201709.24
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Bi-Weekly Economic Review: As Good As It Gets

The incoming economic data hasn’t changed its tone all that much in the last several years. The US economy is growing but more slowly than it once did and we hope it does again. It is frustrating for economic bulls and bears, never fully satisfying either. Probably more important is the frustration of the average…

201709.22
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Z1 Update to Money, Credit, and Thus Economy

The Federal Reserve updated the Financial Accounts of the United States (Z1) yesterday, meaning there is quite a lot of new data for the second quarter of 2017. It also means more than just that update, as each quarterly addition is often accompanied by revisions to past estimates. There were some substantial downward revisions to…

201709.19
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Why The Fed’s Balance Sheet Reduction Is As Irrelevant As Its Expansion

The FOMC is widely expected to vote in favor of reducing the system’s balance sheet this week. The possibility has been called historic and momentous, though it may be for reasons that aren’t very kind to these central bankers. Having started to swell almost ten years ago, it’s a big deal only in that after…

201709.18
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If They Wish To Replace LIBOR With Repo, They Should Already Start Thinking About Repo’s Replacement

Sometimes you just have to laugh. A lot has been made on the inside of LIBOR’s assumed demise. The suite of interest rates is not being discontinued really, merely relegated to the backbench. As usual, the rationale for doing so is perfectly sound: As noted by the Financial Stability Board’s Market Participants Group, there are…

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…

201709.12
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The JOLTS of Drugs

Princeton University economist Alan Krueger recently published and presented his paper for Brookings on the opioid crisis and its genesis. Having been declared a national emergency, there are as many economic as well as health issues related to the tragedy. Economists especially those at the Federal Reserve are keen to see this drug abuse as socio-demographic…

201709.06
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‘Something’ Is Still Out There

In January 2016, just as the wave of “global turmoil” was cresting on domestic as well as foreign shores, retired Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was giving a series of lectures for the IMF. His topic wasn’t really the so-called taper tantrum of 2013 but it really was. Even ideologically blinded economists like Bernanke could…

201708.30
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A Small Place To Start

Alice M. Rivlin was Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve during its absolute apex. Nominated to that position in 1996, she stayed as number two to Alan Greenspan until 1999. During those years the central bank, and its central bankers, would become greatly admired for what was widely perceived as pure technocratic skill. The extended…

201708.28
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Currency Risk That Isn’t About Exchange Values (Eurodollar University)

This week the Bureau of Economic Analysis will release updated estimates for Q2 GDP as well as Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) and Personal Incomes for July. Accompanying those latter two accounts is the currently preferred inflation standard for the US economy. The PCE Deflator finally hit 2% and in two consecutive months, after revisions, earlier…

201708.23
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That’s Odd, I’ve Seen That Curve History Somewhere Before

Orthodox monetary theory tells us that central banks matter, a lot. Monetary policy is supposed to be the difference in everything from economy to currency. If one central is doing one thing and another central bank something different, it is presumed the only necessary information to infer what markets and therefore economies might do in…