We were amazed in March when, during the last Fed press conference, CNBC's Steve Liesman and traditional Fed cheerleader went so far as to ask a stunned Janet Yellen whether she has a credibility problem: "Does the Fed have a credibility problem in the sense that it says it will do one thing under certain conditions, but doesn't end up doing it? And then, frankly, if the current conditions are not sufficient for the Fed to raise rates, well, what would those conditions ever look like?"
Janet Yellen's jumbled 261 word response was one for the ages (and can be read here), but that particular exchange was nothing compared to what Steve Liesman said today when, in similar words he asked the same question, and got the same garbled response.
But it was what he said afterwards that was amazing. And we quote:
I think the first rate hike cycle is over. What Janet Yellen said in response to my question, and if you look at what has happened to the rate hike cycle, is pretty profound. It's as close to the Fed getting to capitulation as I've ever seen, about the efficacy of Fed policy, about the outlook for the economy.
I just want to read this: "I think all of us are involved in a process of constantly reevaluating where the neutral rate is." Basically they see these headwinds to the economy as becoming part of the new normal. This five-eights decline to the Fed Funds rate outlook for 2018 is pretty profound and GDP remained the same. That's very important. And I am going to give rick a blue ribbon because Rick represents the markets. Rick - the markets won. The Fed has completely capitulated to the market's point of view. The Fed is not leading the markets here, the markets are leading the Fed. Every single time."
To which Rick's response is absolutely spot on: "there is no market. There is Janet. There's Mario Draghi. There is Abe. There is no market left."
And, just to validate this point, Gundlach chimed in that "The 'rate hike cycle' has left the building"
The full exchange (we apologize for the poor quality unfortunately CNBC has decided not to release that particular segment), is captured below.
Incidentally, all of the above is precisely what we warned last August when we reminded readers about the dire warning from the BOJ's own tragic experience when Japan tried the same: it hiked rates from zero, only to capitulate seven months later when the economy imploded.
And then there is the "Ghost of 1937." But we are not there quite yet...
So what happens next? Well the rate hike odds for July are plunging to almost zero while the rate cut odds are starting to rise aggressively Do the math. And, of course, when that too fails, there is the Fed's helicopter.