Federal Reserve Minutes Unhinge Monetary Policy from “Extended Period” Timetable

For most of this year, I have interpreted the Federal Reserve’s policy to maintain “exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period” as the equivalent of low rates for at least the next six months from each new confirmation. This interpretation came from a January interview with New York Federal Reserve … Read more

The Fed Blesses the Market’s Melt-Up – And Greases the Skids for the Dollar

A catalyst for working off the market’s over-extended and over-bought conditions remains elusive. The Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy statement essentially blessed the market’s stubborn “melt-up.” The statement did not provide the incremental “hawkishness” as I was expecting given last month’s surprise discount rate hike. In fact, this statement’s reference to low rates for an … Read more

Federal Reserve Forces An Attitude Adjustment with Surprise Discount Rate Hike

(A version of this post also appears on Inflation Watch) The Federal Reserve essentially warned us in its most recent written testimony to the House of Representatives that part of its exit strategy from emergency monetary measures is to increase the spread between the funds rate and the discount rate. This evening, the Fed did … Read more

As Unemployment Finally Appears to Crest, Monetary Policy Reaches A Critical Juncture

Good (or not as bad as expected) economic news has typically garnered selling in the U.S. dollar and buying in the stock market. On Friday, the good news that November’s monthly change in U.S. non-farm payrolls came in essentially flat sent the S&P 500 soaring as high as 1.7%. However, the dollar index also soared, … Read more

Dubai Debacle to Dubai Blip…or Warm-up?

Now that major markets worldwide have completely recovered from the Dubai debacle of last week, it is easy to consider this episode just another blip on the way to eternal bliss. Not even the U.S. dollar could sustain more than a mirage of strength on this “temporary crisis” (I had thought that even after the … Read more

Officials Continue to TALK Up A Strong Dollar As the WEAK Dollar Continues to Hurt U.S. Trade Partners

Probably one of the longest running jokes in the financial markets is the amount of time U.S. officials spend talking about their support for a strong dollar while taking no action to actually support a stronger currency. On Monday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made a rare contribution to the bluster by stating his own … Read more

Short the Pound Anyway

Last week, there was talk that the Bank of England would implement negative interest rates. I was all set to begin shorting the Pound (mainly versus the U.S. dollar), but the BoE simply maintained interest rates, made no changes to its quantitative easing program, and had nothing new to say. The Pound lifted in “relief”, … Read more