Restrictive monetary conditions, from higher yields and tighter lending conditions, are the Fed’s “Waterloo.”
If you don’t remember, the “Battle of Waterloo” was fought on June 18th, 1815. The battle was a catastrophic defeat for the Napoleonic forces and marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Before that defeat, Napolean had a successful campaign of waging war in Europe.
Today, the Federal Reserve has successfully waged a war against inflation. Of course, as is always the case throughout history, the Fed campaign has consistently met its eventual “Waterloo.” Rather, the point where rate hikes and tighter monetary policy eventually cause a problem somewhere in the financial system. Such is particularly the case when the Fed funds rate exceeds levels associated with previous crisis events.
Much like Napoleon, who was confident entering the battle of Waterloo and the eventual victory, the Fed remains convinced of its eventual success. Following the most recent FOMC meeting, the Federal Reserve reiterated its “higher for longer” mantra and upgraded its economic forecast to include a “no recession” scenario.
However, while Jerome Powell has one hand tucked into his lapel with a smirk, the recent surge in yields may be his eventual undoing. As shown, financial conditions have become increasingly restrictive. The chart combines bank lending standards with interest rates and the spread to the neutral rate. Due to increasing debt levels in the economy, the level at which financial conditions are too restrictive has trended lower.
Given the sharp rise in yields over the last couple of months, it is unsurprising that recent comments from Federal Reverse members suggest that bond yields have become restrictive, suggesting an end to further rate hikes.
How To Say “No More” Without Saying It?
The Fed’s “soft landing” hopes are likely overly optimistic. The context of the recent #BullBearReport discussed the long record of the Fed’s economic growth projections. To wit:
“However, there is a problem with the Fed projections. They are historically the worst economic forecasters ever. We have tracked the median point of the Fed projections since 2011, and they have yet to be accurate. The table and chart show that Fed projections are always inherently overly optimistic.
As shown, in 2022, the Fed thought 2022 growth would be near 3%. That has been revised down to just 2.2% currently and will likely be lower by year-end.”
As noted, the Fed’s outlook for more robust growth and no recession has allowed it to keep “one more rate hike” on the table. The prospect of further rate hikes spooked the stock and bond markets immediately. However, following the announcement, we explained why the Fed needed such a statement to keep markets in line.
“The Fed projecting one last rate increase is also a way of preventing investors from immediately turning to the next question: When will the Fed cut? The risk is that as soon as investors start doing that, rate expectations will come down sharply, and with them, long-term interest rates, providing the economy with a boost the Fed doesn’t want it to receive just yet.
That is right. Since October last year, the market has been hoping for rate cuts and increasing asset prices in advance. Of course, higher asset prices boost consumer confidence, potentially keeping inflationary pressures elevated. Keeping a rate hike on the table keeps the options for the Federal Reserve open.“
However, the recent surge in long-term U.S. Treasury yields, and tighter financial conditions more generally, means less need for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates further, as Jerome Powell noted yesterday.
“Financial conditions have tightened significantly in recent months, and longer-term bond yields have been an important driving factor in this tightening. We remain attentive to these developments because persistent changes in financial conditions can have implications for the path of monetary policy.”
While the markets misread much of Powell’s commentary, concerned about “higher rates,” Powell reiterated that weaker economic growth and lower inflation remained its primary goal.
“In any case, inflation is still too high, and a few months of good data are only the beginning of what it will take to build confidence that inflation is moving down sustainably toward our goal”
Unless interest rates collapse substantially, which will only happen with the onset of a recession, the message from the Fed is becoming clear: The rate hiking regime is over.
Rate Cuts Are Coming
While the Fed is hopeful they can navigate a soft landing in the economy, such has historically never been the case. Higher interest rates, restrictive lending standards, and slower economic growth will result in a recession. The cracks in the economy are already becoming more abundant.
Statista’s Felix Richter noted, via Zerohedge, that inflation has neutralized pay increases and that many Americans were left with less than before. Such is because wage growth failed to keep up with surging prices for essential goods and services, including food, gas, and rent.
Furthermore, in a joint effort that underscores the impact of monetary policy on one of the most rate-sensitive sectors of the economy, the National Association of Home Builders, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Association of Realtors wrote a letter to Jerome Powell. In that open letter was their key concern:
“To convey profound concern shared among our collective memberships that ongoing market uncertainty about the Fed’s rate path contributes to recent interest rate hikes and volatility.” – CNBC
To address these pressing concerns, the MBA, NAR, and NAHB urge the Fed to make two clear statements to the market:
“The Fed does not contemplate further rate hikes;
“The Fed will not sell off any of its MBS holdings until and unless the housing finance market has stabilized and mortgage-to-Treasury spreads have normalized.”
Why would the three major housing market players make these requests?
“We urge the Fed to take these simple steps to ensure that this sector does not precipitate the hard landing the Fed has tried so hard to avoid.”
Given that housing activity accounts for nearly 16% of GDP, you can understand the request. Critically, such a letter would not have been written unless significant cracks in the foundation had already formed.
If history is any guide, the Fed’s next policy change will be to cut rates amid concerns about a recessionary outcome.
In other words, Jerome Powell may have engaged in his last battle of this campaign.
In this specific predicament, U.S. officials have to choose a strategy to deliver the aid without the perception of benefiting Hamas, a group the U.S. and Israel both classify as a terrorist organization.
When aiding people in war zones, you can’t just send money, a development strategy called “cash transfers” that has become increasingly popular due to its efficiency. Sending money can boost the supply of locally produced goods and services and help people on the ground pay for what they need most. But injecting cash into an economy so completely cut off from the world would only stoke inflation.
So the aid must consist of goods that have to be brought into Gaza, and services provided by people working as part of an aid mission. Humanitarian aid can include food and water; health, sanitation and hygiene supplies and services; and tents and other materials for shelter and settlement.
Due to the closure of the border with Israel, aid can arrive in Gaza only via the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border.
The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, will likely turn to its longtime partner on the ground, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, to serve as supply depots and distribute goods. That agency, originally founded in 1949 as a temporary measure until a two-state solution could be found, serves in effect as a parallel yet unelected government for Palestinian refugees.
USAID will likely want to tap into UNRWA’s network of 284 schools – many of which are now transformed into humanitarian shelters housing two-thirds of the estimated 1 million people displaced by Israeli airstrikes – and 22 hospitals to expedite distribution.
Since Biden took office, total yearly U.S. assistance for the Palestinian territories has totaled around $150 million, restored from just $8 million in 2020 under the Trump administration. During the Obama administration, however, the U.S. was providing more aid to the territories than it is now, with $1 billion disbursed in the 2013 fiscal year.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency is a U.N. organization. It’s not run by Hamas, unlike, for instance, the Gaza Ministry of Health. However, Hamas has frequently undermined UNRWA’s efforts and diverted international aid for military purposes.
Humanitarian aid professionals regularly have to contend with these trade-offs when deciding to what extent they can work with governments and local authorities that commit violent acts. They need to do so in exchange for the access required to help civilians under their control.
Similarly, Biden has had to make concessions to Israel while brokering for the freedom to send humanitarian aid to Gaza. For example, he has assured Israel that if any of the aid is diverted by Hamas, the operation will cease.
This promise may have been politically necessary. But if Biden already believes Hamas to be uncaring about civilian welfare, he may not expect the group to refrain from taking what they can.
Security best practices
What can be done to protect the security of humanitarian aid operations that take place in the midst of dangerous conflicts?
Under International Humanitarian Law, local authorities have the primary responsibility for ensuring the delivery of aid – even when they aren’t carrying out that task. To increase the chances that the local authorities will not attack them, aid groups can give “humanitarian notification” and voluntarily alert the local government as to where they will be operating.
Under the current agreement between the U.S., Israel and Egypt, the convoy will raise the U.N. flag. International inspectors will make sure no weapons are on board the vehicles before crossing over from Arish, Egypt, to Rafah, a city located on the Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt.
The aid convoy will likely cross without militarized security. This puts it at some danger of diversion once inside Gaza. But whether the aid convoy is attacked, seized or left alone, the Biden administration will have demonstrated its willingness to attempt a humanitarian relief operation. In this sense, a relatively small first convoy bearing water, medical supplies and food, among other items, serves as a test balloon for a sustained operation to follow soon after.
In that case, the presence of U.S. armed forces might provoke attacks on Gaza-bound aid convoys by Hamas and Islamic jihad fighters that otherwise would not have occurred. Combined with the mobilization of two U.S. Navy carrier groups in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, I’d be concerned that such a move might also stoke regional anger. It would undermine the Biden administration’s attempts to cool the situation.
On U.N.-approved missions, aid delivery may be secured by third-party peacekeepers – meaning, in this case, personnel who are neither Israeli nor Palestinian – with the U.N. Security Council’s blessing. In this case, tragically, it’s unlikely that such a resolution could conceivably pass such a vote, much less quickly enough to make a difference.
Topher L. McDougal does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
“The majority of wound infections often manifest themselves immediately postoperatively, so close followup should take place […]”
Credit: 2023 Barbarewicz et al.
“The majority of wound infections often manifest themselves immediately postoperatively, so close followup should take place […]”
BUFFALO, NY- October 20, 2023 – A new research perspective was published in Oncoscience (Volume 10) on October 4, 2023, entitled, “Diagnosis and management of postoperative wound infections in the head and neck region.”
In everyday clinical practice at a department for oral and maxillofacial surgery, a large number of surgical procedures in the head and neck region take place under both outpatient and inpatient conditions. The basis of every surgical intervention is the patient’s consent to the respective procedure. Particular attention is drawn to the general and operation-specific risks.
Particularly in the case of soft tissue procedures in the facial region, bleeding, secondary bleeding, scarring and infection of the surgical area are among the most common complications/risks, depending on the respective procedure. In their new perspective, researchers Filip Barbarewicz, Kai-Olaf Henkel and Florian Dudde from Army Hospital Hamburg in Germany discuss the diagnosis and management of postoperative infections in the head and neck region.
“In order to minimize the wound infections/surgical site infections, aseptic operating conditions with maximum sterility are required.”
Furthermore, depending on the extent of the surgical procedure and the patient‘s previous illnesses, peri- and/or postoperative antibiotics should be considered in order to avoid postoperative surgical site infection. Abscesses, cellulitis, phlegmone and (depending on the location of the procedure) empyema are among the most common postoperative infections in the respective surgical area. The main pathogens of these infections are staphylococci, although mixed (germ) patterns are also possible.
“Risk factors for the development of a postoperative surgical site infection include, in particular, increased age, smoking, multiple comorbidities and/or systemic diseases (e.g., diabetes mellitus type II) as well as congenital and/ or acquired immune deficiency [10, 11].”
Continue reading the paper: DOI:https://doi.org/10.18632/oncoscience.589
Correspondence to: Florian Dudde
Keywords: surgical site infection, head and neck surgery
Oncoscience is a peer-reviewed, open-access, traditional journal covering the rapidly growing field of cancer research, especially emergent topics not currently covered by other journals. This journal has a special mission: Freeing oncology from publication cost. It is free for the readers and the authors.
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G77 Nations, China, Push Back On U.S. "Loss And Damage" Climate Fund In Days Leading Up To UN Summit
As was the case in primary school with bringing in presents, make sure you bring enough for the rest of the class, otherwise people get ornery...
This age old rule looks like it could be rearing its head in the days leading up to the UN COP 28 climate summit, set to take place in the United Arab Emirates in about six weeks.
At the prior UN COP 27, which took place in Egypt last year, the U.S. pushed an idea for a new World Bank "loss and damage" climate slush fund to help poor countries with climate change. But the G77 nations plus China, including many developing countries, are pushing back on the idea, according to a new report from the Financial Times.
The goal was to arrange how the fund would operate and where the money would come from for the "particularly vulnerable" nations who would have access to it prior to the upcoming summit in UAE.
But as FT notes, Pedro Luis Pedroso Cuesta, the Cuban chair of the G77 plus China group, has said that talks about these details were instead "deadlocked" over issues of - you guessed it - where the money is going and the governance of the fund.
The U.S.'s proposal for the fund to be governed by the World Bank has been rejected by the G77 after "extensive" discussions, the report says. Cuesta has said that the nations seek to have the fund managed elsewhere, but that the U.S. wasn't open to such arrangements.
Cuesta said: “We have been confronted with an elephant in the room, and that elephant is the US. We have been faced with a very closed position that it is [the World Bank] or nothing.”
Christina Chan, a senior adviser to US climate envoy John Kerry, responded: “We have been working diligently at every turn to address concerns, problem-solve, and find landing zones.” She said the U.S. has been "clear and consistent" in their messaging on the need for the fund.
Cuesta contends that the World Bank, known for lending to less affluent nations, lacks a "climate culture" and often delays decision-making, hindering quick responses to climate emergencies like Pakistan's recent severe flooding.
The G77 coalition voiced concerns about the World Bank's legal framework potentially limiting the fund's ability to accept diverse funding sources like philanthropic donations or to access capital markets.
With just days left before the UN COP 28 summit, the World Bank insists that combating climate change is integral to its mission and vows to collaborate on structuring the fund.