Real Interest Rates

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Ben Bernanke Pens First Blog Post, Defends Fed, Says He "Was Concerned About Seniors"





"When I was chairman, more than one legislator accused me and my colleagues on the Fed’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee of “throwing seniors under the bus” (to use the words of one senator) by keeping interest rates low. The legislators were concerned about retirees living off their savings and able to obtain only very low rates of return on those savings. I was concerned about those seniors as well."

- Ben Bernanke first blog post

 
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Gold Prices Will Hit Record On Surging Asian Demand, ANZ Says





"Under our central case, gold prices are likely to rise gradually, eventually breaking through the USD2,000/oz level within the next decade. This is the most likely outcome, to which we assign a 45% probability," ANZ analysts say, in a note explaining how a number of factors are converging to make the outlook for gold particularly bullish.

 
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Bob Shiller Asks "How Scary Is The Bond Market?" (Spoiler Alert: Not Very)





With the bond market appearing ripe for a dramatic correction, many are wondering whether a crash could drag down markets for other long-term assets, such as housing and equities. Bond-market crashes have actually been relatively rare and mild. According to our model, long-term rates in the US should be even lower than they are now, because both inflation and short-term real interest rates are practically zero or negative. Even taking into account the impact of quantitative easing since 2008, long-term rates are higher than expected. Regarding the stock market and the housing market, there may well be a major downward correction someday. But it probably will have little to do with a bond-market crash.

 
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"Monetarism Hasn't Worked Anywhere" - Reality On China, Finally





China remains an export economy no matter how hard they try to convince the world they are moving otherwise. The idea of creating internal “demand” as a means to extricate marginal changes from everybody else is undoubtedly a good idea, even a noble one, but the reality of China as it exists top-down isn’t conducive for such a transformation. Further, that just isn’t realistic under the global conditions that have persisted since the Great Recession was declared over. In that respect, there isn’t much to separate what is occurring now from the Great Recession itself.

 
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Deutsche Bank Asks "Is The S&P Ready For Rate Hikes?" (Spoiler Alert: No)





"...this hiking cycle is nothing like any experienced before and the key to PEs will be how LT yields react. But in the meantime, EPS risk remains to the downside on FX, whereas the debate on magnitude of Fed hikes and how bond yields and PEs react will last all year... We see risk of a near-term 9% dip."

 
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Gold Prices And Real Interest Rates





Are gold prices going to US$ 5,000 or US$500 an ounce?

 
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China Cuts Interest Rates, Takes Number Of Central Banks Easing In 2015 To 21





And then there were 21. Hours ago on Saturday, the country whose currency is largely pegged to the dollar which itself is now anticipating a rate hike in the coming months, surprised the world by confirming its economic slowdown yet again following a recent rate cut just this past November when it lowered its benchmark rate by 40 bps, after it again cut benchmark lending and deposit rates by 25 bps starting on March 1. Specifically, the PBOC will lower the one-year lending rate to 5.35% from 5.6% and its one-year deposit rate to 2.5% from 2.75%. It also said it would raise the maximum interest rate on bank deposits to 130% of the benchmark rate from 120%.

 
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Greenspan: "The Stock Market Is Great", But The Economy Feels Like In "The Late Stages Of The Great Depression"





While conflicting economic data leaves hope for both buills and bears, Alan Greenspan warns that, unlike Yellen, "US economic growth is not strong." The maestro then breaks the golden rule of central bankers and explains how The Fed was, in fact, the main driver of the P/E multiple expansion in stocks; and when asked if this ends as badly as last time? He concludes "It depends...When real interest rates start to move up, that's when the crisis could hit," concluding with a warning that global "effective demand is extraordinarily weak - tantamount to the late stages of the great depression."

 
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Why ZIRP/NIRP Is Killing Fractional Reserve Banking & Forcing Deposits Into Gold





With historically low long-term interest rates, the opportunity cost of holding gold and silver are close to zero or even negative, in other words you would “lose” money if you buy bonds (the benchmark) instead of gold and silver. When people realize that their money is not “safe” with the banks they will start withdrawing cash from their accounts and buy physical gold and silver instead. Depending on circumstances this could possibly bring down the (fractional) banking system. Why keep money in an account that gives you a negative return? Swiss banks are already witnessing stronger than normal interest for physical gold.

 
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If Greece Exits, Here Is What Happens (Redux)





Now that the possibility of a Greek exit from the euro is back to being topic #1 of discussion, just as it was back in the summer of 2012 and the fall of 2011, and investors are propagandized by groundless speculation posited by journalists who have never used excel in their lives and are merely paid mouthpieces of bigger bank interests, it is time to rewind to a step by step analysis of precisely what will happen in the moments before Greece announces the EMU exit, how the transition from pre- to post- occurs, and the aftermath of what said transition would entail, courtesy of one of the smarter minds out there at the time (before his transition to a more status quo supportive tone), Citi's Willem Buiter, who pontificated precisely on this topic previously. Three words: "not unequivocally good."

 
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Michael Pettis On European Policymakers' "Terrifyingly Low Level Of Sophistication"





"To say Greece simply cannot repay isn’t the end of the story. As Europe moves towards a more rational debt policy with Greece, there is an enormous economic cost, not to mention social and perhaps political, to any delay. I worry about the terrifyingly low level of sophistication among policymakers and the economists who advise them when it comes to understanding balance sheet dynamics and debt restructuring. Greece’s debt overhang imposes rising financial distress costs and increasingly deep distortions in the institutional structure of the economy over time, and the longer it takes to resolve, the greater the cost."

 
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Impact Of China 0.5% RRR Cut Is Equivalent To RMB 630 Billion Liquidity Injection, Goldman Finds





To say that the PBOC is confused at this moment is a very big understatement: on one hand, yesterday the PBOC moved its reference rate for the yuan outside the daily trading band for the first time in 21 months, forcing the currency to strengthen as authorities seek to limit volatility in capital flows. And then just hours later, as reported first thing this morning, the same PBOC announced its broad RRR cut - the first one since May 2012 -  an attempt to ease ongoing, and thus tightening, capital outflows, and pushing the currency lower in the process. In short: unlike other central banks who hope that institutional and retail investors figure out their FX intentions and help them out by "frontrunning" their moves (which may never come) in what is now a clear and global currency war, China is certainly not making it easy for FX traders to figure out what will happen next.

 
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"It's A Man-Made Tragedy; And The Men Who Made It Won't Fix It"





"It's a man-made tragedy, and the men who made it won’t fix it." So it turns out Lenin wasn’t just right that the best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency. It’s also the best way, as Venezuela can tell you, to destroy the socialist one.

 
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"We Can't Do This Forever," Fed Admits "Market Will Overwhelm Us"





"It may work out just fine, but there’s a risk to that strategy... we’re in some sense distorting what might be the normal market outcomes at some point, we’re going to have to stop doing it. At some point the pressure is going to be too great. The market forces are going to overwhelm us. We’re not going to be able to hold the line anymore. And then you get that rapid snapback in premiums as the market realizes that central banks can’t do this forever. And that’s going to cause volatility and disruption." - Charles Plosser

 
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Ron Paul On Gold & The Fed's Failed 'Utopian Dream'





Over the last 100 years the Fed has had many mandates and policy changes in its pursuit of becoming the chief central economic planner for the US. Not only has it pursued this utopian dream of planning the US economy and financing every boondoggle conceivable in the welfare/warfare state, it has become the manipulator of the premier world reserve currency. All this effort by thousands of planners in the Federal Reserve, Congress, and the bureaucracy to achieve a stable financial system and healthy economic growth has failed. It must be the case that it has all been misdirected. And just maybe a free market and a limited government philosophy are the answers for sorting it all out without the economic planners setting interest and CPI rate increases. A simpler solution to achieving a healthy economy would be to concentrate on providing a “SOUND DOLLAR” as the Founders of the country suggested.

 
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