Central banks paralysed at the zero bound

Though the Fed would deny it, it is clear from the minutes of the last Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting that a rise in interest rates has been put off indefinitely.

The subsequent rally in the price of gold and the sudden fall in the dollar tend to confirm this conclusion.

The Fed Funds Rate, which is the interest rate the Fed targets to set all other rates, has now been less than 0.25% for six and a quarter years, gradually declining from roughly 0.15% to about 0.10% today. It was set at a target range of between zero and 0.25% in December 2008 Continue reading Central banks paralysed at the zero bound

We Are All Trapped

By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com  

The latest is called “We are all Trapped-Alasdair Macleod.”  Finance and economic expert Alasdair Macleod sees a fragile global economy with many ways to crash.  Macleod starts in Europe with the euro currency, “We are looking at a currency which at any moment, triggered by Greece or triggered by a butterfly in the jungle, could begin to unravel.  I actually think the lack of any history behind the euro is the probably the worst thing that it has. . . . People can go off the euro incredibly quickly. . . . That is one area where it could happen. . . . Look what’s going on in Japan.  They are printing money, and its hyperinflation.  It is monetary hyperinflation inflation, which at some stage is going to be price hyperinflation.  It’s only a matter of time. . . .  I can’t find what’s good in the world.  China is going to try to tackle a credit bubble.  I have never known a government to tackle a credit bubble and succeed in managing it. . . . That is an accident waiting to happen.  Coming back to America, last year, the Federal Reserve laid out how it was going to raise interest rates.  That’s a complete joke.  They can’t do it.  We are all trapped, and it’s not going to take very much to change the valuations in the markets, and the effect on the gold price could happen at the same time and it could be very, very dramatic.  There is so little gold left in western vaults now . . .  anything that changes the really sunny outlook for bonds, equities and all the rest of it . . . and for people to realize that people don’t have any gold, that could drive the price sharply higher because there is not enough gold for us to buy.  The stocks are very, very low and anybody who comes into the market is going to have to bid it up to get it.”

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Alasdair Macleod of GoldMoney.com.

Here’s the link:  http://usawatchdog.com/we-are-all-trapped-alasdair-macleod/

The new order emerges

China and Russia have taken the lead in establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), seen as a rival organisation to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, which are dominated by the United States with Europe and Japan.

These banks do business at the behest of the old Bretton Woods* order. The AIIB will dance to China and Russia’s tune instead.

The geopolitical importance was immediately evident from the US’s negative reaction to the UK’s announcement this week that it would join the AIIB. And very shortly afterwards France, Germany and Italy also defied the US and announced they might join. In the Pacific region, one of America’s closest allies, Australia, says she is considering joining too along with New Zealand. The list of US allies seeking to join is growing. From a geopolitical point of view China and Russia have completely outmanoeuvred the US, splitting both NATO and America’s Pacific alliances right down the middle.

This is much more important than political commentators generally realise Continue reading The new order emerges

An Austrian take on inflation

We know that today’s macroeconomists are very confused about inflation, if only because despite all experience they think they can print money and increase bank credit with a view to generating price inflation at a controlled 2% rate.

Admittedly, most of them will acknowledge there is more hope than reality about the controlled bit. Economic policy should be based on more than just hope.

It is timely therefore to see what the Austrian School had to say on the matter, but first we should define inflation: to the Austrians it is an increase in the quantity of money and credit. Inflation is not defined as rising prices; this is the long-run result of inflation in the quantity of money and bank credit. Common jargon confuses the effect for the cause.

The economist who best defined the inflation relationship was Ludwig Von Mises. Von Mises lived in Vienna during the Austrian hyperinflation of 1921-23, so he saw the problem at first hand both as a resident and as a practising economist. The Austrian government eventually succeeded in taming its hyperinflation beast Continue reading An Austrian take on inflation

The new London gold fix and China

This month the physical gold market will undergo radical change when the four London fixing banks hand over the twice-daily fix to the International Commodity Exchange’s trading platform on 20th March.

From 1st April the Financial Conduct Authority will extend its powers from regulating the participants to regulating the fix as well. This will transfer price control away from the bullion banks allowing direct access to the fixing process for all direct participants and sponsored clients.

From this flow two important consequences. Firstly, the London market is changing from an unregulated to a partially regulated market, reducing room for price manipulation. And secondly, the major Chinese state-owned banks, assuming they register as direct participants, have the opportunity to dominate the London physical market without having to deal through one of the current fixing banks. No announcement has been made yet as to who the direct participants will be, but it is a racing certainty Continue reading The new London gold fix and China