Central Banks

Life In A Cashless World: How Cash Became A Policy Tool – An Interview With Dr. Harald Malmgren

Banks in the US and Europe are trying to develop a cashless transactions system. The concept is to establish a comprehensive ledger for a business or a person that records everything received and spent, and all of the assets held – mortgages, investment portfolios, debts, contractual financial obligations, and anything else of market value. There would be no need for cash because the ledger would tell you and anyone you were considering a transaction with how much is available and would be transactable at any specific moment. This is not a dreamy idea. Blythe Masters is leading a new business effort to develop a universal cashless system. Not only is she gathering significant investor interest, but the Federal Reserve and various US Government agencies have become keenly interested in the potential usefulness and efficiencies of a universal cashless system

The Concept Of Money And The Money Illusion

Awareness about the concept of money is making a comeback. Gone are the decades in which the global citizenry was fooled to leave this subject to economists, governments and banks – a setup that has proven to end in disaster. The crisis in 2008 has spawned debate about what money is, where it comes from and where it should come from.

The Petrostate Hex: Visualizing How Plunging Oil Prices Affect Currencies

Every day, the world consumes 93 million barrels of oil, which is worth $4.2 billion. Oil is one of the world’s most basic necessities. At least for now, all modern countries rely on oil and its derivatives as the backbone of their economies. However, the price of oil can have significant swings. These changes in price can have profound implications depending on whether an economy is a net importer or net exporter of crude.

Why Hedge Fund Hot Shots Finally Got Hammered

The destruction of honest financial markets by the Fed and other central banks has created a class of hedge fund hot shots that are truly hard to take. At length, both the epic bond bubble and the monumental stock bubble so recklessly fueled by the Fed and the other central banks after September 2008 will burst in response to the deflationary tidal wave now cresting. Needless to say, that eventuality will be the death knell for the risk parity trade. It will cause the volatility seeking algos to eat their own portfolios alive. Leon Cooperman and his momo chasing compatriots will soon be praying for an event as mild as October 1987.

Did COMEX Counterparty Risk Just Reach A Record High?

The last few months have seen a steady drip-drip-drip increase in US, European, and Chinese bank credit risks, even as stock prices rose (aside from the latter). The turning point appears to have been the downturn in oil prices as traders began to hedge their counterparty risk in massive levered derivative positions tied to commodities. But it is not just banks... COMEX counterparty risk mut sbe on the rise, as Jesse's Cafe Americain notes, the 'claims per ounce of gold' deliverable at current prices has spiked higher once again, to a record 126:1.

Don't Forget China's "Other" Spinning Plate: Trillions In Hidden Bad Debt

Given the global implications of what’s going on in China’s stock market and the fact that the yuan devaluation is set to accelerate the great EM FX reserve unwind while simultaneously driving a stake through the heart of beleaguered emerging economies from LatAm to AsiaPac it’s wholly understandable that everyone should focus on equities and FX. That said, understanding the scope of the risk posed by China’s many spinning plates means not forgetting about the other problems Beijing faces, not the least of which is a massive collection of debt.

Exorbitant Privilege: "The Dollar Is Our Currency But Your Problem"

There is no better way to describe the international monetary system today than through the statement made in 1971 by U.S. Treasury Secretary, John Connally. He said to his counterparts during a Rome G-10 meeting in November 1971, shortly after the Nixon administration ended the dollar’s convertibility into gold and shifted the international monetary system into a global floating exchange rate regime that, "The dollar is our currency, but your problem.” This remains the U.S. policy towards the international community even today. On several occasions both the past and present chairpersons of the Fed, Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen, have indicated it still is the U.S. policy as it concerns the dollar. Is China saying to the world, but more particularly to the U.S., “The yuan is our currency but your problem”?

How Much More Ridiculous Can It Get?

If one considers that the next major interest rate manipulation by the Fed appears to hinge on a notoriously unreliable report about a lagging economic indicator, it should immediately become clear on what a flimsy foundation modern central economic planning rests. How much more ridiculous can it possibly get? Incidentally, it also serves to demonstrate how far off the reservation economists have veered in their desperate and laughable attempts to transform economics into a discipline akin to the natural sciences.

Peter Schiff Warns: Meet QT - QE's Evil Twin

The arrival of Quantitative Tightening will provide years' worth of monetary headwinds. Of course the only tool that the Fed will be able to use to combat international QT will be a fresh dose of domestic QE. That means the Fed will not only have to shelve its plan to allow its balance sheet to run down (a plan I never thought remotely feasible from the moment it was announced), but to launch QE4, and watch its balance sheet swell towards $10 trillion. Of course, these monetary crosscurrents should finally be enough to capsize the U.S. dollar.

"This Time May Be Different": Desperate Central Banks Set To Dust Off Asia Crisis Playbook, Goldman Warns

"The room to ease policy further, i.e., to adopt counter-cyclical policies, is now much more limited than in the past. To the contrary, in some cases monetary tightening may be needed (despite weaker real business cycles) in order to continue to attract foreign capital, anchor domestic currencies and preserve the integrity of the respective inflation targeting frameworks. Hence, we may soon enter a period of weaker FX and higher policy and market rates: i.e., market dynamics that would resemble more the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis."

What Does It Mean If The Fed Hikes... And If It Doesn't

Should the Fed decide to raise interest rates, it will be the first Fed hike since June 29th 2006. In the 110 months that have since past, global central banks have cut interest rates 697 times, central banks have bought $15 trillion of financial assets, zero interest rates policies have been adopted in the US, Europe & Japan. And, following the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, both stocks and corporate bonds have soared to all-time highs thanks in great part to this extraordinary monetary regime.  A rate hike with a stroke ends this era.

End Of Cheap Fossil Fuels Could Have More Severe Consequences Than Thought

The characteristic feeling of the post-2008 world has been one of anxiety. Occasionally, that anxiety breaks out into fear as it did in the last two weeks when stock markets around the world swooned and middle class and wealthy investors had a sudden visitation from Pan, the god from whose name we get the word "panic." Pan's appearance is yet another reminder that the relative stability of the globe from the end of World War II right up until 2008 is over. We are in uncharted waters. The relentless, if zigzag, rise in financial markets for the past 150 years has been sustained by cheap fossil fuels and a benign climate. We cannot count on either from here on out...

Futures Slide More Than 1%, At Day Lows Ahead Of "Rate Hike Make Or Break" Payrolls

Moments ago, US equity futures tumbled to their lowest level in the overnight session, down 22 points or 1.1% to 1924, following both Europe (Eurostoxx 600 -1.8%, giving up more than half of yesterday's gains, led by the banking sector) and Japan (Nikkei -2.2%), and pretty much across the board as DM bonds are bid, EM assets are all weaker, oil and commodities are lower in what is shaping up to be another EM driven "risk off" day. Only this time one can't blame the usual scapegoat China whose market is shut for the long weekend.