Connect with us

Precious Metals

Fed Changed Nothing but Gold Got Smashed Anyway — Any Questions?

The U.S. dollar index, our friend Dave Kranzler of Investment Research Dynamics writes gold, "is back to where it was right before Federal Reserve Chairman…

Share this article:

Published

on

The U.S. dollar index, our friend Dave Kranzler of Investment Research Dynamics writes gold, “is back to where it was right before Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference yesterday. When Powell said ‘maybe in November we’ll have a taper schedule,’ the dollar shot up and paper gold was slammed. With the dollar back down to its pre-presser level today, gold is still down $36.”

Indeed, this week the Fed essentially said that it isn’t “tapering” its bond purchases yet, though it might (or might not) do so soon, nor is it raising interest rates, though it might (or might not) do so sometime next year.

That is, the Fed offered only a lot of temporizing for the umpteeth time.

But what if the Fed did begin “tapering”? Presumably that would diminish demand for bonds, weakening their prices and making other assets, even gold, more attractive.

As for interest rates, real rates are already deeply negative as inflation increases and traditionally gold has risen in price even as interest rates rise when they lag inflation so much.

So gold’s latest counterintuitive performance might raise questions about what is going on, and particularly about official but surreptitious intervention in the market.

People in the gold industry might ask certain agencies about the frequent anomalies involving the gold price – agencies like the Fed, U.S. Treasury, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Bank of England, and the Bank for International Settlements, as GATA often has done.

But the gold mining industry and the World Gold Council always refuse to ask about intervention, and it must be assumed that, at least for the time being, adversaries of the United States that long have taken a strong interest in gold – particularly China and Russia – are going along with price suppression, in spite of or maybe even because of the gradual implementation of the “Basel 3” banking regulations that seem likely to reduce the gold derivatives positions of bullion banks.

Gold and gold mining investors who would prefer not to wait for central banks to decide the fate of gold can always ask the companies in which they have invested, their elected officials, their investment houses, and news organizations to pursue the market manipulation issue. GATA has made it easy, compiling the major documentation here.

Of course, most of the important participants in the markets and news media have been bought off. But even then, you can embarrass them with the documents.

      

Author: Author

Share this article:

Precious Metals

Why Authoritarianism Must Prevail

Why Authoritarianism Must Prevail

Authored by Robert Wright via The American Institute for Economic Research,

Freedom anywhere is a threat…

Share this article:

Why Authoritarianism Must Prevail

Authored by Robert Wright via The American Institute for Economic Research,

Freedom anywhere is a threat to authoritarianism everywhere. That is why authoritarians must destroy all freedom and why liberty lovers, and even the merely “lib-curious” (liberty curious), must not just resist blatant authoritarianism, but reject it in all its guises. The fate of the nation, and the world, again hangs in the balance.

To the extent that any freedom persists, authoritarian diktat can be subverted, albeit at a cost. History is rife with examples of bizarre entities, like nonbank banks (I kid you not!), rent-a-banks (ditto!), and gold caches, designed to work around branching restrictions, usury laws (maximum interest rates), the criminalization of holding gold, and sundry other attempts to limit financial freedom. (See my Financial Exclusion for details.)

To squelch “undesirable” activity, like increasing bank competition, voluntarily lending/borrowing small amounts of money at rates commensurate with the attendant costs and risks, or trying to protect one’s family against fiat money inflation, government must outlaw the workarounds too. To get their way, statists must suppress all unapproved activities, which ultimately means forcing would-be innovators to obtain permission before they can lawfully engage in any new activities.

Consider, for example, recent calls to allow the IRS to monitor essentially all bank accounts in the country. Maybe Americans will accept it, if, as claimed, the power is only used to enforce current tax laws. But if tax rates rise appreciably, as it seems they will, given the current administration’s policy goals, or if the transaction information is used for partisan political purposes, or to shame or coerce people into buying this, or not buying that, Americans will begin to search for workarounds. To the extent that the workarounds prove successful, government will be forced to outlaw the workarounds too.

For instance, if workers ask their employers to pay them in Federal Reserve Notes or Bitcoin because they believe that the transaction costs of making payments in those media will be less burdensome than giving some party hack access to the most intimate details of their lives, the government may well force employers to pay workers only in USD and only via bank transfer. It might even ban cryptocurrencies entirely, or at least try to.

Workers might then make one payment per month, to a “bill paying service” that for a fee will pay their bills for them, out of its one, giant bank account. Oh, but that sounds like an unregulated bank taking uninsured deposits so those services will have to be suppressed as well, or perhaps replaced by the central bank.

People may then begin paying everything by credit card, and even direct their employers to repay their credit card issuers directly. Next thing you know Uncle Sam will want to see your credit card statements too. Ditto PayPal, Venmo, and any other fintech apps used to make or receive payments. Thus a seemingly innocuous request to see bank accounts for tax purposes becomes the excuse for full-blown financial repression. This will, as always, hurt the poor the most.

Employers might work around those laws, along with the tax code and vaccine mandates by converting their employees into volunteers and donating payroll to a nonprofit charity with the singular mission of ensuring that the “volunteers” receive “donations” that happen to match the value of their former compensation. Imagine the chaos if every employer simultaneously did that! Government would have to respond by tightly regulating, if not outright outlawing, charities and volunteer work. Our liberty would be truly lost at that point, and again the poor would suffer most.

Corporations shouldn’t be taxed, but they are. Many of the largest have engaged in (international) tax arbitrage by adroitly shifting headquarters, production facilities, and charters between different states, provinces, and countries. Governments are now fighting back by establishing a global minimum corporation tax. How long before some entity begins to offer oceanic or orbital (then moon, then Martian) charters as tax havens? Soon after, though, private space flight and oceanic colonization will likely be banned or heavily restricted.

Everyone should be aware that if an international gold ETF issuing bearer shares, Honeypot.xxx (a sex worker-owned substitute for OnlyFans), a parallel university system, or anything else of import that runs against the woke or statist grain begins to gain commercial traction, regulatory hammers will swiftly bludgeon the innovators into compliance, or out of existence.

Were that all! When statist solutions to perceived “problems” create real problems, the call inevitably goes out for yet more government. When pressed about how to pay for UBI (various universal basic income) schemes, for example, schemes that are purportedly needed to solve a nearly nonexistent income disparity “problem,” proponents will sometimes argue for the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF, or a giant investment fund owned by a government), the dividends and realized capital gains of which can be divided equally among the citizenry. 

UBI proponents are not sure where the money to fund the SWF will come from, or if it is a good idea to concentrate all that economic and political power in one decision maker’s hands, but if you want to see their true colors, ask them why individuals cannot simply invest their own money for themselves. Turns out that elites believe that most Americans don’t know how to invest properly, in the “right” (which is to say Left) companies. So look for a push to outlaw individual investment in favor of a SWF-funded UBI, or at least a narrowing of choice to SEC-approved ESG funds. You may still own something in 2030, but it seems increasingly unlikely you will be happy.

America and the rest of the West have been sliding down the slippery slope of statism for so long that they are now rapidly approaching the precipice that ends in rock bottom. Will liberty be crushed and a new dark age commence? Or will the masses then finally see governments as the problem, rather than as the solution?

Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/22/2021 – 21:00






Author: Tyler Durden

Share this article:

Continue Reading

Economics

Do Bonds Accurately Price Inflation? Since Before Any of Us Were Born

Many, likely the vast majority believe that the recent wave of consumer price increases is going to stick around. It’s already painful and even if it…

Share this article:

Many, likely the vast majority believe that the recent wave of consumer price increases is going to stick around. It’s already painful and even if it isn’t inflation, they’re thinking, it soon will be. Maybe not 1970’s bad, not yet, at the very least something like then.

The bond market doesn’t just disagree, it keeps doing so vehemently. Nothing new, bond yields have signaled distrust and skepticism each and every time we go through one of these inflation panics. There was 2008’s fiasco today remembered for ending up more like the thirties than the seventies; renewal under QE “money printing” which very quickly deflated by 2011 and forgotten; then 2014’s “best jobs market in decades” simply vanished; finally, the 2018 “globally synchronized” comedy of hawkish errors.

Low yields aren’t just expressing some cynical opinion that we can quantitatively measure, the implications have been repeatedly proven true because those prices are largely made by those inside the shadows doing all the money. Or not enough, as the case has been.

Inflation, real inflation which lasts, is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon. There hasn’t been the money for a long time, therefore there hasn’t been inflation. Instead, consumer prices, at times, have increased even jumped if only due to other factors which uniformly get verified as transitory.

That’s why I (and a very few others) become remorseless about being obsessively specific and demand full accuracy as to whether or not to call something inflation. Without the money, it won’t be so whatever else has to be responsible for consumer prices can only ever be transitory.

This time is different, everyone now says. Screw bonds! Sure, they’ve been on the spot predicting the Fed’s downfall since before 2008 (see: below) but more and more of late the Federal Reserve itself says you can’t rely on yields if or when the real inflation their QE policies have been desperate to inflict does arrive.

There’s been a curious uptick in scholarship purporting to study the best inflation prediction combinations. Most of them are just absurd fantasy, transparent attempts to discredit policymakers’ bond market nemesis. I’ll even give you a recent example, just a few days ago, published by the Cleveland Fed.

The study’s findings unsurprisingly disparage consumers, estimating that consumer surveys of inflation are the least helpful. Those conducted from businesses aren’t really any better, according to the Cleveland branch, while, predictably, the authors extol the virtuous capacities of “professional forecasters” as modern-day inflation oracles.

Professionals who just so happen to be – pure coincidence, I’m sure – formally trained Economists like the researchers in Cleveland and the rest of the Federal Reserve.

One other inflation predicting method included “financial markets.” This didn’t score so hotly, according to the paper:

Based on in-sample and out-of-sample predictive exercises, we find that the expectations of professional economists and businesses, as demonstrated by the Blue Chip and Atlanta Fed measures, have provided substantially more accurate predictions of CPI inflation one-year out compared to those of households. The accuracy of the Cleveland Fed inflation expectations model, which could be viewed as reflecting the expectations of the financial markets, is somewhat behind these other two measures.

Wait, back up; the Fed’s branch used an “inflation expectations model?” This is supposed to be a proxy for financial markets, but instead is:

Inflation expectations of financial markets, as captured by the model behind the one-year-ahead Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland inflation expectations series. The Cleveland model (Haubrich, Pennacchi, and Ritchken (2012)) estimates inflation expectations using data that include nominal yields from US Treasury securities, survey forecasts, and inflation swap rate data.

It’s bad enough they’ve thrown a bunch of things into the wash and hope to extract something useful via subjective stochastics, but one of those things purportedly of financial markets is “survey forecasts.” I absolutely hate having to point out the implication of what sure seems like an intentional act of dirty pool.

Truth is, we don’t need all the fancy econometrics to evaluate these things; after all, these Economists have been employing exactly those for a very long time and they understand, appreciate, and can usefully forecast less and less by the year. On the contrary, we’ll just draw some simple charts and rely on nothing more than our eyes and common sense.

And we’ll start back in history with the last true bout of unbridled inflation, the supposed template for what so many people have been led to believe is about to make its ugly reappearance: The Great Inflation.

This part is exceedingly easy and straightforward since the bond market does all the work; you just need to be freed from the grasp of illiterate Economics.

Yields went down, not up, during the Great Depression (not pictured but I went into detail why here). They did so because of generally tight money (interest rate fallacy) that the Federal Reserve and its bank reserves (even based on gold flows) couldn’t manage. Banks, not central banks, are where the money comes from.

This deflationary situation did not change through and after World War II. Even during those three periods when consumer prices surged (sounds familiar), to the left of the red arrow above, bond yields didn’t budge an inch (I’ve already covered how it wasn’t the Fed’s yield caps which had kept yields low here). The financial market looked past those as temporary deviations which wouldn’t last because they weren’t actual inflation.

Transitory supply shocks don’t bother yields especially at the long end of the curve which measures money conditions through the prism of longer run inflation and growth perceptions. If it isn’t money, therefore transitory, longer bonds don’t price it.

Starting in the second half of the fifties, though, yields began at first gently rising (late fifties, eurodollar?), indicating that the tide was turning and whatever leftover remainders from the deflationary Great Depression were finally, mercifully being overcome.

What followed a double dip recession in 1958 then 1960 was a few years of low inflation. Yet, even during those, bond yields were moving higher anticipating what was about to come.

The 3-month bill rate bottomed out in July 1961 while longer end Treasuries would gently increase from January 1963. These then accelerated sharply in July 1965 well ahead of the first main eruption of consumer prices by February 1966.

That’s not all; a near-recession in 1967 granted a minor reprieve to consumers, a slowdown (slack) which Economists and central bankers mistakenly judged the end of the inflationary trend. The bond market, by contrast, picked up on the renewal of inflation three-quarters of a year ahead of time (bills almost half a year).

Bonds vs. Economists isn’t a new thing in the same way the Harlem Globetrotters didn’t just start pounding the Washington Generals yesterday.

Adding the Fed’s Discount Rate policy to the above chart (below) just highlights how bonds were way ahead as policymaker actions repeatedly fell behind:


The whole process repeated during and following the 1969-70 recession, too. LT yields bottomed out in March 1971, began moving higher even as the CPI leveled off and continued to decelerate for another fifteen months until June 1972.

Furthermore, this upward move in yields presaged a spike in consumer prices around early 1973 which itself predated the OPEC embargo’s painful inflationary oil contributions later that same year. As you can see on the chart above, bond yields incorporated the inflation part of the 1973 jump while trading underneath (CPI rates above yields) the embargo/crude oil components of it; in the same way as yields undercut those earlier pre-inflation supply shocks after WWII.

In other words, the bond market neatly and expertly compartmentalized inflation from other consumer price factors at the same time as helpfully foreseeing the former.

Contrary to what some Economists have claimed, the “financial markets” of little more than simply Treasury yields absolutely nailed the Great Inflation even as policymakers and experts fumbled around searching for answers and clues they would never find. Then-Federal Reserve Chairman Arthur Burns in August of 1971 had the nerve to say to Congress:

The rules of economics are not working in quite the way they used to.

The rules were always fine; Burns and those like him just didn’t understand how the monetary system had changed the way money worked within them. The bond market, the banks doing all the money, they had no problem sorting everything out.

OK, fine. This was a half century ago. What about something closer to today, the 21st century?

To start with, we’ve got yields moving higher in the middle of 2003 a year before the Fed’s eventual “rate hikes” which only then created confusion (“conundrum”) for Alan Greenspan when bond long end rates began to bunch up in anticipation of the decidedly high deflationary probabilities of the late eurodollar mania period.

The yield curve flattened, and then nominal rates began to fall by June 2007 long before any minus signs showed up in the CPI early in 2009.

What’s perhaps most powerful about the chart above is how the bond market (correctly) has treated each of the subsequent consumer price deviations dating back to the monetary breakdown during 2007: first in 2008, then again in 2011, and now in 2021.

Like those temporary supply shocks caught in the CPI’s of the immediate post-war aftermath, or the peak CPI created by the oil supply shock of 1973-74, bond yields also undercut each of those post-2007/broken eurodollar consumer price spikes…and are doing so yet again in 2021.

To really drive home this point, here are the two main charts one after the other, each one expertly sorting inflation from not-inflation by way of shadow money. 

Quite simply, if it is actual inflation, yields go up as the market will price the real thing before it makes it into the CPI levels.

If there isn’t money for inflation, and those trading Treasuries know about shadow money that central bankers and Economists don’t and haven’t for more than half a century, then bond yields won’t chase these other CPI’s because those spikes aren’t inflation meaning they must be something else which, without the money, won’t last.

Historically consistent. 

One of the key mistakes that Cleveland researchers and indeed all Economists make is treating all CPI increases as if they are the same; they keep searching for the best way to predict the annual CPI, rather than the proper way to sort out consumer prices! The reason officials keep committing such an egregious error is that Economics doesn’t even consider money. How could Economists? They haven’t taken the monetary system seriously since the Great Inflation shoved their ignorance into the limelight (criminally, the very same money ignorance the Great Depression had paraded before the world in a different way just a few decades earlier).

In lieu of this great deficiency, Economics has made it seem as if inflation is some voodoo mystery only its priestly class can describe from complicated mathematics rituals. You don’t need any of that, or them. All of this is publicly available, data, prices, everything, and it doesn’t take anything more than common sense divorced from that corrupted worldview.










Share this article:

Continue Reading

Articles

Hawkish Powell Hits Stocks; Bitcoin Flat As Breakevens, Bond Yields & Bullion Bounce

Hawkish Powell Hits Stocks; Bitcoin Flat As Breakevens, Bond Yields & Bullion Bounce

A very mixed week across the asset-classes.

Hawkish…

Share this article:

Hawkish Powell Hits Stocks; Bitcoin Flat As Breakevens, Bond Yields & Bullion Bounce

A very mixed week across the asset-classes.

Hawkish Powell: rate-hike expectations surged higher but stocks gained, crude rallied but copper tumbled. Growth and Value stocks basically ended the week up around the same amount (while Cyclicals modestly outperformed Defensives). Perhaps most notably, rates vol and stock vol expectations are dramatically decoupled from one another.

Inflation: Breakevens soared to record highs… globally, bullion bounced but bitcoin ended the week unchanged and bonds only modestly higher in yield.

Source: Bloomberg

We do not that the long-end of the curve notably outperformed today (flattening the curve significantly) after Powell’s comments, in a clear signal from the market that it’s expecting a Policy error

Source: Bloomberg

Arguably, as Goldman details below, the market could be morphing back from a ‘stagflation’ narrative to a ‘reflation’ narrative

Heading into the week, the ‘stagflation’ narrative was continuing despite the fact that the S&P 500 had already bounced off of its late-September bottom and was heading back towards an all-time high.  And as we exit the week, the inflation debate seems to be evolving into a ‘the Fed will hike earlier’ narrative, with yields on 2-year Notes spiking to 0.50% — a level last seen in the first days of the pandemic way back on March 18, 2020.  Praveen Korapaty writes in last Friday’s note, “Front-end pressures mount,” that markets appear to have returned to a paradigm of simultaneously bringing forward and/or accelerating hike pricing and taking down terminal rate assumptions. Bond investors appear to be increasingly thinking that the rise in inflation that we have been observing will translate into an earlier Fed funds rate hike.

And yields on 10-year Treasuries also briefly touched 1.70% this week, suggesting that bond investors are actually also feeling fine about longer-term growth.  And this better feeling is also being reflected in stock prices with the S&P 500 breaking up above 4500 and hitting a new all-time high this week.  So, the ‘stagflation’ narrative seems to be morphing back into a ‘reflation’ narrative — something similar to what we were experiencing when the economy first ‘reopened’ last spring.

Digging into each asset class, stocks ended the week higher overall (despite today’s Powell-driven dip that sent Nasdaq down around 1% today)…

The S&P and Dow closed at record weekly closing highs…

In Canada, the S&P/TSX Composite is up 13 straight days to a new record high – the longest winning streak since 1985…

Source: Bloomberg

Rather interestingly, this week saw “get out and party” recovery stocks underperform the “stay at home and sulk” stocks…

Source: Bloomberg

Cyclicals modestly outperformed Defensives on the week…

Source: Bloomberg

Growth barely outperformed Value on the week…

Source: Bloomberg

TSLA topped FB in terms of market cap again today (to become the 5th biggest company in the S&P) as Musk’s carmaker surged to new record highs above $900…

Source: Bloomberg

But the week’s biggest gainer was Trump’s “TRUTH” SPAC which ended up over 800% (though at one point it was up over 1600%)…

Source: Bloomberg

VIX traded down to a 14 handle this morning – the lowest since before the pandemic lockdowns began…

Treasury yields ended the week higher, but the long-end notably outperformed…

Source: Bloomberg

The yield curve ended the week notably flatter (after a wild ride midweek back to last week’s highs)…

Source: Bloomberg

Policy Error? The flattening started with the June taper chatter…

Source: Bloomberg

Inflation Breakevens soared to record highs today (US 5Y topped 3.0%) across the globe today…

Source: Bloomberg

The dollar ended the week lower, chopping around at one-month-lows…

Source: Bloomberg

Cryptos had a wild ride for the week with Bitcoin reaching new record highs after BITO’s launch before fading back to unchanged on the week today (Ethereum modestly outperformed on the week)…

Source: Bloomberg

Bitcoin ended the week just above $60k, well off the $67k record high…

Source: Bloomberg

The newly launched Bitcoin (futures) ETF (BITO) ended below its opening level…

Bitcoin Futures were well bid as BITO launched but the premium over spot has faded since…

Source: Bloomberg

Commodities were very mixed with copper clubbed and silver soaring (gold and crude also rallied)…

Source: Bloomberg

Rather interestingly, the huge divergence between copper and silver occurred at a key resistance level (around 20 ounces of silver to buy copper)

Source: Bloomberg

Finally, we note Mizuho’s warning of the impact of today’s more hawkish speech from Fed chair Powell. Our view that the divergence of equity implied vol (at pre-pandemic lows) from rates implied vol (rising to the highs of the year in most markets) is unsustainable, is showing tentative signs of turning.

Source: Bloomberg

The sharp move lower in Nasdaq futures and widening of CDS indices is a warning shot, we feel, of how risk assets would break down if the Fed was to try to stamp out inflation at such an early point in the cycle as mid 2022.

Commodities relative to stocks are starting to flash some red alerts…

And if one needed an excuse to buy some protection against that whiplash reality check for stocks, VIX is at a critically cheap level relative to VXV…

Source: Bloomberg

That has not tended to end well for stocks.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/22/2021 – 16:01



Author: Tyler Durden

Share this article:

Continue Reading

Trending