Hunting season is off to a good start this week, and I’m not just talking about deer hunting. It seems that former Fed officials declared open season on their ex-colleagues. First, Andrew Huszar, who once ran the Fed’s mortgage buying operation, let loose in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. Huszar apologized to all Americans for his role in the toxic QE programs. And then today, the WSJ struck again, this time with an op-ed by former FOMC Governor Kevin Warsh. Warsh is a former Morgan Stanley investment banker whose 2006 to 2011 stint on the FOMC spanned the end of the housing boom and the first few years of “unconventional” policy measures. After such a solid grounding in the ways of the Fed and Wall Street, he recently morphed into a critic of the status quo. His criticisms are welcome and we believe accurate, but they’re also oh so carefully expressed. They’re written with the polite wording and between-the-lines meanings that you might expect from such an establishment figure. He seems to be holding back. So, what does he really want to say?
As we discussed two weeks ago, it would appear Germany's lack of willingness to throw itself on the pyre of self-sacrifice and not adopt a global Fairness Doctrine - as engendered by the US Treasury's (and IMF's) bashing of the core European nation's for maintaining its export strength and daring to keep Europe in tact and thus a periphery-damaging strong Euro - is gathering steam. None other than Europe itself is now 'probing' Germany's trade surplus, using enhanced powers over how euro nations manage their economies with the IMF urging German Chancellor Angela Merkel to curtail the trade surplus to an “appropriate rate” to help euro partners cut deficits.
While chart analogs provide optically pleasing (and often far too shockingly correct) indications of the human herd tendencies towards fear and greed, a glance through the headlines and reporting of prior periods can provide just as much of a concerning 'analog' as any chart. In this case, while these 3 pictures can paint a thousand words; a thousand words may also paint the biggest picture of all. It seems, socially and empirically, it is never different this time as these 1936 Wall Street Journal archives read only too well... from devaluations lifting stocks to inflationary side-effects of money flow and from short-covering, money-on-the-sidelines, Jobs, Europe, low-volume ramps, BTFD, and profit-taking, to brokers advising stocks for the long-run before a 40% decline.
Irish citizens can invest in gold bullion in their pension funds since 2007
One of the mysteries surrounding the insolvent, and already once bailed out Spanish banking sector, has been the question why reported bad loans - sharply rising as they may be - are still as relatively low as they are currently, considering the nation's near highest in the Eurozone unemployment rate, and in comparison to such even more insolvent European nations as Greece, Cyprus and Slovenia. Courtesy of the just completed bank earnings season, and a WSJ report, we now know why: it turns out that for the past several years, instead of accurately designating non-performing loans, banks would constantly "refinance" bad loans making them appear viable even though banks have known full well there would be zero recoveries on those loans. In fact, as the story below describes, banks would even go so far as making additional loans whose proceeds would be just to pay interest on the existing NPLs - a morbid debt pyramid scheme, which when it collapses, no amount of EFSF, ESM or any other acronym-based bailout, will be able to make the country's irreparably damaged banks appear even remotely viable.
The death of the dollar is coming, and it will probably be China that pulls the trigger. What you are about to read is understood by only a very small fraction of all Americans. Right now, the U.S. dollar is the de facto reserve currency of the planet. Most global trade is conducted in U.S. dollars, and almost all oil is sold for U.S. dollars. More than 60 percent of all global foreign exchange reserves are held in U.S. dollars, and far more U.S. dollars are actually used outside of the United States than inside of it. As will be described below, this has given the United States some tremendous economic advantages, and most Americans have no idea how much their current standard of living depends on the dollar remaining the reserve currency of the world. Unfortunately, thanks to reckless money printing by the Federal Reserve and the reckless accumulation of debt by the federal government, the status of the dollar as the reserve currency of the world is now in great jeopardy.
We are growing more concerned by the day by the actions of the central banks. It isn’t just that markets popped and dropped dramatically before and after Draghi’s rate cut, or that any policy seems particularly bad, just that the policies don’t seem to be working great, and are leaving a changed landscape that will need to be corrected, somehow, in the future. We are quite simply concerned that too much faith is being placed in untested theories that may or may not work, or may or may not even be correct.
Having now tripled since August, Bitcoin's break above $300 ($324 highs) raises an important thought experiment - can a digital currency act as a global reserve currency?
As Mike "Hidden Secrets Of Money" Maloney has said many times before, the economic crisis of 2008 was only a speed bump on the way to the main event. He believes that before the end of this decade there will be an economic crisis so historic that it will eclipse the crash of 29 and the subsequent great depression. He also believes it is both unavoidable and inevitable, because it is merely the free market releasing the stored up energy from decades of economic manipulation. As Maolney notes, "the best investment that you will ever make in your lifetime is your own financial education," and the following provides a succinct reminder of the top reasons to buy gold and silver...
This is one of the few times where the benefactors or professionals who benefit from the bubbles, fully and openly acknowledge that stock prices and certain other asset classes are completely divorced from fundamental valuations.
Market attention is on the Third Plenary Session meeting of the 18th Central Committee (Third Plenum), where a blueprint for major reforms over the next decade is to be announced during the four-day congress starting on November 9. However, history shows that economic growth tends to be lower after major third plenum meetings. This is because structural reforms, while good in the longer term, tend to slow growth in the near term. While this is 'bad' for the global economy overall, the following nine nations, who are dependent on China to consumer over one-half of all their total exports, are particularly at risk.
The Fed will have to increase QE (not taper it) because systemic debt is compounding faster than production and interest rates are already zero-bound. Lee Quaintance noted many years ago that the Fed was holding a burning match. This remains true today (only it is a bomb with a short fuse). Thirteen years after the over-levered US equity market collapsed, eleven years following Bernanke’s speech, five years after the over-levered housing bubble burst, and four years into the necessary onset of global Zero Interest Rate Policies and Long-Term Refinancing Operations, global monetary authorities seem to have run out of new outlets for credit. In real economic terms, central bank policies have become ineffective. In other words, the US is now producing as much new debt as goods and services.
As we enter into the two final months of the year, it is also the beginning of the seasonally strong period for the stock market. It has already been a phenomenal year for asset prices as the Federal Reserve's ongoing liquidity programs have seemingly trumped every potential headwind imaginable from Washington scandals, potential invasions, government shutdowns and threats of default. This leaves us with four things to ponder this weekend revolving around a central question: "Does the Fed's Q.E. programs actually work as intended and what are the potential consequences?"
The two leading economic of the developed world are now engaged in an open pissing contest. Will anyone win, or will everyone lose? And will Germany offer Edward Snowden asylum as a result? Can US foreign policy be even more screwed up? Find out inside.
What is the prudent response when hefty profits beg to be booked and assets purchased with leverage/debt start declining? Sell, sell, sell. A financial sell-off doesn't even need a real crisis to spread like wildfire; it simply needs nosebleed asset valuations, excessive leverage/credit and risk priced at "the bull market is guaranteed to last essentially forever" levels. Prudence alone will ignite the conflagration.