Fed’s Final Bullet Hits ‘Em in the Foot

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From The Great Recession Blog

The Fed’s missteps and flip-flops this week tripped up multiple markets. After accidentally announcing their ammo is down to one last bullet against recession, can they be trusted to handle powerful weapons?

Given how the stock market is now trading on nothing but the Fed, it’s no surprise that its heart leaped instantly in the middle of the week when New York Fed President John Williams (a voting FOMC member) said the Fed should respond quickly to recessionary headwinds with its own rate cuts.

Broken Markets And Fragile Currencies

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

There are growing signs that the global economic slowdown is for real. As was the case in 1929, the combination of the peak of the credit cycle coupled with trade protectionism in the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act are similar conditions to those of today and potentially pose a serious economic challenge to the post-Bretton Woods fiat currency system. Therefore, we must consider the consequences if monetary policy fails to contain the developing recession and it turns into a full-blown slump. Complacency over broken markets is no longer an option, with rising prices for gold and bitcoin signalling the prospect of a new round of currency debasement to avoid market distortions unwinding. This article shows why this outcome could undermine fiat currencies entirely and looks at the alternatives of bitcoin and gold in this context.

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A River of Denial Floods Markets Everywhere

Dangerous Stock Markets

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

These record US stock-market levels are very dangerous, riddled with extreme levels of euphoria and complacency.  Largely thanks to the Fed, traders are convinced stocks can rally indefinitely.  But stock prices are very expensive relative to underlying corporate earnings, with valuations back up near bubble levels.  These are classic topping signs, with profits growth stalling and the Fed out of easy dovish ammunition.

Stock markets are forever cyclical, meandering in an endless series of bulls and bears.  The latter phase of these cycles is inevitable, like winter following summer.  Traders grow too excited in bull markets, and bid up stock prices far higher than their fundamentals support.  Subsequent bear markets are necessary to eradicate unsustainable valuation excesses, forcing stock prices sideways to lower until profits catch up.

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Fed Statement Commentary

By Peter Schiff – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

The Fed’s tightening campaign, which was supposed to restore a semblance of monetary normalcy, after a decade of extraordinary stimulus, is officially over. The curtain came down far earlier than just about anyone in the mainstream had predicted. Given that the Fed’s sounded the retreat before any real blood was shed, should put into question whether they will ever be able to stand tough again.

According to most analysts, the economy is still strong and the financial markets are healthy. Yet despite this, yesterday the Fed announced no rate hikes for 2019 (and perhaps just one in 2020) and a premature September ending of its $50 billion per month balance sheet reduction program. When announced just last year, that program was supposed to cut the Fed’s $4.5 trillion bond portfolio by at least half. Instead we will be lucky to get below $4 trillion. Barely a dent.

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Powell’s Testimony & The ECB Meeting?

By Arkadiusz Sieroń – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Powell’s testimony before the Congress is behind us. The ECB meeting is ahead of us. Will Draghi support the gold prices after recent declines?

Gold Falls Below $1,300

Gold bulls might be disappointed. The upward trend apparently ended. As one can see in the chart below, gold fell below $1,300 on Friday.

Chart 1: Gold prices from March 1 to March 4, 2019

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Stacking The Next QE On Top Of A $4 Trillion Fed Floor

By Daniel Amerman – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

The Federal Reserve is currently communicating to the markets that it will likely pivot, and pause two strategies. The first pivot is to stop increasing interest rates. The second pivot is to stop unwinding the Fed balance sheet.

While the interest rate pause is getting the most attention – the balance sheet pause could be the most important one for investors over the coming years.

As explored herein, the impact of pausing the unwinding the balance sheet is to create a new floor at about $4 trillion in Federal Reserve assets. And if the business cycle has not been repealed and there is another recession – the Fed fully intends to go back to quantitative easing, potentially creating more trillions of dollars to be used for market interventions, and to stack another round of balance sheet expansion right on top of the previous round.

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The Fed’s Failure is a Fait Accompli

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From The Great Recession Blog

Here is a single chart that proves how completely the Fed’s end-game for its recovery failed, which means the fake recovery, itself, is failing. It’s not hard to figure out what happened here.

Talk about a euphoric rise at the end of the Trump Rally heading into 2018, followed immediately by a massive blow-off top. When you compare the size of the blow-off to the total size of the S&P 500, it looks almost like Mount Saint Helens blew its top off.

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Fed Statement Commentary

By Peter Schiff – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

While some may have been confused by Fed Chairman Powell’s circular statements in yesterday’s press conference, the takeaway should be abundantly clear: the period of Fed tightening, is over. The Fed will now hold steady on interest rates, and when they move again, they are more likely to lower rates than to raise them. And while the Fed’s program of balance sheet reductions is technically still underway, Powell made it clear that the program is no longer on “automatic pilot” and that the $50 billion per month of bond sales will likely diminish, and ultimately, conclude much earlier than anyone had predicted just a few weeks ago.

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Federal Reserve Confesses Sole Responsibility for All Recessions

In a surprisingly candid admission, two former Federal Reserve chairs have stated that the Federal Reserve alone is responsible for creating all recessions in the United States.

First, former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke said that

Expansions don’t die of old age. They get murdered.

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Has The Fed Already Gone Too Far?

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From PentoPort

It is crucial for investors to understand that the Federal Reserve has not yet turned dovish and the Fed “Put” it not yet in place. Wall Street sometimes hears what it desperately needs, but that does not make it fact. While Jerome Powell has moved incrementally towards the dovish side of the ledger in the past few weeks, the Fed is still firmly in hawkish territory. If, however, Mr. Powell was actively reducing the Fed Funds Rate (FFR) and expanding the balance sheet, then we would have a dovish Fed. However, by just indicating that the FOMC might be close to finishing its rate hiking campaign, while still selling nearly $50 billion of bonds every month from its balance sheet, the Fed is still tightening monetary policy–and in a big way.

However, “The Fed is now dovish, so it’s a good time to buy stocks” mantra from Wall Street is a dangerous one indeed. This argument is false on two fronts. First, as already mentioned, Jerome Powell is still tightening monetary policy through its reverse QE process. Second, the fact that the Fed may be cutting rates soon doesn’t mean the stock market automatically goes up. The Fed began cutting rates in September of 2007 and reached 0% by December of 2008. Was it a good time to buy stocks during that time? No, it was a very dumb idea that cost you half of your investable assets. The market actually peaked around the same time the Fed began cutting rates and didn’t bottom until March 2009, three months after interest rates hit 0%.

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Some Predictions For 2019

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From Pento Portfolio Strategies

Bond Yields Continue to Fall in First Half of Year

The epoch bond bubble continues to build and become a dagger over the worldwide economy and markets. Wall Street Shills are fond of claiming that global bond yields remain at historically low levels due to central bank manipulations, but this argument is no longer tenable. It was once true, but QE on a net global basis has now gone negative. And the data shows the amount of U.S. publicly traded debt relative to GDP is much greater today than it was prior to the start of the Great Recession—even after adjusted for the size of the Fed’s balance sheet–in other words, taking into account all the debt the Fed has purchased and is still rolling over.

The amount of publicly traded debt in the U.S. has soared to 58% of GDP. This is up from 29% in 2007 when the U.S. 10-year Note was yielding 5%. The Fed is now selling $50b of bonds each month, with an extra $7.8T in publicly traded debt that it doesn’t own; and that equates to nearly 2x the amount of debt compared to GDP than what existed just prior to the Great Recession. This debt must now be absorbed by the private market and at a fair market price, instead of just purchased mindlessly by the Fed…and yet yields are still falling. This means investors are piling into sovereign debt for safety ahead of the global economic crisis even though they understand that debt is, for the most part, insolvent.

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How We Went from Fake Recovery to Freefall

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Until you got to this tax and spending deal a year ago, it was one of the most hated bull markets. The markets steadily climbed one wall of worry after another, and the problem was that the economic data did not confirm it.

Bloomberg

That’s right. The market was not rising for the past ten years due to a healthy underlying economy. On the contrary, the market was rising due to the Federal Reserve pumping out stratospheric amounts of thin-air money, all of which needed somewhere to land.

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Beware The Young Bear!

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Stock markets are forever cyclical, an endless series of alternating bulls and bears. And after one of the greatest bulls in US history, odds are a young bear is now gathering steam. It is being fueled by record Fed tightening, bubble valuations, trade wars, and mounting political turmoil. Bears are dangerous events driving catastrophic losses for buy-and-hold investors. Different strategies are necessary to thrive in them.

This major inflection shift from exceptional secular bull to likely young bear is new. By late September, the flagship US S&P 500 broad-market stock index (SPX) had soared 333.2% higher over 9.54 years in a mighty bull. That ranked as the 2nd-largest and 1st-longest in US stock-market history! At those recent all-time record highs, investors were ecstatic. They euphorically assumed that bull-run would persist for years.

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Interview With Michael Pento

By Greg Hunter – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

Money manager Michael Pento says things are going to get much worse from here. Pento explains, “They understand when the stock market goes down, consumption and the wealth effect crumble, and the economy is going to falter.

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Gold-Stock Triple Breakout

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

The beleaguered gold stocks are recovering from their late-summer capitulation, enjoying a solid young upleg as investors gradually return.  Their buying has pushed the leading gold-stock ETF near a major triple breakout technically.  That event should really boost capital inflows into this sector, accelerating the rally.  A major gold and gold-stock buying catalyst is likely imminent too, a more-dovish Fed next week.

The gold miners’ stocks have always been a small contrarian sector, a little-watched corner of the stock markets.  But they’ve been even more unpopular than usual in recent months.  That pessimistic sentiment is driven by price action, which has mostly proven poor in 2018.  That’s really evident in the performance of the flagship gold-stock investment vehicle, the GDX VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF which is struggling.

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Stocks’ Last Cheap Sector

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

The lofty stock markets suffered a sharp selloff this week that may prove a major inflection point.  There was one lone sector that bucked the heavy selling to surge in the carnage, the gold miners’ stocks.  They are the last cheap sector in these bubble-valued stock markets, long overlooked and neglected.  Wildly undervalued today, the gold stocks have great potential to soar dramatically even if stock markets keep weakening.

Just several weeks ago, the US stock markets hit new all-time record highs stoking universal euphoria.  The flagship S&P500 broad-market stock index (SPX) closed at 2930.8 in late September, extending its monstrous bull to 333.2% over 9.5 years.  That made for the 2nd-largest and 1st-longest in US stock-market history!  It also left these markets dangerously overvalued, literally trading at bubble valuations.

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New Age Fiscal Stimulus Is Unprecedented

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

In a normal business cycle, the economy expands for a while and businesses hire lots of new people at somewhat higher wages, generating enough tax revenue to shrink the government’s budget deficit – and in rare cases produce a surplus. So, for a while, the government borrows less money.

Not this time. The current recovery is nearly ten years old and the labor market is so tight that desperate companies are trying all kinds of new tricks to attract workers – including higher wages.

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Here’s Where The Next Crisis Starts

By James Richards – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

So many credit crises are brewing, it’s hard to keep track without a scorecard.

The mother of all credit crises is coming to China with over a quarter-trillion dollars owed by insolvent banks and state-owned enterprises, not to mention off-the-books liabilities of provincial governments, wealth management products and developers of white elephant infrastructure projects.

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Inflation Is Back, Part 9: Two Sentences Say It All

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

Okay, one more look at wage inflation, followed by a short diatribe on the unfairness of life.

As the labor markets get tighter, power is finally shifting from companies to workers. For some reason Iowa is leading the way (the promised two sentences are in bold):

Say Hello to Full Employment — Want to know where the economy is headed? Look at Des Moines

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Stock Markets Hyper-Risky 3

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

The lofty US stock markets remain riddled with euphoria and complacency, fueled by an exceptional bull. Investors believe downside risks are trivial, despite long years of epic central-bank easing catapulting valuations to dangerous bull-slaying extremes. This has left today’s markets hyper-risky, with a massive bear looming as the Fed and ECB increasingly slow and reverse their easy-money policies. Caveat emptor!

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Gold Summer Doldrums 2

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Early summer is the weakest time of the year seasonally for gold, silver, and their miners’ stocks. With traders’ attention diverted to vacations and summer fun, their precious-metals interest and investment demand wane considerably. Thus this entire sector, and often the markets in general, suffer a seasonal lull this time of year. But these summer doldrums offer the best seasonal buying opportunities of the year. Continue reading

Two Key Future Events

By Jim Willie – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

TIMBER!! That is the standard cry in the forest industry among loggers who cut down giant trees, the warning to step aside for the great impact. GET READY FOR THE SIMULTANEOUS BANKING CRISIS IN THE THREE BIGGEST EUROPEAN ECONOMIES: GERMANY, FRANCE, ITALY. The United States and the London Centre will not be able to avoid the crisis.

Try that again. TIMBERRRR !! An event of monumental importance and impact is on the verge of occurrence. The largest bank in Europe is Deutsche Bank. Its credit default swap is rising in cost, while its stock price has entered single digits in a powerful decline. The great D-Bank, site of the European office in management of the multi-$trillion derivatives, is on the verge of financial failure. It is the largest bank in all of Europe. All of its business segments are impaired and losing money in a hemorrhage. Furthermore, it is a big bond holder for Italian Govt Bonds. The Italian banking system is in the death throes, which has finally been recognized. Their recent elections openly debated pathways in the face of banking system failure, which the Jackass has been expecting for over a year in steady coverage with analysis. However, the bigger bond holder for Italian debt is France. Expect a massive bank crisis to emerge very soon that wrecks Societe General and BNP Paribas, its two largest banks.

Back in 2016, the Hat Trick Letter warned of very high Non-Performing Loans among the Italian banks. The HTLetter warned of rising government bond credit defaults swap rates. It is the insurance rate on a standard government bond, in coverage for default of the bond. It was this CDSwap rising rate which warned at least three months in advance of the Lehman Brothers failure (killjob by JPM and GSax). But the contagion for the Italian banking failure is the main point. Notice that back two years ago, the French big banks had triple the size of exposure to Italian debt, versus the German banks. The Spanish and US banks will also suffer from the impact. The graph below is from July 2016.

GLOBAL CURRENCY RESET

The Global Currency RESET has begun, hardly with fanfare and parades, or even formal public statements by the main players. Many are the events and steps toward the planning and execution of the RESET, which will be very disruptive, and make the Lehman failure seem rather minor by comparison. The Jackass has consistently called what comes to be the Systemic Lehman Event, since major sovereign bonds have become subprime in quality, kept sustained by central banks with their QE. Another better name for Quantitative Easing is hyper monetary inflation with debt monetization of the unsterilized type. See Zimbabwe and South America for the wondrous outcomes in national economic wreckage, poverty, and bank insolvency, just two examples. The Jackass has been preaching for several years that the QE monetary policy has saved the big banks, or at least through bolstered official liquidity having bought them some time. But the consequence has been to render severe damage to the tangible economies. QE has essentially killed the economies. The feedback loop has struck the banks, which suffer great damage from the chronic recession which has never stopped since the year 2006. Business failures have combined with lower energy prices to cause a wrecking ball to hit the big banks. They also have been hurt by the rising bond yields for the USTreasurys. The lie on economic growth has been about 5% to 7% every year, from severely gimmicked price inflation. See Shadow Govt Statistics with John Williams for proof. Therefore, the true inflation adjusted GDP has been minus 2% to minus 4% every year since before the Lehman failure.

The RESET is in progress. Many are its elements. Like the Gold-Oil-RMB futures contracts in Shanghai. Like the Cross-Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS) which will function as the SWIFT alternative for Eastern nations. The entire Belt & Road Initiative forms a massive $6 to $8 trillion conference table of projects, mostly construction, all in the Eastern Hemisphere, and none conducted in USDollar terms. Many are the non-USD platforms under development, some of which have been around for a while like the BRICS Development Bank. Lately, a new piece has been put in the picture, with the BRICS Gold Platform. My suspicion is that Turkey might soon play a role with it, in conversion of sovereign subprime (toxic) bonds like the USTreasurys and EuroBonds. Keep in mind that Italian Govt Bonds deserve a 10% yield, like the Greek Govt Bonds, except that the Euro Central Bank has been subsidizing these toxic (in) securities.

TWO KEY EVENTS

An astute and very well-informed source with solid connections has provided important direction on the development. Timing is always difficult. He looks toward two key events that soon will trigger a global financial crisis, complete with a wave of reforms and solutions sought, all amidst great changes in financial markets. Expect a complete restructuring of the financial world we know it, as in debt restructure. The result will be a gold-centric financial structure, with central banks honoring finally the Gold Standard and the gold asset in banking reserves. The shift will be seen toward not only implementation of the Gold Standard, but also the Chinese RMB and possibly a key role for crypto-currencies. Confirmation is coming from the mainstream media. During the Systemic Lehman Event, otherwise called the bust of the Everything Bond Bubble (from QE squared), some sovereign bonds will be defaulted upon, with painful consequences from the failures. During the upcoming bust, certain entire national banking systems will collapse.

At the same time, next-generation technology will be unleashed. It will be both disruptive to monopoly corporations, and society also. It will act as a wrecking ball to many energy companies who have suppressed the technology. In the RESET expect some hardline rules (if not games) exerted by the banker cabal, with respect to war on cash and negative rates. They will attempt to maintain their centralized power and absent transparency. The Elders of China are driving the RESET process, after having abandoned support for many key institutions of power in the West. A gold-backed Chinese Yuan is anticipated as part of the new framework.

In the upcoming chaos, tremendous changes will come, as part of the Global Paradigm Shift. In the reforms and much needed solutions, the suppression controls and shackles for Precious Metals will be shoved aside. The source has expectations of key events unfolding rapidly, with no prospect of much delay or favorable outcome for the USDollar, since Gold cannot hold back any longer. Bear in mind the gigantic Egyptian gold investor, where something like 50% of his wealth was invested in gold bullion metal. The shrewd investors expect only PM to survive the big burn that comes, and not much else, surely not paper assets when the King Dollar suffers its fate. The source is not certain how much longer the suppression of price and news can be maintained. It surely will not last another year, more like at most several months. Events are picking up in accelerated speed and breadth for the non-USD platforms. By the way, the source is not Santa himself, Mr Sinclair.

Then the source emphasized this. He awaits two key globally important events, which are set to occur. Nothing can stop them, and both will be powerful. He knows what they are, but is not at liberty to offer further details, very clear events in development. They are near-term triggers, which will release Gold & Silver prices. Once gold is released, silver will take flight. He stressed how the Global Currency RESET will have some very visible unexpected aspects in a complete restructuring of the financial world versus its present form. He seems to be part of the planned restructure, planning, testing, and implementation, if not the upcoming crisis management.

The Jackass tried to guess on the key trigger events with Saudi oil sales taken in RMB payments. He was evasive but admitted that is a certainty already to occur between the Chinese and Arabs. My next gambit guess was to describe the development of non-USD platforms. He repeated that two key events are in the near-term schedule in progress. Before the Jackass could mention the near-term chaos with Deutsche Bank and the entire Italian banking system, he offered more details, but still somewhat general.

This will unfold as an event schedule sequence. He gave emphasis that silver metal was in dire shortage, the deficit growing worse with each passing month. Upon further reflection, the Jackass believes a widespread shutdown of principal globalist cabal banks might occur, which would alter the entire global financial framework, and unleash the gold demand. The remaining banks could then replace a large swath of their USTreasury Bonds, EuroBonds, UKGilts, and JapGovtBonds in favor of Gold bullion for the formally held assets in reserves. The RESET would then dictate how global banking systems must migrate toward gold and away from sovereign debt in their reserves management systems. The rising Gold price in the following years would ensure the banks of healthy solvency. Or at least gold will aid the central banks in their struggle toward survival, which have made disastrous decisions in the accumulation of $9 trillion of toxic sovereign bonds just in the USFed and EuroCB.

Here are several potential key events to force a grand grotesque disruption. The others pertain to deep impact events, also certain to continue the disruption. The Jackass guess on the two events are first a combination of Deutsche Bank failure with Italian banking system collapse. The second guessed event would be the introduction of the Gold Trade Note, designed to sit atop the Shanghai Gold-Oil-RMB futures contracts, with a possible announcement of interchangeable Chinese Yuan with the Gold Trade Note in a caretaker temporary transition role. Be sure to know that Jackass conjecture on the two key events is a much better descriptor, since guess seems flimsy flighty and conjecture seems educated calculated.

LIST OF POTENTIAL KEY EVENTS

VERY SERIOUS MAJOR GLOBAL GAME CHANGERS

  • Deutsche Bank failure, talk of restructure, with rupture of derivative complex
  • Italian banking system collapse, complete with numerous bank runs
  • Italian sovereign currency announced as new Lira currency in EU exit
  • London Metals Exchange launches RMB-based metals contracts
  • COMEX & LBMA rupture from lost control of integration with oil & currencies
  • Formal launch of Gold Trade Note atop the Shanghai G-O-R contracts
  • Saudi oil sales in RMB to China, adopted by other Arabs and other Asians
  • London flips East, with RMB Hub development, following their AIIBank membership

DEEP IMPACT DISRUPTIONS

  • Flourishing non-USD platforms, led by Chinese design and efforts
  • Germans and French formally end Russian sanctions, thus flipping East
  • CIPS bank transaction system gains wider adoption, even among Western nations
  • BRICS Gold Platform announces conversion of sovereign bonds to Gold
  • China pre-announces gold-backed Yuan in form of convertible Gold Trade Note
  • China announced Yuan backed by basket of currencies, Gold, other commodities
  • Introduction of a new IMF SDR basket that includes gold, crude oil, iron
  • EU opens door to Euro payments in external trade with trading partners
  • Emerging Markets rupture on debt defaults, due to currency crisis
  • NATO fractures in the open and EU pursues independent military security

PROOF OF MONETARY POLICY FAILURE

The Global RESET has already begun. The USFed has brought about a chronic slowdown in money velocity, which reveals the horrendous chronic recession. Damage has been done for over six years during the heretical QE monetary policy. The chart is only through end of year 2018. The malinvestments are hitting the wall. Add to the discussion on the bond market, aside from the USTreasurys, where much distress is seen. The USFed cannot manage the entire asset backed securities (mortgage bond) market and the corporate bond market, let alone the high yield (junk) bond market. Far afield is the Emerging Market arena, with scary damage. The Quantitative Tightening has caused severe problems already. It all seems like a scuttle project. Thus the new chairman of the USFed is certainly not a banker cabal player, with no Wall Street experience.

The following is from the Voice, with minor edits for flow. The chart is for data ending January 1st. “Chaos has entered many parts of the lateral portions from the bond market, but more visibly worse to the center of the tangible economy. It is all much simpler than you think. The Velocity of Money has slowed down dramatically and in some sectors of the economies have gone close to zero. It is much like cutting off oxygen from a passenger jet, where the passengers suffocate. Refer to the Austrian School of Economics describing the Crackup Boom scenario where malinvestments finally collapse. It is much like an earthquake triggered

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Global Synchronized Slowdown

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From http://www.PentoPort.com

Not too long ago the overwhelming consensus from the perennial Wall Street Carnival Barkers was that investors were enjoying a global growth renaissance that would last for as far as the eye can see. Unfortunately, it didn’t take much time to de-bunk that fairy tale. After a lackluster start to 2018, the market’s expectations for global growth for the remainder of this year is now waning with each tick higher in bond yields.

U.S. economic growth displayed its usual sub-par performance in the first quarter of 2018; with real GDP expanding at a 2.3% annual rate, which was led by a sharp slowdown in consumer spending. The JPMorgan Global PMI™, compiled by IHS Markit, fell for the first time in six months, down rather sharply from 54.8 in February to a 16-month low of 53.3 in March. The index point drop was the steepest for the past two years. To put that decline in context, the February PMI reading was consistent with global GDP rising at an annual rate of 3.0%. However, the March reading is indicative of just 2.5% annualized growth. Therefore, not only is global growth already in the process of slowing but the insidious bursting of the bond bubble is gaining momentum and should soon push the economy into a worldwide synchronized recession.

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Potential ‘Market Panic’

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon sees ‘chance of market panic’
– In annual letter to shareholders Dimon warns of increased inflation and interest rates
– Concerned QE unwinding could cause chaos as ‘markets will get more volatile’
– Hard to look at the last 20 years in America “and not think that it has been getting increasingly worse.”
– Positive about US economy over next year, but ignores record levels of world and government debt
– Believes major buyers of US debt (e.g. China) could reduce their purchases of US government debt
– Investors can protect portfolios with gold and silver bullion
– U.S. debt and dollar crisis coming which will propel gold higher (see chart)

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Complacency Reigns Supreme

By Burt Coons (PLUNGER) – Re-Blogged From Rambus Chartology

I had intended to post part III of my interest rate series, however market conditions dictate that I post views on the current market.  This market is now communicating that it is at high risk.  For two months now,  I have been advocating a strategic retreat.  Head for the sidelines and watch the action with an unemotional detachment.  The market is now sounding the alarm and one should be on high alert for a downside acceleration.

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Deflation Of An Everything Bubble

By Graham Summers – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The big questions being tossed around Wall Street today are: why are markets such a mess? Why are we getting these wild swings?

The reality is that the markets are NOT a mess. These are actually normal healthy markets. Healthy markets move, sometimes a lot in a small span of time.

The real issue is that from ’09 until recently, the market was completely artificial because Central Banks cornered ALL risk by cornering the sovereign bond market.

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Currencies Will Be ‘Flushed Down The Toilet’

By Mike Gleason – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome back Michael Pento, president and founder of Pento Portfolio Strategies, and author of the book The Coming Bond Market Collapse: How to Survive the Demise of the U.S. Debt Market.

Michael is a well-known money manager and a fantastic market commentator, and over the past few years has been a wonderful guest and one of our favorite interviews here on the Money Metals Podcast and we always enjoy getting his Austrian economist viewpoint.

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As a Matter of INTEREST, Talk of Inflation Fear, the Fed’s Perfect Unwind, Concern about Wages is ALL Economic Denial

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Great Recession Blog

The Federal Reserve is now hacking its own zombie recovery to death and eating it by reversing the actions it employed to create this artificially supported recovery. Each time the Fed unwinds its balance sheet, 10-year bond rates recoil, and the stock market dances along in countermoves and wild swings. The main theme of my blog has always been that the Fed’s centrally planned economic recovery dies as soon as the artificial life-support is removed.

Blinded by economic denial because they are evangelists to the Fed’s religion, market pundits are finding any rationale they can to avoid connecting the Fed’s Great Unwind with these huge swings in long-term interest rates and the obviously corresponding counter-swings of the stock market. For those who have eyes to see, however, it should be clear that the world’s largest bond and stock markets are shuddering as the supports are removed.

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Trump Will Be ‘Fall Guy’ for Fed’s Mistakes

By Rob Williams – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Peter Schiff, the chief executive of Euro Pacific Capital and financial commentator, said President Trump will end up getting blamed for market and economic turmoil caused by the Federal Reserve’s misguided policies.

That means Trump will lose the White House in 2020, and be replaced by a left-wing candidate who will expand the government’s role in the economy, Schiff said.

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Stock Selling Unleashed!

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The unnaturally-tranquil stock markets suddenly plunged over this past week. Volatility skyrocketed out of the blue and shattered years of artificial calm conjured by extreme central-bank distortions. This was a huge shock to the legions of hyper-complacent traders, who are realizing stocks don’t rally forever. With stock selling unleashed again, herd psychology will start shifting back to bearish which will fuel lots more selling.

As a contrarian student of the markets, I watched stocks’ recent mania-blowoff surge in stunned disbelief. On fundamental, technical, and sentimental fronts, the stock markets were as or more extreme than their last major bull-market toppings in March 2000 and October 2007! I outlined all this in an essay on these hyper-risky stock markets on 2017’s final trading day. The ominous writing was on the wall for all willing to see.

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Don’t Fight the Fed! Or the Rest of the World’s Central Banks

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From PentoPort

On March 9, 2009, The Wall Street Journal’s Money and Investing section posed this ominous question: “How low can stocks go?” The stench of economic malaise was suffocating as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rounded off its fourth straight week of losses, and the S&P 500 touched below 700 for the first time in 13 years. Goldman Sachs cautioned the S&P could fall to 400, while CNBC’s Jim Cramer was busily calculating the stock valuations of the DJIA components based on balance sheet cash levels.

Yet miraculously, as the market pundits stood despondently believing there was nothing positive on the economic horizon and that no stock was worth buying at any price, investors stared into the abyss and took a leap of faith. And just like that, the market had bottomed. Dow 6,440.08 was a buying opportunity, and with the Fed’s QE spigot operating on full throttle, the Dow was poised for a historic take-off.

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Stock Markets Hyper-Risky 2

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From http://www.Zealllc.com

The US stock markets enjoyed an extraordinary surge in 2017, shattering all kinds of records. This was fueled by hopes for big tax cuts soon since Republicans regained control of the US government. But such relentless rallying has catapulted complacency, euphoria, and valuations to dangerous bull-slaying extremes. This has left today’s beloved and lofty stock markets hyper-risky, with serious selloffs looming large.

History proves that stock markets are forever cyclical, no trend lasts forever. Great bulls and bears alike eventually run their courses and give up their ghosts. Sooner or later every secular trend yields to extreme sentiment peaking, then the markets inevitably reverse. Popular greed late in bulls, and fear late in bears, ultimately hits unsustainable climaxes. All near-term buyers or sellers are sucked in, killing the trend.

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Lemmings in Full Gallup Towards Cliff

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From http://www.pentoport.com

Its official…the stock market has broken above 23,000, and its valuations should now scare even the most mind-numbed carnival barker on Wall Street. The forward 12-month PE ratio is 18, compared to the 10-year average of just 14. The 12-month trailing PE for Pro-forma earnings, which takes into account non-recurring items that seem to recur ever quarter, is trading at 20 times earnings. But on a reported earnings basis—the number you report to the SEC under penalty of the law and according to GAAP standards–the 12-month trailing PE is 25.5 times earnings.

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An Accountant’s View of the Economy

By Peter Diekmeyer – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Twenty years ago Doug Noland was so worried about imbalances surrounding the dot.com boom that he began to title his weekly reports “The Credit Bubble Bulletin. Years later, he warned the world about the impending 2008 crisis.

However a coming implosion, he says, could be the biggest yet.

“We are in a global finance bubble, which I call the grand-daddy of all bubbles,” said Noland. “Economists can’t see it. They can’t model money and credit. However, to those outside the system, the facts are increasingly clear.”

Noland points to inflating real estate, bond and equity prices as key causes for concern. According to the Federal Reserve’s September Z.1 Flow of Funds report, the value of US equities jumped $1.5 trillion during the second quarter to $42.2 trillion, a record 219% of GDP.

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Markets No Longer Believe The Fed

By Graham Summers – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The Fed wants us to believe that it remains hawkish, that it will begin the process of unwinding its $4.5 trillion balance sheet next month and that it will hike rates again this year.

The markets aren’t buying it, even for a second.

The top performing asset class after the Fed concluded its announcement on Wednesday was… TREASURIES: the asset class that should DROP hard if the Fed intends to raise rates.

Apparently bonds didn’t believe that Fed Chair Janet Yellen was going to hike rates again for more than a few hours. As a result of this, the long-Treasuries ETF (TLT) actually OUTPERFORMED the S&P 500 as well as the NASDAQ post the FOMC.

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Coming Central Bank Failure

By Mike Gleason – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Listen to the Podcast Audio: Click Here

Mike Gleason (Money Metals Exchange): It is my privilege to welcome in Michael Pento, President and founder of Pento Portfolio Strategies, and author of the book, The Coming Bond Market Collapse: How to Survive the Demise of the U.S. Debt Market. Michael is a well-known and successful money manager, and has been a regular guest on CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox Business News, and also the Money Medals Podcast, and shares his astute insights on markets and geopolitics from the perspective of an Austrian school economist viewpoint.

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D.C. Dysfunction and Central Bank Chaos

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From Pento Portfolio Strategies

On September 5th, the members of both houses of Congress of the United States cleaned the beach sand from between their toes and returned to work. Our public servants who occupy The House of Representatives have been working on their respective tans since July 29th. The Senate has had a little less time in the sun; they held their final vote on August 3rd despite their pledge to stay until August 11th.

Hopefully, they got a lot of rest, because they have a lot to do upon their return. By the end of September Congress will need to pass a budget bill to avoid a government shutdown. Expect Tea Party Republicans to hold their ground on spending cuts while Trump petitions for his wall. According to recent tweets, Trump is pushing for this fight and welcomes a government shutdown. Get out the popcorn this could get interesting.

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Fed’s Dudley Drops Bombshell: Low Inflation “Actually Might Be a Good Thing”

By Wolf Richter – Re-Blogged From Wolf Street

QE unwind in September, “another rate hike later this year.”

The media have been talking themselves into a lather about how the less-than-2% inflation would force the Fed to stop hiking rates. But William Dudley, president of the New York Fed and one of the most influential voices on the policy-setting Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC), just dropped a stunning bombshell about low inflation – why it might be low and how that “actually might be a good thing.”

The kickoff for unwinding QE appears to be in the can. There’s unanimous support for it on the FOMC. It appears to be scheduled for the September meeting. The market has digested the coming “balance sheet normalization.” Stocks have risen and long-term yields have fallen, and financial conditions have eased further, which is the opposite of what the Fed wants to accomplish; it wants to tighten financial conditions. So it will keep tightening its policy until financial conditions are tightening.

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Fed QT Bearish For Stocks

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Ominously for the stock markets, the Federal Reserve is warning that quantitative tightening is coming later this year.  The Fed is on the verge of starting to drain its vast seas of new money conjured out of thin air over the past decade or so.  The looming end of this radically-unprecedented easy-money era is exceedingly bearish for these lofty stock markets, which have been grossly inflated for years by Fed QE.

Way back in December 2008, the first US stock panic in an entire century left the Fed frantic.  Fearful of an extreme negative wealth effect spawning another depression, the Fed quickly forced its benchmark federal-funds rate to zero.  Once that zero-interest-rate policy had been implemented, no more rate cuts were practical.  ZIRP is terribly disruptive economically, fueling huge distortions.  But negative rates are far worse.

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How Can The Fed Possibly Unwind QE?

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

There are currently two important items on the Fed’s wish list. The first is to restore interest rates to more normal levels, and the second is to unwind the Fed’s balance sheet, which has expanded since the great financial crisis, principally through quantitative easing (QE). Is this not just common sense?

Maybe. It is one thing to wish, another to achieve. The Fed has demonstrated only one skill, and that is to ensure the quantity of money continually expands, yet they are now saying they will attempt to achieve the opposite, at least with base money, while increasing interest rates.

Both these aims appear reasonable if they can be accomplished, but the game is given away by the objective. It is the desire to return the Fed’s interest rate policies and balance sheet towards where they were before the last financial crisis, because the Fed wants to be prepared for the next one. Essentially, the Fed is admitting that its monetary policies are not guaranteed to work, and despite all the PhDs employed in the federal system, central bank policy remains stuck in a blind alley. Fed does not want to institute a normalised balance sheet just for the sake of it.

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Dollar May Become “Local Currency Of The US Only”

By Mike Gleason – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Listen to the Podcast Audio: Click Here

Mike Gleason: It is my great privilege to be joined now by James Rickards. Mr. Rickards is editor of Strategic Intelligence, a monthly newsletter, and Director of the James Rickards Project, an inquiry into the complex dynamics of geopolitics and global capital. He’s also the author of several bestselling books including The Death of Money, Currency Wars, The New Case for Gold, and now his latest book The Road to Ruin.

In addition to his achievements as a writer and author, Jim is also a portfolio manager, lawyer and renowned economic commentator having been interviewed by CNBC, the BBC, Bloomberg, Fox News and CNN just to name a few. And we’re also happy to have him back on the Money Metals Podcast.

Jim, thanks for coming on with us again today. We really appreciate your time. How are you?

Jim Rickards: I’m fine, Mike. Thanks. Great to be with you. Thanks for having me.

Mike Gleason: Absolutely. Well first off, Jim, last week, the fed increased the fed funds rate by another quarter of a point as most of us expected, but during that meeting, we also heard Janet Yellen say she wants to normalize the Fed’s balance sheet, which means the Fed could be dumping about $50 billion in financial assets into the marketplace each month. Now you’ve been a longtime and outspoken critic of the fed and their policies over the years. So, what are your thoughts here, Jim? Do you believe they will actually follow through on this idea of selling off more than $4 trillion in bonds and other assets on the Fed’s books? And if so, what do you think the market reaction would be including the gold market?

 

Jim Rickards: Well, I do think they’re going to follow through. Of course, it’s important to understand the mechanics of the Fed. They’re actually not going to sell any bonds. But they are going to reduce their balance sheet by probably two to two and a half trillion. So just to go through the history and the math and the actual mechanics there, so prior to the financial crisis of 2008, the Fed’s balance sheet was about $800 billion. As a result of QE1, QE2, QE3, and everything else the fed has done in the meantime, they got that balance sheet up to $4.5 trillion. By the way, if the Fed were a hedge fund, they’d be leveraged 115 to one. They look a really bad hedge fund. But that’s how much the Fed is leveraged, they have about 40 billion of equity, versus 4.5 trillion of assets. Mostly U.S. government securities of various kinds. So, they’re leveraged well over 100 to one.

And if you mark the balance sheet to market, not always but sometimes depending on what interest rates are doing, they’re actually technically insolvent. There have been times, again not all the times, but times when the mark to market basis, the Fed would have negative equity or basically would be broke if they were anyone other than the Fed. So that’s how leveraged they are. That’s how bad it is.

Now, what they want to do is to get the balance sheet down to what they consider normal. Now normal is completely subjective. There’s no rigorous scientific formula for what’s normal. The way you would do it is go back to 2008, start with the 800 billion, and say well look, if we had grown the balance sheet on the prior path, where would we be today in 2017, going into 2018, 2019? That number’s around two trillion. I mean it wouldn’t have been 800 billion. They’re not going to hold it steady. But probably just two to two and a half trillion for an approximation, which means that they have to reduce the balance sheet by two trillion dollars or more to get back to normal.

Now the question is, how do you do that? And again, I just want to emphasize, they’re not going to sell any bonds. What they do is they let them mature. If you want to go buy a treasury bond, let’s say we bought a 5-year note, five years ago and it was maturing today. What would happen? The Treasury just sends you the money. It’s like any bond. You don’t have to sell it. You don’t have to do anything with it. They just send you the money. They have your account and the money just shows up in your account. Well, it’s the same thing with the Fed, they have all these trillions of treasury notes and bonds and bills and mortgages and all that. And when they mature, the Treasury just sends them the money.

So, if that’s true, which it is, why hasn’t the balance sheet been going down all along? Well the answer is, they have been reinvesting the proceeds. So, as I say, if you have a 5-year note you bought five years ago, it matures, treasury sends you the money. Well the Fed has been going out buying a new 5-year note to replace the 5-year note that just matured. So that holds the balance sheet constant. During QE, they were actually doing more than that. They were not only rolling over the existing balance sheet. They were buying new securities with money from thin air.

That, by the way, for listeners who may not be familiar, that is how the Fed creates money. So, the Federal Reserve calls one of the so-called primary dealers which are the big banks. It’s Goldman Sachs, City, JP Morgan, the usual suspects. And they say, “offer me 10-year notes or 5-year notes, whatever.” And the dealer will offer them a price. And the Fed will say, “Okay, you’re done.” And then the dealer delivers the treasury notes to the Fed. And the Fed pays for them. But the money comes from nowhere. If you or I called Merrill Lynch of Goldman Sachs or somebody and said, I’d like to buy some 10-year treasury notes, they would sell them to us, but we’d have to pay for them with real money. I mean the money would come out of our brokerage account or a bank account. Whereas when the Fed does it, they just say, “Here’s the money.” And it literally comes from thin air.

So that’s what Quantitative Easing was. That was printing money to buy bonds to build up the balance sheet. And then that money went into the banking system. Of course, all the banks did was give it back to the Fed in the from excess reserves. On which they got interest, so the whole thing was just a way to funnel earnings from the treasury to the banks at the tax payers expense without anyone knowing. I mean obviously, technically I just described it, but this is not something that the everyday American necessarily understands that well. So, that’s what QE is, and this is now the opposite. And the name for it is quantitative tightening. So, when they were printing money, it was Quantitative Easing. Now that they’re making money disappear, that is what happens, it’s Quantitative Tightening, so we call it QT.

So, we had QE1, QE2, QE3. Now we’re going into QT or quantitative tightening. Now this does make money disappear. It’s the opposite of creating money. So again, simple example. The 5-year treasury note on the Fed balance sheet, it matures. The Treasury sends you the money. Now what they’re going to do, Mike, this is what you referred to, instead of going out and buying a new one to roll it over, they do nothing. And then the money disappears, the bond disappears, because it matured. And the balance sheet shrinks. So, the significance is not that they’re dumping bonds, because they’re not going to sell a single bond. The significance is that they are not buying new ones. Now at the margin, that still affects the market. The Fed has been the biggest buyer of new treasury issues for the last eight years.

In recent years, they’ve been buying as much as 30% of all the treasury bonds. So of course, the treasury issues bonds all the time to cover the deficit, right? So, we’ve had these huge deficits. They were over a trillion dollars back in the Obama days. They’re now down to around 400 billion, but that’s still a very big number as a percentage of GDP. And the Treasury covers those deficits by issuing notes and bonds. Well, the Fed has been buying 30% of them. So, it’s like any market. You take the biggest buyer out of the market, what’s going to happen? Well prices are going to fall, which means that interest rates go up. So that’s going to be a very strong headwind for the economy.

Now the Fed is trying to pretend that that’s not going to happen. And I know that sounds ridiculous, but here’s the way they’re spinning this whole thing. The Fed is saying, “Look, our policy tool is interest rates.” When they were zero, they didn’t have any flexibility. They couldn’t go below zero. I mean technically, you could go to negative interest rates, but the Fed never did. The evidence is pretty good that negative interest rates don’t work anyway. So, let’s just put negative interest rates off to one side for the time being. They are a tool in the toolkit, but not a tool that the fed has ever used or is planning to use. So, put negative interest rates to one side. Treat the zero interest rates as a hard boundary. When they were on the boundary, they couldn’t really do anything with interest rates. They couldn’t cut them anymore. They certainly weren’t going to raise them at the time.

But now they’ve got them up to 1%. We’ve had four interest rate hikes. December 2015, December 2016, March 2017 and June 2017. So, we have four rate hikes behind us – 25 basis point each. So that actually got rates up to 1%. Now they’re indicating they’re going to raise them some more. I don’t see that until December at the earliest. Maybe not even then, but I don’t think they’re going to raise rates in September. But they’re hinting that they will. They think they can raise them. If somehow we dropped into a recession, they wouldn’t do this right away, but they could cut them.

So, the Fed feels that the interest rate tool is now in use again. They can raise them or cut them. They’ve got a little bit of flexibility both ways. So, they don’t need to use the balance sheet. So, what they’re saying is, “Okay, starting now, we’re not going to sell any securities, but we’re not going to buy new ones. The amount that we’re not going to buy.” It’s kind of a strange concept, how much are you not going to buy? Or in other words, what’s the ceiling on the amount that you’re prepared not to roll over. And it’s going to start low. They’re going to start at 10 billion a month at six billion in treasuries and four billion in mortgages, but they’re going to ratchet it up. Every three months that number’s going to go up and up and up. Until they get to the point where, and this is the number you mentioned, it’s $50 billion a month broken into 30 billion in treasuries, 20 billion in mortgages.

But it’s 50 billion a month times 12 months is 600 billion dollars a year. So sooner than later, meaning late 2018, early 2019, the Fed is going to not roll over $600 billion a year. Put differently, $600 billion a year in money is going to disappear. The Fed would like us to believe that that’s not a monetary tightening, that that’s not going to have any impact on the economy. That’s nonsense. How could they tell us for eight years that Quantitative Easing was stimulative, that Quantitative Easing acted through the portfolio channel sect by pumping up stock prices, by pumping up house prices, making it good collateral for loans. This would increase funding and spending, have a wealth effect. All this wonderful stuff.

By the way, a lot of what I just said is nonsense. I mean I’m describing how the Fed thinks about it. It’s not necessarily how I think about it. Nor do I think all that stuff works the way they think it does, but that’s what they told us. That Quantitative Easing would have all these wonderful effects. Well how come Quantitative Easing has those good effects, but Quantitative Tightening or QT doesn’t have any bad effects? That seems ridiculous. So, little by little, they’re going to work their way up to $600 billion a year of money that disappears, that reduces the base money supply (M0), but somehow, we’re all supposed to pretend that that’s going to have no impact on stock prices or housing. I think that’s nonsense.

So, it’s a very big deal and the Fed says they wanted to run on background, wants to pretend that this not rolling over the 600 billion a year is going to run on background, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. We’re not going to use it as a policy tool. We’re just going to do interest rates up or down over here, so ignore this. Well they can say that, but the market’s not going to ignore it. The market understands what’s going on. And it will have this tightening effect as you described.

So, the Fed is blundering once again. They can’t seem to get anything right. That’s not really surprising when you have the wrong models, obsolete models, you’ll get the wrong policy every single time. But the economy’s weak. It’s getting weaker. We may be in a recession sooner than later. The market looks vulnerable and now the Fed wants to launch this major tightening program. I think it’s nonsense to think that won’t have some very bad effects.

Mike Gleason: Switching gears here a little bit. I want to talk about the dollar. It’s long been said that the U.S. dollar is significantly boosted and allowed to maintain its status as perhaps the world’s most reliable fiat currency or the tallest midget at the circus, so-to-speak, because the world’s financial system is built around the dollar. It is used to settle trades of oil and practically everything else. Now you’ve written a lot about currency wars and how this type of thing plays out and what goes on behind the scenes with all of this. And you just know people like the Chinese and Russians would love nothing more than to see the Petro-dollar taken out and replaced. Is our US dollar going to retain its Petro-dollar status over time here, Jim?

Jim Rickards: I don’t think so. There’s a very famous line from an Ernest Hemingway novel. The novel is The Sun Also Rises. It’s basically two guys, they’re having a drink at the bar and the one guy’s recently gone bankrupt. The other guy’s a little incredulous and he says, “Well how did you go bankrupt?” And his very famous answer was, “Slowly at first, then quickly.” Meaning, with any exponential algorithm or any exponential function, it starts slowly at first and then quickly. In other words, it’s the famous story of the courtier to the emperor of Persia, who did the emperor a service. The emperor was so pleased, he said, “I’ll give you anything you want. What do you want?” And the guy took out a chess board and he put one grain of rice on one corner. He said, “I’d like you to double the rice every square, so I’ll get two grains of rice on the second square, four grains of rice on the third square. And eight grains of rice on the fourth square, etc. around the board. And that’s how much rice I want.”

So, the king goes, “Done. You got it.” And then of course, he didn’t do the math. That’s two to the 4th power because there’s 64 squares on a board. And then the king’s administer came back later and said, “That’s more rice than the entire kingdom.” So, it’s an example of how starting with a grain of rice, you can bankrupt a kingdom when you have any kind of exponential effect going on. So, with regard to the U.S. dollar, yeah, the dollar is 60% of global reserves today. It’s 80% of global payments today when you look at all bank wire transfers and purchases of securities and currency trading and global trade, etc. No doubt that it is used to price oil and a lot of other things. So, no doubt that the dollar is the dominant global reserve currency today.

But I see at least seven or eight different, very powerful threads. Those grains of rice are going two, four, eight, 16, 64, 128 and so forth, leading to the demise of the dollar. So, what are they? Well number one, is gold. I think the China gold acquisition story is pretty well known. The Chinese officially say they have about 800 tons of gold. By the way, all these numbers I’m going to recite, these are all government gold. I’m not talking about private gold, which is a separate area, also important, but just government gold. China says they have about 1,800 tons. But (there’s a) very good reason to believe, based on Chinese mining output figures, Chinese gold imports, activities of People’s Liberation Army, which moves the gold. I’ve been to China recently. I met with the top gold banks in China.

I’ve also been to Switzerland recently and met with refiners there who actually sell gold to the Chinese and based on a lot of sources, it looks like they probably have more like maybe 4,000 tons, maybe even higher than that from all it’s probably higher, maybe 5,000 tons of gold. Russia is a lot more transparent than China, but they have tripled their gold reserves in a little over 10 years. In 2006, they had about 600 tons. And now they just passed 1,700 tons. We just got the numbers for May. That may not sound like a lot compared to the 8,000 tons that the United States has, officially 8,133 tons, but remember Russia’s economy’s only 1/8th the size of the U.S., but they have almost one quarter the amount of gold, which means that their gold to GDP ratio is double the United States.

If you had to back up your economy with gold, Russia would have twice as much as the United States again, all relative to the size of their economy. China is about on the par with the United States. It seems determined to pass the United States. So, two of the most powerful countries in the world are buying all the gold they can lay their hands on. The way I put it to people is, you can draw two conclusions. Number one, the Chinese and the Russians are really dumb. Or, they see something that you don’t. They see something that most people don’t see coming. I’ve spent time in Russia and China, they’re not dumb, meaning they see something that most people don’t see. And they’re preparing for a post dollar world or a world in which the confidence in the dollar is greatly eroded. So that’s one thread right there.

Beyond that, we have crypto-currencies. And I don’t want to get into Bitcoin and all that, but that’s a whole separate subject. It’s a long subject and a difficult one for a lot of people. But in all my discussions, I’ve always separated block chain from bit coin. Block chain is the technology behind the distributive ledger and how you actually account for the bitcoins. Bitcoin is the specific digital currency. And there are others out there. Bitcoin may or may not be the future though. That remains to be seen. I have my doubts, but others disagree. But there’s no question that block chain technology has a bright future. Russia is exploring that. If you were Russia, then you were the central bank of Russia, why would you want to be talking to the founder of Etherium or other experts on block chain technology.

Well one answer would be that you’re building a digital currency alternative to the dollar that the U.S. cannot hack or disrupt, because right now everybody’s vulnerable to dollar sanctions. So, Russia doesn’t love the dollar. They don’t love the United States, apparently. But when they sell their oil on global markets, they get paid in dollars. Now they then take the dollars. They do stuff with them. Sometimes they buy gold. We talked about that, and that they store the gold of Russia. They don’t store it in New York by the way.

Or they can buy U.S Treasury securities and they have some of those. They can buy European or Euro denominated securities, German government bonds – they have some of those etc. or they can put it into their sovereign wealth fund. So, there are a number of things they can do with the money, but they always start with dollars. And when you start selling dollars for euros, or buying gold, sending the dollars to a Swiss refinery, getting the gold in return, etc. you’re trapped in this dollar payment system that I was describing earlier, where all of what is called the message traffic – I pay you, you pay me. And we do it through banks. How is that actually done? Is it through these MT forms on Swift MT stands for message traffic?

That’s how we make irrevocable transfers. Well the United States has a choke hold on all that. We definitely have a choke hold on Fed-wire, which is the dollar payment system. And through our allies and out intelligence services, we have a choke hold on Swift, which is the international payment system.

Russia is very uncomfortable having to transact through a system that the United States holds in its grip. It’s like you’re in intensive care and you’re on oxygen and your worst enemy has his hand on the oxygen supply. They can cut it off anytime they want. So, Russia is building alternative payment systems. It’s not enough to try to get out of dollars into gold. You actually – if you’re going to transact, if you’re going to pay people for things – you need an alternative payment system that the U.S. does not control. Block Chain offers that. So, Russia and China are pursuing that.

There are there threads out there. The Chinese are very heavily diversifying into euros right now. Not all at once… none of these things happened all at once. But if you look around at the landscape, and Russia and China are buying gold. Russia and China are looking at digital payment systems, block chain type technology that the U.S. can’t control. Russia and China are doing currency swaps. China’s doing currency swaps throughout the world with Brazil, Switzerland, and with a lot of other countries. Saudi Arabia is looking at perhaps pricing Chinese oil in yuan. They’ve done currency swaps with China. They’re working on these block chain based technologies. China’s buying euros. This has the look of, you lose your status slowly, and then quickly at the end.

So, yes, I think that the dollar will sooner than later lose its status as the dominant global reserve currency. It doesn’t mean dollars go away. It does not mean that we wake up one day and, “Oh, gee. There’s no dollars.” It just means that it becomes less and less important, the U.S. loses its financial leverage, and the dollar may end up like the Mexican peso. If I go to Mexico, I’m going to get some pesos, because I need them down there for taxi drivers or tips or bartenders or whatever. So, it’s a local currency, but I’m not going to take them back to the United States with me.

Well, the dollar could get to the point where it’s the local currency of the United States. You’ll have some when you come here. And you and I might get paid in dollars or spend money in dollars or whatever, because we live in the United States. But it loses its global reserve currency status. And that’s a very big deal in terms of the ability of the United States to run perpetual trade and budget deficits without having to suffer inflation or suffer devaluation or the consequences that countries like Argentina know all too well.

And we haven’t even talked about the SDR, which is another alternative to the dollar. I’ve been talking about Russia and China and block chain and gold and euros, but the SDR is out there as well. The last issuance of SDRs was fairly recent in 2009, in the aftermath of the financial crisis. And then the next global liquidity crisis, which again, you can foresee and expect. Independent of the decline of the dollar. That’s something that’s just happening in front of our eyes. But a global liquidity crisis could happen at any time. And it begs the question. How do you re-liquefy the world? How do you put out or end a global liquidity crisis?

The last time it was the central banks bailing out Wall Street and really bailing out the world, but going back to the earlier part of the interview, Mike, when we talked about the Fed reducing their balance sheet. Well the way the fed dealt with it last time was by expanding their balance sheets. From 800 billion to 4.5 trillion. Printing money in other words.

Well what if a global liquidity crisis hit soon or maybe even next year long before the Fed reduces their balance sheet? Why is the Fed reducing their balance sheet? Why do they care? Why not just keep the 4.5 trillion? What’s the big deal? Well the answer is they’re at the outer limit of a confidence boundary. They’re at the outer limit of how much money they can print before people start to question the value of the money itself. So, they want to get it down to two trillion, so they can go back up to 4.5 trillion again if they have to. In other words, if here’s another liquidity crisis. And you start at maybe two trillion, you can take your balance sheet up to five trillion with, that would be QE4 and QE5 and QE6.

And that would help to maintain the U.S.’ dominance. But here’s my question. What if the liquidity crisis hits before the Fed can get their balance sheet normalized, which in my view is very likely. Well in that case, you need another source of liquidity, and that source would be the IMF issuing SDRs and that would be the end of the dollar. So, the threats are everywhere. They could come from a lot of different directions. In fact, all these things will tend to converge, each one will amplify the other. But they all point in the same direction, which is the devolution in confidence in the value of the dollar and much, much higher dollar prices for gold.

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