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Mon, 20th February 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “February 7, 2017” Day

Fed’s Kashkari Says “Stock Prices Appear Somewhat Elevated”, Explains “What Might Be Wrong”

This morning, Minneapolis Fed Chairman Neel Kashkari penned an essay “Why I Voted to Keep Rates Steady” in which the former Goldmanite says that while core inflation “seems to be moving up somewhat, it is doing so slowly, if at all.”  He adds that “financial markets are guessing about what fiscal and regulatory actions the new Congress and the Trump administration will enact. We don’t know what those will be, so I don’t think we should put too much weight on these recent market moves yet.”

Repeating a on often heard lament about the lack of rising wages, Kashkari points out that “the cost of labor isn’t showing signs of building inflationary pressures that are ready to take off and push inflation above the Fed’s target” and adds that “it seems unlikely that the United States will experience a surge of inflation while the rest of the developed world suffers from low inflation.”

EIA boosts 2018 US oil production forecast, cuts demand estimate

US Energy Information Administration sees less oil this year

  • EIA sees 100K bpd rise in production this year compared to 110K previously
  • Sees 2018 production 230K bpd more than had been previously expected

So the 2017 forecast was cut by 10K bpd and next year raised by 230K bpd.

  • 2017 demand forecast unchanged
  • 2018 demand to grow 330K bpd vs 370K bpd previously

EIA forecast

  • Forecasts 2017 US crude oil production to rise less than expected 100,000 BPD (vs 110,00 previously)
  • Forecast 2017 US oil demand growth by 260,000 BPD (Unchanged)
  • Forecasts 2018 US Crude oil production to rise by 230,000 BPD
  • Sees 2018 US oil demand growth by 330,000 BPD (prev. 370,000)

Consultations on note ban were on since February 2016: Arun Jaitely to RS

A series of consultations were held between the government and top Reserve Bank of India (RBI) functionaries on demonetisation since February last year, before the central bank Board took a formal decision and conveyed it to the government which took the final call, Rajya Sabha was informed on Tuesday.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley said eight of the 10 directors of the RBI Board were present at the 8 November meeting which made an independent final recommendation with regard to demonetisation to government. He said that in May 2016, the RBI Board took a decision on printing currency of higher denomination as a replacement to demonetised currency.

“Consultations at a very senior level with the RBI on this issue had started way back in the month of February 2016 itself. The RBI Board in the month of May 2016, as a part of these consultations, had decided to go in for and approve the design and taken the decision with regard to the high denomination currency which was required to be printed as a replacement currency itself.

“Thereafter a series of meetings used to be held periodically, at times on a defined day once a week, where the seniors in the RBI as also in the government were in consultation. Because the decision had to be kept in utmost secrecy, it is for this particular reason that these were not put into public domain,” Jaitley informed the Rajya Sabha during Question Hour.

Rs 6.78 lakh cr remonetised, Rs 9.1 lakh cr in circulation: Govt

In the ongoing process of remonetisation, banknotes worth Rs 6.78 lakh crore returned to the formal banking system between November 10 and January 13, taking the total currency in circulation to Rs 9.1 lakh crore, the government said on Tuesday.

“Remonetisation is taking place ceaselessly at a fast pace. Between November 10, 2016 and January 13, 2017, the notes in circulation have increased by Rs 6.78 lakh crore, thereby taking the total notes in circulation to Rs 9.1 lakh crore,” Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.

He was answering question on estimated time period for replacing old high denomination notes with new currency.

Supplies are even being effected by air with direct dispatches to some centres to cut down on delivery time, he added.

In a separate reply, when asked how much old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes (SBNs) were deposited/exchanged upon being de-legalised, Meghwal said specified bank notes (SBNs) worth Rs 12.44 lakh crore were returned to currency chests of RBI by December 10, 2016.

Le Pen to Quit Presidency if French People Reject Proposal to Leave EU

France's far-right National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen poses in front of a poster for her 2017 French presidential election campaign as she inaugurates her party campaign headquarters L'Escale in Paris, France, November 16, 2016.On Saturday, the FN presidential candidate published her election program, compiling key proposals on immigration, economy, the European Union and other issues into 144 points. The first point in the manifesto suggests negotiations with the European Union on France’s status, followed by a nationwide referendum on the membership of the bloc.

“There will be a referendum on leaving the European Union. If the French vote against secession from the European Union, why should I remain in power?” Le Pen said in an interview with the French TV news channel LCI.

Le Pen also noted that if the French did not vote for secession from the bloc and did not support other points of her program, her being a president would not make sense as it would be “lies on a daily basis.”

Most recent polls indicate that the far-right candidate would move on to the second round of the elections with 26 percent of all votes, where she would face independent Emmanuel Macron, to whom she is projected to lose by a 35 percent to 65 percent margin. The ratings of the third main candidate, Republican Francois Fillon, dropped after the January outbreak of the scandal around his wife’s possibly fake jobs.

The first round of French presidential election is scheduled for April 23. The run-off is supposed to take place on May 7.

China FX reserves end-Jan USD 2.998trln vs 3.011trln prev

China FX reserves data now out from the PBOC 7 Feb

First time below $3trln since Feb 2011

  • gold reserves %71.292bln vs $67.878bln prev

The PBOV intervention continues. Still massive reserves but the powers that be will not be happy.

USD generally moves higher on the data.

Update: 08.24 GMT

FX regulator SAFE in defiant mood:

  • reserves are ample
  • provision of FX to market main reason for drop in reserves in Jan
  • fluctuation normal given complicated internal, external economic environment
  • smaller reduction in FX reserves in Jan shows cross-border capital outflows slowed

Frexit would ‘impoverish’ France warns ECB’s Cœuré

Image result for frexitMarine Le Pen’s plans to take France out of the euro would consign the country to impoverishment, one of the European Central Bank’s most senior French officials has warned.

Benoît Cœuré, executive board member at the ECB, called the notion of a ‘Frexit’, a choice for “impoverishment” that would “threaten the jobs and savings of the French people”.

Ms Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front, is vowing to hold a referendum to take France out of the eurozone and redenominate the country’s €2tn of outstanding debt into a new franc after 18 years of membership should she become the country’s new president in May.

Should a Frexit occur, “debts incurred by French businesses and households would increase”, warned Mr Cœuré.

“Inflation, which would no longer be restrained by the ECB, would eat into savings, the fixed incomes of households and small pensions”, he added.

Despite Ms Le Pen’s assurances of an “orderly” exit, the French central banker said “leaving the euro would mean taking risks which have unpredictable consequences”.

The prospect of surging popularity for Ms Le Pen and the apparent demise of one of her main rivals for the job, the right-wing Francois Fillon, has sent the country’s 10-year bond yields to an 18-month at the start of the week.

Investors have dumped French debt, demanding the highest premium in four years to hold its benchmark bonds over Germany’s, as the likes of S&P Global Ratings have warned a Frexit would result in a likely downgrade of France’s sovereign borrower status.

With less than three months since the start of the first round presidential vote, Mr Cœuré said he could “not contemplate” a French vote in favour of leaving the euro, with the latest polling showing around 68 per cent of French people still back membership of the single currency area.

Amid promises by Ms Le Pen to restore monetary sovereignty to France and reverse the forces of globalisation, Mr Cœuré defended the euro, arguing it had proven to have had “greater benefits for the disadvantaged and the vulnerable”.

German industrial production unexpectedly falls the most in 8 years

German industrial production unexpectedly fell in December, led by a contraction in manufacturing and construction.

Output, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, declined 3 percent from November, when it advanced a revised 0.5 percent, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said on Tuesday. The volatile indicator’s worst reading since early 2009 compares with a median estimate for a 0.3 percent increase in a Bloomberg survey. Production was down 0.7 percent from a year earlier.

German business confidence slipped in January and momentum in manufacturing and services slowed as national elections in September and risks related to Brexit and protectionist trade policies in the U.S. weigh on the outlook. Companies assessment of current economic conditions remains favorable, with factory orders surging and unemployment dropping to a record low.