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Transitory-Ness In The TIPS Market

With all the debate about the persistence of inflation, one natural thing to ask is: what is the market pricing? Unfortunately for those who are selling a “return to the 1970s” narrative, “Mr. Market” is firmly in the camp of “Team Transitory.” Of cour…

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This article was originally published by Bond Economics

With all the debate about the persistence of inflation, one natural thing to ask is: what is the market pricing? Unfortunately for those who are selling a “return to the 1970s” narrative, “Mr. Market” is firmly in the camp of “Team Transitory.” Of course, one imagines that the immediate response is that the “markets are wrong.” Since many of the people in the “inflation is coming!” crowd are also in the “markets are always right” camp, there is a good chance they might modify the argument to “markets are wrong according to some affine term structure model.”

(Note: The server issues that stopped me from posting this yesterday are obviously sorted.)

The baseline for our discussion is the most straightforward measure of “forward inflation expectations” is the figure above: the 5-year TIPS inflation breakeven rate, starting 5 years forward. I took the series directly as calculated by the St. Louis Federal Reserve as based on the Fed H.15 fitted Treasury rates, but they used the exact same approximation I would use in this circumstance.

To give a quick primer for those new to the topic, the “breakeven inflation rate” on an inflation-indexed bond (in this case, U.S. TIPS) is that future rate of inflation that gives the same total return as nominal government bonds (conventional Treasuries). That is, it is literally the rate of inflation where the two types of government bonds have the same return (break even). From the perspective of mathematical finance — as used in option pricing — this is where the expected inflation rate is, using the mathematical definition of expectation. One should keep this notion of “expectation” distinct from the notion of “forecast,” as I discuss below.

I showed the forward rate instead of the spot rate (a breakeven over the time period starting now) so that we can see what is priced in after current disturbances have subsided. (I did not even bother looking at spot breakeven inflation rates.)

As the chart above shows, the forward breakeven has recovered from the usual collapse we see in financial panics during the lockdown period, but are still well below where it was last cycle. (Which was too high in retrospect.).

(My book Breakeven Inflation Analysis offers more information on this topic.)

I would argue that the only sensible takeaway from that figure is that inflation market participants are not deeply concerned about a secular rise in inflation. Beyond that, I do not have enough information to be more specific. My immediate concern is that the above time series is an approximation, and we really would need to dig in the details of bond-specific pricing to have more confidence in the exact level of forwards.

The reality is that TIPS market is not incredibly liquid, and there are fewer issues to work with. Meanwhile, an individual issue can have pricing quirks like seasonal effects based on its coupon dates. The figure above certainly gives the correct big picture, but one should not view the specific levels as being definitive at any point in time. Even without access to the instrument-specific data, I believe that it is fair to assume that error bars are currently larger than usual.

(The inflation swap market can give a cleaner read on forwards, but I am out of the loop with regards to the liquidity in that market currently. Inflation swaps always tend to be secondary to government bond inflation markets, since it is extremely hard to find anyone other than the central government willing to sell inflation protection in size.)

The reason why academics or central bankers will say the above reading is incorrect is because they have models that allege that the risk premia have been zooming around, and so the “real expectations” are way higher than observed breakevens. That is, the breakeven might be the mathematical expectation, but forecasts (“expectations” in common English) are higher.

One of the interesting things about fixed income is that outsiders insist that bond market participants routinely misprice bonds while within the bond market there are entire teams whose entire day job is to price bonds correctly. (I used to lead one of such teams.) Whatever.

The problem with the “risk premia zooming around” story is that it is unclear that any of the models offer useful information. They are internally consistent, yes. But do they offer useful information — where we measure “usefulness” by generating profitable trade analysis? In general, they do not pass that test. For example, it is entirely typical for the models to suggest that term premia in a certain part of the curve was heavily negative — and then the realised excess returns were quite positive, as any ignorant shnook fixed income quant could have told the academics.

In this case, I have some sympathies for a demand for inflation protection forcing breakevens lower. But there is no way to get from there to a “1970s is coming!” narrative. At best, we are “really” just back where expectations were last cycle.

Email subscription: Go to https://bondeconomics.substack.com/ 

(c) Brian Romanchuk 2021



Author: Brian Romanchuk

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Precious Metals

Stocks, Bonds, Bitcoin, & Bullion All Bid As Billionaire Tax Threat Builds

Stocks, Bonds, Bitcoin, & Bullion All Bid As Billionaire Tax Threat Builds

First things first, when is a wealth tax not a wealth tax?…

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Stocks, Bonds, Bitcoin, & Bullion All Bid As Billionaire Tax Threat Builds

First things first, when is a wealth tax not a wealth tax? When Janet Yellen says so…

The proposal under consideration from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) would impose an annual tax on unrealized capital gains on liquid assets held by billionaires, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday on CNN.

“I wouldn’t call that a wealth tax, but it would help get at capital gains, which are an extraordinarily large part of the incomes of the wealthiest individuals and right now escape taxation until they’re realized,” Ms. Yellen said.

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN:

“We probably will have a wealth tax.”

But markets either a) don’t believe a word of it (given the relationship between all these billionaires as benevolent overlords of the political class), or b) don’t give a shit as The Fed will always be there…

And nowhere is this craziness more obvious than here. While Trump’s SPC (DWAC) stalled today (after rallying 800% in 2 days), TSLA and BKKT took over the crown of momentum-driven insanity kings

TSLA topped the trillion-dollar market-cap level for the first time (TSLA was up more than 1 GM today) on headline about HTZ ordering 100,000 TSLA vehicles…

Surpassing FB (ahead of tonight’s earnings) to join the ‘cuatro comas’ club…

Source: Bloomberg

All on the back of a massive gamma bomb.

@Stalingrad_Poor exclaimed:

“TSLA call options strikes up $10,000 in a single day. I’ve never seen this in my life”

NOTE: If unrealized gains are taxed as income (as several Democrats have indicated), Elon Musk would face a $30 billion tax bill for his gains this year!!

And BKKT soaring over 160% on its partnership with Mastercard on crypto rollout…

Bitcoin and Ethereum were both up today on the Mastercard news (and Neuberger Berman has linked up with BlockFi).

Bitcoin topped $63,500…

Source: Bloomberg

And Ethereum rallied back above $4200…

Source: Bloomberg

All the major US equity indices were higher today, led by Nasdaq and Small Caps. The Dow lagged but still closed green…

Record intraday (and closing) highs for The Dow and S&P today.

On a side-note, the S&P/TSX Composite rose again today – a record 14th straight daily gain (a record that stood for 102 years)…

All thanks to yet another major short-squeeze….

Source: Bloomberg

Utes and Financials lagged today while Consumer Discretionary and Energy ripped…

Source: Bloomberg

Treasuries were mixed today with yields lower across the curve aside from 30Y…

Source: Bloomberg

The yield curve (5s30s) steepened back into its recent range…

Source: Bloomberg

The dollar rallied on the day to the top of its recent narrow range…

Source: Bloomberg

WTI hit a new 7-year-high today above $85 before fading back into the red…

Gold jumped back above $1800…

Real yields dropped a little today, leaving room for a considerable move higher in gold still (to around $2000)…

Source: Bloomberg

Finally, the level of “greed” in the market is back at 2021 highs…

Source

“probably nothing” – oh and don’t forget that the last time capital gains taxes were hiked significantly was 1987 (from 20% to 28%) and that didn’t end so well eh?

Tyler Durden
Mon, 10/25/2021 – 16:00



Author: Tyler Durden

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Economics

Crypto news: BlockFi partners with $437 billion investment fund; EY sponsors Chainlink ‘hackathon’ event

Cryptocurrency lending firm BlockFi has partnered with Neuberger Berman to offer crypto-based products to the US investment manager’s customers. BlockFi,…

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Cryptocurrency lending firm BlockFi has partnered with Neuberger Berman to offer crypto-based products to the US investment manager’s customers.

BlockFi, along with Celsius and Nexo, is one of the crypto industry’s big three lending services. It made the announcement on  Monday and revealed the joint venture will include the development of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and “other traditional structures.

The partnership’s products and strategies will be formulated and delivered by a newly created entity called BlockFi Nb.

With the Mastercard and Bakkt collab news barely a day old, it seems we’re in institutional crypto adoption season, although that’s pretty much been the case for the past 12 months.

“We are witnessing a significant shift in investor sentiment towards digital assets, and we believe that digital assets should be considered in modern portfolios,” said Greg Collett, president of the joint venture.

Neuberger Berman is a New York-based, 82-year-old independent investment management firm that looks after US$437 billion in client assets as of September 30. The firm’s main holdings reside in equities, fixed income, hedge funds and real estate.

 

Also making news: EY, Chainlink, GBTC, Uniswap, Rand Paul

• “Big Four” accounting firm Ernst & Young is sponsoring the Chainlink Fall 2021 Hackathon, running until Nov 28. The event gives crypto startups pitching opportunities with VCs.

• Grayscale’s GBTC (which is as close to a Bitcoin ETF as you’ll get in the US without actually being one), delivered better returns last week than the market’s new BTC ETFs.

• Decentralised exchange Uniswap is set to gain more exposure. Swiss digital asset issuer Valour is launching the first ever exchange-traded product (ETP) tracking the UNI token.

• US Republican Senator Rand Paul has stated that he thinks it’s possible Bitcoin could become the world reserve currency if more people lose faith in governments.

 

 

 

The post Crypto news: BlockFi partners with $437 billion investment fund; EY sponsors Chainlink ‘hackathon’ event appeared first on Stockhead.


Author: Rob Badman

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Economics

Oil in wait-and-see mode, gold moves up

Oil consolidates at the highs Oil markets probed the upside overnight, helped along by another large spike in natural gas prices. However, oil lacked the…

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Oil consolidates at the highs

Oil markets probed the upside overnight, helped along by another large spike in natural gas prices. However, oil lacked the momentum to maintain those intra-day highs as the US dollar started strengthening. With a lack of new headline drivers to sustain the moves. Brent crude finished 0.28% higher at USD 85.95 and WTI finished 0.50% lower at USD 83.75 a barrel, having traded as high at USD 85.35 intra-day. Asia has adopted a wait-and-see approach this morning, possibly on China nerves, leaving both contracts almost unchanged.

The US API Crude Inventories will be oil’s next volatility point, with a low print likely to lead to more price gains. However, the price action overnight does suggest that short-term upward momentum is waning as the trade gets ultra-crowded and the RSI indicators on both contracts remain overbought. Another 3 million barrel jump in inventories could spur some short-term long covering and see oil’s long-predicted sharp move lower finally occur to wash out some of the weak speculative longs. Once again though, I will reiterate that the overall environment for oil remains very constructive and any sharp sell-off is likely to see an equally sharp recovery. Of the two, WTI looks more vulnerable as it is more heavily traded by specs and Brent crude is more aligned to the international physical market.

The overnight highs at USD 86.70 and USD 85.40 a barrel for Brent and WTI form initial resistance. Trendline support at USD 83.40 and USD 79.70 a barrel should be the limit for any downside correction. Only a daily close below those levels suggests a deeper correction is possible.

Gold’s price action remains constructive

Gold staged another impressive rally overnight and there is no doubt that its price action is becoming more constructive towards further gains. Gold rose 0.85% to USD 1807.80 an ounce before some long-covering saw it fall 0.25% to USD 1803.20 an ounce in Asia. The rally is made more impressive by the fact that the US dollar has continued strengthening against the major currencies overnight. In contrast, US bond yields eased across the curve, and it looks like gold is taking its cues from them for now.

Gold has now recorded a daily close above USD 1800.00, and more importantly, the 100 and 200-day moving averages at USD 1793.50 and USD 1790.25 an ounce. One must respect the price action in these circumstances, especially when it appears not to be driven by fast-money gnomes. Therefore, gold has formed a nice layer of support between USD 1790.00 and USD 1800.00 now followed by USD 1780.00 an ounce. Initial resistance is at USD 1814.00 followed by the formidable zone of daily highs between USD 1832.00 and USD 1835.00 an ounce.

Gold continues to slowly but surely, form what appears to be the second shoulder of a longer-term inverse head and shoulders pattern. In the bigger picture, a rise through USD 1835.00 an ounce, would trigger the multi-month inverse head-and-shoulders technical pattern and swing gold’s outlook back to positive, targeting a move back above USD 2000.00 an ounce.




Author: Jeffrey Halley

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