Leo Haviland provides clients with original, provocative, cutting-edge fundamental supply/demand and technical research on major financial marketplaces and trends. He also offers independent consulting and risk management advice.

Haviland’s expertise is macro. He focuses on the intertwining of equity, debt, currency, and commodity arenas, including the political players, regulatory approaches, social factors, and rhetoric that affect them. In a changing and dynamic global economy, Haviland’s mission remains constant – to give timely, value-added marketplace insights and foresights.

Leo Haviland has three decades of experience in the Wall Street trading environment. He has worked for Goldman Sachs, Sempra Energy Trading, and other institutions. In his research and sales career in stock, interest rate, foreign exchange, and commodity battlefields, he has dealt with numerous and diverse financial institutions and individuals. Haviland is a graduate of the University of Chicago (Phi Beta Kappa) and the Cornell Law School.


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Does the Federal Reserve Board have a coherent detailed exit plan from its long-running extraordinary and highly accommodative monetary policy? No. Is it likely to devise one soon? No. Is it nevertheless likely to continue to stress its ability to prudently manufacture and implement a suitable exit program? Yes.

The Fed’s broad and unspecific principles do not create a genuine and practical exit strategy. Neither do fervent hymns proclaiming devotion to its legislative mandate. Neither does rhetoric about studying numerous, intertwining, changing, and complex variables and eloquence regarding its diligent monitoring of the economic landscape. Adherence to forward guidance wordplay is not an adequate substitute for a practical strategy. The Fed’s policy exit generally will be reactive, with its decisions and actions that of a follower rather than a leader.

Why does the Fed battle to create expectations that it has, or at least can and (when necessary) readily will develop, a suitable exit program? The central bank wants audiences to have faith that it can substantially influence the creation of desirable economic outcomes. Exit guidelines fortify marketplace and political hopes that a vigilant, wise, and sufficiently experienced Fed really (or at least very probably) knows how and when it can retreat gracefully from its glorious easy money programs without endangering United States (and worldwide) economic growth and the central bank’s inflation and employment targets.

The Fed’s quest to create confidence in its exit strategy also fights to promote confidence that American interest rates will not rise too far or too fast. Why fear a bear move in debt securities? Higher rates would weigh on economic growth. They would wound owners of US Treasury and other debt securities, which could inspire many “investors” to flee from these marketplaces (especially from longer-dated debt). Such escapes of course could lead to even higher yields. Besides, why risk sitting around awaiting capital loss when the Fed promises higher rates- unless such hikes occur very slowly and with sufficient warning? Given the huge foreign ownership of US Treasury securities, net foreign selling (or even reduced net buying) of them could make funding of the nation’s budget deficits increasingly difficult (especially in later years), particularly as the Fed soon will no longer be ravenously buying US Treasuries.

Moreover, the Fed also does not want a sharp sustained bear tumble in the US stock marketplace. The enormous stock bull move has helped to rebuild household net worth and sparked rises in consumer and business confidence and activity. After the Fed ended the first two rounds of money printing, the S+P 500 dropped. The gradual tapering of its current mammoth debt securities acquisition adventure underlines its fears of another run to the exits by stock owning audiences.

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Exit Strategies- the Fed, US Treasuries, and US Stocks (7-14-14)

FED UP: OTHER EXIT STRATEGIES (c) Leo Haviland June 10, 2013

The Federal Reserve Board proclaimed in June 2011 a framework of principles for an exit strategy from its extraordinary and highly accommodative monetary policy. Are their exit principles in the process of changing a little bit, and might they do so relatively soon? It seems so.

The Fed is not the only financial visionary with an exit strategy. Participants in debt, stock, currency, commodity, real estate, and other marketplaces also possess exit (and entrance) schemes and tactics.

What signs probably warn that (for whatever reason, including a potential change in Fed policy) there is a noteworthy (substantial) exit underway from long positions in the UST?

Those on the alert for bulls to exit (bears to enter) the UST corral should monitor German and Japanese sovereign debt marketplace yields. Also remember debt yields and trends for European “periphery” and emerging marketplace nations.

Of course US dollar, S+P 500, and commodity trends entangle with and help to explain exits from (and entrances into) UST (and other interest rate) playgrounds. How much convergence and divergence has there been and will there be between falling (and rising) UST yields and past and future S+P 500 patterns? If UST rates keep rising higher and higher (suppose they exceed the high achieved in the past few weeks), will the S+P 500 inevitably continue to move up and up? Other questions loom. If the Fed keeps repressing UST yields, what will the jury decide for the US dollar (either on a broad, real trade-weighted basis, or in individual crosses against the Euro FX, Japanese Yen, Chinese renminbi, and so forth).

Thus it apparently has become increasingly difficult (at least at low nominal yield levels) to captivate foreigners into buying UST notes and bonds (and T-bills too). The slowdown in overseas net buying of UST probably occurred after March 2013 as well. In this context, note the steady rise in rates since July 2012’s bottom (and the 1.55pc low on 11/16/12 and 1.56pc on 12/6/12). And after all, the US does have some inflation (now around 1.5 percent) and the first several years of the UST yield curve offers no (or very little) real return to foreigners or anyone else. The seven year note now yields around 1.60pc. Even the 10 year’s return is mediocre.

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Fed Up- Other Exit Strategies (6-10-13)
US Treasury 10 Year Note Chart (6-10-13)