Breaking Down the Balance Sheet
In the latest month, the Fed made up for their recent shortfall with a big balance sheet reduction of $139B, exceeding their target by 50%! Despite the larger-than-expected reduction, the Fed still missed its target on Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS).
According to the BLS, the economy added 263k jobs in November with a modest revision up in October from 261k to 284k but a revision down in September from 365k to 269k. October was a beat against median expectations of 200k. The employment rate (black line) stayed flat at 3.7% while the labor force participation ticked down from 62.2% to 62.1% This is the weakest labor force participation since December of last year.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell came out this week and indicated the central bank is set to pivot away from its aggressive rate hikes. But he couched the announcement in hawkish terms. The markets bought the pivot and ignored the hawkishness. In this episode of the Friday Gold Wrap podcast, host Mike Maharrey puts Powell’s remarks in a broader context and speculates about what might be coming down the pike.
Inflation was running rampant for months before the Federal Reserve launched its inflation fight. As you’ll recall, we were told over and over again that inflation was transitory. But now that the central bank is on the job, most people are confident Powell and Company can get rising prices back under control.
Perhaps they shouldn’t be so confident.
While the data this month looks weak, I think there is more to the story. My hypothesis is speculative in nature, so I will save it for the end after going through the data.
The powers that be keep telling you that the economy is fine and inflation has likely peaked. But you’re not buying the story.
Consumer confidence fell for the second straight month in November as worries about inflation and the trajectory of the economy persist.
Based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), prices were up 7.7% year-on-year in October. That’s a pretty hefty inflationary bite. But we’ve been saying the impact of inflation is a lot worse.
The increased cost of a Thanksgiving meal this year bears that out.
Your Thanksgiving meal cost about 20% more than it did last year. Why did it cost so much more? As Peter Schiff explained in his podcast, your more expensive Thanksgiving came to you courtesy of the US government and its inflation tax.
There are a lot of things they didn’t teach you in school. In this episode of the Friday Gold Wrap, host Mike Maharrey tells you a Thanksgiving story you’ve probably never heard before – at least not from your school teacher. He also touches on the Fed minutes that came out this week that seem to confirm a soft pivot on rate hikes.