Saturday, 27 August 2016

Weekend Update 27/08/2016 – Risible.

“Every cycle in human history has ultimately come to an end,”Tad  Rivelle, who helps oversee $195 billion for TCW, said in a Bloomberg Television interview Friday. “Credit-enhanced cycles come to worse ends than the normal kind.”

The Fedster’s big day came and passed into history as a great non event. The more the talking chair talked, the more obvious was the befuddled nature of the Fedster’s in August 2016. On the one hand, the Fed’s talking chair droned on, completely out of her depth, while on the other hand doing something might make matters worse, we just don’t know. Enjoy the Korbel  and the canapés.

Below, what passes for grown up economic thought in the 21st century. Hayek and Schumpeter it aint.

Give me a one-handed economist! All my economists say, ''On the one hand? on the other.''

Harry S. Truman 

Yellen Imagines a Future Where Fed Tinkers With Inflation Target

August 26, 2016 — 5:51 PM BST
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen raised the possibility that future policy makers might increase their inflation target and broaden the types of assets they can buy to enhance their ability to counteract a severe recession.

While stressing that the central bank was “not actively considering” such steps, she told a Fed symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday that “they are important subjects for research.”

Yellen said monetary policy makers currently have sufficient tools to handle economic downturns “under most conditions.” Those tools include asset purchases and so-called forward guidance in which the central bank promises to keep interest rates low.

“That said, these tools are not a panacea, and future policy makers could find that they are not adequate to deal with deep and prolonged economic downturns,” she told the conference sponsored by the Kansas City Fed.

Fed’s Fischer: Yellen’s speech consistent with possibility of 2 interest-rate hikes this year

Published: Aug 26, 2016 4:07 p.m. ET
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s speech to the Jackson Hole summer retreat was “consistent” with a possible two rate hikes this year, her top deputy said Friday.

Asked during an interview on CNBC if investors should be on the edge of their seats for a rate hike as soon as September and for more than one rate hike this year, Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer replied: “I think what [Yellen] said today was consistent with answering yes to both your questions, but these are not things we know until we see the data.”

Stocks SPX, -0.16%   turned negative and bond yields TMUBMUSD10Y, +0.00%  rose after Fischer’s comments.
Earlier, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said on Bloomberg Television that the Fed could hike rates possibly twice this year.

And, Cleveland Fed head Loretta Mester, speaking on the sidelines of the event, said “it makes sense” to start moving interest rates higher.

The St. Louis branch’s James Bullard, meanwhile, stuck with his forecast of one rate hike over the next two-and-a-half years.

Gross Says Yellen’s Economy ‘May Never Walk Normally Again’

August 26, 2016 — 5:58 PM BST Updated on August 26, 2016 — 7:52 PM BST
Bill Gross, the billionaire Janus Capital Group Inc. money manager, criticized Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s suggestion that she could consider further asset purchases as the equivalent of “providing a walker or a wheelchair for an ailing economy.”

Yellen, speaking Friday at a conference of central bankers and economists in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, said while the U.S. economy has strengthened to the point that interest rate hikes are possible, further asset purchases must remain part of the Fed’s toolkit. Gross, who runs the $1.5 billion Janus Global
Unconstrained Bond Fund, has long criticized central bankers in the U.S., Europe and Japan for keeping interest rates ultra-low and artificially inflating asset prices without adding sustainable economic growth.

“She is opening the door to creating even greater asset bubbles as have the BOJ and ECB and SNB by purchasing corporate bonds and stocks,” Gross wrote Friday in an e-mail response to questions. “This is not capitalism. This is providing a walker or a wheelchair for an ailing economy. It may never walk normally again if monetary policy continues in this direction.”

Gross said Yellen’s comments didn’t take a September rate hike off the table, especially if job growth is healthy. The Labor Department reports August employment data on Sept. 2. The probability of a hike at the Sept. 21 Fed meeting has risen to 38 percent from 15 percent two weeks ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

 “To the extent that next month we see a decent job growth number, then I think for sure or close to for sure, you know, in September we’re going to see a Fed hike of 25 basis points,” Gross said in an interview on CNBC. “The market hadn’t expected that.”

We leave that last word on yesterday’s talking chair comedy to the always interesting and all too often accurate “Mish, ” Mike Shedlock.

In central banking as in diplomacy, style, conservative tailoring, and an easy association with the affluent count greatly and results far much less.

John Kenneth Galbraith.

Fed’s Bullard Warns Yellen on Credibility, Sticks with Forecast “1 Hike in Next 2.5 Years”

August 26, 2016 4:00:58
Today has certainly been entertaining.

First, Janet Yellen came out with a chart showing there was a 70% chance that rates would be between 0% and 4.5% in 2018.  Is the 90% confidence level -1.0 to 6?

This was followed up by a blast from St. Louis Fed president and FOMC voting member James Bullard that the Fed’s Forecast of Gradual Rate Hikes is Damaging its Credibility and the Economy.

The Federal Reserve’s forecast of gradual rate hikes is damaging the economy and the central bank’s credibility, said St. Louis Fed President James Bullard on Friday.

In an interview on CNBC, Bullard stuck to his forecast of one rate hike over the next two-and-a-half years.
Bullard, who is a voting member on the Fed’s policy committee this year, said he was “agnostic” about exactly when the Fed should take that one step but did not seem eager to move at the September meeting.
Bullard said he thought it would be best to raise interest rates after there had been some “good news about the economy.” While there has been two good jobs reports, “year-over-year GDP growth rate is very low,” he noted.

The St. Louis Fed head said he was trying to “break down” the Fed’s “on-the-cusp-of-200-basis- points story” for interest rates over the same forecast horizon.

Asked if he believed the Fed’s forecast was damaging the economy, Bullard replied, yes.

While the Fedster’s and their ilk enjoy the canapés and champagne before getting down to the serious business of feasting later and contriving prices against the public, we close for the weekend with an old American foodstuffs story that just keeps on giving. According to the UK’s Daily Mail, presumably citing information supplied by McDonalds UK: 'Pink slime' has never been used in McDonald's beef patties in the UK and Ireland which source their meat from farmers within the two countries. So that’s alright then. This bank holiday weekend in the UK, that’ll be burgers all round, I suppose.

‘People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.’

Adam Smith. The Wealth Of Nations

Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:26pm EDT

'Pink slime' maker drops targets in defamation case against ABC

Meat processor Beef Products Inc has dropped more than half the defendants from a lawsuit over its allegations that TV network ABC and others defamed a meat filler critics have dubbed "pink slime."

The company, known as BPI, removed ABC's news division, reporter David Kerley, two former U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists and a former BPI employee from the lawsuit, according to documents signed by a South Dakota Circuit Court judge on Wednesday.

The ABC network, its former news anchor Diane Sawyer and reporter Jim Avila remain in the case.
Family-owned BPI sued in 2012 over news reports about its "lean finely textured beef" product, a meat filler made from fatty trimmings sprayed with ammonia to kill bacteria.

The lawsuit said they falsely told viewers the product was not safe, not healthy and not even meat, causing BPI to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in profits and roughly half its employees.

A trial on the lawsuit is scheduled to begin in June 2017. Beef Products Inc is seeking $1.2 billion in damages.

Representatives of Walt Disney Co, which owns ABC, could not immediately be reached for comment. Lawyers for ABC, Sawyer, Avila and Kerley also could not immediately be reached.

ABC has previously said the lawsuit is without merit.

Victory for Jamie Oliver in the U.S. as McDonald’s is forced to stop using ‘pink slime’ in its burger recipe

·  TV chef was disgusted to discover ammonium hydroxide was being used by McDonald's to convert fatty beef offcuts into a beef filler for burgers

 'Why would any sensible human being want to put ammonia-filled meat into their children's mouths? asked Jamie Oliver

McDonald's denies its hand had been forced by TV campaign

----'Pink slime' has never been used in McDonald's beef patties in the UK and Ireland which source their meat from farmers within the two countries.

----McDonald's denied its hand had been forced by Jamie's campaign.

Todd Bacon, Senior Director of U.S. Quality Systems and Supply Chain with the fast food chain, said: 'At McDonald's food safety has been and will continue to be a top priority.

'The decision to remove BPI products from the McDonald's system was not related to any particular event but rather to support our effort to align our global beef raw material standards.

----Two other chains Burger King and Taco Bell have earlier bowed to pressure and removed ammonium hydroxide processed ingredients from their products.
No update this weekend from young Mr. Jason Jencka in California. He is recovering in hospital from an infection until Sunday. We wish him a full and speedy recovery.

Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.

John Kenneth Galbraith.

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