“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, verse 1 (King James Version)



To spark and sustain the worldwide economic recovery that began around first half 2009, the Federal Reserve Board and other major central banks warmly embraced highly accommodative monetary policies such as yield repression and money printing (quantitative easing). Who would want to repeat the horrors of the hellish worldwide economic disaster that erupted in 2007 and worsened dramatically after mid-year 2008? Therefore, often in recent years, after significant hints of feeble growth (or recession) or insufficient inflation (or signs of that evil, deflation) appeared, these high priests of the economic system offered further rhetoric or additional (or new) action to accomplish their aims and restore confidence. Such central banking efforts often succeeded. In any case, financial congregations (especially in American and other stock marketplaces) generally loudly hoped for, fervently encouraged, and joyfully praised such central bank rescue efforts.

However, around mid-2015, advanced nation stock benchmarks such as the S+P 500 peaked. Moreover, despite central bank wordplay and vigorous policy action, bear moves in these stock domains have persisted alongside renewed signs of economic weakness and “too low” inflation. Ongoing collapses in emerging marketplace stocks “in general”, the major bear move in commodities in general, and falling yields in the 10 year United States Treasury note accompanied tumbles in the S+P 500 and other advanced nation equities. The major bull move in the broad, real trade-weighted US dollar, which began in July 2011, has played a key role in these intertwined trends.

In the past few weeks, key global central banks once again preached sermons or engaged in actions aimed not only at creating sufficient inflation (defeating deflation) and ensuring sustained economic recovery. Stock marketplaces initially ascended higher after these recent efforts (recall their lows around January 20, 2016), and the US dollar weakened somewhat. The Federal Reserve Board and other guardian angels probably did not want the S+P 500 and related stock marketplaces to crash under their January 2016 lows. In addition, they probably did not want the United States dollar bull move to extend much (if at all) beyond its January 2016 high.

However, and although not much time has passed since these recent ardent central bank efforts, the S+P 500 and other stock landmarks have resumed their slumps. Ominously, many stock marketplaces have fallen under their August/September 2015 lows. In addition, the dollar still remains strong, commodities weak (despite talk about and hopes for OPEC petroleum production cuts), and US government yields (in a flight to quality) depressed. This vista warns that the Fed and other revered central banks are finding it more and more difficult to accomplish their various policy aims. It suggests that people (including devoted investors in US stocks) increasingly are losing faith in the ability of central banks to produce desirable outcomes.

Although it is a difficult marketplace call, these ongoing and interwoven marketplace trends probably will continue for a while longer. Admittedly, if these marketplace patterns persist and especially if they extend, watchers should beware of even more dramatic (and perhaps coordinated) central bank rescue action.


For additional currency, stock, interest rate, and commodity marketplace analysis, see essays such as “The Curtain Rises: 2016 Marketplace Theaters” (1/4/16), “Japanese Yen: Currency Adventures (2007-09 Revisited)” (1/14/16), “US Natural Gas” Caught in the Middle” (especially pp2-3), “America: A House Divided” (12/7/15), “Two-Stepping: US Government Securities” (12/1/16), “Commodities: Captivating Audiences” (10/12/15), and “Déjà Vu (Encore): US Marketplace History” (10/4/15).

FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW to download this article as a PDF file.
As the World Burns- Marketplaces and Central Banks (2-8-16)