201412.21
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Questions For 2015

Well, it’s that time of year again, when all the pundits offer their crystal ball views of the coming new year. I don’t usually participate in the prediction game and this year won’t be any different. Like everyone else I wonder what the future holds but I know I have no special ability to predict…

201412.19
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Credit Doesn’t Care At All What the FOMC Says

The stock market takes off in holiday celebration of the FOMC being even less clear than it really has been in some time; perhaps going all the way back to Alan Greenspan’s intentional mush. Equity “investors” are happy that the Fed may be happy about the economy, even though there is nothing in actual markets…

201412.17
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Woe the ‘Dollar’

It seems Charles Dickens had a flair for 21st century economics all the way back in the 19th century. Writing in his book Little Dorrit (thanks to W Krauss for the reminder) he observed that credit systems tended to be, “…a person who can’t pay, gets another person who can’t pay, to guarantee that he…

201412.14
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A Considerable Period

con·sid·er·able 1. Worth consideration; significant 2. Large in extent or degree Merriam-Webster It was six years ago this month that the Federal Reserve cut the Fed Funds rate to its current target range of 0 – 0.25%, essentially cutting the interbank lending rate to zero. The upper end of that range hasn’t been a problem,…

201412.12
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Global Credit Markets Have Proclaimed An End To The Recovery

The amount of credit market fireworks this week is only surpassed by those of October 15. Everywhere you look, credit markets are not just growing bearish but, as I said earlier in the week, bearish in comparison with past crisis periods. The past few days have surpassed even that observation, making credit now a fast-moving…

201411.30
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Slip Slidin’ Away

Slip Slidin’ Away Slip Slidin’ Away You Know The Nearer Your Destination The More You’re Slip Slidin’ Away Paul Simon Well, now things are starting to get interesting. Contrary to most expectations, OPEC decided last week to maintain – or more accurately, continue ignoring – their current production target. OPEC members haven’t been sticking to…

201411.25
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Contours of the Cliff

I usually ignore sentiment surveys as, to reiterate one more time, they do not mean what people think they mean (and certainly not how they are used). The ISM Manufacturing Survey, for example, has been on fire for most of 2014 in an almost exact mirror of 2011. And just like 2011, that told us…

201411.23
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The Return of Conundrum

co·nun·drum – noun: A confusing or difficult problem; a question or problem having only a conjectural answer Merriam-Webster Back in the last Fed tightening cycle, Alan Greenspan described the refusal of long term rates to follow short rates higher a conundrum, something he couldn’t really explain. Unlike past periods of tightening, long term rates refused…

201411.21
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Corporate Evidence For Liquidity Regime Change

Adding to the repo observations from this morning regarding illiquidity and more importantly gathering risk aversion, the behavior of corporate bonds and spreads matches that overall sketch very closely. The key point is how different the corporate bond space, like the UST curve, has behaved in 2014 in relation to 2013. In past periods just…

201411.17
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Shortening The Road With ‘QE’ Speak

Sovereign debt is the tangible pivot by which everything in Europe depends. That speaks not just to persistent fiscal imbalances that remain, years later, unresolved, but the unspeakable financial equivalent to a doomsday scenario. The damage to the European economy from the last financial panic is slowly being revealed (as with the unrequited and un-criticized…