201709.14
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The CPI Comes Home

There seems to be an intense if at times acrimonious debate raging inside the Federal Reserve right now. The differences go down to its very core philosophies. Just over a week ago, Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer abruptly resigned from the Board of Governors even though many believed he was a possible candidate to replace Chairman…

201709.11
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China: Where A Rising Currency Is Meant To Be Inflationary

As much as officials in Beijing may outwardly fight it, they are still in the “dollar” business. It’s not raw conjecture, either. Though we don’t know the specifics of their policy positions, in this context we don’t need to know them; it’s all right there on the central bank balance sheet. The most prominent thing…

201708.22
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Context For The Inflation ‘Debate’

You can understand to some small degree economists’ collective confusion about inflation. They believe in wage dynamics, where a recession through mass layoffs creates slack and thus depresses wages. The recovery in a period of robust growth re-employs those unfortunate workers, and after enough time when that slack is reduced or even eliminated wages accelerate…

201708.14
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Data Dependent: Interest Rates Have Nowhere To Go

In October 2015, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Bill Dudley admitted that the US economy might be slowing. In the typically understated fashion befitting the usual clownshow, he merely was acknowledging what was by then pretty obvious to anyone outside the economics profession. Dudley was at that moment, however, undaunted. His eye was cast toward the…

201708.07
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The Center Of The Inflation Debate

The mainstream media is about to be presented with another (small) gift. In its quest to discredit populism, the condition of inflation has become paramount for largely the right reasons (accidents do happen). In the context of the macro economy of 2017, inflation isn’t really about consumer prices except as a broad gauge of hidden…

201707.26
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Inflation Is Not About Consumer Prices

I suspect President Trump has been told that markets don’t like radical changes. If there is one thing that any elected official is afraid of, it’s the internet flooded with reports of grave financial instability. We need only go back a year to find otherwise confident authorities suddenly reassessing their whole outlook. On the campaign…

201707.19
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Y2K Was Really The Great Uncertainty

In late 1999, the Federal Reserve established what was ostensibly an emergency credit facility. On October 1 that year, this offshoot of the Discount Window went live. Its main feature was that it was to be a primary program, meaning that banks didn’t have to prove they could access funds elsewhere first. They could go…

201707.14
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Fool Risk Realized

Legendary football coach Bill Parcells once said, “you are what your record says you are.” It was a pearl of wisdom plucked from wherever Yogi Berra used to wander, made into a brutal truth delivered cunningly as a blatant tautology. We’ve all heard of how sports teams are “good on paper” or “better than their…

201707.10
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No Luck China, Either

Former IMF chief economist Ken Rogoff warned today on CNBC that he was concerned about China. Specifically, he worried that country might “export a recession” to the rest of Asia if not the rest of the world. I’m not sure if he has been paying attention or not, but the Chinese economy since 2012 has…

201707.03
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Some Global Odd & Ends

When it comes to central bank experimentation, Japan is always at the forefront. If something new is being done, Bank of Japan is where it happens. In May for the first time in human history, that central bank’s balance sheet passed the half quadrillion mark. It should be unsettling where a trillion is a rounding…