BofA Lashes Out At The Fed: "Take That Punch Bowl Away" Or Face A Crash

In a dramatic appeal for rationality at the Fed, Bank of America's global FX strategy team released a note titled "take that punch bowl away", which laments that while central banks backtracked from their hawkish recent rhetoric this week, it warns that "they will be sorry if they allow bubbles" and predicts that vol will increase this fall adding that the bank remains "cautious and selective in EM FX, despite the Fed-triggered rally this week."

The note comes 24 hours after BofA's chief strategist Michael Hartnett warned that "the most dangerous moment for markets" will likely come when "rising rates combine in three or four months’ time with an inflection point in corporate profits. In anticipation of this, we would use the next couple of months to buy volatility, and within fixed income slowly reduce exposure to IG, HY, and EM bonds."

Of course, Hartnett's report is based on the assumption that the Fed will do what Yellen has threatened to do and hike at least once more in 2017, i.e. the "right thing."

But what if the Fed once again backs away from its plans to burst the asset bubble as all of the top FOMC members were loudly warning they would do just three weeks ago? Well, things will get much worse, as BofA's unexpectedly objective analysis of the bubble the Fed has blown in recent years, details:

The global crisis shifted debt from the private to the public sector, which now encourages high savings and leads to low interest rates. Population is aging in many countries, also supporting saving. And technology is a positive supply shock, leading to lower prices. High savings and low inflation keep central bank policies loose. Loose monetary policies in turn support risk assets. Equities are at historic highs and vol at historic lows, even more this week following a dovish tone by Yellen in her Congress testimony.

Here Vamvakidis echoes Hartnett and says that in his, and his bank's view, "we do not believe that this is sustainable, and we have been arguing that we will see the beginning of the end of this new not-so-normal market this fall."

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Ed Dolan 2 months ago Contributor's comment

Would it be fair to say there is a tension here between those who think the Fed should focus on asset bubbles and those who think it should put the traditional focus on the Phillips curve? The former group wants a hike, and fast; the latter thinks the timing for further hikes is all wrong, especially in view of the latest CPI release.