Couldn’t pass this up…
MG signing off (to buy more 50lb bags of rice)
I don’t lend much credibility to information garnered from Comedy Central, but this one was good…
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
I can’t say I agree with Mr. Schiff on hyper-inflation being right around the corner. I believe he is vastly underestimating how far Americans can and will go to reduce their standard of living. You need not concern yourself with how much credit is being poured into the system if there is no actual demand.
He’s certainly hit the bullseye on this though: stimulus, on credit, is having the opposite effect from what was intended. Look no further than the recent spike in oil prices to understand why. That alone could be the recovery’s undoing.
(h/t The Big Picture)
UPDATE: Arthur Laffer says get ready for inflation and higher interest rates. The latter isn’t going to do much for housing – driven by market expectation (i.e. the selling off of Treasuries we’ve seen as of late), it is leaving Bernanke & Co. in one hell of a quandary.
After hitting a low of $40.85 on February 17th, the contract for June delivery (now the near term) has rallied to a 65 day high of $58.07 as of this morning.
Of course, we’re supposedly heading into the summer (read: prime time) driving season, so some jump is to be expected. But what’s strange about this 40%+ rally is that crude oil inventories are rising dramatically:
Yesterday’s EIA inventory data did not warrant the price developments seen in the futures markets. It is an odd situation indeed when a 605,000-barrel build in crude stocks is interpreted as bullish by a market already awash with 375 million barrels of crude in storage and another 40 million barrels or so anchored out in the Gulf of Mexico.
We’ll note that some folks are worried about inflation hitting en masse as a result of the arbitrary printing of US dollars to fund fanciful (and unaccounted for) government spending. The Theater O’ Greenback hasn’t yet heard the call to exit stage left, but maybe traders should be looking at this oil stockpiling as an expectation signal.
No matter – if oil continues its march, consumers won’t be joining the summer of love. And any chance of the recovery the powers that be are trying to convince them is well in hand will be swirling in a tanker parked off the Gulf Coast.
“Screw you, AARP” – Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner, March 18, 2009
The AP wind up:
With the country sinking deeper into recession, the Federal Reserve launched a bold $1.2 trillion effort Wednesday to lower rates on mortgages and other consumer debt, spur spending and revive the economy. To do so, the Fed will spend up to $300 billion to buy long-term government bonds and an additional $750 billion in mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues wrapped a two-day meeting by leaving a key short-term bank lending rate at a record low of between zero and 0.25 percent. Economists predict the Fed will hold the rate in that zone for the rest of this year and for most — if not all — of next year.
The decision to hold rates near zero was widely expected. But the Fed’s plan to buy government bonds and the sheer amount — $1.2 trillion — of the extra money to be pumped into the U.S. economy was a surprise.
Surprise, surrprise, surrrprise.
You heard that right, boys and girls – the government is now exchanging its debt for money that it prints, and buying bonds from wholly-owned subsidiaries in exchange for yet more cash. Never has anything struck a resemblance closer to taking money out of the right pocket and sticking it in the left. I guess the Chinese weren’t particularly impressed with the government’s assurances.
A premonition from Guy Kawasaki that may just be humor, but might not be too far from becoming reality:
Going down to the casino to eat. May cost me $500.
The bullishness at the printing press may put a temporary halt to the wealth destruction we’ve become accustomed to, but creating $1.2 trillion out of thin air has a high probability of turning inflation worries into nightmare.
If you thought you were now retirement-poor as a result of the decimation your IRA/401k endured in the last few quarters, imagine what already retired folks who live on fixed incomes are going to think when a loaf of bread costs $15. What home value they have left, now being extracted in bulk through the magic of reverse-mortgages, is being used to pay jacked-up supplemental insurance premiums and co-pays.
If universal coverage doesn’t wind up killing them, now starvation will.
Or your month
Last but not least:
Snippets from Jim Rogers:
The way to solve this problem is to let people go bankrupt. “Then you will hit bottom and then you start over. The people who are sound will take over the assets from the people who aren’t sound and we will start over. This is the way the world has worked for a few thousand years…
The current rescue plans, which will force governments to issue more debt, print money and flood the markets with liquidity, will flare up inflation after the crisis is over and will create worse problems…
We had the worst excesses we had in credit markets in world history. We’re going to have to take some pain…
Many people bought 4-5 houses with no money down and no job… you think we’ll just say well, that’s too bad, we’ll start over and nobody loses their job? Be realistic.
We’re setting the stage for when we come out of this of a massive inflation holocaust.
Jim Rogers has been right about as much as Nouriel Roubini, which is to say an awful lot. I do, however, find it somewhat odd that their prospective remedies seem to differ quite a bit.
While everyone frets about the latest jobs report, maybe there is a silver lining in those clouds…
Throw out decoupling theory…
There is considerable softening in housing demand (as well as abundant inventory) in developed countries, meaning both shrinking need for raw materials there and some additional demand decline as a result of diminished perception of wealth.
Could the world deflate it’s way out of a financial crisis? Don’t know, but at the minimum I’m having a harder time seeing a case for the continued price spirals we’ve become accustomed to.
Inflation is a nasty bug:
To reiterate, the last time Producer prices were this high, the Fed had rates up in the double digits — not at 2%…
Here’s a chart of the prime lending rate (as published by the WSJ) during “modern economic times” (each color change represents a rate change – click for larger view)…
I’ll bet few running around today remember how ugly things were in the midsts of that mountain-in-the-middle. But Paul Volcker was scrambling (and let’s note that he has been more vocal as of late too).
Producer prices have been rising for a while, but they held off passing on costs to consumers. That game is over. So, the highly leveraged are getting killed by plummeting home prices and the savers are getting killed by just about everything else.
And you can thank your Federal Reserve for that.
Hell = golf course
From pointing fingers is old hat, and old hats fit nicer than new ones…
And from technology is my oyster, now give it a sniff before you eat it…
Getting ready for the weekend
Voted “Best Value From Your Stimulus Check”:
And last and least: