Thursday Thoughts: Waiting on Yellen and Trump

Has the Dollar bottomed?

After a 2.5% pullback to start 2017 the Dollar has popped 1% in the past two days after Janet Yellen made a 3pm speech saying U.S. economy is “close” to the Central Bank’s objectives of full employment and stable prices and she’s confident it will continue to improve.

It is fair to say the economy is near maximum employment and inflation is moving toward our goal,” Yellen told the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco Wednesday. While “it makes sense to gradually reduce the level of monetary policy support,” the timing of the next interest-rate increase “will depend on how the economy actually evolves over coming months,” she said.

So the better the economy does, the faster the Fed will raise rates (duh!) and Yellen indicated a target for a 3% Fed funds rate by 2019, which would be 9 raises from here – a faster pace of increases than most economorons were expecting.  Inflation is, of course, exactly what we're expecting in 2017 and 2018 and I discussed that strategy on Money Talk last night.

The last time unemployment was this low was back in 2006 and 2007 and that maked the end, not the beginning of the market rally.  Full employment leads to higher wages and higher wages lead to inflation and that is so obvious I feel silly for saying it but, apparently, it's a surprise to "leading economists" who are consistently shocked by things they should have learned in Econ 101.

That's why I'm growing a beard – I've decided to become a leading economist so I need to start looking the part!  As you can see from this chart, 4.9% unemployment is low but we've been down to 4% so we can go lower and our new President promises to create those jobs (1.6M jobs = 1%), which is no different than promising to create inflation and so, we have our "Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017," including the Trade of the Year we discussed on TV last night.