More of the Same-O, Same-O

Today’s Pfennig  for your thoughts…

Good day… And a happy Friday to one and all!

It was the same old song, but with a different meaning since you’ve been gone, for the currencies and metals yesterday, with some gainers and some losers. There’s been no real clear cut direction for the dollar since August 17 when it appeared that the dollar was going to go on a rampage — taking no prisoners, and leaving devastation among the currencies and metals.

The second QTR GDP print here in the U.S. was quite surprising to the upside. It has once more given the dollar some life due to the prospects that the Fed will hike rates next month and the dollar will be king once more, given the state of the rest of the world’s economies right now…

I just don’t see how or why the Fed would hike rates next month, period.   I really don’t! That’s why I didn’t make a BIG Deal out of the stock correction early this week. That’s all it was. If stocks have another good day they will have gained back all they lost since last Friday. Then it’ll be time to fill up the punchbowl again.

The party’s just getting re-started — did you bring your party clothes?  The only fly in the punchbowl will be how the markets look to the Fed after failing to deliver a rate hike for the 3rd time this year. Furthermore, all this dollar strength going back to last August has been about a possible rate hike.

As I look at the currency screens this morning, it’s the same-o, same-o, with some currencies gaining versus the dollar and some losing. The euro is up by 1/4-cent and the petrol currencies, minus the Russian ruble, are reacting favorably to the last bump up in the price of oil to a $42 handle.

Earlier this week, it also appeared that the price of oil was about to fall into a deep, dark , abyss. But the white knight must have arrived on top of his white steed, because since falling to $38, oil’s price has bounced.

The Russian ruble received some bad news in the form of a report showing that the January – July GDP had fallen -3.6% year on year… Today’s drop in the ruble offsets yesterday’s gains, so back to square one… But, I will point out that the ruble has managed to push back from the 70 level it held last week to a still not so great, but better than 70, level of 66…

Well, the Fed’s Jackson Hole boondoggle started yesterday… Janet Yellen is not attending the boondoggle this year, as she’s probably back home working on the wording she will use to explain why the Fed left rates unchanged… HA!  Seriously, Fed member Fischer, will speak at Jackson Hole today, and the markets will be in tune to what he says, given the dovish talk that Fed member, Dudley, gave earlier this week…

The antipodeans are finding that their footing is certainly not on terra firma this morning… The Aussie dollar (A$) is down 1/4-cent and kiwi follows but is only down a few ticks as I write… So, the news out of Australia wasn’t data driven or anything like that, it was a survey of economists that are leaning toward a rate cut by November…  Now we all know that economists are all about wanting rate cuts, money printing and other Keynesian stupid pet tricks, so this doesn’t surprise me any… And I don’t think the markets and traders have bought into it 100%, given the A$ being down by just a 1/4 of a cent…

The Chinese renminbi appreciated by a larger amount overnight than we’ve seen lately, but not nearly enough to offset the downside slide in the renminbi this week… But, the currency ended the week on a high note, and I like that! I always like it when the assets I follow can end a week on a high note… makes the cold beverage that I’ll enjoy on my usual Friday evening trip to my local watering hole, FBG, taste that much sweeter!

I was feeling kind of perky yesterday evening so I decided to go for a short walk around the neighborhood… Neighbors all acted really surprised to see me out and about, and the looks on their faces were like they were seeing a ghost… After I had back surgery in 1992, I made the same short walks as a part of rehab, and I used to see the same neighbors back then too!

Well, gold is flat this morning… the shiny metal was up a couple of bucks when I turned the currency screens on, but that didn’t take long to go through.  The fate of gold, silver, platinum and palladium is all held in the hands of the Federal Reserve… And what they decide to do or not do in a few weeks…

Well, I don’t mean to sound like that’s a “forever” statement… I just mean in the short term, which is all the markets think about these days any way… So, if you have the conviction like I do that the Fed won’t hike rates, now may be the time you look to purchase metals, and if you believe the Fed is going to hike rates then I’m not talking to you any longer… HAHA! Just kidding!

But if the Fed does hike, then you’ll want to remain on the sidelines…  I would suggest that whatever you do, have the conviction to do it and then don’t go looking to blame someone else if it doesn’t work out!

And after platinum hit a 5-year low earlier this week, with Palladium not far behind, these two have rebounded a bit… Is this for real or… is it another false dawn? I guess we’ll have to wait-n-see, eh?

The U.S. Data Cupboard yesterday, had the upside surprise in second QTR GDP that I talked about above… That was quite strong, and something that I just can’t get my arms around… there’s no way, that the economy is that strong, not in my eye, and from what I see going on around me… But, the government said it was that strong, so who am I to question their data?

HAHA! As if I would ever trust data from the government…

Today’s Data Cupboard has two of my faves… Personal Spending and Income… Personal Spending is important to the economy, especially the U.S. economy that is so geared toward needing Spending to fuel the economy…

Exports don’t do the trick here in the U.S. And even though the Spending data as a whole, which includes government spending, can get all out of whack due to the government spending, it’s a very important part of the economy…

Ahhh, I think this is twice this week, I’ve been able to find a James Grant quote that is outside of his letter that I can use!  This one was found on Zerohedge.com  yesterday, and I’ve been champing at the bit to get it in the Pfennig since I found it! The link to the entire story can be found here.

“The question we appear to be getting answered this week is, as Grant’s Interest Rate Observer‘s Jim Grant so poetically explains, “how much of this paper moon market is real, and how much is governmental whipped cream?” In this brief but, as usual, perfectly to the point interview with Reason.com‘s Matt Welch, Grant asks (and answers), “are prices meant to be imposed from on high, or discovered by individuals acting spontaneously in markets?” noting that, while many readers here may know the answer, “they’re regrettably in the minority.” The always entertaining Grant then goes on to discuss the underlying causes of the recent market turbulence, why we don’t really “have interest rates anymore.”

“One thing to recall is that markets are meant to be two-way propositions – they go up, they go down – but it has been almost four years since we have seen a 10% correction… what’s unusual is not the occasional down day but The Great Sedation that preceded.”

Chuck again… Man to have a mind like James Grant… Oh well, I guess I have to satisfied with my mind… But he always has this way of saying things that you completely understand what he’s talking about, but at the same time, he doesn’t tick people off…  Oh well… I’ll leave that to the James Grants of the world, and I’ll remain myself… Help, Mr. Wizard… Ahhh, Tooter Turtle.. Always I tell you… Be yourself!

That’s it for today… I hope you have a fantastico Friday!

Regards,

Chuck Butler
forThe Daily Reckoning

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