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

    The Fed and monetary Policy

    Thanks to a subscriber for this note by Leon Tuey which may be of interest. Here is a section:

    Few months ago, Jerome Powell, the Fed Chairman expressed the desire to smooth out past wild swings in the economy by fine-tuning its monetary policy.  Those are not mere words, but the Fed is already putting it into practice.  Note the statements made by the various Fed members. 

    In the past, after the election, the Fed would slam the brakes to clean out the excesses.  After the Mid-term election, it would start to stimulate the economy.  Hence, the “Four-Year Cycle”.  The Fed has been tapping on the brakes instead of slamming them.  Hence, the slowing in the economy.  Many, however, are jumping to the conclusion that a recession will take place next year.

    The Fed’s new goal is not easy to achieve, but if successful, the U.S. will experience a period of unparallel prosperity and the stock market will continue to climb to heights no one ever believe possible.

    Despite its importance, few paid attention to Powell’s announcement.

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    Will UK economy be turbocharged by sterling fall?

    Thanks to a subscriber for this article by Chris Giles for the FT may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    The impact of sterling’s depreciation has been underwhelming for a few reasons. For one thing, firms are locked into global supply chains and rely heavily on foreign inputs. Half the components in a “British-made” car come from abroad. If exports rise, so do imports.

    The economy is also highly geared towards high-value-added stuff like pharmaceuticals. Buyers of these goods and services are insensitive to price changes. Not all industries fit this mould, notably tourism. Dollars buy more rides on the London Eye than before. In June visits by foreigners (including businesspeople) were up by 7% year on year. Yet visitors seem to be economising: their overall spending in real terms is no higher than before.

    Optimists maintain that the benefits of a depreciation take a long time to filter through. Firms need to get finance together and seek out new markets to exploit their new competitive advantage.

    The case of Dr Fox’s ice-cream industry, however, suggests that exporters are in no rush. Though export revenues have risen, this largely reflects the fact that with a weaker pound a given quantity of foreign-currency sales leads to higher sterling revenues. In the first half of 2017 firms exported about the same quantity of ice cream (600m scoops, by our reckoning) as in the same period the year before. Firms seem to be using sterling’s weakness simply to bank bigger profits, rather than to move into new markets.

    It is a similar story across the private sector. Profitability is near record highs yet investment is stalling. Last year non-financial firms stuck an extra £74bn ($96bn) in their bank accounts, by far the largest figure on record. Firms’ tentative behaviour should be a wake-up call for ministers, who expect them to lead the charge of a reorientation of British trade away from the EU after Brexit.

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    Top India Official Who Oversaw Cash Ban Is New RBI Chief

    This article by Siddhartha Singh and Anirban Nag for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    India named a former bureaucrat who oversaw Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s controversial cash ban program as its new central bank chief, a day after Urjit Patel abruptly quit following disagreements with the government.

    Shaktikanta Das, 63, who often sought a cut in interest rates during his time at the Finance Ministry, was appointed for a three-year tenure, according to a statement on Tuesday from the Personnel Ministry. He will be the 25th governor of the 83-year-old monetary authority.

    And

    Das will take charge of the six-member monetary policy committee, which left interest rates unchanged last week after two hikes earlier this year. With inflation undershooting the central bank’s forecasts, there are growing expectations that the RBI will shift to a neutral policy stance from its current tightening bias, which could set the stage for a rate cut.

    “There was a disconnect between the government and the central bank and the market now expects a less hawkish stance under the new regime,” said Aashish Sommaiyaa, chief executive officer at Motilal Oswal Asset Management Co. in Mumbai.

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    Leveraged Loans Take a Much-Needed Breather

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

    It’s crucial for the long-term health of leveraged loans, which have already surpassed junk bonds in magnitude, to allow investors to be more discerning. One of the most appealing parts of loans is that they’re supposed to have priority over traditional securities. But as Bloomberg News’s Sally Bakewell and Kelsey Butler wrote last week, heavily levered companies have been tapping the loan market over and over again, securing $100 billion of so-called incremental debt this year because money managers were willing to acquiesce to almost all issuers’ demands. On top of that, a larger share of companies have loans as their only form of debt, which doesn’t do lenders any good if they go under.

    It’s pretty obvious that this sort of behavior won’t end well. That’s why it might be a blessing in disguise that the market has taken a breather. “There’s no need to chase new issues,” Michael Nechamkin, co-chief investment officer at Octagon Credit Investors, told Butler and Jeannine Amodeo. The ones who pull back, they note, are those that aren’t desperate for financing but were hoping to lock in cheap borrowing costs in the once-hot market. As for those who can’t afford to drop out? They pay up — restoring some balance between buyers and sellers.

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