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Gold’s Climb Amidst Wisdom’s Decline

Gold’s Climb Amidst Wisdom’s Decline

As the latest headlines from the FTX implosion remind us yet again of a politicized and rigged market riddled with deception, gold’s climb becomes easier to foresee.

But first, a little philosophical musing…

Modern Policy: High Office, Low Wisdom

I have often referred to La Rochefoucauld’s maxim asserting the highest offices are rarely, if ever, held by the highest minds.

Nowhere has this been more apparent than among the halls of the physically impressive yet intellectually vacant Eccles Building on Constitution Ave in Washington DC, where a long string of Fed Chairs have been un-constitutionally distorting free market price discovery for over a century.

The media-ignored levels of open fraud and inflationary currency debasement which passes daily for monetary policy (namely monetizing trillions of sovereign debt with trillions of mouse-clicked Dollars) within the FOMC would be comical if not otherwise so tragic in its crippling ripple effect to the Main Street citizen.

From Greenspan to Powell, we have witnessed example after example of error after error and gaffe after gaffeon everything from mis-defining inflation narratives as “transitory” to re-defining a “recession as non-recessionary.

And all this while the Fed (and its creative writing team at the BLS) simultaneously and deliberately fudges the math on everything from misreported CPI data to artificial U6 employment statistics.

Pondering the Philosophically Nobel Amidst the Administratively Dishonest

To any who have pondered the philosophical pathways (as well as elusive definition) of wisdom (from the ancient Greeks to the pre- and post-modern Europeans, romantic Emersonians, tortured Russians or enlightened Confucians), one common trait of wisdom through time, culture and language is the ability to admit, and then learn from, error–as any man’s journey is one riddled with countless opportunities for teachable error.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Powell: A Breathing Weapon of Mass Destruction

Powell: A Breathing Weapon of Mass Destruction

Below we track how the Powell Fed serves as a contemporary weapon of mass destruction.

Powell’s so-called “war against inflation” will fail, but not before crushing everything from risk asset, precious metal and currency pricing to the USD. As importantly, Powell is accelerating global market shifts while sending a death knell to the ignored middle class.

Let’s dig in.

The Fed: Creators of Their Own Rock & Hard Place

In countless interviews and articles, we have openly declared that after years of drunken monetary driving, the Fed has no good options left and is literally caught between an inflationary rock and a depressionary hard-place.

That is, hawkishly tightening the Fed’s monthly balance sheet (starting in September at $95B) while raising the Fed Funds Rate (FFR) into a recession was, is and will continue to be an open head-shot to the markets and the economy; yet dovishly mouse-clicking more money (i.e., QE) would be fatally inflationary.

Again, rock and a hard place.

What’s remarkable and unknown to most, however, is that the Chicago Fed recently released a white paper during the Jackson Hole meeting which says the very same thing we’ve been warning: Namely, that Powell’s WMD “Volcker 2.0” stance (arrogance/delusion) is only going to make inflation (and stagflation) worse, not better.

To quote the Chicago Fed:

In this pathological situation, monetary tightening would actually spur higher inflation and would spark a pernicious fiscal stagflation, with the inflation rate drifting away from the monetary authority’s target and with GDP growth slowing down considerably. While in the short run, monetary tightening might succeed in partially reducing the business cycle component of inflation, the trend component of inflation would move in the opposite direction as a result of the higher fiscal burden.”

In short, Powell can’t be Volcker.

Why?

Simple.

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

The Handbook for Debt-Soaked Nations: Lie, Print, Inflate & Finger-Point

The Handbook for Debt-Soaked Nations: Lie, Print, Inflate & Finger-Point

Below we consider the classic (and oh-so predictable) tactics of debt-soaked nations facing a showdown (corner) between tanking markets and ripping inflation.

Ultimately, I see a stagflationary end-game in which both occur, but for the near-term, prepare for more inflation, as it’s the option all debt-soaked sovereigns are eternally forced to take.

The Cruelest Month

T.S. Elliot famously described April as the cruelest month, but the recent (and ever-unfolding) events of May seem far crueler.

As we have warned from the very onset of this otherwise avoidable war in Ukraine, the backfiring of Western sanctions against Putin (de-dollarization, inflationary tailwinds and increasingly discredited central banks) were not only plain to foresee, but placed the West in an almost comical (yet tragic) scenario in which nations like Germany find themselves sending weapons to the Ukraine while simultaneously sending Rubles to Putin.

How did the world become so hypocritical, dishonest, cornered and silly?

(Cold) Economic Realism vs. (Empty) Moral Posturing

As George Washington observed in a 1770’s moment of Realpolitik candor: “Nations have no permanent friends nor permanent enemies, just permanent interests.”

Turning to 2022, the self-interested reality of Western reliance on Russian energy has made their front-page virtue signaling a bit less virtuous…

Such cold realism explains why Italian Prime Minster Draghi realistically confessed as early as May 11 that EU companies could pay for Russian gas in Rubles in the very same week German Chancellor Olaf Scholz realistically opposed any immediate halting of oil imports from Russia.

Meanwhile, by May 12, the headlines revealed that Russian oil revenues had increased YoY by 50% despite the Western “boycott.”

An equally realistic Japan, like Germany, will take its time to phase-out its dependence on Russian energy, as it, like Germany, recognizes that an immediate G-7 boycott of Russian oil and gas amounts to little more than an energy suicide pact.

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

Fear and Inflation — The Timeless Policy Tools of Discredited Systems

Fear and Inflation — The Timeless Policy Tools of Discredited Systems

If you’re wondering why the media, markets and mandates are making less sense despite a constant flow of hard facts contradicting their message, it’s critical to watch what is done rather than said by the policy makers behind the fear and inflation “new normal.”

The Latest Fed-Speak Translation: From “Transitory” to “Persistent” Inflation

To the extent there’s anything exciting about a cornered Jerome Powell, he was at least able to drop some bombshells at his November 30th meeting before Congress, including a truly cutting-edge observation and fear that inflation forces are “more persistent” and that it’s now time to retire the word “transitory” regarding the same.

Well, Jerome, we could have told you that long, long ago, but this, of course, is no shocker…

More Taper-Talk (Distraction)

Perhaps more “exciting” was his not-so-subtle announcement that the Fed plans to begin a discussion at its next meeting to accelerate the Fed taper by a few months.

Hmmm…

Despite the fact that any Fed Taper will in substance be a “non-taper” given backdoor liquidity tricks from the Standing Rep Facility and FIMA swap lines, the optics of such continued taper-talk will be negative for almost all assets save for the USD, the VIX trade, so-called “safe-haven” Treasuries and possibly gold.

Bitcoin’s Troubles

Needless to say, BTC didn’t respond too well, dropping by 20% in the wake of Powell’s double-speak; as of this writing, it rose by 9% in less than 24 hours.

Such dramatic price swings, in our opinion, confirm that cryptos (despite “consolidation” and “adoption” pains) will never be stores of value but rather volatile (and yes, exciting) speculation assets—though we know the crypto circles (who will likely also ignore recent warnings [raised by Jintao Ding] of quantum hacker risks) will strongly disagree.

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

How Long Can Lies & Control Supplant Reality & Free Markets?

How Long Can Lies & Control Supplant Reality & Free Markets?

The facts of surreal yet broken (and hence increasingly controlled and desperate) financial markets are becoming harder to deny and ignore. Below, we look at the blunt evidence of control rather than the fork-tongued words of policy makers and ask a simple question: How long can lies & control supplant reality?

The Great Disconnect: Tanking Growth vs. Supported Markets

It’s becoming harder to keep up with the increasingly downgraded GDP growth estimations from the Atlanta Fed.

As recently as August, its GDPNow 3q21 estimates for the quarterly percentage change was as high as 6%.

But within a matter of weeks, this otherwise optimistic figure was cut embarrassingly in half.

Last month their GDP forecast sank much further to 0.5%, and as of this writing, it has been downgraded yet again to 0.2%.

GDPNow Real GDP estimates

Needless to say, 6% estimated growth falling to effectively 0% growth is hardly a bullish indicator for the kind of strengthening economic conditions which one might otherwise associate with risk asset prices reaching all-time highs for the same period.

The current ratio of corporate equities to GDP in the U.S. (>200%) is the highest in history.

Markets are at an all-time high according to the buffett indicator

This growing yet shameful disconnect between market highs and economic lows is getting harder to explain, ignore or deny by the architects of the most artificial, rigged and dishonest market cycle in modern history.

In short, it is no longer even worth pretending that stock markets are correlated to such natural measurements as natural supply & demand or a nation’s economic productivity.

After all, who needs GDP in the New Abnormal?

By now, even Fed doublespeak can’t hide the fact that the only market force which the post-08 markets require is an accommodative central bank—i.e., a firehose of multi-trillion liquidity on demand.

The S&P 500 rises with central bank assets.

But as for this most recent GDP downgrade, it is being blamed on tanking US export data.

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

COVID Bailouts Have Nothing to Do With COVID

COVID Bailouts Have Nothing to Do With COVID

Below, we ask a simple question: Is the war on COVID the needed pretext for even more centralized market “performance?”

After all, who needs free markets when central bank liquidity determines price forces via endless COVID bailouts?

The trend toward centralized controls and centralized markets was in play long before COVID, but has the pandemic given the powers-that-be even more power?

As we discuss below, COVID may just be the final nail in the coffin of free market capitalism.

In this murky light, do traditional market indicators and forces even matter anymore?

Consumer Sentiment: Who Cares?

As stocks reached all-time highs in U.S. markets, consumer confidence recently saw its 7th greatest collapse in history.

Stock market prior to COVID bailouts

Needless to say, cadres of Wall Street spin-sellers (propaganda specialists?) are already hard at work explaining why such a disconnect between sentiment and equity valuations (i.e., price bubbles) doesn’t matter.

After all, when buckets of QE liquidity pour daily into the financial system in a COVID-induced era of unlimited-QE, today’s central-bank driven markets don’t need consumer confidence or even healthy balance sheets (from free-cash-flows to profits & earnings) to make their zombie-like climb toward 34.6 PE levels on the S&P.

In short, who needs consumer confidence (or even consumers at all), when a central bank airbag sits permanently beneath the S&P, NASDAQ and DOW?

Words Replacing Math & Facts

Over a decade ago, when the first controversial bucket of QE1 began, Bernanke promised it would be a “temporary” measure.

But bear or bull, we are fairly clear by now that words like “temporary” and “transitory” coming out of D.C. are as empty as Nixon’s promise in 1971 that decoupling from the gold standard would be equally short-lived:

Nixon suspending the gold standard

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

Translating Yellen-Speak into Golden-Speak

Translating Yellen-Speak into Golden-Speak

Given the increasingly politicized interplay (cancer) of central bank policy and so-called free market price discovery, it’s becoming increasingly more important to track the actions of central bankers rather than just traditional market signals alone.

Like it or not, the Fed is the market.

Toward this end, we’ve had some substantive fun deciphering the past, current and future implications of “forward guidance” from our openly mis-guided crop of central bankers, most notably Greenspan, Bernanke and Powell.

But let’s not forget Janet Yellen.

As we see below, translating Yellen-speak into blunt speak tells us a heck of a lot about the future.

The Open and Obvious Debt Crisis

Back in 2018, Janet Yellen (former Fed Chairwoman and current Treasury Secretary, eh hmmm) along with Jason Furman (current Biden economic advisor) observed in a Washington Post Op-Ed that, “a U.S. debt crisis is coming, but don’t blame entitlements.”

As I like to say, “that’s rich.”

As in all things economic, the motives and thinking coming out of DC are largely political, which means they are self-serving, partisan and predominantly disastrous.

As for translating Yellen’s political-speak into honest English, the motives for this 2018 warning were two-fold: 1) Yellen and Furman were making a partisan attack on Trump’s then $1T budget proposal, and 2) Yellen actually believed what she said and that the US was indeed careening toward “a debt crisis.”

In fact, we were already in a debt crisis in 2018, a crisis which has simply risen to much higher orders of magnitude in the three short years since Yellen’s “warning” was made.

Stated otherwise, Yellen will get her debt crisis. It’s ticking right in front of her.

Tracking the Debt Trail

Ironically, the most obvious metrics of the current and ever-expanding debt crisis began just months after Yellen’s infamous Op-Ed.

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

Keep It Simple: Gold vs. a Mad World

Keep It Simple: Gold vs. a Mad World

Psychologists, poets and philosophers have written for centuries that many who have eyes refuse to see, and many who can think, refuse to think clearly–all for the simple reason that some truths, like the sun, are just too hard to look straight into.

Or as others have said more bluntly: “Truth is like poetry—everyone [fricking] hates it.”

When it comes to bloated markets, debt orgies and helicopter money, the rising fun of such “stimulus” is embraced, yet the template for its equally market-tanking, social-destroying and currency-debasing consequences are simply ignored.

The same is true when it comes to the “great inflation debate,” which is simply no longer a debate but a neon-screaming reality playing out in real time and growing more pernicious before eyes otherwise blinded by calming Fed-speak and bogus inflation scales.

Each passing day, the evidence of the inflationary cancer beneath the smiling surface of our still rising markets and “recovering/opening” economy increases, and thus, like it or not, the inflation topic just won’t and can’t be over-stated enough.

In short: Here I go again with the inflation thing…

From the Grocer to Buffet: Inflation is Obvious

Extreme US “stimulus,” vaccine rollouts, Europe’s eventual reopening, and rising commodity costs are accelerating the inflationary tailwinds which everyone from grocery store clerks and home builders to Warren Buffet can no longer deny or ignore.

As facts rather than theories confirm, commodity prices have surged from steel to copper, or corn to lumber while precious metals steadily rise against COMEX price fixers, CPI lies and other unsustainable boots to the neck of a coiled gold market positioned for big moves into late 2021 and beyond.

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

Things That Make Me Go Hmmm: Inflation, Crypto, Command Economies and Gold.

Things That Make Me Go Hmmm: Inflation, Crypto, Command Economies and Gold.

Over the years I’ve written almost ad nauseum about the crazy I see (and saw) around me as a fund manager, family office principal and individual investor.

The list includes: 1) an entire book on the grotesque central bank distortions of free market price discovery, 2) the open (and now accepted) dishonesty on everything from front-running Musk tweets and bogus inflation reporting to COMEX price fixing, 3) the insanity of 100-Year Austrian bonds or just plain negative-yielding bonds going mainstream, 4) the open death of classic capitalism and the rise of economic feudalism, 5) asset bubble hysteria seen in everything from BTC to Tesla; 5) rising social unrest, 6) the serious implications of Yield Curve Controland the gross mispricing of debt that has midwifed the greatest credit binge/bubble in recorded history, and 7) the ignored power of logical delusion that so characterizes the madness of crowds in the current investment era.

In short, there a great deal of things which, as our advisory colleague, Grant Williams, would say: Makes me go hmmm.

Speaking of exceptional team advisors at Matterhorn Asset Management, Ronni Stoeferle recently had a compelling discussion with the equally brilliant, and hitherto deflationary thinker, Russell Napier.

Among the many compelling take-aways from that discussion is the fact that Mr. Napier is now turning inflationary.

As we’ll see below, this broader and structural inflationary pivot, now undeniably on the horizon, has massive (and positive) implications not only for precious metal ownership, but also the very structure of the financial world going forward (negative).

In short, the inflation topic is not just an academic topic nor fodder for podcasters and economic tenure-seekers—it’s a critical signal of the repressive financial world staring us straight in the eyes today and heading toward ever-more financial repressions tomorrow.

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

Matthew Piepenburg, inflation, financial repression, gold switzerland, central banks, money printing, credit expansion

The Fed’s Most Convenient Lie: A CPI Charade

The Fed’s Most Convenient Lie: A CPI Charade

Despite a penchant for double-speak that would make a politician blush, the Fed tells us that its primary focus is unemployment not inflation.

Let me remind readers, however, that an openly nervous Mr. Powell came out in the summer of 2020 with a specific, as well as headline-making, agenda to “allow” higher inflation above the 2% rate.

This “new inflation direction” ignored the larger irony that the Fed had been unsuccessfully “targeting” 2% inflation for years before changing verbs from “targeting” to “allowing.”

Such magical word choices reveal a critical skunk in the Fed’s semantic wood pile.

If, for example, the Fed was honestly “targeting” inflation to no success for years, how could Powell suddenly have the public ability to then “allow” more of what he failed to achieve before, as if inflation was as simple to dial up and down as a thermostat in one’s home?

Dishonest Inflation Reporting

The blunt answer is that the Fed, in sync with the fiction writers at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reports consumer inflation as honestly as Al Capone reported taxable income.

In short: The Fed has been lying about (i.e. downplaying) inflation for years.

As we’ve shown in many prior reports, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) scale used by the BLS to measure U.S. consumer price inflation is an open charade, allowing the BLS, and hence the Fed, to basically “report” inflation however they see fit—at least for now.

If, for example, the weighting methodologies hitherto used by the Fed to measure CPI inflation in the 1980’s were used today, then US, CPI-measured inflation would be closer to 10% not the reported 2%.

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

 

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