Tag Archive: central-banks

How Dumb Is the Fed?

Bent and Distorted. POITOU, FRANCE – This morning, we are wondering: How dumb is the Fed? The question was prompted by this comment by former Fed insider Chris Whalen at The Institutional Risk Analyst blog.

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No “Trump Bump” for the Economy

POITOU, FRANCE – “Nothing really changes.” Sitting next to us at breakfast, a companion was reading an article written by the No. 2 man in France, Édouard Philippe, in Le Monde. The headline promised to tell us how the country was going to “deblock” itself.

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Tales from the FOMC Underground

Many of today’s economic troubles are due to a fantastic guess. That the wealth effect of inflated asset prices would stimulate demand in the economy. The premise, as we understand it, was that as stock portfolios bubbled up investors would feel better about their lot in life.

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Dudley in a Good Place

Dear Mr. Dudley, Your recent remarks in the wake of last week’s FOMC statement were notably unhelpful. In particular, your explanation that further rate hikes are needed to prevent crashing unemployment and rising inflation stunk of rotten eggs.

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Great Graphic: Fed, ECB, and BOJ Balance Sheets

This Great Graphic composed on Bloomberg shows the balance sheets of the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of Japan as a proportion of GDP.

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Quantitative Easing Explained

We have noticed that lately, numerous attempts have been made to explain the mechanics of quantitative easing. They range from the truly funny as in this by now ‘viral’ You Tube video with two robotic teddy-bears discussing the Fed chairman’s qualifications (‘my plumber has a beard too’), to outright obfuscation such as the propagation of this ‘Bernanke explains he’s not printing money, it’s just an asset swap‘ notion.

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New Gold Pool at the BIS Switzerland: A Who’s Who of Central Bankers

A central bank Gold Pool which many people will be familiar with operated in the gold market between November 1961 and March 1968. That Gold Pool was known as the London Gold Pool.

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The Three Headed Debt Monster That’s Going to Ravage the Economy

Mass Infusions of New Credit. “The bank is something more than men, I tell you.  It’s the monster.  Men made it, but they can’t control it.” – John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath. Something strange and somewhat senseless happened this week. On Tuesday, the price of gold jumped over $13 per ounce. This, in itself, is nothing too remarkable. However, at precisely the same time gold was jumping, the yield on the 10-Year Treasury note was slip sliding...

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Necessity is the Mother of Invention – Retirees Desperate Reach for Yield

Ben Bernanke’s creativity inspired a generation of economists and central bankers. QE, ZIRP and NIRP established a new class of economics that is mathematically sound but practically disastrous. Billions of dollars were transferred from savers to investors to boost the economy, but the wizards of quant forgot that something has to give. In this case, it was the formation of a pension crisis that threatens the golden years of millions of retirees...

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How to Stick It to Your Banker, the Federal Reserve, and the Whole Doggone Fiat Money System

Somehow, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke found time from his busy hedge fund advisory duties last week to tell his ex-employer how to do its job.  Namely, he recommended to his former cohorts at the Fed how much they should reduce the Fed’s balance sheet by.  In other words, he told them how to go about cleaning up his mess.

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The Triumph of Hope over Experience

On Wednesday the socialist central planning agency that has bedeviled the market economy for more than a century held one of its regular meetings. Thereafter it informed us about its reading of the bird entrails via statement (one could call this a verbose form of groping in the dark).

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Central Banks’ Obsession with Price Stability Leads to Economic Instability

For most economists the key factor that sets the foundation for healthy economic fundamentals is a stable price level as depicted by the consumer price index. According to this way of thinking, a stable price level doesn’t obscure the visibility of the relative changes in the prices of goods and services, and enables businesses to see clearly market signals that are conveyed by the relative changes in the prices of goods and services.

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The Fed Will Blink

GUALFIN, ARGENTINA – The Dow rose 174 points on Thursday. And Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said we’d have a new tax system by the end of the year. Animal spirits were restless. But which animals? Dumb oxes? Or wily foxes? Probably both.

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Sweden’s Gold Reserves: 10,000 gold bars (pet rocks) shrouded in Official Secrecy

In February 2017 while preparing for a presentation in Gothenburg about central bank gold, I emailed Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, enquiring whether the Riksbank physically audits Sweden’s gold and whether it would provide me with a gold bar weight list of Sweden’s gold reserves (gold bar holdings). The Swedish official gold reserves are significant and amount to 125.7 tonnes, making the Swedish nation the world’s 28th largest official gold...

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Cracks in Ponzi-Finance Land

Retail Debt Debacles The retail sector has replaced the oil sector in a sense, and not in a good way. It is the sector that is most likely to see a large surge in bankruptcies this year. Junk bonds issued by retailers are performing dismally, and within the group the bonds of companies that were subject to leveraged buyouts by private equity firms seem to be doing the worst (a function of their outsized debt loads).

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Simple Math of Bank Horse-Puckey

We stepped out on our front stoop Wednesday morning and paused to take it all in. The sky was at its darkest hour just before dawn. The air was crisp. There was a soft coastal fog. The faint light of several stars that likely burned out millennia ago danced just above the glow of the street lights.

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Hell To Pay

Economic nonsense comes a dime a dozen. For example, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen “think(s) we have a healthy economy now.” She even told the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy so earlier this week. Does she know what she’s talking about?

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LIBOR Pains

If one searches for news on LIBOR (=London Interbank Offered Rate, i.e., the rate at which banks lend dollars to each other in the euro-dollar market), they are currently dominated by Deutsche Bank getting slapped with a total fine of $775 million for the part it played in manipulating the benchmark rate in collusion with other banks (fine for one count of wire fraud: US$150 m.; additional shakedown by US Justice Department: US$625 m., the price...

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TIC Analysis of Selling

When the Treasury Department released its Treasury International Capital (TIC) data for December, what was a somewhat obscure report suddenly found mainstream attention. Private foreign investors had sold tens of billions in US securities primarily US Treasury bonds and notes which the media then made into some kind of warning to then-incoming President Trump. It was supposed to be a big deal, the kind of rebuke reserved for disreputable leaders of...

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Their Gap Is Closed, Ours Still Needs To Be

There are actually two parts to examining the orthodox treatment of the output gap. The first is the review, looking backward to trace how we got to this state. The second is looking forward trying to figure what it means to be here. One final rearward assessment is required so as to frame how we view what comes next. As I suggested earlier this week, the so-called output gap started at the trough of the Great “Recession” at around 10% of the CBO’s...

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