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

    There Were Hawkish Bits in the Minutes, Too

    This note from Cameron Crise at Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers.

    While the market has reacted as if the minutes were dovish, I am not sure if that’s the right interpretation. To be sure, they did repeat the line that a slower pace of tightening would likely be appropriate in the future, and of course there was the line about the risk of over-tightening.

    But here’s the thing-- the minutes acknowledge that growth momentum is fairly weak and the economy will expand below trend in the second half. They even note that the headline labor market data may not represent the true state of the economy. But for now, the Fed doesn’t care. Below-trend growth is a feature, not a bug, of the current policy setting, because it is required to get demand more in line with supply to curb inflation. And while the uncertainty of the data does indeed make over-tightening a risk, the possibility of high inflation becoming entrenched was a “significant risk” if the public didn’t accept the Fed’s resolve to tighten appropriately.

    In other words, fading the Fed’s commitment to tighten makes it more likely that they will fulfill it. Oh, and there is a nice bit about the need to regulate crypto as well, so perhaps the Wild West mentality of that market might find that its days are numbered.

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    Largest Bitcoin Miners Lost Over $1 Billion During Crypto Crash

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

    While the shares of crypto-mining companies have enjoyed a respite in recent weeks, they are still deep in the red this year. The miners had to shift from their Bitcoin-hoarding positions and sell coins as they struggled to repay debt and cover operational costs in the recent quarter. That continued into the third quarter.

    “Public miners are still dumping their Bitcoin holdings at a higher rate than their production rate,” Jarand Mellerud, an analyst at Arcane Crypto, wrote in a research note. “Public miners sold 6,200 coins in July, making July the second highest BTC selling month in 2022.”

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    UK Inflation Hits Double Digits for the First Time in 40 Years

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

    “UK CPI inflation surged in July amid rising food prices that helped lift the rate above market expectations. The peak is still likely come in October, when energy prices are due to be increased again -- we see annual CPI moving to a little below 13% at that point. With inflation now more than five-times the Bank of England’s target, the question isn’t whether the central bank will tighten, it’s by how much? Today’s reading makes it more likely than not that the BOE lift rates by 50 basis points in September -- our baseline ahead of the data release was for a 25-bp move.”

    Economists are growing increasingly pessimistic about the UK, with the risk of a recession now seen as far more likely than not due to rising cost pressures. The BOE expects a recession to start in the fourth quarter, lasting into the early part of 2024.

    The central bank expects inflation to surpass 13% later this year when regulators allow energy bills to rise again. That would mark the worst reading since September 1980, when Margaret Thatcher’s government struggled to bring a wage-price spiral under control.


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    Zinc Surges as Trafigura-Owned Smelter to Halt Production

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

    The decline in European zinc production has seen local LME stockpiles fall close to zero this year, while global inventories remain near the lowest in more than two years. 

    “There will be a bit of capacity juggling going on,” said Tom Price, an analyst at Liberum Capital. “If the EU needs their metal, they will probably have to import more semi-refined material or the metal itself.”

    Supply concerns are still being balanced by the impact of the energy crisis on demand, which has caused many economists to predict a recession in Europe. Economic data on Monday from China, the world’s top metals consumer, added to those fears as the nation struggles to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 curbs, the property slump and the recent heat waves.

    China is also facing an energy crunch which could hit metals output. Soaring temperatures are stretching power supplies and drying up water for hydro-electricity, forcing key aluminum-hub Sichuan to vow it will prioritize electricity production for residential use.

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    Carbon Capture Could Get $100 Billion in Credit from US Climate Bill

    This report from Bloomberg New Energy may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    The new legislation raises the credits for captured CO2 that is used and stored to $60/tCO2 and $85/tCO2 respectively. However, project owners must meet prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements in order to qualify. If they do not, they will be paid a lower credit than the existing 45Q payment. Projects must be under construction by the end of 2032 to receive the credit

    A new, much higher credit is available to direct air capture (DAC) projects. DAC currently costs around $600/tCO2. The credit pays $130/tCO2 for gas that is used, say, for enhanced oil recovery or to make synthetic fuels, and $180/tCO2 for CO2 that is stored permanently.


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    Beijing Faces 'Liquidity Trap' as Lending Collapses

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

    Three things we learned last week: 

    1. Shockingly weak Chinese credit growth shows that monetary policy is pushing on a string. Friday’s data showed aggregate financing, a broad measure of credit, was almost half of what economists expected. Bank loan growth slowed to 11%, near the historical low. That’s occurring at a time when the financial markets are flush with cash and interbank interest rates are falling well below the central bank’s benchmark.

    In other words, money is aplenty, but no one wants it. It reflects weak confidence among businesses and households amid the housing slump and the Covid restrictions. It’s “a classic sign of a liquidity trap,” Craig Botham at Pantheon Macroeconomics remarked.

    What’s more, Beijing is facing a fiscal cliff as the local governments have pretty much used up their special bond-issuance quota for the year. Unless Beijing makes more funding available, the fiscal support may be waning.

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