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Hilsenrath Hits The Tape: Ignore Everything I Said Two Weeks Ago

Tyler Durden's picture


The last time the WSJ' Jon Hilsenrath was relevant was two weeks ago (in a flashback to those days before QEternity when infinite QE was not assured and Jon's input was actually relevant), when following an article of his, and due to his "proximity" with the New York Fed, many assumed that the Tapering suggested by Hilsenrath was being telegraphed by Bernanke to the market. Turns out it was nothing but yet another baffle with bullshit headfake by a central planning regime that is now merely engaged in observing market responses to indirect stimuli: if reduce monthly flow by $20 billion then X (-1%); if cut QE off entirely then Y (-50%?), and so on. Moments ago the same Hilsenrath just released another piece, which effectively refuted everything his previous piece suggested, and in fact made his position as Fed mouthpiece absolutely irrelevant, courtesy of the following disclosure: "this time, when the Fed shuts off bond buying, it won't be... predictable." He goes so far as to say that the term "tapering" is no longer even applicable! Funny that, considering on May 11, none other than Hilsenrath said: "Federal Reserve officials have mapped out a strategy for winding down an unprecedented $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program meant to spur the economy."

The irony here is that Hilsenrath is correct, but for another far simpler reason: the Fed simply can not shut down bond buying, at least not voluntarily, without crashing bond the stock market, and the perception that the economy is doing well (it isn't), just because the S&P hits new all time highs day after day.

The Fed will of course "shut down" bond buying when like in the summer of 2008 simple inflation is raging in commodities, and when a bank has to be sacrificed to induce a deflationary vortex. However, for now thanks to the epic planning in keeping the Brent vigilantes largely in check (now that the Bond vigilatnes are long dead), and since the market has a few more thousand points higher to go before everyone has no choice but to acknowledge how ridiculous the asset bubble has become, there is, to paraphrase Tim Geithner, "no risk."

From the WSJ:

When the Fed ended a buying program in 2011, it shut it off all at once. When it shut off another bond buying program in 2009 and 2010, it did it in predetermined, predictable and “tapered” steps. When the Fed raised short-term interest rates from 2003 to 2006, it raised them in gradual and very predictable steps.


This time, when the Fed shuts off bond buying, it won’t be abrupt and it won’t be predictable. The term “tapering” — which implies a predictable gradual process — probably doesn’t describe the plan very well any more, and you’re unlikely to hear Fed officials describing it like that. Instead, the Fed will take a step and then see what happens. Officials also want to avoid the market blowup that happened in 1994, when it took one step and the market assumed that meant a succession of additional steps.


A step to reduce the flow of purchases would not be an automatic, mechanistic process to end the program,” Mr. Bernanke said. In other words, if the Fed takes a step to reduce the program and the economy falters, it could sit still for a while or even dial purchases back up.


The Fed effectively wants the markets to experience the same uncertainty it experiences about policy and the economy when officials walk into a meeting, and it wants to condition the market to avoid jumping to conclusions about what it will do next. As officials keep saying, it will depend on the economy.

Perhaps the biggest insult here to sentient creatures everywhere, is that people have now become merely lab rats in the greatest behavioral conditioning experiment of all time, not only as regards to buying stocks on both bad and good news, or any utterance out of Bernanke's mouth, but an experiment designed to force everyone to simply stop thinking logically - the logic being that since every central bank is engaged full bore in reflating everything, than the economy left on its own is simply horrendous - and BTFD.


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Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:03 | 3588126 The Master
The Master's picture

You cannot make this shit up.  Un-fucking-real.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:08 | 3588151 knukles
knukles's picture

Hey, he just wants to keep his next career move options open looking for that apprenticeship with Stop-loss-ler or whatever his name is.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:09 | 3588170 idea_hamster
idea_hamster's picture

Hilsenrath, FTM[uppet]FW!

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:12 | 3588188 nope-1004
nope-1004's picture

15 minutes of fame.  In time this guy will be long forgotten.  But the faster he STFU, the less embarrassment he'll cause himself.


Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:18 | 3588219 Pinto Currency
Pinto Currency's picture


This Bernanke, Hilsenrath chatter is irrelevant.

Both gold and silver are in price backwardation and physical shortages are being reported worldwide.

ABN Amro default now and further UBS defaults being reported on physical delivery of supposedly allocated gold.

The monetary metals speak a competely different story than the digital money printing Czar's story.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:28 | 3588276 SDRII
SDRII's picture

FT's Izzy is working up an article now about that "alleged" backwardization now...

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:53 | 3588291 Pinto Currency
Pinto Currency's picture


I am sure he is.  The FT staff must be having fits in their editorial room discussion.

Gold backwardation is not supposed to be possible, however there it is. 

See Jaitly at 13:30 of this interview.

And silver price backwardation is now more than twice the level of gold's price backwardation and it is persistent.

The market is saying that physical metal is the essential asset and is in shortage.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 13:23 | 3588532 silverserfer
silverserfer's picture

it really is annoying how much attention people pay to what a fucking banker says.  

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 13:50 | 3588623 knukles
knukles's picture

Even more so, to their shills in the media who either lie through their teeth or don't have a clue.... and in either case abrogate their professional contract with the public.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 14:22 | 3588790 Pinto Currency
Pinto Currency's picture
Market Nuggets: HSBC: Asian Physical Demand For Gold Remains Strong

Tuesday May 21, 2013 4:00 PM

Physical demand for gold in key Asian nations remains strong, says HSBC.  Gold briefly touched $1,400 an ounce overnight on strong physical buying, most notably from China and India, the bank says. “Bullion’s price premium on the Shanghai Gold Exchange stood at USD22/oz, as it remained above USD20/oz for a fourth consecutive trading day,” HSBC says. The bank cites a report in the Economic Times of India saying buyers in Hong Kong and Singapore are currently paying a $5-per-ounce price premium, while buyers in India are paying a $40 premium. “Physical gold buyers have significantly stepped into the market since bullion’s first price break below the USD1,600/oz level earlier in the year. We expect this to continue with prices below USD1,400/oz,” HSBC says.

By Allen Sykora of Kitco News;

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:08 | 3588158 espirit
espirit's picture

I know we can't, but they sure as hell can make it up as they go along.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 14:51 | 3588931 Levadiakos
Levadiakos's picture

While Jon is still living off those "Karate Kid" royalities, I miss Grep Ip

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:13 | 3588194 optionsman
optionsman's picture

you sound surprised........

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:16 | 3588216 freewolf7
freewolf7's picture

H: "I can't believe you guys even listen to this shit."

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:54 | 3588413 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

Looks like another good 7 months of rally.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 14:53 | 3588941 Dr. Kenneth Noi...
Dr. Kenneth Noisewater's picture

Mouth of Sauronanke.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:03 | 3588128 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

This whole monkey show was done to make hilsenrath look bad and Liesman look good. That is how important cnbc is as a state media too to these guys.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:22 | 3588243 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

Find yourself a commune...smoke weird stuff and say "ohm" for twenty years...when you leave ask "is QE finally over?"

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:03 | 3588131 LostPolarBear
LostPolarBear's picture

How long can this continue before implosion?



Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:09 | 3588147 Haole
Haole's picture

Longer than most can stay sane and solvent.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:11 | 3588183 gjp
gjp's picture

That's for sure. Somehow this tragi-comedy keeps working from them.  Everyone speaking out of all sides of their mouth, stocks just float higher, PMs give up their gains, bonds come under control, and the US dollar soars?  A daily recurring nightmare.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 13:31 | 3588562 silverserfer
silverserfer's picture

most of this bulshit since 2008, 5 years is a blip on the timeline. The desctrive nature of debt + compound interest piling up on top of everything will come to its inevitable end.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:09 | 3588163 GolfHatesMe
GolfHatesMe's picture

Until there are no more bonds to buy. 

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:13 | 3588196 knukles
knukles's picture

I'm sure our spendthrift Congress, Adminisrtation and Treasury can take care of that shortage for Uncle Ben
After all when there are none to buy and rates are negative, Krugman'll claim Total and Absolute Victory and Jelq himeslf to death
Happy happy joy joy....

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:07 | 3588137 kahunabear
kahunabear's picture

Just think, when they have bought every mortgage and treasury, they can bail out all the munis! Then there are always corporates including high yield. This could go on forever. Detroit and Apple need the fed! Ugh. At what point does this not work? Maybe when they start buying JGBs someone will call them out. Oh wait, they may already be doing it.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:05 | 3588140 GolfHatesMe
GolfHatesMe's picture

Hating the BTFD strategy

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:06 | 3588148 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Hilsenrath is a cog in the confuzzlement machine of perception management.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:07 | 3588155 Smuckers
Smuckers's picture

So let me get this straight -
What Ben does is based on the economy.
What the economy does is based on Ben. it.


Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:10 | 3588173 knukles
knukles's picture

What's Good for Goldman is Good for the Economy.
Put 'em in the "Industrial" Average


Wed, 05/22/2013 - 13:34 | 3588568 easterner
easterner's picture

"So let me get this straight -
What Ben does is based on the market.
What the market does is based on Ben."


Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:09 | 3588164 Dyhana
Dyhana's picture

and in other news, if it hasn't already been posted.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:12 | 3588192 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

There are plenty of "circuses", looks like they have that under control.  As for the "bread", not so much...

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:19 | 3588230 Dyhana
Dyhana's picture

Next up, IRA's, 401K's, just kinda "borrowing" it for a bit. It's for the children dontcha know.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:26 | 3588264 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Irrelevant to actually delivering the bread.  Just look to what is current happening to the price to deliver monetary/commodity metals relative to the "market" price and the various exchanges (how many exchanges are calling it quits now?).

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:15 | 3588212 ForWhomTheTollBuilds
ForWhomTheTollBuilds's picture

Just another outrage in a long series of outrageous outrages.  I remember them doing this "last time" as well. 


ZH was right on top of it trying to explain to an ipad addled populace why they ought to be concerned that the governments *first* response to a budgetary crunch was to raid pensions.


No reaction...

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:09 | 3588166 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture


Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:09 | 3588167 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

So instead of tapering now the plan is to moar. This is trully a fucked up system.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:11 | 3588171 Gene Parmesan
Gene Parmesan's picture

I am so confused as to which of bonds and equities is the comparatively safer harbor these days. I give up.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:10 | 3588174 Cursive
Cursive's picture

So they floated a trial balloon with their public mouthpiece/shill and it didn't work, so now they're backing off.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:14 | 3588178 realtick
realtick's picture

the fed's mission has been accomplished - they have driven rates down to zero, allowing the govt to print and borrow infinitely

rates will never rise, QE will never end, and the stock market will never look back - that's what they wanted and that's what they got

The Secret Of Their Success

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:12 | 3588185 q99x2
q99x2's picture

When I had a job as a dog walker one of my clients had a Saint Bernanke. I used to hate walking that F'ker. 11 years old, weighed 170 lbs and blind as a bat. Made me want to apply for a job cleaning elephant pens at the LA zoo. It finally swallowed its stomach or some weird thing Saint Bernanke's are known to do. It died. My finances got a lot better after that.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:37 | 3588325 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

About 10 years ago a vet from Florida told me a story of giving a critically distressed elephant an enema at a roadside rest stop.  It involved a drum of mineral oil.  I guess the circus had to clean it up.  So maybe the St. Bernanke wasn't so bad.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:17 | 3588190 mdtrader
mdtrader's picture

The problem is the minute they say taper the bond market will implode. Not only will there be no buyers, but there will be whole bunch of hedge fund managers ready to short the thing to oblivion. There's just no way the economy or the government can stand a huge rise in borrowing costs, so it's balls to the wall QE. With occasionally head fake comments about wanting to taper. Given the aim is to devalue the dollar and inflate debt away, I don't believe there is any real desire to taper at all.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:21 | 3588195 Cheater5
Cheater5's picture

Here is the reality of the situation.  The dumb POSs at the Fed (who have never managed a trading book until they decided to create the biggest fixed income portfolio in the history of the world) are now figuring out that they are completely FUCKED and that there is no way to exit their positions without getting their head handed to them. 

If this occurs then they will have to go back to the congress and ask for capital and admit that they just spent an odd hundred billion $ or so without authorization or the explicit knowledge of the congress.  Congress will then be reamed by their constituents and that will roll downhill to the Fed. 

The Fed knows that if they have to go to the congress they will be "done", and by "done" I mean the Fed will either cease to exist or will be put under political control.  Additionally senior officials at the Fed may be starting to figure out that they may end up in prison (i.e., Federal "fuck you in the ass" prison) as the lawyers start scouring the federal statutes in search of a way to scapegoat them for the coming political backlash.

So basically the Fed is now operating in full survival/"protect your cornhole" mode.  They are probably very scared (or at least they should be) so expect irrational behavior.

Gee.  Who could have predicted that????



Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:13 | 3588201 khakuda
khakuda's picture

Once again, the implication is that they want asset prices to be incorrect, but only if they are higher than they would otherwise be, not lower.   Most of us would call this creating a bubble and malinvestment.  They call it a good plan. For some unstated and erroneous reason they think that will work better in terms of resource allocation in the economy versus the free market price mechanism. How do these guys call themselves economists or even believers in markets when they believe prices should never be allowed to adjust downwards, even momentarily?

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:13 | 3588202 yogibear
yogibear's picture

"but for another far simpler reason: the Fed simply can not shut down bond buying, at least not voluntarily,"

LOL,  No s#%# Sherlock!

Bernanke, Evans, Dudley and Yellen are trapped until she blows.

Then they have no more tools left. Their dead. 

Continue down the same path Fed dummies.

Most will loose, a few will make out big.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:14 | 3588206 TimmyM
TimmyM's picture

Did anybody notice how the parts of Bernanke's testimony were timed perfectly to execute a 30 year Treasury POMO pump and dump? Could it be that the Hilsenrath flip flop was just more manipulation to get some cheap bonds to set up the dump? If the FED is stealing from us to give to Wall Street with ZIRP and QE, why would they not just screw us just like a penny stock promoter?


Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:14 | 3588207 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Reagan proved that deficits don't matter.
Obama proved that debt doesn't matter (all 16 trillion of it, with student loan forgiveness and NINJA 97-month auto loans).
Bernanke is proving that currency doesn't matter either since we can always order up some when we feel like it.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:15 | 3588210 Dewey Cheatum Howe
Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

It is like a kinder gentler molestaton going on here where they actually whisper sweet nothings in your ear while gently probing your asshole with a cold finger before the inevitable ass rape that comes next.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:17 | 3588223 Bagbalm
Bagbalm's picture

Well he can hardly say - We do the same trick, until it blows up in our face, 'cause that's all we got.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:18 | 3588225 bidaskspread
bidaskspread's picture

If you are going to go out, go out big. Supply/Demand what the hell is that... let me tell you what this is worth with my printing press.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:23 | 3588251 electricgorilla
electricgorilla's picture

Pop bottles of moet before its all over. I guess the bankers want one last 'yippee' before its all said and done. The higher this market goes and the more QE we do, the more I understand how over it is for the western financial system as we know it.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:24 | 3588252 ekm
ekm's picture

Finally that even Zerohedge is backing my line of thought, a couple of further thoughts:


1) The only reason they haven't halted QE fully by now is because they cannot agree as to which of the primary dealers will have to die.

In 2008 they agreed upon Bear stearns and lehman to go excrement. This time voting seems to have no clear losers yet. 

I'm sure Obama is pushing them to vote losers to a conclusion


2) Brent Crude oil at $110 today is the same as Brent at $140 in 2008. The economy is far worse, hence Brent Vigilantes are ....WINNING.


3) As I have alwasy been saying that the only we'll get it will be a full halt and quite soon, I still stand by that, but now confirmed by Zerohedge.

In mid March I thought it would take weeks to halt QE. It's about 8 weeks since. Now I'm saying, it could a matter of days.


4) Economy is dead and it has to be resurrected with crude oil at $40 lasting for at least one year starting from july - august this year.


Popcorn, ready.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:32 | 3588296 OpTwoMistic
OpTwoMistic's picture

Losers...BAC will be next.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:34 | 3588306 ekm
ekm's picture

You mean merryl lynch.

They're still a subsidiary of BAC. BAC itself is not a primary dealer.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 14:46 | 3588900 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

*recalls something about derivative risk being onboarded with BAC*

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:33 | 3588300 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

ekm first we have to have the summer rally. Then in the fall we have the holiday shopping season rally. Then the unexpected winter rally that no one saw coming.....

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:35 | 3588317 ekm
ekm's picture



If there are 10 houses in your neibourhood and you own all 10, do you expect a rally in prices?

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:41 | 3588337 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

do I need to sell?

Do others want to buy?

If I own all 10 houses I control the ask. The only question is whether there is a bid, and if not, do I need to sell? If I don't need to sell then we never find out. If I need to sell then we find out very quickly.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:47 | 3588382 ekm
ekm's picture


No market, you are the market, until you put up everything for sale.

That's the Fed + Primary dealers right now.


One or Two primary dealers are out

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 14:48 | 3588920 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

Keep an eye out for the Japanese PD's as well.  Ditto RBS.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:39 | 3588333 Fiat Burner
Fiat Burner's picture

According to your theory, the FED is willing to let Treasury yields rise and bankrupt the govt?  If not, then how are they going to keep rates down?

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 13:02 | 3588444 ekm
ekm's picture

Nobody cares about the Fed. It's the White House influenced by lobbies who decideds what the Fed will be doing.


If the US Gov gets bankrupted, the rest of the world will die. 

The answer is yes.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:26 | 3588257 Dollar Bill Hiccup
Dollar Bill Hiccup's picture

This is excellent. Mr. Bernanke was evidently watching "Get Him to the Greek" over the weekend.

The art of the mind f-ck.

Instead of a tapering, as Hilsenrath says, Mr. B.

"wants the markets to experience the same uncertainty it experiences about policy and the economy when officials walk into a meeting, and it wants to condition the market to avoid jumping to conclusions about what it will do next."

Beautiful. Rather than telegraphing, the FED wants UNCERTAINTY.

Well, let's Einstein this one. IF the economy is BAD, there will be MOAR FED, so that is GOOD for both bonds and stocks. IF the economy is GOOD, there MAY (uncertainty principle) be LESS FED, so ostensibly that would be bad, but since "prices are not inconsistent with fundamentals", it would also mean that the markets are cheap (because fundamentals stink) and that the economy is entering a virtuous circle, so in the end that would also be GOOD for stocks, maybe not for bonds, BUT if bad for bonds, then the FED can always do MOAR FED ...

Do YOU see any exit here ?

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:25 | 3588260 ArmyofOne
ArmyofOne's picture

Watched the entire sideways testimony. No bubbles here though cutting or stopping QE could send the markets much lower yet markets are respond to future robust growth.


Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:27 | 3588271 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

"baffle with bullshit" Now that's awesome, "I don't care who you are."

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:28 | 3588274 Sutton
Sutton's picture

I miss Tapering, I had friends on the Tapering. 

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:29 | 3588279 OpTwoMistic
OpTwoMistic's picture

All I know is my REIT is up and the 10 years charts look like yo-yos.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:29 | 3588282 B2u
B2u's picture

Awesome.  Bernanke has NO PLAN.  Buy, buy, buy...

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:31 | 3588287 Downtoolong
Downtoolong's picture

Hilsenrath Hits The Tape: Ignore Everything I Said Two Weeks Ago.

Done. And now we see Hisenrath’s pattern is motivated by the same short term mindshare and self-promotion goals as every sell-side analyst and advisor on Wall Street. I guess that means we can ignore what he says today too, since tomorrow it will be different again.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:31 | 3588289 yogibear
yogibear's picture

The Fed has no way of stopping a big equity bubble. Onward and upward.

When this bubble burst it has no tools left in stopping the damage. It will make previous bubble pops seem insignificant. 

It could take a while.


Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:38 | 3588331 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

Today I heard the current estimate for the OK tornado damage was $2bln - hell that's about 10 hours of QE: no problem.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 13:27 | 3588547 ekm
ekm's picture

A lot easier than that. 

They can simply un-print tornados

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:48 | 3588348 CaptainSpaulding
CaptainSpaulding's picture

Ok, It's forgotten. Just one question. What did he say?

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 13:27 | 3588544 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

     Hilsenrath is a giant tapeworm up Bernankes ass, eating all the shit he feeds him, for public consumption...

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 13:35 | 3588570 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

The summary is:

The FED will no longer publicly announce what the hell they are doing.  This provides much more upside for the insiders which is really the point of QE.

My observation:

Outsiders were finally able to tune their algos so they could beat insiders to the punch when it came to Fed press announcements and events.  The insiders were pissed off.  The Fed made it up to them today when they did the ramp up and then ramp down speach today.  Going forward, Fed activity will be in their own dark pools.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 13:59 | 3588666 Arius
Arius's picture

if true, what will be the impact in the market?

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 13:42 | 3588594 Goldbugger
Goldbugger's picture

My take... the FED witll stop the program and then have to restart it. QE to inifnitiy.

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 14:49 | 3588925 Levadiakos
Levadiakos's picture

I miss Greg Ip

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