Federal Reserve officials are virtually certain to hold interest rates steady when their meeting ends today but they could try to send a message to markets and outside observers about what likely comes next. With no press conference scheduled after this week’s meeting and no new economic forecasts to be released, all the attention will be focused on their words and the market is more aware than ever that the Fed doesn’t act in a vacuum. As Bloomberg's Richard Breslow notes, The Fed is hopeful (that their always-wrong forecasts come true this time) but they're also scared to death on the consequences.
Is gold, often scoffed at as being an unproductive asset, more productive than cash? If so, what does it mean for asset allocation?
The recovery was always hollow or shallow, for a short time in 2014 it just came in a more appealing package; so appealing, the mainstream never looked beyond that cover. With 2015 a wreck and 2016 looking at best more of the same, they just keep right on reciting all the past cliches because to admit the actual circumstances is just too traumatic.
For those who thought that the world's biggest company losing over $40 billion in market cap in an instant on disappointing Apple earnings, would have been sufficient to put a dent in US equity futures, we have some disappointing news: with just over 7 hours until the FOMC reveals its April statement, futures are practically unchanged, even though the Nasdaq appears set for an early bruising in the aftermath of what is becoming a disturbing quarter for tech companies. Instead of tech leading, however, the upside has once again come from the energy complex where moments ago WTI rose above $45 a barrel for the first time since November after yesterday's unexpected 1.07 million barrel API inventory drawdown.
Despite surging commodity prices in China - which must be real and represent demand growth and price increases, right? - Aussie core inflation slowed to the weakest on record as headline prices unexpectedly fell last quarter (CPI -0.2%). RBA Rate-cut odds tripled instantly sending AUD down over 1.2% (its biggest drop in 2 months). Perhaps, just perhaps, that collossal credit injection in Q1 via China did not make it into the AsiaPac economy after all and merely fueled a speculative frenzy in commodities that merely "looks" like a recovery?
The history of economic central planning is not exactly glorious. In fact, as American economist Thomas Sowell once noted, "in general [central planning] has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it."
It is quite evident there is something amiss about the BLS’ employment reports. Is the disparity simply an anomaly in the seasonal adjustments caused by the depth of the financial crisis? Is there an exceptional and unaccounted for margin of error in the surveys? Or, is it something more intentional by government-related agencies to keep “confidence” elevated as Central Banks globally “paddle like crazy” to keep global economies afloat.
"Central banks are mistaken. They think they’re targeting employment and inflation,” he continued. “They’re actually targeting asset prices and leverage.” When asset values rise, inflation and employment gradually increase. When assets fall, inflation collapses; it’s a coincidental variable. “At these levels of asset prices, it takes a lot of leverage to lift them further.” So the second central banks see a little inflation and curb leverage, rates rise and it all unwinds. “The only way to make money this year is to understand this sequence, and trade it.”
Just 24 hours after Goldman Sachs suggests a looming collapse in the Yen (USDJPY to 130), the Japanese currency is rallying by the most in 3 weeks against the USDollar. Having been hammered on Friday, Yen has rallied back over 100 pips this morning (pushing USDJPY back to a 110 handle) as a potential short-USDollar squeeze begins (with hedge funds net short the greenback for the first time since July 2014).
Today, everything (and we do mean everything!) one thought they understood about free market capitalism has been thrown into the wastebasket of history and replaced with edicts and dictates set forth by an un-elected gaggle of economic theorists who've decided the world of business is theirs to control. How do they control it? Hint: The courage to print! Whether you're a solo-practitioner or CEO of a global concern one thing should be making you very, very, very concerned: The recent proclamations, as well as, delivery from the ECB’s Mario Draghi. To say central banks have intervened far too long within the financial markets would be an understatement.
"We expect $/JPY to move higher again in the near term and continue to forecast $/JPY at 130 a year from now.... by making the fiscal expansion permanent and funded through money creation (a politically correct phrase for a form of 'helicopter money'), expectations of future inflation should increase and real rates fall"
"The US stock market seems egregiously overvalued versus other stock markets... you are going to see declines in the US stock market and since the correlations are so high this means that probably the junk bond market will go back down, too. Negative interest rates are the dumbest idea ever. It’s horrible.... Gold is doing fine. It’s preserving capital in the US, it’s been making money over the last couple of years for European investors. That’s why I own gold.... Trump is going to win. I think Clinton and Sanders are both very poor candidates."
"I'm not really sure how much more of this I can take. So here we are 5, 6 or is it now 7 years into this economic recovery and it still remains pathetically weak. And so it should in the wake of one of the biggest private sector credit bubbles in history. The de-leveraging hangover was always going to be massive and so it is. Quick-fix monetary QE nonsense has made virtually no difference to the economic recoveries other than to inflate asset prices, make the rich richer, inequality worse and make Joe and Joanna Sixpack want to scream in rage."
There must be some dark corner of Hell warming up for modern, mainstream economists. They helped bring on the worst bubble ever... with their theories of efficient markets and modern portfolio management. They failed to see it for what it was. Then, when trouble came, they made it worse. But instead of atoning in a dank cell, these same economists strut onto the stage to congratulate themselves.
It is one thing to note the obvious, it is different to have proof that Fed members have a clear ideological bias. Thanks to recent Fed appointee Lael Brainard, we have just that. The recent Treasury staffer and close friend of the Clintons fourth donation since November brings her total contributions to Hillary Clinton during this election campaign to $2,700, the limit for individual candidate donations in the cycle. Do not worry though, as Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in March that legal donations from central bank employees don’t undermine the Fed’s standing as a non-partisan agency.