The Fed cuts its rate

The #Federal Reserve drops it’s rate by 25bp to 2.00-2.25%. Reasons are too low inflation rate and global uncertainty. It’s a kind of preemptive move which is quite weird. Usually the US central bank drops it’s rate when the environment is already bleak.

One reason for that comes from the fact that we don’t know the future, neither the Fed nor us. There is therefore a risk of credibility for the Fed if there is a rebound in the economic activity of a size that has no relation with the rate cut. The other risk is associated with political pressures from the White House. It’s also a source of concern.

ECB will reduce its rates as expected

The ECB will cut interest rates in September with probably a differentiated deposit rate regime depending on the amount of deposits. It is considering the resumption of asset purchases.

The analysis I was doing this morning always seems correct to me (see here).
I will add another remark nonetheless. The risk of recession appears low according to Draghi. What will the ECB do in the event of a recession? It will be necessary at all costs a proactive fiscal policy to get out. That’s a risky bet

A more accommodative ECB, ok but for what ?

Mario Draghi will most likely announce, for September, measures for a more accommodating monetary policy. A possible rate cut and the resumption of QE would lead to an increase in financial repression. Debt issuers will benefit to the detriment of the savers. This will give additional margins to euro area governments since they will be even less constrained by any financial element.

Four questions

1- Will household behavior be affected? The drain on their savings will only be gradual via the decline in bond yields (I am thinking here of life insurance for example). Do not count on an acceleration of consumption. This has already occurred when the refi rate has fallen to 0%.

2- The rate on corporate bonds will remain very low especially if the QE includes purchases of companies’ securities. The risk is to have more fragile financial structures because the debt will not stop.

3- The financial repression favors governments which appropriates an additional part of the savings. The question is: what for? If it is to finance operating expenses then the efficiency will be zero and the monetary measure will only increase the discomfort. This means that expenditures must be on capital expenditures to expect the convergence to a higher growth trajectory. In this case, monetary policy will have been effective. This brings back Olivier Blanchard and Martin Uribe’s discussions.

4- These questions bring us once again to fiscal policy and its effectiveness. Draghi discusses this issue at each press conference. Eurozone fiscal policy will not exist for lack of support and not just from Germans.

This means that to be effective the measures announced by the ECB will have to reflect a strong fiscal awareness of all the countries in the zone. One can be dubious unless Germany enters a recession. In this case the purse strings would relax.

What to expect next week ? (July 15 – July 21, 2019)

Highlights


> The Chinese GDP growth number for the second quarter (July 15). During the first three months of the year growth was at 6.4% It should be lower as monthly date on industrial production and imports show a poor momentum.
> Retail sales and Industrial production in the US (July 16). They will show the strength of the US economy. These will be important benchmark that may influence the Fed’s strategy. Powell just mentioned this week that there was no improvement despite the strong labor market report.
Associated to these numbers, the Fed’s beige book (July 17) will highlight the Fed’s perception of the economy at a regional level.
> The NY Fed (July 15) and the Phylli Fed (July 18) indices on economic activity will also provide data on the business cycle strength.

> ZEW index in Germany (July 16). A weak number following weak numbers in recent months may force the government to adopt a more proactive economic policy.
> Employment numbers in the UK (July 16) and CPI in the UK (July 17)
Weaker numbers on employment are still to come and will be seen after this summer with the strong slowdown expected in the manufacturing sector.

The document is available here NextWeek-July15-July21-2019

On the GAFA tax and the hostile reaction of the Americans

The reaction of other European countries in this new context of US reaction will be interesting. The new global and multi-polar equilibrium, that is emerging, forces Europeans to be more autonomous. It has already been observed that on the issue of 5G some European countries were not indifferent to Chinese offers, thus taking a distance from the Americans.
Europe must find and define its place in this new multi-polar balance. The GAFA tax and the American reaction can make it possible to define a dynamic specific to Europe with a distance from China and the US. The stakes are high for Europe to exist on a political scale.

Macro 5 Pager – Macroeconomic Momentum – 8 July 2019

> The world economy’s slightly chaotic showings reflect the likely end to a world balance dominated by the US, as well as the hunt for a new world order. This multi-faceted balance would include the US, China and Europe.
> This quest for a new equilibrium can be witnessed first and foremost in the current less coordinated and cooperative context, where each country seeks to get the most out of a situation where the rules are changing. Border tariffs are just one example of this.
> In the short term, this leads to uncertainty that drags down economic activity, as well as investment. Growth is slightly more sluggish across the board, while inflation remains contained and is still a far cry from the central bank’s target, especially in the euro area.

> There is a tendency towards continued accommodative monetary policy. Going too fast when all the risks for the economy have not fully emerged means taking the risk of having an insufficient impact and running out of options when the situation becomes more tricky.
> This would be the case for the US, where interest rate cuts being made too quickly would mean a fresh surge in liquidity, promoting more real estate lending and corporate credit from non-banking institutions, so excesses already seen would become even more severe. This would also heighten risks on these markets and curb the Fed’s ability to act in the event of a future crisis.
> Another key point is that long-term rates are set to remain very low for a very long time, until such times as this new world balance emerges: this will force the financial sector to reinvent itself.

The document is available here Macro 5 Pager – Macroeconomic Momentum – 8 July 2019