“Although low inflation is generally good, inflation that is too low can pose risks to the economy – especially when the economy is struggling.” - Ben Bernanke
“The true measure of a career is to be able to be content, even proud, that you succeeded through your own endeavors without leaving a trail of casualties in your wake.” – Alan Greenspan
There you have it – the wisdom of two Ivy League educated economists who are primarily liable for the death of the American middle class. They now receive $250,000 per speaking engagement from the crooked financial parties their monetary policies benefited; write books to try and whitewash their legacies of failure, fraud, and hubris; and bask in the glow of the corporate mainstream media propaganda storyline of them saving the world from financial Armageddon. Never have two men done so much damage to so many people, so quickly, and are not in a prison cell or swinging from a lamppost. Their crimes make Madoff look like a two bit marijuana dealer.
The self-proclaimed Great Depression “expert” Ben Bernanke peddles pabulum about inflation being too low and posing dire risk to the economy, but is blasé that swelling the Federal Reserve balance sheet debt from $900 billion in 2008 to $4.4 trillion today with his digital printing press poses any systematic risk to the country and its citizens. Either his years in academia have blinded him to the reality of his actions upon the lives of real people living in the real world, or his real constituents have not been the American people, but the Wall Street bankers that pulled his puppet strings over the last eight years.
The U.S. dollar will remain the world’s reserve currency because no other major currency offers such liquidity, depth of financial markets, and store of value.
Some years ago, I attended a small luncheon on the outlook for the U.S. dollar. Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman, was the guest of honor. In response to a chorus of Cassandras who argued that the U.S. economy’s all too apparent weaknesses wouldlead to an inevitable dollar collapse, Volcker made a simple observation: For the dollar to depreciate, he said, it would necessarily have to depreciate against another currency. And in Volcker’s view, at that time, the U.S. economy was fundamentally no weaker than that of any competing countries.
Volcker’s logic would seem equally pertinent today in responding to the many critics who believe that the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented quantitative easing policy will lead to the dollar’s imminent demise as a reserve currency. If the dollar is to lose its reserve status, as epitomized by the fact that more than 60 percent of the world’s foreign exchange and more than 85 percent of world trade is still denominated in U.S. dollars, some other currency would need to replace it. A close examination of the world’s other major currencies reveals that a currency is yet to emerge that offers the liquidity, depth of financial markets, andstore of value that the U.S. dollar does.
To be sure, when viewed in isolation, there are many reasons not to be complacent about the U.S. dollar’s long-run future. After all, the U.S. economy is only now emerging from its worst economic and financial crisis since the 1930s. At the same time, itsdysfunctional political system is yet to come to grips with the country’s long-term budget issues, while the Federal Reserve has more than quadrupled the size of its balance sheet to its present level of around $4 trillion in an effort to get the U.S. economy moving again.
But until now much of this was in the realm of hearsay and general wishful thinking. After all, surely it is “ridiculous” that a country can seriously contemplate to exist outside the ideological and religious confines of the Petrodollar… because if one can do it, all can do it, and next thing you know the US has hyperinflation, social collapse, civil war and all those other features prominently featured in other socialist banana republics like Venezuela which alas do not have a global reserve currency to kick around.
Or so the Keynesian economists, aka tenured priests of said Petrodollar religion, would demand that the world believe.
However, as much as it may trouble the statists to read, Russia is actively pushing on with plans to put the US dollar in the rearview mirror and replace it with a dollar-free system. Or, as it is called in Russia, a “de-dollarized” world.
Voice of Russia reports citing Russian press sources that the country’s Ministry of Finance is ready to greenlight a plan to radically increase the role of the Russian ruble in export operations while reducing the share of dollar-denominated transactions. Governmental sources believe that the Russian banking sector is “ready to handle the increased number of ruble-denominated transactions”.
According to the Prime news agency, on April 24th the government organized a special meeting dedicated to finding a solution for getting rid of the US dollar in Russian export operations. Top level experts from the energy sector, banks and governmental agencies were summoned and a number of measures were proposed as a response for American sanctions against Russia.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has promised his country’s assistance in providing robust infrastructure transformation for Nigeria and other African states.
To signal how seriously China, the world’s second-largest economy, takes its growing ties with Africa, Keqiang announced new funding commitments of $12 billion to Africa and Nigeria, the biggest economy on the continent.
“We will add $10 billion to our already committed credit lines to reach a total of $30 billion and put an extra $2 billion into the China-Africa Development Fund to reach $5 billion,” said Keqiang in a powerful speech at the first plenary session of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Africa yesterday.
“We will provide 18,000 scholarships to Africa and train 30,000 professionals of various types. The Chinese government means what it says, our co-operation with Africa will be based on mutual benefit,” Keqiang said.
Keqiang is visiting Nigeria with a 100-man delegation for the WEF Africa.
The Chinese and African economies are complementary to each other, according to Keqiang, with Africa needing investments, and China having surplus.
To realise inclusive growth, which is the theme of the WEF, infrastructure, especially transportation, must be at the fore front, and China would assist Africa in building high-speed rail networks, Keqiang said.
Africa currently has 23 percent of the world’s landmass, but only 7 percent of global rail lines.
China would also provide assistance for building and expanding Africa’s express and motorways, as well as build out a regional aviation network for the continent.
“China proposes a China-Africa regional aviation plan through an aviation joint venture with African partners,” Keqiang said. China will also support the movement of labour-intensive Chinese industries and enterprises to Africa to help with job creation.
“The Fed is playing a very dangerous game,” Starwood Capital’s Barry Sternlicht warns,”and they need to stop.” Sternlicht has quadrupled his firm’s net worth in this time and, to the incredulity of the CNBC anchors, warns, “this is bad, this is a heroine addiction.. and now they are printing more money than the deficit.” The outspoken CEO of the $29 billion fund, noted “all my friends who are money managers.. are much closer to the sell button than they ever were before,” adding that “everyone’s holding cash,” since if they start to get nervous “volatility will come back instantly.” Simply put, he concludes, “you know when this ends, it’s gonna get ugly.”
On Fed QE and investors’ heroin addiction:
“they should knock this off. This is bad. This is a heroin addiction. The more you get on it, the worse it’s going to get; the more asset values inflate.”
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/01/2013 12:09 -0400 When even Bank of America’s Michael Hartnett has a note titled “It’s getting frothy, man“, and joins such other bubble-warners as JPM, Bill Gross, Larry Fink, and David Einhorn, one can be absolutely positive that the Fed will do… absolutely nothing. From Bank of America:
It’s Getting Frothy, Man!Equity funds: 3rd straight week of big inflows ($12.4bn); YTD, equities have seen $231bn inflows versus a mere $16bn inflows to bond funds (Chart 1)
Global Flow Trading Rule: another $8-9bn of inflows to long-only equity funds over next 2 weeks would trigger a contrarian “sell” signal (Chart 2). Bullish investor flows dovetails with our Bull & Bear Index, which is on course to trigger a cautionary riskoff signal in mid-November Crowded trades: this week investors continue to funnel money into Europe, Japan, HY and Floating-rate debt
Editor’s Note: This issue of Review & Outlook is based on a series of posts I made at the USAGOLD blog over the course of the past month. China has imported an unprecedented amount of gold bullion in 2013. So much so, that if it were to maintain the current pace, it would import nearly the equivalent of global production for the year. When the news first filtered out of China on the amounts of gold being mobilized through its Shanghai Gold Exchange, the numbers seemed too large to be believed. The obvious question became “What is the source of this extraordinary amount of gold bullion?” It was only in October when Reuters reported that much of that gold had been shipped from London-based exchange traded funds to Switzerland for refining into smaller Asia-friendly bars and then on to Hong Kong and Shanghai that the full picture came into focus and the extraordinary numbers gained credibility.
Below I detail how the China gold trade mechanism works, the reasons for it, and why China’s interest in gold is likely to remain of paramount importance to the global market for many years to come. I have updated the original statistics from recently posted reports at the Koos Jansen website based in the Netherlands — a research source specializing in the China gold trade. To stay abreast of the China situation as well as other developments in the gold market on a daily basis, I invite you to visit our blog page linked above.
Part One – The London-Zurich-Hong Kong-Shanghai gold conduit
According to a recent Reuters report, the United Kingdom’s gold exports to Switzerland jumped from 85 tonnes to 1,016 tonnes in the first eight months of 2013 — a twelve times increase. Some bullion market watchers attribute the huge increase to withdrawals or sales from exchange traded funds (ETFs) — an explanation that covers only half the story…….if that. When one learns where this gold ended up and why it went there, the true importance of this unusually large deployment begins to take shape.