Posts Tagged ‘fiscal policy’

RISKS TO THE OUTLOOK

The Pragmatic Capitalist discusses RISKS TO THE OUTLOOK.  In addtition to listing David Rosenberg’s concerns, Pragcap adds one of his own — a double dip in housing. – Ilene 

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Lightning striking miniature house

David Rosenberg provided a nice list of risk in this morning’s client letter.  The one major risk that Rosenberg and the market is largely overlooking at this juncture is the housing double dip. This has the potential to be THE most important story of 2011.  As I’ve previously explained, declining asset values are highly destructive during a balance sheet recession.  If the housing double dip surprises to the downside the problems that we’ve swept under the rug will quickly reemerge and this time there won’t be any political will for government intervention.

I still believe we are mired in a balance sheet recession that will result in below trend growth, deflationary risks and leaves us extremely vulnerable to exogenous risks that could exacerbate the current malaise. Rosenberg’s excellent list follows:

1.  China is getting more active in its policy tightening moves as inflation pressures intensify. It’s not just food but wages too. Headline inflation, at 4.4%, is at a 25-month high. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) just hiked banking sector reserve ratios by 50 basis points to 18.5% — the second such increase in the past two weeks and the fifth for the year. This could well keep commodity prices under wraps over the near-term.

2.  European debt concerns will not be fully alleviated just because a rescue plan has been cobbled together for Ireland as it deals with its banking crisis. The focus will now likely shift to other basket cases such as Portugal and Spain. Greece has a two-year lifeline before it defaults. This saga is going to continue for some time yet.

3. Massive tightening in U.S. fiscal policy coming via spending cuts and tax hikes. This is the part of the macro forecast that is not given enough attention. See States Raise Payroll Taxes to Repay Loans on page A5 of the weekend WSJ.

4. Gasoline prices are about six cents shy of re-testing the $3-a-gallon threshold for the first time since mid October 2008. On a national average basis, prices at the pump are up 26 cents from a year ago — effectively draining about $25 billion out of household cash flow. Tack on the coming


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Geithner Politicizes the Fed, Warns Congress to Not do the Same; Idiocies and Ironies; Economist James Galbraith Unfit to Teach

Mish discusses how Geithner Politicizes the Fed, Warns Congress to Not do the Same; Idiocies and Ironies; Economist James Galbraith Unfit to Teach. – Ilene 

Courtesy of Mish

The hypocrisy of treasury secretary Tim Geithner would be stunning except for the fact hypocrisy from Geithner is pretty much an every day occurrence.

Geithner is blasting Congress for politicizing the Fed, while doing the same thing himself. To top it off, the Fed itself is politicizing the Fed by interfering and commenting on Fiscal policy while bitching about Congress commenting on monetary policy.

Please consider Geithner Warns Republicans Against Politicizing Fed.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner warned Republicans against politicizing the Federal Reserve and said the Obama administration would oppose any effort to strip the central bank of its mandate to pursue full employment.

“It is very important to keep politics out of monetary policy,” Geithner said in an interview airing on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt” this weekend. “You want to be very careful not to take steps that hurt our credibility.”

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke defended the monetary stimulus in a speech in Frankfurt today and in a meeting with U.S. senators earlier this week.

The best way to underpin the dollar and support the global recovery “is through policies that lead to a resumption of robust growth in a context of price stability in the United States,” Bernanke said in his speech.

The asset purchases will be used in a way that’s “measured and responsive to economic conditions,” Bernanke said. Fed officials are “unwaveringly committed to price stability” and don’t seek inflation higher than the level of “2 percent or a bit less” that most policy makers see as consistent with the Fed’s legislative mandate, he said.

Bernanke Comments on Fiscal Policy

Flashback, October 4, 2010: MarketWatch reports Bernanke calls for tougher budget rules

In a speech delivered at the annual meeting of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council and devoid of comments on monetary policy, Bernanke said that fiscal rules might be a way to impose discipline, particularly if those rules are transparent, ambitious, focused on what the legislature can control directly, and are embraced by the public.

“A fiscal rule does not guarantee improved budget outcomes; after all, any rule imposed by a legislature can be revoked or circumvented by the same legislature,” Bernanke said,


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Has the Fed Painted Itself Into a Corner?

Has the Fed Painted Itself Into a Corner?

Courtesy of Yves Smith

[unclescrooge.jpg]A couple of articles in the Wall Street Journal, reporting on a conference at the Boston Fed, indicates that some people at the Fed may recognize that the central bank has boxed itself in more than a tad.

The first is on the question of whether the Fed is in a liquidity trap. A lot of people, based on the experience of Japan, argued that resolving and restructuring bad loans was a necessary to avoid a protracted economic malaise after a severe financial crisis. But the Fed has consistently clung to the myth that the financial meltdown of 2007-2008 was a liquidity, not a solvency crisis. So rather than throw its weight behind real financial reform and cleaning up bank balance sheets (which would require admitting the obvious, that its policies prior to the crisis were badly flawed), it instead has treated liquidity as the solution to any and every problem.

Some commentators were concerned when the Fed lowered policy rates below 2%, but there we so many other experiments implemented during the acute phases that this particular shift has been pretty much overlooked. But overly low rates leaves the Fed nowhere to go if demand continues to be slack, as it is now.

Note that the remarks by Chicago Fed president John Evans still hew to conventional forms: the Fed needs to create inflation expectations, and needs to be prepared to overshoot.

This seems to ignore some pretty basic considerations. First, the US is suffering from a great deal of unemployment and excess productive capacity. The idea that inflation fears are going to lead to a resumption of spending (ie anticipatory spending because the value of money will fall in the future) isn’t terribly convincing. Labor didn’t have much bargaining power before the crisis, and it has much less now. Some might content the Fed is already doing a more than adequate job of feeding commodities inflation (although record wheat prices are driven by largely by fundamentals).

From the Wall Street Journal, “Fed’s Evans: U.S. in ‘Bona Fide Liquidity Trap’”:

The Federal Reserve may have to let inflation overshoot levels consistent with price stability as part of a broader attempt to help stimulate the economy, a U.S. central bank official said Saturday.

“The U.S. economy is best described as being in a bona


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Preserve and Protect: The Jaws Of Death

Courtesy of Gordon T. Long of Tipping Points

Preserve and Protect: The Jaws Of Death

The United States is facing both a structural and demand problem – it is not the cyclical recessionary business cycle or the fallout of a credit supply crisis which the Washington spin would have you believe.

It is my opinion that the Washington political machine is being forced to take this position, because it simply does not know what to do about the real dilemma associated with the implications of the massive structural debt and deficits facing the US.  This is a politically dangerous predicament because the reality is we are on the cusp of an imminent and significant collapse in the standard of living for most Americans.

The politicos’ proven tool of stimulus spending, which has been the silver bullet solution for decades to everything that has even hinted of being a problem, is clearly no longer working. Monetary and Fiscal policy are presently no match for the collapse of the Shadow Banking System. A $2.1 Trillion YTD drop in Shadow Banking Liabilities has become an insurmountable problem for the Federal Reserve without a further and dramatic increase in Quantitative Easing. The fallout from this action will be an intractable problem which we will face for the next five to eight years, resulting in the ‘Jaws of Death’ for the American public.

The ‘Jaws of Death’ is the crushing squeeze of a shrinking gap between incomes and a rising burden of the real cost of debt burdens. Many may say there is nothing new in this, but I would respectfully disagree. There is a widespread misperception of what is actually evolving that stops voters from forcing politicians to address America’s substantial underlying dilemma.  It also stops investors from positioning themselves correctly.

Any solutions of real substance are presently considered political suicide. It is wiser to wait for a crisis event to unfold. As White House Chief of Staff and a primary Obama political strategist, Rahm Emanuel has said on numerous occasions: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste”. It doesn’t take much intelligence to understand this also implies looking for a crisis as a political shield, for example from an almost insurmountable political problem such as a generational reduction in the US standard of living.

Before I delve into misperceptions of…
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Debating the Flat Earth Society about Hyperinflation

Debating the Flat Earth Society about Hyperinflation

Courtesy of Mish 

Anglo-Saxon map of 900s showing a flat earth and the ocean that was thought to surround it. British Museum

Over the past few weeks, many people have asked me to comment on John Hussman’s August 23, 2010 post Why Quantitative Easing is Likely to Trigger a Collapse of the U.S. Dollar.

Most wanted to know how that article changed my view regarding deflation. It didn’t.

Several others went so far as to tell me that Hussman was calling for hyperinflation. They were point blank wrong.

Here is the pertinent section from Hussman’s September 6, 2010 post The Recognition Window.

A note on quantitative easing

One of the things I’m increasingly dismayed to learn is that no matter how much detail, data, and qualification I might include in these commentaries, my conclusions will often be summed up by writers or bloggers in a single sentence that often bears no relation to my point. For instance, my view that quantitative easing will trigger a "jump depreciation" in the dollar has evidently placed me among analysts warning of hyperinflation and Treasury default (a club whose card is nowhere in my wallet).

To clarify once again – I emphatically do not anticipate inflationary pressures until the second half of this decade. As I’ve repeatedly emphasized, the primary driver of inflation – historically and across countries – has been growth in government spending for purposes that do not expand the productive capacity of the economy.

Quantitative easing does not pressure the dollar by fueling inflation. It has a much more subtle effect (but one that can be expected to be amplified if fiscal policy is long-run inflationary as it is at present). Normally, equilibrium in capital flows between countries is achieved through changes in interest rates. As a result, countries with greater capital needs or higher long-run inflation tendencies also have higher interest rates. If interest rates can adjust, exchange rates don’t have to. But notice what quantitative easing does: by sitting on long-term bond yields (and creating a negative real interest rate differential versus other countries), quantitative easing prevents bond prices from acting as an adjustment factor, and forces the burden of adjustment on the exchange rate.

While some observers have noted that the value of the Japanese yen did not deteriorate dramatically over the full course of quantitative easing by the Bank of Japan – from its beginning until it was finally wound down


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“Contained Depression”

"Contained Depression"

Courtesy of Mish 

Deflated globe

Kevin Feltes, an economist for the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center, solicited my opinion on a couple of their recent articles.

Levy comes down on the side of deflation, as do I. However, the devil is in the details, as always. I will go through one of their articles in a point-by-point fashion, stating where I agree and disagree with their analysis.

This is a long post. Please give it some time.

Please consider Widespread Fear of the Wrong Kind of Price Instability.

Levy:

It is not inflation but more disinflation and ultimately deflation that lie ahead in the 2010s.

Inflation worries remain a major part of the market backdrop, and the past year has brought new price stability concerns to investors. During that time, we have written about inflation fears, deflation risks, and the relationships between price trends and monetary policy, fiscal policy, Treasury debt levels, foreign debt holdings, and various other issues. We have argued that rising inflation will not be a threat in the coming years and that disinflation and some deflation are the real worries. Our position remains unchanged.

1. Why It Will Be Very Difficult for Inflation to Accelerate in the Next Few Years

The dominant influence on price trends in the near future and for years to come will be the deflationary influence of chronically high unemployment. The economy not only has gone through a deep recession but also has entered a contained depression, a long period of substandard economic performance, chronic financial problems, and generally high unemployment. The contained depression is likely to last about a decade; it will end in the latter half of the 2010s at the earliest and could stretch into the 2020s

In the years ahead, chronic high unemployment will weigh heavily on labor costs; chronic economic weakness will tend to keep profit margins under pressure and firms focused on cost control; and global instability and large areas of depression (contained or otherwise) will reduce upward pressures on prices of imported commodities and are likely to cause these prices to fall much of the time.

Even if imported commodity prices, most notably oil prices, rise sharply at times, they will not have a large, lasting effect on inflation as long as labor costs are decelerating or actually falling.

Labor costs are the dominant inflation influence not only because


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17 REASONS TO BE BULLISH

David Rosenberg (the bear) takes a walk on the bullish side and here’s what he finds to be optimistic about. – Ilene 

17 REASONS TO BE BULLISH

Bull in bear costume

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Regular readers know I tend to focus on the negative aspects of the markets as opposed to the positives – anyone could put on a smile and skip through oncoming traffic, but the truth is, the investment world can be a very dangerous place so skipping along as if there are no risks involved is beyond foolish.  But ignoring the positives is equally foolish.  In this world of heightened market risks and particularly clear uncertainty here are 17  reasons to consider the bullish case (via David Rosenberg at Gluskin Sheff):

  • Congress extending jobless benefits (yet again).
  • Polls showing the GoP can take the House and the Senate in November.
  • Some Democrats now want the tax hikes for 2011 to be delayed.
  • Cap and trade is dead.
  • Cameron’s popularity in the U.K. and market reaction there is setting an example for others regarding budgetary reform.
  • China’s success in curbing its property bubble without bursting it.
  • Growing confidence that the emerging markets, especially in Asia and Latin America, will be able to ‘decouple’ this time around. We heard this from more than just one CEO on our recent trip to NYC and Asian thumbprints were all over the positive news these past few weeks out of the likes of FedEx and UPS.
  • Renewed stability in Eurozone debt and money markets – including successful bond auctions amongst the Club Med members.
  • Clarity with respect to European bank vulnerability.
  • Signs that consumer credit delinquency rates in the U.S. are rolling over.
  • Mortgage delinquencies down five quarters in a row in California to a three-year low.
  • The BP oil spill moving off the front pages.
  • The financial regulation bill behind us and Goldman deciding to settle –more uncertainty out of the way.
  • Widespread refutation of the ECRI as a leading indicator … even among the architects of the index! There is tremendous conviction now that a double-dip will be averted, even though 85% of the data releases in the past month have come in below expectations.
  • Earnings season living up to expectations, especially among some key large-caps in the tech/industrial space – Microsoft, AT&T, CAT, and 3M are being viewed as game changers (especially 3M’s upped guidance).


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Chinese Premier: “Protectionism Is Clearly Reasserting Itself”

Chinese Premier: "Protectionism Is Clearly Reasserting Itself"

Courtesy of Zero Hedge  

At the start of today’s Chinese National People’s Congress, Chinese premier Wen Jiabao poured water over expectations that the renminbi may appreciate any time soon, and also indicated that China will "continue its expansionary fiscal policy" by maintaining appropriately loose monetary policy (translation: it is now next to impossible for the Chinese supertanker to steer off direct collision course with the bubble iceberg). He also noted that "The foundation for global economic recovery remains weak; financial risks have not been completely eliminated" and, most disturbingly, said that "trade protectionism is clearly reasserting itself."

The ramification for US trade policy as a result of this admonition will likely continue to be felt over the next 12 months. Yet in an odd moment of clarity, when discussing the domestic economy, Wen noted "latent risks in the banking and public finance sectors among the key challenges to economic growth, alongside now-standard warnings about industrial overcapacity and shortcomings in income distribution." As for the biggest question of how China will approach the USD-CNY relationship, Wen provided little clarity besides promising to "continue to improve the mechanism for setting the (yuan) exchange rate and keep it basically stable at a reasonable and balance level." As Market News notes, that wording, which is frequently trotted out in government statements, is identical to that contained in last year’s report.

Other disclosures from Wen:

  • The government is targetting growth of 8% this year;
  • Consumer price inflation will be kept at around 8%;
  • The government is targeting new loans of CNY7.5 trillion, down from 2009′s record CNY9.59 trillion: he also pointed out that credit policy will be adjusted to make sure money flows to those who should be receiving it, i.e., farmers and small businesses, and restricted to those that shouldn’t, including energy-intensive industries and those experiencing overcapacity;
  • M2 growth in 2010 is targeted at 17%;

Also of note, is a report prepared by the Ministry of Finance which said that the fiscal deficit is planned to be CNY1.05 trillion, or 2.08% of GDP, compared to the 2009 deficit of 2.2% of GDP.

And to the benefit of Chinese skeptics, Wen warned that government will "crack down on excessive property speculation." Just how this will be accomplised in a largely accomodative monetary environment remains to be seen. 

 


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Phil's Favorites

Jamal Khashoggi: Casualty of the Trump administration's disregard for democracy and civil rights in the Middle East?

  Jamal Khashoggi: Casualty of the Trump administration’s disregard for democracy and civil rights in the Middle East?

Courtesy of David Mednicoff, University of Massachusetts Amherst

The international crisis over whether top Saudi Arabian leadership murdered U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is a striking example of the consequences of Donald Trump’s blanket disregard for democratic politics and human rights in other countries. This departure from decades of American foreign policy rhetoric remains comparatively undiscussed.

However, in the Middle East, my area of e...



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Zero Hedge

Kolanovic: Systematic Flows Explained Market Moves This Week - Here's What They Will Do Today

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Last Friday morning, just as markets were set for a powerful bounce after the biggest two-day drop since February, JPM's head quant Marko Kolanovic predicted that the recent selling pressure, which had come from option gamma hedging, was ending and noted that since "equity indices already experienced comparable declines to February (and e.g. Russell 2000 even a bigger drawdown), we think that the cur...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

This commodity is breaking above resistance and moving averages, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

At the beginning of the month, the Power of the Pattern shared that Coffee was testing long-term support, as it was at the apex of a bullish falling wedge, with momentum deeply oversold and commercial hedgers were betting big time it would rally. See Post Here

In the past when this setup was in play, Coffee rallied more than 50% in a short time period at each (1). Since that post, Coffee has been one of the best-performing commodities on the plan...



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Digital Currencies

Blockchains won't fix internet voting security - and could make it worse

 

Blockchains won't fix internet voting security – and could make it worse

An e-ballot is less secure than one on paper. SvetaZi/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Ari Juels, Cornell University; Ittay Eyal, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, and Oded Naor, ...



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Insider Scoop

10 Stocks To Watch For October 18, 2018

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Some of the stocks that may grab investor focus today are:

  • Wall Street expects Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM) to report quarterly earnings at $1.27 per share on revenue of $7.15 billion before the opening bell. Philip Morris shares fell 0.07 percent to $84.50 in after-hours trading.
  • Analysts expect PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: ...


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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Oct 14, 2018

Courtesy of Blain.

Wednesday and Thursday finally brought some fireworks to a very complacent market.   The S&P 500 had not had a 1% move in 74 days until Wednesday’s drawdown.

Rising yields were nailed as the culprit but months of rallying eventually require some sort of shake out – whatever the catalyst.  Wednesday’s sell off was the worst day for the S&P 500 since February and the worst for the NASDAQ since June 2016.

The market losses are “a reaction from investors finally realizing we are in a higher interest-rate environment, and given the elevated level of stocks, market participants were likely looking for a reason to sell,” said Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist for Allianz Investment Management. “Higher interest rates typically bring on tighter ...



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ValueWalk

Vilas Fund Up 55% In Q3; 3Q18 Letter: A Bull Market In Bearish Forecasts

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The Vilas Fund, LP letter for the third quarter ended September 30, 2018; titled, “A Bull Market in Bearish Forecasts.”

Ever since the financial crisis, there has been a huge fascination with predictions of the next “big crash” right around the next corner. Whether it is Greece, Italy, Chinese debt, the “overvalued” stock market, the Shiller Ratio, Puerto Rico, underfunded pensions in Illinois and New Jersey, the Fed (both for QE a few years ago and now for removing QE), rising interest rates, Federal budget deficits, peaking profit margins, etc...



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Members' Corner

Why obvious lies still make good propaganda

 

This is very good; it's about "firehosing", a type of propaganda, and how it works.

Why obvious lies still make good propaganda

A 2016 report described Russian propaganda as:
• high in volume
• rapid, continuous and repetitive
• having no commitment to objective reality
• lacking consistency

...

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Biotech

Gene-editing technique CRISPR identifies dangerous breast cancer mutations

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Gene-editing technique CRISPR identifies dangerous breast cancer mutations

Breast cancer type 1 (BRCA1) is a human tumor suppressor gene, found in all humans. Its protein, also called by the synonym BRCA1, is responsible for repairing DNA. ibreakstock/Shutterstock.com

By Jay Shendure, University of Washington; Greg Findlay, ...



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Mapping The Market

Mistakes were Made. (And, Yes, by Me.)

Via Jean-Luc:

Famed investor reflecting on his mistakes:

Mistakes were Made. (And, Yes, by Me.)

One that stands out for me:

Instead of focusing on how value factors in general did in identifying attractive stocks, I rushed to proclaim price-to-sales the winner. That was, until it wasn’t. I guess there’s a reason for the proclamation “The king is dead, long live the king” when a monarchy changes hands. As we continued to update the book, price-to-sales was no longer the “best” single value factor, replaced by others, depending upon the time frames examined. I had also become a lot more sophisticated in my analysis—thanks to criticism of my earlier work—and realized that everything, including factors, moves in and out of favor, depending upon the market environment. I also realized...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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