Tag Archives: Debt monetization

Why the Fed’s Money Printing Won’t Save Main Street… Here’s What It Means for the Dollar, an interview with Frank Giustra

You can’t print your way to prosperity, and not even to recovery. There are a lot of dark economic and financial clouds on the horizon. From Frank Giustra at internationalman.com:

Doug Casey’s Note: In the over 30 years I’ve known him, my respect—and liking—for Frank Giustra has only grown. Not just because he’s a world-class businessman, having built Yorkton Securities into a powerhouse, and then founding Lionsgate Entertainment. More relevant to this interview, he’s a first-rate judge of the markets—one of the best I’ve ever met at seeing turning points and understanding trends.

He’s one of the few financiers in the “Master of the Universe” class that understands gold and economics. Frank knows what he’s talking about. I suggest you read this closely.

International Man: The coronavirus was the pin that popped the Everything Bubble. What do you think the economic ripple effects will be?

Frank Giustra: I think it was a bubble that was begging to be pricked. The cause was never the issue. I don’t think anybody predicted the cause would be a pandemic.

Last summer in an interview, I provided a list of things that might prick the bubble. A pandemic wasn’t on the list, but here we are.

As I said, the bubble was begging to be pricked. It was a bubble unlike any bubble we’ve ever seen in history—and it was a global bubble. It was a debt-driven bubble, spread over many asset classes.

I think the economic hit from COVID is going to be long-lasting. All the fiscal and monetary policy response is not going to address what is actually changing out there, which is a lack of demand.

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A Black Swan With Teeth, by Peter Schiff

Printing up trillions in response to the coronavirus shutdown will ultimately make the economic situation worse. From Peter Schiff at schiffgold.com:

For years, I have been warning that during the age of permanent stimulus (which began in earnest with the Federal Reserve’s reaction to the dotcom crash of 2000), each successive economic contraction would have to be met with ever larger, increasingly ineffective, doses of monetary and fiscal stimulus to keep the economy from spiraling into depression. I have also said that the enormity of the asset price gains over the last 10 years had increased the danger because reflating the bloated stock, real estate, and public and private debt markets would bring on doses of stimulus that could prove lethal for the economy. But even though I expected that the next financial crisis would be catastrophic, I thought that it would come into the world in the usual way, as a credit crisis triggered by over-leverage. But the Coronavirus ripped up those stage notes, and instead ushered in a threat that is faster and deeper than I imagined, and I imagined a lot. It’s a perfect storm, a black swan with teeth.

Even in my most pessimistic assessments, I did not expect that so many seemingly distant sectors of the economy would simultaneously evaporate, almost overnight, or that government deficits would expand to nearly $4 trillion in the first wave of the crisis, or that the Federal Reserve would so suddenly launch its largest-ever experiment in quantitative easing, (with almost none of the forward guidance they have used to telegraph lesser moves), which would expand its balance sheet by more than $3 trillion in a matter of just a few months. Nor did I expect that at its outset the Fed’s new buying plan would include, for the first time, corporate bonds and high yield debt ETFs. (I thought those expansions would come eventually, not immediately.)

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Goldman Spots A Huge Problem For The Fed, by Tyler Durden

Will the Federal Reserve conjure up enough of its debt to buy the government’s upcoming mountain of debt? From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Last week, the Treasury shocked the world when it announced that in the current quarter (the 3rd of the fiscal year), the US will need to sell a mindblowing, record $3 trillion (pardon, $2.999 trillion) in Treasurys to finance the US money helicopter.

This, after selling $807 billion in the first half of the fiscal year, and another $677 billion in the quarter ending Sept 30.

And since it is just a matter of time before Congress has to pass yet another fiscal package which will be at least another trillion dollars, and up to $3 trillion if the Democrats get their wish, one can say that Guggenheim’s projection of over $5 trillion in debt issuance this calendar year will be wildly conservative.

 

And Again: The Fed Monetizes $4.1 Billion In Debt Sold Just Days Earlier, by Tyler Durden

If the Fed buys a new Treasury issue directly from the Treasury it is considered monetizing the debt, which is against the law. However, if the Fed buys a new Treasury issue from a dealer bank a day after the dealer bank bought it from the Treasury, that’s legal, although the practical effect is the same: the debt has been monetized. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Over the past week, when looking at the details of the Fed’s ongoing QE4, we showed out (here and here) that the New York Fed was now actively purchasing T-Bills that had been issued just days earlier by the US Treasury. As a reminder, the Fed is prohibited from directly purchasing Treasurys at auction, as that is considered “monetization” and directly funding the US deficit, not to mention is tantamount to “Helicopter Money” and is frowned upon by Congress and established economists. However, insert a brief, 3-days interval between issuance and purchase… and suddenly nobody minds. As we summarized:

“for those saying the US may soon unleash helicopter money, and/or MMT, we have some ‘news’: helicopter money is already here, and the Fed is now actively monetizing debt the Treasury sold just days earlier using Dealers as a conduit… a “conduit” which is generously rewarded by the Fed’s market desk with its marked up purchase price. In other words, the Fed is already conducting Helicopter Money (and MMT) in all but name. As shown above, the Fed monetized T-Bills that were issued just three days earlier – and just because it is circumventing the one hurdle that prevents it from directly purchasing securities sold outright by the Treasury, the Fed is providing the Dealers that made this legal debt circle-jerk possible with millions in profits, even as the outcome is identical if merely offset by a few days”

So, predictably, fast forward to today when the Fed conducted its latest T-Bill POMO in which, as has been the case since early October, the NY Fed’s market desk purchased the maximum allowed in Bills, some $7.5 billion, out of $25.3 billion in submissions. What was more notable were the actual CUSIPs that were accepted by the Fed for purchase. And here, once again, we find just one particular issue that stuck out: TY5 (due Dec 31, 2020) which was the most active CUSIP, with $4.136BN purchased by the Fed, and TU3 (due Dec 3, 2020) of which $905MM was accepted.

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How the Fed Robs You of Your Life, by MN Gordon

Money is the tangible store of your time and effort. Depreciating money robs you of that time and effort, your life. From MN Gordon at economicprism.com:

Today, as we step into the New Year, we reach down to turn over a new leaf.  We want to make a fresh start.  We want to leave 2019’s bugaboos behind.

But, alas, lying beneath the fallen leaf, like rotting food waste, is last year’s fake money.  We can’t escape it.  But we refuse to believe in its permanence.

Victorian economist William Stanley Jevons, in his 1875 work, Money and the Mechanism of Exchange, stated that money has four functions.  It’s a medium of exchange, a common measure of value, a standard of value, and a store of value.

No doubt, today’s fake money, including the U.S. dollar, falls well short of Jevons’ four functions of money.  Certainly, it comes up short in its function as a store of value.

Hence, today’s money is not real money.  Rather, it’s fake money.  And this fake money has heinous implications on how people earn, save, invest, and pay their way in the world we live in.  Practically all aspects of everything have been distorted and disfigured by it.

Take the dollar, for instance.  Over the last 100-years, it has lost over 95-percent of its value.  Yet, even with this poor performance, the dollar has one of the better track records going.  In fact, many currencies that were around just a short century ago have vanished from the face of the earth.  They’ve been debased to bird cage liner.

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OK Boomer, OK Fed, by Charles Hugh Smith

We might not have a central bank after the younger generations discover what the Fed has done to them. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Eventually the younger generations will connect all the economic injustices implicit in ‘OK Boomer’ with the Fed.

Much of the cluelessness and economic inequality behind the OK Boomermeme is the result of Federal Reserve policies that have favored those who already own the assets (Boomers) that the Fed has relentlessly pumped higher, to the extreme disadvantage of younger generations who were not given the opportunity to buy assets cheap and ride the Fed wave higher.

OK Fed: you’ve destroyed price discovery, driven housing out of reach of all but the wealthy and hollowed out the economy, all the while patting yourselves on the back for being so smart and fabulous.

OK Fed: you’ve waged generational war without even acknowledging how disastrous your policies have been for younger generations. You’ve bloated the paper wealth of everyone old enough to have bought a home 20, 30 or 40 years ago and who’s had a Corporate America or government job who’s seen their 401K or pension soar because “the Fed has our back” and Fed policies have inflated one bubble in stocks and bonds after another for 25 years.

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America’s trade policy will end up destroying the dollar, by Alasdair Macleod

If US trade policy forces China to sell down its dollar reserves accumulated from its trade surpluses, the US will have to find someone else to finance its budget and trade deficits, or finance them via Federal Reserve debt monetization. That option would destroy the dollar. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

America’s tariffs against China are already showing signs of undermining the global economy and will create a funding crisis for the Federal Government when it leads to foreigners no longer buying US Treasury debt and selling down their existing dollar holdings. A subversive attempt by America to divert global portfolio investment from China by destabilising Hong Kong will force China into a Plan B to fund its infrastructure plans, which could involve actively selling down her dollar reserves and hastening the introduction of a new crypto-based trade settlement currency.

The US budget deficit will then be financed entirely by monetary inflation. Furthermore, the turn of the credit cycle, made more destructive by trade tariffs, is driving the global and US economy into a slump, further accelerating all indebted governments’ dependency on inflationary financing. The end result is America’s trade policies have been instrumental in hastening the end of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, ultimately leading to its destruction.

Introduction

For almost two years President Trump has imposed various tariffs on imported Chinese goods. He advertised his tactics as hardball from a tough president who knows the art of the deal, taking his business acumen and applying it to foreign affairs. He even proudly described himself as a tariff man.

His opening gambit was to impose tariffs on some goods to get leverage over the Chinese, with the threat that if they didn’t cooperate, then further tariffs would be introduced. The Chinese declined to be cowed by threats, introducing tariffs themselves on US imports, particularly agricultural products, to bring pressure to bear in turn on President Trump.

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The Next Wave of Debt Monetization Will Also Be A Disaster, by Daniel Lacalle

Central bank monetization of government debt benefits governments and central bank cronies and hurts everyone else. From Daniel Lacalle at dlacalle.com:

ccording to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the IIF (Institute of International finance) global debt has soared to a new record high. The level of government debt around the world has ballooned since the financial crisis, reaching levels never seen before during peacetime. This has happened in the middle of an unprecedented monetary experiment that injected more than $20 trillion in the economy and lowered interest rates to the lowest levels seen in decades. The balance sheet of the major central banks rose to levels never seen before, with the Bank Of Japan at 100% of the country’s GDP, the ECB at 40% and the Federal Reserve at 20%.

If this monetary experiment has proven anything it is that lower rates and higher liquidity are not tools to help deleverage, but to incentivize debt. Furthermore, this dangerous experiment has proven that a policy that was designed as a temporary measure due to exceptional circumstances has become the new norm. The so-called normalization process lasted only a few months in 2018, only to resume asset purchases and rate cuts.

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No Recession Ever Again? The Yellowstone Analogy, by Charles Hugh Smith

The forest fire analogy has been used many times with reference to financial “forest fire” suppression, but it’s a good analogy and it certainly helps explain why we’re headed towards a financial conflagration. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Just as forestry management’s policy of suppressing forest fires insured uncontrollable conflagrations, so central banks’ attempts to eliminate recessions insure a financial conflagration that will burn down the entire global financial system.

The first task of those at the levers of neoliberal global capitalism is to deny that global capitalism is in crisis. One manifestation of this is the no recession ever again policy that is the implicit goal of central banks and governments globally.

Any hint of global slowdown draws an immediate and overwhelming deluge of credit and currency as central banks slash interest rates, buy bonds and stocks to push markets higher and unleash a tsunami of fresh credit so corporations can buy back billions of dollars of their own shares and consumers can continue to buy vehicles, houses and other goodies.

Neoliberal global capitalism has one unstated law: credit must always expand or the system dies. The rate of credit expansion can increase or decrease but it must continue expanding forever.

This is the foundation of the no recession ever again policy: as long as governments, consumers and corporations continue to borrow more, nothing else matters.

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Super Mario Draghi’s Day of Reckoning Has Arrived, by Tom Luongo

As SLL has been saying for at least a decade, a central bank exchanging its fiat debt for a government’s fiat debt is not an economic strategy, it’s a fingers-crossed wish and prayer that ultimately does more harm than good. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.com:

“Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough.”

— MARIO DRAGHI JULY 26TH 2012

No quote better defines Mario Draghi’s seven-plus years as the President of the European Central Bank than that quote. Draghi has thrown literally everything at the deflationary spiral the Euro-zone is in to no avail.

What has been enough has been nothing more than a holding pattern.

And after more than six years of the market believing Draghi’s words, after all of the alphabet soup programs — ESM, LTRO, TLTRO, OMB, ZOMG, BBQSAUCE — Draghi finally made chumps out of traders yesterday.

Draghi reversed himself after December’s overly hawkish statement in grand fashion but none dare call it capitulation. For years he has patched together a flawed euro papering over cracks with enough liquidity spackle to hide the deepest cracks.

The Ponzi scheme needs to be maintained just a little while longer.

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