Global Macro Strategy

  • What Andy is working on:

    • Engage Nonprofit Focus: Chicago’s Circle Urban Ministries

      We were fortunate to have on Chicago’s Circle Urban Ministries’ Dr. George Wilson. What I loved about Dr. Wilson is his unabashed connection to faith and to not being an undercover Christian.

      Here’s their website

      They do their work in the Austin neighborhood in Chicago’s west side.

      Here’s what they are trying to do:

      Philosophy of Ministry – Partner Programs
      A 3-Faceted Approach

      Circle Urban Ministries’ mission statement is “Transforming Chicago’s Westside through faith in action.” Through more than 35 years of serving the Austin neighborhood, Circle Urban has developed a three-faceted approach to bringing transformation to our community:

      1) Shaping The Future – through four Circle4Success Youth Development Programs: A) C4S King’s Kids After-School – spiritual, academic, social; B) LIFT Arts Enrichment – equiping youth for life through the disciplines of the arts and performance; C) 1-to-1 Mentoring and AFTER Mentoring – facilitating significant relationships for students with caring Christian adults; D) College Readiness – preparing students for post- secondary success

      2) Meeting Immediate Needs – Daily Bread Food Pantry, The Emergency Fund, Chaplaincy services

      3) Leveraging Resources – by establishing and nurturing strategic relationships with like-minded nonprofits. From the very beginning Circle Urban Ministries was committed to wholistic ministry but over the years we faced the financial and management realities of “being all things to everyone.” We determined that the most effective and sustainable path is through strategic partnerships that could leverage our assets (such as our facility) to be home to numerous community serving organizations that are in alignment with our mission.

      Currently there are eight different nonprofits located on the Circle Urban campus. That list of organizations located on our campus include:

      Circle Urban Ministriespartner diagram
      Rock Of Our Salvation Church
      Circle Family Healthcare Network
      Austin-Circle Law Center
      Catalyst Circle-Rock School
      Bridge2Freedom
      InterVarsity-Chicago Urban Project
      Primo Center for Women and Children (Shelter Program)

    • BU: Oscar Wilde and Mario Draghi walk into a bar…

      For those of you who are about to embark on a long weekend, I thought I’d review what Mario Draghi stated at the KC Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole meeting. The reason is simple: no one gets what’s missing. But let me explain.

      First, here’s the URL for the speech: http://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/key/date/2014/html/sp140822.en.html

      Next, here are the major components of what Draghi covered with a speech entitled, “Unemployment in the euro area”

      1. The causes of unemployment in the euro area
      a. The long recession in the euro area
      b. Cyclical and structural factors
      c. Nuancing the picture (good section)
      2. Responding to high unemployment
      a. Boosting aggregate demand
      b. Reforming structural policies
      3. Conclusion

      Unlike Yellen, Draghi did provide graphs to enhance the speech. Otherwise, there would have been a tie for the JHole Award of “Most Boring.”

      All snarky comments aside, I think Draghi’s speech is emblematic of what Oscar Wilde once said about second marriages, “…the triumph of hope over experience.” In the speech, Mr. ECB puts forward this call to action, “The only conclusion we can safely draw, in my view, is that we need action on both sides of the economy: aggregate demand policies have to be accompanied by national structural policies.” Draghi believes now is the time for national governments to not only lower the tax burden in a budget-neutral way, but also coordinate the different national fiscal stances to achieve a more growth-friendly fiscal stance in the euro area. At the EU level, he wants a complementary action with a large public investment program. Given the previous stance of the ECB towards profligate spending by the PIIGS, I wonder if there was a collective eye roll of leaders. While the markets got excited over the prospect of more spending and faster growth, the wiser participants realize this will be extraordinarily difficult to achieve.

      The other goal that will be extraordinarily difficult to achieve will be Draghi’s promise to boost demand via monetary policy. He states that the package of measures announced in June will provide the intended boost to demand.

      “We have already seen exchange rate movements that should support both aggregate demand and inflation, which we expect to be sustained by the diverging expected paths of policy in the US and the euro area (Figure 7). We will launch our first Targeted Long-Term Refinancing Operation in September, which has so far garnered significant interest from banks. And our preparation for outright purchases in asset-backed security (ABS) markets is fast moving forward and we expect that it should contribute to further credit easing. Indeed, such outright purchases would meaningfully contribute to diversifying the channels for us to generate liquidity.”

      Screen Shot 2014 08 27 at 3.24.42 PM BU:  Oscar Wilde and Mario Draghi walk into a bar...

      Ever since the “Bumblebee” speech with his promise to “do whatever it takes” to keep the euro area intact, the markets have given Draghi a pass and believed him. Yet, he has done so little since then except make more promises. What is truly maddening is what he stated in the speech: we made more promises in June that won’t even begin until late September (TLTRO) and we’re still in the process of creating the enough of the targeted financial product (asset backed security) we will buy to force down rates even further. The only piece of this that has worked has been the currency as it has dropped from 1.3700 to 1.3200, but clearly not enough to make an export or inflation difference. Given the current lowflation and flat second quarter GDP, the recent drop in interest rates can’t be tied to expected action of this dubious nature. If anything, the record low interest rates should be flashing a danger sign that the euro area is entering into a deflationary spiral led by banks shrinking their balance sheets due the ECB oversight on AQR (asset quality review).

      The ECB must act much more aggressively given the long delay they have chosen before realizing that something now must be done. The situation in the Ukraine only highlights the danger to the European economy of a central bank with its feet firmly planted in mud. While European stock markets and bond markets have rallied significantly on anticipated action by the ECB, the markets are exhibiting a Wildeian approach to looking at their central bank. Hope can only last so long without the experience of action.