In all the annals of investing, few seemingly innocuous phrases incorporate as much by way of grave implication as those four words, “a shift to banknotes”. 2008 was bad. With central bank policy now at the outer reaches of the possible and even of the theoretical, the outlook is certainly uncertain. Not wishing to participate in the terminal stages of a momentum-driven bubble is not bearish so much as simply sane.
"When I was chairman, more than one legislator accused me and my colleagues on the Fed’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee of “throwing seniors under the bus” (to use the words of one senator) by keeping interest rates low. The legislators were concerned about retirees living off their savings and able to obtain only very low rates of return on those savings. I was concerned about those seniors as well."
- Ben Bernanke first blog post
The day is starting off on a very bizarre footing after not only Ben Bernanke became a blogger and joined Twitter, but moments ago at least one American appears to have had enough with the Big Brother state, and moments ago WNEW reported that there has been a shooting, two injured and according to local reports, there appears to be one fatality at the gate of the NSA's Fort Meade, Maryland headquarters.
- Setbacks and progress as Iran, six powers meet to end nuclear impasse (Reuters)
- Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Leave Iran Nuclear Talks (WSJ)
- Obama Ramps Up Lobbying on Iran as Deadline Looms (WSJ)
- Greek yields edge up as lenders scrutinise reform pledge (Reuters)
- Oil prices drop on possible Iran deal, dollar (Reuters)
- Yemen’s Houthis Battle for Aden as Saudi Strikes Hit Rebels (BBG)
- Iran nuclear deal to see $20 oil if Tehran floods crude market (Telegraph)
- China’s Zhou Says PBOC Has Room to Act on Growth Slowdown (BBG)
- “Bubbles in credit” has jumped as the biggest concern (30%), having been third on the list in January’s survey,
- “Supply” has risen to be the second biggest concern (19%),
- “Geopolitical conflict” is the third biggest concern (14%), but this is down from being the top concern in January’s survey,
- "Deflation in Europe" (the second biggest concern two months ago), is now down in 7th place (just 3%).
"I'm not sure [European QE] is going to do anything - certainly, nothing that's good. The fundamental problem here, as I see it anyway, is that the European banking system is still broken... I think, increasingly, bankers are discomforted more than anything else (it's not just the ex central bankers but increasingly the people that are still holding the levers)... they are starting to ask whether they have somehow been backed into a place where they don't really want to be.... Unfortunately, [it] is getting bigger and bigger. There is a possibility at least that this whole exercise could end very badly."
Fraud grows in good times because rescission is rarely sought (or granted) when asset values rise. Fraud is not a problem, till it is.
"At least one guest left a New York restaurant with the impression Bernanke, 60, does not expect the federal funds rate, the Fed's main benchmark interest rate, to rise back to its long-term average of around 4 percent in Bernanke's lifetime. "Shocking when he said this," the guest scribbled in his notes. "Is that really true?" he scribbled at another point, according to the notes reviewed by Reuters."
All Good Things Must End... this may not be the end of the world exactly. But the end of the fiat money system President Nixon gave birth to in 1971... when he cut the dollar loose from gold. And it may feel like the end of the world, because of the social chaos it will provoke.
There was a point in 2010 when American capitalism might have had an opportunity to heal itself and commence on a long march toward sustainable growth and real wealth gains. But the monetary politburo would have none of it - keeping the pedal to the metal until this very moment... and the rest is history. The Fed and the other central banks around the world have fomented a new and even more virulent and dangerous financial bubble.
"Secret" documents and power struggles aside, regulators are just as inept now as ever and bank stress tests are completely meaningless, as the Fed neither then, nor now, has any methodology for how to calculate capital in case of the same kind of counterparty failure chain as happened during Lehman, and when no amount of capital would have been sufficient to preserve the financial sector.
"Today, if you own an asset, say stocks or a home, and it went up in price, you do not perceive it as permanent. You fear it could go back down and you spend none of that money. You are not going to alter your investment decisions or your business decisions. That is why the QE-programs did not work. The goal of the Fed was to push up asset prices. With that in mind, they do not want asset prices to go down because they think it will create a reverse wealth effect. QE has been all about pushing up markets and they are not going to throw that to the wind.... By pushing up asset prices ECB president Draghi is going to make the same mistake as the Fed."
- China Lowers Growth Target to About 7% (WSJ)
- Obesity Is Hurting the U.S. Economy in Surprising Ways (BBG)
- Embattled Hillary Clinton urges State Department to release emails (Reuters)
- Washington Strips New York Fed’s Power (WSJ)
- U.S. Supreme Court split over Obamacare challenge (Reuters)
- Citigroup Loses $800 Million as It Exits Turkey’s Akbank (BBG)
- Justice Who Once Tried to Kill Obamacare Now Potential Savior (BBG)
- Buyers of Espírito Santo Debt Face Financial Uncertainty (WSJ)
"Presidents should get the power to declare economic emergencies along the lines to declare war... [and] take extraordinary actions and not put that all on the Fed." - Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke
For those of us who remain horrified and disgusted by the 2008-09 Federal Reserve and U.S. government bailout of the kleptocratic oligarchs who created the crisis, the above comments by the mastermind of this historic theft should be extremely concerning.