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FOMC Minutes Show Fed Discussing 2013-Like Taper To Bond-Purchases

FOMC Minutes Show Fed Discussing 2013-Like Taper To Bond-Purchases

Two days after Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic says the central bank might taper its bond purchases later this year if the distribution of vaccines boosts the U.S….



FOMC Minutes Show Fed Discussing 2013-Like Taper To Bond-Purchases

Two days after Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic says the central bank might taper its bond purchases later this year if the distribution of vaccines boosts the U.S. economic outlook.

“I am hopeful that in fairly short order we can start to recalibrate,” Bostic said in an interview with Reuters Monday

“If we determine things have strengthened appreciably, that we have made significant progress, then we will think about the next appropriate action”

But who's gonna monetize the debt cries Washington?

And so, all eyes are on today FOMC Minutes for any signs that The Fed is about to start stealing the jam out of the market's donut.

Since the Dec 16th FOMC meeting, Gold and stocks are higher while the dollar and bonds are lower...

Source: Bloomberg

Or is Crypto really exposing the reality to The Fed?

Source: Bloomberg

Expectations for Fed Funds this year have dovishly dropped since the last FOMC meeting also...

Source: Bloomberg

And so, as we noted above, with a shitload (technical term) of fiscal stimulus delivered and (post-Georgia) teed up for more, will the Fed use these Minutes to preview when the dreaded (hand-off) tapering will happen?

Or is the break of the psychological 1.0% yield level have them preferring to keep the dream of Yield Curve Control alive with their signaling from these Minutes?

But of course, as the image suggests, Powell has already answered all these questions - they'll keep rates low and printing billions for longer and longer than you can imagine - which suggests today's Minutes should be a nothing-burger.

Well, first things first, they did mention the taper:

A number of participants noted that, once such progress had been attained, a gradual tapering of purchases could begin and the process thereafter could generally follow a sequence similar to the one implemented during the large-scale purchase program in 2013 and 2014.

Some participants noted that the Committee could consider future adjustments to its asset purchases - such as increasing the pace of securities purchases or weighting purchases of Treasury securities toward those that had longer remaining maturities - if such adjustments were deemed appropriate to support the attainment of the Committee's objectives."

But, on the other hand, some suggested extending the duration of their buying:

Regarding the decisions on the pace and composition of the Committee’s asset purchases, all participants judged that it would be appropriate to continue those purchases at least at the current pace, and nearly all favored maintaining the current composition of purchases, although a couple of participants indicated that they were open to weighting purchases of Treasury securities toward longer maturities.

But bubbles are on their mind:

A few participants underlined the importance of continuing to evaluate the balance of costs and risks associated with asset purchases against the benefits arising from purchases.

And with regard to the USDollar:

The positive vaccine news also supported risk sentiment abroad, leading many global equity price in-dexes to advance and the U.S. dollar to depreciate fur-ther.

And on the COVID Economy:

Participants agreed that the path of the economy would depend on the course of the virus and that the ongoing public health crisis would continue to weigh on economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term and posed considerable risks to the eco-nomic outlook over the medium term

Participants observed that the economy continued to show resilience in the face of the pandemic, though it was still far from having attained conditions consistent with the Committee’s dual mandate. They noted that the economic recovery thus far had been stronger than anticipated—suggesting greater momentum in economic activity than had been previously thought—but viewed the more recent indicators as signaling that the pace of recovery had slowed. With the pandemic worsening across the country, the expansion was expected to slow even further in coming months. Nevertheless, the positive vaccine news received over the intermeeting period was viewed as favorable for the medium-term economic outlook.

Several participants pointed out that readings on high-frequency economic indicators, such as individual mobility indexes and online restaurant reservation data, might already be registering the effects of the recent rise in virus cases.

On household income and spending

Participants noted that household spending on goods, especially durables, had been strong. Participants com-mented that the rebound in consumer spending was due, in part, to fiscal programs such as federal stimulus pay-ments and expanded unemployment benefits. These measures had provided essential support to many house-holds. The support to incomes provided by fiscal pro-grams, combined with reduced spending by households on some services, had contributed to a historically large increase in aggregate household savings.

On economic projections

Primarily in response to the recent favorable news on the development of COVID-19 vaccines, the staff revised up its projection of real GDP growth for 2021 as a whole, as social-distancing measures were expected to ease more quickly than previously assumed. With monetary policy assumed to remain highly accommodative, the staff continued to project that real GDP growth over the medium term would be well above the rate of potential output growth, leading to a considerable further decline in the unemployment rate.

The resulting take‑up of labor- and product-market slack was expected to lead to gradually increasing inflation, and, for some time in the years beyond 2023, inflation was projected to overshoot 2 percent by a moderate amount, as monetary policy remained accommodative.

On Uncertainty

"Market participants had highlighted that uncertainty nevertheless remained high and had pointed to several prominent risks to the economic outlook. These risks included the possibility that the vaccine rollout might not proceed as smoothly as anticipated, the potential for adverse developments in negotiations concerning the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union, and the potential for deterioration in already strained sectors, such as those involving small businesses and certain segments of commercial real estate (CRE)."

The staff observed that the uncertainty related to the fu-ture course of the pandemic, the measures to control it, and the associated economic effects remained elevated. In addition, the staff continued to judge the risks to the economic outlook as being tilted to the downside. The recent sharp resurgence in the pandemic suggested that the near-term risks had risen, while the recent favorable developments regarding vaccines pointed to some re-duction in the downside risks over the medium term.

Additionally, as Bloomberg notes, the Minutes show clear evidence that the FOMC is planning to largely ignore a 2021 burst of inflation:

“Regarding inflation, participants generally viewed the risks as having become more balanced than they were earlier in the year, though most still viewed the risks as being weighted to the downside.”   

So we have:

“nearly all” favoring the current asset-purchase pace in December

"a couple” of participants indicating they were open to shifting toward longer-dated Treasuries

“some” thinking that such a maturity shift, or a ramp-up in purchases, could be considered down the road

“a few” highlighting the need to monitor the risks of the asset-purchase program against the benefits. (The risks aren’t spelled out but could include inflating asset-price bubbles)

Finally we mock the fact that the FOMC Minutes note virtuously that:

"Various participants noted that low-income households were particularly hard hit by the effects of the resurgent virus"

But are unable to see that injecting $1.3BN in liquidity per hour in the stock market is not going to solve that.

Full Minutes below:

Tyler Durden Wed, 01/06/2021 - 14:06

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Survey Shows Declining Concerns Among Americans About COVID-19

Survey Shows Declining Concerns Among Americans About COVID-19

A new survey reveals that only 20% of Americans view covid-19 as "a major threat"…



Survey Shows Declining Concerns Among Americans About COVID-19

A new survey reveals that only 20% of Americans view covid-19 as "a major threat" to the health of the US population - a sharp decline from a high of 67% in July 2020.


What's more, the Pew Research Center survey conducted from Feb. 7 to Feb. 11 showed that just 10% of Americans are concerned that they will  catch the disease and require hospitalization.

"This data represents a low ebb of public concern about the virus that reached its height in the summer and fall of 2020, when as many as two-thirds of Americans viewed COVID-19 as a major threat to public health," reads the report, which was published March 7.

According to the survey, half of the participants understand the significance of researchers and healthcare providers in understanding and treating long COVID - however 27% of participants consider this issue less important, while 22% of Americans are unaware of long COVID.

What's more, while Democrats were far more worried than Republicans in the past, that gap has narrowed significantly.

"In the pandemic’s first year, Democrats were routinely about 40 points more likely than Republicans to view the coronavirus as a major threat to the health of the U.S. population. This gap has waned as overall levels of concern have fallen," reads the report.

More via the Epoch Times;

The survey found that three in ten Democrats under 50 have received an updated COVID-19 vaccine, compared with 66 percent of Democrats ages 65 and older.

Moreover, 66 percent of Democrats ages 65 and older have received the updated COVID-19 vaccine, while only 24 percent of Republicans ages 65 and older have done so.

“This 42-point partisan gap is much wider now than at other points since the start of the outbreak. For instance, in August 2021, 93 percent of older Democrats and 78 percent of older Republicans said they had received all the shots needed to be fully vaccinated (a 15-point gap),” it noted.

COVID-19 No Longer an Emergency

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued its updated recommendations for the virus, which no longer require people to stay home for five days after testing positive for COVID-19.

The updated guidance recommends that people who contracted a respiratory virus stay home, and they can resume normal activities when their symptoms improve overall and their fever subsides for 24 hours without medication.

“We still must use the commonsense solutions we know work to protect ourselves and others from serious illness from respiratory viruses, this includes vaccination, treatment, and staying home when we get sick,” CDC director Dr. Mandy Cohen said in a statement.

The CDC said that while the virus remains a threat, it is now less likely to cause severe illness because of widespread immunity and improved tools to prevent and treat the disease.

Importantly, states and countries that have already adjusted recommended isolation times have not seen increased hospitalizations or deaths related to COVID-19,” it stated.

The federal government suspended its free at-home COVID-19 test program on March 8, according to a website set up by the government, following a decrease in COVID-19-related hospitalizations.

According to the CDC, hospitalization rates for COVID-19 and influenza diseases remain “elevated” but are decreasing in some parts of the United States.

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/10/2024 - 22:45

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Rand Paul Teases Senate GOP Leader Run – Musk Says “I Would Support”

Rand Paul Teases Senate GOP Leader Run – Musk Says "I Would Support"

Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul on Friday hinted that he may jump…



Rand Paul Teases Senate GOP Leader Run - Musk Says "I Would Support"

Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul on Friday hinted that he may jump into the race to become the next Senate GOP leader, and Elon Musk was quick to support the idea. Republicans must find a successor for periodically malfunctioning Mitch McConnell, who recently announced he'll step down in November, though intending to keep his Senate seat until his term ends in January 2027, when he'd be within weeks of turning 86. 

So far, the announced field consists of two quintessential establishment types: John Cornyn of Texas and John Thune of South Dakota. While John Barrasso's name had been thrown around as one of "The Three Johns" considered top contenders, the Wyoming senator on Tuesday said he'll instead seek the number two slot as party whip. 

Paul used X to tease his potential bid for the position which -- if the GOP takes back the upper chamber in November -- could graduate from Minority Leader to Majority Leader. He started by telling his 5.1 million followers he'd had lots of people asking him about his interest in running...

...then followed up with a poll in which he predictably annihilated Cornyn and Thune, taking a 96% share as of Friday night, with the other two below 2% each. 

Elon Musk was quick to back the idea of Paul as GOP leader, while daring Cornyn and Thune to follow Paul's lead by throwing their names out for consideration by the Twitter-verse X-verse. 

Paul has been a stalwart opponent of security-state mass surveillance, foreign interventionism -- to include shoveling billions of dollars into the proxy war in Ukraine -- and out-of-control spending in general. He demonstrated the latter passion on the Senate floor this week as he ridiculed the latest kick-the-can spending package:   

In February, Paul used Senate rules to force his colleagues into a grueling Super Bowl weekend of votes, as he worked to derail a $95 billion foreign aid bill. "I think we should stay here as long as it takes,” said Paul. “If it takes a week or a month, I’ll force them to stay here to discuss why they think the border of Ukraine is more important than the US border.”

Don't expect a Majority Leader Paul to ditch the filibuster -- he's been a hardy user of the legislative delay tactic. In 2013, he spoke for 13 hours to fight the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director. In 2015, he orated for 10-and-a-half-hours to oppose extension of the Patriot Act

Rand Paul amid his 10 1/2 hour filibuster in 2015

Among the general public, Paul is probably best known as Capitol Hill's chief tormentor of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease during the Covid-19 pandemic. Paul says the evidence indicates the virus emerged from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology. He's accused Fauci and other members of the US government public health apparatus of evading questions about their funding of the Chinese lab's "gain of function" research, which takes natural viruses and morphs them into something more dangerous. Paul has pointedly said that Fauci committed perjury in congressional hearings and that he belongs in jail "without question."   

Musk is neither the only nor the first noteworthy figure to back Paul for party leader. Just hours after McConnell announced his upcoming step-down from leadership, independent 2024 presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr voiced his support: 

In a testament to the extent to which the establishment recoils at the libertarian-minded Paul, mainstream media outlets -- which have been quick to report on other developments in the majority leader race -- pretended not to notice that Paul had signaled his interest in the job. More than 24 hours after Paul's test-the-waters tweet-fest began, not a single major outlet had brought it to the attention of their audience. 

That may be his strongest endorsement yet. 

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/10/2024 - 20:25

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The Great Replacement Loophole: Illegal Immigrants Score 5-Year Work Benefit While “Waiting” For Deporation, Asylum

The Great Replacement Loophole: Illegal Immigrants Score 5-Year Work Benefit While "Waiting" For Deporation, Asylum

Over the past several…



The Great Replacement Loophole: Illegal Immigrants Score 5-Year Work Benefit While "Waiting" For Deporation, Asylum

Over the past several months we've pointed out that there has  been zero job creation for native-born workers since the summer of 2018...

... and that since Joe Biden was sworn into office, most of the post-pandemic job gains the administration continuously brags about have gone foreign-born (read immigrants, mostly illegal ones) workers.

And while the left might find this data almost as verboten as FBI crime statistics - as it directly supports the so-called "great replacement theory" we're not supposed to discuss - it also coincides with record numbers of illegal crossings into the United States under Biden.

In short, the Biden administration opened the floodgates, 10 million illegal immigrants poured into the country, and most of the post-pandemic "jobs recovery" went to foreign-born workers, of which illegal immigrants represent the largest chunk.

Asylum seekers from Venezuela await work permits on June 28, 2023 (via the Chicago Tribune)

'But Tyler, illegal immigrants can't possibly work in the United States whilst awaiting their asylum hearings,' one might hear from the peanut gallery. On the contrary: ever since Biden reversed a key aspect of Trump's labor policies, all illegal immigrants - even those awaiting deportation proceedings - have been given carte blanche to work while awaiting said proceedings for up to five years...

... something which even Elon Musk was shocked to learn.

Which leads us to another question: recall that the primary concern for the Biden admin for much of 2022 and 2023 was soaring prices, i.e., relentless inflation in general, and rising wages in particular, which in turn prompted even Goldman to admit two years ago that the diabolical wage-price spiral had been unleashed in the US (diabolical, because nothing absent a major economic shock, read recession or depression, can short-circuit it once it is in place).

Well, there is one other thing that can break the wage-price spiral loop: a flood of ultra-cheap illegal immigrant workers. But don't take our word for it: here is Fed Chair Jerome Powell himself during his February 60 Minutes interview:

PELLEY: Why was immigration important?

POWELL: Because, you know, immigrants come in, and they tend to work at a rate that is at or above that for non-immigrants. Immigrants who come to the country tend to be in the workforce at a slightly higher level than native Americans do. But that's largely because of the age difference. They tend to skew younger.

PELLEY: Why is immigration so important to the economy?

POWELL: Well, first of all, immigration policy is not the Fed's job. The immigration policy of the United States is really important and really much under discussion right now, and that's none of our business. We don't set immigration policy. We don't comment on it.

I will say, over time, though, the U.S. economy has benefited from immigration. And, frankly, just in the last, year a big part of the story of the labor market coming back into better balance is immigration returning to levels that were more typical of the pre-pandemic era.

PELLEY: The country needed the workers.

POWELL: It did. And so, that's what's been happening.

Translation: Immigrants work hard, and Americans are lazy. But much more importantly, since illegal immigrants will work for any pay, and since Biden's Department of Homeland Security, via its Citizenship and Immigration Services Agency, has made it so illegal immigrants can work in the US perfectly legally for up to 5 years (if not more), one can argue that the flood of illegals through the southern border has been the primary reason why inflation - or rather mostly wage inflation, that all too critical component of the wage-price spiral  - has moderated in in the past year, when the US labor market suddenly found itself flooded with millions of perfectly eligible workers, who just also happen to be illegal immigrants and thus have zero wage bargaining options.

None of this is to suggest that the relentless flood of immigrants into the US is not also driven by voting and census concerns - something Elon Musk has been pounding the table on in recent weeks, and has gone so far to call it "the biggest corruption of American democracy in the 21st century", but in retrospect, one can also argue that the only modest success the Biden admin has had in the past year - namely bringing inflation down from a torrid 9% annual rate to "only" 3% - has also been due to the millions of illegals he's imported into the country.

We would be remiss if we didn't also note that this so often carries catastrophic short-term consequences for the social fabric of the country (the Laken Riley fiasco being only the latest example), not to mention the far more dire long-term consequences for the future of the US - chief among them the trillions of dollars in debt the US will need to incur to pay for all those new illegal immigrants Democrat voters and low-paid workers. This is on top of the labor revolution that will kick in once AI leads to mass layoffs among high-paying, white-collar jobs, after which all those newly laid off native-born workers hoping to trade down to lower paying (if available) jobs will discover that hardened criminals from Honduras or Guatemala have already taken them, all thanks to Joe Biden.

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/10/2024 - 19:15

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