The volatility of recent weeks is but a mere small taste of the volatility in store for all markets in the coming months and years. The global debt crisis is likely to continue for the rest of the decade as politicians and central bankers have merely delayed the day of reckoning. They have ensured that when the day of reckoning comes it will be even more painful and costly then it would have been previously.
At the end of the day, Friedman jettisoned the gold standard for a remarkable statist reason. Just as Keynes had been, he was afflicted with the economist’s ambition to prescribe the route to higher national income and prosperity and the intervention tools and recipes that would deliver it. The only difference was that Keynes was originally and primarily a fiscalist, whereas Friedman had seized upon open market operations by the central bank as the route to optimum aggregate demand and national income. The greatest untoward consequence of the closet statism implicit in Friedman’s monetary theories, however, is that it put him squarely in opposition to the vision of the Fed’s founders. As has been seen, Carter Glass and Professor Willis assigned to the Federal Reserve System the humble mission of passively liquefying the good collateral of commercial banks when they presented it. Consequently, the difference between a “banker’s bank” running a discount window service and a central bank engaged in continuous open market operations was fundamental and monumental. In short, the committee of twelve wise men and women unshackled by Friedman’s plan for floating paper dollars would always find reasons to buy government debt, thereby laying the foundation for fiscal deficits without tears.
How bad is the situation? Quite bad. As as of last night, courtesy of SMRA, we know that the amount of ten-year equivalents held by the Fed increased to $1.608 trillion from $1.606 trillion in the prior week, which reduces the amount available to the private sector to $3.603 trillion from $3.636 trillion in the prior week. There were $5.211 trillion ten-year equivalents outstanding, down from $5.242 trillion in the prior week. After the Treasury issuance, maturing securities, rising interest rates, and Fed operations during the week, the Fed owned about 30.86% of the total outstanding ten year equivalents. This is above the 30.63% from the prior week, and the percentage of ten-year equivalents available to the private sector decreased to 69.14% from 69.37% in the prior week.
Gold has gone down Friday to under $1, 200 an ounce and that means it’s reached its lowest point for the past three years. Worse than that: it’s been the worst quarterly performance for gold for 45 years!
The late 20th century was a jam-packed time for stock-market crashes that would change, shape and alter our lives in so many ways.
The Federal Reserve has had $1.2 million swiped from a flight somewhere between Switzerland, the land of secret banking, and New York City. Now, in the ranking of thefts that have taken place in history, this one seems like it is rather untimely! Has anybody seen Ben Bernanke lately?
It was bound to happen some might say. We were warned! Chinese banks have stopped lending due to pressure from liquidity deposits. Some branches of the Bank of China and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China have issued statements in which they announce that they are halting lending for a temporary period.
The Financial Times has revealed that Italy is facing losses of €8 billion due to derivative contracts that were taken out in the 1990s and that were restructured during the Eurozone crisis.
Jean-Claude Trichet, the former head of the European Central Bank, in an interview with CNBC stated that there was only so much that central banks could do to save the economic situation at the present time.
What magic Chinese rabbit has been pulled out of the hat now?
China’s central bank issued a statement that the Chinese banking system had liquidity levels that were “reasonable” today. There by hangs a tale. ‘Reasonable’ is that which may fairy and properly be required of an individual (a case of prudent action observed under a set of given circumstances).
Both the U.S. and China are now attempting to deflate asset bubbles. The former is likely to have second thoughts while the latter isn't.
Europe is a disaster-zone. Here’s the round-up of what’s going wrong right now. The longest day? It would have been a long day, whatever happened, so you might as well enjoy it.
As if the Greeks don’t have enough to deal with right now with their country cut off from the benefits of a national television and radio station. What is it they say in the UK? Something like ‘when it rains it pours’.
There was a time when portfolio insurance guaranteed that events like Black Monday would never happen. Then Black Monday happened precisely due to portfolio insurance. Some years later, the credit-driven housing boom made modeling of declining home prices at rating agencies (and everywhere else) redundant. Then the (first) housing and credit bubble popped leading to the biggest housing market crash in US history. Fast forward to today, when ETFs were supposed to be the "greatest thing since sliced bread" and providing an ultra-low cost alternative to mutual fund and other market exposure "for the people", were supposed to revolutionize investing. Until days like yesterday. To wit from the FT: "The losses for ETFs today were far beyond what the most sophisticated financial risk models could have predicated for worst-case scenarios," said Bryce James, president of Smart Portfolio, which provides ETF asset allocation models.