201705.22
1
0

Bi-Weekly Economic Review

The economic data releases since the last update were generally upbeat but markets are forward looking and the future apparently isn’t to their liking. Of course, it is hard to tell sometimes whether bonds, the dollar and stocks are responding to the real economy or the one people hope Donald Trump can deliver when he…

201705.19
0
4

A Lousy State

I don’t pay much attention to the 2 year part of the UST curve because I think it is susceptible to information spoilage, distortions that aren’t strictly related to what a “risk-free” 2s should tell us. But as my colleague Joe Calhoun often reminds me, just because I don’t think it as important doesn’t mean…

201705.18
2
1

Global Asset Allocation Update

There is no change to the risk budget this month. For the moderate risk investor, the allocation between risk assets and bonds is unchanged at 50/50. There are, however, changes within the asset classes. We are reducing the equity allocation and raising the allocation to REITs.  Based on the bond markets there has been little…

201705.15
4
2

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…

201705.12
2
3

Inflation Is Oil, But Inflation Is Much More Than Consumer Prices

The average annual change in the WTI benchmark price was in April about 25%. That was still a sizable increase year-over-year, and just marginally less than March’s average of 33%. For calculated inflation rates, it represents the last of the base effects that have to this point made it appear as if economic improvement was…

201705.10
1
4

China Inflation Now, Too

We can add China to the list of locations where the near euphoria about inflation rates is rapidly falling apart. This is an important blow, as the Chinese economy has been counted on to lead the world out of this slump if through nothing other than its own sheer recklessness. “Stimulus” was all the rage…

201705.10
3
2

Just Not Down As Much

It is one of those things that will never be stated outright, nor does there exist the kind of unassailable proof that would convict in any legal sense. Regardless, monetary officials here and elsewhere are clearly trying to have it both ways. They know very well what is driving inflation rates upward of late, and…

201705.05
3
2

Itching To, But Not In A Rush

Back in March 2015, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the policymaking body of the Federal Reserve, had a problem. In reality at that particular time they had a whole range of problems, but one in particular would set them on their current course. Their overarching task as they define it is to create or…

201705.01
5
2

The Irony of Stable Inflation

In February 2000, the FOMC quietly switched from the CPI to the PCE Deflator as its standard for inflation measurement. There were various technical reasons for doing so, including the CPI’s employment of a geometric mean basis (which was in 2015 finally altered to a Constant Elasticity of Substitution formula). But it was one phrase…

201704.23
6
0

Bi-Weekly Economic Review

It wasn’t a very good two weeks for economic data with the majority of reports disappointing. Most notable I think is that the so called “soft data” is starting to reflect reality rather than some fantasy land where President Trump enacts his entire agenda in the first 100 days of being in office. Politics is…