Time For The Fed To Take It Easy

Lior Alkalay - INO.com Contributor


The Fed’s June rate decision is coming up this week and the consensus bets are overwhelmingly tilting towards a rate hike. According to the CBOE Fed Funds rate probability chart, the probability the Fed will raise rates at the next meeting is 91.3%. Thus, suggesting that market participants are almost certain a rate hike is coming. Furthermore, there is also growing consensus that the Fed will also start trimming its balance sheet as early September. However, a deep dive into the mechanics of the US economy suggests that the Fed should ignore the consensus, and even its own outlook, and take a step back from tightening. And it all starts with the puzzling discrepancy between inflation and housing prices.

Home Prices Heat as Inflation Cools

Upon the surface, the latest fall in the US Core inflation rate, from 2.3%, four months ago to 1.9%, and the latest surge in US housing prices (as reflected by the Case-Shiller Index) present a somewhat puzzling divergence between the US inflation outlook and housing prices. Nonetheless, those two contradicting developments are closely intertwined, both to each other and to the Fed’s monetary policy. And, to illustrate the link between the two, we must dive into the US Treasury market. Continue reading "Time For The Fed To Take It Easy"

China 2017: More Boom Before the Bust

Lior Alkalay - INO.com Contributor - Forex


Despite the Yuan’s value recently plummeting to an eight-year low, the Chinese economy has been rather stable in the second half of 2016, manufacturing PMI held above 50 (above 50 signals expansion); exports reached $196.8 Bln in November(from $176.2 Bln in January); and in industrial production growth averaged 6.14% Year over Year.

Together, these changes all represent a strong indicator of growth - and of bounce-back - and all thanks to the Yuan. Or more accurately, to the Yuan meltdown. Even as the Chinese Yuan shed more than 7.1% this year, it allowed China’s exports to rebound and stabilize industrial and manufacturing production. But all that stability comes at a stiff price, down the line.

While a weaker Yuan helps exporting sectors, it causes problems in China’s domestic economy. In it, an exceptionally weak currency has the same impact as monetary easing, creating an inverse relationship where, when the Yuan’s value is eroded, China’s housing bubble swells.

The more China’s housing bubble swells, the more its debt problem becomes acute. And, ultimately, the more painful its bust will be. Continue reading "China 2017: More Boom Before the Bust"

Is The Spike In Bond Yields Trump's Fault?

George Yacik - INO.com Contributor - Fed & Interest Rates


Pretty much ever since Donald Trump threw his hat into the ring to run for president about 18 months ago, he’s been blamed for any number of things that have upset some people, no matter how preposterous.

He’s been blamed for recruiting Muslim fanatics to fight for ISIS. He’s been blamed for inciting violence at his own rallies, plus the riots that have followed his election. A middle school teacher in Berkeley, California - where else? - Blamed Trump after she had said she received an anonymous threat from neo-Nazis. I suppose if I spent enough time researching it I could find someone blaming Trump for killing Lincoln and Kennedy, the two World Wars and global warming - you just know he must have had something to do with that!

Now, since his stunning upset victory in the U.S. presidential election, bond yields have spiked to their highest levels since last January, and many people are putting the blame on him for that. Continue reading "Is The Spike In Bond Yields Trump's Fault?"

2016: Current Market Themes

A year ago almost to the day we began tracking a ‘Macrocosmic’ theme that would eventually see gold bottom and rise vs. stocks and bonds in 2016, joining its bullish status vs. commodities, which had been in place since 2014.

Nominal gold bottomed in December 2015 before silver, commodities and stocks as a counter cyclical environment birthed a new precious metals bull market.  We updated the progress here, here and here in 2016.

But markets, being the product of immeasurable moving parts, are always in motion and you cannot get too hung up on any one theme, ideology or habit.  When the Semiconductor sector began burping up its positive signals for the economy and for stocks, we listened intently and I for one, put my capital where my mouth was and noted as much each week in NFTRH.

Back in April, with the first improvement in the Semiconductor Equipment sector’s bookings, we went on bull alert.  By June 22, we had established a trend in the rising bookings and noted the Details Behind Semiconductor Leadership and the bullish implications that this Canary’s Canary in the coal mine carried. Continue reading "2016: Current Market Themes"

A Path Toward Inflation

Yes, it’s another inflation post going up even as inflation expectations are in the dumper and casino patrons just cannot get enough of Treasury and Government bonds yielding 0%, near 0% and below 0%.

Feel free to tune out the lunatic inflation theories you’ve found at nftrh.com over the last few weeks.  But if by chance you do want to look, here’s a visual path we have taken to arrive at the barn door, behind which are all those inflated chickens, roosting and waiting.  All sorts of animals will get out of the barn if macro signals activate.

Gold led silver ever since the last inflationary blow off and blow out in early 2011.  The gold-silver ratio rose through global deflation, US Goldilocks, good times and bad.  There was no inflation problem, anywhere.  Then early this year silver jerked leadership away from gold and now for the second time the ratio of gold to silver has broken below the moving average that has defined its trend (it did so in 2012 as well).

gsr

Why is this significant?  Well, try on 2010 for size (see chart below).  I for one happily managed the gold-silver ratio up spike in 2008, buying gold miners as they crashed.  As gold (monetary, risk ‘off’) topped vs. silver (commodity/monetary, relatively risk ‘on’) we expanded the bullish view to commodities as well.  But then came the bottoming pattern that was not a bottoming pattern.  To this day I believe that the macro was preparing for a next leg up and some serious new destruction before Ben Bernanke, the “Hero”, sprung into action and ruined the beautiful Inverted H&S pattern that long-time NFTRH subscribers will remember me making a big deal about at the time. Continue reading "A Path Toward Inflation"