Fed's Yellen (12/17): "The decline we've seen in oil prices is likely to be, on net, a positive."
Fed's Yellen (02/18): "Persistently low oil prices could dampen the overall expansion of economic activity."
And this is the woman we trust to run the world?
Very few, it seems...
- Greece requests euro zone loan extension, offers big concessions (Reuters)
- Germany Rejects Loan Request Saying Greece Must Meet Conditions (BBG)
- Did the Fed Just Enter the Currency Wars (BBG)
- French consumer prices fall for first time since 2009 (Reuters)
- Oil falls sharply after U.S. crude inventories rise (Reuters)
- High-Speed Firm Virtu Revives IPO Plans (WSJ)
- Fed Tiptoes Into Rate-Hike Debate (Hilsenrath)
- Rajoy’s Nemesis Is Back: Anti-Graft Editor Targets Vote (BBG)
With the world's oldest central bank - Sweden's Riksbank - taking the plunge into negative rates, there have been 19 'eases' by central banks this year, Morgan Stanley warns of "ghosts of the 1930s." With competitive 'easing' stoking fears of international currency wars, The Telegraph notes however that looser monetary policy is not the order of the day everywhere in the world, and herein lies potential danger for the world economy.
With historically low long-term interest rates, the opportunity cost of holding gold and silver are close to zero or even negative, in other words you would “lose” money if you buy bonds (the benchmark) instead of gold and silver. When people realize that their money is not “safe” with the banks they will start withdrawing cash from their accounts and buy physical gold and silver instead. Depending on circumstances this could possibly bring down the (fractional) banking system. Why keep money in an account that gives you a negative return? Swiss banks are already witnessing stronger than normal interest for physical gold.
The fact that there is a debate about a quarter-point rate hike tells us that extraordinarily low interest rates have mostly failed to deliver a robust recovery. That people opposed to even the tiniest increase in rates are resorting to hyperbole tells us that they too know this. The thinking seems to be that six years into near-zero policy, the only reason it hasn’t worked is because it hasn’t been tried long enough. Meanwhile, the dangerous side effects of year after year of artificially low rates continue to grow.
Our clueless President observed, "You cannot keep on squeezing countries that are in the midst of depression. At some point there has to be a growth strategy in order for them to pay off their debts..." No, paying off their debts is exactly the wrong medicine. You do not kick the can and extend and pretend that Greece can service its crushing debt. Instead, you permit it to default, and then to rebuild it’s economy and credit the old fashioned way. In any event, its a problem for the Europeans and the Greeks to resolve. Obama should stop sending Keynesian witch doctors to spread more policy poison around Europe.
By reviewing the earnings transcripts from the companies of the S&P 500, Goldman Sachs notes 4 key themes emerge from the maelstrom of double-speak, bravado, and actual data (GAAP or non-GAAP). Without question the US Dollar strength is a drag on multinationals and CEOs are resolute in that (despite mainstream media prognostications that 'king dollar' is "unequivocally good") but what CEOs and CFOs seems just as resolutely positive about is that while macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties still exist in Asia and Europe, they expect solid US economic growth in 2015. It appears - given the data - they will be disappointed.
The week just ended laid bare any pretensions that there is not something wrong (seriously wrong) within the natural world of both the macro underpinnings of business as well as finance. Unimaginable just a short 6 years ago, the U.S. equity markets closed at a height once again never before seen in human history highs, (it has more than tripled from the 2008 bottom!) but has done so solely on Keynesian fairy tales. The issue now is: does the fairytale end in a nightmare?
A couple of days ago a Café member sent me some of the latest commentary by Martin Armstrong of Armstrong Economics, formally of Princeton Economics International. As you will read, he continues his rant against "the gold promoters," a rant that seemed more than vaguely familiar.
What an understatement!
Straight-forward discussion of the international climate.
One of the bigger asset bubbles in recent US history has nothing to do with stock, bonds or commodities, We are talking about farmland. And yet, like all other bubbles - be they the result of retail euphoria or central bank rigging - this one too must come to a close, and as the WSJ reports, the first crack in the farmland bubble are appearing, after farmland values declined in parts of the Midwest for the first time in decades last year "reflecting a cooling in the market driven by two years of bumper crops and sharply lower grain prices, according to Federal Reserve reports on Thursday." the average price of farmland in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s district, which includes Illinois, Iowa and other big farm states, fell 3% in 2014, marking the first annual decline since 1986, which makes farmlands the only asset class that had not seen a down year in nearly three decades!
What is not often covered in the media are the audits of the US official gold reserves stored at the US Mint, which is the custodian for 95 % (7716 tonnes) of the stash – nowadays also referred to as custodial deep storage, and at the Federal Reserve Bank Of New York that safeguards the remaining 5 % (418 tonnes). The lawful owner of the US official gold reserves is the US Treasury. Part one covered the most recent records I could find published by the US government, in this post we’ll examine more historical records and approach this matter from a more critical angle.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland earlier this week tweeted out a notice of a working paper titled: U.S. Intervention during the Bretton Woods Era:1962-1973... a detailed report on the massive interventions in currency markets that the Treasury and the Federal Reserve conducted and is exceptionally critical of the market manipulations that took place during that period. It is probably no surprise then that the paper is no longer featured at the Cleveland Fed, and the tweet was quickly deleted.
How geo-politics continues to influence macro markets