In a phone call with Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin has said that imposing sanctions on Russia is counterproductive and affects international stability. The two presidents agreed that the current situation is not in the interests of their countries.
Both Obama and Putin has emphasized the importance of an “immediate and sustained ceasefire” in eastern Ukraine, but at the same time noted that “significant differences” remained between Moscow and Washington over Ukraine, a Kremlin statement said.
Besides Ukraine, the two leaders touched upon the recent rounds of sanctions imposed on Russia by the US.
“The Russian head of state described the line of increased Washington’s sanctions as counterproductive, causing serious damage to bilateral cooperation and international stability as a whole,” the Kremlin’s statement, posted on its official webpage, said. >> Read More
The EU sanctions come into effect tomorrow and they have officially announced the details.
The Russian banks cited in sanctions are Sberbank, VTB bank, Gazprombank, Vnesheconombank and Rosselkhozbank. They will be prohibited from selling bonds or shares in the EU but permitted to carry out other operations in the EU.
If you like your legal guff fill your boots with the official EU release here
ATMs in Hindi-speaking states will now generate receipts in Hindi, along with English, as the Home Ministry has asked the Reserve Bank of India to direct banks to procure only those ATMs that can print receipts in Hindi.
The ministry has also instructed two major foreign suppliers of ATMs to upgrade the software in the existing ATMs to ensure printouts in Hindi.
The Department of Financial Services has written to the Home Ministry, saying the matter is under consideration. “We will be perusing this matter… the issue is that the printout of the receipt (from the ATM) should come in the language in which the transaction is being made,” a Home Ministry spokesperson said.
At present, only ATMs procured by the Union Bank of India from Diebold firm have the facility to print in Hindi.
>> Read More
Bad debts of public sector banks have surged to a nine-year high, with the corporate sector accounting for the biggest increase. This will be one of the key challenges before the new government.
Indeed, the current favourite to form the new government, the Bharatiya Janata Party, had in its manifesto expressed concerns over the bad debt situation. It promised “necessary steps to reduce non-performing assets (NPAs) in the banking sector” if it comes to power.
According to provisional data complied for 19 public sector banks by the Finance Ministry for the last meeting between Finance Minister P Chidambaram and public sector bank chiefs scheduled for Tuesday, the gross NPAs as a ratio of gross advances have reached 4.44 per cent against 3.84 per cent in 2012-13. Though less than 5.07 per cent as on December 2013, the gross NPAs are still at their highest level since 2004-05 when they touched 5.5 per cent.
Reasons for rise >> Read More
In a few short minutes, Fed Chairmanwoman Janet Yellen will hold the first part of her two-day testimony in Congress before the Joint Economic Committee (followed by testimony before the Senate Budget Committee), in which she will regale members of congress with tales about harsh weather in the first quarter, and who snow managed to subtract over $50 billion from the US economy in Q1. Yellen’s prepared remarks will likely focus on the FOMC’s broader views on the economic outlook, but the Q&A will be equally as important. It is possible she may be asked by Senate Committee members for more clarity on the Fed’s exit strategy and/or its view on the terminal funds rate. It is unlikely that she will say anything too market moving, especially since Goldman has schooled her how to avoid any “firm” calendar commitments of the “6 month” variety.
As Deutsche Bank notes, “She will be encouraged by the recent mix of stronger data, subdued inflation and a very well behaved bond market. However, with the market rate expectations even more dovish than the median FOMC dots, if anything there is still more risk that she is less dovish than the market has priced in, and if anything fractionally more USD friendly, but this will be subtle and not her intention, and therefore unlikely to support the USD on a sustained basis…. other topics that will get some air time include how much weight she puts on the backward looking data versus the relative strength of the Q2 data, her view on key labour market indicators, the time gap between the end of QE and the start of rate hikes and whether the Fed Chair sees any signs of financial market excess.”
- *YELLEN SAYS `HIGH DEGREE’ OF ACCOMMODATION REMAINS WARRANTED
- *YELLEN SAYS REASONS FOR FIRST QUARTER SLOWDOWN WERE TRANSITORY
- *YELLEN SAYS LABOR MARKET CONDITIONS `FAR FROM SATISFACTORY’
- *YELLEN SEES `SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF SLACK’ IN LABOR MARKET
- *YELLEN SAYS INFLATION PERSISTING BELOW 2% `COULD POSE RISKS’
- *YELLEN FORECASTS FASTER GROWTH THIS YEAR THAN IN 2013
- *YELLEN SAYS FINANCIAL CONDITIONS `SUPPORTIVE OF GROWTH’
- *YELLEN SAYS U.S. HOUSING MARKET DATA `DISAPPOINTING’
- *YELLEN SAYS `FLATTENING OUT’ IN HOUSING MAY POSE RISK
- *YELLEN SAYS LOW RATES MAY PROMPT INVESTORS TO `REACH FOR YIELD’
- *YELLEN: EQUITIES, BROAD TYPES OF ASSETS PRICED WITHIN PAST NORM
- *YELLEN SAYS LEVERAGE `SUBDUED’ WITHIN FINANCIAL SECTOR
Watch her testimony live below:
With all eyes fixed on any mention of the length of time post-taper before rate hikes, stocks and bonds slid gently in the last few minutes before the minutes release – and sure enough…
- *SEVERAL FED OFFICIALS SAID FORECASTS OVERSTATED RATE RISE PACE
In other words, we are way more dovish than you thought we were… Weather was blamed for any slowdown and the pace of tapering appears set. Bear in mind these minutes reflect a discussion that took place – at least from a chronological standpoint – before Janet Yellen’s “six months” statement.
Pre-FOMC: S&P Futs 1852.75, 10Y 2.717%, Gold $1304
Here is the key fragment:
A few participants suggested that new language along these lines could instead be introduced when the first increase in the federal funds rate had drawn closer or after the Committee had further discussed the reasons for anticipating a relatively low federal funds rate during the period of policy firming. A number of participants noted the overall upward shift since December in participants’ projections of the federal funds rate included in the March SEP, with some expressing concern that this component of the SEP could be misconstrued as indicating a move by the Committee to a less accommodative reaction function. However, several participants noted that the increase in the median projection overstated the shift in the projections. In addition, a number of participants observed that an upward shift was arguably warranted by the improvement in participants’ outlooks for the labor market since December and therefore need not be viewed as signifying a less accommodative reaction function. Most participants favored providing an explicit indication in the statement that the new forward guidance, taken as a whole, did not imply a change in the Committee’s policy intentions, on the grounds that such an indication could help forestall misinterpretation of the new forward guidance.
So is “several” less than or more than 6 months? Of course, these are Fed forecasts. Which are always wrong anyway. Either way, stocks love it as the Fed has just given the go ahead to reflate the bubble some more.
FOMC Minutes April 2014
1. If the private sector has added more than 129,000 payroll jobs in March, the U.S. will be back to its peak level of private-sector employment.
2. The average workweek slipped by 0.1 hour to 34.2 hours in February, the lowest level since January 2011, but if there is even just a partial reversal of the weather distortion it should be enough to generate a rebound in the average
3. Watch the number of full-time jobs created, this is a key concern of Janet Yellen and the FOMC.
4. Average hourly earnings for all employees rose 0.4% in February, matching the strongest gain in more than two and a half years; if the gains continue in March it will reinforce the impression of a generally tightening labor market
5. The labor force participation rate, another key concern of Yellen and the Fed. Greater labor-force participation will be very welcome.
18 February 2014 - 11:31 am
The surprise in the Bank of Japan’s policy update today was the extent to which it will attempt to stimulate the economy with special lending facilities.
The BoJ said it will “double the scale” of two loan schemes that were set to expire. The facilities enable financial institutions to borrow funds at a fixed rate of just 0.1 per cent for four years.
Details below, but here’s the key quote on the intended impact:
The Bank expects that these enhancements will further promote financial institutions’ actions as well as stimulate firms’ and households’ demand for credit, with a view to encouraging banks’ lending and strengthening the foundations for economic growth.
The success of the loan schemes has been underwhelming so far. Even with real interest rates in negative territory because of the rise in inflation, demand for credit among companies and households is not responding as the BoJ had hoped.
But the significance might not be the details, but merely that the BoJ has just proven it’s willing to amend its policy to help the economy. >> Read More
11 February 2014 - 19:05 pm
- *YELLEN SAYS FOMC LIKELY TO CONTINUE QE TAPER IN MEASURED STEPS
- *YELLEN SAYS RECOVERY IN LABOR MARKET IS `FAR FROM COMPLETE’
- *YELLEN SAY FED TO `CONTINUE TO MONITOR FOR EMERGING RISKS’
- *YELLEN: MAIN RATE LIKELY TO BE LOW WELL PAST 6.5% JOBLESS RATE
Of course, the Q&A (and hawkish follow-up panel) may well be the “common knowledge” setting moment for today but for now, the Taper is on and forward-guidance
Yellen Speech Feb 11