201805.17
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Term Bubble Premiums

Since nobody can seem to agree on what is an asset bubble, it’s that much more difficult to try and estimate its end. A bubble stops being a bubble only when the people participating decide to question the rationalizations they’ve invented to keep them complacently inside of it. It’s most often just that vague sense…

201803.21
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No Hawks Nor Doves, Just Dollar

On January 24, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin either misspoke or let slip a Freudian sort of wish. Extolling a weak rather than strong dollar, it was seemingly a total break from longstanding official US policy. It’s not really a policy anyone takes too seriously, if for no other reason than the dollar isn’t really a…

201803.20
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The Blind Interviewing The Blind; Or, Bubble Time

At the end of last month, the Brookings Institute hosted a conversation where one of their most distinguished current scholars introduced and interviewed one of their newest. The former was former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke welcoming the latter, former Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen. Listening to them talk was a total delight (thanks T….

201803.12
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BOND ROUT!!!! (Now With Additional Exclamations)

Ten years ago today, one of Carlyle Group’s mortgage funds, Carlyle Capital Corp (CCC), was seized by creditors. Precipitated by dwindling liquidity, the fund’s effective insolvency would amplify those global “dollar” pressures and lead to Bear Stearns’ untimely demise mere days later. The fund’s corporate parent issued a statement on March 6, 2008, that read:…

201803.07
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Really Looking For Inflation, Part 2

Continued from Part 1 What these unusually weak productivity estimates lean toward is, quite simply, the possibility the BLS has been overstating jobs gains for years. In early 2018, there is already the hint of just that problem in a 4.1% unemployment that doesn’t lead to any acceleration in wages and labor income. What it…

201803.07
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Really Looking For Inflation, Part 1

Most people have been looking at Jerome Powell’s Chairmanship of the Federal Reserve as continuity, a comprehensive extension of Janet Yellen’s (and therefore Bernanke’s). This would by nature include all the nasty habits Chairman Yellen had picked up during her one term. At the top of that list is the word “transitory”, particularly how it…

201802.27
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4

Does It Always Have To Begin In Farce?

Imagine you live in a terrific neighborhood backed right up to a large wilderness. This heavily forested area has inside of it grown up a tremendous amount of underbrush. The local government, concerned for your property as well as those of your neighbors, starts making noises about taking care of the land before it dries…

201802.23
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Central In Name Only (CINO?)

There is far too much shorthand in the study of the economy and markets. We take so many things for granted, we never really stop to ask if its appropriate that we should. The desire for quick rules of thumb is understandable enough given a complex world. There is probably nothing more in it than…

201802.06
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2

Welcome Jay Powell, The Circular Hawk

Jerome “Jay” Powell was added to the Federal Reserve Board in May 2012. Quite an auspicious time to be thrown into things, Powell had avoided the “unexpected” liquidity crisis of 2011 but he did have to deal with its aftermath. By September of 2012, the Federal Reserve was once again debating yet more QE; a…

201801.30
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Yellen’s Final Cacophony

In late January 2012, the FOMC released an official statement confirming to the world what had long been expected. The official goal of monetary policy, or at least one of them, was to achieve price stability being clearly defined as 2% inflation (PCE Deflator). It was part of the ultimate transformation of Federal Reserve policy,…