Home » Posts tagged 'credit expansion'

Tag Archives: credit expansion

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Why We Need a Free Market in Money

What is fiat money and what does it do?

This is essential to understand since today’s worldwide unbacked paper, or “fiat,” money regime is an economically and socially destructive scheme—with far-reaching and seriously harmful consequences. There is an answer, though, and this lies in ending the money production monopoly of states.

The Problem of Fiat Money

The US dollar, the Chinese renminbi, the euro, the Japanese yen, the British pound, and the Swiss franc represent fiat money.

Fiat money has three characteristics:

  1. Fiat money is money monopolized by the state’s central bank. It is created by central banks and commercial banks licensed by the state.
  2. Fiat money is mostly produced through bank credit expansion; it is created out of thin air.
  3. Fiat money is dematerialized money, consisting of colorful paper tickets and bits and bytes on computer hard drives.

Fiat money is by no means “harmless.”

Fiat money is inflationary. Its buying power dwindles over time, and history has shown that this entropy is almost as irreversible as gravity. Fiat money makes a select few rich at the expense of many others. The first to get new money benefit to the detriment of those on the bottom rung.

What’s more, fiat money fosters speculative bubbles and capital misallocation, which culminate in crises. This is why economies go through boom and bust cycles. Fiat money lures states, banks, consumers, and firms into the trap of excessive debt. Sooner or later, borrowers find themselves in a deep hole with no way out.

Fiat money is easy to come by, so the government can finance its adventures and misadventures. Easy money; easy come, easy go. And the government keeps growing as it keeps spending…

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

Japan Embraced Debt As a Way Out of Its Budget Crisis. It’s Not Working.

The sudden resignation of Japans Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has led to evaluations of his so-called Abenomics. Many have praised Abe’s aggressive monetary policy because the long shopping list of the Bank of Japan (government bonds, corporate bonds, ETFs and real estate investment trusts) has inflated stock and real estate prices (Shirai 2020Financial Times 2020). Concerns remain on the fiscal side since Abe’s consumption tax hikes from 5 percent to 8 percent in 2014 and to 10 percent in 2019 are widely seen as a failure (The Economist 2020). Indeed, Abe resolved Japan’s deep-seated fiscal problems only superficially.

Figure 1: Tax Revenues of Japan’s Central Government

gs

Source: Ministry of Finance, Japan.

The core of the problem is cheap money issued by the Bank of Japan, which had caused a stock and real estate bubble in the second half of the 1980s. While the bubble had inflated tax revenues, its bursting was followed by an unprecedented economic slump during which the corporate and income tax revenues collapsed from 43 trillion yen (approx. 390 billion dollars) in 1990 to 23 trillion yen (approx. 185 billion dollars) in 2012 (Figure 1), when Abe took office.

Figure 2: Social Security Expenditure and Local Allocation Tax as Share of Total Tax Revenues

gs

Source: Ministry of Finance, Japan. Central Government.

At the same time Japan’s aging population ballooned the government contributions to the public pension and health insurance system, from 12 trillion yen (approx. 110 billion dollars) in 1990 to 36 trillion yen (approx. 327 billion dollars) in 2019. In addition, the so-called local allocation tax grants of around 16 trillion yen per year (approx. 145 billion dollars) to the economically exhausted Japanese periphery continued to constitute a heavy burden for the central government. In the wake of the global financial crisis, both together had increased far beyond the central governments’ tax revenues (Figure 2).

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

The Hazards of 4 More Years of Jerome Powell

Whether Trump or Biden is elected in November, they will have to decide whether or not to appoint Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to another term.

And if he is appointed again, the way he continues to handle the continuing ripple effects of the COVID-19 “shutdown” economy will be critical.

So let’s examine why the decision to reappoint him is important, then take a quick tour of some of Powell’s recent performance.

piece from Paul R. La Monica provides a take on the importance of Powell’s re-appointment, beginning with the response to the market’s plummet earlier this year:

The Fed quickly lowered rates to zero in March and has since launched trillions of dollars worth of lending programs… Powell’s swift actions have won him praise from many economists and investing experts on Wall Street.

“Powell should get a second term if he wants it. He deserves credit for the speed and magnitude of the Fed’s response to Covid-19,” said Larry Adam, chief investment officer of Raymond James.

Mr. Adam and the article are correct on one point. The Powell-authorized “moon shot” in response to a dramatic market drop was certainly a fast move.

George Calhoun, professor of quantitative finance at the Stevens Institute of Technology, agreed with Powell’s quick decision to print trillions:

When the crisis hit, Powell went all out and opened the spigots. I’m not sure what rationale would be to have someone totally different at the Fed. Monetary policy has been effective.

Any person in Powell’s position could have made the same call, of course. We just have to hope that the long-term ripple effects don’t eventually reveal that his reaction was too much, too fast, or perhaps unnecessary.

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

Weekly Commentary: State-Directed Credit Splurge

Weekly Commentary: State-Directed Credit Splurge

New data released Friday confirm ongoing historic Chinese Credit excess. Total Aggregate Financing increased (a ridiculous) $524 billion during August to $40.5 TN, doubling July’s growth and exceeding estimates by almost 40%. It was the strongest monthly gain since March’s record $759 billion. This pushed y-t-d (8-month) growth to $3.828 TN, up 45% from comparable 2019 ($2.650 TN) and 67% ahead of comparable 2018 ($2.297 TN) growth. It’s worth noting Aggregate Financing surged an incredible $2.960 TN over the past six months, 62% ahead of comparable 2019 ($1.823 TN). At 13.3%, year-over-year growth was the strongest in several years.
With 2020 GDP estimates in the 2.0 to 3.0% range, the divergence between Chinese Credit and economic output is unprecedented. That Credit growth has accelerated in the face of rapidly deteriorating economic prospects portends major troubles ahead. China’s “Terminal Phase” excess – including rapid acceleration of late-cycle loans of deteriorating quality – is unparalleled in terms of both degree and duration. Stoking a stock market mania while prolonging a historic apartment Bubble only exacerbates systemic fragility.

August New Bank Loans increased an above forecast $187 billion. This boosted y-t-d loan growth to $2.102 TN, 20% ahead of comparable 2019. Six-month growth ($1.481 TN) was 29% above comparable 2019. Bank Loans were up 13.0% over the past year, 27% in two years, and 84% over five years.

Consumer Loans rose $123 billion during August. Year-to-date growth of $755 billion was 4.7% ahead of comparable 2019. However, six-month Consumer Loan growth of $722 billion was 23% ahead of comparable 2019. Consumer Loans were up 14.5% year-over-year, 33% over two years, 58% in three and 135% over five years.

Corporate Bonds expanded $53 billion. This pushed year-to-date growth to $580 billion, up 80% from 2019 and 133% from comparable 2018 growth.

But the August winner of the Chinese Credit Sweepstakes goes to government finance. Government Bonds jumped $202 billion during the month to $6.362 TN, the largest monthly increase in a data series going back to 2017. At $837 billion, year-to-date growth was 59% ahead of comparable 2019. Government Bonds increased 18.7% over the past year, 38% in two and 66% over three years (5-yr data not available).

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

Inflation, deflation and other fallacies

Inflation, deflation and other fallacies

There can be little doubt that macroeconomic policies are failing around the world. The fallacies being exposed are so entrenched that there are bound to be twists and turns yet to come.

This article explains the fallacies behind inflation, deflation, economic performance and interest rates. They arise from the modern states’ overriding determination to access the wealth of its electorate instead of being driven by a genuine and considered concern for its welfare. Monetary inflation, which has become runaway, transfers wealth to the state from producers and consumers, and is about to accelerate. Everything about macroeconomics is now with that single economically destructive objective in mind.

Falling prices, the outcome of commercial competition and sound money are more aligned with the interests of ordinary people, but that is so derided by neo-Keynesians that today almost without exception everyone believes in inflationism.

And finally, we conclude that the escape from failing fiat will lead to rising nominal interest rates, with all the consequences which that entails. The inevitable outcome is a flight to commodities, including gold and silver, despite rising interest rates for fiat money.

Demand-siders and supply-siders

In a macroeconomics-driven world, economic fallacies abound. They are periodically trashed when disproved, only to arise again as received wisdom for a new generation of macroeconomists determined to justify their statist beliefs. The most egregious of these is that inflation can only occur as the handmaiden of economic growth, while deflation is similarly linked to a recession spinning out of control into the maelstrom of a slump.

This error is the opposite of the facts.

Conventionally, macroeconomists split into two groups. There are the Keynesians who believe in stimulating demand to ensure there will always be markets for goods and services, which they attempt to achieve through additional spending by governments and by discouraging saving, because it is consumption deferred.

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

Book Review: The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy

In January, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its Budget and Economic outlook for 2020 to 2030. It is horrific reading. Federal budget deficits are projected to rise from $1.0 trillion this year to $1.3 trillion over the next 10 years.

Federal debt will rise to 98% of GDP by 2030, “its highest percentage since 1946,” the CBO says. “By 2050, debt would be 180% of GDP—far higher than it has ever been.” And that was before Covid-19 hit. Now those numbers will be much, much worse.

On top of this, politicians have been announcing grand schemes for further spending: $47 billion on free college tuition, $1 trillion for new infrastructure, $1.4 trillion to write off student loan debt, at least $7 trillion on the Green New Deal and $32 trillion on Medicare for All. By one estimate, these new proposals total an estimated $42.5 trillion over the next decade.

Adding these new spending proposals to the flood of red ink the CBO projects just from following the current path, the federal government is set to face a serious fiscal crisis in the not-too-distant future.

KEEP PRINTING

Or, perhaps not. There is an idea afoot in economics that, as Bernie Sanders’ former economic advisor Stephanie Kelton argues in her new book The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy, could revolutionize the field in the same way that Copernicus did to astronomy by showing that the earth orbited the sun.

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) states that “in almost all instances federal deficits are good for the economy. They are necessary.” That being so, we don’t have to worry about this coming deluge of red ink, indeed:

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

The Economy Continues To Unravel Despite All Stimulus Measures

The Economy Continues To Unravel Despite All Stimulus Measures

Since the pandemic lockdowns were first implemented in the US I have been more concerned with the government and central bank response than the virus itself. As I have noted in past articles, the pandemic restrictions and subsequent economic and social crisis events they help to create will cause far more deaths than Covid-19 ever will. Not only that, but the actions of the Federal Reserve continue to con the American public into believing that there is some kind of “plan” to stop the crash that THEY engineered.

The only agenda of the Fed is to increase the pain in the long term; they have no intention of actually preventing any disaster.

This is evidenced in comments by voting members of the Fed, including Neel Kashkari who recently argued for the enforcement of hard lockdowns for at least six weeks in the US, all because the US savings rate was going up. Meaning, because Americans are saving more in order to protect themselves from economic fallout, Kashkari thinks we should be punished with an economic shutdown that would force us to spend whatever we have been able to save.

Do you see how that works?

Fed members and government officials demand hard lockdowns, depleting public savings and destroying small businesses. Then, the public has to beg the Fed and the government for more and more stimulus measures so that they can survive. The people and the system become dependent on a single point of support – fiat money creation and welfare. Yet, the evidence suggests that this strategy is failing to do much of anything except stall the inevitable for a very short time.

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

China’s Rapidly Expanding Credit Affects Global Markets

China’s Rapidly Expanding Credit Affects Global Markets

We again are seeing how rapidly expanding credit in China is spilling over into the global market. In reaction to its economy being slammed by covid-19, China like many countries has unleashed several massive stimulus programs to start things moving. Unfortunately for the Chinese people, they have also been dealing with other issues putting their system under stress. Not only is the trade war and a high level of political stress putting China to the test but it is in the midst of the worst flooding in decades and this is also adding to the pressure.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Chinese authorities have issued 4.75 trillion yuan ($683 billion) in local and national debt with most of that earmarked for infrastructure projects to boost construction. China is far from transparent and making it difficult to know what exactly is happening. This is also true when it comes to imports which are sometimes stored away rather than used. Speculation and projections of future use all play into this. Whether we are talking about grain prices, oil, or metal, China is a bigger user of commodities and the demand flowing from China affects prices. Factor into this the notion that China is big in projecting a positive narrative of economic growth and the spillover becomes clear.

An example of this can be seen as iron ore prices hit a six and a half year high on Thursday as the Chinese construction and manufacturing sector claims to be experienced levels of activity not seen for almost a decade. Fastmarkets MB reported that benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China were changing hands for $129.92 a tonne on Tuesday, up 2.1% on the day. That would be the highest level for the steel-making raw material since mid-January 2014 and put gains for 2020 to over 40%. 

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

This Analyst Says Gold’s Pullback is Proof that Higher Prices Are to Come

Precious Metals Soaring

This week, Your News to Know rounds up the latest top stories involving gold and the overall economy. Stories include: Gold has more room to run, why central banks have been buying gold for over a decade, and two massive gold nuggets worth $250,000 found in Australia.

Standard Chartered: Gold has more to show this year despite hitting a new all-time high

For a steady asset such as gold, a rapid breach of its decade-old all-time high is quite a showing. Yet, according to multiple analysts, the metal could stagger market watchers some more by the end of the year. Since blazing past $2,000, gold has pulled back as some expected, yet seems unwilling to go below the $1,940 level if the previous two weeks are any indicator.

Standard Chartered Private Bank’s Manpreet Gill attributes gold’s correction to a slight recovery in the 10-year Treasury yield amid an increase in risk sentiment. If this is indeed the reason for the pullback, the development is actually positive for gold, as the general consensus is that sovereign bond yields are on a firm downwards spiral, with no central bank showing any inclination towards elevating its benchmark rate.

“We have quite a bit of one-sided positioning in gold and I think, you know, that’s actually unwound quite quickly. A lot of our proprietary indicators are telling us exactly that,” said Gill, while acknowledging that central bankers are favoring a cap on their bond yields.

In a recent note, Fitch Solutions’ analysts likewise said that gold should keep moving up for the rest of the year and pass its August high in doing so in the absence of any notable headwinds. “We expect gold prices to remain supported in the coming months with rising geopolitical tensions and an uneven and slow global economic recovery,” said the team in the note.

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

On Inflation (& How It’s Not What Happens Next)

Everyone is convinced the dollar is going to inflate because more dollars are entering the system.

But are they really?

That is the question that sparked a succinct Twitter thread by Travis K (@ColoradoTravis) explaining why inflation is not what happens next (emphasis ours):

Let’s take a look at how dollars are born and how they die.

A dollar is ‘born’ when a loan is made against collateral on a bank’s balance sheet. Banks can issue multiples of dollars for every dollar of collateral they have.

It’s this multiplication effect that expands the amount of total dollars.

Generally, banks are limited in how much they can lend – let’s say it’s 10x their collateral. So for every dollar of collateral they have, they can lend 10 dollars.

By so lending, they ‘birth’ new dollars into the system.

As banks lend more, more dollars are created and the money supply increases. This multiplicative lending is the chief driver of total dollars in the system.

Banks lending a lot → more total dollars and inflation.

When do dollars die?

Dollars ‘die’ when debts are paid back. This reverses the multiplication effect of lending, leading to less total dollars in the system and a contraction of total dollars in circulation.

So what is the Fed ‘printer’ doing – creating dollars, right? Actually no, not really.

The printer only increases the collateral banks have to lend against. It does not directly ‘birth’ dollars, only *potential* dollars.

Banks are still the midwives, and the only ones who birth dollars into the system by lending.

The Fed can increase collateral by 1000x but unless the banks lend against that collateral, dollars will not enter circulation for you and I to interact with.

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

Gold and Free Banking Versus Central Banks

gold bars

In spite of the officially declared “independence” of the Federal Reserve from the immediate political control of either Congress or the White House, America’s central bank is, nonetheless, a branch of the U.S. government that is responsible for setting monetary policy, overseeing a variety of banking regulations, and influencing market interest rates. As a result, politics is always present when it concerns the Federal Reserve, as witnessed in the nomination of Dr. Judy Shelton to serve on the central bank’s board of governors.

Dr. Shelton has become a lightning rod for angry opposition, not only due to Donald Trump, who as president of the United States nominated her to fill one of the seven slots on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, but the fact that she has long been a public and vocal advocate for a return to some version of the gold standard as an “anchor” for limiting discretionary policies by the central bank.

Most academic and policy-oriented economists apparently are both flabbergasted and fearful that if she were to serve on the Fed board, she might actually attempt to limit the virtually unrestrained latitude the central bank currently has to seemingly create money and bank credit in practically any quantity, and, in the process, influence the level of interest rates at which banks make money available for borrowing purposes.

What is clearly horrifying to so many in the wide mainstream of the economics profession is the notion of a check on the powers and prerogatives of what amounts to America’s system of monetary central planning. But that is the very point of a commodity-based monetary system such as a gold standard, to limit abuse of the monetary printing press.

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

The Dollar Is Dying

The Dollar Is Dying

Insulting the Captive Audience

This week, while perusing the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet figures, we came across a rather curious note.  We don’t know how long the Fed’s had this note posted to its website.  But we can’t recall ever seeing it.  The note reads as follows:

“The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has expanded and contracted over time.  During the 2007-08 financial crisis and subsequent recession, total assets increased significantly from $870 billion in August 2007 to $4.5 trillion in early 2015.  Then, reflecting the FOMC’s balance sheet normalization program that took place between October 2017 and August 2019, total assets declined to under $3.8 trillion.  Beginning in September 2019, total assets started to increase.”

Directly below this note is the following chart:

Total assets of the Federal Reserve since 2008 – never-ending expansion (shaded areas indicate recessions) [PT]

Does this look like a balance sheet that expands and contracts over time?

Quite frankly, the Fed’s balance sheet chart, and the extreme dollar debasement that it illustrates, is a disgrace.  The fact that the Fed had to add this flagrantly false note as preface to its disgraceful chart is an insult.

This is a direct offense to anyone who has built a modest savings account by exchanging their time for dollars.  The time and effort put to obtaining these dollars is being stolen by the insidious process of central bank engineered money supply inflation.  Year in and year out, these earned dollars will be worth less and less.

Moreover, normalization is a Fed lie.  It never happened.  Yes, $700 billion was contracted from the Fed’s Balance sheet between October 2017 and August 2019.  But that was in the wake of a $3.5 trillion expansion.  And it was quickly followed by another $3 trillion balance sheet expansion this spring.

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

The Fed is Determined to Prove the QTM Right

The Fed is Determined to Prove the QTM Right

gold-dollar-trap

Milton Friedman famously said, “Inflation was always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.” But Friedman didn’t live through the QE years here in the U.S. and blatantly ignored the twenty plus years of Japanese deflation despite QE and insane levels of money printing during the latter years of his life.

Because Friedman, like a lot of modern economists, adhered strictly to the Quantity Theory of Money (QTM).

And as an Austrian economics kinda guy I somewhat agree with the QTM. I agree with Ludwig von Mises on this, as you would expect. So, how do we square the QTM with the evidence that QE in all of its guises has resulted in deflation, as expressed by the general price level, where ever it has been tried?

Martin Armstrong ask this question all the time and is openly hostile to the QTM. And his arguments have some merit, because, as he rightly points out the QTM only looks at the supply side of the money equation.

It cares not about the demand side. He’s right about that. What he’s wrong about is that the Austrians, like von Mises, haven’t considered this either.

Demand for money is just as important as the supply of it. And during a crisis, the demand side of the equation for any particular currency may, in fact, be more important.

This is what the Fed has struggled with for the past twelve years. The demand for the U.S. dollar has far outstripped the increase in supply, causing a far lower aggregate price rise than anticipated by the QTM.

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

Peter Schiff: The Dollar Crash Will Take Down the Entire US “House of Cards”

PETER SCHIFF: THE DOLLAR CRASH WILL TAKE DOWN THE ENTIRE US “HOUSE OF CARDS”

Peter Schiff says the new historic and record-breaking fall in gross domestic product numbers coupled with unemployment and the Federal Reserve’s excessive money creation will cause a dollar collapse. Once that happens, the entire house of cards that is the United States will fall.

Schiff says we should be prepared for the fall of the U.S. by the end of this year. According to a report by RT, Schiff, the ignorance of Americans is still present. People are not waking up, unfortunately. That ignorance is likely to remain the case until the fall becomes a crash, which I don’t think will begin until the Dollar Index breaks 80,” wrote  Schiff in a Tweet. ” At its current rate of decline that level could be breached before year-end, perhaps by election day.”

Remember, election time could be a gigantic planned disaster too, and Americans look like they’ll fall for that too.

Government Warning: “One Way Or Another, The Economy Is Going To Lockdown Again”

While the dollar continues to fall, gold, silver, and cryptocurrencies are all going up. This is a signal that people are leaving centralized systems for those that are decentralized and not controlled by the ruling class or elitists who think of us as their slaves.  According to Schiff, gold will supplant the dollar because the euro and other currencies are not ready to take its place.  They are also centralized and in the control of the same people who control the creation of U.S. dollars. “No other currency will take the dollar’s place, real money will take its place, particularly gold, because gold was there before the dollar,” he said, noting that the greenback “did a lousy job, and now gold is taking its spot back.”

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

Humpty Dumpty System is Irreparable

HUMPTY DUMPTY SYSTEM IS IRREPARABLE

What does it take to break the global financial system? Well, we obviously know what it takes since the system is already broken. Broken by debts, broken by deficits, broken by a fractured financial system, and broken by false markets as well as fake money. 

So just like Humpty Dumpty, the system has already had a big fall. But the world still believes that this is all a fairytale with a happy ending. No one wants to recognise that Humpty is totally broken and irreparable. 

NO ONE CAN PUT HUMPTY TOGETHER AGAIN

All the king’s men, in the shape of the Fed and other central banks plus governments, are desperately trying to put Humpty back together again. The problem is that the glue just won’t stick. Already back in 2007-9 and thereafter, massive amounts of glue were applied in the form of unlimited money printing and credit creation. The problem was that a remedy in big quantities serves no purpose if the quality is poor. 

Fortunately for the king’s men, nobody realised that they worked with inferior material. Equity markets only care about quantity and there certainly was enough glue or printed money. So it has been all about quantity or printing a lot of worthless money. Why else would it be called QE or quantitative easing? 

HOCUS POCUS ACTIONS

QE is one of these Hocus Pocus words, invented by TPTB (the powers that be), which sounds important and mysterious. But for us normal mortals it should be called MP or money printing. That’s all it is, but since money printing sounds quite crude, the Fed and Co think they can get away with a posh word which nobody understands. All QE stands for is printing money in great quantities. 

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase