US Congress discussing and passing the Obama $800 billion stimulu
Foreign Exchange Outlook : This is a week of an overwhelming amount of information. Nobody can absorb this much information, let alone analyze it and put it into perspective. Aside from the US Congress discussing and passing the Obama $800 billion stimulus plan, nearly all the news is going to be bad. As we have seen recently, bad news is US dollar favorable because risk aversion rises.
Tomorrow is the start of a 2-day Fed meeting.
With the target rate range already zero to 0.25%, what can the Fed say to impress anyone? The FOMC needs to make a powerful statement lest anyone notice that it has run out of ammunition, presumably more talk about quantitiative easing. This will probably take the form of expanding the TALF (Treasury Asset-Backed Liquidity Program) to include not only Treasuries but also CMBS (commercial-mortgage-backed securities) or private-label RMBS (residential mortgage-backed securities), according to Market News. So far the government has not actually bought any Treasuries, let alone private paper, but we probably should expect it this week.
Also tomorrow Congress starts debating the Obama stimulus plan, which Obama wants done by the President’s Day national holiday on Feb 16, or two weeks from today. The Feb 16 holiday is a compromise date between Lincoln’s birthday on Feb 12 (also Darwin’s birthday, take note) and Washington’s birthday on Feb 22 (also USAF Col. Gary Rockefeller). We guess the stimulus debate will not be bi-partisan, judging from the Sunday TV talk shows where Republicans have one solution to everything, including athlete’s foot and the flu - tax cuts.
Also tomorrow is the start of the Davos World Economic Forum, for which the high and mighty pay a gaint fee to attend (Chf 42,500). The WSJ says 40 heads of state will attend this year, up from 27 last year, and some 1400 CEO's. Everyone will be talking about how bad conditions are and how much worse they can get, especially since the IMF is expected the next day to lower its global growth forecast to a mere 1%. The WSJ says that among the scheduled speakers is Richard Olivier, son of the late British actor Sir Laurence Olivier, who runs a motivational seminar company. Olivier says "The capitalist myth is lovely and youthful. It kicked off the industrial revolution, but maybe we need a new one." He will compare MacBeth to Lehman Bros.
Oh, good grief.
Anyone who thinks capitalism is a myth shouldn't take the stage in the first place.
Also tomorrow is US existing home sales and the Case Shiller home price index for November. Thursday brings Dec durable goods orders, taken as a leading indicator of everything from industrial production to employment. From an economics point of view, the biggie is Friday’s US GDP estimate… and the Friday after that, the Dec payrolls number.
There probably is some good news in all this somewhere - some data last week was not bad, like the University of Michigan consumer confidence index (61.9% from 60.1 in Dec and the highest reading since Sept). But the ain’t over yet. We await other dire news, like German bank failures or the Chinese declining to buy US paper (they could buy Greece instead), and so on.
Bad news is US dollar-favorable. We do not have strong evidence of the trend failing, and the trend is our friend.
Bye For Now
Foreign Exchange Trading