• Tag Archives Central Bank
  • The Process Through Which the First Major Central Bank Goes Bust Has Begun

    In the aftermath of the Great Financial Crisis, Central Banks began cornering the sovereign bond market via Zero or even Negative interest rates and Quantitative Easing (QE) programs.
    The goal here was to reflate the financial system by pushing the ‘risk free rate’ to extraordinary lows. By doing this, Central Bankers were hoping to:
    1) Backstop the financial system (sovereign bonds are the bedrock for all risk).
    2) Induce capital to flee cash (ZIRP and NIRP punish those sitting on cash) and move into risk assets, thereby reflating asset bubbles.
    In this regard, these policies worked: the crisis was halted and the financial markets began reflating.
    However, Central Banks have now set the stage for a crisis many times worse than 2008.
    Let me explain…
    The 2008 crisis was triggered by large financial firms going bust as the assets they owned (bonds based on mortgages) turned out to be worth much less (if not worthless), than the financial firms had been asserting.
    This induced a panic, as a crisis of confidence rippled throughout the global private banking system.
    During the next crisis, this same development will unfold (a crisis in confidence induced by the underlying assets being worth much less than anyone believes), only this time it will be CENTRAL banks (not private banks) facing this issue.

    This post was published at GoldSeek on 11 December 2017.


  • The Fed’s Fantasy on Neutral Interest Rates

    In her testimony to the Congress Economic Committee on November 29, 2017, the Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that the neutral rate appears to be quite low by historical standards. From this, she concluded that the federal funds rate would not have to increase much to reach a neutral stance.
    The neutral rate currently appears to be quite low by historical standards, implying that the federal funds rate would not have to rise much further to get to a neutral policy stance. If the neutral level rises somewhat over time, as most FOMC participants expect, additional gradual rate hikes would likely be appropriate over the next few years to sustain the economic expansion.
    It is widely accepted that by means of suitable monetary policies the US central bank can navigate the economy towards a growth path of economic stability and prosperity. The key ingredient in achieving this is price stability. Most experts are of the view that what prevents the attainment of price stability are the fluctuations of the federal funds rate around the neutral rate of interest.
    The neutral rate, it is held, is one that is consistent with stable prices and a balanced economy. What is required is Fed policy makers successfully targeting the federal funds rate towards the neutral interest rate.
    This framework of thinking, which has its origins in the 18th century writings of British economist Henry Thornton1, was articulated in late 19th century by the Swedish economist Knut Wicksell.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on December 11, 2017.


  • Bitcoin vs Fiat Currency: Which Fails First?

    What if bitcoin is a reflection of trust in the future value of fiat currencies? I am struck by the mainstream confidence that bitcoin is a fraud/fad that will soon collapse, while central bank fiat currencies are presumed to be rock-solid and without risk. Those with supreme confidence in fiat currencies might want to look at a chart of Venezuela’s fiat currency, which has declined from 10 to the US dollar in 2012 to 5,000 to the USD earlier this year to a current value in December 2017 of between 90,000 and 100,000 to $1: *** Exchange Rate in Venezuela: On 1 December, the bolivar traded in the parallel market at 103,024 VED per USD, a stunning 59.9% depreciation from the same day last month. Analysts participating in the LatinFocus Consensus Forecast expect the parallel dollar to remain under severe pressure next year. They project a non-official exchange rate of 2,069,486 VEF per USD by the end of 2018. In 2019, the panel sees the non-official exchange rate trading at 2,725,000 VEF per USD.

    This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2017.


  • US Futures Hit New All Time High Following Asian Shares Higher; European Stocks, Dollar Mixed

    U. S. equity index futures pointed to early gains and fresh record highs, following Asian markets higher, as European shares were mixed and oil was little changed, although it is unclear if anyone noticed with bitcoin stealing the spotlight, after futures of the cryptocurrency began trading on Cboe Global Markets.
    In early trading, European stocks struggled for traction, failing to capitalize on gains for their Asian counterparts after another record close in the U. S. on Friday. On Friday, the S&P 500 index gained 0.6% to a new record after the U. S. added more jobs than forecast in November and the unemployment rate held at an almost 17-year low. In Asia, the Nikkei 225 reclaimed a 26-year high as stocks in Tokyo closed higher although amid tepid volumes. Equities also gained in Hong Kong and China. Most European bonds rose and the euro climbed. Sterling slipped as some of the promises made to clinch a breakthrough Brexit deal last week started to fray.
    ‘Strong jobs U. S. data is giving investors reason to buy equities,’ said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist at BDO Unibank Inc. ‘The better-than-expected jobs number supports the outlook that there is a synchronized global economic upturn led by the U. S.”
    The dollar drifted and Treasuries steadied as investor focus turned from US jobs to this week’s central bank meetings. Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index pared early gains as losses for telecom and utilities shares offset gains for miners and banks. Tech stocks were again pressured, with Dialog Semiconductor -4.1%, AMS -1.9%, and Temenos -1.7% all sliding. Volume on the Stoxx 600 was about 17% lower than 30-day average at this time of day, with trading especially thin in Germany and France.
    The dollar dipped 0.1 percent to 93.801 against a basket of major currencies, pulling away from a two-week high hit on Friday.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 11, 2017.


  • These Are The 30 Biggest Risks Facing Markets In 2018

    Once upon a time, Wall Street analysts had just two things to worry about: interest rate risk and corporate profits – virtually everything else was derived from these. Unfortuantely, we now live in the new normal, where central banks step in every time there is even a whiff of an imminent market correction (as BofA explained last week), and the result is that nobody know what is and what isn’t priced into the market any more, simply because the market in the conventional sense of a future discounting mechanism no longer exists (as Citi explained earlier this summer).
    Which is why, paradoxically, even as the VIX slides to record lows, the number of things to worry about on Wall Street grows longer and longer. In fact, according to Deutsche Bank’s Torsten Slok, there are no less than 30 material risks investors should beware in the coming year, ranging from a U. S. equity correction to a reversal of Brexit to Irish presidential elections, to a “Bitcoin crash,” rising inflation, danger from North Korea and results from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 10, 2017.


  • Bitcoin Mania Shows The World Financial System Is a Con

    The hidden agenda in the so-called tax reform bill is to act as stop-gap quantitative easing to plug the ‘liquidity’ hole that is opening up as the Federal Reserve (America’s central bank) makes a few gestures to winding down its balance sheet and ‘normalizing’ interest rates. Thus, the aim of the tax bill is to prop up capital markets, and the apprehension of this lately is what keeps stocks making daily record highs. Okay, sorry, a lot to unpack there.
    Primer: quantitative easing (QE) is a the Federal Reserve’s weasel phrase for its practice of just creating ‘money’ out of thin air, which it uses to buy US Treasury bonds (and other stuff). The Fed buys this stuff through intermediary Too Big To Fail banks which allows them to cream off a cut and, theoretically, pump the ‘money’ into the economy. This ‘money’ is the ‘liquidity.’ As it happens, most of that money ends up in the capital markets. Stocks go up and up and bond yields stay ultra low with bond prices ultra high. What remains on the balance sheets are a shit-load of IOUs.
    The third round of QE was officially halted in 2014 in the USA. However, the world’s other main central banks acted in rotation – passing the baton of QE, like in a relay race – so that when the US slacked off, Japan, Britain, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of China, took over money-printing duties. And because money flies easily around the world via digital banking, a lot of that foreign money ended up in ‘sure-thing’ US capital markets (as well as their own ). Mega-tons of ‘money’ were created out of thin air around the world since the near-collapse of the system in 2008.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on December 8, 2017.


  • Inflation v Deflation – State Finances

    There is a general belief, and that is all it is, that state finances fare better in an inflationary environment than a deflationary one. This perception arises from the transfer of wealth from lenders to the state through a devaluation of the currency, which occurs with monetary inflation, compared with the transfer of wealth from the state to its creditors through deflation. The effect is undoubtedly true, even though it is played down by governments, but it ignores what happens to continuing government obligations and finances. This article looks at this aspect of government finances in the longer term, first on the route to eventual currency collapse which governments create for themselves by ensuring a continuing devaluation of their currencies, and then in a sound money environment with a positive outcome, for which there is good precedent. This is the second article exposing the fallacies of supposed advantages of inflation over deflation, the first being posted here.
    Inflationary policies While central bankers have convinced themselves, in defiance of normal human behaviour, that consumption is only stimulated by the prospect of higher prices, there can be little doubt that the unmentioned sub-text is the supposed benefits to borrowers in industry and for government itself. Furthermore, the purpose of gaining control over interest rates from free markets is to reduce the general level of interest rates paid to lenders, further robbing them of the benefits of making their capital available to willing borrowers.

    This post was published at GoldMoney on December 07, 2017.


  • Bitcoin’s ‘Message’ & Tax Reform’s ‘Hidden Agenda’

    Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,
    The hidden agenda in the so-called tax reform bill is to act as stop-gap quantitative easing to plug the ‘liquidity’ hole that is opening up as the Federal Reserve (America’s central bank) makes a few gestures to winding down its balance sheet and ‘normalizing’ interest rates. Thus, the aim of the tax bill is to prop up capital markets, and the apprehension of this lately is what keeps stocks making daily record highs. Okay, sorry, a lot to unpack there.
    Primer: quantitative easing (QE) is a the Federal Reserve’s weasel phrase for its practice of just creating ‘money’ out of thin air, which it uses to buy US Treasury bonds (and other stuff). The Fed buys this stuff through intermediary Too Big To Fail banks which allows them to cream off a cut and, theoretically, pump the ‘money’ into the economy. This ‘money’ is the ‘liquidity.’ As it happens, most of that money ends up in the capital markets. Stocks go up and up and bond yields stay ultra low with bond prices ultra high. What remains on the balance sheets are a shit-load of IOUs.
    The third round of QE was officially halted in 2014 in the USA. However, the world’s other main central banks acted in rotation – passing the baton of QE, like in a relay race – so that when the US slacked off, Japan, Britain, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of China, took over money-printing duties. And because money flies easily around the world via digital banking, a lot of that foreign money ended up in ‘sure-thing’ US capital markets (as well as their own ). Mega-tons of ‘money’ were created out of thin air around the world since the near-collapse of the system in 2008.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 8, 2017.


  • Finally, An Honest Inflation Index – Guess What It Shows

    Central bankers keep lamenting the fact that record low interest rates and record high currency creation haven’t generated enough inflation (because remember, for these guys inflation is a good thing rather than a dangerous disease).
    To which the sound money community keeps responding, ‘You’re looking in the wrong place! Include the prices of stocks, bonds and real estate in your models and you’ll see that inflation is high and rising.’
    Well it appears that someone at the Fed has finally decided to see what would happen if the CPI included those assets, and surprise! the result is inflation of 3%, or half again as high as the Fed’s target rate.
    New York Fed Inflation Gauge is Bad News for Bulls (Bloomberg) – More than 20 years ago, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan asked an important question ‘what prices are important for the conduct of monetary policy?’ The query was directly related to asset prices and whether their stability was essential for economic stability and good performance. No one has ever offered a coherent answer even though the recessions of 2001 and 2008-2009 were primarily due to a sharp correction in asset prices.

    This post was published at DollarCollapse on DECEMBER 6, 2017.


  • The Moment The Market Broke: “The Behavior Of Volatility Changed Entirely In 2014”

    Earlier today we showed a remarkable chart – and assertion – from Bank of America: “In every major market shock since the 2013 Taper Tantrum, central banks have stepped in (even if verbally) to protect markets. Following the Brexit vote, markets no longer needed to hear from CBs as they rebounded so quickly that CBs didn’t need to respond.” As a result, buy-the-dip has a become a self-fulfilling put.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2017.


  • Robot Monster! Transportation Stocks, Bitcoin Zoom, Tech Stocks Stutter and Hindenburg Omen Keeps Flashing

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Snake Hole Lounge. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    Another day in the land of Central Bank bubbles.
    According to Bloomberg, transportation stocks have rallied more than 8 percent in a week, realigning them with industrials at new highs in a coupling that is one of the market’s oldest bullish technical indicators. According to the century-old Dow Theory, simultaneous records in the groups trigger a buy signal for U. S. stocks. Optimism that changes in U. S. tax policy will benefit the industry reignited the Dow Jones Transportation Average on Monday, pushing it back to an all-time high along with the industrials gauge.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Anthony B Sanders ‘ December 5, 2017.


  • Denmark Central Warns Next Financial Crisis is Coming

    The Danish Central Bank has come out to warn that there is another financial crisis ahead. The central bank identified several indicators that point to growing risks from its analysis perspective. It is recommending that the banks in Denmark begin to raise their capital risk buffer.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 5, 2017.


  • The Corrupt Origins of Central Banking

    Central banking has been a corrupt, mercantilist scheme and an engine of corporate welfare from its very beginning in the late 18th century. The first central bank, the Bank of North America, was “driven through the Continental Congress by [congressman and financier] Robert Morris in the Spring of 1781,” wrote Murray Rothbard in The Mystery of Banking (p. 191). The Philadelphia businessman Morris had been a defense contractor during the Revolutionary War who “siphoned off millions from the public treasury into contracts to his own … firm and to those of his associates.” He was also “leader of the powerful Nationalist forces” in the new country.
    The main objective of the Nationalists, who were also known as Federalists, was essentially to establish an American version of the British mercantilist system, the very system that the Revolution had been fought against. Indeed, it was this system that the ancestors of the Revolutionaries had fled from when they came to America. As Rothbard explained, their aim was
    To reimpose in the new United States a system of mercantilism and big government similar to that in Great Britain, against which the colonists had rebelled. The object was to have a strong central government, particularly a strong president or king as chief executive, built up by high taxes and heavy public debt. The strong government was to impose high tariffs to subsidize domestic manufacturers, develop a big navy to open up and subsidize foreign markets for American exports, and launch a massive system of internal public works. In short, the United States was to have a British system without Great Britain. (p. 192)

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Dec 4, 2017.


  • Key Events In The Coming Week: Jobs, Brexit, PMI, IP And More

    The first full week of December is shaping up as rather busy, with such Tier 1 data in the US as the payrolls report, durable goods orders and trade balance. We also get UK PMI data and GDP, retail sales across the Euro Area, as well as central bank meetings including Australia RBA and BoC monetary policy meeting.
    Key events per RanSquawk
    Monday: UK PM May To Meet EU’s Juncker & Barnier Tuesday: UK Services PMI (Nov), RBA MonPol Decision Wednesday: BoC MonPol Decision, Australian GDP (Q3) Friday: US Payrolls Report (Nov), Japan GDP (Q3, 2nd) The week’s main event takes place on Friday with the release of November’s US labour market report. Consensus looks for the headline nonfarm payrolls to show an addition of 188K jobs, slowing from October’s 261K. Average hourly earnings growth is expected to slow to 0.3% M/M from 0.5%, while the unemployment rate and average hours worked are expected to hold steady at 4.1% and 34.4 respectively. Hurricane induced volatility should be absent from the November release, and consensus points to a headline print much more in-keeping with trend rate.
    Other key data releases next week include the remaining October services and composite PMIs on Tuesday in Asia, Europe and the US, ISM non-manufacturing in the US on Tuesday, ADP employment report on Wednesday and China trade data on Friday.
    Focus will also fall on Wednesday’s Bank of Canada (BoC) interest rate decision, with the majority looking for the Bank to leave its key interest rate unchanged at 1.00%, although 3 of the 31 surveyed by Reuters are looking for a 25bps hike. Following the BoC’s back-to-back rate hikes in Q3, interest rate markets were pricing in a 40-50% chance of a hike at the upcoming decision, that has now pared back to 25% as the BoC has sounded more cautious in recent addresses, highlighting that it expected the economy to slow (GDP growth moderated to 1.7% in Q3 on a Q/Q annualised basis, from 4.3% in Q2) while stressing that it remains data dependant. RBC highlights that ‘the BoC has been focused on the consumer’s reaction to the earlier hikes and is content to wait-and-see for the moment. Wage growth – another key metric for the central bank – has improved in recent employment reports (reaching the highest level of growth since April 2016 in November’s report). Despite its softer tone, the BoC continues to stress that ‘less monetary stimulus will likely be required over time’ and as a result the statement will be scoured for any changes in tone. At the time of writing, markets are pricing a 57.2% chance of a 25bps hike in January, with such a move 91.0% priced by the end of March.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 4, 2017.


  • BIS Issues An Alert: Tightening “Paradoxically” Leading To Excessive Risk Taking; Reminds What Happened Last Time

    Valuations in asset markets are ‘frothy’ and investors are basking in the ‘light and warmth’ of the ‘Goldilocks economy’, believing that nothing can upset a future of ‘sustained growth and low interest rates’. We observe a heavy dose sarcasm from the media briefing coinciding with the Bank for International Settlements’ (BIS) latest quarterly review. Specifically, we wonder why is it always the BIS which warns its central bank members and investors about the risk of an approaching financial crisis…and why do most of them never listen. We’re not sure, but here we go again, with the BIS warning that conditions are similar to those before the crisis.
    As The Guardian reports:
    Investors are ignoring warning signs that financial markets could be overheating and consumer debts are rising to unsustainable levels, the global body for central banks has warned in its quarterly financial health check. The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said the situation in the global economy was similar to the pre-2008 crash era when investors, seeking high returns, borrowed heavily to invest in risky assets, despite moves by central banks to tighten access to credit. The BIS was one of the few organisations to warn during 2006 and 2007 about the unstable levels of bank lending on risky assets such as the US subprime mortgages that eventually led to the Lehman Brothers crash and the financial crisis.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 4, 2017.


  • Stock Market 2018: The Tao vs. Central Banks

    The central banks claim omnipotent financial powers, and their comeuppance is overdue.
    I will be the first to admit that invoking the woo-woo of the Tao as the reason to expect a reversal of the stock market in 2018 smacks of Bearish desperation. With everything coming up roses in much of the global economy, there is precious little foundation for calling a tumultuous end to the global Bull Market other than variations of nothing lasts forever.
    Invoking the Tao specifically calls for extremes to return or reverse to the opposite polarity: this is expressed in the line from Lao Tzu, The way of the Tao is reversal or Reversal is the movement of Tao.
    In other words, extremes of bullishness lead to extremes of bearishness, just as the extremes of bearishness in March 2009 (S&P 500 at 667) led to the current extremes of bullishness (S&P 500 2,600).

    This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on SUNDAY, DECEMBER 03, 2017.


  • It’s More Than Just The Absence of Acceleration, It’s The Synchronization Where There Should Be None

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Alhambra Investments. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    According to the latest ECB figures, as of yesterday total ‘liquidity’ added to the European banking system for that central bank’s ongoing monetary ‘stimulus’ was just shy of 2 trillion. The outstanding balance in the core current account (reserves) held on behalf of the banking system was 1.296 trillion. In the deposit account, banks are holding 686 billion at -40 bps in ‘yield.’
    To create all these euro-denominated numbers, the European Central Bank through its constituent National Central Banks (NCB) has purchased 2.21 trillion through its three main active LSAP’s (Large Scale Asset Purchases): the PSPP, or QE, which buys up sovereign bonds and is the reason for running them through the NCB’s (out of original concern exactly who would bear any default risk); the CBPP3, or the third time the ECB has bought covered bonds from banks; and the Corporate Sector Purchase Program which is self-explanatory.
    The numbers given above don’t appear to balance because of the way all this stuff is accounted for. The NCB transactions of QE and other material operations actually subtract from the ECB’s asset side because it isn’t doing them, becoming instead -1.21trillion in so far accumulated autonomous factors. On the other side, the liability side of the simple balance sheet, there are outstanding 769 billion in normal liquidity operations (OMO) at the MRO.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Jeffrey P. Snider ‘ November 30, 2017.


  • Here’s The Chart That Everyone Is Talking About (And Hoping Is Not ‘Real’)

    While mainstream media eyes have been focused on wrecked tech stocks and towering trannies, professionals in the world’s largest liquidity markets have been shocked at the sudden explosion in one chart… that most everyone is hoping is not ‘real’.
    With central banks puking money at low or negative rates to anyone who can fog a mirror, the sudden spike in EONIA, or overnight money rates in Europe, which we first highlighted yesterday, is quite a shock in a normally stable market.
    EONIA has spiked from -36bps to -24bps in the last 2 days and the authority that ‘manages’ this index has verified this is not a ‘fat finger’.
    Traders everywhere are scratching their heads – here’s why:
    Bloomberg explains that EONIA is not a posted rate where banks would like to do business, such as Libor, but a weighted average index of actual trading in unsecured overnight money.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.


  • The ECB Comes Clean On Rising Rates and the Coming Systemic Reset

    Remember how the Fed, ECB and others all claimed ZIRP and QE were about generating economic growth, making mortgages more affordable, and helping consumers?
    Well, that was a gigantic lie. The truth is that every major policy employed by Central Banks since 2008 have been about one thing…
    Maintaining the bond bubble.
    Governments around the world have used the bubble in bonds to finance their bloated budgets. If interest rates were anywhere NEAR normal levels, most countries would lurch towards default in a matter of weeks.
    If you think this is conspiracy theory, consider that the European Central Bank openly admitted this in its semi-annual Financial Stability Review this week:
    Even so, [the ECB] said that ‘higher interest rates may trigger concerns about sovereigns’ debt-servicing capacity,’ and noted that ‘distrust in mainstream political parties continues to rise, leading to fragmentation of the political landscape away from the established consensus.’

    This post was published at GoldSeek on 30 November 2017.


  • Breslow: “The Answer To This Question Will Drive Just About Everything”

    Having passed the first hurdle this morning (PCE did not drop further), The Fed’s December hike is now locked and loaded, but, as former fund manager Richard Breslow notes, at the end of the day, the real elephant in the room is if, when and how fast the big central banks shift toward policy normalization. Everything else is derivative. Get this one right and quibbling over some sector rotation or the relative prospects of the Australian versus New Zealand dollars pale in comparison.
    The answer to this question will drive just about every other market.
    Via Bloomberg,
    It’s an interesting issue to contemplate as we wind down a year when sovereign yields, with the exception of China, have been moribund, at best.
    All eyes have correctly been on the yield curves but it could very well be that the focus needs to change.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 30, 2017.