The DC Today - Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Episode 679: The DC Today - Tuesday, August 15, 2023

I believe the Fed has rates way too tight right now, and I further believe it is for all the wrong reasons.

Show notes

Today's Post -

One of the things I used to get most frustrated by in the 2000-2007 period of artificially low interest rates, or 2010-2016, or 2020-2022, is how people assumed a central bank reducing rates was a good thing, when the only reason the Fed was doing it was because they believed things were bad. In other words, yes, a rate cut or low rates may (in many cases but not all) boost asset prices, but if the rate cut is coming because of fears of economic weakness (or actual economic weakness) there is ample reason to believe the celebration should be delayed. Now, I believe the Fed has rates way too tight right now and I further believe it is for all the wrong reasons. Yet if the Fed were cutting, not because they realize they over-did it, but rather because we were seeing screaming, severe recessionary conditions, does anyone believe that would be a positive thing?

The People’s Bank of China unexpectedly cut rates last night because things there are terrible. The Shanghai Composite Index was down -0.49% and the CSI 300 was down -0.31%. U.S. futures dropped -250 points and as I type the market is down -300 points (the final closing numbers are below). The reason risk assets responded negatively to what people intuitively (and naively) think is a good thing (i.e. unexpected rate cuts)? Because the rate cuts are due to things being, ummmm, bad. China’s situation now is case in point. This was the PBOC’s second rate cut this summer. Consumer spending, industrial production, and business investment were all less than expected. And everything happening there is teeing up this Friday’s Dividend Cafe on what I see as pending Chinafication – not the economic softening itself, but the response to the softening and what that creates.

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David Bahnsen

David Bahnsen

David is the Founder, Managing Partner, and the Chief Investment Officer of The Bahnsen Group.

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