CFS Monetary Measures for November 2019

Today we release CFS monetary and financial measures for November 2019. CFS Divisia M4, which is the broadest and most important measure of money, grew by 7.4% in November 2019 on a year-over-year basis versus 6.6% in October.

For Monetary and Financial Data Release Report:
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/amfm/Divisia_Nov19.pdf

For more information about the CFS Divisia indices and the data in Excel:
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/amfm_data.php

Bloomberg terminal users can access our monetary and financial statistics by any of the four options:

1) {ALLX DIVM }
2) {ECST T DIVMM4IY}
3) {ECST} –> ‘Monetary Sector’ –> ‘Money Supply’ –> Change Source in top right to ‘Center for Financial Stability’
4) {ECST S US MONEY SUPPLY} –> From source list on left, select ‘Center for Financial Stability’

Issing: Memorandum on the ECB’s Monetary Policy

We thank Otmar Issing for sending a recent “Memorandum on the ECB’s Monetary Policy” in response to CFS distributions. To be sure, the broad content of the message was covered in the financial press. However, meaningful nuances and details are only apparent with a full read. Hence, it may be of interest to CFS friends.

Signed by:
Hervé Hannoun, Former First Deputy Governor, Banque de France, Paris
Otmar Issing, Former Member of the ECB-Executive Board, Würzburg
Klaus Liebscher, Former Governor Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Vienna
Helmut Schlesinger, Former President Deutsche Bundesbank, Oberursel
Jürgen Stark, Former Member of the ECB-Executive Board, Frankfurt
Nout Wellink, Former Governor De Nederlandsche Bank, Amsterdam

Judgement shared by:
Jacques de Larosière, Former Governor Banque de France, Paris
Christian Noyer, Former Governor Banque deFrance, Paris

The full memorandum is available at
www.CenterforFinancialStability.org/research/Memorand.pdf

Wishing you the best into the Holiday Season and New Year!

Hormats and Istel on Inequality and Low Rates

CFS is delighted to share Robert Hormats and Yves-Andre Istel’s personal views on “Inequality Perils from Lower Rates.” They contend that:

  • Low interest rate policies have become increasingly ineffective in fostering equitable growth.
  • Negative effects of ultra‐low rates have been underestimated and are greater than generally thought, especially in increasing inequality.
  • Therefore, a new mix of monetary/fiscal policies with a long-term structural focus is called for.

Yves and Bob have been thoughtful and engaged with CFS. Robert Hormats is the former Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment. Yves‐Andre Istel is a Senior Advisor to Rothschild & Co.

The full report is available at
www.CenterforFinancialStability.org/research/Hormats_Istel_121619.pdf

From China / Monetary Policy Paradigm Shifts

I had the pleasure of presenting “Monetary Policy Paradigm Shifts” as well as delivering conference summary remarks at a discussion hosted by the Shanghai Development Research Foundation (SDRF). The conference hosts beautifully structured the inquiry regarding monetary policy across three areas. Corresponding conclusions follow:

– “Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)” is neither modern nor monetary. It is theory. CFS has avoided discussing this topic; however, threads seem to be drifting into mainstream thinking. MMT has already been tried and performed poorly. Our assessment rests on studies and empirical evidence including Gail Makinen’s “Studies in Hyperinflation & Stabilization” published by CFS in 2014.

– “Fundamental changes in theory and policy today” are a function of three policy miscalculations since 2002. Monetary mistakes in the past have paved the way for more experiments and the surfacing of ideas such as MMT.

– “The effect on global markets and economies” is to skew incentives for savers and investors, distort market signals, and limit growth.

Although tricky, a slow and careful restoration of normalcy is essential. It is today’s critical constrained maximization problem.

View the remarks at www.centerforfinancialstability.org/research/ShanghaiDRF_111819.pdf

de Larosière on the Monetary Policy Challenge

We are delighted to share Jacques de Larosière’s latest thinking on “The Monetary Policy Challenge.” Jacques thoughtfully evaluates the 2% inflation target so prevalent in advanced economy central banks today. His assessment is based on careful examination of structural determinants of inflation as well as distortions arising from equilibrium inflation consistently falling short of its target.

He chronicles unintended consequences from excessively accommodative monetary policy – which stretch from a weakening of the banking system, deterioration of pension institutions to the proliferation of zombie companies.

“Who could reasonably believe that lowering already so low rates would strengthen growth?”

He notes that it “is not too late to act” and offers concrete solutions.

The full report is available at www.CenterforFinancialStability.org/research/de_Larosiere_MPC_112519.pdf

Jacques de Larosière is the Chairman of the Strategic Committee of the French Treasury and Advisor to BNP Paribas. He previously served as the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Governor of the Banque de France, and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

CFS Monetary Measures for October 2019

Today we release CFS monetary and financial measures for October 2019. CFS Divisia M4, which is the broadest and most important measure of money, grew by 6.6% in October 2019 on a year-over-year basis versus 5.9% in September.

For Monetary and Financial Data Release Report:
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/amfm/Divisia_Oct19.pdf

For more information about the CFS Divisia indices and the data in Excel:
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/amfm_data.php

Bloomberg terminal users can access our monetary and financial statistics by any of the four options:

1) {ALLX DIVM }
2) {ECST T DIVMM4IY}
3) {ECST} –> ‘Monetary Sector’ –> ‘Money Supply’ –> Change Source in top right to ‘Center for Financial Stability’
4) {ECST S US MONEY SUPPLY} –> From source list on left, select ‘Center for Financial Stability’

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Defends Libra

In testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended his company’s proposed virtual currency, “Libra.” The Committee also considered several bills related to technology and the financial services industry.

Mr. Zuckerberg emphasized that Facebook would not launch the Libra payment system until it has the support of U.S. regulators. He warned that, while these issues are being “debate[d],” China and other countries are working to launch similar payment systems. He argued that since Libra would be backed by U.S. dollars, it would “extend” U.S. financial leadership. He also addressed several concerns, assuring the legislators that:

– a recent white paper co-authored by Facebook (see previous coverage) was intended to start a dialogue with financial experts and regulators, rather than serve as the “final word”;

– Facebook does not intend to “circumvent” regulators; and

– the intended purpose of Libra is to provide for the transfer of money through an online payment system, not to be a replacement for sovereign currency.

Mr. Zuckerberg also affirmed Facebook’s commitment to preventing discrimination among Facebook’s advertisers. To “combat[]” discrimination, he stated, Facebook has made specific changes to policies in order to prevent discriminatory advertisement targeting. For example, Facebook banned the use of age, gender or zip codes in housing and credit advertisements.

Committee members at the hearing discussed several bills concerning technology and finance related to issues raised by the testimony. These included:

H.R. Draft “Keep Big Tech Out of Finance Act” would prohibit large platform utilities (i.e., Facebook) from (i) being authorized as, or affiliating with, a U.S. financial institution or (ii) operating a digital asset that is intended to be “widely used” as a method for exchange, pursuant to the Federal Reserve.

H.R. Draft “Stablecoins Are Securities Act of 2019” would make clear that a managed stablecoin is subject to the same securities laws’ requirements as other securities that are meant to protect investors, such as disclosure, antifraud and conflicts of interest.

H.R. Draft “Bill to Prohibit the Listing of Certain Securities” would limit issuers of stablecoins access to capital markets prohibiting certain trading on U.S. national securities exchanges.

H.R. Draft “Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight and Regulations on Data” would create more “transparency” on how consumer data is collected by requiring commercial data operators to disclose (i) the type of user data collected, (ii) an examination of how valuable the user data is and (iii) third-party contracts involving the collection of the data.

H.R. Draft “Diverse Asset Managers Act” would require SEC registrants to (i) consider at least one “diverse” asset manager when seeking asset management services and (ii) report to the SEC the extent to which diverse asset managers are used.

LOFCHIE COMMENTARY

Facebook’s attempted entry into the digital currency market accelerated the inevitable: Congress and the financial regulators are more closely scrutinizing the entry of technology firms into the financial markets. What was not inevitable was Congressional overreaction. While it now seems universal practice to refer to Libra as a Stablecoin, it is not: it is an asset-backed coin (try “ABCoin”). Because the managers of Libra would have had the ability to shift the assets supporting Libra, Libra is not stable. Because of the management of the underlying assets backing the product, Libra almost certainly would have been a “security,” at least in the absence of an exemption, and therefore, it is not necessary to amend the securities laws to that end.

A true Stablecoin, whether backed by the dollar or another currency (or even a pool of currencies) may be issued as a custodial receipt that is not a security, and need not be regulated as a security. It would thus be a shame if such Stablecoins, which may very well provide an attractive alternative to other payment methods, were made impossible because of an overbroad reaction to Libra.

Mr. Zuckerberg is absolutely correct that the United States benefits if a global stablecoin backed by the dollar were to emerge. Facebook’s principal mistake, which arguably reflects a certain lack of sophisticated understanding of financial regulation, was to go forward with a managed ABCoin, rather than a true Stablecoin.

Penn: Quant Tools and Macro Workshop

The Penn Institute for Economic Research (PIER) will offer a workshop on Quantitative Tools for Macroeconomic Policy Analysis. Francis X. Diebold, Enrique G. Mendoza, and Frank Schorfheide will provide training on essential state-of-the-art methods.

Guest Speakers include:

– Guillermo Calvo
– Narayana Kocherlakota
– Donald Kohn (three-hour mini-workshop on the practice of Macroprudential Policy)

The workshop will be held May 4 to May 8 at the University of Pennsylvania. Details are available at http://economics.sas.upenn.edu/pier/tools-workshop.

Aliber’s “Reflections on Bretton Woods”

Robert Z. Aliber offers his “Reflections on Bretton Woods.” Bob is professor emeritus of International Economics and Finance at the University of Chicago, co-author of Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises, and a good friend of CFS.

Bob covers much ground. Topics include:

  • The White Mountains, Cog Railroad, and Mount Washington Hotel.
  • Bretton Woods Conferences.
  • How the Founders of Bretton Woods might view the last 75 years.
  • Trade and Tariffs.
  • The IMF.

The full report is available at http://www.CenterforFinancialStability.org/research/Reflections_on_Bretton_Woods_101719.pdf.

CFS Monetary Measures for September 2019

Today we release CFS monetary and financial measures for September 2019. CFS Divisia M4, which is the broadest and most important measure of money, grew by 5.9% in September 2019 on a year-over-year basis versus 5.4% in August.

For Monetary and Financial Data Release Report:
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/amfm/Divisia_Sep19.pdf

For more information about the CFS Divisia indices and the data in Excel:
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/amfm_data.php

Bloomberg terminal users can access our monetary and financial statistics by any of the four options:

1) {ALLX DIVM }
2) {ECST T DIVMM4IY}
3) {ECST} –> ‘Monetary Sector’ –> ‘Money Supply’ –> Change Source in top right to ‘Center for Financial Stability’
4) {ECST S US MONEY SUPPLY} –> From source list on left, select ‘Center for Financial Stability’