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When Tightening Comes, It Won’t Be by Choice

50 comments

The stock market has shown about as much steadfastness and clarity lately as a policy speech from Janet Yellen. Too bad all the markets seem to live for any more is to channel the Fed’s inner egghead. When Yellen says ‘Osduifhsd!’ investors say, ‘How high’? And when she says ‘Blufum doozney, tachak,’ the mosquito-brained slackers who package and regurgitate the news dutifully interpret this gibberish as meaning she intends to tighten. Too bad an inscrutable phrase or two from Yellen invariably moves markets, since that obliges us to take all of her wily blather seriously. Having a Fed chairman around to “explain” monetary policy should never be less than entertaining, as Greenspan demonstrated time and again.  Recall that, with his PhD in economics, he habitually referred to inflated home prices as “wealth,” and ballyhooed a supposed capital investment boom at a time when household savings growth was negative. This was hubris enough to further blacken the name of the already dismal science. The world would arguably be better off if Greenspan had stuck with the saxophone and worked the Catskills rather than the lobbies of power.

Alas, Easy Al found a worthy successor in Helicopter Ben, who honored the central bank’s hallowed tenet of enriching bankers and paper-shufflers like Carl Icahn at the expense of the rest of us – and of beating up on certain investables such as gold, which refuses to be cowed or fooled by the Fed’s cynical duplicity.  And now comes Yellen, who gave her first policy speech last week, to the detriment of bullion investors around the world.  Whatever it was she said, listeners might have interpreted it in a half-dozen ways.  Leave it to the Street to infer hawkishness – and down came stocks and gold.

4.25% ‘Mortgage Alert’

Let me reassure you: actual Fed tightening is about as likely as a Martian invasion.  I’ve said that before, and I don’t regard the so-called taper as having impaired my logic. Yes, the Fed has announced reductions amounting so far to $20 billion a month in its purchases of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities.  However, compare this piddling sum to the manifestly un-tapered global market in derivatives:  $1 quadrillion and counting, according to estimates that are probably conservative. If and when tightening finally occurs, it will not be because of Fed policy, but because market forces that have been absent or at least suppressed for more than 20 years have returned with a vengeance. Meanwhile, if you want to set an alert, use a spike in 30-year mortgages to 4.25%. Now that would reflect tightening worth the name. It will also spell the beginning of the end for the massive financial hoax that has sustained the global economy since the S&L bailout of the early 1990s.

Please do not ask trading questions!

  • mava March 30, 2014, 7:30 am

    Probably, for the better of the great nation. When the chairman says a word, they’ll throw it all towards the central bank, and the billions of gold coins will black out the sun.

  • Rich March 27, 2014, 8:48 pm

    What an entertaining back and forth.

    To substantiate Rick’s thesis, despite QE Taper headlines, Fed Monetary Base that correlates with markets, if not economy, is up +33% in a year

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series
    /BOGMBASEW

    Re the China Report, $SSEC, down -44% since Aug 2009, now targets +9% to 2240

    We just bought QQQ calls for a quick trade amidst all the bear doom and gloom hoopla

    • mario cavolo March 29, 2014, 6:59 am

      Rich, I had occasion to speak with an institutional analyst at one of China’s big brokerage firms, they have a flat/concerned 5 year view of the Shanghai exchange. As is the case in the U.S, there is a disconnect between the actual state of the domestic economy and the stock market/index. In China’s case, the stock market is still known to be treacherous, not transparent, corrupt, high risk. It is, rising thought as per Alibaba’s Yue’bao for example, NOT by any stretch of the imagination a mainstream choice for households to put their assets.

      So, in China, we have a domestic economy doing better than stock market performance, while in the U.S. we have the opposite. I’m pretty sure everyone here knows why.

      Cheers, Mario

      • Chuck March 29, 2014, 8:37 pm

        don’t the Chinese families purchase gold/silver to avoid the corruption?

      • mario March 30, 2014, 10:40 am

        No Chuck, mainstream are not hoarders of gold/silver; that would be India. Since you asked, I plan to do survey of 50 people in my circles, ask them if they own any in their bank account. In China it is extremely easy to purchase paper gold silver directly in your online bank account. I can tell you in advance the answer will be very few very little…Cheers

      • gary leibowitz March 30, 2014, 5:28 pm

        Are the citizens of China not in the stock market and real estate? Do you still maintain that real estate is not in a bubble that is about to burst? The Chinese, in order to “save” the rest of the world from a prolonged economic winter these last 5 years has shouldered the brunt of the burden. They have basically done what the west has done over the last 50 years, but condensed it into a 5 year period. Their governments expansion is unprecedented. Granted they stated with absolutely no debt and had the ability to do so without any thought of financial ruin to their government, but in so doing they have created huge pockets of over expansion. There will be consequences if they maintain a “capitalist” approach to their financial enterprises. Real Estate is indeed the first to show signs of a major problem.

        http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2014-03/29/content_17388933.htm

      • mario cavolo March 30, 2014, 7:42 pm

        Hi Gary, to answer your questions.

        1. Most are not, those that are, not a big portion of their total savings in the stock market. Home ownership is THE main asset in China besides bank savings, which they build and hoard better than any other society on the planet at a 36% savings rate. The deeply held family tradition in China is that when a couple marries, they MUST begin their life in their newly purchased apartment, so again, it is a deeply held part of the value system in Chinese society, though tougher in 1st tier cities with 1st tier prices like Shanghai, Beijing, London, Tokyo, NY, etc.

        2. Absolutely yes that real estate is not in a bubble that is about to burst. It is NOT going to burst. Period. For the thousandth f*cking time, there is much much lower level of mortgage leverage all across China. Ergo, there will not be a compelling drive or need for the majority of real estate owners to liquidate or get foreclosed on even if prices fall back down 20-30% percent and so there will not be an exacerbating waterfall as in the U.S. subprime crisis. Secondly, Chinese households are cash rich, little household debt, again, the opposite of the U.S. scenario where the majority of middle class were cash poor and overburdened with both credit debt and mortgage debt when the real estate market went south, pushing it further south. This is just plain common sense. Bubbles do not burst in the above scenario. Prices in some markets may indeed go back down 10%-20%-even 30% in some market here and the majority of homeowners, let me clearly identify who they are, 90% of chinese household own their home, THOSE people, will not, will not give a flying f*ck and sell because they have very little compelling reason to do so when prices may decline as such.

        Where you can expect to see a source of reduced/cut prices on real estate in China is with a few big property developers who have currently overbuilt and are now reducing prices to move inventory. But that part of the market is NOT a driver of the mainstream real estate market, a market where 90% of China homeowners own their home with at least 50% equity, are under no pressure to sell even if prices do go down.

        Lastly, the sky high prices which have gone up 5-10x in value exist in only 10% of the market, in the cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou. Elsewhere, across 90% of the real estate market, prices are in the 6-12,000rmb range psqm (US $100-$200 sq ft), up 2x-5x , inline with rising incomes. Within the context of an expanding China whose private sector/domestic consumption growth remains THE strongest sector of the economy, there’s nothing alarming about $100-$200/sq ft real estate prices.

        Over leveraged developers will make V’s favorite horrifying headlines but they are not a harbinger of the state of the broader real estate market.

        I do not know how I can make this any more crystal clear.

        Cheers, Mario

      • mario cavolo March 30, 2014, 7:52 pm

        Sorry, forgot a key point, my mother in law is the perfect example of the vast majority of Chinese homeowners.

        Her apt in Shenyang has gone up in value over ten years from the $15k she paid for it when China was literally a big fat undeveloped nothing, to $100,000 today. ( by the way the same thing happened in the U.S. over a longer period of time where homes were purchased for $20-$30k back in the 60-70s and are now worth $150-$200 even post 2008.)

        Obviously she and everyone like here across China has no mortgage on that property. Do you think it matters to her at all that her property value might go back down 20% to $80k after having gone up so much? She would certainly frown a bit at lost paper equity but she wouldn’t “do” anything if that occurs. It is fundamental to her to simply own her mortgage free, property tax free, home.

        Cheers, Mario

      • mario cavolo March 30, 2014, 8:10 pm

        A funny thing you mentioned Gary, thought I think you’ve qualified your question well.

        “Their governments expansion is unprecedented.”

        Indeed. Shall we not forget that the entire Chinese domestic society’s expansion has been hand in hand unprecedented right along with the government’s. The sheer scale of the numbers is mind boggling.

        It is hard for any of us to get our head around how such a gargantuan expansion could have happened in less than ten years. Then I quickly suggest in large part we all know to credit the new tech-connected global world we live in that has made the transfer and accessibility of information, goods and services possible across the globe instantaneous. It is mind boggling to consider the increasing rate of change in speed and scale in today’s world compared to history. Business cycles, product innovations and enhancements, trends, used to be measured in centuries and then decades, now they’re measured in months. Daily I handle most of the tasks related to my new biz project, communications to suppliers, partners & customers, orders, marketing, file sharing, contact with the sales team, the fulfillment team, on the fly via WeChat on my smartphone, its nuts how wonderfully efficient it is.

        Cheers, Mario

  • Andy Gutterman March 27, 2014, 3:38 pm

    Their are two belief narratives that run through all these forums.

    1. The Market is in control of our destiny.

    2. The Government is in control of our destiny.

    Believers in the Market being in control will never convince believers in Government control that Government is not in control.

    Believers in the Government being in control will never convince believers in Market control that the Market is not in control.

    Andy

    • John Jay March 27, 2014, 5:47 pm

      Andy,

      The operative word in all this is “Controlled”.
      The scary process in all this is pervasive lawlessness.
      Pervasive lawlessness is what scared Ike back in 1954 when he cracked down hard on illegal alien farm labor use by politically connected ranchers in the Southwest.
      This nascent Open Borders policy was championed by the lurking LBJ and Pat McCarran of Nevada.
      Ike ignored the political pressure and enforced the law.
      http://tinyurl.com/pqtcd
      Problem rapidly solved.

      That was 60 years ago.
      Now, pervasive lawlessness is the norm in every area of the US society/economy.
      Today the biggest thieves have gone way beyond breaking the laws, they bribe Congress and the Government to pass “Laws” they have written to enrich and empower themselves.
      I see no way of reversing this now.
      Accept what you can not change.

    • mava March 27, 2014, 9:14 pm

      Ha-ha, very true Andy, it’s kind of like the Creationists and the Evolutionists, isn’t it?

      Speaking of market, what is your opinion on the old Soviet Union? Did market control it, or did the government control it? Or, say North Korea?

      • mario March 27, 2014, 11:38 pm

        Andy, Mava,

        The chicken! The egg! No, the chicken!
        But why did the chicken cross the road?
        I don’t know!
        Oh, he’s on third!
        What? The chicken’s on third?
        No, he’s on second!
        What, the chicken’s on second?
        No! What’s on second!
        Who? The chicken who crossed the road!
        Who crossed the road?
        No! Who’s on first!
        The chicken crossed the road! What’s the matter with you?!
        What came first the chicken or the egg?
        No! What’s on second!
        I don’t know what’s on second!
        He’s on third! The chicken came first!
        No, the egg!
        The egg?
        Naturally!

      • mava March 28, 2014, 6:12 am

        Mario,

        The truth will set us free.

  • joseph March 27, 2014, 8:51 am

    I saw Soros’ name mentioned above. Of course all great traders telegraph their plays in the press. How do you tell if Soros is lying? His lips are moving.

  • mava March 27, 2014, 5:34 am

    Mario,

    What an interesting story. I actually like Alibaba, and don’t think it would be bad even if it sucked away a half of China’s money, but then again, I like freedom.

    What I wanted to comment on, though, is that I would not bet that the regular average Chinese guy or gal or a family is any less susceptible to be corrupted and as a consequence to do some awesomely stupid things and make some awfully bad choices.

    Remember, that Americans before this wonderful new age of game point money were some of the most prudent people, arguably more prudent than Chinese, who, as everyone knows, allowed the communist promises to turn their country into a putrid red hellhole. Really prudent people would never allow that, now would they?

    I think, that is is all pretty much just fashion. The usual sins are timeless. As sure as a sunrise, in time, the fashions of Chinese will change to the worse again, and they too will become just another tiny chapter in the big stupid story of the world.

    • mario cavolo March 29, 2014, 6:55 am

      Hi Mava,

      Alibaba / Alipay are very cool, all part of the new world order, in one sense, quite amazing innovative developments.

      Chinese are definitely able to be corrupted, I suppose like any human being in a society. However, they, at at 35% savings rate, are the masters of that realm. Highly conservative, future-minded in that respect.

      I’ll continue in my view that as a macro rule, they will only speculate with a small percentage of their nest egg.

      I would very surprised if the govt in cahoots with the banks makes an all out assault on the citizens to get them to become consumer/credit card hungry monsters as happened in the U.S. We’ll see…

      Cheers, Mario

  • mario cavolo March 27, 2014, 5:00 am

    Credit Crunch: Alibaba May Destroy The World Says U.S. Investment Guru Phil Davis.

    Which is exactly why silly Phil ought to not speak about things he obviously can’t comprehend.

    Our silly Phil, who very much needs to stick to analysis of phenomenon of which he is familiar, a guru upon too many apparently rely on is all up in arms because a gargantuan $80 BILLION has been deposited into the new world of online internet banking and investing via Alibaba’s Yu’E Bao. Indeed said money draining deposits away from China’s traditional banks; a Yu’E Bao account gives depositors 6% interest and allows the funds to be used at any time, making payments by smart phone or straight withdrawals anywhere in the World. However, the principal is not guaranteed, your money is exposed to market risks outside a normally secure bank deposit, you don’t control where your money is being invested and the risk is there. Chinese depositors, all 80 million of them so far, certainly know this and seem to be allocating a very small portion of their hard-earned savings to Yue’Bao. Not so unreasonable.

    Which leads me to silly Phil’s big delete; you know, tha singular piece of information which makes his entire case no more than worthless babble.

    China is awash in trillions of cash officially IN China’s banking system along with an additional $6-$10 floating around in the country’s off the books cash economy; 80 BILLION silly Phil is a drop in the bucket, fear of destruction moot. When it gets to $500 billion, give me a call. At that point it will start to become interesting.

    Secondly, do you actually believe that the typical middle class Chinese household, who typically have $50,000 to $250,000 in the bank (yes, folks, yes) would ever be stupid enough to allocate any more than a small portion of their savings into higher risk higher yield investments?

    The answer is; of course not. Speculators who take big risks are a minority in China. The broad middle classes will forever remain wisely conservative the majority of their savings. That doesn’t mean the traditional banks like to see deposits leaving their coffers, however change is change and nowhere on the planet is societal and systematic change happening more broadly and faster than in China. You will indeed continue to see the transformation and modernizing of China banking, the line between traditional banks and the world of internet/mobile banking blurring more and more. In that sense, one could fear the threat of instability from too much change too soon, commonly known amongst sociologists as “cultural lag”.

    Phil, the next time you decide to comment on China’s banking system, offer your readers some perspective by mentioning how such developments relate to the overall scale and size of the system. Next thing I know you’ll probably be ranting about China’s shadow banking system leading to a nuclear meltdown while forgetting to note that China’s shadow banking is only 15% of the system, giving you a big clue, by the way as to where some of that off the books cash floating around goes.

    Alibaba’s Yue’Bao is a marker for China’s transformation related to both China’s banking system and consumer behavior driven by mobile. As such they drive competition, drive reform and will lead to more changes and choices in banking, investment, consumer spending and investment. Why so many silly Phil’s in the world assume its all bad is beyond me.

    Cheers, Mario

  • mario cavolo March 27, 2014, 4:06 am

    Interesting tout comments Rick. Perhaps a lot of margin is located in those stocks and being unwound?

    Meanwhile, another type of bank system tightening on the China banking battlefield.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2014/03/26/chinas-largest-bank-declares-war-on-alibaba/

    Well worth paying attention to.

    Cheers, Mario

  • mava March 26, 2014, 3:23 am

    Interesting question, Gary.

    Suppose the FED can keep the rates low. What then? How can that sort of bliss possibly end all by itself?

    I think it is totally possible. Because then the real lending will dry up. The nominal lending by fractional reserve banking can continue, of course, as they are not lending you anything of value. But since you receiving nothing of value, then it would not do anything good to you, besides defrauding an occasional market participant to whom you might pay with such funds.

    I think this is exactly what would happen. As long as the FED keeps the interest low, there is no real capital being lent for profit, and therefore whatever real capital is being lent – is all for a loss. And the nominal capital that is being lent by the fractional printing serves only to defraud the market, thus also resulting in losses.

    My conclusion is that if the FED keeps the rates low, then either we eat through the capital or adjust the prices up, but still remain idle. Which outcome of these two will depend on how gullible the market participants will turn out to be.

    • gary leibowitz March 27, 2014, 11:42 pm

      Mava, there is already strong evidence of lending right now. in fact the amount of lending is getting pretty darn close to the pre-2008 period. Its not the fact that there is low rates that prevent lending. it’s the profitability between spreads of short and long bond rates that determine the banks willingness to loosen. Once that spread widened, so did bank lending. If you go way back in time you would see that rates are not so much out of line. The 70’s and 80’s was an anomaly. We do need rates to stay low. Debt can’t be services with high rates, not in today’s situation. Deflation pressures, for whatever reason, has been driving rates down for decades. I suspect the replacement of cash with plastic has something to do with it. The flow of real money into the hands of the elite might also have a big part in why deflation is winning out. Or this could be completely wrong. If only economists really understood the dynamics at play we can follow the dots and fix this mess. It’s like global warming. No real definable cause and affect. rather a slew of evidence that suggests a lot of things combined has caused this to happen. Logic would dictate that polluting our planet should have an adverse affect, but there is no hard data that verifies this is the case. In that vein I will stick to what seems logical until proven otherwise.

      &&&&&&

      You are awesome! Amazingly (even for you), you have somehow managed to get at least one crucial detail wrong in each and every sentence of this post. I’ll leave it to others to pick it apart, assuming they have nothing better to do.
      RA

      • gary leibowitz March 28, 2014, 4:40 pm

        If you had the answers you wouldn’t have been so wrong for all these years. To claim you were right, but the evil totalitarian governments around the world has prevented natural order, is disingenuous. I can state every mistaken premise with such a response, but that doesn’t make it so.

        Prove me wrong. Prove your case with historic facts. Surely governments in the past have had such total control.

        Individual debt and the use of debt instruments to live a certain standard is fairly new. We never before had such easy access for the poor and middle class. The combination of easy credit and governments subsidies seems to play a role in thwarting real economic expansion. At the start of such a policy, the early 1980’s, we saw a very high rate of expansion. The saturation of debt, with the combined mortgage implosion, has placed a greater burden on paying off that debt since lenders are less reluctant to extend that credit. Today lenders are once again reverting back to the post 80’s mentality. That is the only reason I see economic expansion and inflation to rise from here. the problem now is that we are already starting from a high debt point. the end game will be that much quicker.

        All “THEORIES” on how deflation/inflation diametric occur is one for great debate. Please enlighten me. I would love to understand the dynamics in play to better understand what data or clues there are to help me in figuring out when the market should turn. Your assumptions have been a bit off but I am willing to listen and even adapt differing theories as long as there is some connective “logic” to it.

        &&&&&&

        Deflation draws irresistible power from the rising real burden of debt.
        RA

      • gary leibowitz March 30, 2014, 5:54 pm

        Yes I agree that one form of deflation is a result of even increased debt burden. I thought that is exactly my premise in my previous statements. I even went so far as to declare the 80’s as the decade that started the mechanism for building up that debt via credit.

        The problem with defining when that debt burden becomes too great to sustain a certain life style gets convoluted. The implosion of real estate was the one area that could certainly cause a collapse overnight. The last 5 years was exclusively targets to prop up this segment and so far it has worked. The cost has been an even increased national debt, but that in itself will not stop individuals from trying to keep their expected life style intact. Just look at the discretionary industry and tell me they have suffered over the last 5 years. Eating out, travel, movies, buying unnecessary toys and hobbies. The pressure so far is on companies that have tried to expand beyond the slowing growth of this industry. You have to look at total expenditures and not whether certain companies are hurting. You can’t conclude we are about to fall apart based on McDonalds or Walmart.

        I will concede that low rates have saved us these last 5 years. I also conceded that without government intervention with bond purchases and bank bailouts we would have a spike in rates. But this is what all governments are there for, to try and maintain our economic engine. The cost will most probably kill us in the end, but to suggest any country or administration would have done different is not credible. Survival at all costs. All governments, no matter whether socialist, communist, or capitalist behave the same way.

        On the matter of the stock market I also agree we are over extended. I so far have not concluded this year will define the start of a full blown bear market to new lows. The longer this market stays propped up the more likely we have a nasty 5 month bear followed by yet another run to new highs. this expectation is adaptable based on ongoing events. We have already survived 5 years. If it ends here so be it. I take the position that the economy is slow to build to a critical mass. We shall soon see if it happens this year or not.

        &&&&&&

        You don’t beat deflation with financial sleight of hand. The artificially low interest rates that have stoked car and home sales have cheated savers and encouraged promiscuous overborrowing for consumption. One hugely deflationary result is that the Baby Boomers’ inheritance from the Greatest Generation is rapidly shriveling to nothingness.

        Next time you post, here’s something for you to chew on: The millions of 20- and 30-somethings who graduate college with an average $70,000 in debt and no good job prospects are going to be footing the bills for the Baby Boomers’ Social Security and Medicare. Wish them good luck, since, each and every day until 2030, 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65. While you’re at it, you should ponder the even larger deflationary liability posed by public-sector pensions and healthcare benefits.

        Considering the foregoing, along with myriad other catalysts of deflation that I have not mentioned, such as the impending collapse of the banksters’ quadrillion-dollar financial shell game, anyone who sees other than a catastrophic outcome is a fool. RA

    • mario cavolo March 29, 2014, 6:50 am

      I don’t hesitate suggesting/reminding anyone here that the U.S. is NOT going to have anything that resembles happy economic expansion for the next 5 years plus, because the fundamental macro demographics and debt situation both at the government and household level, in a word, suck. Marginal growth at best until the generational demographics start to shift by around 2020. There is zilch in terms of macro trend or innovation/invention on the horizon that looks to thwart this view.

      Cheers, Mario

  • Gary leibowitz March 25, 2014, 10:12 pm

    Deflation forces have caused a long term trend of lower rates, not the Fed. As long as wages stay low growth, so will rates. China can cause world economic growth problems with their slowdown. It will most likely not have as big an affect as it wod have 5 years ago. China has no similarity to US in terms of debt and economic expansion. They are just staring on the road to economic expansion with a huge domestic market just getting started. Even Rick acknowledges the deflation headwinds. Hard to see run away inflation in this environment. Rates can however go high enough to cause the market and earnings trouble. The massive monetary intervention toon by government worldwide has stopped, for now, deflation forces to take hold. There is no way the Fed can hold down rates for 5 years by themselves. If you think it is possible than you absolutely have no reason to worry in the future. They would be stupid to allow it to happen now. Either natural forces are at play in current low rates, or the Fed controls this process. In my mind it’s natural forces that can derail this economy, not something thTs controlled. Soros and people of such pessimistic attitudes will always see danger. Name me one respected person that saw this 5 year reprieve but now sees danger.

    • redwilldanaher March 26, 2014, 1:10 am

      I think you meant “…5 year rigging…”

    • Jason S March 26, 2014, 6:32 pm

      Here is a great article by Lacy Hunt explaining the natural forces keeping rates low. Data going back to 1871 is pretty impressive. I think he is the brightest bond manager out there.

      http://www.caseyresearch.com/cdd/dr.-lacy-hunt-qe-has-slowed-economic-activity

      • mario cavolo March 29, 2014, 7:04 am

        Thanks Jason, that’s anyone’s MUST READ article. Cheers, Mario

  • Andy Gutterman March 25, 2014, 12:45 pm

    See for yourself whether the FED leads or the Market leads:

    http://www.booktrakker.com/Economy/FED_Follows_The_Market.jpg

    Its all simple math, 101. The rest is speculation.

    I suppose you could argue that the Market is psychic, in that it “knows” ahead of time what the FED is going to do, and thus acts accordingly. What’s amazing is the Market gets it right 100% of the time.

    I sure would like to meet the psychic the Market is visiting, and where.

    Andy

    • mava March 25, 2014, 4:55 pm

      Nice chart, Andy. It shows us one of the components that we are discussing here: the FED action. Where is the market? The UST rates are not the market (although they are, of course affected by the market). Allow me to explain.

      The government is willing to borrow at some rates. The market is willing to lend at some rates. If the UST rates fall, while the market offers higher rates, then it becomes the task of the FED, to force the market to not differ a whole lot, to not allow the market participants to effectively de-fund the government by lending to someone else instead.

      You see it? In other words, if the FED didn’t force the market rate of interest, then the capital would favor the investment at a higher rate of interest somewhere else other than the UST.

      This statement is not saying anything about whether the FED leads or follows. It merely points out that if the above chart is to be used as such an indicator, then it is missing an entire half that we want to compare the action of the FED to.

      It shows us that at some point, the UST rates fell. Then, after that, the FED has (yes) followed, by lowering the rates. This allows the UST rates to keep falling. What would the UST rate be, had the FED not applied pressure? This is the part that is missing from the chart. (I think).

    • VILER VLAD March 26, 2014, 9:13 am

      gutterman, prechter proved years ago with many long term charts, ussa fed ALWAYS
      FOLLOWS free market, and not other way around, as most ussa sleep sheeple believe.

      so you have not discovered amerika, what you write is totally obvious, no salient point.

      for what you don’t get, is that ILLUSION of power, is more important, than real power.

      just check out alinsky’s number one rule for radicals. or better yet, sun tzu’s art of war.

  • mava March 25, 2014, 7:05 am

    Count me on the “Unbelievers” side, gentlemen.

    I really do think that the FED sets the rates, not the market. (most of the time, anyway, except when the “disaster” strikes the debtors).

    I think the fed sets the rates lower, because it tries to prevent the “bust” part of the economic cycle.
    The bust is coming after the erosion of the capital.
    The erosion happened due to mis-pricing in rates of return on investment.
    The mis-pricing, in turn, happened because of the confusion in acceptance of fictitious newly printed money on the same terms as that of existing money.

    The interest must (at the beginning of the bust) be higher to compensate for too low rates of return in the past years (the boom years). Either this, or the capital will erode. The lenders must now have extra to catch up.

    This will bury anyone who is weak on capital and deep in debt, or a socialist. But, it would save the country, and anyone who is TRULY capitalist.

    The FED is making a different choice. It wants to murder those who represent the core of the country, in order to save those deep in debt. It wants to water down the creditors in favor of the debtors. It, therefore LOWERS the rates below than they would otherwise have been. The FED’s bet on how can this resolve itself? “The people will forget, they never really count the bottom line.”

    The part of the FED forecast where they say they will lower the rates, is what they are going to do.

    The part of the FED forecast where they not sure about rates raising, or even talk about rates they are going to raise, is the absolute bluff.

    The FED would NEVER EVER EVER raise the rates, because this would hurt the borrower. The FED represents the borrower. The people represent the lender. They FED can only unfortunately not being able to hold the rates low, but they will never voluntarily raise them.

    • mario cavolo March 25, 2014, 7:57 am

      while it may require a deeper analysis, i’m with you on this Mava, low rates are essential and here to stay for years….

  • mario cavolo March 25, 2014, 6:07 am

    V, on a more serious note, much appreciate if you would post those links indicating China is crashing, plunging, collapsing, haven’t seen any myself and believe me, I’ve been looking for them as such is integral to my business and work as an author. I’d be a fool amongst other fools to be reporting anything other than what is happening rather than speculative media headlines that mislead and distort.

    We are aware China manufacturing is slowing as expected.

    We are aware exports are slowing. Actually wait, their rate of growth is slowing.

    We also are crystal clear aware that manufacturing’s and exports as a % of GDP has declined substantially in the past several years, so whatever slowdown is in those sectors, said slowdown well known as expected since last year, will have far less negative impact on the overall economy.

    We are aware that the private sector’s % share of GDP is now the largest share and that sector continues to expand strongly, adding 7 million jobs per year, maybe ONLY 5 million next year?

    We know that China has signaled credit tightening to reign in the speculative shadow banking system which represents about 11% of the total China banking system liabilities.

    We know that credit tightening has gone hand in hand with China signaling that the yuan strengthening has come to a point at which they are holding it 6-6.2. Safe to say that if exports and manufacturing slowdown sharpens, they will further stick with a 6.2-6.4 on the yuan. Reasonable deduction.

    Reference check : Where above did I miss anything? All of that slowing should be noticed and watched, but for the life of me, I just can’t find ANY links, ANY reports that China is crashing and plunging. Maybe cuz my internet is blocked here? Oh no, I have a VPN, so that’s not it.

    On this..you are certainly correct….

    “a russian/chinese/iranian/and friends/ and europe too, coming out the winners. and down with the ussa. their time is past. new world order”

    How many billions does Soros’s have long in comparison to his 1.3 billion puts? Would be very valuable to know such a significant detail…we can analyze that question, his short position is 11% of his total world stake. His total world stake (global) must be at least 50% in S&P500 equities because 50% of S&P 500 earnings are global. So perhaps, his long exposure to U.S. equities is a few billion, just guessing.

    Cheers, Mickey

    • dk March 25, 2014, 3:05 pm

      Always fun to read the back-and-forth between you and Vlad, Mario.
      I’m a natural skeptic but seeing 10 links posted here every day about China, Crimea, the race to devalue, or whatever it is, doesn’t seem to hasten the impending doom we face. The only ones that seem to capture me discuss Japan and the Pacific Ocean (Fukushima).
      On the topic of China, I’ve been gaining more interest in the prospects of this company, NYSE: DANG. Looks like a future Amazon to me, and the activity on the stock reminds me of Bidu back in the day.

      Rick, Mava, I’m with you on this re: rates, although the Fed is only so influential. Mr. Market keeps the pimp hand strong.

  • VILER VLAD March 24, 2014, 10:32 pm

    cannot comment on WHEN rates will rise, to bring entire corrupt deck of DEBT cards down,
    however,
    I can comment on many OTHER potential domino-effect corollaries, that create such crash.
    and IMO, from all I see, it’s damn close to occuring, and from different sources that I thought.

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    THE REAL REALITY NEWS
    monday, march 24th, 2014

    top on the agenda today, is the much faster than expected downfall, and it’s purview,
    of that really big, supposedly ‘free’ country, the communist-capitalist (huh?) china,
    (so sold on this site by a certain used car salesman, top mickey mouse of all, boy-mario).

    and after my review of china-syndrome-down-toilet, then, the continuing very real saga,
    of how putin intends to take the world (with a little help from friends) and starting at ukraine.

    have so many links on both these topics, that hope I don’t get bored, before I finish post.

    because, IMO, we are at a major crossroad of world political and financial power,
    at which I still see, a russian/chinese/iranian/and friends/ and europe too,
    coming out the winners. and down with the ussa. their time is past. new world order.

    enough said, of M.O. now, on many links, on both chinese $ downfall, and russian ascent.

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$

    I´ll start with george soros. that despicable manipulator, probably best trader of alltime.

    soros reported last month that, up to end of 2013, he had raised his puts vs. s&p 500,
    to 1.3 billion dollars, 11% of his total world market stake. not 1.3 million. 1.3 billion.
    thats how much world’s top legendary despised trader, thinks how ussa will do in 2014.
    bad. very very bad.
    and his main argument for that major ussa stock market fall is–china. not ussa–china.
    for the china market has already crashed (deservedly so), but, there’s plenty of gravy yet,
    in the idiot fool, ussa s&p500, to short, put, a looong way to go dooown, to match china.
    best quote from the article, re a falling china being the biggest reason, for ussa’s downfall–

    ‘In January (2014), Soros highlighted risks coming out of China and drew a comparison with the lead-up to the crash of 2008. “…the views he expressed in this article lead me to believe he thinks another crisis is brewing (led by China on this occasion) and the SPY put position could be an attempt profit from it,” says Joseph.’

    http://blogs.marketwatch.com/thetell/2014/02/17/soros-doubles-a-bearish-bet-on-the-sp-500-to-the-tune-of-1-3-billion/?link=instory

    and so far, as of end march 2014 today, he is being proven right, as china cliff dives.
    for I have so many doomsday articles today on china, that I almost could not keep up.

    here I go, on china’s downfall, based on primary factor, IMO, growing on shadow banking,
    and now trying to turn it legit, yeah right, like you can turn a dirty commie to a capitalist.
    boom gone. shadow rich rats deserting commie ship, bringing faulty crooked system, down.

    this one is really funny. for only 6 months ago, china was supposed to be rich savior of world.
    yet, now, today, western experts wonder, will china bring other 1st world nation down? ha.
    http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000260669

    needless to say, continued drop in yuan, as commies try to save their shadow fraud, yuan croaks!
    http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000260642

    china’s over-expensive property prices are falling like a rock, dump that property, asap!
    http://asia.nikkei.com/Markets/Equities/Concern-growing-about-realty-market-in-China-amid-credittightening

    manufacturing in china, going down the toilet, faster than expected! even with fake stats.
    http://www.cnbc.com/id/101517748?__source=yahoo%7Cfinance%7Cheadline%7Cheadline%7Cstory&par=yahoo&doc=101517748%7CChina%20factory%20activity%20co

    meanwhile, taiwanese, would rather be beaten by batons and die, rather than trade with chinese!
    http://news.yahoo.com/police-move-taiwan-protest-over-china-pact-004654056–finance.html

    even the biggest crook of all, goldman sachs, admit china is going down fast, financial toilet–
    http://www.cnbc.com/id/101509175

    another mega crooked banker runs away, but, this one is a jpm’s chinaman, interesting.
    (at least he hasn’t jump off building. ha. at least not yet, anyway. watch out below! ha.
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/jpmorgan-top-china-executive-close-departing-wsj-001055017–sector.html

    meanwhile, back in euro dreamland europe, since france had a tiny blip up today,
    they already think they are better than the fast dropping chinks! funny. for france is fkkd.
    since frenchies have approx. 14% reportedly unemployed. enough said.
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/china-brakes-euro-zone-gears-113343903–business.html

    enough on crashing china for today. for tomorrow, may bring even worse chinkville news.

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$

    and I’ll try to post the current situation on putin’s ukraine soon. later today, or morrow.
    for much has occured over last few days (since putin does not rest on weekends, it seems, ha).
    hey, before I even post it, putin is so fast, he may have already taken ukraine, by then! ha.
    but there are already ton of news, on that front. that assures, as I told earlier, putin ain’t done.
    not even close.

    • mario cavolo March 25, 2014, 5:30 am

      oh yes …its crashing! its plunging! its collapsing! Kablooey, Kazam Batman!

      Cheers, Mickey

  • Andy Gutterman March 24, 2014, 1:28 pm

    I’ll say it again. The FED follows, it doesn’t lead. When the market wants higher rates it will get higher rates. The FED won’t have any choice but to follow. The FED thinks it has control but the market dwarfs the FED, the government and every other institution in existence.

    The Market ALWAYS gets its way, barring a calamitous war.

    All the rest is useless blather to entertain us.

    Andy

    • gary leibowitz March 24, 2014, 8:59 pm

      Exactly! If manufacturing, borrowing, and world demand continue to put pressure on rates it will go higher. I was told the Fed would never get rid of QE yet here we are with the markets now expecting it to end this year. I was told we would never see real GDP growth yet every indication is that it might surprise on the upside. I was told the consumer is tapped out yet I now see spending, borrowing and lending similar to the pre-crash period.

      Rates have been low not because the Fed dictated this. They in fact prevented a deflation spiral with their intervention.

      The markets will dictate what it can accept and can’t. With world debt so high, and borrowing costs still low, I would be hard pressed to see rates rise much without causing huge problems. The Fed would like nothing more than to see the last 5 years repeat in a slow dance of muddling along as the dance steps gradually quicken.

      The 1,000 pound gorilla is the massive buildup of debt globally. Only a very long period of slow growth, low cost environment will allow sanity to come back into the world. We need gradual but persistent drawdown in all debt. What was done since the 90’s can be undone. It will take fortitude not seen in my lifetime to accomplish that. Possible but not likely.

      The current market looks like it is nearing some sort of top. It also looks like it will be a fast drop followed by another few years of growth. Makes sense to expect October to be the month that we see the lows for this cycle.

      To try and predict just when we will experience debt problems again, like major defaults, is anyone’s guess. The guessing these last 5 years has been way off. I’ll stick to the current 8 year cycle moves. that suggests any drop should be followed by years of upward momentum. the state of affairs today hasn’t deterred me from assuming such a cycle will occur. A bear market in the 5th year seems logical.

      • Sam March 24, 2014, 9:33 pm

        ” Only a very long period of slow growth, low cost environment will allow sanity to come back into the world. We need gradual but persistent drawdown in all debt. What was done since the 90’s can be undone. It will take fortitude not seen in my lifetime to accomplish that. Possible but not likely.”

        Not ever likely. In my opinion, not even possible. Not remotely.

        The last prediction you make about the general direction of the stock market is logical, but I fully expect things to tumble out of logical order. Not because of the total debt – but because of the inherantly greedy and corrupt nature of homo sapiens. The total debt will actually create less accountability for those in power and more bad decisions will be made because of it. Immunity from total debt repercussions will only exaserbate the situation. Perhaps exposure to it is the panacea of which you seek in the previously stated quoted paragrah?

      • Redwilldanaher March 25, 2014, 3:58 am

        Drudge has a link to this:

        homeland-security-exercise-targets-free-americans-against-socialist-tyranny.html

        Rick, clearly off topic but given the fact that el garo has maligned us all for years regarding our disgust with this orwellian gubmint, I thought you might let it slide since it is clearly another win for the crazy conspiracy theorists who Obamao has helped make to look as bankable as Steve Carlton in 1972.

    • VILER VLAD March 24, 2014, 11:55 pm

      I agree, gutterman.

      I agree ussa fed does not set the real rates, the real ‘free’ market does.

      however, in the ussa, all is illusion, and fraud, and scam, fake tv and movies, et al.

      so, why not the fed too? illusion they own control everything and move it at their whim?

      I mean, is the ussa boom-box ghetto-organizer presidant, really in any control?
      or is he just another ussa pres puppet, suited for current socialist ‘redistribution’ time?
      and handled and owned (happily so), by those really in control, those ‘unknown’ 1%ers?

      and are ussa monthly ‘statistics’ on all metrics, true, or just illusionary works of fiction?

      I can go on and on, on supposed ussa ‘truth,’ most perfect liar country, in human history.

      just like current world currencies, all fiat, built on nothing but ‘faith’ in your government.

      bottomline, it’s all illusion, that is still holding world system. and ussa fed, is no different.

      it’s called ‘mass indoctrination’ since birth.
      and each one plays his part, as jacques said.

    • Troll March 25, 2014, 1:28 am

      That is because the market is made up of today’s bankers and the Fed is made up from yesterday’s bankers.

      Emphasis on the, “made up.”

      As in, “make believe.”

  • velma March 24, 2014, 6:40 am

    Spot on.

    When Yellen was asked what would happen when rates rose, she replied with something about rates have always been historically low.

    Couldn’t believe that one.

    &&&&&&

    Sometimes you have to wonder whether they are merely playing at being imbeciles. RA

  • mava March 24, 2014, 5:31 am

    Me too, Rick. I like to read your articles, because I enjoy how you have your way with words, all the while having real understanding to back it all up, unlike any typical writer who is only a word master, but always full of B.S.
    About the same difference as watching a real gladiator to flip his gladius vs. watching a circuit clown doing the same.

    Anyway, I completely agree, and thinking about what you said, I wonder how this thing had happened. There was a time when 6% rates were considered very low, “safety” rates. But, somehow the safety zone made its way down to nearly zero.

    So, what would be their next step, when 1% rate is going to feel “way too unbearable”?

    Will we witness the nominally negative rates? Or will they train the people to accept higher price inflation, in order to lower the real rates while maintaining the positive sign on the nominal rates?

  • mario cavolo March 24, 2014, 4:40 am

    Rising interest rates are the tipping point to the disaster in the, we can only ponder how they will desperately avoid, compensate for or mitigate it with whatever flexibility they have and games they can conjure up.

    Cheers, Mario

  • redwilldanaher March 24, 2014, 1:39 am

    Great piece Rick. Love the reference to the last quarter century being a hoax. As true as it gets and my guess is that it’s much more of a hoax than we could collectively imagine.

    Always admire your writing, as you know, but I think I would have gone with “installed” with regards to the ‘Nank.

  • John Jay March 24, 2014, 1:37 am

    “Let me reassure you: actual Fed tightening is about as likely as a Martian invasion.”

    Absolutely right Rick.

    Normal rates of 5% on a one year T bill mean doom for the Federal government, the stock market, the housing market, the bond market, the municipal bond market, etc.
    The whole rickety house of cards will collapse.

    So, they will never again allow rates to rise.
    That is the new reality, not just here in the USA, but all over the world.
    And here in the US, TPTB still have a massive Trump Card to play if rates somehow get out of control.
    They simply declare interest on Federal Government/MBS/Student Loan Debt to be “Tax Free”.
    That will throw the Municipal Bond Market under the bus, but, DC will figure, tough luck, our survival is paramount to “National Security”.

    They will just tell all the State Muni Bond issuers, look if we don’t keep rates low, then housing prices and the economy collapse and you can kiss your property tax/sales tax/income tax bonanza goodbye forever.
    You’ll all have to get “Real Jobs”.
    And there are no “Real Jobs” to be had anymore.
    That will shut them up.
    So plan A is QE forever.
    Plan B is QE forever with tax free Federal Debt.

    I have come to accept ZIRP and the Police State and expect both to remain in place until I shuffle off to Valhalla!

    Note to Mario:
    In Sunday’s LA Times there is an article about how both South Coast Plaza and the Beverly Center are going all out to cater to wealthy Chinese shoppers from second and third tier cities from China.
    Shoppers with more money than fashion sense.
    The article states that the Beverly Center has a Chinese concierge to help them to pick the most chic twenty thousand dollar fur coat etc.
    And she gets paid $100 an hour by the Beverly Center!
    And she was very carefully selected.
    And I am sure she is worth every penny to that upscale shopping venue.
    The South Coast Plaza has just hired a Chinese concierge of their very own.
    Also carefully chosen and well paid.
    That’s fine with me, whatever keeps the “Grapes of Wrath” from replaying out here!

    • mario cavolo March 24, 2014, 4:35 am

      Yea JJ, the tourist bureaus worldwide realize Chinese spend more when they travel than any other group on the planet…its extremely easy to understand as this is literally their first generation of Chinese EVER who have discovered wealth and capitalist driven consumer consumption. They are able to buy stuff they couldn’t before, that the west has had access to for decades. The ones with the money will always be catered and played to. For better and worse, that’s another topic…

      Cheers, Mario

      • John Jay March 24, 2014, 5:29 am

        Mario,

        Please feel free to extend a friendly invitation to any and all wealthy Chinese to visit Southern California and shop till they drop.
        The US Dollar is still the world Reserve Currency.
        And the US Consumer/Popular Culture is still the world Reserve Lifestyle!
        Hard to believe, isn’t it?
        Especially the second one!


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