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US consumer prices fell 0.1% in October as petrol prices dropped, the US Labor Department has said.

Petrol prices fell 2.9%, the biggest drop since April. The cost of new cars, clothes and healthcare also fell.

The decrease meant that annual inflation in the 12 months to October was just 1%.

So-called core prices, excluding energy and food costs which vary more, were up 0.1% in October and increased 1.7% in the last 12 months.

The Fed being given more leeway to printy printy?

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Fed's Bullard: No Evidence QE and ZIRP Work

Some quotes....

Anecdotal reports during the first year of the crisis suggested that financial firms whose MBS-based portfolios were souring were desperate to earn substantial revenues elsewhere.?

The “elsewhere” may have been global commodity markets, which boomed during the second half of 2007 and the first half of 2008.

The lower interest rates the Fed engineered seemingly encouraged this activity, as firms borrowed cheaply and attempted to profit in commodities.

So where have they gone now? Uh....... the SPX?

What happened to oil prices later on, and what does this mean when our current bubble pops?

The debate over the wisdom of locking in near-zero rates did not take sufficient account of the experience in Japan, in my view.

The BOJ changed the policy rate to near zero in the 1990s.

Short-term rates remain at zero today in Japan, 15 years later.

Some analysis suggests that the sooner policymakers set the policy rate to zero, the sooner the economy will recover and the sooner interest rates can be returned to normal.

I have seen no evidence that this is true during the last five years.

Instead, I think the December 2008 FOMC decision unwittingly committed the U.S. to an extremely long period at the zero lower bound similar to the situation in Japan, with unknown consequences for the macroeconomy.


Perhaps it's just not been tried to long enough so it works...

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The Fed's Catch 22 just got catchier. While most attention in the recently released FOMC minutes fell on the return of the taper as a possibility even as soon as December (making the November payrolls report the most important ever, ever, until the next one at least), a less discussed issue was the Fed's comment that it would consider lowering the Interest on Excess Reserves to zero as a means to offset the implied tightening that would result from the reduction in the monthly flow once QE entered its terminal phase (for however briefly before the plunge in the S&P led to the Untaper). After all, the Fed's policy book goes, if IOER is raised to tighten conditions, easing it to zero, or negative, should offset "tightening financial conditions", right? Wrong. As the FT reports leading US banks have warned the Fed that should it lower IOER, they would be forced to start charging depositors.

In other words, just like Europe is already toying with the idea of NIRP (and has been for over a year, if still mostly in the rheotrical and market rumor phase), so the Fed's IOER cut would also result in a negative rate on deposits which the FT tongue-in-cheekly summarizes "depositors already have to cope with near-zero interest rates, but paying just to leave money in the bank would be highly unusual and unwelcome for companies and households."

Hmmm I wonder what response that might trigger?

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The most important chart that nobody at the Fed seems to pay any attention to, and certainly none of the economists who urge the Fed to accelerate its monetization of Treasury paper, is shown below: it shows the Fed's total holdings of the entire bond market expressed in 10 Year equivalents (because as a reminder to the Krugmans and Bullards of the world a 3 Year is not the same as a 30 Year). As we, and the TBAC, have been pounding the table over the past year (here, here and here as a sample), the amount of securities that the Fed can absorb without crushing the liquidity in the "deepest" bond market in the world is rapidly declining, and specifically now that the Fed has refused to taper, it is absorbing over 0.3% of all Ten Year Equivalents, also known as "High Quality Collateral", from the private sector every week. The total number as per the most recent weekly update is now a whopping 33.18%, up from 32.85% the week before. Or, said otherwise, the Fed now owns a third of the entire US bond market.


..the Fed will own just shy of half the entire bond market on December 31, 2014... and all of it some time in 2018.

If the status quo is maintained...

Clearly this will end well....

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Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Bitcoin prices are unsustainably high after surging 89-fold in a year and that the virtual money isn’t currency.

“It’s a bubble,” Greenspan, 87, said today in a Bloomberg Television interview from Washington. “It has to have intrinsic value. You have to really stretch your imagination to infer what the intrinsic value of Bitcoin is. I haven’t been able to do it. Maybe somebody else can.”

Mr Magoo finally thinks he sees a bubble....

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The widening gap between rich and poor is eroding faith in the American dream.

By almost two to one -- 64 percent to 33 percent -- Americans say the U.S. no longer offers everyone an equal chance to get ahead, according to a Bloomberg National Poll. And some say the government isn’t doing much to help.

“There’s a lot of policies that make it easier for the rich to get richer and the poor to go nowhere,” says Ryan Sekac, 26, a mechanical engineer in Westerly, Rhode Island.

A Bernanke success killing the US Dream, the problem is it was always a dream.

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The possibility that the Federal Reserve could finally start to trim its extraordinary stimulus for the economy could make this week an explosive one for financial markets.

Though the odds still point to no major policy change when U.S. central bankers meet December 17-18, most of the recent domestic economic data suggest the beginning of the end of their massive bond-buying program is coming sooner than later.

If it acts it may reflect as much a growth in confidence in the global economy, for whom the withdrawal of the flow of cheap dollars will be a shock, as in the recovery in the United States alone.

More bluff that they'll end it. No seriously we'll voluntarily stop printing, honest we will....

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"The Fed will never end QE for good..." blasts Marc Faber, "they may do some cosmetic adjustments, but within a few years, [Fed] asset purchases will be substantially higher than they are today." There will be another weakening in the US economy, Faber warns, and "the Fed will argue it hasn't done enough and will do more... they have been irresponsible for 20 years."

Noting that investors should "not buy stocks but be in cash", the stunned CNBC anchor exclaims "How could you sit in cash when th emarket is on fire and interest rates are so low?" to which Faber blasts, "The market is not on fire, look at IBM, Cisco, and Intel - all lower than 2011; it's on fire if you are in Facebook or Twitter and not everyone owns them."

Just 20 years?

At least as the Fed can print money it will never go bankrupt.

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An economist recently recommended that I read a paper by three Fed researchers titled: “Why Did So Many People Make So Many Ex Post Bad Decisions? The Causes of the Foreclosure Crisis.” It was presented at a major conference last year and made the rounds again in the economics blogosphere this year with generally positive reviews. It seems to have been influential.

The authors – Christopher Foote, Kristopher Gerardi and Paul Willen – argue that the financial crisis was caused by over-optimistic expectations for house prices, while other factors such as distorted incentives for bankers played only minor roles or no roles at all. In other words, it was a bubble just like the Dutch tulip mania of the 1630s or South Sea bubble of the early 1700s, and had nothing to do with modern financial practices.

Then the authors make absolutely sure of their work being well-received by those who matter. The financial crisis is surely a touchy subject at the Fed, where the biggest PR challenge is “bubble blowing” criticism from those of us who aren’t on the payroll (directly or indirectly). But Foote, Gerardi and Willen are, of course, on the payroll. They tell us there’s little else that can be said about the origins of the crisis, because any “honest economist” will admit to not understanding bubbles.

Here’s their story:

t is deeply unsatisfying to explain the bad decisions of both borrowers and lenders with a bubble without explaining how the bubble arose. … Unfortunately, the study of bubbles is too young to provide much guidance on this point. For now, we have no choice but to plead ignorance, and we believe that all honest economists should do the same. But acknowledging what we don’t know should not blind us to what we do know: the bursting of a massive and unsustainable housing bubble in the U.S. housing market caused the financial crisis.

We don’t often critique papers like this (who cares about Fed research outside of academic economists?) But what the heck, the bolded sentences above – in particular, the hypocritical reference to “honest economists” – deserve at least a few words of rebuttal.

Surely if you take this logic to the nth degree the study of economics is too young to provide guidance on anything. Perhaps the Fed should plead ignorance on all things economic.

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  • 2 weeks later...


In one of his final public appearances as Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke was to address the American Economic Association annual meeting Friday afternoon with a speech reflecting on his tenure. Here are his prepared remarks.

There is plenty of good explanation of the state of the economy and monetary policy contained in the speech, but the end is particularly instructive. At a time that people are writing assessments of Bernanke's chairmanship and suggesting that he is responsible for the Fed's successes fighting the financial crisis under his leadership, he takes pains to share the spotlight with the many Fed staffers who have devoted themselves to the effort. For more on Bernanke's legacy, click here.

The Federal Reserve: Looking Back, Looking Forward

In less than a month my term as Fed Chairman will end. Needless to say, my tenure has been eventful--for the Federal Reserve, for the country, and for me personally. I thought it appropriate today to reflect on some accomplishments of the past eight years, as well as some uncompleted tasks. I will briefly cover three areas in my remarks: (1) the Federal Reserve's commitment to transparency and accountability, (2) financial stability and financial reform, and (3) monetary policy. I will close by discussing the prospects for the U.S. and global economies.

Lots of talk of lowering interest rates....

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The aftereffects of the housing bust also appear to have waned. For example, notwithstanding the effects of somewhat higher mortgage rates, house prices have rebounded, with one consequence being that the number of homeowners with "underwater" mortgages has dropped significantly, as have foreclosures and mortgage delinquencies.

No problem to step in when house prices were rocketing upward during the boom. Yet massive stimulus when they begin to fall.

Lot of people who believed in free markets wanted better value housing, but only seen big rebound in prices, to help housing VIs. Protect their wealth - in the name of the financial system. Just like in the UK, but more so here.

Another interpretation of his speech,

(Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve is no less committed to highly accommodative policy now that it has trimmed its bond-buying stimulus, Ben Bernanke said on Friday in what could be his last speech as Fed chairman. Bernanke, who steps down as head of the U.S. central bank at month's end, gave an upbeat assessment of the U.S. economy in coming quarters. But he tempered the positive signs in the housing sector, financial markets and fiscal policies by repeating that the overall recovery "clearly remains incomplete" in the United States.

In what came as a surprise to some, the Fed decided last month to cut its asset-purchase program, known as quantitative easing, or QE, by $10 billion to $75 billion per month. It cited a stronger job market and economic growth in its landmark decision, which amounted to the beginning of the end of the largest monetary policy experiment ever.

But that decision "did not indicate any diminution of (the Fed's) commitment to maintain a highly accommodative monetary policy for as long as needed," Bernanke said at an American Economic Association forum in a snow-swept Philadelphia.

in full: http://www.reuters.c...EA020SQ20140103

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(Reuters) - U.S. stocks ended a volatile session mostly flat on Friday as investors digested comments from Federal Reserve officials that raised questions about how quickly the central bank will end its stimulus program.

Wall Street opened higher but subsequently pared gains after Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser said the Fed faced "immense" challenges now that it had reduced bond-buying, and that it needed to be cognizant of a potential rapid rise in future inflation.

Volatility was exacerbated by light trading volume, with about 4.61 billion shares traded on all U.S. platforms, according to BATS exchange data, well below average, with many market participants out in the wake of the New Year's holiday, as well as a snowstorm in the northeast.

"Plosser suggested that it might not be an easy or smooth process for the Fed to unwind its balance sheet, which could have been be an indication the Fed could act sooner on ending bond buying than is currently expected," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia.

in full http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/04/us-markets-stocks-idUSBRE9BT0D720140104

How would inflation feed through?

I thought all their multi-trillion of QE & expanded balance sheets, was to fight rebalancing forces of deflation. And that all their measures had only managed to maintain lightest level of inflation. Think inflation would require just giving people money to spend.

June 2013

Why has quantitative easing coexisted with price stability in the United States? Or, as I often hear, “Why has the Federal Reserve’s printing of so much money not caused higher inflation?”

Inflation has certainly been very low. During the past five years, the consumer price index has increased at an annual rate of just 1.5%. The Fed’s preferred measure of inflation – the price index for personal consumption expenditures, excluding food and energy – also rose at a rate of just 1.5%.

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Think inflation would require just giving people money to spend.

Bad form to quote myself, but I think I'm on to something.

Release reserves. What? So again the liar-loaners and well connected people, can go on a borrowing and spend spree, paying higher prices for everything. Snapping up portfolios and doing deal making at stupid high prices? As in the last boom before the bust.

Outbidding and over-riding market norms and other participants, where there has long been little appetite to borrow.

Unless they lend big to fuel US takeovers in Europe and elsewhere, at lower distressed asset prices, as US emerges biggest winner. US interests already snapping up hotels and commercial property in UK.

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser warned Friday that the central bank may have to be "aggressive" in lifting interest rates and may have to chase market rates higher, if banks were to quickly release reserves. He also suggested the expectations of his colleagues by the end of 2016 that calls for Fed funds rates to be below 2% even when the job market is back to normal may be too low. Plosser also said the central bank could face political pressure not to lift rates. "Technically we can certainly do that, but it will be a question of will," he said. He also said the Fed is monitoring asset prices and leverage to avoid "frothiness" in markets. Plosser is known for his hawkish views and becomes a voting Federal Open Market Committee member this year. The Fed last month started tapering their bond-purchase program, reducing monthly purchases to $75 billion.
(Reuters) - The Federal Reserve faces "immense" challenges now that it has reduced bond-buying, and needs to be cognizant of a rapid rise in future inflation, a top U.S. central banker said on Friday.

Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser, a voter on monetary policy this year, said the central bank's balance sheet is still growing at "a fairly rapid clip" despite the $10-billion reduction in monthly asset purchases, which started this month.

Dusting off arguments he and other hawkish officials made before the recent bout of low inflation, Plosser said he was less concerned about disinflation and more concerned about too-high inflation if banks start to quickly release the $2.4 trillion in excess reserves they now hold.

Excess reserves. :rolleyes:

Edited by Venger
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I don't like forward guidance, and as GPS said, UK doesn't even have the clout to impose forward guidance.

IMO only the largest economies can give forward guidance. US, maybe the EU. China and Japan maybe below the threshold. The UK economy is more influenced by what the world does than we influence the world.

So forward guidance for the UK is useless. Unless it is of the form "we will not raise rates unless the US raises rates/some external event forces us to raise rates", which everyone knows anyway.

US forward guidance seems like pure win... easy money... keep buying equities at ever higher prices for win, and house price winners supported. Best to keep markets on their toes.

A bit more of the good cop bad cop, going on now, maybe. However I think they're Posser is in the minority and they're addicted to QE, and Ben lends the most weight to what market probably expects with his standing by to be very accommodating with monetary policy.

(Reuters) - The Federal Reserve could well consider cutting its bond-buying by more than a $10 billion monthly increment in the future, Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser said on Saturday, floating $25 billion as a hypothetical amount.


(Reuters) - A dovish U.S. central banker on Saturday again urged the Federal Reserve to be patient as it trims its support for the economy, in part because it risks permanent damage to the labor market.



Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher (2011)

I posit that nonmonetary factors, not monetary policy, are retarding the willingness and ability of job creators to put to work the liquidity that we have provided."

"Those with the capacity to hire American workers―small businesses as well as large, publicly traded or private―are immobilized. Not because they lack entrepreneurial zeal or do not wish to grow; not because they can't access cheap and available credit. Rather, they simply cannot budget or manage for the uncertainty of fiscal and regulatory policy. In an environment where they are already uncertain of potential growth in demand for their goods and services and have yet to see a significant pickup in top-line revenue, there is palpable angst surrounding the cost of doing business. According to my business contacts, the opera buffa of the debt ceiling negotiations compounded this uncertainty, leaving business decision makers frozen in their tracks."

Who wants to let go of their cash, borrow to invest, in an environment in which they have no idea what might happen next, in the confusion with QE galore vs possible QE cut?

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Who wants to let go of their cash, borrow to invest, in an environment in which they have no idea what might happen next, in the confusion with QE galore vs possible QE cut?

Don't apologise for quoting yourself, this stuff is important! Bernanke's antics have helped undermine the faith Foreign Central Banks have in the Fed. As in 2011 the FCBs spent much of last year dramatically scaling back their purchases of Treasury and agency debt. Since they typically account for something like 25% of the market, this is BIG news. Or it would be if the mainstream media wasn't full of grossly misleading stories uncorroborated by fact. Similarly, the shilly-shallying over the Taper followed by the surprise end of year announcement seems to have caught the Primary Dealers long the bond market and left them having to unwind huge positions quickly, presumably at a loss. These things are contributing to the spike in debt yields we're seeing, threatening to take the cost of debt higher still.

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Don't apologise for quoting yourself, this stuff is important! Bernanke's antics have helped undermine the faith Foreign Central Banks have in the Fed. As in 2011 the FCBs spent much of last year dramatically scaling back their purchases of Treasury and agency debt. Since they typically account for something like 25% of the market, this is BIG news. Or it would be if the mainstream media wasn't full of grossly misleading stories uncorroborated by fact. Similarly, the shilly-shallying over the Taper followed by the surprise end of year announcement seems to have caught the Primary Dealers long the bond market and left them having to unwind huge positions quickly, presumably at a loss. These things are contributing to the spike in debt yields we're seeing, threatening to take the cost of debt higher still.

Wasn't aware of that. It's complicated, but so important. All these years of waiting during bubble 1.0, when others dived into buying no matter the price, then being punished year-after-year by policy after policy, scheme after scheme, to keep asset prices up.

With others still diving in, making on bubble 2.0 since 2009, without a care toward value/debt. Stockmarkets flying high. Those who have any caution towards debt, consider market basics, totally overridden.

'Experts' claim it will be a slow grind for gilt and treasury 10 year yields, if economy improves, to get anything significant over 3%. And that they may fall back if economy slows. Which would obviously be countered by measures like more QE or base rates down again. Can only hope something sudden comes along that authorities can't counter, with bond yields.

Fed's Plosser at odds with policy approach favored by Yellen

PHILADELPHIA Sat Jan 4, 2014 5:05pm EST


Edited by Venger
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Similarly, the shilly-shallying over the Taper followed by the surprise end of year announcement seems to have caught the Primary Dealers long the bond market and left them having to unwind huge positions quickly, presumably at a loss. These things are contributing to the spike in debt yields we're seeing, threatening to take the cost of debt higher still.

All this QE. As I understand it, not too much has escaped into the wild. You know more about Primary Dealers than I do. Some must have escaped, to boost things like stock markets. Equities rising because of those who buy at higher prices on margin.

How much of the reflation, and the rise and rise of equity markets, is based on perception of QE liquidity flushing around, when actually much of the QE might just be parked up by the banks, doing very little? Bit of a con-trick? "Signalling" as in the article below. Perhaps the expectation all the QE will flow into the economy in future, and markets pricing that in.

How, otherwise, would banks have $2.4 trillion excess reserves, much of which I suspect is QE orientated, and which as I understand it, mostly parked up with central bank on deposit. For a long time their complaint has been not finding enough willing borrowers. Has that changed?

Some household spending because people been forced to replace old items beyond repair since onset of financial crisis, including cars and washing machines. Yet some big money spends about too, big money takeovers, tech companies riding high on valuations vs their profits/losses.

Lot of Fed people seem eager to have their say at the moment, with Ben about to let someone else pilot his helicopter.

Still unclear exactly how QE eases conditions: Fed's Dudley

PHILADELPHIA Sat Jan 4, 2014 12:17pm EST

PHILADELPHIA Sat Jan 4, 2014 12:17pm EST(Reuters) - Extensive research into massive asset-purchase programs has not yet clarified whether such policies ease financial conditions primarily as a signal to investors or more directly through private portfolios, an influential U.S. central banker said on Saturday.

The Federal Reserve is currently buying $75 billion a month in Treasuries and mortgage bonds in its third round of quantitative easing, or QE3, which is meant to ease longer-term borrowing costs in the economy.

Yet "we still don't have well-developed macro-models that incorporate a realistic financial sector,' William Dudley, president of the New York Fed, told an economics conference.

"We don't understand fully how large-scale asset purchase programs work to ease financial market conditions, there's still a lot of debate ..." he said. "Is it the effect of the purchases on the portfolios of private investors, or alternatively is the major channel one of signaling?"

Edited by Venger
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While excess risk-taking and broken markets likely dominate their thinking, the 'real economic recovery' meme the Fed is using to enable them to 'taper' their excesses. However, investors remain assured that if things get worse once again then the Fed will crank the presses and save the assets. It seems they have found their new excuse - no matter what...



So, despite admitting asset-bubbles, fears over stock-multiples and excessively easy lending; the Fed will launch QE5 when Obamacare drags the US economy into trouble...


The excuse for QE5?

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  • 4 weeks later...


Analysts label factory figures “absolutely awful”, with the real worry being a slump in new orders not seen since the recession of 1980

Still I'm sure it won't stop the tapering.

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The downward revision to last month's recent record high appears to have been the warning flag but this is a disaster. ISM Manufacturing dropped by its most since 2008 to levels not seen since May, missed by the most on record, and new orders collapsed at the fastest pace since December 1980. The employment sub-index also tumbled from 55.8 to 52.3. "Poor weather" was blamed by some respondents and still hangovers from the government shutdown but these numbers are simply unprecedented as the data came in at a 6-sigma miss to "economist" expectations.

Surprisingly, even the ISM is sick and tired of the generic excuse:


So, one needs to come up with new and improved generic excuses for biggest miss on record:


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