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Inflation, real interest rates revisited

I Now Track the Most Important Measure of the Fed’s Economy: the “Wealth Effect” and How it Impacts Americans Individually

I Now Track the Most Important Measure of the Fed’s Economy: the “Wealth Effect” and How it Impacts Americans Individually

The Fed provides the data quarterly, I dissect it at the stunning per-capita level.

The Federal Reserve is pursuing monetary policies that are explicitly designed to inflate asset prices. The rationalization is that ballooning asset prices will create the “wealth effect.” This is a concept Janet Yellen, when she was still president of the San Francisco Fed, propagated in a paper. In 2010, Fed Chair Ben Bernanke explained the wealth effect to the American people in a Washington Post editorial. And in early 2020, Fed Chair Jerome Powell pushed the wealth effect all the way to miracle levels.

Today we will see the per-capita progress of that wealth effect – what it means and what it accomplishes – based on the Fed’s wealth distribution datathrough Q4 2020, and based on Census Bureau estimates for the US population over the years. Here are some key results. At the end of 2020, the per-capita wealth (assets minus debts) of:

  • The 1% = $11.7 million per person (green);
  • The next 9% = $1.6 million per person (blue);
  • The 50% to 90% = $263,016 per person (red line at the bottom).
  • The bottom 50% = $15,027 per person. That amount of wealth is so small it doesn’t show up on this per-capita chart that is on a scale of wealth that accommodates the 1%.

The total population in 2020, according to the Census Bureau, was 330 million people. The 1% amount to 3.3 million people. Back in 2000, the population was 283 million people, and the 1% amounted to 2.8 million people. So the 1% has grown by 473,000 people because the population has gotten larger. And the 50% – the have-nots, as we’ll see in a moment – have grown by 24 million people.

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

 

The Mainstream Is Wrong About Rising Bond Yields and Gold

The Mainstream Is Wrong About Rising Bond Yields and Gold

Prices are going up. The Federal Reserve is printing money at an unprecedented rate. The US government continues to borrow and spend at a torrid pace. As Peter Schiff put it in a recent podcast, we’re adrift in a sea of inflation. Gold is supposed to be an inflation hedge. So, why isn’t the price of gold climbing right now?

In a nutshell, rising bond yields have created significant headwinds for gold. And the mainstream is reading rising yields and their relationship to gold all wrong.

It really comes down to expectations. Most people in the mainstream view rising yields as an inflation signal, and they expect the Federal Reserve to respond to this inflationary pressure in a conventional way. They expect the Fed to tighten monetary policy, raise interest rates and shrink its balance sheet.

As Peter Schiff has explained on numerous occasions, this won’t happen. The Fed won’t fight inflation because it can’t. It will ultimately surrender to inflation.

Right now, the markets sense that inflation is going to be moving higher. And maybe even higher than what the Fed is acknowledging. But I think the markets still believe the Fed — that the Fed will be able to contain the inflation problem before it really runs out of control. So, it’s the expectation that the Fed’s going to fight inflation by raising rates — that’s what’s pressuring gold. But the markets are wrong. The Fed is not even going to attempt to fight inflation. It’s going to surrender. Inflation is going to win without a fight…

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

, schiffgold, inflation, money printing, credit expansion, central banks, qe, quantitative easing, peter schiff, fed, us federal reserve, gold,

What Gives Value to a Currency?

QUESTION: Hello Martin, can you explain to me how a currency would sustain value for international trade if a country, like Canada (where I live), did what you suggested and stopped issuing debt and just printed money to level that was 5% – 10% of national GDP? would it depend on the attractiveness of what a country exports eg: Canada exports oil, lumber, crops like wheat/soy/canola, minerals – both precious and functional? What would happen to a country that didn’t have exports as a significant portion of it’s GDP? I am curious about how currencies would react to your restructuring plan that eliminated the need for a country to issue debt. Thanks for all your insights and theories. Very helpful.

Trapped in Canada with an egoistic misguided Prime Minister who doesn’t appear to like Canada (he keeps telling us how awful we are) or Canadians, he prefers spending time with global elites and is following their plan even though it damages Canada pretty significantly.
MB

ANSWER: Right now, every country spends more than it takes in. The deficits are funded by selling debt, which then competes against the private sector. The interest rates rise and fall on sovereign debt based upon the confidence from one week to the next. If they stopped borrowing, then the capital investment would turn to the private sector, creating more economic growth. If income taxes were eliminated, the economy would grow based upon innovation which is what it should be driven by.

The confidence in the currency would simply depend upon the strength of the economy, as was the case for Athens and Rome in ancient times. Their coinage was imitated because they were the dominant economies of their time. The value of a currency is the strength of its economy…

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

currency, currency value, money, martin armstrong, armstrong economics, money printing, debt,

QE During the “Everything Mania”: Fed’s Assets at $7.7 Trillion, up $3.5 Trillion in 13 months

QE During the “Everything Mania”: Fed’s Assets at $7.7 Trillion, up $3.5 Trillion in 13 months

But long-term Treasury yields have surged, to the great consternation of our Wall Street Crybabies.

The Fed has shut down or put on ice nearly the entire alphabet soup of bailout programs designed to prop up the markets during their tantrum a year ago, including the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) that bought corporate bonds, corporate bond ETFs, commercial mortgage-backed securities, asset-backed securities, municipal bonds, etc. Its repos faded into nothing last summer. And foreign central bank dollar swaps have nearly zeroed out.

What the Fed is still buying are large amounts of Treasury securities and residential MBS, though no one can figure out why the Fed is still buying them, given the crazy Everything Mania in the markets.

But for the week, total assets on the Fed’s weekly balance sheet through Wednesday, March 31, fell by $31 billion from the record level in the prior week, to $7.69 trillion. Over the past 13 months of this miracle money-printing show, the Fed has added $3.5 trillion in assets to its balance sheet:

One of the purposes of QE is to force down long-term interest rates and long-term mortgage rates. But long-term Treasury yields started rising last summer. The 10-year Treasury has more than tripled since then and closed today at 1.72%. Mortgage rates started rising in early January. Bond prices fall as yields rise, and the crybabies on Wall Street want the Fed to do something about those rising long-term yields and the bloodbath they have created in the prices of long-term Treasury securities and high-grade corporate bonds.

But instead, the Fed has said in monotonous uniformity that rising long-term yields despite $120 billion of QE a month are a welcome sign of rising inflation expectations and a growing economy:

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

wolf richter, wolfstreet, qe, quantitative easing, money printing, credit expansion, fed, us federal reserve, central bank, interest rates, wall street

US Dollar’s Status as Dominant “Global Reserve Currency” Drops to 25-Year Low

US Dollar’s Status as Dominant “Global Reserve Currency” Drops to 25-Year Low

Central banks getting nervous about the Fed’s drunken Money Printing and the US Government’s gigantic debt? But still leery of the Chinese renminbi.

The global share of US-dollar-denominated exchange reserves dropped to 59.0% in the fourth quarter, according to the IMF’s COFER data released today. This matched the 25-year low of 1995. These foreign exchange reserves are Treasury securities, US corporate bonds, US mortgage-backed securities, US Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities, etc. held by foreign central banks.

Since 2014, the dollar’s share has dropped by 7 full percentage points, from 66% to 59%, on average 1 percentage point per year. At this rate, the dollar’s share would fall below 50% over the next decade:

Not included in global foreign exchange reserves are the Fed’s own holdings of dollar-denominated assets, its $4.9 trillion in Treasury securities and $2.2 trillion in mortgage-backed securities, that it amassed as part of its QE.

The US dollar’s status as the dominant global reserve currency is a crucial enabler for the US government to keep ballooning its public debt, and for Corporate America’s relentless efforts to create the vast trade deficits by offshoring production to cheap countries, most prominently China and Mexico. They’re all counting on the willingness of other central banks to hold large amounts of dollar-denominated debt.

But it seems, central banks have been getting just a tad nervous and want to diversify their holdings – but ever so slowly, and not all of a sudden, given the magnitude of this thing, which, if mishandled, could blow over everyone’s house of cards.

20 years of decline.

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

wolfstreet, wolf richter, us dollar, world reserve currency, central banks, money printing, fed, us federal reserve, money, us debt, debt, united states

Do You Believe in Magic?


The people pretending to run the world’s financial affairs do. The more layers of abstract game-playing they add to the existing armatures of unreality they’ve already constructed, the more certain it becomes that they will blow up all the support systems of a sunsetting hyper-tech economy that now has no safe lane to continue running in.

Virtually all the big nations are doing this now in desperation because they don’t understand that the hyper-tech economy is hostage to the deteriorating economics of energy, basically fossil fuels, and oil especially. The macro mega-system can’t grow anymore. We’re now in the de-growth phase of a dynamic that pulsates through history, as everything in the universe pulsates. We attempted to compensate for de-growth with debt, borrowing from the future.

But debt only works in the youthful growth phases of economic pulsation, when the prospect of being paid back is statistically favorable. Now in the elder de-growth phase, the prospect of paying back debts, or even servicing the interest, is statistically dismal. The amount of racked-up debt worldwide has entered the realm of the laughable. So, the roughly twenty-year experiment in Central Bank credit magic, as a replacement for true capital formation, has come to its grievous end.

Hence, America under the pretend leadership of Joe Biden ventures into the final act of this melodrama, which will end badly and probably pretty quickly. They are about to call in the financial four horsemen of apocalypse: 1) Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), 2) a command economy, 3) Universal Basic Income (UBI, “helicopter” money for the people), and 4) the “Build Back Better” infrastructure scheme.

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

money, monetary theory, modern monetary theory, debt, money printing, james howard kunstler, clusterfuck nation, magic, degrowth, growth

MMT Has Lit the Fuse on This Inflation Powder Keg

An economic framework called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) governs the financial world today, but fails to account for the consequences of its practices. In fact, MMT is leading us to an extremely dangerous financial situation that could blow up at any time.

What is MMT?

Before we get to that, it helps to know what MMT means. It is a theory that states:

monetarily sovereign countries like the U.S., U.K., Japan, and Canada, which spend, tax, and borrow in a fiat currency they fully control, are not constrained by revenues when it comes to federal government spending. These governments do not rely on taxes or borrowing for spending since they can print as much as they need and are the monopoly issuers of the currency. Since their budgets aren’t like a regular household’s, their policies should not be shaped by fears of rising national debt. [emphasis added]

Put more simply, the Federal Reserve can create as much new money as it wants to pay off old debts and fund new government spending. Meanwhile, most individuals don’t concern themselves with the rising national debt (like you most certainly would if your own personal debts were growing).

With such powerful “magic” at their fingertips, Modern Monetary Theorists don’t pay much attention to the fundamentals of the economy. After all, they’ve been taught that the fundamentals don’t matter.

For example, if you’re concerned about the Fed’s nasty habit of running up the national debt and inflating the money supply, MMT tells us not to worry:

With a public debt approaching $30 trillion and a money supply that has increased by 25% in the last two years, the worry seems justified. However, Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) says we have nothing to worry about.

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

birch gold group, modern monetary theory, mmt, money printing,

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 Losses are Hidden – Bill Holter

The Losses are Hidden – Bill Holter

Precious metals expert and financial writer Bill Holter has been predicting the financial system is going to go down sooner than later.  He says the signs are the lies being told to the public to try to hold the system together.  Holter explains, “If you look at everything, nothing is natural.  Everything is contrived.  We are lied to about pretty much everything 24/7. . . . They lied about everything regarding Covid.  They have lied about the election.  They are lying about the unemployment rate.  They are lying about inflation.  They are lying about the true amount of total debt outstanding.  They are lying about everything. And one other tidbit, 36% of all dollars outstanding have been created now, were created in the last 12 months.  Oh, and the Fed is no longer going to publish M2. . . . How can you make a business decision if you don’t know how much money is outstanding?”

This leads us to all the digital dollars sloshing around and Crypto currencies.  Holter says, “Crypto currencies are a perceived exit from the system.  They are perceived as a safe haven.  If Bitcoin, which is nothing but digital air, can become $65,000 per unit, what can something real become worth?  What these crypto currencies are doing is illustrating a debasement of all the fiat currencies.”

Bill Holter says big loses in the financial world are being hidden from the public.  Take real estate, for example.  Holter points out, “The average mall in the United States is appraised 60% lower than it was a year ago.  That’s a 60% drop.  It’s now worth 40%.  There is debt on these things they owe.  These malls were not bought, built and created out of cash…

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

greg hunter, usa watchdog, financial system, financial system collapse, bill holter, debt, fed, us federal reserve, money printing, credit expansion

Are We Staring At A Coming Systemic Breakdown & The End Of Capitalism?

For any problems they face, governments all over the world are now conditioned to simply deficit spend or issue new $trillions in ‘thin air’ currency.

So how in danger are we of that recklessness leading to a breakdown of the entire system?

Respected financial analyst Michael Every suspects we’re closer than most realize.

As governments continue to flood the world with debt-funded stimulus, they not only fan the flames under the social powderkeg of wealth inequality, but they are destroying their own powers in the process.

Up until the Great Financial Crisis, a dollar in new federal debt issued resulted in more than $1 in incremental GDP. But no longer:

Federal Debt Growth vs GDP Growth

That indicates the government is now at the ‘pushing on a string’ phase: it can’t grow out of its problems. Issuing new debt only digs the insolvency hole deeper at this point.

Which is why Michael agrees that now, more than ever, is the time to partner with a financial advisor who understands the nature of the risks and opportunities in play, can craft an appropriate portfolio strategy for you given your needs, and apply sound risk management protection where appropriate:

adam taggart, peak prosperity, michael every, rabobank, capitalism, money printing, credit expansion, central banks, monetary stimulus, growth, risk

Gold vs. the stock market

More than 3,000 years ago in the early 12th century BC, Greco-Roman legend tells us of a mythical pair of monsters located in the Strait of Messina in southern Italy.

The monsters were named Scylla and Charybdis. And both Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid describe the terror of sailors who came into contact with them.

Scylla was on one side of the Strait, and Charybdis on the other. But because the Strait is so narrow, it was impossible for sailors to avoid both of the monsters, essentially forcing the captain to choose between the lesser of two evils.

In Homer’s narrative, for example, Odysseus is advised that the whirlpools of Charybis could sink his entire ship, while Scylla might only kill a handful of his sailors.

So Odysseus chooses to sail past Scylla: “Better by far to lose six men and keep your ship than lose your entire crew.”

The story is a myth. But the idea of having to choose between two terrible options is very real.

It appears that the Federal Reserve has landed itself in this position.

In its efforts to boost the economy during the pandemic, the Fed slashed interest rates so much that the average 30-year mortgage rate for homebuyers reached an all-time low of 2.65% earlier this year.

Similarly, AAA-rated corporate bond yields reached record low 2.14% last summer.

The US government 10-year Treasury Note dropped to a record low 0.52%.

And the 28-day US government Treasury Bill rate actually turned negative for a brief period– something that has never happened before.

The effects of such cheap rates are obvious.

With corporate borrowing rates so low, the stock market has boomed. With consumers able to borrow money so cheaply, home prices have surged to an all-time high.

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

 

Getting Hyperinflation Right

Getting Hyperinflation Right

Profligate money printing by the US Federal Reserve and by other Western central banks has amounted to around $10 trillion over just the last year. The amount of currency in circulation has grown to $2 trillion, breaking a record set in 1945 and showing an almost 12% increase over 2019. The US federal budget deficit stands at just about $3.5 trillion, which is over 16% of GDP—the highest it’s been since World War II. Meanwhile, the US federal debt has just topped $28 trillion. Over the past year the US has overspent its revenues by a staggering 194%.

Prices are going up everywhere even as the underlying economy remains in coronavirus-inspired doldrums, specifically because consumption has been repressed, with the coronavirus as an excuse, to delay the onset of hyperinflation. And then the Chairman of the Federal Reserve steps in and calms the troubled waters by publicly claiming that “There is no reason to be afraid of hyperinflation.” This sounds a lot like denial, which is the first of the five stages of grief, after which come anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Powell said “hyperinflation”; therefore, there shall be hyperinflation.

What happens to the value of money when a government prints lots of it—to spend or to simply hand out to people—is that the money becomes less valuable because there is more money per unit things to buy with it. The expectation that this trend will continue then triggers a continuous process of increasing prices, called inflation, while the resulting expectation that the rate of inflation will continue to increase triggers hyperinflation.

My view is that hyperinflation is hardly a problem at all and that, quite the opposite, it is a solution to a great many pressing problems. Here we will look at hyperinflation as nature’s gentle way of solving the problems of a society that has forgotten how to live within its means…

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

hyperinflation, inflation, dmitry orlov, money printing, club orlov, fed, us federal reserve

The Problem With Helicopter Money Is That It Is Inefficient

The Problem With Helicopter Money Is That It Is Inefficient

The Money Supply Has Exploded

The term helicopter money refers to unconventional methods used to get money into the hands of people that will rapidly put it to use. Whether to buy products or pay bills it is often seen as a way to kick start a stalled economy in need of a boost. This is seen as an alternative to quantitative easing and is considered by some a faster way to add liquidity into the economy. It could be argued that over the years such policies have proven to be inefficient and poorly targeted. While helicopter money may accomplish a certain goal such as supporting a market, it is poorly targeted and seldom addresses the root problems in a financial system or economy.

The failure of central banks across the world to use their power to push governments to undertake reforms is coming home to haunt us. Rather than assuming the role of enforcer and protector of our fiat currency system central banks across the world have joined with governments in what I call the “Financial-Political Complex.” This is comprised of the organizations, comprised of authorities, politicians, and bureaucrats that want increased power and influence. These people benefit a great deal by unleashing huge sums of fiat currency upon the masses and ignoring the long-term ramifications of their actions upon the financial system. It should not bring comfort to the average man that these unholy forces have joined together in such a union.

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

Inflation watch: Beware the ides of March

Inflation watch: Beware the ides of March

President Biden has now had his $1.9 trillion stimulus package passed into law, and it will not be the last in the current fiscal year. Covid is not over and is sure to resurge with new variants next winter.But even assuming that is not the case, we still have to contend with the aftermath of the pre-covid conditions, whereby banks had run out of balance sheet capacity combined with trade tariffs predominantly aimed at China. These conditions were a doppelganger for late-1929, and between 8 February and 20 March the S&P500 index faithfully tracked a similar course to that of October 1929.

As far as possible, this article quantifies inflationary financing of government spending from March to September last year, and already sees evidence on the CBO’s own figures of that exceptional covid response being exceeded in the first half of the current fiscal year just ending. It points to something which no one has really foreseen, that the rate of monetary inflation has increased beyond the banking system’s capacity to accommodate it.

Even if the US manages to emerge from lockdowns in the coming months, the legacy of the turn in the credit cycle, trade tariffs and supply chain disruption threatens a full-scale depression. There can be no doubt monetary inflation will accelerate, and we are beginning to see the consequences in rising bond yields.
Introduction

It is nearly a year since the Fed on 23 March 2020 responded to stock market pressures and cut its funds rate to the zero bound and followed that three days later by increasing quantitative easing to $120bn every month. A further $300bn credit was to be directed at businesses, employers and consumers. The Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility and the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility allowed the Fed to directly support corporate bond prices for large employers.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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