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Tag Archives: ZIRP

  • Insider

    Off The Cuff: Into The Abyss

    The Fed's actions are quickly becoming the trigger that will blow up the system
    by Adam Taggart

    Thursday, June 13, 2019, 6:56 PM

    4

    In this week’s Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and John Rubino discuss:

    • The Fed’s Desperation
      • It’s just playing for time at this point
    • Why Lower Rates Will Blow Up The System
      • ZIRP/Negative rates create all sort of perversities
    • Italy Threatens To Revert To The Lira
      • Is the Eurozone about to break up?
    • Bad Corporate Debt Is The Ticking Time Bomb
      • There’s simply way too much of it now

    In this excellent analysis, John does an exceptional job clarifying the unique point in economic history in which we live. The Federal Reserve is truly out of ideas at this point; it is simply playing for time until the system breaks:

    The point in the cycle where we are now is a really unusual time to talk about lowering interest rates. Normally when the labor markets are this tight, and wage inflation is running around 3% which it is right now, the Fed is usually tightening. Wage inflation is a kind of inflation they understand. This is as opposed to stock prices going up, bond prices, or house prices going up. That is inflation, but they do not count it as inflation. When wages go up, they usually start raising interest rates. It is really telling that they are seeing things that lead them to maybe start easing again even with the economy, in theory at least, still growing ten years into the beginning of an expansion.

    I think they are recognizing the fact that the world – not just the US, but the whole global financial system – is so highly leveraged that any kind of downturn becomes systemically risky. In other words, a 20% drop in stock prices which is the definition of a bear market is something that happens all the time at least historically. This time around, it might knock down other dominos in a way that is uncontrollable. This is just because there is so much bad debt out there.

    When you take on huge amounts of debt, by definition a lot of it has to be bad debt. Usually the good credits have already done their borrowing. If you are going to expand that beyond that point, you are going to have to work your way down into the barrel to the bottom of the barrel. That is where we are now. A lot of people who have borrowed money cannot pay it back. They are only hanging on because the economy is growing and because their paychecks are there. If you take that away, then Boom!. The system starts to fall apart.

    These guys know that at the Fed. They are trying to delay the inevitable easing because they know that interest rates are already so low. The European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan never did get to raise interest rates. The Fed only got to raise interest rates a little bit, which means they have no ammo going into the next recession. Normally the Fed will cut interest rates by about 5 percentage points from peak to trough. This is as a way of reinvigorating the economy during a recession. If they were going to do that now, we would be at negative 2 or 3% on the Fed funds rate. It would be more deeply negative for Europe and Japan. That is uncharted territory.

    What the Fed is doing now is using words. They are trying to talk the market up. It works (for now). Whenever they announce the possibility of easing or the cessation of tightening, you get a nice pop in the stock market. They are hoping that they can elevate asset prices until the China trade deal gets signed and until the turmoil in the Middle East has settled. That will also give the markets a pop, and that will keep the economy growing for a while. It will allow them to raise interest rates another couple of percentage points at the short end of the spectrum to give them ammo for the next recession.

    They really do not want to start cutting right now. From here, they really do not have much room to cut. I think it is highly unlikely that they are going to get what they want. In other words, it is an economy that grows for the next three years and allows them to raise the Fed funds rate to 5 or 6%. That is really, really unlikely in the scheme of things. They are going to be forced in the recession that is probably imminent just because the expansion has been going on for way longer than a normal expansion. It is going to run out of steam pretty soon. They are going to be forced to cut interest rates to zero and beyond.

    That is why Powell was talking about that. Now he is talking about the effective lower bound of interest rates which is below 0%, we found out in this last cycle. We do not know how far below zero it is. That is what we are going to find out this time around. In other words, how negative can you make interest rates before it becomes the problem rather than the solution? From an economic theory standpoint, that is fascinating. That is the kind of experiment you never expect to see in the real world. We are going to do it this time.

    We are going to find out what the absolute lowest level interest rates can go to before it blows up the system. I do not use the words “blow up” lightly. That is what could really happen when interest rates get down to that point, and it turns out they do not work. Then it is game over.

    Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio as well as all of PeakProsperity.com’s other premium content.

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  • Blog
    Lightspring/Shutterstock

    The Banquet Of Consequences Is Being Served

    Prepared just for us by the central banking cartel
    by Adam Taggart

    Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 1:58 PM

    3

    The Fed and its central banking brethren (most notably the European Central Bank, Bank of Japan, Bank of England and Bank of China), have decided to sacrifice investing for tomorrow (namely savings and productive enterprise) in favor of higher prices today for financial assets. By keeping interest rates historically low — and increasingly negative — around the world, they have pushed capital much farther out the risk curve than it deserves to be, added trillions of more debt into an already dangerously over-leveraged economy, and lavishly rewarded the rich elite at the expense of everyone else.

    As Stevenson wrote, sooner or later, the banquet of consequences must be supped on. And for the Fed, the dinner bell is ringing.

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  • Blog
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    The Year Of The Red Monkey: Volatility Reigns Supreme

    To preserve capital, you need to outsmart the monkey
    by charleshughsmith

    Friday, March 11, 2016, 7:16 PM

    0

    In the lunar calendar that started February 8, this is the Year of the Red Monkey. I found this description of the Red Monkey quite apt:

    "According to Chinese Five Elements Horoscopes, Monkey contains Metal and Water. Metal is connected to gold. Water is connected to wisdom and danger. Therefore, we will deal with more financial events in the year of the Monkey. Monkey is a smart, naughty, wily and vigilant animal. If you want to have good return for your money investment, then you need to outsmart the Monkey. Metal is also connected to the Wind. That implies the status of events will be changing very quickly. Think twice before you leap when making changes for your finance, career, business relationship and people relationship."

    (Source)

    In other words, the financial world will be volatile. And few will have the agility and wile to outsmart the market-monkey.

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  • Blog
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    Has The Market Trend Shifted From Bull To Bear?

    Why the recent volatility may mark a secular shift
    by Brian Pretti

    Friday, October 23, 2015, 8:12 PM

    10

    Emotions are running high for the investment community in the wake of recent market volatility. Up until August, we had been in the third longest period in market history without a 10% correction. Since then, stock indices sold off hard, only to bounce once again over the past two weeks of trading.

    And certainly the truth is….No one knows. Especially in today’s world where global central banks can concoct further QE/monetary schemes at the drop of a hat.  Let’s face it, at this point the global central banks are all in. In fact, beyond all in. Without question, the US Fed knows that if equities fall, they lose the high end consumer. (Wal-Mart shoppers have already long been lost) 

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  • Blog
    Bloomberg

    Has The Fed Already Lost?

    Growth is dying & the Fed has few options left
    by Brian Pretti

    Friday, April 17, 2015, 7:36 PM

    12

    Increasingly we live in a world of Now. Instantaneous access to digital real time data and news has simply become a given in our lives of the moment.

    You may be surprised to know that the Federal Reserve has taken notice.

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  • Insider
    Dreamstime

    The Future Of Interest Rates

    The Fed faces an increasingly bad set of options
    by Brian Pretti

    Friday, April 17, 2015, 7:36 PM

    4

    Executive Summary

    • Why the Fed may no be able to raise rates from here
    • Will the Fed go to negative interest rates instead?
    • Why the next recession will limit the Fed's options greatly
    • Why it may well be too late for the Fed at this point to act

    If you have not yet read Part 1: Has The Fed Already Lost? available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

    What If The Fed Isn't Actually Able To Raise Rates From Here?

    Let’s start with a look at the history of the Federal Funds rate (the shortest maturity interest rate the Fed directly controls).  Alongside the historical rhythm of the Funds rate are official US recession periods in the shaded blue bars.   

    Chart Source:  St. Louis Federal Reserve

    Of course there is one striking and completely consistent historical commonality in the behavior of the Funds rate over time.  The Fed has lowered the Federal Funds rate in every recession since 1954 at least.  There are no exceptions.  You can see the punchline coming, can’t you?  Just how does one lower interest rates from zero to stimulate a potential slowdown in the economy?

    Of course in the banking system…

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  • Blog
    Shutterstock

    Oil And The Global Slowdown

    It's time for central banks to admit their failures
    by Chris Martenson

    Thursday, December 4, 2014, 12:08 AM

    14

    The world economy is slowing down and the authorities are fretting. 

    Japan, Italy, Greece and Austria are all in recession.  China is slowing down according to their official statistics, and even more according to the whispers. 

    Germany, France and the Netherlands are all at stall speed. 

    The US is, according to the BLS, doing just great at nearly 4% growth, but you wouldn't know that from either the quality of the few jobs being created (which is low) or consumer spending (also low). 

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  • Podcast

    John Hussman: The Stock Market Is Overvalued By 100%

    Expect prices to drop by 50% (or more)
    by Adam Taggart

    Saturday, November 8, 2014, 9:04 PM

    24

    John Hussman is highly respected for his prodigious use of data and adherence to what it tells him about the state of the financial markets. His regular weekly market commentary is widely regarded as one of the best-researched, best-articulated publications available to money managers.

    John's public appearances are rare, so we're especially grateful he made time to speak with us yesterday about the precarious state in which he sees global markets. Based on historical norms and averages, he calculates that the ZIRP and QE policies of the Fed and other world central banks have led to an overvaluation in the stock market where prices are 2 times higher than they should be.

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  • Blog
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    Reality-Optional Economics

    Cockamamie Stories Infecting the Body Politic
    by JHK

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 5:10 PM

    7

    The total tonnage of economic malarkey being shoveled over the American public these days would make the late Dr. Joseph Goebbels (Nazi Minister of “Public Enlightenment and Propaganda”) turn green in his grave with envy. It’s a staggering phenomenon because little about it is conspiratorial; rather, it’s the consensual expression of a public that wants desperately to believe things that are untrue, and an economic leadership equally credulous, unmanned, and avid to furnish the necessary narratives that might preserve their jobs and perqs.

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  • Insider
    © Nicemonkey | Dreamstime.com

    How You Can Limit Your Exposure to the Fed’s Financial Interference

    There are ways to protect yourself
    by charleshughsmith

    Thursday, August 1, 2013, 5:18 AM

    4

    Executive Summary

    • Understanding the Fed's ability to impact (or not) health & education, pensions, and inflation
    • What you can do to insulate yourself from the impacts of the Fed's financial interference
      • Mindset
      • Major expenses
      • Debt
      • Resilience
      • Income

    If you have not yet read Part I: The Fed Matters Much Less Than You Think, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

    In Part I, we found that the supposedly omniscient Federal Reserve is irrelevant to the engine of real wealth creation (innovation) and actively inhibits the allocation of capital and labor to innovation by incentivizing speculation and malinvestment.

    In Part II, we’ll look at what else matters that the Fed either negatively influences or does not control, as well as specific actions we can take as individuals to insulate ourselves from the collateral damage caused by misguided central bank policies.

    Health and Education

    We all know health and education are vital to individuals and the economy, and like everything else that matters, the Fed’s influence is limited to financial repression of interest rates that enables the Federal government to avoid the sort of healthy fiscal discipline that higher rates would demand. In other words, the Fed has widened the moat around government spending, protecting it from the hard choices that would accompany massive deficits and bond issuance in a free-market economy.

    Public and Private Pensions

    By at least one measure, the Fed’s repression of interest rates (designed to recapitalize the banks at no direct cost to the Fed or government) has cost savers $10.8 trillion in lost income. Since the majority of savings in the U.S. are in public and private pension plans, 401Ks, and IRAs (individual retirement accounts), the Fed’s repression of interest rates has pushed these income-security savings into risky speculative asset bubbles in stocks, bonds, and real estate, and critically undermined the financial health of pensions by radically reducing their low-risk, safe returns.

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