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Jim Grant Warns The Fed “Firemen Are Also The Arsonists”

Jim Grant Warns The Fed “Firemen Are Also The Arsonists”

Having put put America straight on what we are facing and the consequences of these unelected and unaccountable officials terrifying experiments, Grant’s Interest Rate Observer editor Jim Grant is back with another warning that irresponsible policy from the Federal Reserve made the coronavirus crisis worse than it had to be.

As Grant notes“it took a viral invasion to unmask the weakness of American finance.”

Distortion in the cost of credit is the not-so-remote cause of the raging fires at which the Federal Reserve continues to train its gushing liquidity hoses; but, as Grant exclaims, the firemen are also the arsonists echoing his earlier in the week comments that:

Jay Powell’s seemingly blinkered proclamation that “he sees no prospective consequences with regard the purchasing power of the dollar” as “very concerning” adding more pertinently that he thinks “that wilful ignorance is a clear-and-present-danger for creditors of The United States.” 

Grant continues:

It was the Fed’s suppression of borrowing costs, and its predictable willingness to cut short Wall Street’s occasional selling squalls, that compromised the U.S. economy’s financial integrity.

The coronavirus pandemic would have called forth a dramatic response from the central bank in any case. Not even the most conservatively financed economy could long endure an official order to cease and desist commercial activity. But frail corporate balance sheets and overextended markets go far to explain the immensity of the interventions.

Perhaps never before has corporate America carried more low-grade debt in relation to its earning power than it does today. And rarely have equity valuations topped the ones quoted only weeks ago.

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

#MacroView: The Fed Can’t Fix What’s Broken

#MacroView: The Fed Can’t Fix What’s Broken

“The Federal Reserve is poised to spray trillions of dollars into the U.S. economy once a massive aid package to fight the coronavirus and its aftershocks is signed into law. These actions are unprecedented, going beyond anything it did during the 2008 financial crisis in a sign of the extraordinary challenge facing the nation.” – Bloomberg

Currently, the Federal Reserve is in a fight to offset an economic shock bigger than the financial crisis, and they are engaging every possible monetary tool within their arsenal to achieve that goal. The Fed is no longer just a “last resort” for the financial institutions, but now are the lender for the broader economy.

There is just one problem.

The Fed continues to try and stave off an event that is a necessary part of the economic cycle, a debt revulsion.

John Maynard Keynes contended that:

“A general glut would occur when aggregate demand for goods was insufficient, leading to an economic downturn resulting in losses of potential output due to unnecessarily high unemployment, which results from the defensive (or reactive) decisions of the producers.”

In other words, when there is a lack of demand from consumers due to high unemployment, then the contraction in demand would force producers to take defensive actions to reduce output. Such a confluence of actions would lead to a recession.

On Thursday, initial jobless claims jumped by 3.3 million. This was the single largest jump in claims ever on record. The chart below shows the 4-week average to give a better scale.

This number will be MUCH worse next week as many individuals are slow to file claims, don’t know how, and states are slow to report them.

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

Loonie Dips After Bank Of Canada Emergency Rate-Cut, Launches QE

Loonie Dips After Bank Of Canada Emergency Rate-Cut, Launches QE

The Bank of Canada has just gone full-Fed-tard by slashing rates to just 0.2% and launching a commercial-paper-buying program and has committed to buy C$5bn Canadian Treasuries per week…

Negative rates next?

Full Bank of Canada Statement:

The Bank of Canada today lowered its target for the overnight rate by 50 basis points to ¼ percent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly ½ percent and the deposit rate is ¼ percent. This unscheduled rate decision brings the policy rate to its effective lower bound and is intended to provide support to the Canadian financial system and the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The spread of COVID-19 is having serious consequences for Canadians and for the economy, as is the abrupt decline in world oil prices. The pandemic-driven contraction has prompted decisive fiscal policy action in Canada to support individuals and businesses and to minimize any permanent damage to the structure of the economy.

The Bank is playing an important complementary role in this effort. Its interest rate setting cushions the impact of the shocks by easing the cost of borrowing. Its efforts to maintain the functioning of the financial system are helping keep credit available to people and companies. The intent of our decision today is to support the financial system in its central role of providing credit in the economy, and to lay the foundation for the economy’s return to normalcy.

The Bank’s efforts have been primarily focused on ensuring the availability of credit by providing liquidity to help markets continue to function.  To promote credit availability, the Bank has expanded its various term repo facilities. To preserve market function, the Bank is conducting Government of Canada bond buybacks and switches, purchases of Canada Mortgage Bonds and banker’s acceptances, and purchases of provincial money market instruments. All these additional measures have been detailed on the Bank’s website and will be extended or augmented as needed.

Today, the Bank is launching two new programs.

Hong Kong Reports Largest Surge In Infections Yet As Experts Warn ” We’re On The Edge Of All-Out War” With COVID-19: Live Updates

Hong Kong Reports Largest Surge In Infections Yet As Experts Warn ” We’re On The Edge Of All-Out War” With COVID-19: Live Updates

When historians look back at this time, we suspect that California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s landmark decision to order more than 40 million Californians to remain at home on Thursday night will be remembered as an important demarcation point – the beginning of a more heavy handed response as it becomes increasingly clear that too many Americans are simply ignoring the government.

So far, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo and President Trump have insisted that they have no plans to issue lockdown orders. But with the number of confirmed cases expected to soar in the coming days and over the weekend, the situation is certainly evolving rapidly, and rumors about other states considering preemptive lockdowns (remember, the whole point is to stay “ahead of the curve”) continue to circulate.

Over the past week, central bankers around the world have slashed rates, stepped up bond buying programs, promised to expand their back-stopping of credit markets and – most importantly – urged the politicians in charge to do their part and pass massive fiscal stimulus. Late last night, the Senate unveiled a $1 trillion package that will feature direct transfers to many Americans.

In the US, futures are pointing higher amid mounting hopes for a second straight close in the green. The improved sentiment is ostensibly due to the latest wave of central bank interventions. But that didn’t stop a team of economists at Bank of America from releasing a new note calling for a global recession, with GDP growth dropping to 0% for the year in 2020. Explaining the shift in their thinking, the team wrote: “Our first piece on the virus shock was titled ‘Bad or worse’; now we amend that to ‘Really bad or much worse.'”

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

The Global Repricing of Assets Can’t Be Stopped

The Global Repricing of Assets Can’t Be Stopped

All bubbles pop, period.

The financial elites are pushing a narrative that asset prices, sales and profits will all return to January 2020 levels as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic fades. Get real, baby. Nothing is going back to January 2020 levels. Rather than the “V-shaped recovery” expected by Goldman Sachs et al., the crash in asset prices will eventually gather momentum.

Why? It’s simple: for 20 years we’ve over-invested in speculative bubbles and squandered borrowed money on consumption and under-invested in productivity-increasing assets. To understand why the market value of assets will relentlessly reprice lower–a process sure to be interrupted with manic rallies and false dawns of hope that a return to speculative good times is just around the corner–let’s start with the basics: the only sustainable way to increase broad-based wealth is to boost productivity across the entire economy.That means producing more goods and services with less capital, less labor and fewer inputs such as energy.

Rather than boost productivity, we’ve lowered productivity via mal-investment and by propping up unproductive sectors with immense sums of borrowed money–money that accrues interest.

The poster child for this dynamic is higher education: rather than being pushed to innovate as costs skyrocketed, the higher education cartel passed its inefficiencies and bloated cost structure onto students, who have paid for the bloat with $1. 6 trillion in student loans few can afford. (See chart below.)

As for Corporate America squandering $4.5 trillion on stock buybacks (Wolf Richter)– the effective gains on productivity from this stupendous sum is not just zero–it’s negative, as the resulting speculative bubble suckered in institutions and individuals who’d been stripped of safe returns by the Federal Reserve’s low-interest-rates-forever policy.

What could that $4.5 trillion have purchased in terms of increasing the productivity of the entire economy? Considerably more than the zero productivity generated by stock buybacks.

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

The Real Causes for the Oncoming Economic Collapse

The Real Causes for the Oncoming Economic Collapse 

This Thursday, the markets took a 1000 point hit which was more than a little startling for many investors since the last 1000 point fall only happened three days prior… all in all bringing the financial markets to lows not seen since April 2011, and veering dangerously close to a precipice which has 1929 written all over it. Across the internet, panicky discussion has erupted over whether this foretells another 1987 collapse as Donald Trump warned, or something more akin to Black Tuesday of 1929. Others have pondered whether this is more similar to a 1923 Weimar hyperinflation where Germans became millionaires overnight (not much to celebrate when bread costs billions).

The fact of the oncoming collapse itself should not be a surprise- especially when one is reminded of the $1.5 quadrillion of derivatives which has taken over a world economy which generates a mere $80 trillion/year in measurable goods and trade. These nebulous bets on insurance on bets on collateralized debts known as derivatives didn’t even exist a few decades ago, and the fact is that no matter what the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank have attempted to do to stop a new rupture of this overextended casino bubble of an economy in recent months, nothing has worked. Zero to negative percent interest rates haven’t worked, opening overnight repo loans of $100 billion/night to failing banks hasn’t worked- nor has the return of quantitative easing which restarted on October 17 in earnest. No matter what these financial wizards try to do, things just keep getting worse. Rather than acknowledge what is actually happening, scapegoats have been selected to shift the blame away from reality to the point that the current crisis is actually being blamed on the Coronavirus!

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

Peter Schiff: They’re Going to Need a Bigger Rate Cut!

Peter Schiff: They’re Going to Need a Bigger Rate Cut!

Stop and pause for a moment and think about what just happened. The Federal Reserve says the US economy is strong, but it just initiated emergency monetary policy last seen during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Something doesn’t add up.

The Fed cut rates 50 basis points on Tuesday. It was the first interest rate move between regularly schedule FMOC meetings since the 2008 financial crisis. The Fed funds rate now stands between 1.0 and 1.25%.

The decision to cut rates was unanimous.

As the Wall Street Journal pointed out, this kind of Federal Reserve move has been reserved for “when the economic outlook has quickly darkened, as in early 2001 and early 2008, when the US economy was heading into recession.” The 50-basis point cut was the first cut of such magnitude since December 2008. Pacific Management investment economist Tiffany Wilding called it a “shock-and-awe approach.”

It may have been shocking, but the results weren’t awesome.

Stocks tanked anyway.

The Dow Jones closed down 785.91 points, a 2.94% plunge. The S&P 500 fell 2.81%.  The Nasdaq experienced a similar drop, closing down 2.99%.

Meanwhile, gold rallied, quickly pushing back above $1,600 and gaining over $50. Wednesday morning, the yellow metal was knocking on the door of $1,650.

Bond yields sank again as investors continued their retreat into safe-havens. The yield on the 10-year Treasury dipped below 1%.

In a press conference after the announcement, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank “saw a risk to the economy and chose to act.”

“The magnitude and persistence of the overall effect on the US economy remain highly uncertain and the situation remains a fluid one. Against this background, the committee judged that the risks to the US outlook have changed materially. In response, we have eased the stance of monetary policy to provide some more support to the economy.”

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

The Fed “Is Complicit In Creating Fragilities In The System”

The Fed “Is Complicit In Creating Fragilities In The System”

When the Fed cut interest rates this week, everyone had an opinion about it.

  • The economy needs it to fend off recession.
  • The economy has been hanging in well and they shouldn’t have rushed to spend dwindling monetary policy resources.
  • They were responding to the stock market.
  • They were helping keep the financial plumbing functioning.
  • They were bold.
  • They folded to criticism.
  • More is needed immediately.
  • Enough is enough for now.
  • Their communication strategy was sloppy.
  • They were willing to show flexibility in the face of evolving circumstances.
  • They are scaring people.
  • They are reassuring people.

The list is endless. As are the number of commentaries taking each side.

Who was right?

To a very real extent, they all were.

Sometimes, you just have to take action. And that is what they had at hand. Even if there will be both positive and negative consequences. But, if the rest of the government fails to demonstrate proper and immediate resolve to do its part in fighting the disease, it will all be for naught. They are buying time. But there isn’t a lot of it. Especially because, while fiscal policy would be a help, it remains to be seen if and when it can be expected to take its rightful place in manning the laboring oar.

It doesn’t mean the Fed can allow itself to be assumed to be at the complete mercy of the markets. Although, to be honest, they ultimately are. 

They have been complicit in creating fragilities in the system through their encouragement of desperation investing that they bear a responsibility to be responsive to it. Perhaps at the moment, more than we thought or would like.

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

Rabobank: What Level Of Interest Rates Will Incentivize You To Risk The Death Of Yourself And Your Family

Rabobank: What Level Of Interest Rates Will Incentivize You To Risk The Death Of Yourself And Your Family

“Tonight the super trouper lights are gonna find me
Shining like the sun (sup-p-per troup-p-per)
Smiling, having fun (sup-p-per troup-p-per)
Feeling like a number one…”

So sang markets yesterday in excitement as we enter what I am dubbing “Super Trouper Tuesday”. Indeed, the Dow Jones went up a whole baseball cap-and-a-bit to close at 26,703 even as the 10-year US remain at an unprecedented 1.12%. Not because the Fed mumbled something on Friday, but didn’t act, and not because the BOJ pumped all of USD4.6bn into markets yesterday, and not because the RBA cut rates 25bp to a new low of 0.50% earlier today, meaning that they now have one more cut left to go before it’s “Oz-QE, Oz-QE, Oz-QE” (Oi!Oi!Oi!) time. (Good timing not only due to Covid-19, as building approvals tumbled -15.3% m/m in January anyway.)

It’s also not due to more signs the virus spread is in “uncharted territory” according to the WHO (which means “pandemic” but is contractually obliged not to ever say it, it seems), with more deaths, and as UK police and army draw up lockdown plans and supermarkets plot their own contingency plans, for just one real-life example.

Rather it’s a reflection of the fact that the not-so-magnificent G-7, and G-7 central banks, have pledged that they will meet today to act jointly on the virus, and the IMF and World Bank are also prepared to help if needed; Covid-19, it seems, is a threat that requires immediate action in a way that the potential risk of the end of life on earth (if you are Green), or increasingly Victorian/Gilded Age levels of wealth inequality (if you are Piketty) are not. Then again we have to recall that stocks had just fallen by over 10% in a week, and that house prices risk following: Come on you cynical people, priorities, please!

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

Schiff: “US Is In A Gigantic Bubble… & Covid-19 Is Going To Be The Pin”

Schiff: “US Is In A Gigantic Bubble… & Covid-19 Is Going To Be The Pin”

While yesterday’s collapse in stocks has been broadly blamed on worsening Covid-19 headlines; Peter Schiff, the CEO and chief global strategist at Euro Pacific Capital, dug a little deeper into the real problems behind the market’s fragility on RT’s Boom Bust this week.

According to Schiff, “the bond market is telegraphing right now that we are going to have several more rate cuts, I think between now and the end of the year.”

In fact the market is pricing in almost 2.5 rate cuts by the end of 2020…

Peter noted that US stock markets were already vulnerable before the virus outbreak.

Remember, we’re talking about the US stock market that’s at bubble territory, nosebleed valuations, long in the tooth, the longest bull market in US history that has been fueled by the most monetary and reckless fiscal policy in US history. But this is a bubble in search of a pin. So, maybe the coronavirus is going to be the pin. But if we had a healthy market, if we had a healthy economy, it wouldn’t matter about the coronavirus. It’s because the economy is sick. That’s the problem, not the people who are infected with this virus.”

And what will The Fed do? What they always do! If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail…

“Whether they commit to moving to zero or not, that’s exactly what they are going to do,” Schiff says.

“The Fed should not be cutting interest rates but that’s what they are going to do because it’s the only thing they can do.”

That is not going to cure coronavirus or the economy, it’s simply going to make US economy sicker, Schiff notes.

“The US economy is in gigantic bubble and maybe the coronavirus is going to be the pin.”

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

Peter Schiff Doubles Down on the Dollar

Peter Schiff Doubles Down on the Dollar

Last year at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference, Peter Schiff bet Brent Johnson a gold coin that the Fed’s next move would be a rate cut. At this year’s conference, Peter collected his gold coin.

Brent and Peter went on to debate the future of the US dollar. Brent says the dollar will go up this year. Peter thinks it’s going down. Peter put his money where is mouth is and went double or nothing against the dollar. 

Peter’s Highlights from the Discussion

“The central bankers are going to continue pursuing this policy as long as they can do it without some type of a crisis that intervenes. But the problem is the longer they do it the worse it’s going to be.”

“I don’t think it can go on that much longer. Decades – no way! I mean, can it go on four more years. Sure.”

“The US market has never been this overvalued, overpriced as far as I’m concerned. You know, people were optimistic in 2000.”

“The market is very, very dangerous. It can easily go down. Trump will tweet as much as he can to try to prop it up. But whether that and the Fed’s printing press is going to be enough, we’ll see.”

“I think the whole fiat system that we have is nearing the end of its life. And the fact that were at these zero percent rates or negative rates, and all the stuff that’s going on is the death knell of this system, which was doomed from the start.”

“I think gold is going to reassert itself as the primary reserve monetary asset in the world for central banks and that threatens the dollar.”

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

The Turn?

The Turn?

Did markets just hit a key wall and are ready for a much overdue turn? That’s the question we want to explore from a technical perspective following the sudden reversal action on Thursday and Friday as action at a key technical juncture may suggest a shift in character.

Let me make perhaps a bit of a controversial statement: It’s not the coronavirus that’s the biggest threat to the global economy, it’s the potential of a massive market selloff that would shake confidence at a critical juncture in the business cycle while the reflation trade everybody was positioning for looks increasingly fragile.

Yes, the virus, hopefully ultimately temporary, clearly has a short term effect, but rather the broader risk is the excess created by ultra-loose monetary policies that has pushed investors recklessly into asset prices at high valuations while leaving central bankers short of ammunition to deal with a real crisis. There was no real crisis last year, a slowdown yes, but central bankers weren’t even willing to risk that, instead they went all in on the slowdown. It is this lack of backbone and co-dependency on markets that has left the world with less stimulus options for when they may be really needed. Reckless.

I repeat what I’ve said before: I hope the coronavirus is not the trigger that gets associated with an eventual end to this bull market. For one, it’s the worst reason as people are dying from it, and second, it would be paraded as an excuse for the proponents of cheap money and debt spending to not learn their lesson again. They’ll just blame the virus and not the monetary monstrosity that has been created and then proceed to do it all over again, or even more so than before.

…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…

The Fed “Just Let The Cat Out Of The Bag”, Admits Being Forced To Fuel Asset Bubble

The Fed “Just Let The Cat Out Of The Bag”, Admits Being Forced To Fuel Asset Bubble

Well the cat’s out of the bag…

The worst kept secret in the financial world is now not only accepted orthodoxy, but finally being discussed openly by, at least some, authorities.

Central bank policies are directly driving asset prices and the bubbles therein. It’s what they do. It has been so stunningly obvious that, at this point, it makes a mockery of things to deny it as an ongoing, and essential, part of how their strategy is implemented. Oddly enough, however, it’s a revelation that is, apparently, coming late to many people with a lot of savings and nothing to show for it. And it is an undeniable factor in this January’s price action.

  • Alan Greenspan knew it to be the case.
  • Ben Bernanke had no problem with it. His strategy required it.
  • Jerome Powell, was probably initially not enamored about it but saw no way around it. It fell on ardent loyalists to take his insistence that it was “not QE” with any seriousness. Otherwise, they would have had to admit to knowing little about financial markets.

In some ways it was refreshing that Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan openly talked about it in an interview Wednesday. Although he did couch it in terms that implied it was a matter of some concern to him. But, of course, he went on to say, “we’ve done what what we need to do up until now.”

“My own view is it’s having some effect on risk assets,” Kaplan said.

“It’s a derivative of QE when we buy bills and we inject more liquidity; it affects risk assets. This is why I say growth in the balance sheet is not free. There is a cost to it.”

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

“This Is Insanity!” – Jim Rogers Warns Of “Horrible Time” Ahead

“This Is Insanity!” – Jim Rogers Warns Of “Horrible Time” Ahead

The Fed has increased its balance sheet over 500% in the past decade; The Bank of Japan is printing money to buy bonds and stock ETFs; and The European Central Bank is mired in insane negative interests. And, according to legendary investor Jim Rogers, they will continue this “madness” as long as its necessary.

In an interview with RT’s Boom Bust, Rogers exclaims, that interest rates around the world have never been this low:

“… this is insanity, that’s not how sound economic systems are supposed to work.”

In 2008, Rogers notes that we had problems because of too much debt, however, “since then the debt has skyrocketed everywhere and it’s going higher and higher. We are going to have a horrible time when this all comes to an end.”

Adding that:

…eventually, the market is going to say: ‘We don’t want this, we don’t want to play this game anymore, and we don’t want your garbage paper anymore’.”

And when that happens, Rogers warns that central banks will print even more and buy even more assets.

“And that’s when we will have very serious problems… We all are going to pay a horrible price someday but in the meantime it’s a lot of fun for a lot of people.”

When it comes to an end, Rogers laments, “it will be the worst of my lifetime.”

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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