David Fuller and Eoin Treacy's Comment of the Day
Category - General

    Fed Sees No 2019 Hike, Plans September End to Asset Drawdown

    This article by Jeanna Smialek for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

    “This was definitely a dovish outcome and even a bit of a surprise,” said Ben Emons, managing director of global macro strategy at Medley Global Advisors in New York. “The Fed took out the entire rate hike scenario for this year.”

    Reaction in markets confirmed the dovish interpretation. Stocks pared losses, the dollar turned lower and Treasuries rallied. Traders lifted the odds of the Fed cutting rates. In a separate statement Wednesday, the Fed said it would start slowing the shrinking of its balance sheet in May -- dropping the cap on monthly redemptions of Treasury securities from the current $30 billion to $15 billion -- and halt the drawdown altogether at the end of September. After that, the Fed will likely hold the size of the portfolio “roughly constant for a time,” which will allow reserve balances to gradually decline.

    Beginning in October, the Fed will roll its maturing holdings of mortgage-backed securities into Treasuries, using a cap of $20 billion per month. The initial investment in new Treasury maturities will “roughly match the maturity composition of Treasury securities outstanding,” the Fed said. The central bank is still deliberating the longer-run composition of its portfolio and said “limited sales of agency MBS might be warranted in the longer run.”

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    Italy set to formally endorse China's Belt and Road Initiative

    This article from the Financial Times may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    Chinese investments have become increasingly contentious in the EU. Diplomats in Brussels and influential western European capitals have long worried the 16+1 grouping of China and central and eastern European states, including 11 EU members, is a Trojan horse to divide the bloc. Beijing has denied this suggestion.  EU member states such as Germany and France have pushed for tougher screening criteria for Chinese investments. They want the bloc to develop a more unified strategy amid rising tensions over the security implications of using Chinese technology from companies such as Huawei, the telecoms group. Other countries including Greece and Portugal, where Chinese groups have invested billions of euros since the financial crisis, have adopted a more lenient approach.

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    Under "Basel III" Rules, Gold Becomes Money!

    Thanks to a subscriber for this article from Zero Hedge which may be of interest. Here is a section:

    If banks own and possess gold bullion, they can use that asset as equity and thus this will enable them to print more money. It may be no coincidence that as March 29th has been approaching banks around the world have been buying huge amounts of physical gold and taking delivery. For the first time in 50 years, central banks bought over 640 tons of gold bars last year, almost twice as much as in 2017 and the highest level raised since 1971, when President Nixon closed the gold window and forced the world onto a floating rate 

    And

    The only way governments can manage the levels of debt that threaten the financial survival of the Western world is to inflate (debase) their currencies. The ability to count gold as a reserve from which banks can create monetary inflation is not only to allow gold to become a reserve on the balance sheet of banks but to have a much, much higher, gold price to build up equity in line with the massive debt in the system.

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    Alberta Pork Reports A Fourth Confirmed PED Case

    This article from High River Online may be of interest to subscribers.

    A fourth case of the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus has been confirmed in Alberta.

    Alberta Pork announced the outbreak on Friday, March 15, saying this is the fifth reported case in the province, however one of the reported cases turned out to be a false positive.

    The virus has previously been found in Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and PEI, but was reported for the first time in Alberta back in January.

    Earlier this year, Alberta Pork Executive Director, Darcy Fitzgerald, said the disease made its way into the United States from Asia, and was first confirmed in Canada in 2014.

    The farm group says hog operations within 60 kilometres of the fourth confirmed case will be notified.

    PED affects pigs with no risk to human health. This incident has also not caused any food safety concerns.

    For more information on what you can do to protect your farm, visit Alberta Pork's website to view their PED toolbox.

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    Mental compass: New evidence suggests humans can sense Earth's magnetic field

    This article by Michael Irving for NewAtlas may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    Alpha-ERD is a strong neural signature of sensory detection and the resulting attention shift," says Shin Shimojo, co-lead author of the study. "The fact that we see it in response to simple magnetic rotations like we experience when turning or shaking our head is powerful evidence for human magnetoreception. The large individual differences we found are also intriguing with regard to human evolution and the influences of modern life. As for the next step, we ought to try bringing this into conscious awareness."

    The team took plenty of steps to ensure that participants weren't sensing other things. The test chambers were shielded from outside electromagnetic signals, and the copper wires that generated the magnetic field were wrapped so they wouldn't produce an audible hum.

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    China Wants Its Stock, Bond Markets to Step Up Funding Role

    This article from Bloomberg News may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    “We need to create a strong capital market,” Guo Shuqing, the country’s chief financial regulator, said at the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislative session which wrapped up last week. “We could do more work especially in the capital market -- stock market, bond market -- for direct financing.”

    China is trying to transform how it funds its economy after decades of relying on state-run banks that benefit from the implicit backing of the nation’s treasury -- but tend to direct most loans to other government-owned companies. The difficulty that small and private firms have in securing funding was one reason for an explosion of shadow-banking, and the rapid increase in debt and risk that came with it.

    Spurred to act by a record $34 trillion debt pile, authorities in recent years have cracked down on risky loans, squeezing businesses that relied on such funding. While leaders including Guo have called on the banks to do more to finance private companies, lenders are grappling with their own concerns about loan quality and default rates. Even so, outstanding banks loans in China have increased by about 27 percent since 2016, while capital-market funding rose by around 15 percent.

    “We shouldn’t put all the pressure on banks,” Xu Kuijun, an NPC delegate and vice president at Bank of China Ltd. In Shanghai said in an interview at the sidelines of the gathering. “We have to rely more on direct financing, and capital markets should do more.”

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