Battle Royale: JPMC’s Dimon and Minneapolis Fed’s Kashkari Battle Over Bank Capital

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Confounded Interest. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
Bloomberg has nice piece on the battle between JPMorganChase’s Jamie Dimon and the Minneapolis Fed’s Neel Kashkari.
(Bloomberg) Jamie Dimon is America’s most famous banker, and Neel Kashkari is its most outspoken bank regulator, so it’s not a shock that they would eventually come to blows. What’s interesting is that their contretemps is over an acronym that most Americans have never heard of, but one that may be central to preventing another recession.
TLAC, which is pronounced TEE-lack, is something you need to know about if you want to judge the sparring between Dimon, the well-coiffed chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Kashkari, the very bald man who ran for governor of California on the Republican ticket and is now president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
On April 6, Kashkari went after Dimon in a way that circumspect central bankers ordinarily don’t. In an essay published on Medium and republished on the Minneapolis Fed website, he challenged Dimon’s assertion in his annual letter to shareholders that 1) there’s no longer a risk that taxpayers will be stuck with the bill if a big bank fails, and 2) banks have too much capital (meaning an unnecessarily thick safety cushion). Wrote Kashkari: ‘Both of these assertions are demonstrably false.’

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Anthony B Sanders ‘ April 14, 2017.

Are Big Banks’ Dark Pools Behind the Run-Up in Bank Stock Prices?

The biggest banks on Wall Street, both foreign and domestic, have been repeatedly charged with rigging and colluding in markets from New York to London to Japan. Thus, it is natural to ask, have the big banks formed a cartel to rig the prices of their own stocks?
This time last year, Wall Street banks were in a slow, endless bleed. The Federal Reserve had raised interest rates for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis on December 16, 2015 with strong hints that more rate hikes would be coming in 2016. Bank stocks never do well in a rising interest rate environment because their dividend yield has to compete with rising yields on bonds. Money gravitates out of dividend paying stocks into bonds and/or into hard assets like real estate based on the view that it will appreciate from inflationary forces. This is classic market thinking 101.
Bizarrely, to explain the current run up in bank stock prices, market pundits are shoving their way onto business news shows to explain to the gullible public that bank stocks like rising interest rates because the banks will be able to charge more on loans. That rationale pales in comparison to the negative impact of outflows from stocks into bonds (if and when interest rates actually do materially rise) and the negative impact of banks taking higher reserves for loan losses because their already shaky loan clients can’t pay loans on time because of rising rates. That is also classic market thinking 101.
Big bank stocks also like calm and certainty – as does the stock market in general. At the risk of understatement, since Donald Trump took the Oath of Office on January 20, those qualities don’t readily come to mind in describing the state of the union.
Prior to the cravenly corrupt market rigging that led to the epic financial crash in 2008 (we’re talking about the rating agencies being paid by Wall Street to deliver triple-A ratings to junk mortgage securitizations and banks knowingly issuing mortgage pools in which they had inside knowledge that they would fail) the previous episode of that level of corruption occurred in the late 1920s and also led to an epic financial crash in 1929. The U. S. only avoided a Great Depression following 2008 because the Federal Reserve, on its own, secretly funneled $16 trillion in almost zero interest rate loans to Wall Street banks and their foreign cousins. (Because the Fed did this without the knowledge of Congress or the public, this was effectively another form of market rigging. Had the rest of us known this was happening, we also could have made easy bets on the direction of the stock market.)

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade By Pam Martens and Russ Marte.

A Complete List Of What Trump Can, And Can Not Do, On Day One And For The Rest Of 2017

With the Trump inauguration just over 10 days away, attention has now shifted to what Trump will do the moment he steps foot in the White House, and as The Hill reported this morning, judging by his campaign promises, Donald Trump will be a busy man starting on his first day in the Oval Office: “Trump has pledged to take sweeping, unilateral actions on Jan. 20 to roll back President Obama’s policies and set the course for his administration. Many of Obama’s policies he can reverse with the simple stroke of a pen.”
The Hill then lays out some of the key agenda items in terms of Immigration, Environment, Lobbying, Trade and Healthcare.
The reality, however, is a bit more nuanced than captured in the report, and has to take into consideration not only what Trump’s intentions are, but how they would integrate with Congress, where simply structural limitations could put hurdles ahead of the Trump agenda.
So, for a more comprehensive preview of what Trump can – and can not do – both on day one, and for the rest of 2017, we present a recent analysis by Alec Phillips of Goldman Sachs (which, now that Trump has surrounded himself with Goldman alumni will be as critical when it comes to fiscal policy as Goldman was when it came to advising the Federal Reserve on monetary policy), which notes that the political agenda for 2017 is starting to take shape, with tax reform and Obamacare repeal seemingly at the top of the agenda.
Trump will be delighted to know that both items can be passed without Democratic support via the budget reconciliation process.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 9, 2017.

The Case Against Fed Reform

This week the 115th Congress was sworn in, and there are some indications that Fed reform may be on the agenda. The combination of populist anger fueled by Ron Paul’s Presidential campaigns and the 2008 financial crisis coupled with the repeated failings of the Federal Reserve to meet their projections has created a rare window for monetary policy to be both politically advantageous, as well as so obviously needed that even politicians can see it.
The question now is what sort of reform is on the table.
Congressional Reforms Last Congressional session saw proposals from both the House and the Senate.
From the House we have the FORM Act, which would require the Fed to adopt a monetary policy rule and explain to Congress whenever they deviate from that rule. The FORM Act also calls for an annual GAO audit of the Federal Reserve, doubles the number of times the Fed Chairman testifies before Congress, and makes some other tweaks to the makeup and protocol of the Federal Reserve Board. Since the FORM Act passed the House in 2015, there is a good chance we will see it resurrected in 2017.
On the Senate side, Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby has pushed for the Financial Regulatory Improvement Act. Not only does it lack a catchy acronym, but its reforms to the Fed are far more modest than the FORM Act. The meat of the bill focuses on changes to the Fed board. The head of the New York Fed would no longer be appointed the banks board of the directors, but would instead be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate – just like the Federal Reserve Chairman. It would also grant powers to the Fed’s regional presidents that currently only reside with the board of directors.
Though early drafts of the Senate bill called for the Fed to adopt rules-based monetary policy, this ended up being stripped from the final proposal due to Democratic opposition – largely because much of the Hill focus has been on the Taylor rule, which many Fed advocates fear is too restricting.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on January 5, 2017.

TO REALLY ‘MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,’ END THE FED!

Former Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher recently gave a speech identifying the Federal Reserve’s easy money/low interest rate policies as a source of the public anger that propelled Donald Trump into the White House. Mr. Fisher is certainly correct that the Fed’s policies have ‘skewered’ the middle class. However, the problem is not specific Fed policies, but the very system of fiat currency managed by a secretive central bank.
Federal Reserve-generated increases in money supply cause economic inequality. This is because, when the Fed acts to increase the money supply, well-to-do investors and other crony capitalists are the first recipients of the new money. These economic elites enjoy an increase in purchasing power before the Fed’s inflationary policies lead to mass price increases. This gives them a boost in their standard of living.
By the time the increased money supply trickles down to middle- and working-class Americans, the economy is already beset by inflation. So most average Americans see their standard of living decline as a result of Fed-engendered money supply increases.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on DECEMBER 2, 2016.

GREY CHAMPION ASSUMES COMMAND (PART ONE)

At each of these great gates of history, eighty to a hundred years apart, a similar generational drama unfolded. Four archetypes, aligned in the same order – elder Prophet, midlife Nomad, young adult Hero, child Artist – together produced the most enduring legends in our history. Each time the Grey Champion appeared marked the arrival of a moment of ‘darkness, and adversity, and peril,’ the climax of the Fourth Turning of the saeculum. – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe
In September 2015 I wrote a five part article called Fourth Turning: Crisis of Trust. In Part 2 of that article I pondered who might emerge as the Grey Champion, leading the country during the second half of this Fourth Turning Crisis. I had the above pictures of Franklin, Lincoln, and FDR, along with a flaming question mark. The question has been answered. Donald J. Trump is the Grey Champion.
When I wrote that article, only one GOP debate had taken place. There were eleven more to go. Trump was viewed by the establishment as a joke, ridiculed by the propaganda media, and disdained by the GOP and Democrats. I was still skeptical of his seriousness and desire to go the distance, but I attempted to view his candidacy through the lens of the Fourth Turning. I was convinced the mood of the country turning against the establishment could lead to his elevation to the presidency. I was definitely in the minority at the time:
Until three months ago the 2016 presidential election was in control of the establishment. The Party was putting forth their chosen crony capitalist figureheads – Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. They are hand-picked known controllable entities who will not upset the existing corrupt system. They are equally acceptable to Goldman Sachs, the Federal Reserve, the military industrial complex, the sickcare industry, mega-corporate America, the moneyed interests, and the never changing government apparatchiks. The one party system is designed to give the appearance of choice, while in reality there is no difference between the policies of the two heads of one party and their candidate products. But now Donald Trump has stormed onto the scene from the reality TV world to tell the establishment – You’re Fired!!!

This post was published at The Burning Platform on November 20, 2016.

Trump Fires all Lobbyists – Keeping His Word & More

Trump is keeping his word so far. He has admitted that he was part of the problem paying lobbyists to get preferential treatment. As they say, if you want to catch a thief, you hire a thief. In this case, Trump has really been on the other side and admitted he even paid Hillary to attend his wedding. He has cleaned house, throwing out anyone who has been a lobbyist from his cabinet. Nonetheless, he cannot fire Janet Yellen from the Federal Reserve. I also believe that would be a mistake. She inherited a nightmare and is by no means the origin of the problems.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Nov 18, 2016.

Changing the Culture of Wall Street Requires Ending Continuity Government in Washington

It’s more than a coincidence that at a time when the two leading candidates for the highest office in the United States are considered untrustworthy by tens of millions of their fellow citizens, the industry that has perpetually attempted to stack the political deck in Washington has also lost the trust of a majority of Americans.
This feels to many like having Wall Street’s one percent at the rudder for the past two decades has finally steered the ship of state into a toxic sink hole that is devouring the credibility of the United States at home and abroad.
Wall Street’s image has fallen so low that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is holding an annual ‘Reforming Culture and Behavior in the Financial Services Industry’ conference. That New York Fed President Bill Dudley is heading up this conference shows just how hopelessly lost Wall Street really is. (Dudley is the guy who didn’t see a problem with his wife collecting $190,000 annually from JPMorgan Chase while Dudley supervised the bank. The New York Fed is also the place that allowed JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon to continue to sit on its Board as JPMorgan was being investigated by the Fed for losing over $6 billion in depositors’ money in the London Whale derivatives fiasco. And Dudley is also the guy that allowed the firing of one of his own bank examiners, Carmen Segarra, after she filed a negative examination of Goldman Sachs. Segarra filed a Federal lawsuit charging that she was fired in retaliation for refusing to change her examination report. The portrait of the New York Fed as a crony regulator under Dudley was dramatically broadened in 2014 when ProPublica and public radio’s This American Life released internal tape recordings Segarra had made inside the New York Fed showing a lap dog regulator cowering before a powerful Wall Street firm.)

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on November 2, 2016.

The Clinton Syndrome, Part 2: Can Hillary Escape This Time?

Stewart Dougherty presents the 2nd part of his disembowelment of the Clinton crime machine. The Weiner email bomb dropped in the middle of this. As it turns out, the Weiner lap-top mishap appears to a ‘Black Swan’ of sorts that eluded Hillary’s tentacles of control. In the piece below, Stewart presents useful background knowledge and intellectual tools with which to help you analyze and interpret the next sequence of events before and after the election (assuming the election is not postponed).
The information that emerges from the Weiner laptop is going to blow people’s minds – John Titus, Best Evidence Productions, in an upcoming Shadow of Truth
Author’s Preface: We are far more interested in markets than politics. To us, free markets represent liberty in motion. But today, politics, and particularly the most corrupt political institution on earth, the Federal Reserve, have markets in a hammer-lock. At this point, we have to understand what is happening in politics in order to understand what is likely to happen in markets. We write a great deal about politics at this critical juncture in order to help you understand markets and achieve the financial freedom you desire and deserve.
Regarding the breaking Clinton-scandal developments, we believe that in addition to the 650,000 emails retrieved from the Abedin / Weiner computer which are going to show a level of corruption in this nation never before even imagined let alone proved, the FBI’s decision to re-open the investigation was related to the Bundy acquittals on October 27, 2016. We believe that government officials are looking up the barrel of a full-blown American revolution. Not the shooting kind, but rather something much worse for them: complete moral rejection of government and Establishment corruption by the PRODUCTIVE CLASS in America, which threatens to rapidly spread into and cripple the American economy just ahead of the holiday selling season.

This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on October 31, 2016.

A Rigged Media And An Attempt To Rig The Election

We often criminalize behavior that is normal – Donna Brazile on ABC’s ‘This Week’ in reference to Hillary Clinton giving access to the State Department in exchange for 6-figure donations to the Clinton Foundation.
Thank goodness for Wikileaks and the DNC and Podesta email dumps. There’s no question that the mainstream media is colluding with the Clinton Campaign to tip the election in HRC’s favor. For Obama to accuse Trump of ‘whining’ about it is absurd. But, then again, Obama’s speech last week sounded like something out of ’1984′ or Goebbels’s Nazi Party Propaganda playbook. Moreover, Obama’s silence is defeaning with regard to HRC’s overt corruption and criminality per the Podesta emails.
As for whether or not the media is rigged, follow the money. According to analysis from the Center For Public Integrity, 430 people who work in journalism have donated almost $400,000 in total to both Presidential candidates. HOWEVER, these 430 journalists have given approximately $375,000 to HRC and roughly $15,000 to Trump. In other words, journalists have given 25x more money to HRC than to Trump. Quite frankly, journalists should be forbidden from contributing to any political campaign – as should Federal Reserve officials, who are also throwing wads of money at HRC.

This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on October 18, 2016.

Conflicts Of Interest

Fed Governor Lael Brainard has donated to Clinton’s campaign and is widely viewed as a potential Clinton pick for Treasury secretary. Yellen hesitated and then demurred when Representative Scott Garrett of New Jersey asked whether Brainard would have a conflict of interest if she were indeed in talks with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign about a position. The election takes place Nov. 8.
‘I would have to consult my counsel, I’m not aware that that’s a conflict,’ Yellen said in testimony to the House Financial Services Committee in Washington, while rejecting Garrett’s suggestion that the U. S. central bank has a political bias.
Source: Fed Politics in Spotlight as Yellen Cornered by Lawmaker | Bloomberg
Imagine how higher management would feel about you reacting in the same situation. Goldman has been known to lay off its employees for even donating to the Trump campaign. So a similar situation would be you, an employee of a firm, donating to a political campaign, and later getting a promotion as a result of that donation.
Of course, Lael Brainard herself has a long history of working in the executive branch to begin with. She initially served in Bill Clinton’s administration, and was appointed Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs early in Barack Obama’s presidency. In 2014, she was nominated to the Federal Reserve Board of Governers, and it appears the majority of ‘conflicts of interest’ and connections with her past employers were largely ignored during her confirmation.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 5, 2016.

Yellen May Quit If Trump Wins – -Please Do!

Even with two years remaining in her term, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen may quit if Donald Trump is elected president, an economist argued on Tuesday.
Paul Ashworth, chief U. S. economist at Capital Economics, said in a note to clients that Trump doubled down on criticism of the Fed during his debate with Hillary Clinton.
Trump said the U. S. economy is in a ‘big, fat, ugly bubble’ and specifically called out Yellen.
‘And we have a Fed that’s doing political things. This Janet Yellen of the Fed,’ he said. ‘The day Obama goes off, and he leaves, and goes out to the golf course for the rest of his life to play golf, when they raise interest rates, you’re going to see some very bad things happen, because the Fed is not doing their job. The Fed is being more political than Secretary Clinton.’
Ashworth noted that, after the last meeting, Yellen fought back against earlier charges by Trump that the central bank was acting in a politically motivated manner.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By Steve Goldstein via Marketwatch ‘ September 30, 2016.

Yellen Grilled on Fed Partisanship

Just days after Donald Trump accused the Federal Reserve of playing politics with low interest rates during the first presidential debate, Congressman Scott Garrett challenged Chairman Janet Yellen today on whether Fed officials were guilty of playing politics this campaign season. In particular, Garrett questioned the actions of Fed Governor Lael Brainard who raised eyebrows earlier this year by donating the legal maximum to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Since the Fed’s decision to maintain low interest rates is widely seen as benefiting Hillary Clinton, and given that Brainard’s actions opened herself up to what Garrett described as ‘the appearance of conflict,’ Garrett asked whether she had recused herself from the FOMC. Yellen responded that Brainard did not, was not asked to, and was not barred from donating to political campaigns according to the Hatch Act.
Garrett pushed further. Noting that multiple media outlets have been openly speculating about a potential role for Brainard in a Clinton administration, the congressman asked Yellen whether such a conversation between Brainard and Clinton would be a violation of Fed policy. Yellen responded by saying that while she would need to check with Fed lawyers, she didn’t see any conflict.
That’s right, according to Janet Yellen, there is nothing wrong with a sitting Federal Reserve official lobbying a presidential candidate for a future job, even though they have the ability to vote on Fed decisions that can dramatically impact the American economy.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Sept. 28, 2016.

At Last – – Even The FT Says Fed on Ropes as Yellen Seeks to Fend off Trump Blows

After a fusillade of excoriating and in many ways unprecedented attacks on the Federal Reserve by the Republican presidential candidate, Janet Yellen, the US central bank’s chair, finally hit back.
Ms Yellen last Wednesday dismissed as emphatically wrong Donald Trump’s claims that she and her institution were keeping short-term interest rates low at the behest of the Obama administration. ‘Partisan politics play no role in our decisions,’ she declared.
Mr Trump is throwing punches at a time when the US central bank is under assault from both sides of the partisan divide, and at a time when polling suggests public confidence in its leadership has declined during a subpar economic recovery.
Some experts say the Fed is vulnerable and that the populist attacks could fuel demands by politicians for tighter constraints on its policy freedoms. Mr Trump ‘is tossing a lot of fuel on the fire’, says Sarah Binder, a professor of political science at George Washington University. ‘It intensifies the partisan criticism of the Fed and keeps the Fed in the politicians’ crosshairs.’ Mr Trump’s interventions by no means mark the first time the Fed has been turned into a political punching bag. Previous Fed chairs have been the subject of barbs during presidential campaigns – including in 2011 when Republican candidate Rick Perry accused former Fed chair Ben Bernanke of ‘treasonous’ behaviour by conducting quantitative easing. Past administrations have seen outbreaks of tension with Fed chiefs, including under presidents George HW Bush and Richard Nixon.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By Sam Fleming, Financial Times ‘ September 28, 2016.

At Last – – FT Says Fed on Ropes as Yellen Seeks to Fend off Trump Blows

After a fusillade of excoriating and in many ways unprecedented attacks on the Federal Reserve by the Republican presidential candidate, Janet Yellen, the US central bank’s chair, finally hit back.
Ms Yellen last Wednesday dismissed as emphatically wrong Donald Trump’s claims that she and her institution were keeping short-term interest rates low at the behest of the Obama administration. ‘Partisan politics play no role in our decisions,’ she declared.
Mr Trump is throwing punches at a time when the US central bank is under assault from both sides of the partisan divide, and at a time when polling suggests public confidence in its leadership has declined during a subpar economic recovery.
Some experts say the Fed is vulnerable and that the populist attacks could fuel demands by politicians for tighter constraints on its policy freedoms. Mr Trump ‘is tossing a lot of fuel on the fire’, says Sarah Binder, a professor of political science at George Washington University. ‘It intensifies the partisan criticism of the Fed and keeps the Fed in the politicians’ crosshairs.’ Mr Trump’s interventions by no means mark the first time the Fed has been turned into a political punching bag. Previous Fed chairs have been the subject of barbs during presidential campaigns – including in 2011 when Republican candidate Rick Perry accused former Fed chair Ben Bernanke of ‘treasonous’ behaviour by conducting quantitative easing. Past administrations have seen outbreaks of tension with Fed chiefs, including under presidents George HW Bush and Richard Nixon.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on September 28, 2016.

They Are Not Fixed! U.S. Banks Need Billions of New Capital Under New Fed Tests

Wall Street would have to come up with billions of dollars in additional capital in a proposed revamp of the Federal Reserve’s annual stress tests that could also scrap some provisions that lenders have criticized.
As the Fed has signaled for months, it is considering changes that would raise the minimum capital that the biggest banks need for a passing grade, Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo said Monday. But the Fed is also mulling concessions that Wall Street has sought, such as eliminating its assumption that lenders would continue to pay out the same level of dividends and buy back shares during periods of financial duress, he said.
The plan shows that even after a litany of new rules and capital demands imposed on the biggest banks in response to the financial crisis, regulators still aren’t satisfied that Wall Street is safe enough to endure another economic tsunami. Tarullo, the Fed’s point person on regulation, conceded that the proposal ‘would generally result in a significant increase in capital requirements’ for the largest lenders.
The overhaul tries to incorporate all the new capital requirements into the stress tests, which already represent the highest hurdle that U. S. banks must clear to show they can survive a hypothetical crisis. A particularly heavy mandate for Wall Street giants is an extra surcharge each firm has to maintain based on their size and complexity. For JPMorgan Chase & Co., that surcharge means an extra 3.5 percentage points of capital.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Jesse Hamilton, Bloomberg Business ‘ September 27, 2016.

We Are Stuck In Depression Until The Legend Of The ‘Maestro’ Finally Dies

ALHAMBRA PARTNERS / September 23, 2016
Alan Greenspan is confused – again. The man who admitted to the world a decade ago he didn’t know much if anything about interest rates is now trying to change that reputation by suggesting yet again interest rates are set to rise. In testimony before Congress in February 2005, the then-Chairman of the Federal Reserve actually said:
For the moment, the broadly unanticipated behavior of world bond markets remains a conundrum. Bond price movements may be a short-term aberration, but it will be some time before we are able to better judge the forces underlying recent experience.
To an economist, it was a ‘conundrum’ especially where econometrics and statistics and take the dominant view (if it can be called that). That is one facet to the Greenspan story that is so odd yet so compelling in all the wrong ways. Though he was an economist by schooling, he had more practical experience in the ‘real’ world. He served on boards of such illustrious companies as Alcoa, General Foods, even Mobil. But he was also a director for JP Morgan and Morgan Guaranty.
He should have known better, as his infamous 1966 essay on gold reveals. Thus, we can reasonably assume that what transformed his worldview was not economics (small ‘e’) but rather power. Not only had he been appointed to major corporate boards, he was heavily involved in politics, including the kinds that are the stuff of conspiracy theories.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Jeffrey P.Snider via.

Get Ready For The Mother Of All Stock Market Corrections Once Central Banks Cease Their Money Printing

Undue tightening by the US Federal Reserve could set off a perfect storm of recessionary effects
Global stock and bond markets have been all over the place of late. Rarely have investors been so lacking in conviction. Confusion as to future direction reigns, and with good reason after the spectacular returns of recent years.
For how much longer can stock markets keep delivering? Is there another recession on the way, or to the contrary, is growth likely to surprise positively, underpinning current valuations? Economic turning points are never easy to spot, but right now it’s proving harder than ever.
The immediate cause of all this uncertainty is, however, fairly obvious. It’s the US Federal Reserve again, and quite how far it is prepared to go with the present tightening cycle. Few expect policy makers to act at this week’s meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.
Even so, a number of its members have once again been making hawkish noises, and another rise in rates by the end of the year is widely anticipated.
Indeed, it is on the face of it quite hard to see how the Fed can avoid such action. Already at 2.3pc, core inflation in the US is trending higher. The US labour market continues to tighten, and money growth, for some a key lead indicator, is strong.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By JEREMY WARNER, The Telegraph ‘ September 22, 2016.

The Fed’s Decision Was So Bad – – Even Bill Gross Was Speechless

After the Federal Reserve decided to leave interest rates unchanged, bond guru Bill Gross told CNBC he was barely able to speak.
‘I’m choked with emotion and hardly able to speak,’ the portfolio manager at Janus Capital Management said in an interview with CNBC’s ‘Power Lunch.’ ‘After hawkish talk at Jackson Hole from [Fed Chair] Yellen and [Vice Chair] Stan Fischer, who even said there’d be two hikes in 2016, they’ve chosen to defer once more a necessary hike to normalize short-term interest rates and provide savers, in my view, with at least a bit of thin gruel to work with to provide for education, retirement and health-care needs.’
He believes the contradiction between what Fed officials have said leading up to the meeting and the outcome of the gathering is leaving investors ‘very confused.’

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By Michelle Fox via CNBC ‘ September 22, 2016.

Fed Seeks to Prohibit Companies from Merchant Banking to Promote Lending

The Federal Reserve wants to take away the ability of Goldman Sachs and other banks to invest in companies rather than acting as bankers and lending. The U. S. banking regulators are urging Congress to prohibit merchant banking where firms buy stakes in companies rather than lend them money. They are pushing for limits on Wall Street’s ownership of physical commodities after lawmakers accused Goldman Sachs and other banks of seizing unfair advantages in metal and energy markets in recent years.
Merchant banking has generally become the business of making private equity investments in non-financial firms, in particular, equity investments that have a venture capital character. Based upon a report on a multi-agency study of banks’ investment activities required by the Dodd-Frank Act, they highlighted ways to fix potential risks that regulators didn’t think were handled by the Volcker rule ban on certain trading and investments. However, Congress needs to pass legislation and they are subject to bribes that we call lobbying, which presents the greatest hurdle to actually changing anything. The Fed’s recommendations on merchant banking would end the ability to operate mines, warehouse metals, and engage in shipping oil.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Sep 22, 2016.