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In A Changing World, The Old Economics May No Longer Apply

One must be careful in interpreting data. The world has changed, and it impacts how people behave and ultimately the resulting data. The recent Retail Sales data is a case in point. It cannot be interpreted with a pre-virus backdrop. It’s rise in September 2020 doesn’t mean the same as a similar rise would have meant in September 2019.  We have seen some back-up in interest rates over the past month. Fixed income investors are …Read More

The Real Recession Is Just Starting

At month’s end, we are going to see the BLS announce a 30%+ bounce in real GDP (the Atlanta Fed’s forecast is now above 35%). Much of this is already priced into the equity market, so a positive or negative reaction will only occur if the reported number is significantly above or below the consensus view. In addition, this is old news, as Q3 will have been in the rear-view mirror for …Read More

The Recovery Stalls; Fed Pledges “Lower for Longer;” Equity Markets Pause

With the Fed pledging to keep rates low even when (or if) inflation rises above its 2% target, it is hard to see why long-term Treasury yields (and those of other quality issuers) won’t move toward yields of similar debt in the world’s other industrial economies (i.e., Europe and Japan). The economic lull is now showing up in both the labor market (Initial Claims) and in retail sales, likely because …Read More

The Fed’s Ill-Designed Inflation Policies

On Thursday, August 27, Fed Chair Jay Powell spoke at the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole symposium. His talk was much anticipated, as it was expected that the old 2% inflation objective would be updated. In fact, the Fed had telegraphed the change; and the Fed has been following the newly announced policy for several months. The policy change allows the Fed to permit inflation to exceed the Fed’s announced 2% target without …Read More

The Inflation Scare

Interest rates backed up last week.  The 30-year T-Bond, which was 1.19% on August 4, closed at 1.44% on Friday (August 14).  The 10-year T-Note closed at 0.71%.  It was 0.52% on August 4.  The CPI showed up with a +0.6% M/M rise (7.4% annual rate) for July.  That pushed the Y/Y rate to +1.0% from +0.6% in June.  Clothing prices rose +1.1% M/M in July.  They had risen +1.7% …Read More

The Economy: Navigating Scylla & Charybdis

  In Greek mythology, Scylla and Charybdis were mythical sea monsters existing on the opposite sides of the Strait of Messina, between Sicily and the Italian mainland.  Scylla was a six headed sea monster; Charybdis a huge whirlpool.  Because they were so close together, any passing ship was threatened.  In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus passed close to Scylla, losing only a few sailors rather than risking losing his whole ship in …Read More