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

NYC's Housing-Market Weakness Spreads From Manhattan To The Outer Boroughs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Throughout vast swaths of New York City, members of the city's vast middle class work force can barely afford even a modest apartment. Yet for years after the post-crisis housing market recovery began, that reality did little to slow down the rise in home valuations as foreign capital and rock bottom interest rates fueled a buying frenzy, pushing rents ever-higher. But after citywide rents peaked in 2014, the NYC housing market, particularly the most expensive areas o...



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ValueWalk

#1 Performing Global Macro Hedge Fund Sees More Shorts Opportunities Ahead As China Bursts

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Crescat Global Macro Fund update to investors on 1/19/2019

Crescat Global Macro Fund and Crescat Long/Short fund delivered strong returns for both December and full year 2018 in a difficult market. Based on ...



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Phil's Favorites

Divisive economics

 

Guest author David Brin — scientist, technology consultant, best-selling author and futurist — explores the records of Democrats and Republicans on the US economy in the following post. For David's latest posts, visit the CONTRARY BRIN blog. For his books and short stories, visit his web...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Stock declines did not break 9-year support, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

We often hear “Stocks take an escalator up and an elevator down!” No doubt stocks did experience a swift decline from the September highs to the Christmas eve lows. Looks like the “elevator” part of the phrase came true as 2018 was coming to an end.

The first part of the “stocks take an escalator up” seems to still be in play as well despite the swift decline of late.

Joe Friday Just The Facts Ma’am- All of these indices hit long-term rising support on Christmas Eve at each (1), where support held and rallies have followed.

If you find long-term perspectives helpf...



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Digital Currencies

Transparency and privacy: Empowering people through blockchain

 

Transparency and privacy: Empowering people through blockchain

Blockchain technologies can empower people by allowing them more control over their user data. Shutterstock

Courtesy of Ajay Kumar Shrestha, University of Saskatchewan

Blockchain has already proven its huge influence on the financial world with its first application in the form of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. It might not be long before its impact is felt everywhere.

Blockchain is a secure chain of digital records that exist on multiple computers simultaneously so no record can be erased or falsified. The...



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Insider Scoop

Cars.com Explores Strategic Alternatives, Analyst Sees Possible Sale Price Around $30 Per Share

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related 44 Biggest Movers From Yesterday 38 Stocks Moving In Wednesday's Mid-Day Session ...

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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Jan 13, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

In last week’s recap we asked:  “Has the Fed solved all the market’s problems in 1 speech?”

Thus far the market says yes!  As Guns n Roses preached – all we need is a little “patience”.  Four up days followed by a nominal down day Friday had the market following it’s normal pattern the past nearly 30 years – jumping whenever the Federal Reserve hints (or essentially says outright) it is here for the markets.   And in case you missed it the prior Friday, Chairman Powell came back out Thursday to reiterate the news – so…so… so… patient!

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reinforced that message Thursday during a discussion at the Economic Club of Washington where he said that the central bank will be “fle...



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Members' Corner

Why Trump Can't Learn

 

Bill Eddy (lawyer, therapist, author) predicted Trump's chaotic presidency based on his high-conflict personality, which was evident years ago. This post, written in 2017, references a prescient article Bill wrote before Trump even became president, 5 Reasons Trump Can’t Learn. ~ Ilene 

Why Trump Can’t Learn

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore (...



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Biotech

Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

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

 

Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

Bacteriophage viruses infecting bacterial cells , Bacterial viruses. from www.shutterstock.com

Courtesy of John Bergeron, McGill University

Today, the scientific community is aghast at the prospect of gene editing to create “designer” humans. Gene editing may be of greater consequence than climate change, or even the consequences of unleashing the energy of the atom.

...

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Mapping The Market

Trump: "I Won't Be Here" When It Blows Up

By Jean-Luc

Maybe we should simply try him for treason right now:

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

The president thinks the balancing of the nation’s books is going to, ultimately, be a future president’s problem.

By Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the nationa...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

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About Phil:

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