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ECB v Fed

ECB v Fed

QUESTION: Martin,

You mentioned in a recent blog post that the ECB, unlike the FED, can go bankrupt.

Can you explain further?

Not sure where you get the time, energy and resources to research and write all that you do buy it is truly amazing.

Regards,

M

ANSWER: The Federal Reserve does not need permission to create elastic money. It has the authority to expand or contract its balance sheet. However, it cannot simply print money out of thin air. The ECB is the only institution that can authorize the printing of euro banknotes. The Federal Reserve must back the banknotes by purchasing US government bonds. The Fed buys and sells US government bonds to influence the money supply whereas the ECB influences the supply of euros in the market by directly controlling the number of euros available to eligible member banks. This structure was created because of Germany’s obsession with its own hyperinflation of the 1920s.

Each member state retained its central bank and those central banks issue the banknotes — not the ECB. Therefore, the ECB works with the central banks in each EU state to formulate monetary policy to help maintain stable prices and strengthen the euro. The ECB was created by the national central banks of the EU member states transferring their monetary policy function to the ECB, which in effect operates on a supervisory role.

There are four decision-making bodies of the ECB that are mandated to undertake the objectives of the institution. These bodies include the Governing Council, Executive Board, the General Council, and the Supervisory Board.

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

Central Bank Crisis Expanding

Central Bank Crisis Expanding

QUESTION: Hi Marty.
You mentioned in the blog that all European sovereign debt may end up being converted into perpetual bonds. Will it be through debt mutualization or will each country have each own Consol? Could you please elaborate on how this conversion would affect pension funds, banks, social security and individual investors? Knowing that the ECB already owns 33% of all government bonds in the Euro Zone, can it (ECB) be the buyer of last resort to avoid liquidity issues for all these investors (pension funds, banks, social security and individual investors)? What would make the ECB fail?
Regards

AMD

ANSWER: They will most likely provide no warning and they will simply announce what they have done to prevent anyone from trying to liquidate. The ECB will have it as reserves so that will not change. They were rolling the debt anyway because they cannot sell it without causing interest rates to rise.

The Federal Reserve is buying up corporate bonds to the point that there is now a shortage. They are doing this in a desperate measure to try to prevent interest rates from rising, which will in turn put pressure on the ECB and Emerging Markets. This is demonstrating that the central banks are fearful of the market pushing rates higher because of CREDIT RISK.

After the Fed Punts, the ECB Throws Another Hail Mary

After the Fed Punts, the ECB Throws Another Hail Mary

Last week FOMC Chair Jerome Powell and company did, essentially nothing, at their June meeting. They held interest rates at 0.25%, did not expand QE nor did they indicate any changes.

This wasn’t what the market wanted, as the bond were pushing the Fed to take rates negative and further open up the liquidity spigots.

Rates would be lower for longer and central bank swap lines would remain open. Other than that, the Fed didn’t give the markets what it wanted.

There were plenty of dollars in the system. That dynamic immediately changed after the FOMC meeting.

By punting the Fed put the ball back in the hands of the ECB who had been enjoying the dynamic of a weaker dollar to alleviate offshore dollar liquidity concerns.

It didn’t hurt that political instability here in the U.S. is at a high not seen since the 1860’s.

The stronger euro was assisting the ECB in selling their balance sheet expansion.

The ECB then announced it’s latest TLTRO-3 Auction for this quarter. The total amount of the auction was a stunning $1.3 trillion, which broke down into $550 billion in new lending and $760 billion in rollovers.

And it means the total TLTRO outstanding balance is already at all-time high levels and nothing has been solved yet.

But, as Goldman Sachs through Zerohedge points out, these loans were at incredibly generous rates:

Given improved terms (-1% for YR1 until June 2021, and -0.5% for YR2-3 if lending benchmarks criteria are met) starting with this auction, banks were expected to repay some outstanding TLTRO-II early to refinance at cheaper rates. Taken together, this still leaves some €550bn of net new take-up.

This gives banks the great incentive to get paid to borrow in euros and get the yield spread against other currencies like the dollar or the Japanese yen.

The size of this issuance is your proof that there simply aren’t enough dollars out there to soak up demand or banks wouldn’t have fed so deeply at the trough.

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

No to the ECB madness

No to the ECB madness

The latest ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court is a drop of bitterness in the idyll of the ECB’s excessive money printing. What Super Mario (Draghi) did and what the IMF-imported Christine Lagarde mercilessly continues – 2.6 trillion euros (since 2015), invested in government, corporate and other securities to boost the economy and inflation – are a blessing for financiers and their customers (plutocracy) and a curse for savers and future pensioners. Roughly speaking, the ECB is buying up the debts of banks and large corporations, but is not worried about citizens’ savings melting away as a result of the negative interest rate, while the bubble is growing in markets overheated by cheap money (including the property market). The owners of real assets are benefiting, while owners of financial assets are losing. Companies that would not have been able to survive under any other circumstances remain in the market as zombies, reducing productivity, the rate of return on capital in the eurozone and their competitiveness in the world.

These trillions of euros are therefore ineffective. After all, the eurozone economy weakened significantly much earlier, before the outbreak of the so-called pandemic. Now the bubble has burst on the stock markets and Lagarde immediately started to take new “measures” from her ivory tower in Frankfurt: money presses are running at full speed, markets are recovering, the economy is still at its worst since the end of the Second World War, unemployment rates very high everywhere, but never mind all that, “The show must go on”, until one day, oh, how unpleasant these German judges!

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

“A Legal Nightmare”: In Latest European “Freakshow”, EU Threatens To Sue Germany Over QE Ruling

“A Legal Nightmare”: In Latest European “Freakshow”, EU Threatens To Sue Germany Over QE Ruling

In the latest European farce, the European Commission threatened to sue Germany after the country’s top court questioned the legality of the ECB’s bond-buying program, Bloomberg reported over the weekend. In what Nordea’s Andrewas Steno Larsen dubbed the “ongoing freakshow in the Euroarea”, the EC president – a German no less – Ursula von der Leyen said that “The final word in EU law is always spoken in Luxembourg. Nowhere else.”

In other words, following last week’s shocking decision by Germany’s constitutional court which found that some aspects of the ECB’s QE are not constitutional and gave the ECB a 3 month ultimatum in which to demonstrate that QE was a proportional response, “we are gearing up for a remarkable legal stand-off between EU and Germany” writes Larsen, who adds that “the German head of the EU Commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen, is now openly battling her mother country’s constitution as she hinted that Brussels is considering taking legal steps that could result in Germany being sued in Europe’s highest court over the ruling from its constitutional court on ECB bond buying in a letter to the German Press Agency. Never underestimate the arrogance of EUR-crats!”

And here is the German European who is tasked with leading the onslaught on the German constitution.

German head of the EU Commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen.

And just to make sure the Germans are really pissed off, the ECB has tasked its staff to study if they should consider buying junk corporate bonds according to Reuters, “as if the ECB hasn’t manipulated credit prices enough already” as Nordea helpfully adds, noting that “ultimately, we think the EUR-ship will be glued together again – but markets are rightfully pricing in a risk of an ugly political showdown for the time being (wider spreads, relatively low EUR/USD etc).”

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

Eurozone Breakup Risk at New High

Eurozone Breakup Risk at New High

The German Constitutional Court made an unexpected and significant ruling last week against the ECB and Quantitative Easing.

QE Deemed Illegal

In the midst of a pandemic and an important presidential election, it is very easy  to miss globally significant events. 

Here is one that is way under the radar: The German Constitutional Court ruled the ECB’s QE Program Could be Illegal.

That is a landmark ruling that challenges the independence of the ECB and the authority of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

In announcing the ruling, German Chief Justice Andreas Voßkuhle said the CJEU had approved a practice that “was obviously not covered” by the ECB’s mandate. Voßkuhle spent months crafting the 77-page decision, announcing the ruling just a day before his official retirement on Wednesday. “

Dismissing a 2018 CJEU decision to allow the bond purchases, the German court ordered the ECB to provide Germany with adequate justification for the program within the next three months. Should it fail to do so, the Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, would no longer be permitted to participate in the program.

What it Means for the Future of the EU

Eurointelligence explains What it Means for the Future of the EU.

The ruling raises complex and potentially troubling issues for the EU as a whole. The German constitutional court has accused the ECB and the CJEU, the court of Justice of the European Union, of abusing their power, and of acting beyond their assigned competences. That concept is known in German constitutional law as acting ultra viresIn the German legal interpretation of European integration, all sovereignty still rests with the member states. The EU is clearly not a federal state, but a deferred power.

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

Italian Debt Crashes Prompting ECB Intervention

Italian Debt Crashes Prompting ECB Intervention

Welcome to the brave new world of a helicopter money, aka the Magic Money Tree (MMT), where everything is crashing and nowhere more so than in Europe, which having made a dramatic U-turn on its historic fiscal stinginess, and where a flood of debt is now expected, bond yields across the continent are soaring even as European stocks crater, and nowhere more so than in Italy where the 10Y bond yield, which was trading below 1% as recently as one month ago, exploded as high as 2.99% this morning, before easing some of the rout following media reports that the ECB is intervening via the Bank of Italy.

Earlier in the session, Italy’s 10-year yield climbed as much as 64bps to 2.99%, pushing the BTP-bund spread up to 44bps wider to 323bps, the most since 2018 after a La Stampa report that Rome may extend the nationwide lockdown to beyond April 3.

Then shortly after 6am ET, Italian bonds trimmed declines after Radiocor reported the ECB was invervening in the domestic market through the Bank of Italy. “Moves are flexible in terms of timing and of markets targeted, and can continue as long as needed”, Radiocor news agency reported, citing central banking sources.

Even that, however, barely made a dent, with Italy’s 10-year yield still almost 40bps higher at 2.72% after earlier climbing to 2.99%.

There was no ECB intervention in other European bonds, although they certainly also need it, with Bunds suffering sharp losses as the 10Y Bund yield surged as high as -0.20%…

… although paring some losses following reports Germany was softening opposition to Italy’s proposal for joint EU bond issuance: German’s 30-year swap spread narrows 11bps to 0bps, the tightest since 2014, amid concerns that any fiscal loosening will lead to more bond issuance.

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

Truth

Truth

Every once in a while the truth shines through and we got a few doses of it today. Recently critics who suggested that the Fed’s QE policies artificially elevate asset prices were dismissed as QE conspiracists, but the truth is that central bank policies are directly responsible for the asset price levitations since early 2019 and well before then of course as well.

Loose money policies by central banks are goosing up asset prices. I’ve said it for a long time, others have as well despite constant pushback by apologists and deniers: No, no, asset prices are a reflection of a growing economy and earnings or so we were told.

All of this was revealed to be hogwash last year when asset prices soared to new record highs on flat to negative earnings growth and this farce continues to this day as the coronavirus is the new trigger for reductions in growth estimates yet asset prices continue to ascent to record highs following the Fed’s record liquidity injections:

But now the truth is officially out and can no longer be denied.

Here’s new ECB president Largard stating it plainly:


Kudos to @Lagarde for stating the obvious:

“European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said her institution’s loose monetary policy is hitting savers and stoking asset prices”https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-11/lagarde-says-ecb-low-rate-side-effects-puts-onus-on-governments?sref=q1j4E2z1 …

Lagarde Says ECB Policy Side Effects Put Onus on Governments

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said her institution’s loose monetary policy is hitting savers and stoking asset prices, as she called on governments to do more to boost the economy.bloomberg.com


But it’s not only Lagarde.

Even President Trump implicitly lays it all out as he’s apparently watching every tick on the $DJIA:

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

Fed Trying to Stop Global Economic Contagion – Martin Armstrong

Fed Trying to Stop Global Economic Contagion – Martin Armstrong

Legendary geopolitical and financial analyst Martin Armstrong says, “The Fed is trapped. If it stops (injecting money into the repo market by billions of dollars daily), interest rates will rise.”

Armstrong goes on to explain, “The Bank of Japan came out and said we’re going to buy government bonds unlimited. They, too, are trying to prevent interest rates from rising. . . . The ECB cannot afford rates to go up. . . . This is a global contagion that’s developing, and it’s pretty serious. The rise in interest rates has tremendous implications all the way around the globe. . . . Interest rates are rising because there is increased risk – period.”

The big risk, according to Armstrong, is global governments, including the U.S. Armstrong says, “You have to understand, at some point in time, capital begins to figure out who is the greatest risk, and the risk is government. At that stage in the game, when that point is reached, then you have shifts. The capital will move from public types of investments, such as government bonds and things of that nature, and then will move into the private sector. That’s equities, and that can be gold and real estate in different places. You try to go to tangible assets.”

So, what could go wrong with the Fed trapped in the repo market and cannot stop liquefying bad debt? Armstrong says, “What can go wrong is that they lose the game. They are doing this to try to prevent interest rates from rising. If they did not do this, the short term rate would be up dramatically.”

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

Central Bankers Are Quietly Freaking Out About How To Fight The Next Recession

Central Bankers Are Quietly Freaking Out About How To Fight The Next Recession 

Mark Carney warns about the limits of central bank policy.
Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England (BOE), listens at the annual Mansion House dinner in … [+]2018 BLOOMBERG FINANCE LP

The world’s top central bank officials are rightly concerned that politicians in rich economies missed one key lesson of the last recession: Interest rate cuts can help to moderate a downturn, but aggressive fiscal policy is key to a healthy recovery. 

It was a pro-austerity stance both in the United States, and even more saliently in the euro zone, that arguably prolonged the period of high unemployment and low wage growth that plagued most of the decade-long recovery from the 2007-2009 U.S. Great Recession. 

Outgoing Bank of England Governor Mark Carney told the Financial Times this week that central banks are running low on fuel. “If there were to be a deeper downturn, [that requires] more stimulus than a conventional recession, then it’s not clear that monetary policy would have sufficient space,” he said.Today In: Money

“It’s generally true that there’s much less ammunition for all the major central banks than they previously had and I’m of the opinion that this situation will persist for some time.”  

That echoed the sentiment of Christine Lagarde, who recently took over the European Central Bank. She’s telling budget-shy European politicians (especially in Germany) to get to work

Now, a new paper from Fed board economist Michael Kiley points to similar alarm among U.S. central bankers about their ability to fight future slumps. 

Drawing up two basic assumptions of what a downturn might look like, Kiley finds that “a recession may result in near-zero interest rates at long maturities, bringing U.S. experience closer to that seen in Europe and Japan.”

This, says Kiley, “could imply limits on the ability of monetary policy to support a recovery.”

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

The Fed Detests Free Markets

The Fed Detests Free Markets

Paul Gauguin Tahitians at rest (unfinished) 1891

To be completely honest, I wrote -most of- the second part of this a while ago, and then I was thinking this first part should be part of the second, if you can still follow me. But it doesn’t really, it’s fine. I wanted to write something to address how little people know and acknowledge about how disastrous central bank policies have been for our societies and economies.

Because they don’t, and they have no clue, largely and simply because of the way central banks are presented both by themselves and by the financial press that covers them. Make that “covers”. Still, going forward, we will have no way to ignore the damage done. All the QE and ZIRP and NIRP will turn out to be so destructive for us all they will rival climate change or actual warfare. That’s what I wanted to talk about.

You see, free markets are a great idea in theory. Or you can call it “capitalism”, or combine the two and say “free market capitalism”. There’s very little wrong with it in theory. You have an enormous multitude of participants in an utterly complex web of transitions, too complex for the human mind to comprehend, and in the end that web figures out what values all sorts of things, and actions etc., have.

I don’t think capitalism in itself is a bad thing; what people don’t like is when it veers into neo-liberalism, when everything is for sale, when communities or their governments no longer own anything, when roads and hospitals and public services and everything that holds people together in a given setting is being sold off to the highest bidder. There are many things that have values other than monetary ones, and neo-liberalism denies that. Capitalism in itself, not so much.

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

Analysts Stunned After Lagarde Demands “Key Role” For The ECB In Climate Change

Analysts Stunned After Lagarde Demands “Key Role” For The ECB In Climate Change

Having failed miserably to “trickle down” stock market wealth for a decade as was their intention, something Ben Bernanke made clear in his Nov 4, 2010 WaPo op-ed, central banks have moved on to more noble causes.

Over the weekend Minneapolis Fed chair Neil Kashkari suggested it was time to allow central banks to directly decide how to redistribute wealth, stating unironically that “monetary policy can play the kind of redistributing role once thought to be the preserve of elected officials”, apparently failing to realize that the Fed is not made up of elected officials but unelected technocrats who serve the bidding of the Fed’s commercial bank owners.

Failing to decide how is poor and who is rich, central bankers are happy to settle with merely fixing the climate.

Overnight, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda joined his European central banking peers by endorsing government plans to compile a fiscal spending package for disaster relief and measures to help the economy stave off heightening global risks. Kuroda said that natural disasters, such as the strong typhoon that struck Japan in October, may erode asset and collateral value, and the associated risk may pose a significant challenge for financial institutions, Kuroda said.

In short, it’s time for central banks to target global warming climate change:

“Climate-related risk differs from other risks in that its relatively long-term impact means that the effects will last longer than other financial risks, and the impact is far less predictable,” he said. “It is therefore necessary to thoroughly investigate and analyse the impact of climate-related risk.”

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

The Austrian School Warned, the ECB Didn’t Listen

The Austrian School Warned, the ECB Didn’t Listen

Looking at the current situation, one can easily perceive that our economic environment is not in the best condition. The whole of Europe is suffering from an economic stagnation, if not in some countries even a slowdown, that could very well turn into an economic recession sooner than later if appropriate measures are not taken to restructure many parts of our monetary system. The US could start experiencing the same effects soon, as we can observe from current trends on employment and productivity. Short-sighted economic policy, as that of President Trump asking the Fed for lower interest rates, or the ECB’s loose monetary policy (necessary in great part due to the lack of structural reforms by European governments), has severe effects -mostly that it only works in the short term, and leaves a tremendous economic hangover, composed of huge debt burdens and skyrocketing deficit levels.

The Austrian Business Cycle Theory (ABCT) can also shed some light on the situation in Europe by looking at how the European Central Bank has acted over the last decade, and how its actions, even if they had mild positive economic effects in the short term, are now slowing down productivity growth, impeding economic reforms, and sending countries into debt oceans – and, thus, finally, potentially accelerating the economic slowdown.

The ABCT is an economic theory primarily developed by the Austrian School of Economics from the 19th century onwards, mainly by Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. Briefly explained, this theory is based on the idea that a tinkering with the interest rates, leading to excessive increases in the money supply of a country, by a central bank or through fractional reserve banking, inevitably creates a cycle of economic booms and busts.

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

ECB Official: Can Use Portfolio To Combat Climate Change

ECB Official: Can Use Portfolio To Combat Climate Change  

Central banks have been making all kinds of ridiculous climate change statements in the last several quarters. Some monetary authorities have even said, they could also expand balance sheets to purchase climate-related financial investments. 

Sabine Lautenschläger, Member of the Executive Board and Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB), was quoted by Bloomberg on Wednesday in Düsseldorf, Germany, as saying the ECB is prepared to use its balance sheet to support the fight against climate change. 

Bloomberg quoted Lautenschläge as saying: 

• Sustainability criteria are already taken into account in our portfolios that are not held for monetary policy purposes: Lautenschlaeger

• The ECB needs to address all citizens, not just an expert audience – without ever becoming political

We’ve suggested in the past, that this is just a giant ruse to sneak through MMT and helicopter money under the virtue-signaling guise of fighting climate change. 

Central banks, who’ve spent a decade expanding balance sheets, have plowed trillions of dollars into financial assets across the world.

The flawed policy lifted financial asset prices but only benefited a few who held stock, bonds, real estate, etc… Everyone else, which is a majority of the global population are considered non-asset holders, didn’t participate in the decades-long orgy of cheap money, thus created a massive wealth gap that can no longer be ignored. 

As a result of the wealth gap, protectionism and nationalism are sweeping across the world. 

Political uncertainty across the world is at the highest levels ever. 

Millions of people are currently protesting from Asia, the Middle East, and South America, calling for change after a decade of flawed monetary policy by global central banks. 

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

Weekly Commentary: Whatever It Takes to Never Give Up

Weekly Commentary: Whatever It Takes to Never Give Up

Any central bank head that passes through an eight-year term without once raising rates has some explaining to do. To leave monetary policy extremely loose for such an extended period comes with major consequences (can we at least agree on that?). So, what went wrong? How did policy measures not operate as expected? With the benefit of hindsight, what could have been done differently?

What will be Draghi’s legacy? How will history view his stewardship over eurozone monetary policy? The years sure pass by. I still ponder how history will judge Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke. At this point, with securities prices (equities and bonds) basically at all-time highs, contemporary monetary policy – and its major architects – are held in high regard. I don’t expect this to remain the case following the next crisis.

A reporter question from Draghi’s Thursday press conference: “A recent survey by the Bank of America reveals that impotence and ineffectiveness of central banks, including the ECB, are the second risk perceived by investors. My question is: do you think that these investor concerns are justified? In other words, is there a risk of financial bubbles?”

Mario Draghi: “…You asked whether the expansionary monetary policies of central banks is the second-largest risk. I can answer for the eurozone; in the eurozone, and it’s a question we ask ourselves every day, many times a day, and I’m saying this because we monitor market developments very closely. We see some segments of financial markets where valuations are overstretched. One case is real estate, for example, and especially prime commercial real estate. Now, the causes of these overstretched valuations often don’t lead directly to our monetary policies. For prime commercial real estate, it’s the action of international investors…

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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