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…

201706.19
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More Pieces of Impossible

On his company’s earnings conference call back on Valentine’s Day, T-Mobile CEO John Legere was unusually feisty. Never known for shyness, Legere had reason behind his bluster. T-Mobile had practically built itself up on price, being left the bottom tier of the wireless space practically to itself. That all changed, however, as both Verizon and…

201706.14
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Repeat 2015; An Embarrassing Day For The Fed

Today started out very badly for the FOMC. At 8:30am the Commerce Department reported “unexpectedly” weak retail sales while at the very same time the BLS published CPI statistics that were thoroughly predictable. Markets, at least credit and money markets, have gained a clearer idea what the Fed is actually doing and why. It’s not…

201706.14
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Repeat 2014; Praying Again To The God of ‘Global Growth’

One of the more troubling aspects of mainstream commentary in 2014 was its blandness. Statements were made with a purpose but also purposefully avoiding specifics. It was common to hear or read “the economy is improving” without being shown why or how in convincing fashion. After suffering a second bout of weakness in 2012 and…

201706.12
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American Expectations, Chinese Prices

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has for the past almost four years conducted its own assessment of consumer expectations. Though there are several other well-known consumer surveys, FRBNY adding another could be helpful for corroborating them. Unfortunately for the Fed, it has. The latest update for May 2017 suggests a considerable decline in…

201705.30
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Appropriately Rewriting History According To Price Stability

The Federal Reserve defines price stability in terms of consumer prices rather than a stable currency. Up until 2012, any inflation target was implicit in monetary policy behavior rather than explicitly stated as an incorporated aspect. Everyone knew, of course, that the Fed had throughout the 1990’s sought a stable regime of around 2% growth…

201705.15
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Staying Stuck

The rebound in commodity prices is not difficult to understand, perhaps even sympathize with. With everything so depressed early last year, if it turned out to be no big deal in the end then there was a killing to be made. That’s what markets are supposed to do, entice those with liquidity to buy when…