A Cynical Fed Is A Dangerous Fed

A stroll through recent and not so recent inflationary history. On ‘Fed minutes Wednesday’ the media amplified the noise, the machines are doing what the machines do and running with it, and it’s all eyes on the great and powerful Fed (of Oz).

The Fed created the cyclical inflation (in NFTRH we detailed and managed the process successfully in real-time) and thus the Fed created the cycle. In 2021 the Fed was exposed to the public as the agent of inflation it actually is, and when the inflation threatened to get out of hand they went into damage control mode. Now the Fed is trying to cool the inflation, which means cooling the cycle itself. You can’t have your inflated cake and eat it too. Not when the racket is exposed to the public.

Okay now, that second to last line triggered a memory and sent me to YouTube. Now I have distracted myself with a good laugh.

Moe: “Now look what you did; you deflated it!”

Larry: “Hey, we better blow it up again!”

Moe: “Give it the gas. Larry: “Gas on”. Moe: “Gas on”…. “Gas off!”. Larry: “Gas off”. Moe: “That oughtta be enough…”

Man blows out the candles and BOOM!!!! Classic, and so appropriate. Continue reading "A Cynical Fed Is A Dangerous Fed"

Powell Wimps Out

Pretty much as expected, the Federal Reserve last week said that, in the face of rising inflation and a booming economy and job market, it would further reduce its purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities and raise interest rates.

But not yet.

Beginning in January, the Fed said it will be buying $60 billion in bonds a month, which is down 50% from the original schedule of $120 billion a month and its recently reduced plan of $90 billion, announced only a month ago. Which means the program will end next March, as opposed to the original termination date of June, at which time the Fed expects to start raising interest rates unless something happens in the meantime.

The Fed is projecting three 25 basis-point increases in its federal funds rate next year, followed by three more in 2023 and two more in 2024. That would put the fed funds rate in a range of 1.4% to 1.9% at the end of 2023, up from a range of 0.4% to 1.1% in its previous projection in September. The current rate, of course, is 0.1%, or near zero. Continue reading "Powell Wimps Out"

Is The Dollar Going To Steal The Santa Claus Rally?

Top metals failed to keep on the bullish track set earlier. A heavy-duty dollar reinforced by historically high inflation, earlier tapering expectations, and a turn to safety puts pressure on precious metals.

Let us see what is currently happening with the Dollar Index in the daily chart below.

Dollar

The well-known "Double Bottom" (blue) pattern has emerged in the summer. It is a textbook case as all stages went precisely as they should appear.

The focus was on the breakup of the so-called "Neckline" (black horizontal line) located at the top between the two bottoms at $93.44. The first attempt to crack that level occurred at the end of August, but it failed. After a small retracement, the second attempt at the end of September succeeded in breaking out. The impulse was so strong that the price overshot the Neckline with a big margin to hit the fresh one-year top of $94.5. Continue reading "Is The Dollar Going To Steal The Santa Claus Rally?"

The Battle Against Inflation Begins

There shouldn’t be too many surprises coming out of this week’s Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting. The newly hawkish Fed is likely to formally announce its intention to accelerate the tapering of its asset purchases, as Fed chair Jerome Powell told Congress recently, echoed by other Fed officials so that the program ends sometime around March of next year, rather than several months later, in order to ward off the inflation that Powell now concedes isn’t transitory.

The bigger question is, will the Fed actually be successful in putting the inflation genie back in the bottle? After trying unsuccessfully for more than 12 years to lift inflation past its 2% target, why should we now believe that the Fed suddenly has the smarts and the oft-mentioned “tools” to rein in inflation that is now at its highest level in several decades?

The data-driven Fed has more than enough justification to expedite the taper, which would then lead the Fed to start raising interest rates off zero soon after, rather than waiting until sometime at the end of next year or even 2023.

Inflation

On Friday, the government announced that the year-on-year rise in the consumer price index jumped to 6.8% in November, up from 6.2% the prior month and the fastest pace in nearly 40 years. It was also the sixth straight month that it topped 5%, adding further evidence that the rise in inflation this year is anything but temporary. The YOY rise in the core index, which excludes food and energy prices, rose 4.9%, up from October’s 4.6% pace and the steepest increase since 1991.

Does that sound transitory to you? Continue reading "The Battle Against Inflation Begins"

Yield Curve Is Not Currently An Inflationist's Friend

The yield curve is flattening. I don’t cheer-lead a given view, but if I were to do that I’d be cheering for a yield curve flattener to put a correction to inflationist dogmatists quoting von Mises to the herds and otherwise sloganeering about inflation and a “commodity super cycle” (that term is pure promo).

Well, the curve is flattening.

Which means one of three things. Continue reading "Yield Curve Is Not Currently An Inflationist's Friend"