Fed keeps rates unchanged
Below is the full statement for the June 2020 meeting:
The Federal Reserve is committed to using its full range of tools to support the U.S. economy in this challenging time, thereby promoting its maximum employment and price stability goals.
The coronavirus outbreak is causing tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world. The virus and the measures taken to protect public health have induced sharp declines in economic activity and a surge in job losses. Weaker demand and significantly lower oil prices are holding down consumer price inflation. Financial conditions have improved, in part reflecting policy measures to support the economy and the flow of credit to U.S. households and businesses.
The ongoing public health crisis will weigh heavily on economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term, and poses considerable risks to the economic outlook over the medium term. In light of these developments, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent. The Committee expects to maintain this target range until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve its maximum employment and price stability goals.
The Committee will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook, including information related to public health, as well as global developments and muted inflation pressures, and will use its tools and act as appropriate to support the economy. In determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the stance of monetary policy, the Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its maximum employment objective and its symmetric 2 percent inflation objective. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments.
To support the flow of credit to households and businesses, over coming months the Federal Reserve will increase its holdings of Treasury securities and agency residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities at least at the current pace to sustain smooth market functioning, thereby fostering effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions. In addition, the Open Market Desk will continue to offer large-scale overnight and term repurchase agreement operations. The Committee will closely monitor developments and is prepared to adjust its plans as appropriate.
Voting for the monetary policy action were Jerome H. Powell, Chair; John C. Williams, Vice Chair; Michelle W. Bowman; Lael Brainard; Richard H. Clarida; Patrick Harker; Robert S. Kaplan; Neel Kashkari; Loretta J. Mester; and Randal K. Quarles.
The meeting will begin at 0000 GMT
- BOJ calls for unscheduled monetary policy meeting on 22 May
The central bank is likely to announce a new scheme to facilitate funding for banks to extend to small businesses that have been hit by the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.
In short, it is yet another measure to bolster liquidity conditions in the financial system, in order to ease corporate funding strains.
I don’t believe that the Kuroda & co. will offer any surprises beyond that, so expect other monetary policy tools to remain unchanged. They will likely just use the meeting to communicate the details of the new scheme if anything else.
As for the impact on the yen, I would argue that this should not play too significant of a role as the central bank has played it down and Kuroda has made mention to this in the past.
For USD/JPY, continue to keep an eye on the elusive 108.00 handle in any case.
BOJ to hold an unscheduled monetary policy meeting this week
The meeting will take place at 0000 GMT on 22 May (this Friday). The BOJ says that the meeting is to discuss new measures to provide funds to financial institutions, following up on instructions by governor Kuroda from the 27 April meeting.
Their next policy meeting was supposed to be on 16 June but Kuroda had already hinted that they were looking to do something like this before that meeting here
So, this is merely to follow up on that as they will introduce a funding scheme to aid the financial system and inject more liquidity. But the sudden call here isn’t going to be all too comforting and it’ll prompt questions on if there are any banks in trouble.
Fed’s Powell is to speak at a Peterson Institute for International Economics event (webinar)
- He is billed to discuss his economic outlook, but is also to expected to address monetary policy (more on this below)
- text with a Q&A to follow
- Wednesday 13 May at 1300GMT
In brief – while there has been intense speculation about the Fed moving to negative interest rates, it seems likely Powell will push back on this. Other Fed officials who have spoken recently have all expressed caution on moving to negative rates but it may be time to wheel out Powell to more effectively quash the chatter.
Some of the recent remarks on likely negative rates have come from big hitters in the industry, while market pricing has also indicated sub-zero rates.
- Scott Minerd, global chief investment officer of Guggenheim Partners said on Friday he expects rates below zero ‘soon’ – he cited declining Treasury yields
- Other market movements are also reflecting expectations – eg. falling LIBOR,
- Jeffrey Gundlach, co-founder of DoubleLine Capital tweeted last week on mounting pressure on fed funds to go negative and said “fatal” consequences may have brought the expectations to the fore (more here: Jeffrey Gundlach says pressure building on Fed funds to go negative)
Last week Germany’s constitutional court issued a decision ruling that the European Central Bank had overstepped its mandate with QE bond purchases,
- German court in Karlsruhe gave the ECB 3 months to justify its euro zone QE stimulus programme, or the Bundesbank might have to step aside from it
Responding, the European Union’s highest court (which had previously permitted the ECB QE programme) and the European Commission said that EU law holds precedence over national regulations
Further now, on Sunday, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU executive might end up opening a legal case against Germany.
- “We are now analysing the ruling of the German Constitutional Court in detail. And we will look into possible next steps, which may include the option of infringement proceedings,”
These wort of legal wranglings are not a positive for EU coherency and stability. Nor are they positive for the EUR. Watching for developments on this front – both legal/political and for ECB actions ahead.
How does Paul Tudor Jones see the world now?
Paul Tudor Jones is one of the great investors of all time and he’s renowned for macro calls. His latest market outlook highlights the coming waves of direct debt monetization that will reshape the economies and financial markets of the world.
“There will be many assets that will move as a result of this money creation. So what is an investor to do? Traditional hedges like gold have done well, and we expect investors to continue to seek refuge in this safe asset. One thing I have learned over time is the best thing to do is let market price action guide your decision-making and then try to understand the fundamentals as they become more evident and comprehensible,” he writes in a note with Lorenzo Giorgianni.
That’s an odd thing for one of the great macro traders of all time to say, but if you look back over his (rare) public comments, it’s a familiar theme. Here’s what he said back in 2009:
You’ll recall from earlier this week that the court ruled the European Central Bank must ensure its QE bond-buying program is proportionate or else Germany’s Bundesbank central bank may no longer participate.
- And if its not the Germany Bundesbank central bank may no longer participate
The Governing Council of the ECB responded with a “Yeah, right …”:
said it “takes note” of the judgement
- “The Governing Council remains fully committed to doing everything necessary within its mandate”
One member (at least) said the ECB will not respond directly to the court
- court’s arguments are ridiculous
- we could easily answer them
- we should not do so as this is a risk to central bank independence
So, its an ‘as you were’ for the ECB QE program.
Jefferies LLC is a US multinational independent investment bank and financial services company.
- The firm is headquartered in New York City.
A company statement
says its chief financial officer Peregrine “Peg” Broadbent has died from “coronavirus complications”
The virus is cutting a swathe through New York, deaths in the city are nearing (if not above as I post) 1000.
The Fed just hiked the amount offered in its repo operations
The statement via the NY Fed:
“The Open Market Trading Desk (the Desk) at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has updated the current monthly schedule of repurchase agreement (repo) operations.
Beginning with today’s operation and through March 12, 2020, the Desk will increase the amount offered in daily overnight repo operations from at least $100 billion to at least $150 billion. In addition, the Desk will increase the amount offered in the two-week term repo operations on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 and Thursday, March 12, 2020 from at least $20 billion to at least $45 billion.”
You can check out the other smaller details here
. Not QE they said. Things will go back to normal soon enough they said. Look where are we now.