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Tag Archives: 5.) Alhambra Investments

Is The Negativity Overdone?

Give stimulus a chance, that’s the theme being set up for this week. After relentless buying across global bond markets distorting curves, upsetting politicians and the public alike, central bankers have responded en masse. There were more rate cuts around the world in August than there had been at any point since 2009. And there’s more to come. As Bloomberg reported late last week: Over the next 12 months, interest-rate swap markets have priced in around 58 more...

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Just Who Was The Intended Audience For The Rate Cut?

Federal Reserve policymakers appear to have grown more confident in their more optimistic assessment of the domestic situation. Since cutting the benchmark federal funds range by 25 bps on July 31, in speeches and in other ways Chairman Jay Powell and his group have taken on a more “hawkish” tilt. This isn’t all the way back to last year’s rate hikes, still a pronounced difference from a few months ago. The common forecast relies entirely on the subjective...

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Copper Confirmed

Copper prices behave more deliberately than perhaps prices in other commodity markets. Like gold, it is still set by a mix of economic (meaning physical) and financial (meaning collateral and financing). Unlike gold, there doesn’t seem to be any rush to get to wherever the commodity market is going. Over the last several years, it has been more long periods of sideways. That’s what makes any potential breakout noteworthy. Dr. Copper’s place in the hierarchy is...

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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...

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GDP Profits Hold The Answers To All Questions

Revisions to second quarter GDP were exceedingly small. The BEA reduced the estimate by a little less than $800 million out of nearly $20 trillion (seasonally-adjusted annual rate). The growth rate therefore declined from 2.03502% (continuously compounded annual rate) to 2.01824%. The release also gave us the first look at second quarter corporate profits. Like the headline GDP revisions, there wasn’t really much to them. At least not when viewed in isolation....

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Monthly Macro Monitor: Market Indicators Review

This is a companion piece to last week’s Monthly Macro report found here. The Treasury market continues to price in lower nominal and real growth. The stress, the urgency, I see in some of these markets is certainly concerning and consistent with what we have seen in the past at the onset of recession. The move in Treasuries is by some measures, as extreme as the fall of 2008 when we were in a full blown panic. That to me, is evidence that this move is overly...

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Definitely A Downturn, But What’s Its Rate of Change?

The Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index (NAI) fell to -0.36 in July. That’s down from a +0.10 in June. By itself, the change from positive to negative tells us very little, as does the absolute level below zero. What’s interesting to note about this one measure is the average but more so its rate of change. The index itself is a product of econometric research. Economists had been searching for an alternative to the unemployment rate in order to increase the...

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Monthly Macro Monitor: Does Anyone Not Know About The Yield Curve?

The yield curve’s inverted! The yield curve’s inverted! That was the news I awoke to last Wednesday on CNBC as the 10 year Treasury note yield dipped below the 2 year yield for the first time since 2007. That’s the sign everyone has been waiting for, the definitive recession signal that says get out while the getting is good. And that’s exactly what investors did all day long, the Dow ultimately surrendering 800 points on the day. I don’t remember anyone on CNBC...

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Germany’s Superstimulus; Or, The Familiar (Dollar) Disorder of Bumbling Failure

The Economics textbook says that when faced with a downturn, the central bank turns to easing and the central government starts borrowing and spending. This combined “stimulus” approach will fill in the troughs without shaving off the peaks; at least according to neo-Keynesian doctrine. The point is to raise what these Economists call aggregate demand. If everyday folks don’t want to spend – because a lot of them can’t – then the government will spend on their...

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That Can’t Be Good: China Unveils Another ‘Market Reform’

The Chinese have been reforming their monetary and credit system for decades. Liberalization has been an overriding goal, seen as necessary to accompany the processes which would keep the country’s economic “miracle” on track. Or get it back on track, as the case may be. Authorities had traditionally controlled interest rates through various limits and levers. It wasn’t until October 2004, for example, that the upper limit on lending rates was rescinded. In August...

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