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T-Bond Open Interest Peak Looming

Guest Post by Tom McClellan

T-Bond Open Interest
November 20, 2014

It is time again to look to a fascinating signal from T-Bond futures open interest, one which gives really reliable signals, but only for a fraction of the time.  There is a really interesting price behavior that I have noticed in relation to this open interest peak, which I want to share with you this week.

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Post-CPI Tweets

Guest Post by Michael Ashton

Below is a summary of my post-CPI tweets. You can follow me @inflation_guy.

  • CPI +0.0%, +0.2% on core. Above expectations.
  • Core 0.203% before the rounding to 1 decimal place. So this didn’t “round up” to 0.2%. Y/y core at 1.82%, versus 1.7% expectations.
  • Today’s winners include Treasury, who is auctioning a mess of TIPS later.
  • Today’s losers include everyone shorting infl expectations last few months. Keep in mind median CPI > 2.2% so this is not THAT shocking.
  • Core services +2.5%, core goods -0.2%. Both higher (y/y basis) than last month.
  • Fed will be considered a “winner” here since y/y core moves back toward tgt. But in fact losers b/c median already near tgt & rising.
  • Accel major groups: Housing, Apparel, Medical, Recreation, Other. Decel: Transp, Educ/Communication. Unch: Food/Bev.
  • ex motor fuel, Transportation went from 0.6% y/y to 0.7% y/y.
  • Housing: primary rents 3.34% from 3.29%. OER 2.72% from 2.71%. Lodging away from home was big mover at 8.4% from 5.0% (but small weight).
  • Within medical care, medicinal drugs decelerated from 3.08% to 2.77%; but hospital & related svcs rose to 3.91% from 3.47%.
  • Core CPI ex-housing still rose, from 0.88% (a ten-year low) to 0.95%.
  • Primary rents to us look like they should still be accelerating, and are behind pace a bit.
  • Really, nothing soothing at all about this CPI print, unless you were hoping to get inflation “back to target.”
  • Pretty feeble response in inflation markets to upside CPI surprise, but that’s likely because of the looming auction.

After several months of below-trend and below-expectations prints in core inflation, core inflation got back on track today. I must admit that I was beginning to get a big concerned given the multiple months of downside surprise (especially in September, when August’s core inflation figure printed 0.0%), but the solidity of Median CPI has always suggested that we should be getting close to 0.2% prints every month and so a catch-up was due.

It is also possible that median inflation could converge downward to core inflation, but quantitatively we would only expect that if the reasons for core inflation’s decline were that categories which tend to lead were heading lower. In this case, that wasn’t what was happening: most of what was happening to core inflation was self-inflicted, caused by sequester effects that pushed down medical care. So it was always more likely that core inflation would begin to converge higher than the other way around.

Some Fed speakers have recently been voicing concern about the possibility of an unwelcome decline in inflation from these levels. I am flummoxed about those remarks – surely, Federal Reserve economists are aware of median inflation and understand that there is absolutely no evidence that prices broadly are increasing more slowly than they were last year. No evidence whatsoever. But perhaps I should not malign Fed economists when the speakers may have other agendas – for example, the desire to keep interest rates as low as possible lest asset markets correct and cause a messy situation, and therefore to find reasons to ignore any signs that inflation is already at or near their target with upwards momentum.

Our forecast for median inflation has been slowly declining since the beginning of the year, when we expected something from 2.8%-3.4%. As of September, our forecast was 2.5%-2.8%. Median CPI today rose 0.21%, pushing the y/y figure to 2.29%. That’s the highest level since the crisis, just beating out the high from earlier this year and probably signaling a further increase. Our September forecast will not be far wrong.



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  • Crude Oil?  Jeff Saut’s latest note (Nov. 17)


What’s Scarier Than DE-flation?

Guest Post by EWI

As early as 2011, our analysis warned that Europe’s deflation was coming — here’s why

For the economies of Europe, the past few months have felt like one long ice-bucket challenge that never ends: A perpetual state of shock induced by the bone-chilling fact that deflation

“…has become a reality in many European countries.” (Oct. 24, New York Times)

At last count, eight European nations are now in outright deflation, including:

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Pivotal Events

Guest Analysis by Bob Hoye
Click for full report

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The Desperate Suicide of Competitive Devaluation

Guest Post by Bruno de Landevoisin


The zero sum game of competitive global currency devaluations is on like Donkey Kong. Anyone still sleeping comfortably, confident that all will end well, best brace themselves for a resounding wake up call.  Be alarmed, Japan just jacked the joint, and the jerry rigged monetary jig is up.  Moving forward, all the other Asian export centric economies will promptly be forced to keep up with their FUBAR neighbor, the juiced Japanese Joneses.

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Why Japan’s Money Printing Madness Matters

Guest Post by David Stockman via Stealthflation

This is getting hard to believe. The announcement that Japan has plunged into a triple dip recession should have been lights out for Abenomics. But, no, its madman prime minister has now called a snap election to enlist more public support for his campaign to destroy what remains of Japan’s economy.

And what’s worse, he’s not likely to be stopped by the electorate or even the leadership of Japan Inc, which presumably should know better. Here’s what Japan leading brokerage had to say about the “unexpected” 1.6% drop in Q3 GDP—- compared to the consensus expectation of a 2.2% gain and after the upward revised shrinkage of 7.3% in Q2.

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Contrary Indicator

I hesitated to post this because it puts an actual person up for ridicule, as opposed to the usual stuff I write about the “gold generals” or ‘stock market touts and trend followers’, etc.  A reader sent along an email containing this link (and its very bearish current view of gold) and the video below.

Daniela (Aug. 24, 2011): “…this [Fed’s Op/Twist.] would create a bullish gold scenario?”

Puru: “Absolutely…”

also… “on the cusp of a massive uptrend in gold…”

Puru (Nov. 15, 2014):  “We are not prophets, but we must admit that we called the entire bear market in the metals pretty accurately. You will recall that in late 2011, we opined that perhaps the metals had seen the secular top and we noted a massive distribution pattern in the Gold Bugs Index.”

As I love to point out I screwed up with an HUI 888 target myself.  But I admit it, move on and never speak or write as if I know what is going to happen in markets.  I hate it when people do that because it makes other people think they have some kind of learned perspective as opposed to a pitch, which is what 99% of the financial media is.

The subject strikes a chord with me because Mr. Saxena wrote a decade or so ago that manufacturing was dead in the US.  I of course was one of those dead manufacturers and really had to shake my head about how financial types tend to be abstracted from the real world.

How about writing ‘in 2004 we opined that manufacturing was dead in the US and not going to come back’?  How about that one Puru?


IRS Interaction

This morning I finally got a tax issue from 2012 resolved that was starting to seem like it would never go away.  ProShares sent records (well into 2013 mind you) to the IRS for some profitable sales in 2012 for the Ultrashort silver fund (ZSL) and as far as the IRS knew there were gains that were not paid.

Though Fidelity clears all my transactions and everything taxable (these gains were in non-taxable IRA’s) should have been cut and dry this goofy ProShares apparently has a loosey goosey way of reporting.  Try to contact ProShares directly?  Good luck if you’re not an institution or financial adviser.

I even had my tax guy try to get to the bottom of it and he hit a brick wall.  Well, there are miles of paper work from 2012 because that is the year I basically changed my life to do this market thing full time.  I decided to call the IRS myself and after about 1/2 hour wait on hold, finally got a nice gentleman on the phone who did some quick research and said ‘yup, I am going to decide this in your favor’.  We exchanged pleasantries, the sun is out and today could not be a better one (well, I’d love about 30 more degrees on the thermometer but why get greedy?).

Point is, the agent I spoke with was very helpful.  I write about hype and abstractions that result from hype all the time.  As to the inflammatory negative hype out there about the IRS?  You wouldn’t know it by my experience.

This little irrelevant vignette brought to you by your friends at  ;-)