The US China trade talks start up again tomorrow

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The market is going to read the Fed minutes with a magnifying glass to seek hints and whispers of intentions. This is a waste of time. The FOMC is going to make the decision at the last minute. So far we have at least two Feds (George and Rosengren) who oppose further cuts, but several Feds have said another cut would be fine if it keeps the motor running. The Fed’s biggest problem now is deciding whether it can get away with postponing a cut until December without bringing down the wrath of Donald.

The US China trade talks start up again tomorrow, and despite acres of newsprint on the outlook for a deal, nobody knows anything for sure. The spidey-sense of reporters on the story is that it’s all going to add very badly, but nobody knows. That’s the essence of uncertainty and risk-aversion, and those things favor the safe havens. Except the safe havens are behaving weirdly. Gold is higher but not at the very tippy-top. The dollar/yen may be reversing to the downside but still see-sawing and on an upmoving pullback today. Nobody understands the Swiss franc, failing to show itself as a safe haven and the dollar continuing to gain.

We await new news and perhaps a different perspective. But until then, it/’s the same-old, same-old and it won’t pay to guess.

US Politics: The Trump gang is defying all efforts of the House Intelligence Committee to gather intelligence. Trump calls it a kangaroo court. It’s not. Everyone is being very careful to obey the law to the last jot and tittle.

As with many Trump enterprises, this will end up in court. Trump assertions of impunity are going to be squashed by the courts, or so almost everyone assumes. So it’s really just the usual name-calling, mud-throwing, lies and delay. Instead of looking at Trump, look to the Senate. Two Senators, in a minority on the Senate Intelligence Committee, got the committee to approve a report saying that yes, indeed, Russia interfered in the 2016 election and Trump is not doing anything to prevent it happening again. Holy cow!

Keep in mind that it’s Trump’s party that controls the Senate and thus the committee. Its report backs up the various earlier reports from the intelligence community that a Russian troll farm supported Trump. The initiative proposed is new disclosure requirements for online political ads (already mandated for radio and TV ads). We doubt it would help much but it’s not nothing. The Senate also wants a task force to monitor foreign efforts to interfere in US politics and elections.

Take heart, decent people everywhere. Three new polls show a majority now approve impeachment and 49% agree that removal goes along with it. This is a vast increase in just a few weeks. Nixon didn’t get such lousy poll numbers until almost the end. Dems are up over 20 points to nearly 80% approving impeachment, Independents are up 20 points to the mid 40’s. Even Republicans have gone from hardly any supporting impeachment to about 15-18%. The Washington Post has 28% of Plubs supporting impeachment. Here’s the simple approval of impeachment:

A fun tidbit from the WSJ report: “Among the “party-first” Republicans, 21% say Mr. Trump should be impeached and removed.” Of the 800 persons polled over the last weekend, “… 12% of Americans disapprove of Mr. Trump’s job performance but don’t support removing him from office. This group could prove problematic for the president [the pollster says] as 76% disagree with the idea that he has been honest and truthful in the Ukraine matter and 88% have an unfavorable view of the president personally.” This huge number of people who dislike Trump are what the Washington Post calls “low-hanging fruit”—those who can be persuaded, and maybe easily, to shift their view to favoring impeachment and removal.

Note to Readers: Next Monday, Oct 14, is a national holiday in the US, Columbus Day, and technically the federal government and banks are closed, although many banks stay open for trading, including FX. The NYSE and Nasdaq are open on Veterans Day and Columbus Day (but closed on Good Friday, go figure). The Chicago Mercantile Exchange will be open, so FX futures will trade. Bottom line—no holiday for us, but watch out for reduced activity.

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