Hirst: If There’s One Place The Fed Has Your Back, It’s Money Markets

Your Real Vision Daily Briefing for April 15, 2020

Ash Bennington & Roger Hirst discuss the dismal economic data including industrial production, retail sales, & the Empire State Manufacturing index.

  • Dismal economic data out of the U.S. including industrial production, retail sales, and the Empire State Manufacturing index demonstrates just how dangerous of an environment we’re in.
  • The energy markets, particularly oil, seem to be tracking on par with the real economy.
  • There have been huge inflows into money markets, which Roger Hirst calls a flight to safety.

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Industrial production is the worst since World War II and the decline in retail sales is worse than anything we’ve ever seen, but the Empire State Manufacturing index data was the most shocking news of the day, indicating just how bad things are in New York, Ash Bennington and Roger Hirst said during today’s Real Vision Daily Briefing.

They said that the dismal numbers show just how sudden the impact of the coronavirus crisis has been on the whole economy and reminded investors that this is for the long run and patience will prove to be a virtue in this dangerous environment.

The crisis is highlighting a decade-old problem that’s only getting worse: behemoth corporations that don’t pay taxes getting bailouts at the expense of small business and the man/woman on the street. 

Hirst said he doesn’t think speed and size of the Fed’s response will be enough to prevent destruction in the real economy, and while all bets are off about what the Fed would do to stabilize markets (ie. buy equities), Hirst said, “I don’t think the man and woman on the street will allow central banks to keep supporting risk assets when they are in this much pain.”

The disconnect between the financial economy and the real economy has been apparent for weeks as the S&P continues to outperform, but Bennington and Hirst said the realities on the ground are reflected in the energy market – particularly oil, as the WTI fell below 20 today.

Meanwhile, we’re seeing huge inflows into money market funds, which Hirst called a “flight to safety.” He said people feel comfortable in money markets because of the backstop from the Fed. 

“If there’s one place the Fed has your back, it is money markets,” he said. 

Hirst said all of that money will eventually come back into risk assets; how quickly it does will depend on the real economy data.