December 2019

What a difference a year can make. In December last year we were in the midst of an ugly meltdown in financial markets which culminated on Christmas Eve with close to a 20% decline in stock prices. Chatter about imminent recession abounded. It wasn’t a very merry holiday season for many retailers. But the Fed came to the rescue. The trade war and slowing global growth spooked markets again in the summer. And again the Fed responded by cutting interest rates and resuming aggressive balance sheet expansion. 2019 has been a good year; recession fears were never realized. But, one has to wonder how long a monetary policy that is intentionally targeting stock market stability can endure without causing significant future problems. How low can interest rates go? Perhaps to zero, as I suggested in the August Longbrake Letter. But, what then?

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