It is time for a comprehensive audit of Janet Yellen ’s Federal Reserve - and not just for the reasons presidential candidate Rand Paul and others have given. The Fed needs to be audited to see if its ruling body has broken the law by manipulating financial markets that are outside its jurisdiction.
Given “highly accommodative” policy almost everywhere, and so little gained; it isn’t a good sign particularly after eight incessant years of it and the lagged effects from the renewed “dollar” wave still to be withstood. Every year was supposed to be “the year”, but 2015 was a surefire lock according to orthodox versions. The real difference, unlike past years, is that everything is going wrong so far just as predicted by the “strong dollar.”
This time around, when the bubble bursts, it won’t simply affect a particular sector or asset class or country… it will affect the entire system.
Think about it. We are currently watching global stock markets gyrate toward breakdown trying to anticipate the whims of a cloistered professor who never launched a business, never met a payroll, never shipped a product, and never won an election, yet has been empowered to determine the price of money. What’s even stranger is that people consider this normal. Ask yourself: Why do we wait on pins and needles for Janet Yellen to set interest rates yet laugh at the idea that kings once set the “just price” for a loaf of bread?
The Jackson Hole gathering may end up providing at least some clarification, but not even close to the manner in which everyone seems intent on inferring. With Janet Yellen’s notable absence, there isn’t the same sort of celebrity about what would have been the media hanging upon every word; that is, after all, what the Federal Reserve has become, not an organ of stability or even expertise but a public relations effort aimed squarely at trying to convince everyone possible that it is. Given the unique circumstances at the moment, the real issue is not whether they might raise rates but just how much systemic misdirection has already been revealed even to the least attentive of people.
We are heading for a crisis that will be exponentially worse than 2008. The global Central Banks have literally bet the financial system that their theories will work. They haven’t.
One of the greatest con jobs in history was convincing ordinary people that Central Bankers care about the “economy” or Main Street.
Over the past several years, the two-day Jackson Hole symposium had garnered a particular prominence among economists and market watchers as this is where various key inflection points by the Fed were hinted, leaked or announced, including QE2, QE3 and the taper. This year, however, the gathering of central bankers in Teton County, will be less exciting due to the absense of the most important central banker in the world: Janet Yellen, which means the highlighter will be Vice-Chairman Stanley Fischer when he speaks tomorrow at 10:25pm which will be a key event given the recent market turmoil.
Lost in all the stock market focus is the renewed disaster being signaled across credit markets, “inflation” expectations in particular. Here oil prices and the “dollar’s” darkening intersect with credit and broad financial settings. Quietly, market-based measures of the anticipated future “inflation” path have crashed. It can no longer be transitory, which extrapolates nowhere good for monetary policy, orthodox economics and the actual global economy. The theme for several years now has been that “they don’t know what they are doing” and once more we find that proven by “unexpected” events that were perfectly predictable outside the orthodox bubble.
The Fed could potentially go “nuclear” with a massive QE program if the markets fall far enough, but this would only accelerate the pace at which investors lose confidence in Central Banks’ abilities to rein in the carnage.
Every Federal Reserve Chair since 1979 has faced a notable challenge in the first 12-20 months of their tenure – something akin to capital markets “Bullies” hazing the new kid at school. Paul Volcker had the 1979-1980 Iranian oil shock/recession, Alan Greenspan the 1987 Stock Market Crash, and Ben Bernanke the 2007 Financial Crisis. Their responses shaped market perceptions about Federal Reserve priorities and set the stage for the remainder of their tenures, from Inflation-Fighting Volcker to Save-the-World Bernanke. Now, it is Chair Yellen’s turn...
If the last two weeks have taught us anything at all (other than that a Reg FD violation is called a "scoop" when it involves Jim Cramer and Tim Cook), it’s that China quite clearly matters - and it matters quite a lot.
Yesterday's market tumble finally brought the S&P and Nasdaq alongside the Dow Jones into correction territory, send the broader index down 11% from its highs, even as a vast majority of S&P constituents already preceded the index and are either in correction or in bear market territory. And yet, following today's latest central bank intervention, this time in the long overdue Chinese interest rate cut (which will hardly have a lasting impact on either the economy or stock markets), the S&P correction may may prove to be short lived: S&P is poised to open about 4% higher, delivering the latest "Bullard" moment to the S&P, this time courtesy of China. Still, the question remains: was that it for the long overdue correction, and what comes next.
The correction may soon morph into a full-fledged bear market if the Fed makes good on its supposed intentions to raise interest rates this year. Have no illusions, while most market observers are quick to blame the sell-off on China, this market was given life by the Fed, and the Fed is the only force that will keep it alive. Unfortunately for the Fed, it won't be able to get away with doing nothing for too much longer. Events may soon force it to show its hand. Then perhaps some may notice that the Fed is holding absolutely nothing and has been bluffing the entire time.