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JohnDFX

DFX Market Analyst
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Everything posted by JohnDFX

  1. Jackson Hole Symposium Has Too Much to Cover There are two particularly important, multi-day summits scheduled for this coming week. Given the individual market-moving capacity of US President Donald Trump, the G7 Summit from August 24th through the 26th will be particularly important to watch. He has announced remarkable change in policy at or around such large events before – particularly when provoked by flabbergasted global counterparts. There are five general topics on the agenda which are all important but the market-centric among us – and who wouldn’t considering them more dialed
  2. Is Trump Intentionally Stirring Market Volatility? The dust is still settling from the most recent string of reciprocal retaliations between the US and China in their ongoing trade wars. As a brief synopsis, the White House frustrated by the lack of progress in negotiations as they were due to break for a month announced August 1st it would slap a 10 percent tariff on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese goods that it was not already taxing. China responded the following Monday by letting the USDCNH cross the 7.0000 Rubicon. The US in turn labeled its counterpart a currency manipulator s
  3. Another Massive Escalation of the US-China Trade Wars The White House continues to double down on its aggressive posturing against China in a bid to force the county to yield to its demands at the negotiation table. This approach follows a few patterns in economics, sociology and debate whereby the commitment to escalation persists despite growing risks and diminishing return when or if a compromise is struck – such as the ‘escalation of commitment’ behavior. Late this past week, President Trump himself announced that an additional $300 billion in Chinese imports – essentially the balance
  4. ECB Didn’t Live Up to Lofty Speculation, Will the Fed? There is a span of high-level rate decisions this coming week, but only one of these updates carries serious potential to not only move its domestic assets but further potential to generate reaction from the entire financial system: the FOMC. This past week, the European Central Bank offered us a look into how far the dovish reach of the largest central banks is currently stretching. Against heavy speculation that the group was going to clearly lay out the runway to further rate cuts and escalation of unorthodox policy, they instead
  5. China GDP Refocuses Speculative Attention from Monetary Policy to Growth Last week, it was fairly clear that a particular fundamental theme had stepped up to take command of our attention. Monetary policy has garnered greater traction recently owing largely to speculation that the Federal Reserve will have to reverse its course of normalizing extreme accommodation and subsequently cap the responsibility for global investors to bear the exceptional risks in our financial markets on their own shoulders. This speaks to a familiar equation that we’ve seen take center stage through the unique
  6. Enough Threats of a Currency War and You Find Yourself In One It has been a common theme in the negotiations between the United States and the countries they have targeted for trade inequities that aggressive language has preceded tangible action. While both sides (the US versus the ‘World’) have been clearly willing to dole out the warnings, it has been the White House that has advanced both action and intimidation far more willingly. At this stage, we have seen the trade war level out somewhat. US President Trump and Chinese President Xi agreed to some measure of armistice at the G-20 m
  7. Monday’s Open: Trade Wars Status Quo That Really Isn’t The G-20 Summit has passed and by the accounts of the key players, the results were encouraging. I guess no new fronts have been added to the global economic conflict after the two-day meeting, so that is a silver lining we can hold onto if we wanted to be optimistic to the point of true enthusiasm. According to President Trump’s account of his meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, their discussion was a success as it reportedly signaled the restart of negotiations between the two countries. To be sated by this news would
  8. There is Way Too Much for the G20 to Cover Typically, the G-20 summits that brings together leaders for some of the world’s largest developed economies cover matters that are important but not especially urgent. For the meeting in Osaka, Japan this coming Thursday and Friday (June 28-29), the members will officially and unofficially have to cover topics of exceeding importance. That would seem unusual considering we are still in the longest bull market on record and the closest state to general peace that we’ve seen in some time. On the official agenda are: global economy; trade and inve
  9. It’s Okay, This One is On the Fed There has been a notable shift in the market’s mood in just the past week. A sense of dull complacency that traders who were active during the first wave of the large scale, central bank stimulus infusions would recognize has bolstered key assets. After the benchmark S&P 500 and Dow topped at the beginning of May, a steady slide in the indices encouraged the same sinking feeling in conviction that was dependent on complacency. Evidence that we are the late stages of the economic cycle, the business cycle and the market cycle is piling up. Normally, a
  10. Trump Using Mexico as a Trade War Warning to China? In a surprise move, the United States is now fighting a full trade war on two fronts as of this past week. With the path to a US-China compromise still lacking any clear hand holds, US President Donald Trump announced a wholly unexpected economic move against neighbor Mexico this past Thursday evening. According to his tweet, the United States would charge a 5 percent import tax on ALL Mexican goods coming into the country as of June 10th. He further made clear that this was move not in retaliation for trade issues – in fact conditions
  11. Are We Turning the Corner on Global Trade Wars? There were a few very prominent, positive developments on the trade war front this past week, but is it enough to systemically change the course of the global economic standoff back towards the cooperative growth of the past? Throughout the past week, there was a building din of unconfirmed reports that US President Donald Trump would delay the decision on whether or not to apply tariffs on auto and auto part imports at the May 18th initial deadline to the Section 232 report the administration ordered to investigate the competitive field. A
  12. Trade Wars Between the US and China – Perhaps the US and the World The world seemed to be on a very different path a week ago. Through the close on Friday, May 3rd, the rhetoric serving as forward guidance for the US-China trade war was clearly being directed to suggest the end to the economic conflict was at hand. That took a dramatic turn two days later when US President Trump contradicted the leaks of an impending compromise and deal by stating clearly that the United States would raise the tariff rate on $200 billion in Chinese imports that were being levied 10 percent to an even more
  13. The Fed Finds Themselves in a Market, Economic and Credibility Quandary There is a lot of high-profile event risk – both data and events – on the docket this week. The distinction of importance for these potential catalysts is defined by their capacity to tap into more systemic fundamental themes. By that evaluation, there is a lot that can further shape our collective interests/concerns through trade wars, concerns over stalled global growth and the inadequacies of monetary policy as a financial firefighting tool. However, the most influential among the deluge will be the event/s that c
  14. Amid Extreme (Low) Volatility, Determine Your Approach and the Eventual Change Volatility continues to sink into extreme levels of doldrums – and this is a theme that all traders should take time to appreciate at regular intervals. Low volatility is a defining feature of a financial landscape. Whether fundamentals catalyze a cascade of value repricing or a technical cue is capable of triggering an avalanche of entry/stop orders is predicated on the conditions first laid out by the depth and activity level of the speculative medium. First and foremost, the type of markets we are dealing w
  15. A Return to Extreme Volatility and Realization It Won’t Stay This Quiet for Long Any way you cut it, the markets are experiencing extreme levels of inactivity. And, for those that are satisfied with the superficial and textbook interpretations of the mainstream measures, this seems like a cue to leverage exposure and commit to the decade-long bull trend which blossomed under the controlled conditions. Previously, traders would have been readily satisfied by the readings and thrown in with the assumptions. However, there is an unmistakable air of skepticism surrounding activity measures w
  16. The US Yield Curve Flipped Back to Normal, Is the Recession Off? A lot of attention was paid this past week by the financial media to the inversion of the yield curve. To understand the signal, it is important to define the circumstances. The yield curve is a comparison of the yield – in this case, on US Treasuries – of different durations. Normally, the longer the duration, the higher the yield should be owing to the longer tie-up of exposure. When a curve inverts, we have an atypical circumstance where there are lower yields (and thereby it is construed lower risk) to hold US government
  17. In the Aftermath of the Fed The baton has been dropped. The Federal Reserve was by far the most aggressive major central bank through this past financial epoch (the last decade) to embrace ‘normalization’ of its monetary policy following its extraordinary infusion of support through rate cuts and quantitative easing (QE). Over the past three years, the central bank has raised its benchmark rate range 225 basis points and slowly began to reverse the tide of its enormous balance sheet. As of the conclusion of this past week’s two-day FOMC policy meeting, we have seen the dual efforts to lev
  18. Fed Sets the Tone for Global Monetary Policy Expectations Global monetary policy trends have shifted towards a more accommodative stance as forecasts for economic activity have stuttered and worries of ‘external risks’ have gained traction. This has sharpened the relative value of currencies as market dig into the grey areas trying to determine which groups are taking greater strides to loosen than their peers. However, it is crucial that all investors – no matter your preferred market nor time frame – keep sight of the collective impact the world’s central bank effort has on the health o
  19. Growth Takes Center Stage with Peoples’ Congress and OECD Forecasts Most investors and traders attempt to project into the future in order to take advantage of large market moves before they are priced in and the trend potential is spent. That is perhaps the most basic precept of speculation, yet it also brings with it a range of collective cognitive biases. One such mass psychological distortion is a prioritization of the means over the ends. When looking back to the 2008 financial crisis, there is often specific reference to the US subprime housing market implosion while 2000 is referr
  20. Pricing in Trade Wars Versus Pricing in Recession Risks Investors are starting to see a path form for the United States and China to find a way out of their economically and financially-damaging trade war. After months of little more than a few words of optimism from only one side of the table – which was frequently reversed only days later – we are starting to see conviction from high level officials on both the American and Chinese sides. This past week was the most encouraging period for this year-long economic conflict, even offering a few tangible policies to break through some of th
  21. Don’t Forget Trade Wars Aren’t Isolated to US-China Trade wars remain my greatest concern for the health of the global markets and economy. There have been threats in the past where a localized fundamental virus has turned contagious to the rest of the world by unforeseen circumstances – such as the Great Financial Crisis whereby a US subprime housing derivative implosion infected the wider financial markets by destabilized a foundation built on excess leverage throughout the system. When it comes to trade wars though, there is no need to connect the dots. The systemic implications are ap
  22. With the Fed’s Language, Global Central Banks Signal Softening Policy Global monetary policy has shifted more noticeably to the dovish extreme of the scale over the past months, but investors were overlooking this questionable support because the markets were under serious duress. Yet, after the three-month tumble leveled out into a meaningful recovery into January, market participants began to look for fundamental reasoning to justify their growing confidence for their exposure. With the Fed’s unmistakably dovish transition between the December and January policy meetings, conviction in
  23. The US Government Shutdown is Over, Now What? Late last week, US President Donald Trump announced from the White House that he would back a stopgap funding bill that would reopen the federal government in full. This would mark the end of a record-breaking (35-day) partial shutdown of the US government. Normally, that would be reason for a swell in market enthusiasm. An onerous pressure on the US economy – a 0.13 percentage point reduction in GDP – suddenly lifted would typically manifest in a sense of significant relief in both fundamental concern and speculative recovery. However, the ma
  24. Trade War Rumors are Generating as Much Reaction as Official Announcements The trade war remains one of the most far-reaching and economically-threatening themes currently assailing the global markets. After more than a year of escalation whereby the market has acclimated to a steady flow of stories detailing the malaise this conflict has sown, it should come as little surprise that the market has grown somewhat deadened to hints that conditions may grow marginally worse. Yet, in contrast, any budding suggestions that a demonstrable improvement in the relationship may be around the corne
  25. Ending a Trade War is a Windfall for Growth? US and Chinese trade officials met this past week to lay the groundwork for another attempt to push for a breakthrough in the superpowers’ ongoing trade war. These are lower level meetings aimed at finding concessions and terms for which Trump and Xi would eventually sign off on. With over $350 billion in goods from both countries saddled with import taxes, the economic toll the engagement is exacting is starting to show through in data. In the US, trade figures have shown a rise in the deficit and sharp drop in exports to China, costs have ri
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