While the talking heads are desparate to maintain the myth that this statement is dovish, the fact is, the flow of free money from the Fed is slowing and confusion of the outlooks for growth (and more Fed member see rate hikes in 2015) means Yellen's dovishness is being questioned aggressively by the bond and stock markets. The S&P 500 fell 12 points. Treasuries are getting clubbed with major short-dated selling (and bear-flattening). The dollar is surging and gold is down modestly.
Yellen's Fed Tightens ($10bn Taper) And Loosens (Lower For Even Longer); Blames Weather - Full Statement RedlineSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/19/2014 14:02 -0400
As expected Janet Yellen's first FOMC statement showed another $10bn taper (more tightening according to Jim Bullard) but the wordy shift from quantitative thresholds to "we'll know it when we see it" qualitative guidance is relatively dovish (despite improved economic outlooks):
- *FOMC SEES `SUFFICIENT UNDERLYING STRENGTH' IN ECONOMY
- *FOMC SAYS IT WILL LIKELY REDUCE QE IN `FURTHER MEASURED STEPS'
- *FED: LOW TARGET RATE APPROPRIATE FOR CONSIDERABLE TIME POST-QE
- *MORE FED OFFICIALS SEE AT LEAST 1% FED FUNDS RATE END OF 2015
- *FED DROPS 6.5% JOBLESS THRESHOLD FOR RAISING FED FUNDS RATE
While Bernanke's last meeting appeared full of disagreement; this time less so (as Plosser and Fisher appeared not to dissent). Full redline to follow.
Pre-FOMC: S&P Futs: 1873.5, Gold $1337, 10Y 2.712%, USDJPY 101.65
As traders, economists, and TV talking-heads parse every word of Janet Yellen's first FOMC statement for hints at when the punchbowl (if ever) will be removed, there is - as the following chart clearly shows - only one thing that really matters...
Now that the non-fighting and the Crimean annexation is over, all that's left are cheap words and hollow threats.
- UKRAINE TO REMOVE MILITARY FROM CRIMEA TO MAINLAND: PARUBIY
- UKRAINE TO FORTIFY MILITARY ON EASTERN BORDER: PARUBIY
- UKRAINE TO STRENGTHEN SECURITY AT NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS
- UKRAINE TO SEEK COMPENSATION FOR RUSSIA SEIZING ASSETS
Meanwhile: U.S. PREPARED TO IMPOSE FURTHER COSTS ON RUSSIA, CARNEY SAYS. Costs - drink!
It would appear that yesterday's announcement by NY AG Schneiderman (who appeared to find Virtu's practically flawless trading record too much to bear) has prompted further investigations into HFT shenanigans by regulators. As WSJ reports, regulators are taking aim at the relationship between high-frequency trading firms and major exchanges, examining whether the preferential treatment market operators offer the firms puts other investors at a disadvantage. The CFTC probe is focused on complicated, often opaque incentive programs that give high-volume trading firms financial benefits such as discounts on fees the exchanges charge to execute trades.
As we explained in great detail yesterday, the selling in commodities is far from over. The extent of China's commodity-backed-financing is only now beginning to be understood and forced sales (along with the vicious circle of collapsing collateral values and increasingly tightening credit) are hard to stop for a government set of reform. Copper prices were heavy overnight in Asia but this morning has seen futures plunge on heavy volume below $289 - the lowest since July 2009- breaking key support levels. For the same reasoning, zinc and aluminum are under pressure, as is steel rebar and gold.
Ukraine acting President Oleksandr Turchynov has some stern demands of his Russian occupying force neighbors:
- *UKRAINE'S TURCHYNOV SEEKS RELEASE OF DETAINED CRIMEA PERSONNEL
- *UKRAINE PLEDGES 'ADEQUATE MEASURES' IF PERSONNEL NOT RELEASED
Furthermore, he promisese to take "appropriate steps" unless Crimean authorities free all hostages within 3 hours (by 3pmET). For now, Russian forces refuse to negotiate. Meanwhile, Russia is standing both militarily and now economically behind Crimea as it affirms it will cover the region's budget deficit.
Climbing above the poverty line has become more daunting in recent years. NY Times reports that the composition of the nation’s low-wage work force has been transformed by the Great Recession, shifting demographics and other factors.
With the ink still wet on the referendum vote slips and the Duma's agreement to accept Crimea into Mother Russia, the Crimean Mint (since we pre-suppose there is one) has wasted no time in creating the new coinage for the nation. As Crimea transitions quickly to the Russian Ruble, they have created their own "Crimea-styled" currency... perhaps to be named the 'cruble'?
The one problem with every Ponzi scheme is that it must constantly grow, in both demand and supply terms, for the mass delusion to continue. The other problem, of course, is that every Ponzi scheme always comes to an end.... which may have just happened in China where as the chart below shows, as of this moment at least, the supply side to the Chinese housing ponzi (and recall that in China the bubble is not in the stock market like in the US, but in housing) has slammed shut.
Back in 2013 it was Syria where the world was gearing for imminent military action after a relentless series of false flag provocations by the United States (intent on securing a Qatar gas pipeline to Europe) which in the last minute was deftly diffused by Vladimir Putin. In 2014, it was the Ukraine's turn, and after a prolonged campaign orchestrated by Victoria Nuland and the US State Department (again) which succeeded in the now traditional violent coup (see Egypt and Libya), once again saw Putin victorious, after yesterday's annexation of the all important Crimean peninsula, achieved without the firing of one shot. So now that Putin has succeeded in trouncing the US twice in a row, it is time to poke some old, well-known geopolitical wounds, such as Iran. And who better to do it than Israel, where as Haaretz reports, "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon have ordered the army to continue preparing for a possible military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities at a cost of at least 10 billion shekels ($2.89 billion) this year, despite the talks between Iran and the West, according to recent statements by senior military officers."
U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) released the following statement on the need to provide greater support to Ukraine and impose additional costs on Russia in the wake of the Russian government’s annexation of Crimea today... clearly seeking the diplomatic way out...
There is a wider significance to this long-held misapprehension. Namely, that Keynes – so enamoured of his circular flow visualisation of the economy and yet also so prone to the confusion of mere snapshot accounting identities with dynamic and causative phenomena – also held that banks were simple, passive intermediaries in the system and could therefore safely be shorn of having any true role to play in the determination of financial variables. Having similarly insisted that saving and investment MUST be equal (accounting v causation, again), he was thus left with nothing by which to determine the rate of interest and so opted for his ludicrous ‘liquidity preference’ idea that the rate of interest is a bribe by means of which to discourage the common man’s economy-sapping fetish for hoarding money. From there, it was but a short step to the vilification of savers as the enemies of public well being and - via the further idiocy of the ‘liquidity trap’ with which this seemed perennially to threaten us - to the evils inherent in the incessantly inflationary ravings of the likes of Paul Krugman and all the other bien pensants of his stripe.
While Ukraine's leaders have on one side threatened retaliation and will not stand for Russia's annexation of Crimea, they have also suggested that they should be compensated for the loss of the region. However, the latest headlines from Interfax suggest that the Ukraine government has to some degree given up hope...
- *UKRAINE GOVT ADOPTS PLAN TO EVACUATE CITIZENS FROM CRIMEA: IFX
- *UKRAINE TO SETTLE CRIMEAN CITIZENS ELSEWHERE IN COUNTRY: IFX
While no details are known on the timing - or whether this includes the military - it certainly appears like Ukraine has ceded the region to Russia (leaving it tough for western sanctions to achieve anything now).
The FOMC is now meeting for the first time with Janet Yellen as Chair. Goldman's US team expects the FOMC to deliver an accommodative message...alongside a continued tapering of asset purchases. However, they note, their market views here are likely to shift little in response, as much of that dovishness is arguably already priced, particularly in US rates. SocGen notes that "qualitative guidance" will probably consist of two components: the FOMC’s forecast for the fed funds rate (aka “the dots”) providing a baseline scenario, and a descriptive component signalling the elasticity of this rate path to the underlying economic outlook. SocGen also warns that this transition is worrisome for inflation in 2015. But BofA suggests this is not problem as The Fed will indicate the US economy "lift-off" in late-2015 will save us all.