Federal Reserve Bank
In the world these days the markets often believe the rhetoric. This would be political rhetoric, corporate rhetoric or the prayers and hopes of the talking heads. This is especially true in the equity markets. Critical advice in this environment is, "forget what they tell you; just look at the numbers." So what is the Fed doing? As of July 31, 2013 they have parked $1,157 billion in foreign banks as compared with $1,112 billion in U.S. banks. To us this is a telling sign. The European banks are in trouble and the Fed is propping them up. One of the consequences of tapering, when it comes, may well be less available cash for this task and then the cracks in the European banks may well blow into gaping holes... "There is the plain fool, who does the wrong thing at all times everywhere, but there is the Wall Street fool, who thinks he must trade all the time."
In May 22 testimony to the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke issued another of many similar positive interpretations of central bank policy. Yet again, he continued to argue that quantitative easing has decreased long-term interest rates and produced other benefits. The Fed's polices have not produced the much-promised re-acceleration in economic growth. The standard of living - defined as median household income - has fallen back to the level of 1995. The best approach would be for the Fed to recognize the failure of QE and end the program immediately, thereby allowing price distortions in the markets to correct themselves. By ending the illusion that the Fed can take constructive actions, this might even serve to force federal government leaders to deal with the growing fiscal policy imbalances. Otherwise, debt levels will continue to build and serve to further limit the potential for economic growth.
The USA is veering into a psychological space not unlike the wilderness-of-mind that Germany found itself in back in the early 20th century: the deep woods of paranoia where our own failures will be projected onto the motives of others who mean to do us harm. The USA cannot come to terms with the salient facts staring us in the face: that we can’t run things as we’ve set them up to run. We refuse to take the obvious actions to set things up differently. That disorder has infected our currency and the infection is spreading to all currencies. The roar you hear in the distance this September will be the sound of banks crashing, followed by the silence of business-as-usual grinding to a halt. After that, the crackle of gunfire.
Given that the demand for physical gold among private investors has remained strong throughout 2013, the significant price declines in recent months took many investors by surprise. Attempting to make sense out of this situation, speculation has arisen that the so-called 'bullion banks' (the mostly "Too Big to Fail" institutions that are known to work closely with the central banks) have lent out, or even sold, gold on a fractional basis, far in excess of what is supposedly held in their vaults. The result would have been to multiply greatly the amount of 'apparent' gold in the market and thereby depress prices. Such an action would provide needed cover for the embarrassment of currency depreciating central banks' policies.
When Bad Government Policy Leads to Bad Results, the Government Manipulates the Data … Instead of Changing PolicySubmitted by George Washington on 07/30/2013 15:09 -0400
Problem ... What Problem?
A brief discussion of the technical condition of the major currencies going to what is a week packed with fundamental developments.
While hardly a surprise, following recent speculative punditry (which failed miserably in forecasting Mark Carney as the next BOE head, something Zero Hedge predicted half a year ahead of the event due to one simple variable - he is from Goldman) and numerous trial balloons on Bernanke's successor coming hot and heavy from every direction, it was time for the Fed's own mouthpiece, Jon Hilsenrath, to speak, and bring back much needed drama and confusion.
The multi-bubble machine called the Fed is at it again. This time they managed to create a gigantic bond bubble which will dwarf both the dot-com- and the housing bubble combined.
Global conditions in early 1928 were oddly similar to today (Benjamin Strong puzzling over a strange brew of rising stock prices, uneven economic recovery, suspect banking practices and unusual strains in Europe’s monetary system), but skewed in a direction that would cause our current policymakers to apply even stronger stimulus than we’ve seen in 2013. The analogy suggests to us that today’s Fed is threatening mistakes that aren’t unlike those of the 1920s Fed. But what about the stock market? Unfortunately, a few market characteristics fit the late 1920s timeline pretty well... There can be little doubt that today’s Fed-fueled asset price rallies merely bring future price appreciation forward to the present. Asset prices eventually return to fundamental values, and as they do the Fed’s cherished wealth effects work in reverse. This is another risk that should be considered when you decide whether to take Bernanke’s bait and “reach for yield” in stocks and other risky assets.
The recent decline in gold prices and the drain from physical ETFs have been interpreted by the media as signaling the end of the gold bull market. However, our analysis of the supply and demand dynamics underlying the gold market does not support this thesis. In our view, the bullion banks’ fractional gold deposit system is testing its limits. Too much paper gold exists for the amount of physical gold available. Demand from emerging markets, who do not settle for paper gold, has perturbed the status quo. Thus, our recommendation to investors is the following: empty unallocated gold accounts and redeem your gold in physical form (while you still can).
It is somewhat ironic that a Federal Reserve which is now more committed to "forward guidance", transparency and communication than ever in history, just announced the resignation of Krishna Guha, the head of NY Fed's Communications Group, aka the head PR contact for all media. More importantly, the resignation took place without a handy substitute ready. Our advice to the Fed, if unable to find a worthy replacement: just hire Jon Hilsenrath - after all he already is effectively the Fed's mouthpiece.
Most Americans Still Don’t Know that Federal Reserve Banks Are PRIVATE Corporations
Benjamin Strong was near the end of a long stint as head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank (he passed away in October 1928), where he enjoyed the same immense power that Ben Bernanke has today. The economy had just begun to recover from a recession in December 1927, and there was much unemployment and spare capacity.... Agriculture was booming during and immediately after World War I, based on thriving exports to Europe. Overinvestment during the boom then gave way to stagnation in the 1920s. Europe was in a bad state in the late 1920s, just as it is now. What’s more, two of the world’s three largest economies are now in Asia, and these economies face similar challenges to those of 1920s Europe. While analogies are never perfect, the parallels with early 1928 are troubling. When the world slipped into depression in the late 1920s and early 1930s, it was on the back of imbalances and debt overhangs that are oddly similar to those that we face today.
How Much Are Intelligence Analysts Front Running Markets?
Eisenbeis: If the FOMC doesn’t have such a plan in place, then it shouldn’t say “it depends on incoming data.”