Home » Posts tagged 'central banks'

Tag Archives: central banks

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Cataclysm
Click on image to purchase

Bubble 3.0: A Blast From a Bubble Past

BUBBLE 3.0: A BLAST FROM A BUBBLE PAST

“Although macroeconomic forecasting is fraught with hazards, I would not interpret the currently very flat yield curve as indicating a significant economic slowdown to come.”
–BEN BERNANKE, Former Fed Chairman in a March 20, 2006 speech

“It was popular to play down the significance of the inverted yield curve in 2000 and 2006, but on both occasions, the bond market’s warning was eventually vindicated.”
The Long View column in the Financial Times, March 30th and 31st, 2019

“Nothing sedates rationality like large doses of effortless money.”
–WARREN BUFFETT

____________________________________________________________________________

SUMMARY

  • The tech bubble in the late 1990s set off a chain of events that led to Bubble 2.0 in the mid-2000s, and the bubble in which we presently find ourselves
  • Recent IPOs such as Uber, Lyft and Beyond Meat underscore the rank speculation of securities valued on considerations other than profits
  • Over 80% of IPOs coming to market currently are earnings-free, the highest rate since 2000
  • One major divergence from Bubble 1.0 is that many outrageous valuations go well beyond tech
  • However, despite this fact, we are living in a two-tiered market where, just like in 2000, there are a multitude of companies that are reasonably valued
  • Additional parallels with Bubble 1.0 are the regulatory attacks on tech, the war then vs the war now, the yield curve and current economic conditions
  • Evergreen’s view is that a simple buy-and-hold approach with an S&P 500 index fund won’t cut it in this environment
  • Just as in 2000, allocating away from bubble-infested parts of today’s stock market is essential, as is selling into rallies and buying into weakness

____________________________________________________________________________

BUBBLE 3.0: A BLAST FROM A BUBBLE PAST

Securities highlighted or discussed in this communication are mentioned for illustrative purposes only and are not a recommendation for these securities. Evergreen actively manages client portfolios and securities discussed in this communication may or may not be held in such portfolios at any given time. Please see important disclosure following this article. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

IceCap: Every Fed Chair Has A Plan, Until…

IceCap: Every Fed Chair Has A Plan, Until…

It’s Easy

In the world of knitting, stitching and crocheting; threading the needle is easy. Line-up your thread, needle and a good cup of tea and you’re all set.

In most other worlds – it can be tricky.

If executed perfectly – threading the needle can be rewarding, exhilarating and thrilling all at the same time.

If executed imperfectly – it can end in disaster.

In American football, 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens expertly threaded the football between 4 different Raiders players, landing it perfectly in the hands of his teammate George Kittle, who then galloped 60 yards for a touch down.

That was thrilling.

Sporting a human-wingsuit, Jeff Corlis dove off a 12,000 foot mountain and expertly threaded the needle known as “The Crack” in the Swiss Alps.

That was exhilarating.

Unknown to many, threading the needle is also being attempted in the high stakes game of global finance.

Leaders at the world’s central banks are all trying to steer their domestic economies through a small opening while avoiding the pitfalls created by a lifetime of excessive borrowing and ill-fated policy responses.

In the minds of these financial maestros, they have the tools, the doctorate degrees and the blessings of governments to thread the financial needle.

In an effort to resolve any financial crisis, the world’s central banks have always tried to thread the needle by changing interest rates and/or changing the amount of money in the system.

The central banks and their supporters all claim that only through their actions, was a serious crisis resolved allowing everyone to live happily thereafter.

What the central banks and their supporters do not tell you, is that the actions to save one crisis, have always sowed the seeds for the next crisis.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The US Economy’s Dirty Secret

The US Economy’s Dirty Secret

Relatively strong US growth amid sluggishness elsewhere is not what economics textbooks would predict. But persistently low interest rates and weak inflation bring multiple benefits to American firms and consumers, while the adverse impact of the global slowdown on US exports should not be overstated.

SAN DIEGO – There is a dirty little secret in economics today: the United States has benefited – and continues to benefit – from the global slump. The US economy is humming along, even while protesters in the United Kingdom hurl milkshakes at Brexiteers, French President Emmanuel Macron confronts nihilist yellow-vested marchers, and Chinese tech firms such as Huawei fear being frozen out of foreign markets.

Last year, the US economy grew by 2.9%, while the eurozone expanded by just 1.8%, giving President Donald Trump even more confidence in his confrontational style. But relatively strong US growth amid sluggishness elsewhere is not what economics textbooks would predict. Whatever happened to the tightly integrated world economy that the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been advocating – and more recently extolling – since World War II?

The US economy is in a temporary but potent phase in which weakness abroad lifts spirits at home. But this economic euphoria has nothing to do with Trump-era spite and malice, and much to do with interest rates.

Borrowing costs are currently lower than at any time since the founding of the US Federal Reserve in 1913, or in the UK’s case since the Bank of England was established in 1694. The ten-year US Treasury bond is yielding about 2.123%, and in April, the streaming service Netflix issued junk bonds at a rate of just 5.4%.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

From Gold To Nothing: How 1971 Changed Everything In The Economy

From Gold To Nothing: How 1971 Changed Everything In The Economy

The monetary system is a major component of the whole economic system. Despite that, today we take it for granted and don’t even ask ourselves how it works and if it is the best solution available or the correct way to manage things.

Even though it appears to be stable, history shows that monetary systems changed periodically in the last century (20–30 years on average).

The main difference between our current monetary system and previous monetary system is that today it is entirely based on FIAT Currency, in contrast to older monetary systems that were backed by gold.

That means that what we call money is a government-issued currency that has zero intrinsic value and is not backed by anything.

From 1971, this kind of system allows central banks to literally control the economy and opened a new chapter in the world monetary system.

In this article, I am going to briefly explain why 1971 changed everythingand what are potential consequences of such a decision.

Since 1971 the world runs on FIAT currencies that are not gold-backed in any way. This changes everything.

Before digging into it, we have to review some history.

The Bretton Woods System and It’s Collapse

Towards the end of the World War II, peace was a real concern and it was clear that the world needed a new monetary system able to support the economy.

In fact, one of the major reason that led to World War II was the failure in dealing with economic problems after World War I.

Why It Was Needed And How It Worked

The Bretton Woods agreement was signed at a conference between allied nations in 1944.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Weekly Commentary: The Ignore Them, Then Panic Dynamic

Weekly Commentary: The Ignore Them, Then Panic Dynamic

After years of increasingly close cooperation and collaboration, the relationship has turned strained. Both sides are digging in their heels. Credibility is on the line. If one side doesn’t back down, things could really turn problematic. The Fed is asserting that it’s not about to lower the targeted Fed funds rate. Markets are strident: You will cut, and you will cut soon. Bonds are instructing the world to prepare for the Long March.  

Market probability for a rate cut by the December 11th FOMC meeting jumped to 80% this week, up from last week’s 75% and the previous week’s 59%.  

May 22 – Reuters (Howard Schneider and Jason Lange): “U.S. Federal Reserve officials at their last meeting agreed that their current patient approach to setting monetary policy could remain in place ‘for some time,’ a further sign policymakers see little need to change rates in either direction. ‘Members observed that a patient approach…would likely remain appropriate for some time,’ with no need to raise or lower the target interest rate from its current level of between 2.25 and 2.5%, the Fed… reported in the minutes of the central bank’s April 30-May 1 meeting. Recent weak inflation was viewed by ‘many participants…as likely to be transitory,’ while risks to financial markets and the global economy had appeared to ease – a judgment rendered before the Trump administration imposed higher tariffs on Chinese goods and took other steps that intensified trade tensions.”

Analysts have been quick to point out that additional tariffs along with the breakdown in trade negotiations unfolded post the latest FOMC meeting. True, yet several Fed officials have recently reiterated the message of no urgency to lower rates. This week Atlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic said he doesn’t see the Fed reducing rates.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Central-Bank Interest-Rate Policy Is Destabilizing Banks

How Central-Bank Interest-Rate Policy Is Destabilizing Banks

Broadly speaking, banks operate under the concept of maturity transformation. Banks take short-term – less than one year – financing vehicles, such as customer deposits, and use that to finance long-term – more than one year – returns. These returns range from the most commonly understood loans, such as auto loans and mortgages, to investments in equity, bonds and public debt. Banks make money on the interest spread between what they pay to the owners of the money and what is earned from the operations. Banks also make money on other services, such as wealth management and account fees, though these are relatively small compared to the maturity transformation business.

In terms of assets, the primary asset a bank holds is the demand deposit, also referred to as the core deposit. These are your everyday savings and checking accounts. Banks also sell Wholesale Deposits, such as CDs, have shareholder equity and also can take out debt, such as interbank lending. As these assets are owned by someone else, each of them demands a return for the use of those assets. These are part of the costs of operation for a bank. There are also more fixed operating costs, such as employees, buildings and equipment that must also be financed.

So, a bank will take assets and formulate loans on them. Like most of the world, the US operates on a fractional reserve system, one where banks originate loans in excess of the deposits on-hand. Take a look at the balance sheet of a large regional bank, 5/3 Bank, for example. For the 2018 fiscal year, 5/3 reported non-capital assets of $94 billion and a deposit base of $108 billion. However, the cash and cash equivalent component of these assets stood at $4.4 billion, or just 4% of demand deposits.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Central banks are buying gold at the fastest pace in six years

Central banks are buying gold at the fastest pace in six years

Earlier this month the World Gold Council published its quarterly report– and it shows that central banks and foreign governments from around the world are buying up gold at their fastest pace in six years.

This is pretty big news, and it says a LOT about the future of the dollar.

Remember, central banks and foreign governments hold literally TRILLIONS of dollars of reserves… and traditionally they do this by buying US government debt.

It sounds strange, but to big institutions, banks, etc., US government debt is equivalent to cash. They use it as a form of money.

Did you know? You can receive all our actionable articles straight to your email inbox… Click here to signup for our Notes from the Field newsletter.

More importantly, they hold US dollars because that’s the global standard: the US dollar has been the world’s primary international reserve currency for seventy five years.

So US debt is extremely liquid. In fact, the $22 trillion US debt market is the biggest and most liquid market in the world.

But foreign governments have started breaking with the tradition of buying treasuries.

As the World Gold Council’s report showed us, foreign governments and central banks have been buying a LOT more gold than in previous years.

Net gold purchases in Q1/2019 among foreign governments and central banks was nearly 70% greater than Q1/2018… and the highest rate of first quarter purchases in six years.

The Chinese in particular, have been stockpiling gold faster than ever, while at the same time, Chinese ownership of US treasuries as a percentage of total holdings has been gradually declining over the past years.

And it’s not just China.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

In The Fed We Trust – Part 1

In The Fed We Trust – Part 1

This article is the first part of a two-part article. Due to its length and importance, we split it to help readers’ better digest the information. The purpose of the article is to define money and currency and discuss their differences and risks. It is with this knowledge that we can better appreciate the path that massive deficits and monetary tomfoolery are putting us on and what we can do to protect ourselves.   

How often do you think about what the dollar bills in your wallet or the pixel dollar signs in your bank account are? The correct definitions of currency and money are crucial to our understanding of an economy, investing and just as importantly, the social fabric of a nation. It’s time we tackle the differences between currency and money and within that conversation break the news to you that deficits do matter, TRUST me. 

At a basic level, currency can be anything that is broadly accepted as a medium of exchange that comes in standardized units. In current times, fiat currency is the currency of choice worldwide. Fiat currency is paper notes, coins, and digital 0s and 1s that are governed and regulated by central banks and/or governments. Note, we did not use the word guaranteed to describe the role of the central bank or government. The value and worth of a fiat currency rest solely on the TRUST of the receiver of the currency that it will retain its value and the TRUST that others will accept it in the future in exchange for goods and services. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Drastic Alteration of QE that is About to be Unleashed

The Drastic Alteration of QE that is About to be Unleashed 

QUESTION #1: Sir,

You stated in your blog that Fed may fix 2 and 10 year bond rates. Doesn’t this negate the yield curve concept/ credit theory? Won’t this accelerate the distrust for government? Wont this further accelerate/aggravate the pension crisis?

Appreciate you teaching the little guys

See you in Oct

DK

QUESTION #2: Marty; What you are describing with the change in QE is clearly coming from your contacts behind the curtain. How do you think this will play out?

CB

ANSWER: It is clear QE is dead. However, at the same time it has trapped all central banks. I am preparing an important paper on this subject. It is complicated, but it is the very reason why the West will collapse and the financial capital of the world will move to China, who has come out and stated publicly that they will not engage in QE. As far as accelerating the distrust in government, this will be felt within the professional class. It will take time to filter into the general public and it will most likely take the form of another cause altogether. It is unlikely that the general media will even understand this subject matter.

As to how will this play out, I can only say get ready. This is most likely the last straw that will eventually break the back of the monetary system. The general press will not understand that this shift in policy was the last straw. They will not even understand the ramifications for probably two years.

Global Economic Growth In Serious Trouble When U.S. Shale Oil Peaks & Declines

Global Economic Growth In Serious Trouble When U.S. Shale Oil Peaks & Declines

The global economy would be in serious trouble if it weren’t for the rapid growth of U.S. shale oil production.  Since the 2008 financial crisis, U.S. shale oil production has increased by more than 6 million barrels per day.  Without these additional barrels of oil, the massive money printing and asset purchases by the central banks would not have been as successful in propping up the economy and markets.

We must remember this simple fact; energy drives the markets, not finance. Finance steers the market.  So, for the economy to expand, there must be oil production growth.  However, it would be unwise for the market-economy to rely upon the U.S. shale industry as the leading driver of global oil production growth for the foreseeable future.

Why?  Well, there are several reasons, but let’s first look at how much the increase in U.S. shale oil production has accounted for the rise in global oil supply since 2008. Of the 9.6 million barrels per day (mbd) of global oil production growth 2008-2017, the United States supplied two-thirds or 6.3 mbd of the total:

Interestingly, global oil production minus the United States and Canada didn’t increase in 2009, 2010 or 2011.  There was a small bump up in 2012 and finally by 2105-2017 did global oil production minus the U.S. and Canada increase by 1.7 mbd.  Now, let me repeat that.  If we add up ALL THE OTHER COUNTRIES in the world producing oil, the net increase from 2008 to 2017 was only 1.7 mbd. Thus, of the total 9.6 mbd of global oil production growth 2008-2017, the U.S. (6.3 mbd) and Canada (1.6 mbd) accounted for 82% of the total.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Uncertain Future for Monetary Policy as POTUS Publicly Calls for Rate Cut While Fed Holds Steady

trump and jerome powell

Photo by The White House

Uncertain Future for Monetary Policy as POTUS Publicly Calls for Rate Cut While Fed Holds Steady

On Tuesday, POTUS took to Twitter and called for the Fed to cut rates by 1%, pointing to 3.2% GDP growth and “wonderfully low inflation.”

China is adding great stimulus to its economy while at the same time keeping interest rates low. Our Federal Reserve has incessantly lifted interest rates, even though inflation is very low, and instituted a very big dose of quantitative tightening. We have the potential to go…

….up like a rocket if we did some lowering of rates, like one point, and some quantitative easing. Yes, we are doing very well at 3.2% GDP, but with our wonderfully low inflation, we could be setting major records &, at the same time, make our National Debt start to look small!

However, it’s hard to say if inflation is as “wonderfully low” as POTUS claims.

After all, official sources saw CPI inflation jump to 1.9%, with rapidly rising food prices reported as the leading cause. Plus, the “growing” economy POTUS alludes to appears to have topped out since January 2018 (see red arrow in the chart below – source):

DJIA Weekly Inflation

Additionally, according to an official source, a 3.2% or higher GDP growth rate has happened on 3 differentoccasions before POTUS took office. The same source also reports that GDP Growth Rate in the United States averaged 3.22 percent from 1947 until 2019. So really, current GDP growth only appears to be on par with the average.

White House officials including POTUS and top economic advisor Larry Kudlow have recommended the Fed cut rates by half a point in the past. Despite all the information above, CNBC reports that, with his 1% cut recommendation, POTUS has “doubled down” on this approach.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why Fed Chair Powell is a Laughingstock

Why Fed Chair Powell is a Laughingstock

Fake Work

Clarity.  Simplicity.  Elegance.  These fundamentals are all in short supply.  But are they in high demand? As far as we can tell, hardly a soul among us gives much of a rip about any of them.  Instead, nearly everyone wants things to be more muddled, more complicated, and more crude with each passing day.  That’s where the high demand is.

One can always meet the perils of overweening bureaucracy with pretend happiness… [PT]

For example, executing and delivering work in accordance with the terms and conditions of a professional services contract these days is utterly dreadful.  The real work is secondary to fake work, trivialities, and minutia.  Superfluous paperwork and an encumbrance of mandatory web-based tools are immense time and capital sucks.

While each T & C may have been developed for one good reason or another, over time, they’ve piled up into something that’s an unworkable mess.  But like tax law, or local zoning codes, they must be followed with arduous rigor.

Crushing futility… [PT]

What’s more, many livelihoods depend on all the fake work that’s now built into what should be a simple contract.  Auditors, contract administrators, accountants, MBAs, spreadsheet jockeys, risk managers, and many other fake professionals, run about with rank importance.  What would happen to these plate spinners if the fake work disappeared?

Without all the unnecessary rigmarole, the unemployment rate would quadruple overnight.  Hence, like fake money, fake work is piled on by the boatload to stimulate the need for more fake work.  And like a handshake agreement – or sound money – the return to an era of greater clarity, simplicity, and elegance is mere wishful thinking.

Plotted Dots

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Rich Get Richer when Central Banks Print Money

The Rich Get Richer when Central Banks Print Money

The Netherlands Central Bank has just published a fascinating new paper, titled “Monetary policy and the top one percent: Evidence from a century of modern economic history”. Authored by Mehdi El Herradi and Aurélien Leroy, (Working Paper No. 632, De Nederlandsche Bank NV: https://www.dnb.nl/en/binaries/Working%20paper%20No.%20632_tcm47-383633.pdf), the paper “examines the distributional implications of monetary policy from a long-run perspective with data spanning a century of modern economic history in 12 advanced economies between 1920 and 2015, …estimating the dynamic responses of the top 1% income share to a monetary policy shock.” The authors “exploit the implications of the macroeconomic policy trilemma to identify exogenous variations in monetary conditions.” Note: the macroeconomic policy trilemma “states that a country cannot simultaneously achieve free capital mobility, a fixed exchange rate and independent monetary policy”.

Per authors, “The central idea that guided this paper’s argument is that the existing literature considers the distributional effects of monetary policy using data on inequality over a short period of time. However, inequalities tend to vary more in the medium-to-long run. We address this shortcoming by studying how changes in monetary policy stance over a century impacted the income distribution while controlling for the determinants of inequality.”

They find that “loose monetary conditions strongly increase the top one percent’s income and vice versa. In fact, following an expansionary monetary policy shock, the share of national income held by the richest 1 percent increases by approximately 1 to 6 percentage points, according to estimates from the Panel VAR and Local Projections (LP). This effect is statistically significant in the medium run and economically considerable. We also demonstrate that the increase in top 1 percent’s share is arguably the result of higher asset prices.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Weekly Commentary: Transitory Histrionics

Weekly Commentary: Transitory Histrionics

May 3 – Financial Times (Sam Fleming): “Having lamented low inflation as one of the great challenges facing central bankers today in March, Jay Powell on Wednesday wrongfooted many investors with comments that seemed to play down the gravity of the problem. The new message from the Federal Reserve chairman — that ‘transitory’ drags may be slowing price growth, rather than more persistent problems — marked a rude awakening for investors who had been hoping that he would signal an ‘insurance’ interest rate cut this summer because of low inflation. To critics, Mr Powell’s sharp change in tone extends a pattern of unpredictable communications that have made Fed policy more difficult to read. While many accept that investors got ahead of themselves in treating a 2019 rate cut as a fait accompli, the risk is that in his effort to dial back expectations of easier policy Mr Powell undercut the central bank’s broader message: that it will do whatever is necessary to get stubbornly low inflation back on target.”

To many, Chairman Powell’s Wednesday news conference was one more bungled performance. It may not have been at the same level as December’s “tone deaf” “incompetence.” But his message on inflation was muddled and clumsily inconsistent. How on earth can Powell refer to below-target inflation as “Transitory”?

Chairman Powell should be applauded. Sure, he “caved” in January. And while he can be faulted (along with about everyone) for not appreciating the degree of market fragility back in December, markets had over years grown way too comfortable with the Fed “put”/backstop.  

I don’t fault the Powell Fed for having attempted in December to let the markets begin standing on their own. It was about time – actually, way overdue. Fault instead unsound markets and decades of “activist” Fed policymaking.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Great Unknown

The Great Unknown 

QUESTION: Martin, if Europe and Japan have destroyed their bond markets, would it be a good idea for them to get the government out of the bond market and have short term rates be floating in the free market?  The free market would probably help since they don’t know how to move rates correctly.

RG

ANSWER: What will happen is that there is already unfolding a bifurcation in interest rates with a widening spread between real rates (Private Sector) and government. If they allow government rates to float, that means they must abandon QE.

Neither the BoJ nor the ECB is ready to admit total failure. This means that the entire Keynesian-Monetarist tools have failed and they have no economic theory upon which to manage the economy. That means the government cannot control the economy and therein lies the denial of power.

Welcome to the Great Unknown

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Cataclysm
Click on image to purchase