Non-Farm Payrolls drew something of a yawn but, coupled with a look at how business revenues are faring, they do tell us that a little stress is building.
Meanwhile, sterling seems to be without a friend in the world, not least back in Threadneedle Street.
Please click the link for a special, complimentary edition of my bi-monthly market update.
Please see the page heading above which bears this title for a daily 2 1/2 minutes’ worth of reportage, commentary – and comedy – on the financial events of the day, as broadcast on World Radio Switzerland during its evening ‘Drive Time’ programme.
The following article is (after very light editing) something your author wrote early in October of 2008, when the padlocks on the Lehman office building doors were still swinging. The reader will, he hopes, find that most of the presentiments expressed and the analysis submitted sadly turned out to be more accurate than otherwise.
It is to our collective detriment that, eight long, painful, underemployed, increasingly indebted, more societally divisive years on, few if any of these lessons seem to have been drawn by the Powers-that-Be.
Riddle me this, if you will. ‘Europe’ as a concept has perhaps never stood in lower regard, whether in the eyes of its own citizens or of those of us thankfully still beyond its reach. Yet the euro is strengthening – with options showing levels of bullishness not seen since the 2008/9 Crisis – and the likes of Italy and Spain can both borrow for 30 years at much the same rate as can the USA. Ye Gods! It truly must be the Promised Land.
But, forget the fantasy world of central bank-distorted financial markets for a moment and look around at the world beyond the Bloomberg screens.
With all due credit to the great Irish songwriter Percy French for his comic ditty (tune here) which originally concerned the (once more horribly pertinent!) conflict between the Tsar and the Ottomans – one familiar to all true rugby fans in a decidedly more ribald version. When this was first published in the last days of 2007, it was offered as piece of seasonal levity regarding the dire state of financial markets which were already giving undeniable indications that the drama through which we were all living was headed to a very operatic denouement indeed.
With last week’s report of monetary developments in the Eurozone, we again have evidence both of Draghi’s monetary monomania and of the sheer futility of his constant refrain that the ECB is just buying time until member states undertake the ever-promised, but never-delivered ‘structural reforms’ which they all so patently require.
Here we present one of a series of brief runs-though of the salient events of the past week or so. A more detailed treatment of these and other issues is intended to be released on a monthly schedule, starting in early May. Today, the focus is on the US.
As part of our analytical process, we frequently consult our proprietary estimate of global money supply, something we construct by combining the individual measures for 15 countries (strictly 33, since we include the euro as one of them) which together account for almost three-quarters of global output.
After yet another masterly performance before Congress – one which was immediately confounded by the usual cacophony of cross-talk from the Pigeons and Doves (no Hawks!) among her colleagues – Madame Yellen has left no-one really the wiser as to what the all-things-to-all-men Federal Reserve thinks it is actually doing with regard to monetary policy.
Is she ‘patient’ or not? And is ‘patient’ a nudge-nudge, wink-wink code for a period stretching beyond the next few FOMC meetings or is it just a tacit admission that the Fed will start checking its parachute harness only after the plane’s engines have at last caught fire?