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Tag Archives: Jay Powell

Gold: Big Difference Which Kind of Hedge It Truly Is

It isn’t inflation which is driving gold higher, at least not the current levels of inflation. According to the latest update from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation calculation, the PCE Deflator, continues to significantly undershoot. Monetary policy explicitly calls for that rate to be consistent around 2%, an outcome policymakers keep saying they expect but one that never happens. For the month of July 2019, the index increased 1.38% year-over-year....

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Gifts of Wyoming, Complicating A Simple Story About Bears

Curiously short on star power, the Jackson Hole gathering this year has already taken an odd turn. It’s been practically subversive. Usually when the Kansas City Fed gets together for these things each and every August, the main attraction is the top central bankers in the major economies. Outside of the Bank of England’s Mark Carney, this year there’s only Fed Chairman Jay Powell. And the only real worthwhile mention is all the discussion about bears. The symposium typically opens with a...

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The Path Clear For More Rate Cuts, If You Like That Sort of Thing

If you like rate cuts and think they are powerful tools to help manage a soft patch, then there was good news in two international oil reports over the last week. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) cut its forecast for global demand growth for the seventh straight month. On Friday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) downgraded its estimates for the third time in four months. That wasn’t all, as the EIA’s report focused in on some more sobering aspects of the US economy....

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Payroll Friday: This Is Bad, Folks

You never fixate on a single employment report. It is a lesson that Jay Powell may not have yet learned. Either that, or he was desperately grasping for straws. The Federal Reserve is trying to thread a very fine needle; on the one hand, the rate cuts. On the other, he doesn’t want them to become a catalyst for people to say, see the economy really is weak! That means he has to claim the rate cut is a big deal but not that big of a deal because the economy is otherwise strong. Even the FOMC...

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There’s Dollar In The Rate Cut, But Not Nearly Enough Dollar

The insurance rate cut has been issued. Telling the assembled members of the press this is nothing more than a “mid-cycle adjustment”, Chairman Powell was cautious not to betray too much concern. The first rule of central banking is not to make anything worse. Subprime must always be contained. Yet, he has the unenviable task of explaining what is a complete (and for many an unnecessary) 180-degree turnaround. Mere months ago, inflation and acceleration, an economy risking becoming too good....

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The Correlations Behind The Rate Cut(s)

In every likelihood, the Federal Reserve today is going to join other central banks around the world who have already cut rates. It is the synchronized signal completing the turn from globally synchronized growth into a globally synchronized downturn. To most people in the United States, at least, this is a puzzling shift.   The unemployment rate says things are rock solid. Only seven months ago, the same Federal Reserve officials now voting for “additional accommodation” were then...

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Powell Readies His Noose

The problem continues to be, I’m sure, is one of perception. Economists, politicians, and mostly central bankers have been saying for years that the real economy is the one you see in the unemployment rate. Things are booming. The labor market is awesome, even epically tight. Between last year and this year, going by the unemployment rate the economy has only gotten better. Why in the world would the Federal Reserve be contemplating rate cuts? After all, who cares if inflation is less than...

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Rate Cuts Will Not Be The Fed’s First Insurance Policy

I don’t think anyone really noticed the timing because nobody really noticed it had happened. What took place last year qualifies as a big deal in the world of central banking and moneyless monetary policy. The lack of clarity about it as well as what sure looks like indecision portrays an intellectual foundation at odds with public perception. First, the timing. The middle of 2018 should not have needed any shift toward the inflationary. As officials were quick to point out, the boom was...

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US Economic Crosscurrents Reach the 50 Mark

In the official narrative, the economy is robust and resilient. The fundamentals, particularly the labor market, are solid. It’s just that there has arisen an undercurrent or crosscurrent of some other stuff. Central bankers initially pointed the finger at trade wars and the negative “sentiment” it creates across the world but they’ve changed their view somewhat. A few billion in tariffs, even if we include what is to this point only proposed, that’s just not enough to create these more...

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The Lying Statistics Behind Globally Synchronized Growth, And What It Could Mean For The Globally Synchronized Downturn

Numbers really don’t tell us much all by themselves. Context always matters. That’s why 19th century British statesman Benjamin Disraeli claimed there are three kinds of lies; lies, damned lies, and statistics. Numbers employed in isolation are either misleading or useless. In the 20th century, Darrell Huff wrote in his classic How To Lie With Statistics: Averages and relationships and trends and graphs are not always what they seem. There may be more in them than meets the eye, and there may...

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