19 ноября, 09:32

Treasury Secretary Lew's Exit Memo: Eight Years of Progress at Treasury and a Look to the Future of American Financial Prosperity

  WASHINGTON –U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew has authored a departure memorandum that recounts the progress and work of the U.S. Department of the Treasury over the last eight years. The memo then outlines Secretary Lew’s visions and goals for the future of the Treasury Department. The Secretary closes his departure memorandum with personal reflections on the importance of bipartisan cooperation, his optimism about America’s future, and his hope that future policymakers will take careful stock of the successes of this Administration as they consider the next steps forward.   Please see the memo attached. Treasury Exit Memo.pdf   The full text of the memo is below:         Department of the Treasury Exit Memo     Secretary Jacob J. Lew   Cabinet Exit Memo │January 5, 2017 Introduction   The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) is the executive agency responsible for promoting economic prosperity and ensuring the financial security of the United States.  This role encompasses a broad range of activities, such as advising the President on economic and financial issues, encouraging sustainable economic growth, and fostering improved governance in financial institutions.    Treasury’s mission was challenged like few times before in our nation’s history during the 2008 financial crisis.  As few of us can forget, signs of trouble first emerged in the housing market, which set off a cascade of shocks in 2007 and 2008, including the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, the freezing of credit markets, and the loss of trillions of dollars of wealth held by Americans in their homes, other assets, and businesses.  By the time President Obama took office, the United States was in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression.  The economy was shrinking at its fastest rate in 50 years and shedding more than 800,000 private-sector jobs per month.  Unemployment peaked at 10 percent in 2009, a level not seen in over 25 years.  The auto industry, an embodiment of American ingenuity and economic strength, was teetering on the edge of collapse; the deficit had hit a post-World War II high; and homes in neighborhoods across the United States faced foreclosure.    Though the financial crisis was perhaps the most pressing challenge the country faced in 2008, it was far from the only one.  Health care spending was on an unsustainable path, and millions of Americans lived in fear of facing a significant medical problem without insurance.  Middle-class and working family incomes had stagnated for much of the previous three decades.  Wealth disparities had grown to levels not seen since the 1920s.  And after two major wars in the Middle East and strained relationships in many parts of the world, the standing of the United States around the world was in need of significant repair.   We have come a long way as a country since 2008.  In the following pages, I will recount the Administration’s record of progress, with a specific focus on the role Treasury has played.  I will also articulate a vision for the future, and recommend steps to be taken in the coming years to make progress towards that vision.  Finally, I will end with some personal reflections.   Eight Years of Progress Economic Recovery Over the eight years since President Obama took office amidst the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes, we have seen a sustained economic recovery and a significant decline in the federal budget deficit.  We have cut the unemployment rate in half.  Our economy is more than 10 percent larger than its pre-recession peak.  U.S. businesses have added a total of 15.6 million jobs since private-sector job growth turned positive in early 2010.  Household incomes are rising, with 2015 seeing the fastest one-year growth since the Census Bureau began reporting on household income in 1967.  And our financial system is more stable, safe, and resilient, providing the critical underpinnings for broad-based, inclusive, long-term growth.  There are many factors that explain why the United States was able to bounce back so strongly from the recession.  First and foremost, I credit the resilience of the American people.  In addition, our policy response to the crisis was immediate and robust.  Led by my predecessor, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, policymakers put in place a wide-ranging strategy to restore economic growth, unlock credit, and return private capital to the financial system, thereby providing broad and vital support to the economy.  In February 2009, just 28 days after taking office, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provided powerful fiscal stimulus that resulted in a less severe recession and stronger recovery than we otherwise would have seen. Investments made through our Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) provided stability to our financial system, and the Automotive Industry Financing Program helped prevent the collapse of the U.S. auto industry.  TARP also included housing initiatives that helped millions of struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure and lower their monthly payments.  These efforts bolstered the housing market and strengthened consumer finances more broadly.  And funds expended under TARP have been repaid in full, at a profit to taxpayers: in total, TARP invested $412 billion in financial institutions, large and small, during the financial crisis, and as of October 2016, these investments have returned $442 billion total cash back to taxpayers.    Critically, we also acted quickly to reform our financial system, working with Congress to enact the most far-reaching and comprehensive set of financial reforms since the Great Depression: the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  Wall Street Reform transformed the way the financial system operates, and Treasury and the financial regulators have continued to work together since its passage to implement important reforms such as the Volcker Rule, risk retention, and resolution planning for large, complex financial institutions.  Because of these efforts, our system today is more stable, more transparent, and more consumer-focused.  Wall Street Reform also created the Financial Stability Oversight Council, a body that looks across the entire financial system to identify future threats to financial stability, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a watchdog agency that is working hard to protect Americans from unfair, deceptive, or abusive financial practices.   The progress we have made on implementing reform has resulted in a safer, stronger, and more stable American financial system—one better positioned to support growth rather than work against it, more likely for consumers to get fair treatment in their interactions with financial institutions, and less prone to major failures of financial firms that can harm Americans on Main Street.  This progress must be sustained through continued follow-through, to avoid allowing a return to the recklessness and abuse that predated the worst global financial crisis of the last 80 years. A More Inclusive Economy  Beyond working to bring our economy back from the brink and to spur growth, we also undertook efforts to ensure that more citizens have a fair shot at sharing in our nation’s prosperity.  One of the Administration’s most significant achievements was the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which extended health insurance to millions of Americans who had not previously had it, allowed young adults to stay on the health plans of their parents, barred insurance companies from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions, and strengthened Medicare’s solvency.  Once the legislation was signed into law, Treasury implemented the law’s many new tax provisions.  Beyond the ACA, the Administration made a number of other key changes to the tax code that has made our tax system significantly fairer and more equitable.   Through programs like the Community Development Financial Institution Fund and myRA, and through extensive stakeholder engagement, Treasury has worked to promote access to the financial system for underserved and vulnerable populations.  We also successfully worked with Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to enable Puerto Rico to undergo a financial restructuring.  With continued commitment from policymakers in both the Commonwealth and the United States, this legislation will begin to put Puerto Rico on a fiscally sustainable path so that the 3.5 million Americans living there are not denied essential services and economic opportunity.  Leading in the Global Economy As we put into place the financial regulatory framework to prevent future crises in the United States, we also led the international response to the crisis.  We worked through the G-20 to help mobilize $5 trillion in fiscal stimulus, expand the resources of the international financial institutions by $1 trillion, and establish new institutions like the Financial Stability Board to prevent future crises.  Our approach elevated the G-20 as the premier platform for international economic cooperation and put in place a demonstrated mechanism for international response.   Following the financial crisis, many countries turned to policies of fiscal austerity, and Treasury vigorously advocated for a more balanced use of policy levers.  Over the next several years, Treasury engaged closely with our partners and through the G-20 and other multilateral bodies to emphasize the need for short-term growth and longer-term structural reforms to put the global economy on stronger footing.  Through our sustained engagement, we achieved a number of commitments from the G-20, including moving away from austerity-only fiscal policy and avoiding competitive currency devaluation.    We have used the G-20 to advance a global growth agenda, and the U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue to foster increased bilateral economic coordination and engagement with China.  Our sustained engagement with China has allowed us to exert positive pressure on Chinese exchange rate policy—whereas China once intervened in foreign exchange markets to drive down the value of its currency, in the past year, we have seen China intervene to prevent a rapid depreciation in the renminbi, which would have had negative consequences for the Chinese and global economies.  Treasury also worked to solidify U.S. leadership by modernizing the international economic architecture to ensure that it would remain relevant in a changing world.  In particular, securing the passage of International Monetary Fund (IMF) quota reform sustained U.S. leadership on the global stage.  Our leadership in the IMF in turn enabled us to work through it to promote policies that supported U.S. economic and security objectives, such as economic stability in Ukraine and Greece. Promoting a Safer World Treasury has also continued to use its unique financial capabilities to address a variety of national security and foreign policy threats posed by terrorists, criminals and other bad actors.  To address the changing threat posed by terrorism, including the threat posed by ISIL, we have worked with our international partners to deny terrorist financiers, fundraisers, and facilitators access to the international financial system with financial measures and targeted actions.    Treasury’s sanctions against Iran played a critical role in forcing Iran to the table to negotiate a deal that cuts off the country’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.  To hold Russia accountable for its aggression in eastern Ukraine and its occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, we imposed sanctions that led to tighter financial conditions, weaker confidence, and lower investment in Russia.  We also secured new domestic and multilateral sanctions measures against North Korea in the face of Pyongyang’s continued provocative behavior with regard to nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.  All the while, we have worked to craft a cohesive vision for the use of sanctions, in which sanctions are informed by financial intelligence, strategically designed, and implemented with our public and private partners to focus pressure on bad actors and create clear incentives to end malign behavior, while limiting collateral impact.   In the face of emerging cyber threats, we have also made significant progress in coordinating cybersecurity efforts among financial regulators and the private sector, both domestically and internationally, to improve the financial sector’s resilience and to establish best practices for industry and government.        A Vision for the Future     Looking across the next five years, 10 years, and beyond, I see four major goals that mirror the progress above.  Treasury should focus on: (i) continuing to promote more inclusive growth; (ii) moving from recovery to long-term fiscal health, (iii) remaining a leader in the global economy; and (iv) adjusting to the new threats in our world.  Each of these goals brings with it major challenges that we must collectively overcome in order to reach them.   Continuing to Promote Inclusive Growth Through the work of this Administration, the U.S. economy is growing again.  But working families have not shared fully in the benefits of economic growth over the past decade, and there is evidence that our society has undergone structural changes that have fundamentally altered the basic social compact.  It is crucial that the next Administration builds on the work already done to ensure that our prosperity is broadly shared.  There are many aspects to inclusive growth, including: investing in infrastructure to create good middle-class jobs and lay the foundation for future growth, giving workers a stronger voice, enacting progressive tax policies, making quality education more available and affordable, and investing in retraining programs for those who have lost their jobs.  One component most directly within Treasury’s purview is increasing access to the financial system; currently, many low-income and minority families are effectively locked out, operating without a credit card or banking history.  Finding creative ways to increase access to the financial system—such as fostering new technologies—will help individuals and families transfer money and make payments safely and affordably.  Financial inclusion allows people to manage life’s unexpected financial shocks, build long-term financial security, and take advantage of economic opportunities, like starting a business.  Our inclusive growth agenda should not, however, be limited to domestic issues: more than 2.6 billion people live in poverty around the world, and more than two billion people rely solely on cash transactions.  Moving underserved populations from a cash economy to formal banking not only increases their economic opportunity but also strengthens our ability to combat illicit and dangerous finance.   Moving from Recovery to Long Term Fiscal Health The actions of this Administration, and the economic recovery those actions helped support, have sharply reduced deficits since 2009.  However, both the Administration and the Congressional Budget Office project that, absent any changes in policy, the deficit will rise steadily over the next decade and beyond.  Thus, while the actions of this Administration have put the country on a solid fiscal footing today, we must also focus on the long-term fiscal health of our nation.   In recent years, the Administration has proposed a combination of smart investments and policy reforms that would keep the deficit under three percent of GDP for the next 10 years and nearly eliminate the fiscal gap over the next 25 years.  Tax reform to curb inefficient tax breaks for the wealthy, close loopholes, and reform the taxation of capital income and financial institutions would make the tax system fairer and lower the deficit.  Comprehensive immigration reform would boost labor force participation, productivity, and ultimately growth, directly addressing key fiscal challenges.  Continued focus on health policy to further improve health care quality and control cost growth remains critical.  This policy vision shows that investments in growth and opportunity are fully compatible with putting the nation’s finances on a strong and sustainable path.  It also shows that responsible deficit reduction can be achieved without endangering vital support to poor Americans or undermining commitments to seniors and workers.   Under President Obama’s leadership, there has been substantial economic and fiscal progress, showing what is possible when strategic investment to grow the economy is paired with smart reforms that address the true drivers of long-term fiscal challenges.  While there is some scope for additional borrowing to finance smart investments in the next few years, ever-increasing borrowing is not sustainable as a long-run strategy, particularly when used to finance spending that does not generate higher growth or improvements for the middle class and in the case of deficit-increasing tax cuts, which deepen income and wealth disparities that are already a serious concern.  Instead, the long-term fiscal health of the nation depends on smart investments in the middle class, tax reforms that close loopholes for the wealthy and ensure that everyone plays by the same set of rules, comprehensive immigration reform, and health reforms that build on our progress to date without sacrificing coverage or quality.   Remaining a Leader in the Global Economy The United States must continue its long history of international economic leadership.  Such leadership benefits American workers and families and enables the United States to project its values abroad to achieve its larger foreign policy objectives.  Of course, the world has changed since the creation of our international financial architecture after World War II, and we must change with it.  Perhaps somewhat counterintuitively, our influence internationally will increase if we share the benefits, as well as the responsibilities, of managing the global economic and financial system with emerging economies, such as China.  Our influence, however, cannot be sustained if we either back away or insist on protecting the status quo.   But we face a host of challenges.  Our relationship with China is one of the most important in the world.  While we have made much progress over the past eight years, the degree to which China is willing to takes the steps necessary to follow through on commitments to reorient its economy toward more sustainable growth, open up to foreign businesses, and be a partner in global governance, remains to be seen.  As we saw from the example of Chinese exchange rate policy, engagement between the United States and China is an important means of maintaining pressure for China to implement policies that are necessary for China’s own medium and long-term economic health and to create a level playing field for the world economy.   The UK’s decision to leave the European Union sent shockwaves through Europe and the world, and we must closely monitor the situation and continue to argue for the benefits of continued integration post-Brexit.  Japan’s economy faces the ongoing challenges of an aging population and high public debt hampering the government’s ability to foster growth.  We must also keep a watchful eye on emerging economies and the unique challenges they face.  In particular, in recent years, we have made progress in our relations with Latin America, particularly with Mexico and Argentina, and we should build on that progress.   Adjusting to the New Threats in Our World With the rise of state-sponsored and lone wolf terrorism, rogue nations, and international strongmen, we must address the reality that we live in a dangerous world.  Making it safer means using every tool available—including the financial tools available to Treasury—to defeat and degrade terrorist organizations like ISIL.  We must continue to leverage our ability to impose crippling sanctions on states and individuals to change behavior.  We must seek to eliminate the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  Cyber attacks on our financial system represent a real threat to our economic and national security, and maintaining vigilant and coordinated efforts to keep pace with and respond to these threats has been and will remain a crucial piece of Treasury’s work.  And we must recognize global climate change for the economic and existential threat that it is and band together with the rest of the world to avert catastrophe.    How to Make Our Vision a Reality How do we accomplish the goals laid out above?  To be sure, there are a host of paths policymakers might take to do so, but I believe the following steps, which range from specific policy prescriptions to more general advice, are the most immediate.  Infrastructure Spending Moving forward, we must redouble our efforts to make investments in our country’s transportation infrastructure, which help create middle-class jobs in the short term and drive broad-based economic growth in the long term.  Indeed, by fixing our aging roads, bridges, and ports, we will help lay a foundation for widely shared economic expansion.  The President’s business tax reform framework, discussed in more detail below, would generate substantial one-time revenues to fund new infrastructure investments.  Paying for these investments by taxing overseas business profits would both be fiscally responsible and would help fix the perception that our tax system is not a level playing field.   Continuing to come up with fresh, new ways to deploy capital will help the country achieve these goals.  Effective partnerships between government and the private sector can play an important role in developing innovative solutions that efficiently leverage resources.  And taking advantage of historically low interest rates to fund high-return public investments is simply smart fiscal policy.  This Administration has long advocated for the creation of a national infrastructure bank, which would provide critical financing and technical support to foster public-private partnerships in U.S. infrastructure and establish a predictable source of long-term financing that would allow U.S. infrastructure to be consistently improved. Business Tax Reform Over the last eight years, Congress and the Administration have taken important steps to make the tax code fairer, support working families, and roll back unnecessary and unaffordable tax cuts for high-income families.  In addition, using its administrative tools, the Administration has made substantial progress over the past eight years in combatting abusive tax practices.  However, our business tax system remains in need of reform.  As I have emphasized repeatedly throughout my time as Treasury Secretary, only Congress can enact business tax reform, which is necessary to remove incentives for businesses to relocate overseas, raise one-time revenues to promote infrastructure spending, and simplify tax compliance for smaller businesses.   President Obama’s proposed plan for business tax reform sets out a framework for modernizing our business tax system.  Among other elements, it would prevent companies from using excessive leverage in the United States to reduce their tax burden, impose a minimum tax abroad to help fight the global race to the bottom, impose a one-time tax on unrepatriated foreign profits, and reform the taxation of financial and insurance industry products.  It also would close loopholes and special credits and deductions to lower rates without shifting the tax burden to individuals.  Enacting such a plan would enhance our competitiveness and create an environment in which business rather than tax considerations drive decision-making.  The President’s framework is also fiscally responsible, ensuring that business tax reform does not add to deficits over the long-term.  I am hopeful that this framework will help to equip the new Congress to take responsible action on business tax reform.   Housing Finance Reform Fixing our housing finance system remains the major unfinished work of post-financial crisis reform.  Though the housing market has made significant strides thanks to efforts on the part of the Administration to help struggling homeowners, stabilize the housing finance system, and restore broader economic growth, many homeowners and neighborhoods continue to struggle.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac remain in conservatorship and continue to rely on taxpayer support.  Only legislation can comprehensively address the ongoing shortcomings of the housing finance system.  A starting point for such legislation should be the principles President Obama laid out in 2013, which stressed a clearly-defined role for the government to promote broad access to consumer-friendly mortgages in good times and bad.  While private capital should bear the majority of the risks in mortgage lending, reform also must provide more American households with greater and more sustainable access to affordable homes to rent or own.  Global Economic Integration Global economic integration, including high-standards trade, leads to better economic outcomes than isolation and protectionism.  High-standard trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership can expand U.S. economic growth, open markets for American exports, and strengthen labor and environmental safeguards so that American workers can compete on a level playing field.  But economic uncertainty, both domestically and abroad, threatens this framework.  Whether driven by trade, technological advances, or the changing structure of the markets for labor and capital, these anxieties are real and deeply felt.  In order to continue to enjoy the benefits of an integrated world, we need to focus on policies that address the real issues of inequality, such as slowing wage growth and increasing disparities in pay, to ensure that the benefits of trade are broadly felt.      Strengthening the rules, alone, is not enough.  To preserve this important engine of economic growth and international integration the United States and other advanced economies must also design and implement policies—including fiscal and tax policies—that advance the cause of inclusive, sustainable, and broad-based growth.  Not all countries have the fiscal space sufficient to meet these needs, but after years of urging by the United States, policies of austerity are one-by-one giving way to policies designed to grow demand and improve incomes.  The United States must continue to be an active voice in the global discussion of these issues.    The United States must also maintain its leadership in the international financial architecture and ensure that the U.S.-led international financial system is adapting to best preserve U.S. interest in a changing world.  This includes continued governance reforms of the IMF and multilateral development banks to reflect a changing world.  Clear global rules create opportunities and incentives for innovation, invest, and work, which are critical to the United States and drive economic progress in other regions of the world. Continued Engagement with Challenging Partners  Just as global economic integration has fueled economic growth, that integration—and our economic strength—provides us with additional tools to advance our priorities on the international stage.  We should continue to use these tools judiciously to maintain pressure on those countries that take aggressive and destabilizing actions, such as Russia and North Korea, and provide sanctions relief when the targeted malign behavior changes, as with Iran and Burma.  And, as we chart new courses with other countries, such as Cuba, we should be mindful of how we can use our economic tools to create the conditions for a changed relationship.    We must always take care to avoid the overuse of sanctions, particularly our most unilateral tools like secondary sanctions that extend to non-U.S. persons.  If we overuse these powerful tools, we risk lessening their impact when they are most needed and ultimately threaten our central role in the global financial system.  Looking Forward with Optimism We have learned the hard way that deadlock does not produce good results—government shutdowns and near default on our debt cost the United States both economically and in standing around the world.  It did not work in the 1990s, and it did not work over these past eight years. What has worked is finding opportunities in the sometimes quiet periods when bipartisan cooperation can lead to honorable compromise.  In recent years, we have seen that targeted budget agreements could pave the way for more orderly and economically beneficial outcomes.  We have seen that, on issues like creating a path forward for Puerto Rico and multi-year funding for our surface transportation programs, bipartisan compromise is still possible. But there is much more that requires this kind of progress.  Treasury plays a critical role in finding areas where bipartisan solutions are possible.  In a period when many thought little could be accomplished legislatively, we reached agreement on IMF Quota Reform, an approach to deal with Puerto Rico, and a permanent extension of expansions to the earned income tax credit and child tax credits that will reduce the extent or severity of poverty for millions of families with children.  We have also used our existing authorities to limit corporate tax inversions, shed greater light on beneficial ownership to limit tax avoidance, realize tax parity for same-sex spouses, and opened relations with Cuba.  And we have used our sanctions authorities to bring Iran to the negotiating table and limit the resources available to terrorist regimes and groups. I am proud of the record we have built over the past eight years.  But during calmer economic times, policy makers are often tempted to roll back regulations, weaken reforms, and reduce oversight.  I hope that future policymakers will take careful stock of the successes of this Administration as they consider the next steps forward.  I remain an optimist about America’s future and wish the next team entrusted with responsibility for governing much success as it tackles the many challenges that remain and the new challenges that will present themselves over the coming years.  Margaret Mulkerrin is the Press Assistant at the U.S. Department of Treasury.     ###  

18 ноября, 16:00

Британия готова рухнуть

Пузырь цен на недвижимость похоронил экономику США. Многие экономисты говорили и говорят, что истинные причины этого кризиса не ясны до сих пор. Но сами эти же экономисты довели страну до всех этих «прелестей» пользуясь технологией «удваивания ставок». Виной всему тут конечно же закон который который позволял государству удваивать цену недвижимости каждые 7 лет. Таким образом […]

17 ноября, 13:00

Keep Calm & Carry On

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Authored by 720Global's Michael Liebowitz via RealInvestmentAdvice.com, “Before long, we will all begin to find out the extent to which Brexit is a gentle stroll along a smooth path to a land of cake and consumption.” – Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor In 1939, the British Government, through the Ministry of Information, produced a series of morale-boosting posters which were hung in public places throughout the British Isles. Faced with German air raids and the imminent threat of invasion, the slogans were aimed at helping the British public brave the testing times that lay ahead. The most enduring of these slogans simply read:  “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Ironically, it was the only one of the series that was never actually displayed in public as it was reserved for a German invasion that never transpired. Today, the British Government may wish to summon a fresh propaganda strategy to address a new threat on the horizon, that of the eventuality of Brexit. The Kingdom Divided The United Kingdom (UK) is in the process of negotiating out of all policies that, since 1972, formally tied it to the economic dynamics of the broader western European community. Since the unthinkable Brexit vote passage in June 2016, the unthinkable has now become the undoable. The negotiations, policy discussions, logistical considerations and legal wrangling are becoming increasingly problematic as they affect every industry in the UK from trade and finance to hazardous materials, produce, air travel and even Formula 1 racing. The worst case scenario of a disorderly or “hard” Brexit, whereby no deal is reached by the March 2019 deadline, is the most extreme for investors along the spectrum of potential outcomes. A deadlock, which is unfortunately the most likely scenario, would result in tariffs on trade between the UK and the European Union (EU). Such an outcome would result in a rapid deterioration of British economic prospects, job losses and the migration of talent and businesses out of the country. Even before the path of Brexit is known, a number of large companies with UK operations, including Barclays Bank, Diageo, Goldman Sachs, and Microsoft, are discussing plans to move or are already actively moving personnel out of Britain. Although less pronounced, the impact of a “hard” Brexit on the EU would not be positive either. The least damaging Brexit outcome minimizes costs and disruption to business and takes the form of agreement around many of the key issues, most notably the principle of the freedom of movement of labor. The current progression of events and negotiations suggests such an agreement is unlikely. The outcome of negotiations between the UK and the EU will be determined by politics, with the UK seeking to protect its interests while the EU and its 27 member states negotiate to protect their own. To highlight the complexities involved, the challenges associated with reaching agreements, and why a hard Brexit seems most likely, consider the following: Offering an early indication of the challenges ahead, German Prime Minister Angela Merkel stated that she wants the “divorce arrangement” to be agreed on before terms of the future relationship are negotiated. The UK has expressed a desire for these negotiations to run concurrently A withdrawal agreement (once achieved) would need to be ratified by the UK A withdrawal agreement would have to be approved by the European Parliament A withdrawal agreement would have to be approved by 20 of the 27 member states The 20 approving states must make up at least 65% of the population of the EU or an ex-UK population of 290 million people If the deal on the future relationship impacts policy areas for which specific EU member states are primarily responsible, then the agreement would have to be approved by all the national parliaments of the 27 member states The summary above shows that the unprecedented amount of coordination and negotiation required within the 27 member states and between the EU Commission, the EU Council and the EU Parliament, to say nothing of the UK. The “do nothing and see what happens” stance taken by the British and the EU would likely deliver a unique brand of instability but one for which there is a precedent. The last time we observed an economic event unfold in this way, investment firm Lehman Brothers disappeared along with several trillion dollars of global net worth. Although the Lehman bankruptcy was much more abrupt and less predictable, a hard Brexit seems likely to similarly roil global markets. The “no deal” exit option, which is the path currently being followed, threatens to upend the intricate and endlessly interconnected system of global financial arbitrage. Markets are complacent and seem to have resigned themselves to the conclusion that since no consequences have yet emerged, then they are not likely. Lehman Goes Down In late 2007 and early 2008, as U.S. national housing prices were falling, it was becoming evident that the financial sector was in serious trouble. By March of 2008, Bear Stearns was sold to JP Morgan for $2 per share in a Fed-arranged transaction to stave off bankruptcy. Bear Stearns stock traded at $28/share two days before the transaction and as high as $172 per share in January 2007. Even as evidence of problems grew throughout the summer of 2008, investors remained complacent. After the Bear Stearns failure, the S&P 500 rallied by over 14% through mid-May and was still up over 3% by the end of August following the government seizure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. While investors were paying little attention, the solvency of many large financial entities was becoming more questionable. Having been denied a Federal Reserve backstop, Lehman failed on September 15, 2008 and an important link in the global financial system suddenly disappeared. The consequences would ultimately prove to be severe. On September 16, 2008, the first trading day after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, the S&P 500 index closed at 1192. On September 25, just 10-days later, it closed 1.43% higher at 1209. The market, in short time, would eventually collapse and bottom at 666 in six short months. Investors’ inability to see the bankruptcy coming followed by an inability to recognize the consequences of Lehman’s failure seems eerily familiar as it relates to the current status of Brexit negotiations. If all efforts to navigate through Brexit requirements are as complicated and difficult as currently portrayed, then what are we to expect regarding adverse consequences when the day of reckoning arrives? Is it unfair to suspect that the disruptions are likely to be severe or potentially even historic? After all, we are not talking about the proper dissolution of an imprudently leveraged financial institution; this is a G10 country! The parallel we are trying to draw here is not one of bankruptcy, it is one of disruptions. As it relates to Brexit, Dr. Andreas Dombret, member of the executive board of the Deutsche Bundesbank, said this in a February 2017 speech to the Bank of International Settlements – “So while economic policy will of course be an important topic during negotiations, we should not count on economic sanity being the main guiding principle. And that means we also have to factor in the possibility that the UK will leave the bloc in 2019 without an exit package, let alone the sweeping trade accord it is seeking. The fact that this scenario would most probably hurt economic activity considerably on both sides of the Channel will not necessarily prevent it from happening.” Rhyming On June 23, 2016, the day before the Brexit vote, the FTSE 100 closed at 6338. After a few hours of turbulence following the surprising results, the FTSE recovered and by the end of that month was up 2.6%. Today, the index is up 17.5% from the pre-Brexit close. The escalating risks of a hard exit from the EU clearly are not priced into the risky equity markets of Great Britain. Data Courtesy: Bloomberg Conversely, what has not recovered is the currency of the United Kingdom (chart below). The British Pound Sterling (GBP) closed at 1.4877 per U.S. dollar on June 23, 2016, and dropped by 15 points (-10%) to 1.33 by the end of the month following the Brexit vote. Over the past several months the pound has fallen to as low as 1.20 but more recently it has recovered to 1.33 on higher inflation readings and hawkish monetary policy language from Bank of England (BoE) governor Mark Carney. Despite following through on his recent threats to hike interest rates, the pound has begun to again trend lower. Data Courtesy: Bloomberg Carney has voiced concern over Brexit-induced inflation by saying that if global integration in recent decades suppressed price growth then the reduced openness to foreign markets and workers due to Brexit should result in higher inflation. This creates a potential problem for the BoE as a disorderly exit from the EU hurts the economy while at the same time inducing inflation. Such a stagflation dynamic would impair the BoE’s ability to engage in meaningful monetary stimulus of the sort global financial markets have become accustomed since the financial crisis. If the central bankers lose control of inflation, QE becomes worthless. Some astute observers of the currency markets and BoE pronouncements argue that Carney’s threat of rate hikes are aimed at halting the deterioration of value in the pound and preventing a total collapse of the currency. That theory is speculative but plausible when analyzing the chart. Either way, whether the pound’s general weakness is driven by inflation concerns or the rising risks associated with a hard Brexit, the implications are stark. What is equally evident, as shown below, is the laissez-faire attitude of the FTSE as opposed to the caution and reality being priced in by the currency markets. In Lehman’s case, the stock market was similarly complacent while the ten year Treasury yield dropped by nearly 2.00% from June 2007 to March 2008 (from a yield of 5.25% to 3.25%) on growing economic concerns and a flight-to-quality bid. Data Courtesy: Bloomberg A Familiar Problem As discussed above, the Bank of England may find itself in a predicament where it is constrained from undertaking extreme measures due to inflation concerns or even being forced to tighten monetary policy despite an economic slowdown. Those actions would normally serve to support the pound. Further, if the prospect of a hard Brexit continues to take shape, capital flight out of the UK may overwhelm traditional factors. In efforts to prevent the disorderly movement of capital out of the country, the BoE may be required to hike interest rates substantially. Unlike the resistance of equity markets to bad news, the currency markets are more inclined, due to their size and much higher trading volume, to fairly reflect the dynamics of the economy and the central bank in a reasonable time frame. Our perspective is not to presume a worst case scenario but to at least entertain and strategize for the range of possibilities. Equity markets, both in the UK and throughout the world, transfixed by the shell game of global central bankers’ interventionism, are clearly not properly assessing the probabilities and implications of a hard Brexit. All things considered, the pound has rallied back to the high end of its post-Brexit range which seems to suggest the best outcome has been incorporated. If forced to act against inflation, the Bank of England will be hiking rates against a stagnant economy and a poor economic outlook.  This may provide support for the pound in the short term but it will certainly hurt an already anemic economy in the midst of Brexit uncertainty. Summary Timing markets is a fool’s errand. Technical and fundamental analysis allows for an assessment of the asymmetry of risks and potential rewards, but the degree of central bank interventionism is not quantifiable. With that premise in mind, we can evaluate different asset classes and their adherence to fundamentals while allowing a margin of error for the possibility of monetary intervention. After all, if central banks print money to inflate asset prices to create a wealth effect, some other asset should reveal the negative effects of conjuring currency in a fiat regime – namely the currency itself. In the short term, it may appear as though rising asset prices create new wealth, but over time, the reality is that the currency adjustments off-set some or all of the asset inflation. Investors should take the time, while it is available, to consider the gravity of the disruptions a hard Brexit portends and look beyond high flying UK stocks to the more telling movement of the British pound. Like with Lehman and the global financial system in 2008, stocks may initially be blind to the obvious. Although decidedly not under the threats present during World War II, the British Government and the EU lack the leadership of that day and will likely need more than central banker propaganda to weather the economic storm ahead. Keep calm and carry on, indeed.

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14 ноября, 12:00

Проблемы глобализации

Размышляя о глобализации, я обратился к «Манифесту Коммунистической партии», в котором Маркс отметил, что «национальная обособленность и противоположности народов все более и более исчезают уже с развитием буржуазии, со свободой торговли, всемирным рынком, с единообразием промышленного производства и соответствующих ему условий жизни». Таким образом, Маркс одним из первых обратил внимание на тенденции к нарастанию глобализации, […]

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13 ноября, 19:15

What The New GOP Tax Plan Could Mean For Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

The last time Federal National Mortgage Association (OTC: FNMA ) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (OTC: FMCC ) received a bailout, the U.S. economy was in an entirely different place. But with unemployment ...

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08 ноября, 23:53

У Сусина в ФБ и у "Вести-Финас" про ФРС

1. Относительно руководства ФРС и вообще происходящего процесса.FOMC (комитет по операциям на открытом рынке, который принимает решение по ставкам) состоит из 12 человек, которые определяют монетарную ситуацию в США: 7 членов Совета управляющих ФРС + глава ФРБ Нью-Йорка + 4 руководителя региональных резервных банков (регулярно меняется состав). Таким образом, есть 8 постоянных членов FOMC и 4 регулярно меняющихся.На данный момент Совет управляющих ФРС состоит из 4 (Йеллен, Брейнард, Пауэл, Кварлс) + 3 вакантных места, если Йеллен уходит (у нее срок до 2024 года формально, но учитывая предшествующий уход Фишера и она скорее всего уйдет), из 7 мест вакантными будут 4 места из 7.Пауэл и Кварлс – продвинутые республиканцами кандидатуры (первый в результате политического торга Обамы и республиканцев, второй уже в этом году в условиях доминирования республиканцев в Конгрессе), кстати, по иронии судьбы оба в прошлом из Carlyle Group. Таким образом, уже двое, в том числе глава ФРС утверждены республиканцами. Особенность ситуации в том, что Трамп и республиканцы могут заполнить ещё 3, а при уходе Йеллен 4 вакансии в Совет управляющих ФРС, т.е. половину общего состава FOMC и 3/4 (6 из 8) постоянного состава. Это означает, что республиканцы получат действительно уникальные возможности влияния на политику ФРС, как мне кажется, рынки сейчас совершенно недооценивают риски складывающейся конструкции и грядущего роста волатильности…2. Глава ключевого в системе ФРС резервного банка ФРБ Нью-Йорка У. Дадли объявил о том, что уйдёт раньше срока в середине 2018 года. Таким образом, ФРС покинет один из основных архитекторов монетарной политики последнего десятилетия и сменится ещё один постоянный член FOMC (зам. главы комитета). Т.о. к середине года мы увидим полное обновление всего ключевого руководства ФРС. Будет крайне интересно…********Впрочем, Трамп офи­ци­аль­но объ­явил, что на­зна­чит главой ФРС Гора Дже­ро­ма Пау­эл­ла взамен Джанет Йеллен. Трамп выбрал Джерома Пауэлла новым главой ФРС?Москва, 2 ноября - "Вести.Экономика". Еще несколько месяцев назад Джером Пауэлл считался слишком жестким в отношении банков, чтобы привлечь внимание Дональда Трампа к своей кандидатуре на пост главы ФРС. Теперь, судя по всему, именно он займет кресло Джанет Йеллен. Впервые о том, что Трамп выбрал Пауэлла, написала газета Wall Street Journal. Затем эту информацию подтвердило издание Bloomberg, ссылаясь на источники. В Белом доме и ФРС эту информация не подтверждает, сам Пауэлл также молчит, но, как ожидается, официальное объявление состоится в четверг.На прошлой неделе Трамп отметил, что у него на примете "кто-то очень специфический" для этой работы."Это будет человек, который, надеюсь, выполнит фантастическую работу, - сказал Трамп. – Я думаю, что все будут очень впечатлены".При этом источники западных СМИ предупреждают, что Трамп еще может передумать.Джером Пауэлл станет первым бывшим инвестиционным банкиром, который станет председателем ФРС, и первым кандидатом, не являющимся экономистом в 40 лет.Пауэлл является губернатором ФРС. Вступил на пост 25 мая 2012 г., повторно назначен 16 июня 2014 г. на срок, заканчивающийся 31 января 2028 г. До своего назначения в совет управляющих Пауэлл был приглашенным ученым в Центре политики Бипартиса в Вашингтоне, округ Колумбия, где сосредоточился на фискальных вопросах федерального уровня и уровня штата. С 1997 по 2005 гг. был партнером Carlyle Group.Пауэлл служил помощником секретаря и заместителем министра финансов при президенте Джордже Буше, отвечая за политику в отношении финансовых институтов, рынка долговых обязательств казначейства. Николас Ф. Брэди, бывший коллега Dillon, Read & Co., был тогда секретарем казначейства. До прихода в администрацию Буша он работал юристом и инвестиционным банкиром в Нью-Йорке. В 1985 г. Пауэлл был помощником Dillon Read, и во время его утверждения сенатом в сентябре 1990 г. он был старшим вице-президентом фирмы. Пауэлл был назначен в совет управляющих ФРС президентом Бараком Обамой и Джереми Штейном. Назначение Штейна ранее было приостановлено. Пауэлл был назначен на другой срок в январе 2014 г. наряду со Стэнли Фишером и Лаэлем Брейнардом. Работа Пауэлла часто фокусировалась на вопросах финансового регулирования.Он также, вероятно, будет самым богатым руководителем ФРС: активы Пауэлла оцениваются в диапазоне $21-61 млн в соответствии с данными по раскрытию финансовой информации, так как должностные лица должны оценивать стоимость своих различных активов. О процентных ставкахПауэлл поддерживает политику Йеллен по постепенному повышению процентных ставок, если экономика будет расти, как прогнозировалось.В своих публичных высказываниях он озвучил оптимистичную точку зрения, заявив, что ожидает достижения цели по инфляции в 2%, экономический рост останется стабильным, и уровень безработицы будет падать дальше. ИНФОГРАФИКАСтавка ФРС США и динамика 10-летних гособлигаций с 1982 годаО сокращении портфеля ФРСВ сентябре Пауэлл проголосовал за начало многолетнего процесса сокращения баланса ФРС на $4,5 трлн.Как и Йеллен, Пауэлл сказал, что ФРС может прибегнуть к новым раундам покупок активов в случае кризиса, если экономике нужно будет больше стимулов.Ввод новых активов на баланс ФРС должен быть вариантом "только в чрезвычайных обстоятельствах", сказал он в феврале. Активы на балансе ФРС США vs денежная масса М2 с 1970 годаО правилах денежно-кредитной политикиПауэлл присоединился к нескольким его коллегам из ФРС, предупреждая о том, что нельзя полагаться слишком сильно на математические правила, такие как правило Тейлора для изменения денежно-кредитной политики. Это может поставить его в противоречие с республиканцами конгресса, которые подтолкнули ФРС принять такую формулу, пытаясь сделать политику ФРС более прозрачной и предсказуемой."Простые правила политики широко считаются интересными и полезными, но представляют собой лишь небольшую часть анализа, необходимого для оценки соответствующего пути политики, - сказал он. - Я не могу думать о какой-либо критической, сложной человеческой деятельности, которая может быть сведена к простому сводному уравнению". О законе Додда - ФранкаПауэлл выразил готовность облегчить часть бремени, налагаемого на финансовые учреждения, в соответствии с законом Додда - Франка от 2010 г.Выступая перед законодателями в июне, Пауэлл сказал, что он изучает смягчение правила Волкера, запрещающего банкам делать слишком рискованные инвестиции.Он также сказал, что было бы целесообразно облегчить некоторые ежегодные стресс-тесты, которые должны выполнять крупные банки.Пауэлл также призвал пересмотреть новые надзорные требования, предъявляемые к советам банков после кризиса. По его мнению, роль совета "заключается в надзоре, а не управлении".Это, как он сказал в речи 2015 г., означает, что управляющие не должны быть обременены "постоянно растущим контрольным списком". О Fannie Mae и Freddie MacПауэлл призвал конгресс пересмотреть систему финансирования жилья, заявив, что он хотел бы, чтобы две крупные компании по ипотечному финансированию страны, Fannie Mae и Freddie Mac, вышли из-под государственной опеки. Частный капитал в этих компаниях снизил бы риск того, что в случае нового кризиса спасать их вновь придется налогоплательщикам.Хотя ФРС не несет ответственности за жилищное финансирование, она контролирует некоторые из крупнейших кредиторов страны, которые часто продают свои кредиты двум агентствам. "Ни один институт жилищного финансирования не должен быть слишком большим, чтобы обанкротиться", - сказал он.Подробнее: http://www.vestifinance.ru/articles/93273

08 ноября, 00:30

First Look: 2018 Housing Forecasts

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Towards the end of each year I collect some housing forecasts for the following year.  This is just a beginning (I'll gather many more).First a review of the previous five years ...Here is a summary of forecasts for 2017. It is early (just nine months), but in 2017, new home sales will probably be around 600 to 610 thousand, and total housing starts will be around 1.200 to 1.210 million.  Wells Fargo and Brad Hunter (HomeAdvisor) appear very close on New Home sales, and Merrill Lynch and NAR appear close on starts.Here is a summary of forecasts for 2016. In 2016, new home sales will probably be around 565 thousand, and total housing starts will be around 1.175 million.  Fannie Mae and Merrill Lynch were very close on New Home sales, and MetroStudy was close on starts.Here is a summary of forecasts for 2015. In 2015, new home sales were 501 thousand, and total housing starts were 1.112 million.  Zillow, CoreLogic, and the MBA were right on with New Home sales, and CoreLogic, MetroStudy, MBA and Zillow were all correct on starts.Here is a summary of forecasts for 2014. In 2014, new home sales were 437 thousand, and total housing starts were 1.003 million. No one was close on New Home sales (all way too optimistic), and Michelle Meyer (Merrill Lynch) and Fannie Mae were the closest on housing starts (about 10% too high). In 2014, many analysts underestimated the impact of higher mortgage rates and higher new home prices on new home sales and starts.Here is a summary of forecasts for 2013. In 2013, new home sales were 429 thousand, and total housing starts were 925 thousand.  Barclays was the closest on New Home sales followed by David Crowe (NAHB).  Fannie Mae and the NAHB were the closest on housing starts.The table below shows several forecasts for 2017:From Fannie Mae: Housing Forecast: October 2017 From Freddie Mac: Freddie Mac September 2017 OutlookFrom NAHB: NAHB’s housing and economic forecastNote: For comparison, new home sales in 2017 will probably be around 605 thousand, and total housing starts around 1.205 million.Housing Forecasts for 2018New Home Sales (000s)Single Family Starts (000s)Total Starts (000s)House Prices1Fannie Mae6519451,3005.1%2Freddie Mac1,3304.9%2NAHB6289031,2531Case-Shiller unless indicated otherwise2FHFA Purchase-Only Index3NAR Median Prices4Zillow Home Prices5Brad Hunter, chief economist, formerly of MetroStudy

02 ноября, 08:46

Трамп выбрал Джерома Пауэлла новым главой ФРС?

Еще несколько месяцев назад Джером Пауэлл считался слишком жестким в отношении банков, чтобы привлечь внимание Дональда Трампа к своей кандидатуре на пост главы ФРС. Теперь, судя по всему, именно он займет кресло Джанет Йеллен.

02 ноября, 08:46

Трамп выбрал Джерома Пауэлла новым главой ФРС

Еще несколько месяцев назад Джером Пауэлл считался слишком жестким в отношении банков, чтобы привлечь внимание Дональда Трампа к своей кандидатуре на пост главы ФРС. Теперь, судя по всему, именно он займет кресло Джанет Йеллен.

02 ноября, 05:15

Meet New Fed Chair Jerome Powell, In His Own Words

It's official: according to most news sources, tomorrow Trump will announce that Fed governor Jerome "Jay" Powell is Janet Yellen's replacement as the next bank-friendly Fed chair. Since Powell has served as Federal Reserve governor for the past five years, starting May 2012, he has had ample opportunities to express his views about the policies he will oversee if the Senate confirms him as the central bank’s next chairman. For those who want a detailed breakdown of each of the 48 speeches he has given since May 12, 2012, here’s a link to a WSJ speech analyzer breaking down all of his spoken public appearances. For those pressed for time, below are samples of what he has said on important policy issues along the way. First, we look at the big picture items, courtesy of the WSJ's David Harrison: On Interest Rates   Mr. Powell, 64 years old, has backed Ms. Yellen’s policy of gradually raising interest rates if the economy improves as projected. In recent public remarks he has sounded an optimistic note, saying he expects inflation to move up to the Fed’s 2% target, economic growth to remain steady and the unemployment rate to fall further. “I would view it as appropriate to continue to gradually raise rates,” he said in June.    On Shrinking the Fed’s Portfolio   Mr. Powell in September voted in favor of beginning the yearslong process of winding down the central bank’s $4.5 trillion portfolio. Like Ms. Yellen, Mr. Powell has said the Fed could resort to new rounds of asset purchases in another crisis if the economy needs more stimulus. Putting new assets on the Fed’s balance sheet should be an option “only in extraordinary circumstances,” he said in February.   On Monetary Policy Rules   Mr. Powell has joined several of his Fed colleagues in warning against relying too heavily on mathematical rules such as the so-called Taylor Rule to guide monetary policy. That could put him at odds with congressional Republicans who have pushed the Fed to adopt such a formula in an attempt to make Fed policy-making more transparent and predictable. “Simple policy rules are widely thought to be both interesting and useful, but to represent only a small part of the analysis needed to assess the appropriate path for policy,” he said February. “I am unable to think of any critical, complex human activity that could be safely reduced to a simple summary equation.”   On Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac   Mr. Powell has called on Congress to overhaul the housing finance system, saying he’d like to see the country’s two large mortgage-finance firms, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, move out from under government conservatorship. More private capital in those firms would reduce the risk of a taxpayer-funded bailout in the event of a downturn, he said in a speech in July.  Although the Fed isn’t responsible for housing finance, it supervises some of the country’s largest lenders who frequently sell their loan to the two agencies. “No single housing finance institution should be too big to fail,” he said. Ffor a more nuanced take, also via the WSJ, here are explicit thematic summaries of his speeches on a variety of topics: June 2013: ‘Volatility is unavoidable’   Mr. Powell spoke after a Fed policy meeting where officials signaled they would start cutting back a bond-buying program designed to boost the economy, which led to volatility in financial markets that became known as the “taper tantrum.” “Some volatility is unavoidable, and indeed is a necessary part of the process by which markets and the economy adjust to incoming information … I want to emphasize the importance of data over date … The path of [bond] purchases is in no way predetermined; we will monitor economic data and adjust our purchases as appropriate.”   March 2014: ‘As long as necessary’   Mr. Powell gave his views about the future of monetary policy at a Senate hearing: “Today, our economy continues to recover from the effects of the global financial crisis, unevenly and at a frustratingly slow pace. The task for monetary policy will be to provide continued support as long as necessary, and to return policy to a normal stance over time without sparking inflation or financial instability. This will require a careful balancing, as there are risks from removing monetary accommodation too soon as well as too late.”   June 2014: On ‘forward guidance’   Mr. Powell defended the Fed’s practice of using verbal guidance about the likely path of policy to affect long-term interest rates. “My view is that forward guidance has generally been effective in providing support for the economy at a time when the federal-funds rate has been pinned at its effective lower bound…To be sure, there have also been times when forward guidance and market expectations have diverged, with resulting spikes in volatility. Such situations may be difficult to avoid, given the use of new, unconventional policy tools, although we always try to communicate policy as clearly as possible.”   February 2015: Defending Fed emergency programs   With Republicans in Congress considering legislation to increase scrutiny of the Fed’s decision-making, Mr. Powell defended the Fed’s response to the financial crisis. He opposed congressional audits of monetary-policy decisions, requirements that the Fed hew more closely to a specific equation in setting policy and limits on its ability to lend to financial firms in a crisis. “The evidence as of today is very strong that the Fed’s actions generally succeeded and are a major reason why the U.S. economy is now outperforming those of other advanced nations … Given the scale of the Fed’s actions during the crisis, it has been not only appropriate but essential that these actions be transparent to the public and subject to close and careful scrutiny by the Congress. And that is exactly what happened. So it is jarring to hear it asserted that the Fed carries out its duties in secret and is unaccountable to the public and its elected representatives. The Federal Reserve is highly transparent and accountable to the public and to the Congress.”   February 2015: On activist regulation   In early 2015, the Fed and other regulators were cracking down on lending standards at big banks in the leveraged-loan market, where the borrowers are companies with high levels of debt. Mr. Powell supported the policy, but warily. “I believe there should be a high bar for ‘leaning against the credit cycle’ in the absence of credible threats to the core or the re-emergence of run-prone funding structures. In my view, the Fed and other prudential and market regulators should resist interfering with the role of markets in allocating capital to issuers and risk to investors unless the case for doing so is strong and the available tools can achieve the objective in a targeted manner and with a high degree of confidence.”   February 2016: ‘Let incoming data do the heavy lifting’   In December 2015, the Fed raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade. Mr. Powell later explained the decision by the Federal Open Market Committee as driven by financial data. “In the statement released after its October 2015 meeting, the committee re-emphasized data dependence and focused on the importance of incoming data for the committee’s decision ‘at its next meeting,’ which led the market to increase its estimated probability of a December rate increase from 38% to 50%. The October and November nonfarm payroll reports came in strong and above expectations, raising that probability by the time of the December meeting to about 90%. In other words, the committee used modest time-based guidance to set the stage and then let incoming data do the heavy lifting.”   May 2016: On the risks of gradual rate rises   As officials talked about raising rates again, Mr. Powell advocated for moving gradually, while acknowledging the risks involved. “If incoming data continue to support [my] expectations, I would see it as appropriate to continue to gradually raise the federal-funds rate … There are potential concerns with such a gradual approach. It is possible that monetary policy could push resource utilization too high, and that inflation would move temporarily above target. In an era of anchored inflation expectations, undershooting the natural rate of unemployment should result in only a small and temporary increase in the inflation rate. But running the economy above its potential growth rate for an extended period could involve significant risks even if inflation does not move meaningfully above target. A long period of very low interest rates could lead to excessive risk-taking and, over time, to unsustainably high asset prices and credit growth.”   June 2016: Why low rates?   The following month, Mr. Powell explained why he believes the Fed is operating in a different climate than before the 2008 financial crisis. “I am often asked why rates remain so low now that we are near full employment. A big part of the answer is that, at least for the time being, the appropriate level of rates is simply lower than it was before the crisis. As a result, policy is not as stimulative as it might appear to be…I expect our economy to continue to make progress. Monetary policy will need to remain supportive of growth, as we work through the challenging global environment.”   November 2016: On Fed communications   Mr. Powell spoke last year about how members of the Fed’s policy committee should communicate with the public. “In my view, communications should do more to emphasize the uncertainty that surrounds all economic forecasts, should downplay short-term tactical questions such as the timing of the next rate increase, and should focus the public’s attention instead on the considerations that go into making policy across the range of plausible paths for the economy.”   January 2017: On limits of Fed power   He spoke in January about the limits of the Fed’s power to increase economic growth. “A period of low rates for a long time could present significant challenges for monetary policy. It could also put pressure on the business models of some financial institutions. Ultimately, the only way to get sustainably higher interest rates is to improve the broader environment for growth, by adopting policies designed to increase productivity and potential output over the long term—policies that are mainly outside the scope of our work at the Federal Reserve.”   February 2017: ‘Gradually tighten’   Mr. Powell praised the Fed’s patience and said it would be appropriate for the Fed to gradually tighten monetary policy over time. “I expect the economy to continue broadly along its current path, which implies further labor market tightening and inflation edging closer to 2%. On this path, unemployment would decline modestly below current estimates of the natural rate and remain there for some time. I see that as a desirable outcome and do not see data suggesting that we are behind the curve. In recent years, the economy has faced significant downside risks, particularly from weak global conditions. The [rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee] has been quite patient, and I believe that has served us well. But risks now seems to me to be more in balance. Going forward, I see it as appropriate to gradually tighten policy as long as the economy continues to behave roughly as expected. As always, the actual path could be faster or slower than expected and will depend on developments in the economy.”   February 2017: On flaws in rules-based policy   Mr. Powell commented on whether the Fed should follow more explicit rules when setting monetary policy. “Simple policy rules are widely thought to be both interesting and useful, but to represent only a small part of the analysis needed to assess the appropriate path for policy. I am unable to think of any critical, complex human activity that could be safely reduced to a simple summary equation. In particular, no major central bank uses policy rules in a prescriptive way, and it is hard to predict the consequences of requiring the [Federal Open Market Committee] to do so, as some have proposed. policy should be systematic, but not automatic.”   April 2017: Defending Wall Street regulation   Mr. Powell defended regulatory policies adopted after the financial crisis but left room for changing some of them. “Some aspects of the new regulation are proving unnecessarily burdensome and should be better tailored to meet our objectives. Some provisions may not need—may not be needed at all, given the broad scope of what we’ve put in place. I will support and I do support adjustments designed to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of regulation without sacrificing safety and soundness or undermining macro-prudential goals.”   August 2017: The Mystery of Inflation   “Inflation is a little bit below target, and it’s kind of a mystery,” he said in August in a CNBC appearance. “You would have expected, given that we’re getting tighter labor markets, that we’d have a little higher inflation. I think that what that gives us is the ability to be patient.” Source: WSJ

01 ноября, 23:36

Trump Picks Powell To Be Next Fed Chair

According to The Wall Street Journal, President Trump has picked Jerome Powell to be the next Federal Reserve Chair. The White House has notified Federal Reserve governor Jerome Powell that President Donald Trump intends to nominate him as the next chairman of the central bank, according to a person familiar with the matter. The president spoke with Mr. Powell on Tuesday, according to another person familiar with the matter who couldn’t describe what they discussed. Mr. Trump said in a video last week that he had “somebody very specific in mind” for the job. “It will be a person who hopefully will do a fantastic job,” Mr. Trump said in a video posted to Instagram, adding, “I think everybody will be very impressed.” Modest reactions for now in USDJPY and gold... However, WSJ notes that while President Trump had settled on Mr. Powell by Saturday, but people familiar with the process had cautioned that he could change his mind. WSJ summarizes Powell's views as follows... On Interest Rates Mr. Powell, 64 years old, has backed Ms. Yellen’s policy of gradually raising interest rates if the economy improves as projected. In recent public remarks he has sounded an optimistic note, saying he expects inflation to move up to the Fed’s 2% target, economic growth to remain steady and the unemployment rate to fall further. “I would view it as appropriate to continue to gradually raise rates,” he said in June. On Shrinking the Fed’s Portfolio Mr. Powell in September voted in favor of beginning the yearslong process of winding down the central bank’s $4.5 trillion portfolio. Like Ms. Yellen, Mr. Powell has said the Fed could resort to new rounds of asset purchases in another crisis if the economy needs more stimulus. Putting new assets on the Fed’s balance sheet should be an option “only in extraordinary circumstances,” he said in February. On Monetary Policy Rules Mr. Powell has joined several of his Fed colleagues in warning against relying too heavily on mathematical rules such as the so-called Taylor Rule to guide monetary policy. That could put him at odds with congressional Republicans who have pushed the Fed to adopt such a formula in an attempt to make Fed policy-making more transparent and predictable. “Simple policy rules are widely thought to be both interesting and useful, but to represent only a small part of the analysis needed to assess the appropriate path for policy,” he said February. “I am unable to think of any critical, complex human activity that could be safely reduced to a simple summary equation.” On Dodd Frank Mr. Powell has expressed willingness to ease some of the burdens imposed on financial institutions from the 2010 Dodd Frank law, a position that could appeal to the Trump administration. Speaking before lawmakers in June, Mr. Powell said he was looking into softening the Volcker rule preventing banks for making overly risky bets with their own money. He also said it might be appropriate to ease some of the annual stress tests that big banks must perform.  He has also called for revisiting new supervisory requirements imposed on bank boards of directors after the crisis. In his view, a board’s role “is one of oversight, not management.” That, he said in a 2015 speech, means boards should not be saddled with “an ever-increasing checklist.” On Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Mr. Powell has called on Congress to overhaul the housing finance system, saying he’d like to see the country’s two large mortgage-finance firms, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, move out from under government conservatorship. More private capital in those firms would reduce the risk of a taxpayer-funded bailout in the event of a downturn, he said in a speech in July. Although the Fed isn’t responsible for housing finance, it supervises some of the country’s largest lenders who frequently sell their loan to the two agencies. “No single housing finance institution should be too big to fail,” he said. *  *  * Jerome Powell will be the first former investment banker to become Fed Chair (and first non-economics PhD in 40 years). Powell, a Princeton graduate, was a lawyer in New York before he joined the investment bank Dillon Reed & Co. in 1984. He stayed there until he joined the Treasury Department in 1990. After he left Treasury, he became a partner in 1997 at The Carlyle Group (CG), the private equity and asset management giant. He left Carlyle in 2005. He will also likely be the richest Fed head ever - Powell's assets are worth between $21 million and $61 million, according to financial disclosures which require officials to give a range in the value of their various holdings.

01 ноября, 21:42

Fannie Mae: Mortgage Serious Delinquency rate increased in September

Fannie Mae reported that the Single-Family Serious Delinquency rate increased to 1.01% in September, from 0.99% in August. The serious delinquency rate is down from 1.24% in September 2016.The increase in September is probably due to the hurricanes.These are mortgage loans that are "three monthly payments or more past due or in foreclosure".  The Fannie Mae serious delinquency rate peaked in February 2010 at 5.59%.Click on graph for larger imageBy vintage, for loans made in 2004 or earlier (4% of portfolio), 2.75% are seriously delinquent. For loans made in 2005 through 2008 (7% of portfolio), 5.83% are seriously delinquent, For recent loans, originated in 2009 through 2017 (89% of portfolio), only 0.33% are seriously delinquent. So Fannie is still working through poor performing loans from the bubble years.In the short term - over the next several months - the delinquency rate will probably increase slightly due to the hurricanes.  After the hurricane bump, maybe the rate will decline another 0.3 percentage points or so to a cycle bottom, but this is pretty close to normal.Note: Freddie Mac reported earlier.

31 октября, 21:25

Hensarling won’t seek reelection in 2018

The Texas Republican has spent years fighting with mixed success to roll back regulations and phase out federal programs.

31 октября, 17:31

США: рост цен на жилье ускорился в августе, но был меньше прогнозов

Рост цен на жилье ускорился в августе, что свидетельствует о том, что несмотря на замедление продаж в последние месяцы спрос на жилье остается сильным. Национальный индекс цен на жилье от S & P / Case-Shiller, охватывающий всю страну, вырос на 6,1% за 12 месяцев, закончившихся в августе, выше, чем увеличение на 5,9% по сравнению с аналогичным периодом прошлого года в июле. В последние месяцы темпы продаж жилья замедлились, в то время как рост цен продолжал ускоряться. Экономисты заявили, что это предполагает, что рынок страдает от нехватки домов для продажи, в то время как спрос остается сильным. «На рынке есть число доступных единиц, которое все еще исторически низко. В результате мы видим рост цен, который неустойчиво силен», - сказал Дэвид Берсон, главный экономист Nationwide Insurance. Индекс для 10 мегаполисов за год вырос на 5,3%, по сравнению с 5,2% в июле. Индекс для 20 городов вырос на 5,9%, по сравнению с 5,8% в предыдущем месяце. Экономисты ожидали, что индекс для 20 городов вырастет на 6% в августе. Поскольку ставки по ипотечным кредитам продолжают расти, это подталкивает выше стоимость жилья и, скорее всего, приведет к замедлению роста цен. «Процентные ставки начинают расти. Это, как правило, начало конца расширения рынка жилья», - сказал Марк Занди, главный экономист Moody's Analytics. По данным Freddie Mac, средняя ставка по 30-летней ипотеке достигла 3,94% на прошлой неделе, по сравнению с годом ранее, когда она составляла в среднем 3,47%. Цены на жилье в Сиэтле выросли на 13,2% по сравнению с прошлым годом, за ним следуют Лас-Вегас с годовым приростом на 8,6% и Сан-Диего с увеличением на 7,8%. По сравнению с предыдущим месяцем индекс цен на жилье в США вырос до 0,5% в августе перед сезонной корректировкой, для 10 городов вырос на 0,5%, а индекс для 20 городов с июля по август вырос на 0,4%. После сезонной корректировки национальный индекс вырос на 0,5% по сравнению с предыдущим месяцем, в то время как индексы для 10 городов и 20 городов также выросли на 0,5%. Продажи домов на вторичном рынке сократились на ежегодной основе впервые с июля 2016 года, о чем Национальная ассоциация риэлторов заявила в начале этого месяца, что свидетельствует о нехватке запасов на рынке. Продажи упали на 1,5% по сравнению с тем же месяцем годом ранее. «Цены на жилье не будут расти всегда. Пределы доступности становятся слабеющими, что указывает на то, что количество покупателей сокращается», - сказал Дэвид Блитцер, управляющий директор S & P Dow Jones Indices. Информационно-аналитический отдел TeleTradeИсточник: FxTeam

31 октября, 13:00

How the Great Recession Changed Banking

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CSA Plastock/Getty Images Just over 10 years ago, French bank BNP Paribas froze U.S. mortgage-related funds. Defaults on subprime mortgage loans mounted. The market panicked. There was a run on British bank Northern Rock. Over the next year, many banks fell. Investment bank Bear Stearns collapsed. Lehman Brothers toppled. Many other financial firms including AIG, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac needed bail outs. The Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 was under way. It may feel as though the financial system hasn’t changed much in the decade since the downturn, but it has. The recession transformed investment banks and created a deep divide between banks that quickly remodeled their business and those that failed to move rapidly. A dramatic expansion of regulation drove most of the change until now. Most of the regulation was meant to safeguard the financial system, and the taxpayers who had to bail it out, from another crisis. We expect investment banks to embark on an even more fundamental makeover during the next decade. This second transformation will be triggered not by regulation but by rapidly evolving technology. The banks that have nearly completed their regulatory agenda have a head start, since they can free up more financial and human resources to address evolving technology. The race is open and the gap between investment banks will widen even further as they race to adopt technological innovations and reconfigure their workforces to satisfy changing customer demands. The New Face of Investment Banks The regulation with the most profound effect on banks over the past decade requires them to hold more capital against the risks they take. That strengthened investment banks’ balance sheets by forcing them to scale back and to change the nature of the risks they take. Investment banks used to trade using their own capital. Now they are banned from such proprietary trading activities, and focus more on facilitating client trades. As a result, their balance sheets are half as large on a risk-adjusted basis, and the capital they hold against trading positions has doubled over the past decade, our research shows.   Investment banks are also required to have a more stable funding base, with enough liquid assets to survive longer periods of stress. They are subject to more rigorous stress testing by regulators and have to develop plans aimed at ensuring that they can recover from a crisis. In the United Kingdom, reforms have gone so far as to require banks to separate their investment banking activities from their retail divisions in the near future to protect depositors. We don’t know yet if these regulations will protect the financial system and taxpayers in a full-blown crisis; it hasn’t been tested. But it is clear that these changes have diminished the profitability of investment banks. Combined revenues are down 25% — the equivalent of $70 billion. On average, their returns on equity have been halved, to just 10%. Those declines reflect changes in strategies and the basic business model of investment banks, post-crisis. Clients can see the shift in how banks rely more on electronic channels than phones to arrange trades. They can also see it in the reduction in the size of individual trades that banks are willing to make and in the increase in the proportion of derivative contracts that are being cleared at external “central clearing houses” rather than facilitated through bank balance sheets. Less apparent to the outside world is how much banks are also investing in controls, especially in their compliance, risk, and finance divisions. Investment banks now spend an average of $300,000 per year on these functions per “front office” employee who works with clients, such as sales and trading personnel. A decade ago, that figure was lower than $200,000. As a result of the remodeling, banks’ earnings are much less linked to the potentially volatile value of the assets underlying their trades. This is most apparent in the credit markets, where revenues have shrunk by more than 40% from pre-crisis peaks. As these parts of the business have shrunk, others have grown. Fees earned from advising companies and helping them issue debt are up 25%, and now account for one-quarter of the industry’s earnings.   Layoffs, particularly in sales and trading, have accompanied lower profits. Total expenditures on front-office activities have been slashed by more than 30% over the past decade. Expenditures on control functions related to implementing new regulations such as compliance, risk, finance, operations, and technology have been cut — but only by 10%. As with all periods of disruption, the effects of these alterations have been uneven across the industry, and the competitive landscape has been reshaped on three fronts. First, American investment banks as a group have gained 10 percentage points of market share — rising from 40% to 50%, primarily at the expense of European competitors.   Second, the gap in shareholder returns earned by the group of investment banks in the top quartile compared with the average of those in the bottom quartile has grown from 30% in 2007 to more than 100% in 2017. The average returns generated by the group of banks in the bottom quartile have fallen by two-thirds, to just 6%. The strong have gotten stronger and the laggards have had to fight harder not to fall further behind.   Third, a new breed startup is making inroads. They are technology-savvy fintech shops. In some parts of the financial markets, particularly in more liquid asset classes such as foreign exchange, new entrants offer products and services, such as market making, that directly compete with banks and offer clients more choice and often better customer experiences. Other startups seek to partner with banks in areas where they, as specialists, can offer better solutions to challenges such as cybersecurity. A Deepening Technological Divide These divisions will only deepen as investment banks focus more exclusively on the need to integrate new technology. To stay ahead — or even keep up — will require substantial reengineering and very different skills from those required to manage regulatory reform programs. The top investment banks will reconfigure their workforces to more closely match those of technology firms. In the future, technologists who can turn technological architecture and tools into more-attractive customer propositions and foundations for investment banks to reach faster decisions will join traders and sales people as the highest-paid people in investment banks. Technology specialists will play a greater role in allocating investments, working alongside senior management from a more traditional background, who currently drive much of the decision making but have limited technological expertise. Investment banks will automate manual tasks and processes to increase efficiency, move services to the cloud, and improve the quality of data analysis, in part by using artificial intelligence to better anticipate evolving customer needs. The resulting technological reinvention of investment banks is likely to reshape the industry once again. Banks hampered by tight technology budgets, overly rigid organizational structures, and competing internal visions of the future will risk stagnation — or worse. While there is no doubt the Great Recession and its aftermath left the industry reeling, the next phase of technological disruption may actually lead to a more fundamental transformation of the industry. Investment banks, and the clients they advise, will need to keep up.

28 октября, 23:20

Bill Miller Put 30% Of His Fund's Assets In Bitcoin

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While Jamie Dimon, Warren Buffett, Ray Dalio and Larry Fink have all revealed themselves to be skeptics of bitcoin, accusing it of being a bubble, at best, and a fraud, at worst, one longtime investor who made his name scooping up “value” stocks in the 1990s has quietly posted astonishing returns betting on the digital currency, predating a wave of more than 100 asset-management shops that have sprung up to manage portfolios of cryptocurrencies. In an investor letter obtained by WSJ investing columnist Jason Zweig, Miller revealed that he had allocated 30% of his MVP1 hedge fund to bitcoin back in early 2016, when one coin was trading at $350. This year alone, his fund has soared 72.5%. Relative to the overall performance of bitcoin, which has quintupled in value this year. bitcoin has quintupled in value), but it certainly beats the performance of celebrated equity funds like Dan Loeb’s Third Point LLC, which has marginally outperformed the S&P 500’s 14%+ year-to-date return. In keeping with his reputation as a strong judge of value, Miller has made a killing on bitcoin both personally, and for his clients. He revealed in July that had 1% of his liquid net worth in the digital currency in early 2016. We imagine that percentage is now dramatically higher. Yet for all the success it has brought him, Miller is no bitcoin evangelist. Instead, he has a more sober-minded view of the currency, and - secure in the quality of his returns - was willing to admit to his investors that he has no idea what bitcoin’s long-term fate might be. “My view on bitcoin is that it is a technological experiment that may or may not prove to have any long lasting value,” Mr. Miller wrote in his letter.   “Bitcoin has a market capitalization greater than 90% of the companies in the S&P 500, but it still might fail. I don’t know and neither does anyone else, no matter how certain they are of their opinion.” As of Friday, Bitcoin had a total value in circulation of approximately $96 billion, according to coinmarketcap.com.  Added Mr. Miller, “I believe there is still a nontrivial chance bitcoin goes to zero, but each day it does not, that chance declines as more venture capital flows into the bitcoin ecosystem and more people become familiar with bitcoin and buy it.” Miller, who’s best known for beating the S&P 500 for 15 consecutive years between 1991 and 2005, parted ways with Legg Mason in 2016, five years after stepping down from managing the firm’s flagship Legg Mason Capital Management Value Trust fund. His 35-year tenure at Legg Mason made  him a household name in mutual fund investing, however his persistent bullishness cost him dearly during the financial crisis, where he endured a reputation-sullying 55% annual loss. Some of his holdings at the time included AIG, Freddie Mac and Eastman Kodak. As Forbes revealed in a profile earlier this year, Miller has also profited greatly this year from his Amazon holdings. What’s more surprising is that his big bet on bitcoin isn’t even his most outlandishly shrewed investing decision in recent years. As Forbes reported, a few years back, Miller bought the rights to the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s 1960s classic “Blowin’ in the Wind”. Last year, Dylan became the first songwriter to win the Nobel Prize in literature.

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25 октября, 22:10

США: индекс цен на дома FHFA в августе повысился на 0.7%

По данным Федерального агентства по финансированию жилья (FHFA) индекс цен на дома в США, покупка которых осуществлялась с участием контролируемых государством ипотечных агентств Fannie Mae и Freddie Mac, в августе повысился в месячном исчислении на 0.7% при ожидавшихся 0.4%. Повышение индекса в июле пересмотрено с 0.2% до 0.4%.

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25 октября, 22:04

США: индекс цен на дома FHFA в августе повысился на 0.7%

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По данным Федерального агентства по финансированию жилья (FHFA) индекс цен на дома в США, покупка которых осуществлялась с участием контролируемых государством ипотечных агентств Fannie Mae и Freddie Mac, в августе повысился в месячном исчислении на 0.7% при ожидавшихся 0.4%. Повышение индекса в июле пересмотрено с 0.2% до 0.4%.

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14 января 2014, 07:56

Профицит бюджета США в декабре достиг рекорда

Профицит бюджета США в декабре стал рекордным на фоне более высоких налогов на заработную плату, выплат со стороны Fannie Mae и Freddie Mac, а также снижения уровня безработицы.