It’s spring, and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom in Japan, the “Land of the Rising Sun” and home to the Japanese Yen. While many view spring as a time for new beginnings, from a more practical and economical perspective, it’s also means a new fiscal year in Japan, thus this is an ideal time to review all the data and attempt to gauge the Yen’s next trajectory. Of course, many want to know if the Japanese currency is facing yet another meltdown. While it is a rather straightforward question, with a seemingly straightforward answer, the fact is we must delve deep into complex issues including the mechanics of Quantitative Easing, Japan’s public debt and inflation.
What QE Does?
The intention of Quantitative Easing, or QE as it’s popularly called in the mainstream, is simply to allocate funds to the private sector which, hopefully, will revive growth and inflation. QE is based on one of the key pillars of capitalism, namely that funds are better off in the hands of the private sector if the preservation of growth is the goal. That sounds reasonable, but there is a macroeconomic issue at play, as well. Most of the time, the government (naturally, depending on which government) is deemed a vastly superior borrower to any private company or Continue reading "Is The Yen Facing Another Meltdown?"→
While the worlds investing community continues to concentrate on what is happening in Europe, due to the recent quantitative easing recently announced by the European Central Bank, you may be wondering how you can play the situation.
What is Going on in Europe?
But before we get to how you may be able to profit, let's look at what is happening. Last week the European Central Bank announced they would buy 60 billion Euro worth of bonds each month until the end of September 2016. This will essentially put 1.1 trillion euro into the European economy in an effort to help it get moving again. The quantitative easing process injects cash into an economy (increasing the money supply) which keeps interest rates low, making it easier for consumers and businesses to borrow, in the hope they will do so and boost economic growth. Continue reading "One ETF to Play the European QE"→
In May 22 testimony to the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke issued another of many similar positive interpretations of central bank policy. Yet again, he continued to argue that quantitative easing has decreased long-term interest rates and produced other benefits. He called economic growth "moderate," a term that he has often used without acknowledging that the Fed's forecasts have repeatedly been far above the mark. Within less than two months—or by the time of the July FOMC meeting—the Fed had downgraded the economic growth to "modest," tacitly acknowledging that program of open-ended $85 billion purchases of government and federal agency security purchases had failed to boost economic activity.
The Fed's polices have not produced the much-promised re-acceleration in economic growth. In the first half of 2013 as well as the latest four quarters, the real GDP growth rate was a paltry 1.4%, even less than the 1.9% growth in the 13.5 years of this century, and less than two-fifths of the 3.8% GDP growth rate since 1790. Only growth in the 1930s was less than in the 2000s, a time when Dr. Bernanke played a major, if not dominant, role in monetary policy decisions. Continue reading "The Federal Reserve Relies on a Flawed Economic Model"→
As the 10-year to T-bill yield curve chart makes clear, we are not in Kansas anymore. We are in Wonderland and as you can see, in Wonderland interest rates and their interrelationships are at the center of events.
Last week the bullish case reasserted itself across financial markets, but to argue that policy makers are doing anything better than pumping future distortions into the system is crazy talk along the lines of 'the world is flat' or… ‘the above chart is flat’.
Last week Ben Bernanke clarified for people that yes indeed the Fed will eventually taper its QE bond buying operation while making clear that Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) will remain as is. I think that the average market participant is starting to settle in and get comfortable with the terms of our 'Taper to Carry'(T2C) plan, which sees the banks benefiting from borrowing short and lending longer. Continue reading "Rates of Interest"→
Interestingly enough, 24 hours before Ben Bernanke made his announcement and spruced the markets up dramatically, MarketClub's Trade Triangle technology picked up buy signals on the DOW at 15,340.09 and on the S&P 500 at 1,654.19. These signals came in a day before today's huge move to the upside.
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