Why would financial firms pay so much for blogger Ben Bernanke’s thoughts? Aside from the marketing benefits we noted, there is one good reason. In essence, you’d want to know what Bernanke would think if he were wrong or ill-informed about some important economic issue. That is something money managers understand in a way that academics and policymakers do not, for being wrong – and knowing what to do next – is a critical skill for the professional. Getting the most information from Bernanke, either in a one-on-one or just reading his work online, boils down to just two questions: “What doesn’t he know” and “What is he sure of that is actually wrong?”
The amount of ten-year equivalents held by the Fed decreased to $1.835 trillion from $1.849 trillion in the prior week, which reduces the amount available to the private sector to $3.944 trillion from $3.919 trillion in the prior week. There were $5.778 trillion ten-year equivalents outstanding, up from $5.768 trillion in the prior week. After the Treasury issuance, maturing securities, rising interest rates, and Fed operations during the week, the Fed owned about 32.05% of the total outstanding ten year equivalents.
Fed-created bubbles are inevitably going to implode, because they have no relation to economic reality whatsoever. And when they implode, millions of Americans are going to be financially wiped out. Just like David and Jackie Siegel, “America’s time-share king”, America just keeps on making the same mistakes over and over again - we simply can’t help ourselves. And in the end, we will all pay a great, great price for our utter foolishness.
In the coming months, however many hours Clinton spends introducing herself to voters in small-town America, she will spend hundreds more raising money in four-star hotels and multimillion-dollar homes around the nation. The question is: "Can Clinton claim to stand for 'everyday Americans,' while hauling in huge sums of cash from the very wealthiest of us?" This much cannot be disputed: Clinton's connections to the financiers and bankers of this country - and this country's campaigns - run deep. As Nomi Prins questions, who counts more to such a candidate, the person you met over that chicken burrito bowl or the Citigroup partner you met over crudités and caviar?
Systematic Corruption Has Metastasized throughout the U.S. ... Making Our Once-Great Nation Deathly Ill
In a quarter in which US GDP is set to decline consumer credit, according to the latest update from the Federal Reserve, increased by just over $45 billion. But how is it possible that with such a massive expansion in household credit there was no actual benefit to the underlying economy? Simple: 98% of the credit lent out in the first quarter, or $44.3 billion, went to student and car loans!
"Those who might want to borrow are no longer creditworthy due to excessive debt and/or stagnant income, or those who qualify to borrow more are not interested in borrowing more at any interest rate: they are done with debt." The Fed can push interest rates down and make it easy for banks to loan more money, but it can't (yet) force us to borrow money we don't want or need.
An interesting article has neatly encapsulated the global (but primarily Western) “bond bubble”:
"A 10% correction from the high projects to 1890 on the S&P. Those shall be our targets to the downside and all the while we shall argue that the bull market is still in effect and that at the most severe we are to be neutral of shares until such time as those targets are high or until such time as there is a clear indication that the correction has run its course and has turned for the better."
- Fed’s Yellen: Stock Valuations ‘Generally Are Quite High’ (WSJ)
- Britain's dead-heat election 'down to the wire' on polling day (Reuters)
- European Markets Roiled by U.S. Fed Chief Janet Yellen’s Comments (WSJ)
- Stocks Drop With German Bonds to Extend $2 Trillion Global Loss (BBG)
- Oil heads toward 2015 highs despite ample supply (Reuters)
- Wary of bond 'cliff,' Fed plans cautious cuts to portfolio (Reuters)
- Saudi Arabia mulling land operations on Yemen border (Reuters)
The good news is that there will be no 25-year recession. Nor will there be a depression that will last the rest of our lifetimes.
The bad news: It will be much worse than that.
In the eight years that the Fed has issued GDP forecasts in the prior Fall, only once, in 2010, did the actual economic performance come in the range of its expectations. A more sinister possibility is that the Fed is not really forecasting at all but cheerleading. By forecasting strong growth, the Fed may be hoping to engender optimism, with more spending and hiring hopefully to follow. Kind of like a field of dreams recovery -- if the Fed forecasts it; it will come. Based on what we have seen thus far in the year, fantasies about a 2015 recovery should be evaporating.
Since 2012, there’s been an unprecedented call from foreign nations to repatriate their gold from Federal Reserve vaults in the U.S. This is an incredible development given many countries’ 71-year reliance on the Fed as a custodian for their bullion. Something huge must of happened in the last few years to prompt such action. That something may be a break in foreign gold holders’ trust in the Fed as a custodian of their precious metals.
While The Fed and its apologists (except for Jim Bullard) remain firmly attached to the idea that it is the 'stock' (or absolute level) of Fed Assets that represents the amount of policy-easement and not the 'flow' (rate of change), we have explained numerous times that this is complete rubbish. With the Federal Reserve balance sheet hitting 6-month lows this week, we thought the following 4 pictures would paint more than a thousand words on why The Fed will need to restart the flow soon... or the game is up.
While officials have begun their own versions of capital controls by raiding pension funds, confiscating local government cash, and surcharges on withdrawals (and transfer ceilings); it appears the market participants themselves have now imposed their own share of capital controls. As Bloomberg reports, international securities firms are curtailing trading with major Greek banks - pulling credit lines and restricting FX trading limits - as fear of Grexit looms.