Swiss National Bank
"The Fed is out of control," exclaims David Stockman - perhaps best known for architecting Reagan's economic turnaround known as 'Morning in America' - adding that "people don't want to hear the reality and the truth that we're facing." Policymakers are "taking our economy in a direction that is dangerous, that is not sustainable, and is likely to fully undermine everything that's been built up and created by the American people over decades and decades." The Fed, Stockman concludes, "is a rogue institution," and their actions have led us to "one of the scariest moments in our history... it's a festering time-bomb and we're not sure when it will explode."
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%.
Behavioral economics suggests that a little QE can change human behavior at the margins, but no amount of QE is enough to change human nature at its core. The High Priests of the IMF, the Fed, and the ECB are blind to this because all of modern economic theory – ALL of it – is based on a single bedrock assumption: humans are economic maximizers. Yes, we are maximizers of reward. But we are also minimizers of regret. We seem destined to learn the hard way... once again... that you can’t change human nature by government fiat. But individual investors and allocators can listen and learn from these old good ideas, and that’s how you survive the Golden Age of the Central Banker.
With the Fed and other Central banks now leveraged well above 50-to-1, even those entities that were backstopping an insolvent financial system are themselves insolvent.
Last week it was 19 central banks (including the ECB which accounts for 19 nations) which had cut rates in 2015, mostly in "surprise", unexpected easing decisions. Moments ago the number became 20 when the Israel central bank just cut its interest rate by 0.15% to 0.1%, the lowest on record, a move which once again caught the market by surprise as only 3 of 23 analysts had predicted it.
With the world's oldest central bank - Sweden's Riksbank - taking the plunge into negative rates, there have been 19 'eases' by central banks this year, Morgan Stanley warns of "ghosts of the 1930s." With competitive 'easing' stoking fears of international currency wars, The Telegraph notes however that looser monetary policy is not the order of the day everywhere in the world, and herein lies potential danger for the world economy.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland earlier this week tweeted out a notice of a working paper titled: U.S. Intervention during the Bretton Woods Era:1962-1973... a detailed report on the massive interventions in currency markets that the Treasury and the Federal Reserve conducted and is exceptionally critical of the market manipulations that took place during that period. It is probably no surprise then that the paper is no longer featured at the Cleveland Fed, and the tweet was quickly deleted.
Gold and government bonds now cost about the same to own, but governments actively trying to lower the value of their bonds and bank accounts while gold is rising wherever trouble erupts. The logical conclusion is that if gold and cash both cost the same to own, then maybe gold — which has held its value over millennia while every previous fiat currency has evaporated — is the better bet.
Now that Europe has demonstrated that one can go NIRP and not crash the system, will the Fed - once its silly obsession with hiking rates in the summer only to launch even more easing and/or QE as the ECB did in 2008 and 2011 - follow suit and join a rising tide of "developed" world central banks in punishing savers for hoarding cash? In a note released last night titled "Revisiting Negative Interest Rates in the US", Goldman shares its thought on the matter. It goes without saying that Goldman is important, because whatever Goldman's econ team shares with Goldman's Bill Dudley over at the NY Fed, usually tends to become official policy with a 3-6 month lag.
All Out War Pt 3: Contrary to Central Bank Rhetoric, the Danish Krone Peg's as Fragile As Glass, May Throw Banks Into Turmoil!Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 02/11/2015 08:22 -0500
Exactly as I warned 3 wks ago, Nordic countries are facing pressure. Here's strong evidence of a krone break, havoc to ensue in global banks, how to monetize when skittish brokers pull access & leverage.
‘Coin bars’ is a bullion industry term referring to bars that were made by melting gold coins in a process that did not refine the gold nor remove the other metals or metal alloys that were in the coins. The molten metal was just recast directly into bar form. Because it’s a concept critical to the FRBNY stored gold, the concept of US Assay Office / Mint gold bar ‘Melts’ is also highlighted below. Melts are batches of gold bars, usually between 18 and 22 bars, that when produced, were stamped with a melt number and a fineness, but were weight-listed as one unit. The US Assay Office produced both 0.995 fine gold bars and coin bars as Melts. The gold bars in a Melt are usually stored together unless that melt has been ‘broken’.
With China devaluation looming as the great unspoken Black Swan trade, and on the heels of the Swiss National Bank folding on its 'peg', we thought a quick glance at the world's "pegged" currencies would be useful as a guide to where the next shoe (and pant legs) will drop. With global FX implied volatility at EU crisis highs, the markets clearly expect more to come...
With SNB's Danthine having proclaimed last week that, despite allowing Swissy to free-float again (with a soft corridor from 1.05 - 1.10), that "the SNB remains ready to intervene on foreign exchange markets" one could be forgiven for thinking that the Swiss National Bank is at it again tonight. The 'stabilitee' of EURUSD - trading in a narrow 45 pip range and holding very close to unchanged (as US equity futures slide, Treasuries rally and gold rises) seems a little too well managed tonight and one glance at EURCHF's "spikey-ness" suggests the visible hand of intervention at play...
“In effect, there is nothing inherently wrong with fiat money, provided we get perfect authority and god-like intelligence for kings.” Aristotle (?2,400 years ago)
“Remember what we’re looking at. Gold is a currency. It is still, by all evidence, a premier currency. No fiat currency, including the dollar, can match it.” Alan Greenspan (2014)
Put on the a tin foil hat if you must, but US dollar's rally is resuming after short consolidation phase. I think the rally is only about 1/3 of where it is eventually going.