201806.18
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Stupid’s On The Other Foot Now

We’ve noted over the past few weeks just how much things have changed since earlier this year. We started off 2018 in the grips of inflation hysteria, the more extreme corollary to globally synchronized growth. Things were going to be so good, they said, it would be bad. Now there’s just growing worries about only…

201806.18
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BoJ Blames Amazon; Or, What A Difference A Few Months Make

The Bank of Japan gathered its policymaking members in Tokyo at the end of last week. The statements released and the commentary given pursuant to it exuded a renewed darkness. When they had last met on April 26 and 27, things were already different. But the conclave before that, March 8 and 9, they were…

201806.13
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Uncertainty, Or You Had One Job To Do (And It Wasn’t Dots)

As anticipated, the FOMC voted on both proposals in front of it. There should only be the one, but even routine monetary policy no longer is. Alan Greenspan’s Fed charged ahead with seventeen consecutive moves (the last few completed under Ben Bernanke) with little discussion about uncertainty in the economy (though there was, conundrums and…

201806.13
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Down This Same Road Again, Only From The Other Direction This Time

The FOMC is almost certainly going to raise the federal funds corridor today. The only question is whether IOER and RRP will go up by the same amount. The issue with federal funds as an offshoot or reverberation of what really matters (offshore) should take center stage, but it won’t. Instead, the Committee will pretend…

201806.04 7

Another Confesses The Impossible, We Might Not Have Known What Were Doing

When you go around claiming that central bankers don’t know the first thing about money, people tend to think you are crazy. It’s not really their (people’s) fault. Not only have we been conditioned to believe in a technocracy of sorts, it is raw human nature to immediately suspect such a radically contrarian view. It…

201805.18
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Welcome Back To The Wasteland

I believe if you were to ask most people their definition of the worst economic case, they would respond with some description of a crash. An exceedingly large contraction that spares practically no one, destroying much in its path. Like what followed 1929, that would seem to qualify. It’s why we spend so much time…

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…

201805.16
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And Now For Something Completely Different

Back in February, Japan’s Cabinet Office reported that Real GDP in Japan had grown in Q4 2017 for the eighth consecutive quarter. It was the longest streak of non-negative GDP since the 1980’s. Predictably, this was hailed as some significant achievement, a true masterstroke of courage and perseverance. It was taken as a sign that…

201805.14
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Transitory and Now Overheating; They Don’t Even Know Why They Really Don’t Know What They Are Doing

What does it mean to be data dependent? The term immediately conjures up the image of studious Economists working their mathematics to perfectly calibrate the proper monetary policy response. It is attached to the Federal Reserve, and other central banks, but its application is much broader. Businesses are, obviously, data dependent and often in the…

201804.24
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The Science of Japanification

The term itself gives it away. They called it quantitative easing for a specific reason. Both words mean to convey substantial concepts. The first part, quantitative, was used because it sounds deliberate, even scientific. It implies a program where great care and study was employed to come up with the exact right amount. It’s downright…