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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Kimble Charting Solutions

Here's How To Buy The Top Stocks In The Hottest Sectors During The Covid Crisis

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Tech has been the place to be during the Covid-19 crisis. Investors Business Daily recently highlighted how one can own the strongest of the strong by just owning one ETF (See article here).

This chart looks at the Dorsey Wright Focus Five index ETF (FV), which reflects that it is attempting a bullish breakout while creating higher lows over the past 6-years.

The $2.1 billion fund tracks the Dorsey Wright Focus Five Index, which provides access to five First Trust sector and industry ETFs. Dorsey Wright & Associates selects the funds based on relative price momentum, then weights the compone...



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Zero Hedge

NBA's Jonathan Isaac Becomes First To Stand For National Anthem And Refuse To Wear A "Black Lives Matter" T-Shirt

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

If you've been watching the return of the NBA, the one thing you likely have noticed is that "Black Lives Matter" and social justice phrases have been pasted onto almost every surface, t-shirt, player jersey, pair of sneakers and arena that teams are playing in.

In addition to the league trying to win gold at the virtue signalling Olympics and forcing its politics on its viewers in its "fight for social justice", the league's players have also been kneeling in unison for the national anthem before every game. 

That is, ...



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Phil's Favorites

Video: Who controls pandemic data?

 

Video: Who controls pandemic data?

Public data is vital to the functioning of a democracy. Witthaya Prasongsin / Getty Images

Courtesy of Julia Lane, New York University

Editor’s note: When the Trump administration ordered hospitals to report COVID-19 data to the Department of Health and Human Services rather than the Centers for Disease Control and Pre...



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Biotech/COVID-19

Video: Who controls pandemic data?

 

Video: Who controls pandemic data?

Public data is vital to the functioning of a democracy. Witthaya Prasongsin / Getty Images

Courtesy of Julia Lane, New York University

Editor’s note: When the Trump administration ordered hospitals to report COVID-19 data to the Department of Health and Human Services rather than the Centers for Disease Control and Pre...



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ValueWalk

A Solid Month For Most Hedge Funds

By Michelle Jones. Originally published at ValueWalk.

June was another good month for hedge funds, although not as good as May. The Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index gained 1.38% in June as the global equity market drove gains among hedge funds. However, hedge funds underperformed the MSCI ACWI IMI, which was up 2.7% for June. The tech-heavy NASDAQ was up 4.05% in June, while the S&P 500 gained 0.87%.

Q2 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

According to Eurekahedge, final asset flow numbers for May reveal performance-based gains of $27.3 billion and $300 million in inflows. Performance in June was still...



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Digital Currencies

Twitter Says "Human Error" And "Spear-Phishing Attack" Responsible For Massive Bitcoin Hack

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Twitter suffered from a major hack about two weeks ago and has now said that its staff was tricked by "spear-phishing", which is a targeted attack to trick people into simply handing out their passwords. 

Twitter staff were targeted through their phones, according to a new report from the BBC. The attacks then allowed hackers the ability to Tweet from celebrity Twitter accounts. Twitter has said it was "taking a hard look" at how it could improve its permissions and processes.

"The attack on July 15, 2020, targeted a small number of employees through a phone spear phishing attack. This attack relied on ...



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The Technical Traders

ARE THE MARKETS ABOUT TO TURN?

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Deborah Honig from Adelaide Capital asks Chris the question on everyone’s mind – where are the markets heading? Where is the ‘big money’, the early movers in the market, going? Chris and Deborah also look at the technicals for Gold and Silver and discuss whether Gold and Silver are starting a big run-up now, or should we wait before taking positions?

Learn more about our latest research and alerts on Gold, Silver, Oil, and Equities at www.TheTechnicalTraders.com.

...

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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Chart School

US Dollar Cycle Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

If investors can correctly forecast the US Dollar then their portfolio will be standing on better ground.

Jesse Livermore said investors must familiarise themselves with all matters of the market. The sine wave cycle below shows regular tops and bottoms and if the investor ignores this repeating phenomena it could be at their peril. If you decide to do so, you best have a good technical or fundamental reason.

The sine wave cycle below was found with readtheticker.com 'Cycle Finder Spectrum' use of 'Bartels' logic. Yes it is mathematics, but within the site RTT Plus service we also examine the dollar fundamentals  (like: inflation, money s...

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Members' Corner

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

 

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

No matter the details of the plot, conspiracy theories follow common patterns of thought. Ranta Images/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Courtesy of John Cook, George Mason University; Sander van der Linden, University of Cambridge; Stephan Lewandowsky...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

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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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