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Central Banks Trapped by Their Theories

Central Banks Trapped by Their Theories 

QUESTION: Hi Martin,

I can understand how JP and EU backed themselves into a corner with negative rates. Happy to give them the benefit of the doubt when this all started 3-4 years ago even though it was obvious this was not going to end well.
However, what I don’t understand is the thought process that reserve banks today need to perpetuate eternal growth when I would think their role should be to smooth out extremes (debatable this is even possible).

RBA is a case in point as while the Australian economy is slowing, it is nowhere near terrible. There is talk that they will now also look to lower rates to near zero and start QE. I get that all reserve banks are looking to maintain lower exchange rates and so they need to keep pace with the rest of the world but one would think they would learn better from mistakes of EU and JP.

My question is, is this a global conspiracy or just plain stupidity?

Thanks for all ….

David

ANSWER: The original theory was to smooth out the business cycle. The political governments turned to the central banks and argued that they were responsible for the money supply. Therefore, it was allegedly their duty to control inflation irrespective of the spending of politicians. This was an inconvenient economic truth.

The problem is that the ONLY theory they have is the Keynesian Model. They really have no other theory to rely on. So they keep lowering rates, hoping to stimulate demand and are oblivious to the economic reality that the political side is hunting taxes and becoming more aggressive in tax enforcement. The two sides are clashing and the central banks are now TRAPPED with no alternative.

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

Changes in Government Deposits and Money Supply

CHANGES IN GOVERNMENT DEPOSITS AND MONEY SUPPLY

The US debt ceiling suspension, signed in February 2018, expires at the beginning of March this year. Some commentators are of the view that the US Treasury must carry out special measures if it expects a delay in raising the debt ceiling in March.

The Treasury would have to draw down its deposits at the Fed and deposit the cash in various government department accounts at commercial banks, for future use to pay government salaries and contractors’ fees.

These commentators are of the view that the Treasury deposit withdrawals act like QE (quantitative easing) and the Treasury deposit build-ups like QT (quantitative tightening). However, is it the case?

If in an economy people hold $10,000 in cash, we would say that the money supply in this economy is $10,000. If some individuals then decided to place $2,000 of their money in demand deposits, the total money supply will still remain $10,000, comprising of $8,000 cash and $2,000 in demand deposits.

Now, if government taxes people by $1,000, this amount of money is then transferred from individual’s demand deposits to the government’s deposits. Conventional thinking would view this as if the money supply fell by $1,000. In reality, however, the $1,000 is now available for government expenditure meaning that money supply is still $10,000, comprising of $8,000 in cash, $1000 in individuals demand deposits and $1,000 in government deposits.

If the government were to withdraw $1000 from its deposit with the Fed and buy goods from individuals then the amount of money will be still $10,000 comprising of $8,000 in cash and $2,000 in individuals demand deposits.

From this we can conclude that a large withdrawal of money from the government deposit account with the Fed is not going to strengthen the money supply as suggested by popular thinking. 

What are the sources for money expansion?

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

The Pseudo-Psychology Behind Monetary Policy

The Pseudo-Psychology Behind Monetary Policy

In his various writings, the champion of the monetarist school, Milton Friedman, argued that there is a variable time lag between changes in money supply and its effect on real output and prices. Friedman holds that in the short run changes in money supply will be followed by changes in real output.

However, in the long-run changes in money will only have an effect on prices. All this means that changes in money with respect to real economic activity tend to be neutral in the long-run and non-neutral in the short-run. Thus according to Friedman,

In the short-run, which may be as much as five or ten years, monetary changes affect primarily output. Over decades, on the other hand, the rate of monetary growth affects primarily prices.1

According to Friedman because of the difference in the time lag, the effect of the change in money supply shows up first in output and hardly at all in prices. It is only after a longer time lag that changes in money start to have an effect on prices. This is the reason according to Friedman why in the short-run money can grow the economy, while in the long run it has no effect on the real output.

According to Friedman, the main reason for the non-neutrality of money in the short-run is the variability in the time lag between money and the economy.

Consequently, he believes that if the central bank were to follow a constant money growth rate rule this would eliminate fluctuations caused by variable changes in the money supply growth rate. The constant money growth rate rule could also make money neutral in the short-run and the only effect that money would have is on general prices in the long run.

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

The Difference Between Money Supply & Liquidity

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MONEY SUPPLY & LIQUIDITY

The US debt ceiling suspension, signed on February 2018, expires in March this year. According to some experts, the US Treasury will have to carry out special measures because of possible delays in raising this ceiling. Treasury would need to draw down its deposits with the Fed and deposit the money in various banks for future use to pay government expenses. As a result, this would boost monetary liquidity and therefore would have beneficial effects on financial markets.

It is sometimes argued that changes in government deposits with the Federal Reserve (Fed) set in motion changes in liquidity and that this has effects on financial markets. On this logic an increase in government deposits with the Fed would lead to a decline in the supply of money and hence to a decline in monetary liquidity.

Conversely, a decline in government deposits with the central bank results in an increase in money supply and monetary liquidity. An implicit assumption in this logic is that an increase in money supply and an increase in liquidity represent the same thing.

The meaning of monetary liquidity

Whilst many people talk about money and liquidity interchangeably, the reality is these are both very different concepts. Whilst the term money simply refers to the supply of money, the term liquidity relates to the interplay between the supply of and the demand for money.

People demand money primarily in order to facilitate trade. By means of money, a product of one specialist is exchanged for the product of another specialist. The nub of what makes a particular thing money (i.e. a medium of exchange) is that it offers to its holder a greater purchasing power than any other good.

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

Quantitative Brainwashing

Quantitative Brainwashing

We’re all familiar with the term, “quantitative easing.” It’s described as meaning, “A monetary policy in which a central bank purchases government securities or other securities from the market in order to lower interest rates and increase the money supply.”

Well, that sounds reasonable… even beneficial. But, unfortunately, that’s not really the whole story.

When QE was implemented, the purchasing power was weak and both government and personal debt had become so great that further borrowing would not solve the problem; it would only postpone it and, in the end, exacerbate it. Effectively, QE is not a solution to an economic problem, it’s a bonus of epic proportions, given to banks by governments, at the expense of the taxpayer.

But, of course, we shouldn’t be surprised that governments have passed off a massive redistribution of wealth from the taxpayer to their pals in the banking sector with such clever terms. Governments of today have become extremely adept at creating euphemisms for their misdeeds in order to pull the wool over the eyes of the populace.

At this point, we cannot turn on the daily news without being fed a full meal of carefully- worded mumbo jumbo, designed to further overwhelm whatever small voices of truth may be out there.

Let’s put this in perspective for a moment.

For millennia, political leaders have been in the practice of altering, confusing and even obliterating the truth, when possible. And it’s probably safe to say that, for as long as there have been media, there have been political leaders doing their best to control them.

During times of war, political leaders have serially restricted the media from simply telling the truth. During the American civil war, President Lincoln shut down some 300 newspapers and arrested some 14,000 journalists who had the audacity to contradict his statements to the public.

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

Collapse In Global M1 Signals A Worldwide Recession Has Arrived

By now everyone has seen some iteration of this chart showing that the annual change in central bank liquidity is now negative.

Another way to visualize just the Fed’s balance sheet contraction is courtesy of this chart from Morgan Stanley which shows specifically which assets – Treasurys and MBS – are declining on a monthly basis.

When it comes to markets – where the events of December were a vivid reminder that just as QE blew the world’s biggest asset bubble, so QT will deflate it  – there is a simple explanation of this negative effect of QT on Markets – in terms of both flow and stock – and it is laid out as follows from Morgan Stanley:

  • THE STOCK EFFECT (SE) – GROUP 1
    • The SE relates to the long-term impact on Group 1 asset prices from the overall change to the central bank’s balance sheet and its impact on the stock of available Group 1 assets.
  • THE FLOW EFFECT (FE) – GROUP 1
    • The FE relates to the short-term impact on Group 1 asset prices from each flow that changes the size of the central bank’s balance sheet.
  • THE PORTFOLIO BALANCE CHANNEL EFFECT (PBCE) – GROUP 1 AND 2
    • The PBCE impacts both Group 1 and Group 2 assets and incorporates the pricing elements of both the stock effect and the flow effect.

But while the immediate effect of the expansion and shrinkage of the Fed’s balance sheet on various asset classes is rather intuitive – if not to Fed presidents of, course – a more pressing question is how will the upcoming liquidity shrinkage affect the global economy.

Unfortunately, the answer appears to be ominous.

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

A Global Dearth of Liquidity

A Global Dearth of Liquidity

Worldwide Liquidity Drought – Money Supply Growth Slows Everywhere

This is a brief update on money supply growth trends in the most important currency areas outside the US (namely the euro area, Japan and China)  as announced in in our recent update on US money supply growth (see “Federal Punch Bowl Removal Agency” for the details).

Nobody likes a drought. This collage illustrates why.

The liquidity drought is not confined to the US – it is fair to say that it is a global phenomenon, even though money supply growth rates in the euro area and Japan superficially still look fairly brisk. However, they are in the process of slowing down quite rapidly from much higher levels – and this trend seems set to continue.

Euro Area – Money Supply Growth Still High, But Slowing Fast

The chart below shows the euro area’s narrow money supply aggregate M1 (stock) and its year-on-year growth rate. M1 in the euro area is almost equivalent to US TMS-2, which makes it a good enough stand-in (it includes savings deposits that are in practice payable on demand; however, it lacks euro deposits belonging to foreign residents and central government deposits).

It is worth noting that a slowdown to a 0% growth rate triggered crisis conditions in 2008. After a sharp, but short term spike in money supply growth after the ECB made emergency liquidity facilities available to European banks to mitigate the fallout from the US housing bubble implosion, crisis conditions promptly returned when these facilities expired and money supply growth fell to around 1% in 2011.

Euro area, M1 (~TMS-2): Total in millions of EUR (blue line) and y/y rate of change (orange line). We have highlighted the three most recent slowdowns in money supply growth associated with economic crises and declining asset prices.

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

What is the Relation Between Supply and Demand for Money?

For most economists there is the need to keep the so-called economy along the path of a stable economic growth and a stable price inflation. One of the reasons for the possible deviation of the economy from the stable growth path is a change in the demand for money. If the authorities failing to make sure that an increase in the demand for money is accommodated by the corresponding increase in the supply of money this could result in the economy deviating from the path of stable economic growth and stable inflation. Hence, it is imperative for the central bank to make sure that the growth in the supply of money is in tandem with the growth rate of the demand for money in order to maintain economic stability.

Note that on this way of thinking, a growing economy requires a growing money stock, because economic growth gives rise to a greater demand for money. Failing to accommodate a strengthening in the demand for money could lead to a decline in the prices of goods and services, which in turn will destabilize the economy and lead to an economic recession.

Since growth in money supply is of such importance, it is not surprising that economists are continuously searching for the right, or the optimum, growth rate of the money supply.

Some economists who are the followers of Milton Friedman – also known as monetarists – want the central bank to target the money supply growth rate to a fixed percentage. They hold that if this percentage maintained over a prolonged period it will usher in an era of economic stability.

The idea that money must grow in order to sustain economic growth gives the impression that money somehow sustains economic activity.

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

Mike Maloney: “One Hell Of A Crisis”

Mike Maloney: “One Hell Of A Crisis”

Crashing stocks, bonds, real estate & currency all at once?

Mike Maloney, monetary historian and founder of GoldSilver.com, has just released two new chapters of his excellent Hidden Secrets Of Money video series.

In producing the series, Maloney has reviewed several thousand years of monetary history and has observed that government intervention and mismanagement — such as is now rampant across the world — has alwaysresulted in the diminishment and eventual failure of currency systems.

As for the world’s current fiat currency regimes, Mike sees a reckoning approaching. One that will be preceded by massive losses rippling across nearly all asset classes, destroying the phantom wealth created during the latest central bank-induced Everything Bubble, and grinding the global economy to a halt:

Gold and silver are tremendously undervalued right now, and I dare you to try to find another asset that is tremendously undervalued. There just is not. By all measures, everything is just in these hyper-bubbles. OK, real estate is not quite a hyper-bubble; it’s not quite as big as 2005 and 2006, but by all measures, it’s back into a bubble. But now, we’ve got the bond bubble, the biggest debt bubble in the world. These are all going to pop.

We had a stock market crash in the year 2000, and then in 2008, we had a crash in stocks and real estate. The next crash is going to be in stocks, real estate and bonds — including a lot of sovereign debt, corporate bonds and a whole lot of other bonds that will be crashing at the same time. So, it will be all of the standard financial asset classes, including the traditional ‘safe haven’ of bonds that are going to be crashing at the same time that the world monetary system is falling apart.

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

Trump Is Right, the Fed Is Crazy

Trump Is Right, the Fed Is Crazy

President Trump recently called the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes crazy. Leaving aside President Trump’s specific complaint, which is likely motivated by the belief that low rates will help him win reelection, he is right that “crazy” is a good way to describe the Federal Reserve.

When not forced to use a government-created currency, individuals have historically chosen to use a precious metal such as gold or silver as money. The reasons include that precious metals are durable and their value tends to remain relatively stable over time. A stable currency ensures that prices accurately convey the true value of goods and services.

A main value of a precious metal is it accurately conveys the true price of money, which is the Interest rate. If the interest rate reflects the manipulation of central bankers and not true market conditions, individuals will be unable to properly allocate resources between savings and current consumption.

In contrast to market money, government-created fiat currency is anything but stable. Central banks constantly increase and decrease the money supply in an attempt to control the economy by controlling the interest rates. This causes individuals to misread market conditions, leading to a misallocation of resources. This can create an illusion of prosperity. But eventually reality catches up to the Federal Reserve-created fantasies. When that happens, there is a recession or worse, leading the Fed to start the whole boom-and-bust cycle over again.

When central banks create money, those who first get the new money enjoy an increase in purchasing power before the new money causes a real increase in prices. Those who receive the money first are members of the banking and financial elite.

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

Why You Should Expect the Unexpected

Why You Should Expect the Unexpected

End of the Road

The confluence of factors that influence market prices are vast and variable.  One moment patterns and relationships are so pronounced you can set a cornerstone by them.  The next moment they vanish like smoke in the wind. One thing that makes trading stocks so confounding is that the buy and sell points appear so obvious in hindsight.  When examining a stock’s price chart over a multi-year duration the wave movements appear to be almost predictable.

 

The fascinating obviousness of hindsight – it is now perfectly clear when one should have bought AMZN. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite as clear in real time. [PT]

Trend lines matching interim highs and lows, and bounded price movements within this range, display what, in retrospect, are the precise moments to buy and sell. In practice, the stock market dishes out hefty doses of humility with impartial judgment. What’s more, being right does not always translate to success.  Sometimes it is more costly to be right at the wrong time than wrong at the right time.

One fallacy that has gained popularity over the last decade is the zealot belief that the Fed disappears risk from markets.  That by expanding and moderating the money supply by just the right amount, and at just the right time, markets can grow within a pleasant setting of near nonexistent volatility.  Some even trust that when there is a major stock market crash, the Fed, having the courage to act, will soften the landing and quickly put things back upon a path of righteous growth.

Believers in the all-powerful controls of the Fed have a 30 year track record they can point to with conviction.  Over this period, the Fed has put a lamp unto the feet and a light unto the path of the stock and bond market.

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

The Committee to Destroy the World: The Federal Reserve

The general belief among average citizens is that the purpose of central banks is to help the economy by fighting inflation and mitigating financial crisis. It’s a fairy tale that politicians like to encourage. If there were any truth to it, however, where was the Federal Reserve during the crisis of 2007? Rather than helping, it was widening the crisis with its easy money policies.

While central banks are not a government entity, their primary purpose is to create money for the benefit of the government. By mindlessly printing fiat currency, central banks create a shaky illusion of financial stability. In reality, each central bank is a monopoly that controls the production of distribution of currency and interest rates. Most importantly, it also controls gold reserves. While paper currency allegedly has the backing of the government, it is the central bank that controls the value of the currency at any specific time.

The first central bank, the Central Bank of England, was created in the 17th century as a scheme to enable the king to pay off his debts. As each country established its own central bank, it has been used by its government as a personal bank account.

With the government’s permission, central banks print money for the use of commercial banks to lend out at a specified rate of interest. Together, they work at inflating the money supply through a system called fractional-reserve banking. Commercial banks are required to keep a fraction of their money in reserve. For example, if someone deposits $1,000, the bank has to keep 10 percent in its vaults. That $100 cannot be lent out. It can only lend out $900, thereby creating two separate claims on those funds: the original deposit of $1,000 and the subsequent borrower of the $900. The supply of money in circulation has been artificially increased to $1,900. That is only one of the ways central banks manipulate the fiat money supply.

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

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The Dollar Dilemma: Where to From Here?

The Dollar Dilemma: Where to From Here?

money 750.jpg

 Introduction: Where We Are 

It’s a fallacy to believe the US has a free market economy. The economy is run by a conglomerate of individuals and special interests, in and out of government, including the Deep State, which controls central economic planning.

Rigging the economy is required to prevent market forces from demanding a halt to the mistakes that planners continuously make. This deceptive policy can last only for a limited time. Ultimately, the market proves more powerful than government manipulation of economic events. The longer the process lasts, the greater the bubble that always bursts. The planners in charge have many tools to perpetuate confidence in an unstable system, but common sense should tell us that grave dangers lie ahead.

Their policies strive to convince the unknowing that the dollar is strong and its status as the world’s reserve currency is secure, no matter how many new dollars they create of out of thin air. It is claimed that our foreign debt is always someone else’s fault and never related to our own monetary and economic mismanagement.

Official government reports inevitably claim inflation is low and we must work harder to increase it, claiming price increases somehow mystically indicate economic growth.

The Consumer Price Index is the statistic manipulated to try to prove this point just as they use misleading GDP numbers to do the same. Many people now recognizing these reports are nothing more than propaganda. Anybody who pays the bills to maintain a household knows the truth about inflation.

Ever since the Great Depression, controlling the dollar price of gold and deciding who gets to hold gold was official policy. This advanced the Federal Reserve’s original goal of demonetizing precious metals, which was fully achieved in August 1971.

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

The Fed’s “Inflation Target” is Impoverishing American Workers

Redefined Terms and Absurd Targets

At one time, the Federal Reserve’s sole mandate was to maintain stable prices and to “fight inflation.”  To the Fed, the financial press, and most everyone else “inflation” means rising prices instead of its original and true definition as an increase in the money supply.  Rising prices are a consequence – a very painful consequence – of money printing.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell apparently does not see the pernicious effects of inflation (at least he seems to be looking around… [PT]) Photo credit: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg

Naturally, the Fed and all other central bankers prefer the definition of inflation as a rise in prices which insidiously hides the fact that they, being the issuers of currency, are the real culprit for increased prices.

Be that as it may, the common understanding of inflation as rising prices has always been seen as pernicious and destructive to an economy and living standards.  In the perverted world of modern economics, however, the idea of inflation as an intrinsic evil has been turned on its head and monetary authorities the world over now have “inflation targets” which they hope to attain.

America’s central bank is right in line with this lunacy. According to the Fed’s “May minutes”, it wants

Translated into understandable verbiage, the Fed wants everyone to pay at least 2% higher prices p.a. for the goods they buy.

Yes, by some crazed thinking US monetary officials believe that consumers paying higher prices is somehow good for economic activity and standards of living!  Of course, anyone with a modicum of sense can see that this is absurd and that those who espouse such policy should be laughed at and summarily locked up in an asylum!  Yet, this is now standard policy, not just with the Fed, but with the ECU and other central banks.

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

US Money Supply Growth Jumps in March , Bank Credit Growth Stalls

US Money Supply Growth Jumps in March , Bank Credit Growth Stalls

A Movie We Have Seen Before – Repatriation Effect?

There was a sizable increase in the year-on-year growth rate of the true US money supply TMS-2 between February and March. Note that you would not notice this when looking at the official broad monetary aggregate M2, because the component of TMS-2 responsible for the jump is not included in M2. Let us begin by looking at a chart of the TMS-2 growth rate and its 12-month moving average.

The y/y growth rate of TMS-2 increased from 2.68% in February to 4.85% in March. The 12-month moving average nevertheless continued to decline and stands now at 4.1%.

The sole component of TMS-2 showing sizable growth in March was the US Treasury’s general account with the Fed. This is included in the money supply because, well, it is money. The Treasury department will spend it, therefore this is not money that can be considered to reside “outside” of the economy (such as  bank reserves).

We were wondering what was behind the spurt in the amount held in the general account. While there was a decline in the growth rate of US demand deposits, the slowdown in momentum did not really offset the surge in funds held by the Treasury.

This reminded us of a subject discussed by the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee (TBAC) in the second half of 2016 in the wake of the change in money market fund regulations. This led to a repatriation of money MM funds previously lent out in the euro-dollar market to European issuers of commercial paper (mainly European banks).

Readers may recall that there was a mysterious surge in the growth rate of the domestic US money supply (again, only visible in TMS 1 & 2) into November 2016, despite a lack of QE and no discernible positive momentum in the rate of change of inflationary bank lending growth.

 

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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