Chuck Butler’s: A Pfennig For Your Thoughts 

December 11, 2017

* A Big week for Central Banks

* Dollar rally takes a breather

* All by myself… again… 

Good day… And A Marvelous Monday, to you! Well, this is quite late today, and I apologize for that… It’s a very busy morning for me, with the weekly nurse’s visit, physical rehab, and a follow up visit to the surgeon’s office. So, this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write… I’ll get my stitches out today, and I’ve been walking a bit with my cane this past weekend, so things are looking up! Kathy headed south on Saturday, so I’m all by myself.. again… No biggie… as I can do just about everything myself now…  The Atlanta Rhythm Section (ARS) greets me this morning with their song: So Into You…   

Well, once again all the dollar buying stopped on Friday, marking the second day last week that we had multiple days of a dollar rally, stopped, only to be picked up again a day or so later. So, if that pattern remains in place, look for more dollar buying by tomorrow…  This is Fed Week, and so there will be lots of gyrations back and forth with the dollar as the question of will she or won’t she hike rates with the country facing a possible shutdown will be bantered about.  

There was an explosion this morning in Manhattan, I’m sure that this has everyone there on pins and needles, as it should, and their thoughts are not with the markets right now…  So, let’s keep that in mind, and hope that no one was harmed. There’s just too much killing in this country, and that’s all I’m going to say about that…   

There’s not much going on around the world, markets or data wise, as this week is all set up for the Fed’s FOMC Meeting that will start tomorrow, and end on Wednesday with a rate announcement at 1 PM CT…  Friday, saw the Jobs Jamboree print an increase of 228,000 jobs for November… You may recall me telling you the previous day that the ADP Employment Report said 190,000 jobs were created in November… So, where did the 38,000 more jobs come from that the BLS said were created?  Well, I guess you would have to ask them that question, as it wasn’t the Birth / Death Model for once. The BLS actually took 5,000 jobs away in November’s Birth / Death Model! Wonders never cease… At least that’s what my Mom used to tell me…   

240,000 new jobs were forecast, so the actual print didn’t meet expectations, but I don’t think that had much to do with the dollar rally fizzing out. The two things I look for in the BLS report is the Avg. Hourly Earnings, which saw a modest 0.2% increase, and the Avg. Weekly Hours, which didn’t see any movement at 34.5 hours per week… 

I’ve always told you dear reader that these were the two things we should focus on each month, and not the number of jobs, for those numbers can be hedonically adjusted to make things look good… or whatever…  These two items the hourly earnings and hour worked will give us clues to wage inflation, if it’s there or not, and from what I’ve seen in recent months, it’s just not there…  Of course inflation is everywhere else right now, as witnessed by the craziness I highlighted for you last week… If you missed class on those days, I suggest you check out the Pfennig website: www.dailypfennig.com where you can find past copies of the Pfennig…  

Well, I take that back what I said earlier about not much happening around the world, that may be the case today, but not for the rest of the week, as besides the Fed, there are four other Central Bank meeting this week…  The European Central Bank (ECB), Norway’s Norges Bank, the Swiss National Bank (SNB), and the Bank of England (BOE) all will meet this week…  To me, the most interesting meeting should come from the ECB, as we’re still waiting for details of their unwinding of their balance sheet, and to hear ECB President Draghi, talk about the need to keep rates at negative levels… UGH!  

But there won’t be any rate movements from these 4 Central Banks…  Everyone and their brother are expected the Fed to hike rates this week… That is everyone but me, but then I have hedged that by saying that IF Janet Yellen does hike rates this week, I think she will have done so, to poke the President just one more time…    I keep saying this but it just doesn’t get any traction with the media, ad no one listens to me any longer… But the Fed is hiking rates and hoping for inflation to rise at the same time… Those two things don’t mix, and the only thing the Fed is going to do is hike rates and cause the economy to go into recession…   

In the U.K. this week, they’ll see a ton of economic data, along with a BOE meeting. Add those to the ongoing BREXIT negotiations, and you could have quite the volatile week for the pound.  Please keep your arms and legs inside the car for the duration of the ride, thank you!  

In Norway, the Norwegian economy has the inflation that every other country would love to have, but having inflation isn’t the only thing weighing on the Norges Bank’s decision as to when to hike rates.. The price of Oil continues to wobble, and not like a weeble, because weebles wobble but they don’t fall down, and the price of Oil certain has shown it can fall downward! HA!  And don’t forget the fact that the krone needs the euro to be stronger to allow the krone to grab the euro’s coattails… 

I’ve already talked about the U.S. Data Cupboard from Friday with the Jobs Jamboree, but there was also the current print of the Consumer Sentiment Index, which was disappointing… The Consumer Sentiment Index, at 96.8 for preliminary December, remains elevated though continues to edge back from October’s expansion peak of 100.7… Hmmm…  Is this data telling us that Christmas retail sales isn’t going as forecast?  Maybe… 

Today’s Cupboard is basically empty, so nothing here to see, move along…  Bitcoin futures began trading today..  The craziness will now carry over to the futures market… 

And there wasn’t much movement in Gold on Friday, although there was quite a bit of trading activity. Gold gained $1.40 on the day, and is up 50-cents in early trading today… it was an ugly week for Gold last week, let’s hope that the ugliness is behind us for this week.. 

To recap…  the dollar rally that had been in place for two days ended on Friday, and we now await for it to pick up again… The Fed meets this week, and everyone expects a rate hike from the Fed even in the face of a possible Gov’t shutdown looming…  4 other Central Banks meet this week, but Chuck doesn’t expect anything from any of them, and he’s called everyone to watch out for a volatile week with the pound this week.    

For What It’s Worth… The news on the One Belt, One Road project for China has been sparse, so an update on what’s going on is what I was looking for, and found this: https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2017/10/19/one-belt-one-road-china-globalization-and-the-international-oligarchy/  

Or, here’s your snippet:”Ironically, there are anti-globalists who see China, in its rivalry with the USA for geopolitical dominance, as a bulwark against globalization, to the extent of welcoming a “new Chinese century” as distinct from the “new American century” of the oddly named “neoconservatives”.[2] Some might also see China’s geopolitical expansion as a drawback for Zionism insofar as China aligns itself with Middle Eastern states antagonistic towards Israel, Syria being the primary target of Zionist anathema. Yet again, how seriously should one take China’s shadow-boxing with Israel, while conveniently insinuating itself into the Middle East, when Israel remains a primary supplier of weapons to China, including the latest U.S. technology, and have from the founding of both Israel and the People’s Republic maintained cordial relations regardless of China’s posturing in the Middle East?[3]

Globalization remains what it is whether its primary center is The City of London, New York, or Beijing. The investment bankers Goldman Sachs, Rothschild, Merrill Lynch, Chase, Citigroup, etc., do not owe prime loyalty to any super-power, nation or coalition of nations. Their forefathers were bankers to empires for centuries, then just as conscientiously helped to scuttle the very notion of “empire” when it became economically redundant.[4] If a China-led world economy offers better prospects for international investments than one led by the USA, rivalry over geopolitical interests in the South China Sea, or anywhere else, are not going to play anything other than a nuisance factor for global capital.”

Chuck again… A pretty long one, sorry, but wanted to capture the meat of the article…  

Currencies today 12/ 11/17… American Style: A$ .7528, kiwi .6915, C$ .7780, euro 1.1785, sterling 1.3365, Swiss $1.0088, … European Style: rand 13.6078, krone 8.3675, SEK 8.4887, forint 266.60, zloty 3.5673, koruna 21. 7220, RUB 59.09, yen 113.36, sing 1.3516, HKD 7.8065, INR 64.37, China 6.6187, peso 18.96, BRL 3.2899, Dollar Index 93.88, Oil $57.44, 10-year 2.37%, Silver $15.80, Platinum $885.52, Palladium $1,006.63, and Gold… $1,248.90  

That’s it for today… That was quite a thrilling Army/ Navy game on Saturday… the tradition of that whole thing is very impressive to me, and I make it a must see event each year… Our Blues have gotten out of their funk they were in, and are back to winning games again. Let’s Go Blues! Just 13 shopping days left folks.. this month is flying by, don’t you think? I hope the surgeon tells me I can drive again today, although I did cheat and drive Kathy down the road to get her car on Friday… It’s December, and it’s cold outside! BRRR…  Darling daughter Dawn will be by to pick me up and take me to the doctor today. Jerry and Everett stopped by to say hi yesterday, and Alex and friend stopped by last night…  Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels take us to the finish line today with their song: Jenny Take A Ride…  And with that, it’s time to go, albeit very late!  I hope you have a Marvelous Monday, and Be Good To Yourself!  

Chuck Butler

 

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