Posts Tagged ‘currency’

The Curious Case of the Fed Analyst Fired After Asking Too Many Questions

Why was William Bergman, analyst with the Chicago Fed for 14 years, fired? Was it because he asked too many questions on a sensitive issue? We don’t know, but Jr. Deputy Accountant is investigating and will keep us posted. Unless she disappears (oh no!), in which case we’ll have to draw our own conclusions.  - Ilene  

The Curious Case of the Fed Analyst Fired After Asking Too Many Questions

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant

Ed. note: the following might a bit long and F-bomb lite for regular JDA readers. I ask you to overlook that, grab a beer, get comfy and read anyway. 

Before we get into the story of William Bergman, an analyst with the Chicago Fed for 14 years of his life, we need to get the background on the story he was sniffing out.

Some of his work at the Chicago Fed includes The New Midwest in Recession and RecoveryThe Revival of the Rust Belt: Fleeting Fancy or Durable Good? and 1995 Economic Outlook: 1994 Will Be a Tough Act to Follow. Without calling him bland (we’d never be so rude), let’s just say he was good at his job, which as a Fed analyst is to pump out quality droll nonsense that appeals only to central bankers and economy nerds. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it.

On August 2, 2001, a non-routine letter went out from the Fed Board of Governors to the 12 regional banks. The letter reminded them that "among other things, the review of SARs assists in the identification of potential supervisory issues at banking organizations, provides information for determining compliance with relevant laws and regulations, and provides useful information on suspicious activity being identified by the reporting institutions."

Suspicious Activity Reports (here’s what one looks like), while not specific to terrorism, can be useful for tracking terrorism activity and financing based on reports the regional Fed banks receive from banks they supervise. The August 2011 letter went deeper:

Reserve Banks must continue to conduct a thorough and timely review of all material SARs filed by supervised financial institutions in their districts. This review is an integral component of the supervisory function. A periodic, comprehensive review of SARs will assist Reserve Banks in identifying suspicious or suspected criminal activity occurring at or through supervised financial institutions; provide the information necessary to


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The Food Bubble

H/t Barry Ritholtz, Did the Fed Cause Unrest in the Arab World?

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


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Bernanke Lies: The Fed IS Printing Money

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant who confirms that which we may suspect, semantics aside, "Bernanke Lies: The Fed IS Printing Money." – Ilene 

In March of 2009 when Ben Bernanke first appeared on 60 Minutes, he was bold enough to admit that the Fed was effectively printing money. Those balls are long gone (maybe they got caught in the printing press) and he’s back to lying through his beard in the hopes that we’re all too stupid to notice. 

Lies like this:

"One myth that’s out there is that what we’re doing is printing money. We’re not printing money. The amount of currency in circulation is not changing. The money supply is not changing in any significant way. What we’re doing is lowing interest rates by buying Treasury securities. And by lowering interest rates, we hope to stimulate the economy to grow faster. So, the trick is to find the appropriate moment when to begin to unwind this policy. And that’s what we’re gonna do."

Oh yeah? Is that your final answer?

I beg to differ, Mr Chairman. Please consult the Fed’s latest balance sheet for more details:

Perhaps ole JDA is losing it and has lost the ability to add zeroes correctly but if I’m reading that right, our friends at the Fed printed $3,738,000,000 in a week and has printed $55,134,000,000 in new money since December 2, 2009.

I remind dear reader that footnote 16 which follows "Currency in circulation" disclaims that number as "estimated". So it could be more, it could be less. Knowing those lying rat b*st**ds at the Fed, that number is way undershot but hey, what do I know?

Is that right? Maybe we should go back a few more balance sheets just to make sure. Let’s see how much they’ve been printing, shall we?

November 18th, 2010: $2,575,000,000
November 12, 2010: $6,209,000,000 (wow, busy week for Zimbabwe Ben!)
November 4, 2010: $3,385,000,000
Oh look! Finally! A week with fewer dollars! Good for them!
October 28, 2010: -$378,000,000

If that’s not printing money, I don’t know what is. Go, Zimbabwe Ben, go!!

 


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PALIN AND BECK RING THE QE BELL

PALIN AND BECK RING THE QE BELL

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Dinner bell

The nonsense regarding the world’s greatest monetary non-event just continues to spiral out of control.  Last week it was Glenn Beck pretending to know something about the monetary system and economics.  This week it is Sarah Palin. In a talk today Mrs. Palin went on a politically motivated rant about government intervention and “money printing”:

“I’m deeply concerned about the Federal Reserve’s plans to buy up anywhere from $600 billion to as much as $1 trillion of government securities. The technical term for it is “quantitative easing.” It means our government is pumping money into the banking system by buying up treasury bonds. And where, you may ask, are we getting the money to pay for all this? We’re printing it out of thin air.

The Fed hopes doing this may buy us a little temporary economic growth by supplying banks with extra cash which they could then lend out to businesses. But it’s far from certain this will even work. After all, the problem isn’t that banks don’t have enough cash on hand – it’s that they don’t want to lend it out, because they don’t trust the current economic climate.

And if it doesn’t work, what do we do then? Print even more money? What’s the end game here? Where will all this money printing on an unprecedented scale take us? Do we have any guarantees that QE2 won’t be followed by QE3, 4, and 5, until eventually – inevitably – no one will want to buy our debt anymore? What happens if the Fed becomes not just the buyer of last resort, but the buyer of only resort?”

Glenn Beck made equally irresponsible comments last week.  Why these people feel as though they are qualified to discuss monetary operations is beyond me.  It would be like me walking into the Kennedy Center and telling the National Symphony Orchestra that they are playing the music all wrong (and I have not one ounce of musical talent in my entire body).

I won’t repeat the entire argument I have consistently made in recent weeks because I fear readers might bludgeon me with my keyboard, but let’s reiterate a few things:

  • QE is NOT money printing.  They are adding reserves to the banking sector and removing government bonds.  Mr. Bernanke has explicitly stated this:


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To Hell Through QE

To Hell Through QE 

By Andy Xie, China International Business

The world seems full of smoke ahead of a world currency war. The weapon of choice is quantitative easing (QE). If you print a trillion, I’ll print a trillion. No change in exchange rate after a trillion? Let’s do it again, QE2. If you listen to people like Geithner, the end of the world is quite near. Rich people everywhere, not just the Chinese, are buying gold for peace of mind. When the currency values vanish in a QE melee, the rich at least have the gold to stay rich.

If you listen to American pundits, politicians or government officials, it’s all China’s fault. China is far from perfect – its currency policy certainly isn’t – but it is not the cause for the world’s ills. The US is by far the biggest source of uncertainty and the initiator of the QE war. Its elite created the biggest financial bubble since 1929, even removing regulations designed to prevent it, and left the US economy in a shambles after it burst. The same people want to find a quick cure to hold onto their power. Unfortunately, there isn’t one.

The US has cut interest rates to zero and run up budget deficits to 10% of GDP. It’s shock-and-awe Kenyesian policy. But, after a few quarters of strong growth, the economy is turning down again. Unemployment remains close to 10% (and would be much higher, close to Spain’s 20%, if the data included the underemployed and those who have stopped looking for work). The stimulus has failed.

How should one interpret the result? If you were Paul Krugman, you would say it wasn’t enough. Of course, if 20% of GDP in budget deficit and another round of QE still doesn’t work, he would say again it’s not enough. You can never prove Krugman wrong.

Continue here To Hell Through QE | China International Business.


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Prepare for Currency/Trade Wars; How Might China Respond to US Tariffs?

Prepare for Currency/Trade Wars; How Might China Respond to US Tariffs?

Courtesy of Mish

Patience of US legislators regarding the value of the Yuan has finally given out. Last Friday, Congress jumped into the fray after exceptionally harsh statements from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who up until now had always preached diplomacy. Here is a brief sequence of events.

Patience Runs Out

MarketWatch reports Patience runs out on quiet diplomacy on China currency.

Sept. 15, 2010
Patience appears to have run out in Washington for the standard White House approach that favors quiet diplomacy for dealing with China over the dispute over the value of its currency.

In testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee, a wide array of experts said that quiet diplomacy has essentially been a failure. The only debate at the hearing was what new approach should be tried.

Geithner Enters the Battle

One day later Geithner calls for faster yuan appreciation

Sept. 16, 2010
“China needs to allow significant, sustained appreciation over time to correct this undervaluation and allow the exchange rate to fully reflect market forces,” Geithner said in testimony prepared for the Senate Banking Committee. Geithner will also talk about the yuan with the House Ways and Means Committee this afternoon.

“It is past time for China to move,” Geithner said.

An undervalued yuan has helped China to boost exports and encouraged U.S. companies to outsource manufacturing to China from the U.S., Geithner said. He added that the yuan is held at a undervalued level by “heavy intervention” even as Chinese officials have pledged to allow the yuan’s value to be guided more by market forces.

China Rebuffs Geithner

Responding to Geithner China says it won’t repeat Japan’s mistake

Sept. 20, 2010
China pledged not to repeat Japan’s mistake and allow its currency to rise in response to foreign pressure, countering criticism from U.S. lawmakers that the yuan is undervalued amid a growing cross-Pacific row over Beijing’s currency regime.

“China will not go down the path that Japan did and give in to foreign pressure on the yuan’s exchange rate,” Li Daokui, an economist and member of the monetary policy committee of the People’s Bank of China, was cited as saying in a report by the state-run China Daily.

Li’s comments appeared to reference to the 1985 Plaza Accord that resulted in coordinated government


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Currency War

Currency War

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse 

Are you ready for a currency war?  Well, buckle up, because things are about to get interesting.  This week Japan fired what is perhaps the opening salvo in a new round of currency wars by publicly intervening in the foreign exchange market for the first time since 2004.  Japan’s bold 12 billion dollar move to push down the value of the yen made headlines all over the world.  Japan’s economy is highly dependent on exports and the Japanese government was becoming increasingly alarmed by the recent surge in the value of the yen.  A stronger yen makes Japanese exports more expensive for other nations and thus would harm Japanese industry.  But Japan is not the only nation that is ready to go to battle over currency rates.  The governments of the U.S. and China continue to exchange increasingly heated rhetoric regarding currency policy.  In Europe, there is growing sentiment that the euro needs to be devalued in order to help European exports become more competitive.  In addition, exporters all over the world are already loudly complaining about the possibility that the Federal Reserve is about to unleash another round of quantitative easing. 

Virtually all major exporting nations want the value of the U.S. dollar to remain high so that they can keep flooding us with lots of cheap goods.  The sad reality is that our current system of globalized trade rewards exporting nations that have weak currencies, and many nations have now shown that they are willing to take the gloves off to make certain that their national currencies do not appreciate in value by too much.

Some nations have been involved in open currency manipulation for some time now.  For example, Singapore is well known for intervening in the foreign exchange market in order to benefit exporters.  Also, the Swiss National Bank experienced losses equivalent to about 15 billion dollars trying to stop the rapid rise of the Swiss franc earlier this year.…
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The Marriage of Mercantilism and Corporatism: When Free Trade Is Not ‘Free’

The Marriage of Mercantilism and Corporatism: When Free Trade Is Not ‘Free’

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

"The consequences of this policy are also stark and simple: in effect, China is taxing imports while subsidizing exports, feeding a huge trade surplus. You may see claims that China’s trade surplus has nothing to do with its currency policy; if so, that would be a first in world economic history. An undervalued currency always promotes trade surpluses, and China is no different." Paul Krugman

And he is exactly right. As regular readers know this matter of Chinese mercantilism and its toleration and acceptance by the West has been a key observation and objection here since 2000. Any economist who does not understand that devaluing and then maintaining an artificially low currency peg with a trading partner distorts the nature of that trade should review their knowledge of algebra.

And yet it was in 1994 during the Clinton Administration that China was permitted to obtain full trading partner "Most Favored Nation" status, while vaguely promising to float their recently devalued currency some day, and address the human rights issues that were endogenous to their non-democratic, totalitarian government.

"From 1981 to 1993 there were six major devaluations in China. Their amounts ranged from 9.6 percent to 44.9 percent, and the official exchange rate went from 2.8 yuan per U.S. dollar to 5.32 yuan per U.S. dollar. On January 1, 1994, China unified the two-tier exchange rates by devaluing the official rate to the prevailing swap rate of 8.7 yuan per U.S. dollar." Sonia Wong, China’s Export Growth

This served Mr. Clinton’s constituents in Bentonville quite well, and has some interesting implications for the Chinese campaign contributions scandals. It supported the Rubin doctrine of a ‘strong dollar’ while facilitating the financialization of the US economy and the continuing decline of the middle class wage earners, under pressue to surrender a standard of living achieved at great cost. "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Currency Collapse." and China’s Mercantilism: Selling Them the Rope

Not to limit this, George W. ratified the arrangement when he took office, and so it has gone on for almost fifteen years…
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WHY IS MONEY?

WHY IS MONEY?

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Business people filling pockets and bag with fallen money

By Annaly Capital Management:

Back in June we wondered out loud, “What is a dollar?” That exercise—as well as the recent schizophrenic behavior of the currency market and the lamentations regarding the Fed’s “printing press”—has led us to wax philosophical on this Friday in August, and ask the question that is the title of our post today.

We tend to give the concept of money very little thought. For example, how many transactions does the average person engage in every day, and in how many forms? Our first transaction of the day is handing $1.25 in cash to a guy in a cart on 47th Street for our morning coffee. Throughout the day we buy lunch with a debit card, buy a book online with a credit card, transfer money to pay bills online and write a check to pay ConEd. In this parade of transactions, the relevant questions are “How much money do I have?” and “Do I have enough of it to pay for these things?” At no point during the typical day do we question the unit of exchange for all this activity, the US Dollar, or even wonder if it will be accepted as a form of payment (regardless of the form—cash, check, megabytes over an internet line).

The typical complaint about the dollar is that it is a fiat currency, one that is backed by nothing but the faith in America and its institutions. Some feel more comfortable knowing that their paper money can be exchanged at any time for a set amount of gold; it seems more grounded somehow, less faith-based. But a quick look at gold, despite it having a limited quantity (it can’t be printed at will), reveals that the major drawback of fiat money also applies to gold, meaning it only has value because we have always ascribed it value. Essentially, it is a malleable and ductile metal with a limited range of inherent utility. At the end of the day, you can’t eat it, or live in it (but you can wear it). As Willem Buiter, the chief economist at Citigroup and a gold bear, said, gold has benefitted from “the longest-lasting bubble in human history.”

Mackerel

So, with money, backed by gold or otherwise, what do we really have? Maybe we have something of a modified…
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China’s yuan reform: back to the future

China’s yuan reform: back to the future

By MICHAEL SCHUMAN, the Curious Capitalist, courtesy of TIME 

After months of debate, denial and conflict, China finally announced a new policy on its controversial currency, the yuan (also known as the renminbi, or RMB). For the past two years, the yuan has (unofficially) been pegged to the U.S. dollar, sparking criticism from politicians in Washington, high-profile economists and China’s fellow developing nations that Beijing was pursuing a “beggar-thy-neighbor” agenda to keep Chinese exports artificially cheap to expand their market presence at the expense of competitors. China had stubbornly resisted the pressure to change its exchange rate policy, insisting that the yuan was valued exactly how it should be.

But over the weekend, in a surprise announcement, the People’s Bank of China signaled the peg would come to an end. Here’s what the central bank said in a statement:

In view of the recent economic situation and financial market developments at home and abroad, and the balance of payments (BOP) situation in China, the People´s Bank of China has decided to proceed further with reform of the RMB exchange rate regime and to enhance the RMB exchange rate flexibility.

What does that mean? Unfortunately, at least in the short run, probably not much.

While announcing the so-called reform, the People’s Bank also made it very clear that any change in the yuan’s value would come gradually at best. Its statement stated plainly that its priorities remained generally unchanged – to “maintain the RMB exchange rate basically stable at an adaptive and equilibrium level, and achieve the macroeconomic and financial stability in China.” The People’s Bank further signaled a return to the currency valuation system that existed before the peg was resumed in 2008 – a managed float in which the yuan traded in a narrow band against an unnamed basket of currencies. That process was put in place in 2005, and though it did result in yuan appreciation – by some 21% versus the dollar over three years – it also allows Chinese policymakers a degree of control over the exchange rate to prevent rapid movements.

In other words, we’re looking at a back-to-the-future scenario, with Beijing returning to an old policy that, though better than its peg, won’t produce the drastic overhaul of China’s currency regime that many critics would like to see. In fact, on Monday morning, the…
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Zero Hedge

Trump Sues Manhattan D.A. In Response To Subpoenas

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

And now a plot twist: with Trump under relentless attack for the past three years to disclose his tax returns, on Thursday morning the president struck back, suing Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance to block an attempt by New York state prosecutors to obtain eight years of the president’s tax returns in a probe of whether the Trump Organization falsified business records.   

...



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Phil's Favorites

At Press Conference, Fed Chair Powell Refuses to Answer Whether Wall Street Banks Are Too Big to Manage

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at Press Conference, September 18, 2019

Following a lack of liquidity on Wall Street, which necessitated the Federal Reserve having to provide $53 billion on Tuesday and another $75 billion on Wednesday to normalize overnight lending in the repo market, the Chairman of the Fed, Jerome (Jay) Powell held his press conference at 2:30 p.m. yesterday. The press gathering followed both a one-quarter point cut in the Fed Funds rate by the Fed yesterday as well as the first intervention by the Fed in the overnight lending market since the financi...



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Insider Scoop

How Cheapskates Can Access Mid Caps

Courtesy of Benzinga

For investors that don't like stocks but do enjoy saving money on fund fees, exchange traded funds are highly desirable destinations. And for those looking to dance with mid-cap stocks, a desirable asset class, there are plenty of compelling ETFs for cost-conscious investors to consider.

What Happened

The Schwab U.S. Mid-Cap ETF (NYSE: ...



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The Technical Traders

SAFE ASSETS - A TRADING STRATEGY FOR UTILITIES, GOLD, AND BONDS

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Chris Vermeulen, Founder of The Technical Traders shares his trading strategy for safer assets. While precious metals and bonds had a great run, the charts are showing the utilities could be the place to be in the short term. It’s important to note we are not saying the other safe havens are going to crash but it’s all about the time frame and playing the sector that could pop first.

LISTEN HERE NOW

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Stocks, Oil, and Bond Yields At Critical Bullish Breakout Tests!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

It’s not often that three asset classes reach similar important trading points all at once.

But that’s exactly what’s happening right now with stocks, crude oil, and treasury bond yields.

And this is occurring on Federal Reserve day no less! Something has got to give.

In the chart above y...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Is The Drone Strike a Black Swan?

Courtesy of Lee Adler

Pundits are calling yesterday’s drone strke a “black swan.” Can a drone strike on a Saudi oil facility, be a “black swan.”

According to Investopedia:

A black swan is an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. Black swan events are characterized by their extreme rarity, their severe impact, and the practice of explaining widespread failure to predict them as simple folly in hindsight.

I seriously doubt that no one expected or could have predicted a drone strike on a Saudi oil facility.

Call Me A B...

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Chart School

Crude Oil Cycle Bottom aligns with Saudi Oil Attack

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Do the cycles know? Funny how cycle lows attract the need for higher prices, no matter what the news is!

These are the questions before markets on on Monday 16th Aug 2019:

1) A much higher oil price in quick time can not be tolerated by the consumer, as it gives birth to much higher inflation and a tax on the average Joe disposable income. This is recessionary pressure.

2) With (1) above the real issue will be the higher interest rate and US dollar effect on the SP500 near all time highs.

3) A moderately higher oil price is likely to be absorbed and be bullish as it creates income for struggling energy companies and the inflation shock may be muted. 

We shall see. 

...

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Digital Currencies

China Crypto Miners Wiped Out By Flood; Bitcoin Hash Rate Hits ATHs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Last week, a devastating rainstorm in China's Sichuan province triggered mudslides, forcing local hydropower plants and cryptocurrency miners to halt operations, reported CoinDesk.

Torrential rains flooded some parts of Sichuan's mountainous Aba prefecture last Monday, with mudslides seen across 17 counties in the area, according to local government posts on Weibo. 

One of the worst-hit areas was Wenchuan county, ...



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Biotech

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Courtesy of  , Visual Capitalist

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

As evidence of cannabis’ many benefits mounts, so does the interest from the global pharmaceutical industry, known as Big Pharma. The entrance of such behemoths will radically transform the cannabis industry—once heavily stigmatized, it is now a potentially game-changing source of growth for countless co...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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About Phil:

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