cash delivered to an anonymous man of "Chinese origin" who disappeared into the shadows of Manila and will likely never be heard from again. This story has it all. It even has Bill Dudley.
Jason Gross was the latest former banker to make a mockery of the US judicial system when he was spared prison on Wednesday, for stealing NY Fed secrets on behalf of Goldman Sachs. Instead Gross, 37, was fined $2,000 by U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein in Manhattan and sentenced to a year of probation with 200 hours of community service after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of theft of government property.
During the calendar year to December 2015, the Bundesbank claims to have transported 210 tonnes of gold back to Frankfurt, moving circa 110 tonnes from Paris to Frankfurt, and just under 100 tonnes from New York to Frankfurt.
Bill Dudley and the Federal Reserve (Fed), in their efforts to influence economic growth may have created a speculative and consumption driven environment that is crushing productivity growth. Ingenuity, not debt, made America an economic powerhouse. If we are to resume down that path we need the Fed to end their “self-defeating” policies and in its place we must demand ingenuity from them. The Fed, along with government, needs to properly incent productivity. The Fed should start this arduous task by removing excessive stimulus which will take the speculative fervor out of markets and allow asset bubbles to deflate.
A paper recently published by the National Bureau of Economic Research confirms that a large percentage of the increase in college tuition can be explained by increases in the amount of available financial aid: "Essentially, [financial aid] lead to higher college costs and more debt, and in the absence of higher labor market returns, more loan default inevitably occurs."