Monetary Policy

Startling Inflation News Illustrates The Failure Of Easy Money

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.

America's New Impossible Trinity: You Can't Have Higher Wages, Steady Inflation And High Profits At The Same Time

America’s ongoing labour productivity slump has created a new impossible trinity – policymakers can only choose two of the following three desirable outcomes: higher nominal wage growth, steady inflation and high corporate profits. The theory behind this new ‘impossible trinity’ is intuitively simple. If workers’ wages rise faster than their productivity, the companies paying those higher wages face two choices. They can either pass on the extra costs to customers, thereby leading to higher overall prices and rising inflation, or they can absorb the extra costs resulting in lower profit margins.

Futures Jump On Chinese Trade Data; Oil Declines; Global Stocks Turn Green For 2016

With oil losing some of its euphoric oomph overnight, following the API report of a surge in US oil inventories, and a subsequent report that Iran's oil minister would skip the Doha OPEC meeting altogether, the global stock rally needed another catalyst to maintain the levitation. It got that courtesy of the return of USDJPY levitation, which has pushed the pair back above 109, the highest in over a week, as well as a boost in sentiment from the previously reported Chinese trade data where exports rose the most in over a year, however much of the bounce was due to a favorable base effect from last year's decline. Additionally, as RBC reported, the 116.5% y/y increase in China’s reported March imports from HK likely reflects the growing trend of "over-invoicing", which is merely another form of capital outflow.

SocGen: "Now We Know Why The Fed Desperately Wants To Avoid A Drop In Equity Markets"

"The catalyst for a balance sheet crisis is rarely the affordability of interest rates, so a 25bp rise in Fed rates is neither here nor there. Credit market risk is about assessing the likelihood of getting your money back. As such asset prices (i.e. equity markets) and asset price risk (i.e. equity volatility) are far bigger concerns. So all you need for a balance sheet crisis is declining equity markets, a phenomenon the Fed appears desperate to avoid. Now we know why."

Why Equities In 2016 Are "Like A Bug In Search Of A Windshield"

In the first half of 2013 earnings per share (EPS – as reported) for the S&P 500 (as provided by Standard & Poor’s) averaged $88.50 per share, almost $2 higher than EPS as of December 31 2015. The closing price of the S&P 500 on June 30, 2013 was $1,618. Today the index stands at $2,066, a 28% premium. To put it bluntly, investors today are paying an extra $450 per share for less.

IMF Again Cuts Global Growth Forecast As It Warns Of "Secular Stagnation"

Moments ago the IMF did what it does better than anyone (with the exception of the Fed): it once again admitted its forecast of world growth had been too optimistic, and as a result in its just released quarterly World Economic Outlook report, it cut its forecast for 2016 global GDP growth from 3.4% to 3.2%, and from 3.6% to 3.5% for 2017. Indicatively, back in July 2014 the IMF was forecasting 4.0% GDP growth in 2016. It is now 20% lower.

Former IMF Chief Economist Admits Japan's "Endgame" Scenario Is Now In Play

Japan is heading for a full-blown solvency crisis as the country runs out of local investors and may ultimately be forced to inflate away its debt in a desperate end-game, one of the world’s most influential economists has warned.  "One day the BoJ may well get a call from the finance ministry saying please think about us – it is a life or death question - and keep rates at zero for a bit longer."

For 6th Year Running, Economists' Growth Expectations Collapse

With The Atlanta Fed's slashing its Q1 GDP growth expectations to just 0.1%, consensus estimates for 2016 growth have collapsed. However, none of this should surprise anyone as this is the sixth year in a row that over-optimistic growth hopes devolve into hype for more stimulus and a hockey-stick just around the corner. While expectations have not improved since 2010, at least one these dreadful soothsayers is defending this year's drop in the same old manner - by promising that H2 will be better, for these 4 reasons...

Fed "Policy Error" Sparks "Best Fundamentals In Years" For Gold

Should US monetary policy not be on the path to normalization, a fundamental change in the benefit of gold ownership is taking place, and this increased investment demand should lead to higher gold prices. Gold investment appears to be moving towards stronger fundamentals than we have seen over the past few years.

Ben Bernanke: "Helicopter Money May Be The Best Available Alternative"

"Money-financed fiscal programs (MFFPs), known colloquially as helicopter drops, are very unlikely to be needed in the United States in the foreseeable future. They also present a number of practical challenges of implementation, including integrating them into operational monetary frameworks and assuring appropriate governance and coordination between the legislature and the central bank. However, under certain extreme circumstances—sharply deficient aggregate demand, exhausted monetary policy, and unwillingness of the legislature to use debt-financed fiscal policies—such programs may be the best available alternative."

Earnings Implosion Looms Amid The Illusion Of "Permanent Liquidity"

The problem with forward earnings estimates is that they consistently overestimate reality by roughly 33% historically. The illusion of“permanent liquidity,” and the belief of sustained economic growth, despite slowing in China, Japan, and the Eurozone, has emboldened analysts to continue push estimates of corporate profit growth higher. Even now, as the earnings recession deepens, hopes of a sharp rebound in profitability remains ebullient despite the lack of any signs of economic re-acceleration.

ECB Scrambles To Calm A Furious Germany: "Helicopter Money Was The Straw That Broke The Camel's Back"

Just hours after Spiegel penned its infamous "Germany is taking aim at the ECB" article, Schauble went on the record to deny that the Geran finmin would consider taking legal action if the European Central Bank resorts to "helicopter money" but the damage was already done. As Reuters follows up today, "almost a month after stoking a divisive debate about how far it should go in pumping money into the flagging euro zone economy, the European Central Bank is trying to soothe relations with Germany after unusually strong criticism from Berlin."