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Posts Tagged ‘Central Bank’

Our World Has Changed

June 17th, 2020 by Kurt L. Smith

Most of us come to realize that change is inevitable and adapting to change is a part of life. Sometimes change is like aging in front of a mirror:  it isn’t until you look back several years that you realize, yes, I have changed…I mean aged.

This, of course, is not what I am talking about. Today we have a sea change (literally), as well as one massive change after another. The world has changed and adapting to it will be key to our survival.

My focus here is on the bond market, which just happens to be the primary tool of our monetary authorities: The Federal Reserve and the central banks of the world.  Fiscal authorities are also joining the bond rush as governments issue bonds to finance their response to our changed world.

The fundamental change that happened in the bond market occurred in early March and was the subject of my April letter. US Treasury securities traded at yields of 0.70% and lower across all maturities from a few days out to the longest thirty-year maturity per Bloomberg. This extremely low (or no) yield means longer term bond prices were at their highest prices ever as the price of the bond includes, effectively, almost all of the income you would receive in the days, years or even decades to come for the bond.

But it is not just treasury bonds. Other bonds such as mortgages, corporates and municipals also benefitted by the high bond prices as the yield spread on those bonds in early March were at or near historical lows. Historically low spreads, together with the low (no) yields of the treasury base means bond prices on almost all bonds were their highest prices ever.

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The Bond Crash of 2018

February 1st, 2018 by Kurt L. Smith

Another month of higher interest rates continues the upward trend since my call back in June that interest rates are moving higher.  A slow slog, yes, but bond prices are slowly sinking. The market continues to chip away at the general consensus of  “lower rates longer”.

This is the story of how a gargantuan bond market turns.

Over the course of the thirty-plus year bond bull market no discussion of bonds could be had without mention of inflation. As inflation heated up throughout the 1970s and peaked in 1980, bond prices collapsed…until they collapsed their last. Inflation figures began to decline as well. As double-digit inflation figures became a thing of the past, the bond bull market began to gallop.

Bonds and inflation are believed to be inexorably linked. When asked whether there is risk of even higher interest rates today, most investment professionals will answer no adding that inflation is benign. Ask them why rates are up dramatically in the past few months and  again, most would probably say that there has been a slight uptick in inflation.

As inflation goes, so goes interest rates. Or is it, as interest rates go, so goes inflation. One way or another, the general assumption is that interest rates and inflation are correlated. (more…)

Same Old, Same Old

May 23rd, 2015 by Kurt L. Smith

Times, they may be a changin’, but it is difficult to tell by watching the bond market. New issues usually dominate bond market news and that continues to be the case. Corporate bond issuance continues on a tear while municipal bond issuance focuses on refinancings. Interest rates remain low. (more…)

Buy The Euro; Enjoy Your Trip

February 6th, 2015 by Kurt L. Smith

Hot on the heels of a plunge in oil prices, the Euro has quickly reached a twelve year low. From 140 in May 2014 to 111 last month, like the price plunge in oil from $107 in June 2014 to $44 last month, we have no idea of the economic disruptions that are now under way. (more…)

Watch The Markets, Not The Fed

May 8th, 2013 by Kurt L. Smith

The Federal Reserve, along with most Central Banks around the world, are creating Cash and Credit at an unprecedented pace in the most ambitious economic experiment of all time.  Yet despite Central Bankers attempts to create Cash and Credit (and hence inflation), the price of Gold fell from over $1900 to almost $1300. (more…)

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

March 8th, 2013 by Kurt L. Smith

Stocks are cheap!  Compared to Bonds, Stocks are cheap, but then again, everything is cheap compared to Bonds.  This is the narrative driving Stock prices to multi-year and even all-time highs. Enjoy while you can but this narrative has no legs, despite the desires of all the central banks on the planet. (more…)

NEWS FEED

The $247 trillion global debt bomb washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-2…