The Jerusalem Post
Fed uncertainty fuels cautious dollar trades
LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar stabilized near multi-week highs on Tuesday as traders turned cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting, which could potentially provide hints of plans to start tapering its bond purchases.
So far Fed officials, led by Chair Jerome Powell, have stressed that rising inflationary pressures are transitory and ultra-easy monetary settings will stay in place for some time to come.
However, recent economic data has raised concerns that price pressure could force an earlier stimulus withdrawal.
“That is exactly what makes tomorrow’s Fed meeting so interesting: market participants simply cannot be certain which aspect will weigh more heavily on the Fed’s mind,” Commerzbank analyst Esther Reichelt wrote in a note to her clients.
Nearly 60% of economists in a Reuters poll expect a tapering announcement in the next quarter.
Investors are hoping that US retail sales and a manufacturing survey later on Tuesday will give clues as to what to expect from the Fed’s statement and news conference on Wednesday. In the meantime, prudence is palpable across trading floors.
“Over in the FX arena, most pairs are in a stalemate, with currency traders appearing reluctant to take on new positions ahead of what promises to be an eventful FOMC meeting,” Marios Hadjikyriacos, an investment analyst at brokerage XM, said.
The dollar index edged lower in the Asian session and at 1048 GMT was up 0.06% at 90.54, hovering near multi-week highs.
Yields on benchmark 10-year US Treasuries were at 1.49%, well below the 1.60% level at which they were trading toward the beginning of June.
The euro was flat against the dollar at $1.2122, just above a one-month low of $1.2093 it hit last week.
No noticeable moves came after data showed the euro zone’s unadjusted trade surplus was almost five times higher in April than a year earlier, but still smaller than expected.
On the trade front, the head of the European Commission announced that the bloc and the US had resolved a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies.
The Australian dollar slipped to $0.7693 after minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s last meeting showed the bank was prepared to keep buying bonds even though the economy has recovered its pre-pandemic output.
The impact of Britain and Australia announcing a trade deal was still unclear, but the agreement is expected to benefit Australian farmers. Sterling lost about 0.2% against the dollar at $1.4077.
In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin slipped just below the $40,000 bar on Tuesday and traded below its 200-day moving average after finding support from the promise of fresh investment from major backer MicroStrategy and from Tesla’s Elon Musk. Musk on Sunday flagged that the carmaker could resume transactions using the token if miners can use cleaner energy to process them.
Cranking up the Beach Boys has been a perfect way to add some fun, fun, fun to car rides for 60 years now.
It turns out it’s also a great way to make Brian Wilson open up.
The genius behind America’s band is the subject of a new documentary, Long Promised Road, which debuts Tuesday at the Tribeca Festival.
Wilson, who turns 79 on Sunday, has a treasure trove of classic songs and a lifetime of experiences that are equal parts dream and nightmare, but at times he can clam up during interviews.
So director Brent Wilson – no relation to Brian – shot most of his footage in car rides with Rolling Stone writer Jason Fine, a friend of Brian Wilson who has written about him since the late ‘90s, chatting with the music icon as his tunes played.
“Honestly, aside from a whole bunch of cameras in the car, it was really natural because Brian and I have spent a lot of times over the years driving around LA and listening to music and going to eat and driving to Malibu,” Fine said in a Zoom call to promote the film.
“You know that feeling when you’re driving, there’s less pressure. Conversations can start and stop and you can listen to music. Things happen sort of naturally and you’re in that rhythm of the road.”
The film is in stark contrast to the Zoom call, which Brian Wilson was on with Fine and Brent Wilson. In the call, Brian spoke little, leaving the director and journalist to do the heavy lifting.
But in the documentary – riding in a Porsche SUV and not a Little Deuce Coupe – with his songs playing, Wilson spilled some of the details of his remarkable life. It could be painful, such as detailing how his former therapist, Eugene Landy, made him eat spaghetti off the floor, as he controlled every aspect of Wilson’s life throughout much of the ‘80s and into the ‘90s.
“I served time for nine years,” Wilson says in the film, likening Landy’s tenure to a prison sentence.
He also talks about missing his
younger brothers: Dennis, who died in 1983, and Carl, who died in 1998 and whose 1971 composition serves as the documentary’s title.
BUT IT’S NOT all doom and gloom. Wilson can also display humor and casually mix in stories, such as the time Sly Stone dropped by his house and passed out on the couch from doing too much cocaine.
That story came out as Fine drove Wilson by the home where he lived in the ‘70s during Sly’s stop-in. Viewers also see the two visit the site of Wilson’s childhood home in Hawthorne, California, which has since been torn down – with a Beach Boys monument marking the site – and other places Wilson lived, worked and played.
“One of these thoughts I had for a long time is Brian has memories throughout the city, both in his songs and lyrics that he’s written, but also just in his own life and his memories,” Fine said. “So driving around LA with Brian, you’re aware you’re with someone who is often viewed as a kind of reclusive guy. But really, this is his town.”
Wilson has long been loved by other music-makers for his
innovation. Brent Wilson used interviews with luminaries such as Elton John, Don Was, Jakob Dylan and Laura Perry of Four Non Blondes all gushing at the genius of the maestro.
“I didn’t want a lot of people,” the director said. “I wanted just a few people, a very select group of people, and I wanted a diverse group of people. The idea being that if you’re watching the film... and you see [Venezuelan conductor and violinist] Gustavo Dudamel talk, and you see Nick Jonas talk and then you see Bruce Springsteen talk, and you go, ‘What in the world do these people have in common?’ And the only thing they could ever have in common is their love for Brian Wilson.”
They love the man and they love the music, songs that have gotten a lot of people through tough times, including their composer.
As Wilson opens up on the ride, sometimes he hits a painful topic, and the bad vibrations get to him. So twice in the film, he asks Fine to play a fairly obscure Beach Boys song from 1976, which “calms me down,” Wilson said on the Zoom call.
The title? “It’s OK.”
(New York Daily News/TNS)