Tags: Sept 17 | Double Risk Day | Fed Rate Decision

Sept. 17 Is 'Double Risk Day' – Fed Decision and Iran Deal Vote

Sept. 17 Is 'Double Risk Day' – Fed Decision and Iran Deal Vote
(Dollar Photo Club)

By    |   Wednesday, 19 August 2015 10:07 AM EDT

We’ll soon receive the minutes of the July 28-29 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, which will be the last FOMC communication before the September 16-17 meeting that could (I’m not saying will) finally become the long awaited moment the Federal Reserve could start its very long way to “normalization” of its monetary policy.

Please keep in mind September 17 is also a “double” event risk day. Firstly, there will be the Fed that decides whether or not to hike rates. Secondly, the U.S. Congress will vote on the Iran deal.

That said, in its official July 28-29 statement, the FOMC wrote: “… Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, with labor market indicators continuing to move toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate … the Committee expects inflation to rise gradually toward 2 percent over the medium term …”

It could become interesting (hopefully) to see today in the minutes how confident policymakers were about the inflation outlook, what they think about U.S. growth and how strong it has to be before starting raising rates, and how they consider continuous strength of the dollar as well as foreign developments and their impacts on the U.S. economy.

Anyway, we should not expect any specific comment in relation to the devaluation of the Chinese currency as it only occurred last week on Monday, August 10.

Long-term investors could do well not taking the Chinese devaluation, which is far from over, lightly and more specifically if they are interested or have interests in emerging markets/economies.

In this context, it actually doesn’t matter if the Fed starts rising its policy rate in September, December or even March of next year. Fact is the Fed should start its normalization process within the next 6 months counting from September, in case rates aren’t hiked then, for 'good' U.S. economic reasons, which would put the Fed in sharp contrast with all the other important Central Banks in the world.

That move in itself should strengthen the dollar further as most of the important global economies have extreme low monetary policy rates, with exception of China that stands at 4.85 percent, India at 7.25 percent and Brazil at 14.25 percent, which have very little room to raise their respective rates with exception of Brazil that is in a full-blown crisis.

Now, U.S. rates moving higher will have a negative impact on emerging economies/markets.

In its recent released 85th annual report, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which is ‘the’ bank for Central Banks, stated: “… ‘U.S. dollar denominated’ credit to ‘non-banks’ in Emerging Market Economies (EME) has almost doubled since early 2009, to exceed $3 trillion. Especially at risk are commodity exporters, buoyed by a commodity ‘super cycle’ and turbocharged by exceptionally easy global funding conditions … estimates for potential growth rates have already halved in Latin America. China plays a pivotal role in all this: it is a huge economy and commodity importer that has slowed considerably under the weight of its pervasive financial imbalances…”

Today, the EME’s represent almost half of global GDP in purchasing power terms. No doubt whatsoever, a further strengthening dollar, which is fully in the cards thanks to the coming “normalization” process of the Fed, will have disruptive effects on emerging economies/markets, which could end up in something similar to the Asian crisis of 1997.

It also must be said, the Latin American Debt crisis of 1982, the Tequila crisis of 1994 and the Asian Financial crisis of 1997 all coincided with a continuous strengthening of the dollar.

We all know “Past performances do not guarantee future results,” but rising U.S. interest rates, albeit very slowly, probably should provoke what we could call “margin calls” to the EMEs, which will cause very important and broad-based losses.

As a long-term investor, I think it could be wiser not to look when the FOMC will raise its interest rates, but rather to look for, or trying to get a more or less good idea what could happen thereafter and specially if a real ‘U.S. dollar drain,’ away from the emerging economies should take hold.

Of course, we aren’t there yet, but if that were to happen, then we haven’t seen what we could call ‘massive selling’ in these markets yet, which should represent interesting buying opportunities for those that have cash available and know what they buy.

So far, today, and in context of all the above, the Bloomberg commodity index of 22 raw materials has plunged to its lowest level since February 2002 on China risk while Fed tightening is for obvious reasons still not taken into account yet.

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Please keep in mind September 17 is also a “double” event risk day. Firstly, there will be the Fed that decides whether or not to hike rates and secondly, U.S. Congress will vote on the Iran deal.
Sept 17, Double Risk Day, Fed Rate Decision
Wednesday, 19 August 2015 10:07 AM
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