China

GoldSilver.com’s Mike Maloney Predicts U.S. Currency Crisis ‘Before The End Of This Decade’

One “crash prophet” who I check in on from time to time is Mike Maloney, a precious metals expert, advisor, and author who runs California-based GoldSilver.com (specializing in the instruction of precious metals investing and providing world-class gold/silver dealer services). This afternoon I watched two videos in which he was featured, and thought I should share his observations with Survival And Prosperity readers.

First off, in a video just uploaded onto his YouTube channel Tuesday, Mike Maloney informed viewers:

I’m making this video because I’ve noticed a major shift in the markets lately. Every trader, every investor, everybody in the world is looking at this. This is the Wilshire 5000 but the S&P or the Dow- they all look the same. There’s these major topping patterns, and we’ve put in a third, what looks like to everybody, a major topping pattern. And what we’re seeing is more, very, very large customers- people that are cashing out of the stock markets and going into gold and silver…

Here at GoldSilver, what we’re seeing is a shift from a whole lot of smaller purchases to some very, very big purchases coming in. It’s highly unusual. And what I get out of it is that people are scared. So I just wanted to update everybody on the markets, to me, look like they are topping out…


“Markets Topping Out, Large Investors Run To Gold – Mike Maloney”
YouTube Video

In the second video, Mike Maloney focuses on the “big picture.” Speaking to investment newsletter publisher Jay Taylor on his web-based radio show Turning Hard Times into Good Times, Maloney said in a video uploaded on YouTube on January 20:

I believe we’re going to have a currency crisis before the end of this decade. But everyone is going to feel it. And only precious metals investors are going to benefit from it…

Taylor asked Maloney:

I recall a discussion you and I and my friend Ian Gordon had up there in Vancouver two or three years ago in which you were almost in complete agreement with Ian’s views that we were heading into a deflationary implosion the likes of which probably would make the 1930s look like child’s play. Are you still of that view? And if so, isn’t the dollar then a store of value if we’re in a deflationary environment?

Maloney responded:

Yes it will be temporarily. It’s going to be the beneficiary. This will probably start out of China or Europe and there will be this temporary flight to what people have been taught is this safe haven- which is U.S. Treasury bonds. And that will make the dollar the beneficiary of this temporary event. But we are in for a global deflationary episode. And so the dollar will rise temporarily… And so you’re going to see one last pop in the dollar probably, but then you’re going to see gold take off like a rocket

Maloney envisions this deflationary event turning into a hyperinflationary episode. He finished the interview with the following:

I think the markets have topped right now. And we are in the space where over the next few years we’re going to see a really big crash…

What you’re going to probably see is a short-term dip in precious metals and you have to use- to me, I’m using this to buy. I think gold under $2,000 is just a bargain-and-a-half. So if you can buy down near $1,000, or if it does dip under $1,000- I don’t think you’re going to be able to get a whole lot of physical for under $1,000 but the stocks will be a bargain. This is the time right now. Before gold starts to spike is when you want to buy, not after. Then, it’s going to take off like a rocket one of these days and never look back…


“Michael Maloney-The Greatest Crisis in the History of Mankind is here!”
YouTube Video

“Pop in the dollar.” “Short-term dip in precious metals.” Sound familiar?

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information contained herein.)

Maloney’s recently-revised (September 2015) gold and silver investing book…

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Confidence In U.S. Government Plummeting?

Last night in a discussion about gold, I brought up Martin Armstrong, economist at Armstrong Economics (and former chairman of Princeton Economics International Ltd.) and the creator of the Economic Confidence Model, and something he said about the yellow metal two weeks ago. From his January 14 blog post:

I have stated this many times, so here it goes again: Gold rises when people lose confidence in government.

Survival And Prosperity readers are probably familiar with the myriad of poll/survey results showing Main Street has been fed up with the nation’s policymakers for some time now. But this morning, I’m going to examine if that confidence may be eroding more significantly than in recent times. I do this because:

1. I just came across some disturbing survey results in my research this week which suggests confidence in the U.S. government may be plummeting

2. If this confidence is almost to the point of being “shot,” then perhaps gold is getting closer to another sustained run-up in price

Aimee Picchi reported on the CBS News website Tuesday under the headline “Americans hate the U.S. government more than ever”:

A handful of industries are those “love to hate” types of businesses, such as cable-television companies and Internet service providers.

The federal government has joined the ranks of the bottom-of-the-barrel industries, according to a new survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Americans’ satisfaction level in dealing with federal agencies –everything from Treasury to Homeland Security — has fallen for a third consecutive year, reaching an eight-year low.

The declines represent some backsliding for the U.S. government, given that satisfaction saw some improvement in 2011 and 2012, which may have been the result of spending in the wake of the recession. While the comparison with private enterprise isn’t apples to apples given the nature of government services, the findings have some implications for bureaucrats.

“Satisfaction is linked to broader goals in the political system that it wants to maximize, like confidence and trust,” said Forrest Morgeson, director of research at the ACSI. “It’s much more difficult to govern if the entire population dislikes you.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Picchi noted more than 2,000 people took part in that survey.

It’s not just confidence in government that may be in real trouble these days. Yale economist Robert Shiller, who correctly-called the dot-com and housing busts of the last decade, was interviewed last week in Davos, Switzerland, by Tom Keene of the Bloomberg TV show Bloomberg Surveillance. From their exchange:

KEENE: What is the state of our confidence now in our economics and business system?
SHILLER: It’s kind of obvious that it’s weakening.
KEENE: It’s fragile.
SHILLER: It’s fragile, and things that ought to be good news like lower oil prices are disruptive in the short run. But people are over-focused on them in valuing long-term assets like corporate stocks. So I think that the markets are driven by these perceived important facts. I think China is not as important to the U.S. economy as it appears to be. And one thing that news media people have to do- I assume you do this- is resist some of this over-hyping…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Yale’s Shiller: Markets Over-focused on China, Oil”
Bloomberg Video

Interesting comment about China. I pointed out earlier this week that Shiller’s fellow “crash prophets” Jim Rogers and Peter Schiff think the Chinese are being made scapegoats by the U.S. for Wall Street’s dismal performance this year.

And how about Dr. Shiller getting in a shot at the news media for their “over-hyping”? Serves them right considering the grief they gave the now Nobel Prize winner for having the “audacity” to point out the U.S. housing bubble last decade.

But getting back to the task at hand. Confidence in both government and the economy appears to have taken a hit lately. And a resurgent gold bull market looks promising if Martin Armstrong is correct in his assertions.

Stay tuned…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information contained herein.)

Source:

Picchi, Aimee. “Americans hate the U.S. government more than ever.” CBS News. 26 Jan. 2016. (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/americans-hate-the-u-s-government-more-than-ever/). 28 Jan. 2016.

Robert Shiller’s recently-revised (January 2015) third edition of Irrational Exuberance

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Jim Rogers, Martin Armstrong Predict Strengthening U.S. Dollar To Push Gold Price Down Before Take-Off

Still on the topic of gold tonight, I want to talk about two well-known individuals in the investing community- Jim Rogers and Martin Armstrong- and their thoughts about the yellow metal.

In what might be somewhat of a disappointment to the “goldbugs,” neither is predicting the price of gold will take off from here.

Let’s go back to that Midas Letter interview of Rogers that I blogged about the other day. Rogers, who predicted the commodities rally that began in 1999, was asked if he thought the bottom for gold had been reached, or was he still looking for the price to come down further to around $900. The former partner of George Soros in the legendary Quantum Fund replied:

Look guys… I want to remind you that I’m the single worst market timer in the world. I’m the single worst short term trader in the world. So asking me is a waste of all of our time. I don’t think we’ve hit the bottom. I’m still looking for a bottom under 1,000. Who knows if it will get there, but if it does, I hope I’m smart enough to buy a lot of gold. In the end, gold’s going to turn into a bubble, and it’s going to go much, much higher. I just don’t know when. But I’m not buying gold yet

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Okay- so long-time Survival And Prosperity readers have heard Rogers say that before. On a number of occasions. But it’s what he said next in the interview I found very interesting. Rogers predicted:

What I do expect to happen, is that as the turmoil spreads, I expect more people will flee toward the U.S. dollar – I own a lot of U.S. dollars – but because of that, people think it’s a safe haven. It is not a safe haven, as you well know, but people think it is. So the dollar will go higher, it will get overpriced, it may turn into a bubble. Gold will go down in a time like that, because often – not always, but often – gold goes down when the dollar goes up. So I will sell my dollars at that point, and put it into something else – perhaps gold. If that scenario works – the dollar gets overpriced, gold gets beaten down because of the panic, then I hope I’m smart enough to buy gold or renminbi or whatever it happens to be at that point

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’ve heard this scenario before, one where the price of gold falls more due to a strengthening U.S. dollar stemming from a global flight to “perceived” safety. Do any readers follow Martin Armstrong, economist at Armstrong Economics (and former chairman of Princeton Economics International Ltd.) and the creator of the Economic Confidence Model? While the jury’s still out on him (for me), I do read his blog almost daily. And if my memory serves me correctly, what Jim Rogers just said sounds a lot like what Armstrong has also been saying in recent times. Back on November 20 he blogged:

Gold is being overpowered by the rise in the dollar…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

He added just two weeks ago:

I have stated this many times, so here it goes again: Gold rises when people lose confidence in government. It has nothing to do with inflation. So, you start to worry about government survival or who’s going to win a war when gold rises — not before.

Short term, we still have the risk of gold going under $1,000 per ounce. It’s going to flip when everything is right — not before. It will probably max out at $5,000 per ounce or perhaps $6,000 at best. That we will not know until we have the low and the projection angle from that low…

Gold will respond ONLY when the majority sees the crisis unfolding. Just because you may understand it and see the logical outcome does not mean that the bulk of the population will…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Very interesting. Which brings up the question:

Have Americans lost confidence in government?

More tomorrow…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; a qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information contained herein.)

Sources:

Armstrong, Martin. “Gold, Geopolitics, & the Dollar.” Armstrong Economics Blog. 20 Nov. 2015. (http://www.armstrongeconomics.com/archives/39465). 27 Jan. 2016.

Armstrong, Martin. “Gold- No Time Left For Conspiracy Theory.” Armstrong Economics Blog. 14 Jan. 2016. (http://www.armstrongeconomics.com/archives/40680). 27 Jan. 2016.

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Gold ‘One Of The Best Assets To Own In 2016’?

Gold is making headlines again as interest in the yellow metal picks up due to the recent carnage on Wall Street and other financial concerns. It’s been some time since I’ve checked-up on precious metals, and here are excerpts from two insightful articles I read Wednesday afternoon. Mark Decambre reported on the MarketWatch website today:

Who would have guessed that gold would be one of the best assets to own in 2016? So far, that has been the case- while the U.S. stock market has rung up its worst start to a year and a miasma of economic gloom continues to roll across much of the world.

Gold is on a hot streak, after shrugging off the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate increase back in December that should have spelled doom for prices. Instead, it’s on track to gain 5.4% so far in 2016, FactSet data show. True, it’s still early in the year, but if gold were to just tread water for the next 11 months, it would mark the best annual gain in four years.

By comparison, the S&P 500 is down 6.4%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has slumped 7% and the Nasdaq Composite has skidded a hefty 9%…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Decambre added that silver is up 5 percent, platinum is down 1 percent, and palladium is also down 11 percent so far in 2016.

Down the stretch, Thomson Reuters GFMS analysts predict gold could end up having a good year. Jan Harvey reported Tuesday on the Reuters website:

Gold demand fell 2 percent last year, GFMS analysts at Thomson Reuters said on Tuesday, but is set to recover in 2016 as U.S. rate hikes arrive more slowly than expected, while concerns over economic growth and yuan weakness stimulate Chinese buying.

In 2016 GFMS sees gold prices, currently near $1,100 an ounce, recovering to above $1,200 an ounce by year-end, and averaging $1,164 an ounce in the full year. Gold demand is expected to grow by 5 percent this year, it said…

Mine supply is set to keep falling after posting its largest quarterly decline since 2008 in the last quarter, while lower prices are expected to stimulate retail demand, and central bank buying will remain supportive…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Speaking of “mine supply,” I’m hearing more talk of “peak gold” these days, which is something I’ll have to look into.

Good news for gold these days. Which means mainstream (financial) media outlets will start beating up the yellow metal again shortly.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information contained herein.)

Sources:

Decambre, Mark. “Gold has been one of Wall Street’s best bets early in 2016.” MarketWatch. 27 Jan. 2016. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-bugs-have-been-crushing-it-in-2016-relative-to-stock-markets-2016-01-27). 27 Jan. 2016.

Harvey, Jan. “Gold eyes 2016 rebound on slower rate hikes, Chinese demand – GFMS.” Reuters. 26 Jan. 2017. (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-gfms-gold-idUSKCN0V411O). 27 Jan. 2017.

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Peter Schiff: U.S. Stocks In Bear Market, Economy In Recession, ‘Going To Be Longer And Deeper Than The Great Recession of 2008-2009’

The last “crash prophet” I’ll be talking about today is Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff. Earlier Monday I watched Graham Ledger interview Schiff, who correctly-called the housing bust and economic crisis last decade, on the January 21 installment of The Daily Ledger show (One America News Network). From their exchange:

LEDGER: Do we have the indicators right now of a bear market?
SCHIFF: Well, sure, not only are we in a bear market in stocks. I think we’re in a recession, economically. When you played the clip from President Obama’s State of the Union- when he talked about people peddling fiction I thought he was talking about me. But I’m the one who’s selling reality. He’s peddling a bill of goods trying to pretend this recovery is real. But whatever it was- it’s over. And I think the recession that we’re in now is going to be longer and deeper than the Great Recession of 2008- 2009. And of course, all bear markets begin as corrections. But they don’t officially call it a bear market until it’s down 20 percent. The Russell 2000 is down 25 percent, the Dow Transports are down 30 percent, many individual sectors and stocks are down a lot more than 20 percent. And so it sure feels like a bear market even though officially Wall Street hasn’t declared it a bear market. But if the Fed doesn’t come up with a QE 4. Which I think it’s going to do. I think it’s a mistake. They shouldn’t do it. They shouldn’t have done 1, 2, and 3. But the only way to stop an official bear market will be for the Fed to reverse course, reduce rates, and launch another round of QE. That’s it.


“Market Tanking After Fed Pricked Their Own Bubble”
YouTube Video

Schiff went on to talk about how the U.S. auto “bubble” has burst, the U.S. housing market is also a “problem,” and that he predicts “a lot of people are going to lose their jobs in this recession.” Regarding the Federal Reserve and Janet Yellen? They’re going to try and keep this thing afloat until November. From the interview:

Obama’s whole claim to fame is that he inherited a disaster, and now everything is great. The truth is, he inherited a disaster, and now it’s a bigger disaster. But he doesn’t want the voters to know that in November. And I think Janet Yellen is a team player. I think she looks at herself as a member of the Obama administration. She is a very partisan, liberal Democrat. And she doesn’t want this thing to collapse until the election is over. Now, I don’t know if she’s going to succeed. I think she’s going to try though.

Like fellow “crash prophet” Jim Rogers, Schiff believes China is being used as a scapegoat for America’s latest financial woes.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; a qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information contained herein.)

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Jim Rogers Shares Investing Insights For 2016 And Beyond

Speaking of Singapore, once in a while I come across some terrific interviews of the “crash prophets.” This weekend I read one of well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers. James West, publisher/editor of the Midas Letter (“Emerging Public Company Research and Global Economic Commentary”), spoke to the Singapore-based investor and published the exchange on his newsletter’s website last Tuesday. They talked about everything (at least as it concerns topics I think Survival And Prosperity readers might be interested in). Rogers maintains what’s going on in the financial markets/system these days goes back to the 2008 global economic crisis:

WEST: Jim would you agree that the roughly 8 percent drop in global market indices since the beginning of 2016 is the harbinger of a continuation of the financial crisis that began in 2008?
ROGERS: Oh I know it is. There’s no doubt in my mind. China’s been able to support the world through a period of money printing and low interest rates, and that’s now come to an end cause China’s showing signs of slowing down. People say China’s to blame for all this mess, but China’s just a victim like the rest of us. We’re all victims James, we’re all victims, including American citizens. Our central bank has been a disaster…

Regarding investment advice for 2016, the chairman of Rogers Holdings and Beeland Interests, Inc., shared the following:

WEST: So where should an investor be, going into a 2016 that is so volatile and so fraught with the risk of another major market correction?
ROGERS: Well, who knows. What I have done is I’m short in the U.S. stock market – the nine or ten stocks that never go down – Amazon, Netflix… those things. I am short junk bonds in the U.S., I am long in China – mainly because I have to be long somewhere. So I’m short junk bonds, I’m short the U.S. stock market, I own a lot of U.S. dollars for the reasons I mentioned. That’s mainly where my money is. But who knows if I’ve got it right. I own some other stocks too that I’ve owned for decades…

Rogers provides additional insights into bonds, the U.S. dollar, gold, monetary policy, agriculture, commodities, silver, crude oil, and other topics. Like I said, terrific interview. Not wanting to steal West’s thunder, head on over to the Midas Letter website here to read it all.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; a qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information contained herein.)

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Ted Koppel Warns Of All-Out Cyberattack On U.S. Power Grid

“Yes, it’s frightening. It is frightening enough that my wife and I decided we were going to buy enough freeze-dried food for all of our kids and their kids…

Do I believe I got it wrong? No. I spent a year-and-a-half trying to get it right and unfortunately I think I did.”

-Veteran U.S. journalist Ted Koppel, referring to the possibility of a nation-wide power outage resulting from a massive cyberattack by America’s enemies against the electrical grid

“In the dark over power grid security”
CBS News Video

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Jim Rogers Identifies China’s Six Most Promising Industries

Today on Survival And Prosperity I’m going to be focusing on investment matters. First up is investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers. He recently spoke at an asset management forum in Shanghai and talked about investment opportunities/activities in China. PEdaily.cn reported the following about the former investing partner of George Soros on September 21 (via a Google Chrome translation):

• Rogers is still bullish on China’s long-term prospects despite their recent stock market woes. I noted this back on September 9.

• He identified China’s six most promising industries are agriculture followed by tourism, “environmental protection industry, the financial industry, the pharmaceutical industry and the railway industry”

• The Singapore-based investor bought shares in the Chinese tourism sector around three weeks ago

On that second bullet point, back in November 2013 China announced economic and social reforms from which Rogers took away the following. I blogged on November 26, 2013:

Earlier today, Rogers appeared on CNBC-TV18 and told viewers:

Well, I’m excited by what happened. As the Chinese had an exciting announcement in 1978 and in 1993, they say this announcement is to be as significant and as exciting as what happened previously in those two years. So far what I have seen that’s correct- some sectors of the Chinese economy are going to benefit enormously. And as you all know if you can find a government that is going to spend a lot of money or give a lot of incentives to a sector, you should put your money into that sector too. So the Chinese are clear that they are going to do something about railroads, about healthcare, agriculture, pollution. They have made it pretty clear they are going to do something, so I would suggest that people read what they said and then try to find some stocks in those areas…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

Source:

“Wall Street predators Rogers: promising Chinese economy is continuing to buy Chinese stocks.” PEdaily.cn. 21 Sep. 2015. (http://www.profitconfidential.com/chinese-economy/jim-rogers-why-the-investor-is-bullish-on-china/). 29 Sep. 2015.

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Peter Schiff: Told You The Fed Was Bluffing On Rate Hikes

I recently highlighted an example of why Jeremy Grantham, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (oversees $117 billion in client assets as of June 30), is one of Survival And Prosperity’s “crash prophets.”

The following also exemplifies why Peter Schiff, the CEO and chief global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital, belongs to that small group of individuals whose investment activities/recommendations I track on a regular basis.

From Schiff’s “Groundhog Day at the Fed,” published on the Euro Pacific Capital website last Friday:

Every dictator knows that a continuous state of emergency is the best means to justify tyrannical policies. The trick is to keep the fictitious emergency from breeding so much paranoia that routine activities come to a halt. Many have discovered that its best to make the threat external, intangible and ultimately, unverifiable. In Orwell’s 1984 the preferred mantra was “We’ve always been at war with Eurasia,” even though everyone knew it wasn’t true. In its rate decision this week the Federal Reserve, adopted a similar approach and conjured up an external threat to maintain a policy that is becoming increasingly absurd.

In blaming its continued inaction on “uncertainties abroad” (an excuse never before invoked by the Fed in the current period of zero interest rates), the Fed was able to maintain the pretense of a strong domestic economy, and its desire to lift rates at the earliest appropriate moment while continuing the economic life support of zero percent rates. Unbelievably, the media swallowed the propaganda hook, line, and sinker.

Over the summer it all seemed so certain. In mid-August the Wall Street Journal conducted a poll revealing that 95% of economists expected a rate hike by the end of 2015, with 82% expecting the first move to come in September. On July 29, Marketwatch reported that changes in Fed language were the “smoking gun” that made a September move a certainty. I was one of the few who publicly predicted that all the tough talk from the Fed was a bluff, and that there would be no hike in 2015. For taking that stance, I was largely ignored and ridiculed. In a July 16 interview on CNBC’s Futures Now (I am no longer invited to be on their television broadcasts), pundit Scott Nations took me to task for making the “outlandish” suggestion that the Fed would not raise in 2015, saying (to paraphrase):

“If price is truth and Fed funds futures are the collective wisdom of everybody in the world, and they are absolutely a lock for the Fed to raise rates by the end of the year, why is everybody else wrong and you are right?”

But now, in mid-September, it has all changed, far fewer economists expect a hike this year. However, despite this dramatic reversal, few have downgraded their forecasts or weakened their belief that the Fed remains committed to tighten policy…eventually. In other words, the Fed has achieved a complete communications victory.

Just like it has in prior statements, the Fed painted a picture of a stable and growing economy that was ready for a hike. In fact, in her press conference, Janet Yellen said that the Fed was “impressed” by the strength of the domestic economy. Although such statements began to resemble the film Groundhog Day, no one seems to tire of it.

A cornucopia of metaphors should have come to mind: The Fed’s bite had failed to live up to its bark; its “open mouth” operations wrote a check that its Open Market Committee was unable to cash; the Fed has become Lucy of the comic strip Peanuts, always promising to hold the football for Charlie Brown to kick, but always taking it away before he kicks it. Instead, the dominant theme of the coverage was that the Fed’s understanding of the global economy was just better than the rest of us. It apparently understood that a 25 basis point increase in rates in the U.S. could ripple through to the world markets and could potentially push China’s tottering stock market into the abyss. That was a risk it believed was not worth taking.

To keep the story line going requires that the steady torrent of negative data be ignored (see manufacturing data in September Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey of Philly Fed]. Similar weakness is evident in business investment, productivity, and consumer confidence numbers. Based on those data sets, conventional Keynesian “wisdom” suggests the Fed should be preparing a fresh round of stimulus, not readying its first economic sedative in nine years.

The big news is the introduction of “international developments” as an ongoing input into the Fed’s rate deliberation process. This addition allows the Fed nearly limitless latitude to perpetually kick the can down the road. After all, it is a great big world, and it will always be possible to find a problem somewhere. A Reuters article issued after the decision describes the new reality (9/18/15, Howard Schneider):

“It is a situation that could leave the Fed stranded in its hunt for a rate liftoff until the entire global economy is growing in sync, and the horizon is clear of risks.”

So there you have it. The Fed is no longer just the central bank of the United States, but the central bank of the entire world. As such it will need to consider any possible negative impacts, anywhere, before it pulls the trigger. This isn’t just moving the goalposts; it is dismantling them completely, putting them in crates, and losing them in a government warehouse…much like the Ark of the Covenant at the end of the first Indiana Jones movie.

The height of yesterday’s absurdity came during Janet Yellen’s press conference when Ann Saphir from Reuters asked her about the possibility that interest rates could stay at zero “forever.” While characterizing that likelihood as “extreme,” Yellen incredibly stated that she could not rule out the possibility. Of course the absurd suggestion that American civilization may never see rates above zero did not even raise eyebrows in the mainstream media. But the statement itself raises some interesting questions about Yellen’s actual thinking. First, how can she really be contemplating at 2015 rate hike, if she cannot even rule out the possibility of rates remaining at zero forever? Second, is she really that naïve and arrogant to believe that currency markets would allow the Fed to hold interest rates at zero indefinitely, without creating a dollar crisis, even if the Fed wanted to hold them there?

As I have maintained continuously, rate hike talk from the Fed is just a bluff to disguise its inability to tighten, as even small increases could be sufficient to prick the biggest bubble it has ever inflated. It is no coincidence that the stunning 170% increase in the Dow Jones, that occurred between March 2009 and the end of 2014, happened while the Fed was stimulating the economy almost continuously with QE, and that the rally came to an abrupt end when the QE stopped.

The recent 10% correction on Wall Street confirms to me just how sensitive the markets remain to the prospect of any rates higher than zero. In reality, that sell-off was a much greater factor than China in keeping the Fed quiet. That steep correction occurred at a time when most forecasters believed that a September hike was in the cards. For years, they had known that a rate hike was coming, but they always thought it would arrive when the economy was healthy. But when the big day became a clear and present danger, and the economy was still less than optimal, markets began to panic. It was only when Fed officials came out with publicly dovish statements that the sell-off ended. Despite this obvious connection, the markets are still blaming China, despite the fact that big sell-offs in China had been occurring for much of 2015 without sparking follow on panics in the U.S.

As a result, it should be clear that ongoing Fed decision-making is not just “data dependent” (and now we are talking about international, not just domestic, data), but also “market dependent,” meaning the Fed won’t raise rates if markets sell off sharply on expectations that it will raise. Given these impossible conditions, perhaps a perpetual zero rates are not so outlandish. But the reality is Central banks can’t really control interest rates across the spectrum, just the short end of the curve…when markets really panic, they won’t be able to stop economically devastating interest rate spikes on the long end.

In the meantime, I can only hope that the foreign exchange and commodity markets are finally getting the picture that the Fed appears impotent. The tremendous rally in the dollar over the past 18 months was predicated on the belief that interest rates would be rising in the U.S. just as they were falling everywhere else. Now that that premise is in tatters, the dollar should be giving back its undeserved gains. Recent moves in the foreign exchange market reveal that this is the case.

When the year began, opinion was divided between those who thought the Fed would move in March, and those who thought it wouldn’t happen until June. When June came and went, September became the odds-on favorite. Now those same experts are once again divided between December and sometime in 2016. When will these “experts” finally connect the real dots and discover that the monetary medicine that the Fed has doused over the economy since 2008 has only created a weak and utterly dependent economy. A rate hike is supposed to be a signal that the economy has a clean bill of health. But as the patient fails to recover, another dose of QE will be just what the doctor orders.

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Sniff, sniff, sniff. I smell another Peter Schiff Was Right YouTube video in the offing…

(Editor’s notes: Permission to publish article granted by Euro Pacific Capital; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Jim Rogers: ‘There Will Be A Lot Of Turmoil In The Financial Markets Next Year’

Zunaira Saieed of The Star (Malaysia) recently interviewed well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers. The former investing partner of George Soros was asked about the impact of economic/financial turmoil on countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the exchange included the following. From the paper’s website last Saturday:

Q: What is the outlook of the financial markets next year?

A: The troubles in the financial markets have started. There will be a lot of turmoil in the financial markets next year, eventually leading to some sort of crisis, perhaps even a full blown crisis.

Some emerging-market currencies are already having problems this year, and this is spreading to bigger things since this is the first time in history that all the major central banks are printing huge amounts of money.

My main concern is that the US Federal Reserve doesn’t know what it’s doing. It does not know what it is going to do next as interest rates are going to go higher so it has to start withdrawing huge artificial oceans of liquidity. When that takes place, 2016 and 2017 are not going to be fun years because these guys have made mistakes and they have to correct it…

The Singapore-based investor did offer up some potential investment opportunities to readers. From the piece:

What sectors should investors look to in light of the US rate hike and China’s slower growth?

You should invest in only what you know about. However, I have put some of my money in places that are depressed like Japan, Russia and agricultural commodities. I do own some real assets like silver and gold. However, I have not bought silver and gold for a while, but if prices fall further, I will buy more gold, and again the best is to stay with what you know.

Asean has lots of agricultural produce, so this might be a relatively less dangerous place to be. While agricultural prices are depressed and we may see more problems, we’re not going to see disastrous problems. Stocks in the New York Stock Exchange can fall by 60% to 70% when things get bad but I don’t see sugar or rice prices falling by that amount. Agricultural prices have fallen and may start to turn around.

Avoid technology stocks, especially the mainly US-listed social media and biotechnology stocks as their valuations are extremely high. Salaries of employees are also very high. Even if there’s no tech bubble, the share prices certainly look expensive.

I will not be putting my money there.

Nicely done by Saieed to extract that last bit about technology stocks from Rogers. I, for one, don’t recall him talking about it recently.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

Source:

Saieed, Zunaira. “Gearing up for the turmoil.” The Star. 19 Sep. 2015. (http://www.thestar.com.my/Business/Business-News/2015/09/19/Gearing-up-for-the-turmoil/?style=biz). 22 Sep. 2015.

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