Who's Winning The 'Trade War'?

Just how crazy is Donald Trump?

Back at the beginning of March, the president famously tweeted:

“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!”
- President Donald Trump

You probably don’t remember what the exact reaction to that was, but you can probably guess it involved hoots of derisive laughter. After all, the idea of the president of the United States upsetting the world apple cart by supposedly starting a trade war with China and our biggest trade partners and closest allies was the height of lunacy.

But who’s laughing now? Continue reading "Who's Winning The 'Trade War'?"

Hoist by Their Own Petard

George Yacik - INO.com Contributor - Fed & Interest Rates - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau


I certainly don’t agree with Mick Mulvaney’s purported efforts – if true— to emasculate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but I am thoroughly enjoying the consternation he’s putting his enemies through – although probably not nearly as much as he probably is. The blatant hypocrisy they’re displaying as they fall over themselves with their fake outrage has been fun to watch.

In case you haven’t been following the story, Mulvaney – who also heads the White House Office and Management and Budget – has been running the CFPB on an interim basis ever since his predecessor, Richard Cordray, resigned from the agency the Friday after Thanksgiving last year so he could run for governor of Ohio. On his way out the door, when he thought no one was looking, Cordray appointed his second-in-command, chief of staff Leandra English, to succeed him, a move that was thrown out by a federal judge. At the same time, President Trump appointed Mulvaney – a very vocal opponent of the agency – to run the CFPB until a permanent replacement is named and seated. Continue reading "Hoist by Their Own Petard"

Don't Bet On Crises To Keep Bond Rates Lower

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


Despite the recent dip in the 10-year Treasury note yield back below 3%, don’t count on it staying there. Lately, it seems, the only thing keeping the rate below that level is some sort of international crisis – Italy, North Korea, trade wars, etc. But the basic fundamentals determining that rate – economic growth and supply and demand, in other words – are calling for even higher rates, well above 3%.

On the supply side, more Treasury debt is coming to market all the time, like an incoming tide in the Pacific Ocean. On the demand side, there are fewer buyers – and I mean big buyers. More about that in a minute. At the same time, the economy is growing stronger, which by itself is going to put upward pressure on rates.

In other words, if you’re betting that the 10-year yield is going lower, or will stay around or below 3%, you’re really only holding it as a safe haven. Nothing wrong with that, lots of investors do that. But if you’re hoping to profit when something in the world goes wrong, you may be playing a losing game.

First the economy. Last week on CNBC’s Squawk Box, the gold dust twins, Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon, tried to outdo themselves in how great the U.S. economy is performing. Continue reading "Don't Bet On Crises To Keep Bond Rates Lower"

Uncle Sam's Bargain Bonds

George Yacik - INO.com Contributor - Fed & Interest Rates - Uncle Sam's Bargain Bonds


According to a widely reprinted and circulated report in the Wall Street Journal, for the first time since 2000, U.S. government bonds now yield more than all of their developed world counterparts. Looking just at the 10-year security, the yield on the benchmark Treasury note now yields more compared to a record number of countries, and the yield differential between the U.S. government note and its German bund counterpart is its widest in almost 30 years.

Basically, this means that the arguably safest investment available anywhere in the world – the one American business schools still hold up as a “riskless” benchmark – yields way more than most other sovereign debt, including Italy’s, Canada’s and Australia’s – but no, not Greece’s, although they’re not too far off.

Let’s look at the numbers. Continue reading "Uncle Sam's Bargain Bonds"

That Elusive 3 Percent Yield

George Yacik - INO.com Contributor - Fed & Interest Rates - 3 Percent Yield


On Wednesday morning, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note moved back over 3%. In just the past five years, though, that has only happened twice before, but then only for a day or so. Is this the time the yield breaks 3% and stays there?

The most recent time before Wednesday, of course, was just two weeks ago. On April 24 the yield moved a hair above 3.0%%, then hit 3.03% the next day. It then quickly retreated below the magic number and hasn’t gone above it until now.

Before then, the last time the yield hit 3% – and I mean just – was at the very end of 2013 and the very beginning of 2014. It hovered right at 3% for a few days and then subsequently dropped sharply, eventually falling to well below 2.0% over the next year. The last time the note has been comfortably over 3% and remained there, was back in the summer of 2011.

What is it about that 3% mark that fixates investors – or rather, attracts them? Just like in 2013, that 3% figure seems to serve as a buy signal for investors.

Are they making a mistake? Is it really a buying opportunity, or just a bond market head fake? Continue reading "That Elusive 3 Percent Yield"