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Gold Futures Rise as Traders Focus on Stalled U.S. Wage Growth

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04 May 2019

 

 

Big Picture Long Term Video May 3rd 2019

 

 

Eoin Treacy's view

A link to this week's Big Picture Long-Term video commentary is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

 

 

It's Time to Look More Carefully at "Monetary Policy 3 (MP3)" and "Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)"

This article by Ray Dalio is well worth taking the time to read over the weekend. Here is a section:

Modern Monetary Theory is one of those infinite number of configurations that is in my opinion inevitable and shouldn’t be looked at in a precise way. For those of you who don’t know what Modern Monetary Theory is, it’s described here (link). It’s described differently by different folks so it has slightly different configurations. For example, some might change fiscal policy so that there is a wealth tax that is used to eliminate student loans, and others might change taxes and spending in other ways, and there are an infinite number of ways these changes can be configured that we shouldn’t delve into at this stage because that will drive us into the weeds and the particulars that will stand in the way of seeing the big important things. Also, people who are focusing on MMT as a package will limit their thinking to the specifics of that package rather than thinking about the wider range of MP3 policies to find the best one. 

MMT’s most important configuration is the fixing of interest rates at 0% and there is the strict controlling of inflation via the changing of fiscal policy surpluses and deficits, which will produce debt that central banks will monetize. In other words, whereas during the times we have become used to, interest rates moved around flexibly and fiscal deficits (often) and surpluses (rarely) were very sticky so interest rates were more important in producing buying power and the cycles, in the future interest rates will be very sticky at 0% and fiscal policies will be much more fluid and important and the debts produced by the deficits will be monetized. In case you didn’t notice, that is by and large what has been happening and will increasingly need to happen. In other words, interest rates are now pinned near 0% in two of the three major reserve currencies (the euro and the yen) and there is a good chance that they will be pinned there in the third and most important reserve currency (the dollar) in the next economic downturn. As a result, fiscal policy deficits that are monetized is the contemporary stimulation configuration of choice. That existed long before there was a concept called “Modern Monetary Theory,” though MMT embraces it. Putting labels aside, it is certainly the case that the configuration of having 1) an interest rate fixed at around 0%, 2) more flexible fiscal policies with debt monetization to fund the resulting deficits with 3) rigorous inflation targeting exists and is increasingly likely, necessary, and possible in reserve currency countries. An added benefit of this approach is that the money and credit created can be better targeted to fund the desired uses than the process of having the central bank buy financial assets from those who have financial assets and use the money they get from the central bank to buy the financial assets they want to buy. There are many historical cases of this happening (see the 1930s-1940s prewar and war periods which, as you know, I think are analogous), which offer worthwhile lessons about how this was and could be engineered. 

The big risk of this approach arises from the risks of putting the power to create and allocate money, credit, and spending in the hands of politically elected policy makers. In my opinion, for these MP3 policies to work well, the system would have to be engineered in a way that decision making would be in the hands of wise, not politically motivated, and highly skilled people. It’s difficult to imagine how the system will be built to achieve that. At the same time, it is inevitable that we are headed in this direction.  

 

Eoin Treacy's view

The final paragraph above puts me in mind of Plato’s progression of democracy through tyranny and back again. Someone can only be considered wise after the fact and if recent events have told us anything it is that history is endless revisable.

 

 

U.K. Voters' Brexit Backlash Leaves May And Corbyn Bruised

This article by Robert Hutton and Alex Morales for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

“I think there was a simple message from yesterday’s elections to both us and the Labour Party: Just get on and deliver Brexit,” May said in a speech to Conservatives in Wales. “An arrangement has to be made, a deal has to be done and Parliament has to resolve this issue,” Corbyn said later, in comments welcomed by May. “I think that is very, very clear.”

 

Eoin Treacy's view

The Conservatives and Labour risk being eviscerated at the next general election. That gives them both a clear incentive to conclude the Brexit impasse before then. That is the real deadline, rather than October, because it represents career risk for politicians and that is all they are truly interested in.

 

 

Shell's Great Natural Gas Earnings Had a Helping Hand From Oil

This article by Kelly Gilblom and Dan Murtaugh for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Shell is the world’s largest liquefied natural gas trader and sells most of the fuel on long-term contracts linked to oil prices. Some of those agreements are structured with a three-month lag, Chief Financial Officer Jessica Uhl told reporters on a conference call. That means that while global gas prices were tanking, Shell was still reaping benefits from a crude rally that sent Brent prices to the highest level in four years in early October.

“We have a business structured predominantly around long-term contracts, mostly oil linked,” Uhl said. “The price environment doesn’t have material impact on our business.” In addition, Shell also benefited from trading. The gas business was buoyed by a $234 million accounting gain in the value of its commodity derivatives. Shell’s rival, BP Plc, told investors on Tuesday that its strong trading earnings reflected shorting gas contracts.

 

Eoin Treacy's view

Natural gas is the big winner from the demise of coal. Not only is it now cheaper than coal, because of tighter emissions regulations and unconventional drilling, but it is also less polluting. That’s particularly important for Asia which has some of the most polluted cities in the world and where standards of living are increasing most rapidly which is creating demand for clearer solutions.

 

 

Gold Futures Rise as Traders Focus on Stalled U.S. Wage Growth

This article by Marvin G. Perez for Bloomberg may be of interest.

Gold, coming off three straight monthly losses, got a lift as the wage data reassured investors that signs of moderate inflation will continue to stay the Fed’s hand on rates. Low rates are a boon to gold, which doesn’t pay interest. Fed policy makers reiterated their patient stance this week as Chairman Jerome Powell noted “very strong job creation’’ and said low inflation may be transitory.

“There was disappointing data on the wage-inflation side, and just puts a hint of doubt into the idea that low inflation is transitory,” Ryan McKay, a strategist at TD Securities in Toronto, said by phone. “Gold has been under a lot of pressure since the Fed comments this week, and this helps ease some of that.”

 

Eoin Treacy's view

The market was disappointed the Fed did not bring forward the end of quantitative tightening from September to June but one way or the other the process will be complete by the end of the summer. With the Fed on pause it is unlikely they are going to raise rates without a good reason and quantitative tightening’s end is being priced in. The volatility on the Dollar this week, suggests indecision among investors as to its ability to continue to rally.  

 

 

2019: The 50th year of The Chart Seminar

 

 

Eoin Treacy's view

I have had word from the inestimable Mrs. Fuller that the London Philharmonic Orchestra are planning a memorial concert on October 5th at the Royal Festival Hall. It is envisaged that there will be drinks and canapes afterwards. Since this is the 50th year of The Chart Seminar we will be conducting the event on October 3rd and 4th.

I also plan on holding a New York event, potentially in June, and am in discussions with a partner in how best to organise it.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, would like to attend, or have a suggestion for another venue please feel to reach out to Sarah at [email protected].  

The full rate for The Chart Seminar is £1799 + VAT. (Please note US, Australian and Asian delegates, as non-EU residents are not liable for VAT). Annual subscribers are offered a discounted rate of £850. Anyone booking more than one place can also avail of the £850 rate for the second and subsequent delegates.

 

 

Eoin's personal portfolio: precious metal long initiated March 8th

 

 

Eoin Treacy's view

Details of this trade are posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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