We know it will be next to impossible to wait until October when this book of toner repair and printer cartridge replacement wisdom comes out, here is a sampling of timeless soundbites by the former Fed Chairman and current blogger, that should be enough to hold readers over.
"When I was chairman, more than one legislator accused me and my colleagues on the Fed’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee of “throwing seniors under the bus” (to use the words of one senator) by keeping interest rates low. The legislators were concerned about retirees living off their savings and able to obtain only very low rates of return on those savings. I was concerned about those seniors as well."
Recent market actions, the rapid decline in interest rates, earnings deterioration and plunging energy prices have made many less comfortable being long the market. While the "buy and hold" crowd suggests this is all rubbish, it should be worth remembering that every single one of that group never saw the corrections in 2000 or 2008 until it was far too late. Their only excuse was "no one could have seen it coming." The truth is that many did see what was coming. Paying attention to what is happening at the margin leads to an understanding of when the "tides" begin to shift.
If you only paid attention to the mainstream media, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the US is going to get away from the collapse in oil prices scot free. It’s a crying shame. The US has come so close to becoming energy independent. But it’s going to have to get its head around the idea that it could become a big oil importer again. In the end, the US energy boom may add up to nothing more than an illusion dependent upon the artificially cheap debt environment created by the Federal Reserve’s easy money policy.
While most Americans are busy Christmas shopping and making preparations for trips to see family, Congress remains hard at work doing what it does best. Giving gifts to Wall Street and trampling on citizens’ civil liberties.
The oil and gas boom in the United States was made possible by the extensive credit afforded to drillers. Not only has financing come from company shareholders and traditional banks, but hundreds of billions of dollars have also come from junk-bond investors looking for high returns. Junk-bond debt in energy has reached $210 billion, which is about 16 percent of the $1.3 trillion junk-bond market. That is a dramatic rise from just 4 percent that energy debt represented 10 years ago. junk bonds pay high yields because they are high risk, and with oil prices dipping below $70 per barrel, companies that offered junk bonds may not have the revenue to pay back bond holders, potentially leading to steep losses in the coming weeks and months. The situation will compound itself if oil prices stay low.
Not everything is as it seems. While the PBOC may be taking a stand on monetarism and its character, it has been very curious that the yuan has not fully participated in the dollar turmoil marking so many other “dollar” dependent nations. While the yuan’s appreciation trend may have been altered, that has not led again to the kind of disorder that marked the currency earlier in the year. Maybe that is due, at least in part, to these expectations that the PBOC will eventually relent on its new approach, but we also think that the PBOC is at least looking the other way on some of the “old tricks” that supported the Chinese version of the dollar short.
We suspect the market will be disappointed by this morning's headlines from China. Chinese rate markets are implying a RRR cut is coming soon (as swap rates drop below deposit rates - previously signaled 2 RRR cuts) but the PBOC announced this morning a muich more focused injection of cash to 20 of the nations' largest banks. RRR cuts, are (theoretically) considerably more broadly stimulative to lending than a $32.8 billion cash injection to banks - which are struggling to lend as demand for loans (given high costs of debt for the firms that need the money the most) is weak. One can only imagine the holes in bank balance sheets that exist if the PBOC is forced to do this. Simply put, no matter how much hope there is, as we noted previously, the PBOC will not be providing broad stimulus.
Now that the World Cup is over, and following last week's global macro reporting slumber (aside for the Portuguese risk flaring episode of course), things pick up quite a bit in the coming week. Here are the key events.