The Fed & ECB Playbooks: What are they thinking right now? (Part 2)
Part 2 of the Fed and ECB Playbooks discussion is here with Albert Marko and Nick Glinsman. In this second part, the housing and rent market in the US, UK, Australia, etc. was tackled. Also, do we really need a market collapse or correction right now? And discover the “sweet spot” for the Fed to “ping pong” the market. When can we see 95 again? What is the Fed trying to do with the dollar? And what currencies in the world will run pretty well in a time like this?
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This QuickHit episode was recorded on July 29, 2021.
The views and opinions expressed in this The Fed & ECB Playbooks: What are they thinking right now? (Part 2) QuickHit episode are those of the guest and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Complete Intelligence. Any contents provided by our guest are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any political party, religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.
TN: Now, with all of that in mind, Nick, you did a piece recently about the Fed and housing and some of the trade offs that they’re looking at with regard to the housing market.
Now, housing is an issue in Australia. It’s an issue in the UK. It’s an issue in the U.S. and other places. Can you walk us through a little bit of your kind of reasoning and what you’re thinking about with regard to the Fed and housing?
NG: Well, I actually think, it was, I was watching Bloomberg TV as they ask after the Fed comments from me, well, you know, maybe the Fed’s right because the lumber has collapsed. Right. Lumber’s in an illiquid market, takes one player and you can move that price 5 to 10 percent. But that was an irrelevance.
I think there’s a couple of things that lead the Fed in the wrong direction. First of all, the mortgage backed securities QE, that really isn’t necessary. That they could definitely tap and that would perhaps quell some of the criticism on you letting inflation on. Know this criticism, by the way, the Fed and the other central banks is all coming from some of the former highest members of those central banks. It seems that once you leave the central bank, you get back to a normal DNA to Mervyn King and the be governor of the Bank of England, hugely critical.
And you have that House of Lords touching on QE. Bill Dudley ran, said New York. That is the second most important position at the Fed. And in fact, my thought process there is the repo problems that we’ve had is because his two market lieutenants of many years experience were let go when Williams took over. Big mistake.
Anyway. So back to the federal housing. I think they focused on cost of new housing. My view is the slowdown that we will get on new homes is purely a function of supply of goods used to make homes, where essential supply. Then tell me is or if it’s not essential supply, it’s become incredibly expensive. Copper wire and so on and so forth. But my fear is that focused on this and the thing that’s going to come and hit them really hard at some point in the future, which is why I think inflation is not going to be transitory. It’s going to be persistent. Rent. Going one way is… I mean, New York rents have picked up dramatically. New York being an exceptional example, but.
TN: Remember a year ago you couldn’t give away an apartment in New York?
NG: So I think in that respect, everybody’s talking about mortgage backed securities and QE. Why are you doing it? Housing market doesn’t need it. Look at the price action. Fine. All valid points. I think the Fed should be more worried ultimately about rent. And the rent.
AM: Rent is a problem. You’re right, Nick. The other thing I want to point out is there’s a disconnect because it’s not just one housing market in the United States. Because of covid, the migration from north to southern states has really jumbled up some of the figures and how they’re going to tackle that is something that it’s above my pay grade right now, but it’s just something I wanted to point out.
NG: Albert’s absolutely right. People have been incentivized to be in real estate. People have been incentivized effectively to be in related markets to the collective real hard assets in this environment. Absolutely.
I mean, I would argue that part of Bitcoin’s rise is because, in fact, it’s a collectible. Limited supply. It’s such a collectible. It’s got no intrinsic value. But it’s a collectible. But I would, I think that’s. Albert’s right to point out the demographic moves in the US. I think there’s a huge pressure. One policy doesn’t fit every market. And I think the red pressure will be reflected in the similar fashion. It’s a huge problem.
TN: So what can the Fed do about it? Is there anything they can do about it?
NG: Become a commercial banker in terms of policy. You know, we’ve I mean, in the U.K., there was certain lending criteria for corporates that were imposed during the crisis that actually did help. But I think also the other thing that seems to be problematic for the commercial banks is Basel III. So, even if the Fed wants to help, how much can they help within that framework? Of course, the US Fed can just say thank you Basel.
TN: Doesn’t apply to us.
AM: They can also raise rates if they want to be cheeky.
TN: Yeah, but then it’s not just real estate that collapses. It’s everything, right?
AM: Maybe it needs to be collapsed, Tony. Maybe it needs to correct a little bit because, what are we buying here? We’re buying stuff, we’re buying equities that are 30, 40 percent above what they were pre-Covid.
It’s just silly at this point. I was talking to one of my clients and this is like we have to look through, we have to sift through US equities, which are probably going to go down to like twenty seven hundred of them right after this shenanigans ends and trying to find a gem in there to invest in. Whereas we can go overseas in emerging markets and look through thirty four thousand of them. Right. So you know, we need a correction.
TN: Famous last words.
The last thing we’d really like to talk about is currencies. So, you know, we’ve seen a lot of interesting things happening with the dollar, with the euro, with the Chinese yen. And so I’d really like to understand the interplay of how you see the Fed and the ECB with the value of the dollar and the euro. Albert, you said, you know, the ECB really has no control or very little control over the euro because of what the Fed does. So what is the Fed trying to do with the dollar?
AM: You know, Tony, Nick and I had wrote a two-page piece on the dollar’s range of ninety one to ninety three. And that seems to be the sweet spot for them, where they can ping pong the markets and drop the Russel a little bit, promote the Nasdaq and then vice versa and go back and forth like that. That is where they’ve been keeping this thing for… How long has that been, Nick? For like six months now, that we keep it in that range?
NG: We wrote eighty nine to ninety three, but really ninety one midpoint should start to be the, the solid support. That’s played out exactly.
AM: They’re a bunch of comic jokesters where they go to ninety three point one and three point one five and then they scare people and then they come back down and drop it back to ninety two. I mean it almost with the ninety one today, I believe. You know, so it’s just we’re stuck in that range, Tony, until they want to correct the market after the market corrects, they’ll probably go to ninety five, ninety six.
NG: Our view on that is partly because that the dollar is the ultimate economic weapon of destruction. Not to the US. For other countries. First of foremost emerging markets, but because it’s included in emerging market indices and ETFs as a result, I include China there. And you know, to be honest with you, I not only the geopolitics suggestive and Albert and I tweeted on some of the things that we believe are going to happen. How can the US authorities allow China to wipe out investors the next day after an IPO?
The people forget, it astounds me. Not more is made of this and no more commentary. We’re dealing with a Stalinist bunch of communists led by Xi. They will do anything to retain power, and they certainly don’t care about American and international investors. We’ve just seen that. You seen that with DiDi. You seen that with the education companies that are created in the US. We’ve even seen Tencent down. Tencent is one of the worst performing stocks in the world. It’s a tech stock in China, and look at tech in the US.
AM: Yeah. Let’s not deviate too far into the Chinese thing because we can do a whole hour just on China. When it comes to the currencies, Tony, the dollar being at ninety one, ninety two. The only other currencies that I do love are the Canadian dollar and the Aussie dollar, simply for the fact that they’re a commodity rich nations. And in a time of inflation, there’s no better place to be right now.
TN: Yeah, I think they’ll run pretty well.
NG: Yeah, I think as a macro trade in the next couple of years is commodities and it doesn’t necessitate economic reflation. You’ve got enough supply chain issues and supply issues and lack of capex and politics with regard to energy that restrict the supply. And the demand is there. Can you imagine, even if we don’t have a fully reflation story from the economy, if Jet Blue has a shortage of jet fuel in the in the US right now, imagine what happens to jet fuel when Europe starts to travel properly, which won’t happen this year, it will be next year.
In fact, the commodity minus the big ones? Have you seen their profits? Huge increase in dividends and share buybacks.