Monday, June 29, 2015

Duy: "Events Continue to Conspire Against the Fed"

by Bill McBride on 6/29/2015 07:07:00 PM

Tuesday:
• At 9:00 AM ET, S&P/Case-Shiller House Price Index for April. Although this is the April report, it is really a 3 month average of February, March and April prices. The consensus is for a 5.4% year-over-year increase in the Comp 20 index for April. The Zillow forecast is for the National Index to increase 4.0% year-over-year in April, and for prices to be unchanged month-to-month seasonally adjusted.

• At 9:45 AM, Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for June. The consensus is for a reading of 50.6, up from 46.2 in May.

From Tim Duy: Events Continue to Conspire Against the Fed. Excerpts:

Federal Reserve policymakers just can't catch a break lately. Riding on the back of strong data in the second half of last year, they were positioning themselves to declare victory and begin the process of policy normalization, AKA "raising interest rates." Then the bottom fell out. Data in the first half of the year turned sloppy. Although policymakers on average - and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen in particular - could reasonably believe the underlying momentum of the economy had not changed, that the data reflected largely temporary factors, the case for a rate hike by mid-year evaporated all the same. The risk of being wrong was simply more than they were willing to bear in the absence of clear inflation pressures.

The story was clearly shifting by the end of June. Key data on jobs and the consumer firmed as expected, raising the possibility that September was in play. ...

But then came Greece. Greece - will it never end? Financial markets were roiled as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras abandoned the latest round of bailout negotiations with the EU, IMF, and ECB and instead pursued a national referendum on the last version of the bailout proposal. Most of you know the story from that point on - run on Greek banks, the ECB ends further ELA extensions, a bank holiday is declared, likely missing a payment to the IMF etc., etc.

At this juncture, everything in Greece is now in flux. ...

Bottom Line: The Fed was already approaching the first rate hike cautiously, wary of even dipping their toes in the water. The crisis in Greece will make them even more cautious. Like their response to the first quarter data, until they see a clear path, they will be on the sidelines. That said, given the plethora of warnings not to underestimate the global impact of the crisis in Greece, one should be watching the opposite side of the story. Solid data and limited Greece impact would leave December at a minimum, and even September, in play.