The embargo has been lifted and here are the headlines, which are eeriely reminiscent of the Jackson Hole speech, courtesy of Bloomberg:
- BERNANKE: POLICY MAKERS SHOULDN'T DISREGARD ECONOMY'S FRAGILITY
- BERNANKE SAYS FED HAS `A RANGE OF TOOLS' FOR MORE STIMULUS
- BERNANKE SAYS SUBSTANTIAL FISCAL TIGHTENING COULD HURT RECOVERY
- BERNANKE SAYS FED PREPARED TO USE TOOLS `AS APPROPRIATE'
- BERNANKE SAYS INFLATION `EXPECTED TO MODERATE' IN COMING Q'S
- BERNANKE SAYS FED SEES `GREATER DOWNSIDE RISKS' TO OUTLOOK
- BERNANKE: POLICY MAKERS SHOULDN'T DISREGARD ECONOMY'S FRAGILITY
- BERNANKE: U.S. FINANCES COULD `SPIRAL OUT OF CONTROL'
...Taking a step back, we are looking at potential Nations defaulting, plus augmenting further austerity measures to try and reduce debt (which will stifle any growth for years to come), the spiral of banks coming close to nationalisation across the developed world, consumer deleveraging, rising unemployment, falling house prices and a rising loss of faith with government along with discontent and civil unrest. Why on earth would you sell gold when the outlets for safe havens are being radically reduced since the SNB move and the threat from Japan to intervene? Plus the fact that currencies offer less in the form of stores of value also. A massive shift from currency investment to precious metals could take place. Currency wars will exacerbate this and whilst the SNB move is from a small nation, what happens if one of the big boys like Japan join in? Carnage basically and trade wars and border issues will ignite and G20 could implode. Just what the world is ill-prepared for but it looks like it is brewing. Civil unrest and regime changes around the world will add to the soup.
The Fed has been reduced to promoting politically expedient "solutions" in the face of a moribund global economy suffering from persistent and intractable unemployment.
The global consumer society funded by credit is in its end-game, and is the "Central State as guarantor of private consumption" model in which governments borrow/print vast sums of fiat currency to distribute to their citizenry to prop up consumption. Once exports go away, then domestic economies the world over implode. Ironically, perhaps, the one nation which doesn't depend on exporting its surplus production for its stability is the U.S. This is one reason why the Swiss pegging their fiat franc to the Euro will fail to hold back the ceaseless tide eroding the Euro. You can play games with currency pegs for awhile, but ultimately the value and utility of a fiat currency is established by trade, energy and the geopolitical issues outlined above. If we don't understand trade flows, surplus production, the surplus in labor and the resultant decline in its share of national income, credit and currencies in this Marxist-inspired historical perspective, we cannot make sense of the financial/political crises which are sweeping over the global economy. The end-game is at hand, and we need models that are up to the task of explaining the vast forces now in play.
We’ve already seen the banking community write down over $1Tn in losses and survive to screw us over another day – do we really think this little wrist-slap will end them or is this just another example of retail suckers being stampeded out of the sector that is likely to benefit most from QE3?
Gold Reaches $1,900 Again - Supported by Risk of U.S. Recession, German Euro Risk and Wikileaks China Gold CablesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/05/2011 08:02 -0500
Gold’s London AM fix this morning was USD 1,896.50, EUR 1,341.13, and GBP 1,174.67 per ounce. The gold fix was higher than Friday’s in all currencies (USD 1,854.00, EUR 1,301.23, and GBP 1,143.81 per ounce). Despite continuing denial, a recession in the U.S. is inevitable; the question is only with regard to how deep the recession is and to the nature of the recession – inflationary, stagflationary, hyperinflationary or deflationary. The consensus, especially amongst Keynesians, is that deflation is most likely. However, given the degree of currency debasement being seen internationally stagflation is also a risk. Hyperinflation, as being experienced in Belarus today, is the macroeconomic and monetary ‘black swan’. There are growing concerns that the Eurozone crisis might degenerate again soon due to the Greek debt crisis and risk of default. Over the weekend talks between Greece, the IMF and ECB representatives over new bailout funds broke down. The euro has fallen and the German local elections have added to concerns over Greece.
Earlier today Jim Quinn rhetorically asked why the price of oil hasn't collapsed despite the contraction in the global economy. Well, in a completely unrelated letter, Grant Williams of Things That Make You Go Hmmm, answers not only the question of why Brent and WTI continue to disconnect (must read for anyone interested in the oil market), but also Grant's underlying quandary (as rhetorical as it may be): "As stock markets plummeted in August, one thing that was noticeable was the resilience of both ‘the oil price’ (in the shape of Brent Crude, of course) and that of copper - two bellwether indicators of any slowdown in growth that can be relied upon to flash signals when a recession is nigh. To be sure, the data reported in August was dreadful. In the US we saw a slew of appalling regional manufacturing reports, (the Philly Fed and Empire numbers could genuinely be described as ‘shock- ers’), shattered consumer confidence numbers and rising inflation all topped off with a big fat goose egg in the NFP report last Friday, while in Europe, as the periphery continued to confirm just how week their economies continue to be, the real shocks came from the region’s perennial powerhouse economy, Germany. So why doesn’t ‘the oil price’ reflect this likelihood? Simple: 1. China has a LOT of paper money and is happy to swap it for hard assets that it knows will ulti- mately be far more beneficial in the long run as Western governments continue to debase their currencies. 2. Western governments continue to debase their currencies."
Whille the past week was full of economic news, most of them decidedly negative, it is next week that the house of cards could finally come unhinged. In what will be the event of the week, Germany's Constitutional Court is set to rule on the legality of the seemingly endless bailout pledges made by Merkel. If they rule against the bailouts, that would be Europe's version of a Lehman moment. Next on the docket you have Italy which has recently been softening its austerity program. Berlusconi needs to show increased leadership by solidifying his pledge towards consummate austerity in an effort to improve his country's finances. Financial markets have recently taken notice of these negative developments. Investors knew that the jobs report wouldn't be pretty, however, yesterday's large selloff was actually due to renewed euro zone jitters. If the Eurozone does blowup, all bets are off.
Put this in the category of it ain’t over until it is over.
Hot labor market trend even in a recessionary environment and jobs to avoid at all costs.
Finally serious economists are considering a position I have been maintaining and writing about since the 2008 financial meltdown. Whatever its name— erasure, repudiation, abolishment, cancellation, jubilee—debt forgiveness, will have to eventually emerge forefront in global efforts to solve an ongoing systemic financial crisis. Debt forgiveness, therefore, accomplishes two important things. It eliminates the increasing and outsized portion of productive enterprise to pay off unproductive obligations, and it clears the ground for new opportunities, new thinking, invention, and entrepreneurialism. This is why the ability to declare bankruptcy is so essential in the pursuit of both happiness and innovation.