2014: “The Fed Is Heading For Another Catastrophe… Central Banking Has Lost Its Way” Stephen Roach Warns

Authored by Stephen Roach, originally posted At MarketWatch via Project Syndicate, America’s Federal Reserve is headed down a familiar — and highly dangerous — path. Steeped in denial of its past mistakes, the Fed is pursuing the same incremental approach that helped set the stage for the financial crisis of 2008-2009. The consequences could be similarly catastrophic. Consider the December meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, where discussions of raising the benchmark federal funds rate were couched in adjectives, rather than explicit actions. In line with prior forward guidance that the policy rate would be kept near zero for a “considerable” amount of time after the Fed stopped purchasing long-term assets in October, the FOMC declared that it can now afford to be “patient” in waiting for the right conditions to raise the rate. Add to that Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s declaration that at least a couple more […] Read More

2014: Calling The Fed’s Bluff

Via ConvergEx’s Nick Colas, If U.S. stocks have stabilized – granted, a big “If” – you can thank the fact that markets don’t believe the Federal Reserve’s outlook on interest rates.  According to the latest CME Group’s contract pricing, Fed Funds rates will end 2015 at 43 basis points. That essentially signals a less-than-100% chance of being at 50 bp in 14 months; the Fed’s own estimates are for Fed Funds to reach 127 basis points by that time. Only three of 17 Fed officials who submit estimates for inclusion in the now-famous “Dot Plot” are lower than the market’s own estimate of future monetary policy.  Looking at 2016, the disparity between market expectations and Fed estimates is even broader.  Policy makers at the Fed believe rates should be at 2.17%; the Fed Funds futures contract sits at 1.27%. In the everlasting debate about whether markets want good or […] Read More

2014: Financial Bubbles Are Caused By The Fed, Not The Market

Submitted by Jeffrey Snider of Alhambra Partners, More of the same from Janet Yellen in her latest speech, but her focus on “resilience” caught my attention as it relates to very recent developments. The taper threat experience last year may have been a warning, but it doesn’t seem like it resonated with her or policymakers. The major bond selloff, which led to global ripples of crisis in credit, funding, and currencies, was the opposite of flexibility. Perhaps a better definition of the word would be a place to start. But her meaning was a bit different, in that it is clear (from this speech and prior assertions, wrong as they were, about the mid-2000’s housing bubble) she sees bubbles as “market” events in which the central bank’s role is primarily shock absorption. In other words, idiot investors wholly of their own accord create bubbles and it’s the job of […] Read More

2014: Kyle Bass On China’s “Contraction” And “The Fed’s Worst Nightmare”

Via Robert Huebscher, originally posted at Advisor Perspectives, For the last several years, nobody has been more outspokenly bearish on Japan than Kyle Bass. In a recent talk, Bass reiterated his doubts about Japan’s chances of averting a debt crisis. What’s more, he also said China’s economy will fall below expectations. Bass changed one aspect of his outlook on Japan. Instead of predicting a collapse of the Japanese bond market, he focused on a severe weakening of the yen – without predicting when that might happen. His predictions for China were equally distressing. He said that its banks will be saddled with non-performing loans and that its economy is actually contracting. “I don’t think the markets are discounting what’s really happening in China,” he said. Bass is the founder of Hayman Capital, a Dallas-based hedge fund. He was featured prominently in Michael Lewis’ recent book, The Big Short, for […] Read More

When $1.2 Trillion In Foreign ‘Hot Money’ Parked At The Fed Dissipates

Wolf Richter   www.testosteronepit.com   www.amazon.com/author/wolfrichter It fits the pattern of gratuitous bank enrichment perfectly, but this time, the big beneficiaries of the Fed are foreign banks. A JPMorgan analysis, cited by the Wall Street Journal, figured that in 2014 the Fed would pay $6.74 billion in interest to the banks that park their excess cash at the Fed – half of that amount, so a cool $3.37 billion, would line the pockets of foreign banks with branches in the US. This is where part of the liquidity ends up that the Fed has been handing to Wall Street through its bond purchases. Currently, the Fed requires that banks keep a minimum balance of $80.2 billion at the Fed. Banks can keep up to $88.2 billion at the Fed as part of the “penalty-free band.” In theory, as “penalty-free” implies, there’d be a penalty on balances above $88.2 billion. But the […] Read More

2014: Former Central Banker Admits “[They] Are Making It Up As They Go Along”

Submitted by Tim Price via Sovereign Man blog, A few weeks ago, William White (former economist at the Bank of England, the Bank of Canada, and Bank of International Settlements) made a frank admission. And while we search for assets whose prices are less obviously distorted by malign government intervention, it’s refreshing to hear a mea culpa from a member of the economics “profession”. White said: “The analytical underpinnings of what we [mainstream economists] do are actually pretty shaky. A reflection of that fact, is that virtually every aspect you can think of with respect to monetary policy, about best practice, has changed and changed repetitively over the course of the last 50 years. So, this stuff ain’t science. “Think about what’s happened recently. One, its completely unprecedented. People are making it up as they go along. This is hardly science – building on the pillars of the past. […] Read More