Jim Grant Explains Why QE3 Is Coming
Once again we are reminded why we like Jim Grant so much. From his latest Grant's Interest Rate Observer (which, trust us, is worth the subscription): "Almost 30% of the respondents to a poll conducted by UBS a few weeks back said they anticipate a third round of so-called quantitative easing... We count ourselves among the expectant 30%. To its congressional directed dual mandate the Bernanke Fed has unilaterally added a third. It has undertaken to make the markets rise. The chairman himself has more than once taken credit for the post-2008 bull market (on one such occasion in January, he reminded the CNBC audience how far the Russell 2000 had come under Fed ministrations). Could he therefore stand idly by in the face of a new bear market. Byron Wien, vice chairman of Blackstone Advisory Services, went on record the other day predicting a summer swoon in stocks following the scheduled winding down of QE2 in June. Let us say that Wien is right, and that, furthermore, drooping stocks are accompanied by sagging house prices and a weakening labor market. Bernanke was hard put to explain why he chose to let Lehman go while acting to save Bear Stearns. He would be harder put to explain why he chose to implement QE1 and QE2 but, in another hour of need, refused to launch QE3." And "Sooner or later, gravity turns speculative markets into investment markets. When this transformation occurs, the Fed will confront the need to bail out the innocents it had previously bailed in. Hence, QE3." And therein lies the rub. Simple, sweet, and, for the US dollar, suicidal.