The Federal Reserve Reduces Interest Rates Once More

By Harvey S Katz – Re-Blogged From Value Line

In a widely telegraphed and, therefore, fully expected move, the Federal Reserve Board voted to reduce its federal funds rate target by another 25 basis points this afternoon. That was the second such rate cut in as many meetings and followed a decade in which there had been no reductions–only increases in 2017 and 2018.

However, the central bank did not signal that there would be additional rate action this year, which disappointed many traders and sent the stock market down sharply in the minutes following this rate move. In fact, after dawdling at modestly lower levels through the morning and early afternoon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average quickly fell to a session-worst 185-point setback.

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The Next Crisis Is The Mother Of All Counter-Party Risks (Part 1)

By Gijsbert Groenewegen  Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

What is counter-party risk? And how many people really are aware of the consequences of systemic counter-party risk?

Counterparty risk also know as default risk is the risk to each party of a contract that the counterparty will not live up to its contractual obligations. Counterparty risk is a risk to both parties and should be considered when evaluating a contract. In most financial contracts, counterparty risk is also known as default risk, a risk that a counter-party will not pay as obligated on a bond, derivative, insurance policy, or other contract. Financial institutions or other transaction counterparties may hedge or take out credit insurance or, particularly in the context of derivatives, require the posting of collateral. Offsetting counterparty risk is not always possible, e.g. because of temporary liquidity issues, malfunctioning of markets or longer- term systemic reasons.

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Loosening is the New Tightening

By Steve Saville – Re-Blogged From The Speculative Investor

The Fed meets to discuss its monetary policy this week. There is almost no chance that an outcome of this meeting will be another boost in the Fed Funds Rate (FFR), but there’s a decent chance that the next official rate hike will be announced in March. Regardless of when it happens and regardless of how it is portrayed in the press, the next Fed rate hike, like the two before it, will NOT imply a tightening of US monetary policy/conditions.

The two-part explanation for why hikes in the FFR no longer imply the tightening of monetary policy has been discussed many times in TSI commentaries over the past few years and was also addressed in a March-2015 post at the TSI Blog titled “Tightening without tightening“. The first part of the explanation is that with the US banking system inundated with excess reserves there is no longer an active overnight lending market for Federal Funds (banks never have to borrow Federal Funds anymore because they have far more than they require). In other words, when the Fed hikes the FFR it is hiking an interest rate that no one uses.

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The ‘Unnatural Rate of Interest’

By Joseph T. Salerno – Re-Blogged From Stockman’s Contra Corner

A few days before the last FOMC meeting The Wall Street Journal  reported on the Fed’s hand-wringing over its inability to identify the “natural rate of interest” and explain its recent movements. According to the report, the Fed uses the “mysterious natural rate” to guide its decisions in setting the target for the fed funds rate. Modern macroeconomics defines the natural rate of interest as the (real) rate of interest that maintains the economy in a Keynesian state of bliss, with stable prices (or moderate inflation) and actual real GDP equal to “potential” or full-employment GDP.

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Do We Need The Fed?

By Ron Paul – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Stocks rose Wednesday following the Federal Reserve’s announcement of the first interest rate increase since 2006. However, stocks fell just two days later. One reason the positive reaction to the Fed’s announcement did not last long is that the Fed seems to lack confidence in the economy and is unsure what policies it should adopt in the future.

At her Wednesday press conference, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen acknowledged continuing “cyclical weakness” in the job market. She also suggested that future rate increases are likely to be as small, or even smaller, then Wednesday’s. However, she also expressed concerns over increasing inflation, which suggests the Fed may be open to bigger rate increases.

Many investors and those who rely on interest from savings for a substantial part of their income cheered the increase. However, others expressed concern that even this small rate increase will weaken the already fragile job market.

These critics echo the claims of many economists and economic historians who blame past economic crises, including the Great Depression, on ill-timed money tightening by the Fed. While the Federal Reserve is responsible for our boom-bust economy, recessions and depressions are not caused by tight monetary policy. Instead, the real cause of economic crisis is the loose money policies that precede the Fed’s tightening.

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The Fed’s In A Bind

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

One can understand the Fed’s frustration over the failure of its interest rate policy…and its desire to escape the zero bound. However, since the FOMC has all but said it will increase rates at its December meeting, events have turned against this course of action. The other major central banks are in easing mode, and the slowdown in China has further undermined both world trade flows and commodity prices. The result has been a strong dollar, which has effectively eliminated any perceived need for higher dollar interest rates. Meanwhile, the US’s non-financial economy remains subdued.

Last August, a similar situation existed, when the FOMC signalled that a rise in the Fed Funds Rate might be announced at its September meeting. Ahead of it, China revalued the dollar by announcing a small devaluation of its own currency, taking the wind out of the Fed’s sails. While the talking heads saw this as a failure of Chinese financial policy, it was nothing of the sort. Given the US was dragging its feet over the yuan’s inclusion in the SDR, it was a salvo in the financial war between the two states, and the Fed found itself in the firing line.

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Numbers Lousy – FED Scared Witless

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Several statistics were reported this week, and in large measure, they disappointed analysts. Personal Income was up, but Personal Spending was up even more. This means that Americans were adding even more debt to their balance sheets. Since Saving is where the Capital comes from to help grow our Capitalist system, this means negative growth down the road.

PCE Prices were up only 0.1% in August (same as July), but these numbers generally are in the fairy tale category. Looking instead at the CPI, the way it used to be calculated in 1980 (via http://www.ShadowStats.com), inflation is running at around 7½%.

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