Tag Archives: hyperinflation

US$ To Hit A$0.58 – Currency Experts Agree, Barnaby Was Right

9 May

More experts line up with Alan KohlerStandard & Poors, CNBC, Deutsche Bank, and Barack Obama, in agreeing that Barnaby was right.

First, the head of ANZ:

ANZ chief Mike Smith said yesterday that the currency was likely to resume its climb above $US1.10, and one of the world’s leading foreign exchange experts predicted the dollar would continue to rise and could hit $US1.30 in 2013 and $US1.70 by 2014.

This spells bad news for non-resource sectors such as manufacturing and tourism…

“I can’t see that there is anything to knock it off its perch because it’s not only the strong Australian dollar, it’s also the weak US dollar,” Mr Smith said yesterday.

“And when you think about what is happening in the US, I can’t see them increasing rates for at least 18 months and that will have an impact.”

Next, a global currency expert:

Global currency expert Savvas Savouri, of the British-based Toscafund hedge fund, went a step further, predicting the greenback would be relegated to a “museum” …

Dr Savouri, in Sydney for a conference, predicts the dollar will reach $US1.30 by 2013 – and $US1.70 by 2014, as the greenback relinquishes its “exorbitant privilege” as the world’s default currency.

What the ‘experts’ aren’t telling you, is that the reason for the Aussie dollar’s rise is directly due to the slow-motion collapse of the US economy, and the unintended consequences caused by those trying to prop it up.

How’s that, you ask?

For several years, the US Federal Reserve has been creating literally trillions of US dollars out of thin air (“Quantitative Easing” 1 and 2).  By doing this, it believes it will achieve two things – (1) Keep interest rates in America extremely low (near zero), preventing further collapse in the housing market and broader economy; (2) pump up the stock market, creating public “confidence”. And it has achieved both those aims.

But what about the unintended consequences?

First, the immediate effect of printing money is to weaken the American currency.  That is the main reason why the Aussie dollar has risen against the USD.

It is not because our currency has strengthened.  It’s because the USD has been (deliberately) weakened.

Much of those trillions in near interest-free US money has been poured into speculation by international banks and hedge funds.  What are they speculating on?

Mostly on commodities – which our economy sells.

Hundreds of billions in “hot money” has been flowing from the Zero-Interest-Rate-Policy (ZIRP) United States into our currency, through speculation on our commodities.  Driving  up our currency’s apparent strength.

But “hot money” can flow out again just as fast.  As we saw in the GFC.  And again just last week, when the Aussie dollar hit US$1.10, and plummeted to US$1.05 in three days … due to a single bad economic news data release in the US:

Yahoo Finance - AUD/USD 1.10 to 1.05

During the peak of GFC panic in Sep-Oct 2008, the Aussie dollar collapsed from US$0.98 to just US$0.60 in barely two months:

Yahoo Finance - AUD/USD

When you compare the Aussie dollar to the Euro, for example, it’s easy to see that our dollar only “appears” to be super strong when it is being compared – as usual – only to the ever-weakening USD.

Our dollar has risen against the Euro too. But by far less. And again, only after first falling significantly in the GFC.  Then rising only after the US Federal Reserve began seriously printing money, which has been poured into commodities and commodity currencies:

Yahoo Finance - AUD/EUR

Australia is a little cork floating on the ocean of other nations’ economic decisions.

As Barnaby forewarned in late 2009 / early 2010, the US is effectively defaulting on its debt right now.

By stealth.

Destroying the value of your currency by money printing, has always been the most common way in which nations have defaulted on their debts.

Barnaby was right.

S&P Agrees – Barnaby Was Right On US Debt

20 Apr

It’s taken a while.  But the wheels of the locomotive named Inevitability grind relentlessly onwards.

For the first time in history, Standard and Poors has placed the USA’s credit outlook on “negative”, warning that the government must take meaningful steps to reduce debt.

Back in October through December 2009, Barnaby Joyce forewarned of the possibility of the US defaulting on its debts.  He was roundly mocked and ridiculed by all the usual suspects – mainstream media, “expert” economists, (now former) Treasury Secretary Ken Henry, and the ALP’s band of genii led by “Goose” and Tanner.

Now, here we are barely 18 months later.  The US credit outlook is being downgraded.  It has almost completed a $600 Billion QE 2 (“Quantitative Easing”) – which means creating literally hundreds of billions of dollars out of thin air, Zimbabwe-style. There is every indication that QE 3 will inevitably follow.

(Printing money inflates the money supply, devalues your currency, and so effectively reduces your debt burden “by default”. Devaluing your currency is the most common form of national debt default.)

And the World Bank President warned a few days ago that the world economy is now just “one shock away from a full blown crisis”.

Barnaby was right.

Thanks to a hostile and clueless media pack, egged on by the “expert” ridicule of the likes of Henry and “Goose”, Barnaby was blasted out of his brief role as Opposition Finance Minister in early 2010.  Despite his being better qualified than the entire ALP cabinet combined.

46 US States In Debt Crisis

29 Jun

46 out of 50 US state governments are now technically bankrupt.  To understand how bad that is for the global economy – including Australia – consider the fact that California alone has an economy that is larger than that of Russia.

From Bloomberg:

California, tied with Illinois for the lowest credit rating of any state, is diverting a rising portion of tax revenue to service debt, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its August issue.

Far from rebounding, the Golden State, with a $1.8 trillion economy that’s larger than Russia’s, is sinking deeper into its financial funk. And it’s not alone.

Even as the U.S. appears to be on the mend — gross domestic product has climbed three straight quarters — finances in Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and other states show few signs of improvement. Forty-six states face budget shortfalls that add up to $112 billion for the fiscal year ending next June, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington research institution.

State budget woes are a worsening drag on growth as the federal government tries to wean the economy from two years of extraordinary support. By Jan. 1, funds from the $787 billion federal stimulus bill will dry up. That money from Washington has helped cushion state budgets as tax revenue has plunged.

State leaders won’t be able to ride out this cycle the way they have in the past. The budget holes are too large.

What will the US do when nearly every state government is facing Greek-style deficits?

According to an RBS note to its clients, prepare for unprecedented money printing.

From the UK’s Telegraph:

As recovery starts to stall in the US and Europe with echoes of mid-1931, bond experts are once again dusting off a speech by Ben Bernanke given eight years ago as a freshman governor at the Federal Reserve.

Andrew Roberts, credit chief at RBS, is advising clients to read the Bernanke text very closely because the Fed is soon going to have to the pull the lever on “monster” quantitative easing (QE)”.

We cannot stress enough how strongly we believe that a cliff-edge may be around the corner, for the global banking system (particularly in Europe) and for the global economy. Think the unthinkable,” he said in a note to investors.

Societe Generale’s uber-bear Albert Edwards said the Fed and other central banks will be forced to print more money whatever they now say, given the “stinking fiscal mess” across the developed world. “The response to the coming deflationary maelstrom will be additional money printing that will make the recent QE seem insignificant,” he said.

Barnaby Joyce began warning about a bigger GFC in October last year. No one wanted to listen.

He was roundly ridiculed by the “experts” – such as the genius academic who designed the controversial RSPT, Treasury secretary Ken Henry – for suggesting the possibility that the USA could default on its massive debts.

The simple fact is this.  The USA is defaulting on its debts.

Printing money (euphemistically called “Quantitative Easing”) is technically a form of sovereign default.  When you cannot pay your debts, printing money devalues your currency, and makes it easier to pay back your debts.

It also means high inflation.  Possibly hyperinflation.  Think Weimar Germany in the 1920′s.  Or Zimbabwe today.

Barnaby is right.

IMF: US Faces Western World’s Biggest Crunch

18 May

From the UK’s Telegraph:

Earlier this week, the Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King, irked US authorities by pointing out that even the world’s economic superpower has a major fiscal problem -“even the United States, the world’s largest economy, has a very large fiscal deficit” were his words. They were rather vague, but by happy coincidence the International Monetary Fund has chosen to flesh out the issue today. Unfortunately this is a rather long post with a few chunky tables, but it is worth spending a bit of time with – the IMF analysis is fascinating.

Its cross-country Fiscal Monitor is not easy reading and is a VERY big pdf (17mb), so I’ve collected a few of the key points. The idea behind the document is to set out how much different countries around the world need to cut their deficits by in the next few years, and the bottom line is it’s going to be big and hard (ie 8.7pc of GDP in deficit cuts around the world, which works out at, gulp, about $4 trillion).

But the really interesting stuff is the detail, and what leaps out again and again is how much of a hill the US has to climb. Exhibit a is the fact that under the Obama administration’s current fiscal plans, the national debt in the US (on a gross basis) will climb to above 100pc of GDP by 2015 – a far steeper increase than almost any other country.

Another issue is that, according to the IMF, the cost of extra healthcare and pensions will increase by a further 5.8pc over the next 20 years. This is the biggest increase of any other country in the G20 apart from Russia, and comes despite America having far more favourable demographics.

But level of debt isn’t the only problem. Then there’s the fact that the US has a far shorter maturity of government debt than most other countries, meaning that even if it weren’t borrowing any extra cash it would have to issue a large chunk of new stuff each year as things are.

What does this mean? Basically with a large financing need, you are particularly vulnerable if the market suddenly decides it doesn’t want your debt, since those extra interest rates they charge you mount much more quickly. Japan, by the way, is the one with a real problem on this front. It could hardly be any more vulnerable to a sudden drop in investor demand, and many over there fear that the moment domestic savers stop buying JGBs, the country is doomed to Greek-style collapse…

Read the entire article (including IMF charts) here.

9 Charts Show Why Eurozone Collapse Is Inevitable

10 May

Here are some simple charts that demonstrate why anything and everything that the EU, ECB and/or the IMF can do now, is simply to delay the inevitable disintegration of the Eurozone.

From Der Spiegel: (click on images to enlarge)

And finally, one more chart showing how interconnected (thus vulnerable) the Eurozone countries are, due to the enormous sums of money owed by member countries just to each other: (click on image to enlarge)

Eurozone Faces Bankruptcy, Disintegration

10 May

Could the Eurozone go bankrupt? One of Germany’s leading newspapers believes so.

From an excellent major article in Der Spiegel:

Huge National Debts Could Push Eurozone Into Bankruptcy

Greece is only the beginning. The world’s leading economies have long lived beyond their means, and the financial crisis caused government debt to swell dramatically. Now the bill is coming due, but not all countries will be able to pay it.

The euro zone is pinning its hopes on (IMF negotiator) Thomsen and his team. His goal is to achieve what Europe’s politicians are not confident they can do on their own, namely to bring discipline to a country that, through manipulation and financial inefficiency, has plunged the European single currency into its worst-ever crisis.

If the emergency surgery isn’t successful, there will be much more at stake than the fate of the euro. Indeed, Europe could begin to erode politically as a result. The historic project of a united continent, promoted by an entire generation of politicians, could suffer irreparable damage, and European integration would suffer a serious setback — perhaps even permanently.

And the global financial world would be faced with a new Lehman Brothers, the American investment bank that collapsed in September 2008, taking the global economy to the brink of the abyss. It was only through massive government bailout packages that a collapse of the entire financial system was averted at the time.

A similar scenario could unfold once again, except that this time it would be happening at a higher level, on the meta-level of exorbitant government debt. This fear has had Europe’s politicians worried for weeks, but their crisis management efforts have failed. For months, they have been unable to contain the Greek crisis.

There are, in fact, striking similarities to the Lehman bankruptcy. This isn’t exactly surprising. The financial crisis isn’t over by a long shot, but has only entered a new phase. Today, the world is no longer threatened by the debts of banks but by the debts of governments, including debts which were run up rescuing banks just a year ago.

The banking crisis has turned into a crisis of entire nations, and the subprime mortgage bubble into a government debt bubble. This is why precisely the same questions are being asked today, now that entire countries are at risk of collapse, as were being asked in the fall of 2008 when the banks were on the brink: How can the calamity be prevented without laying the ground for an even bigger disaster? Can a crisis based on debt be solved with even more debt? And who will actually rescue the rescuers in the end, the ones who overreached?

So, the GFC is ‘over’, is it Ken?

‘Shock And Awe’ Needed To Save Eurozone

29 Apr

Following close on the heels of the extraordinary revelation by Ben Bernanke that the US Federal Reserve has printed $1.3 Trillion out of thin air to buy toxic Mortgage Backed Securities and prop up the US economy, now the European Central Bank may have to invoke emergency powers in order to engage in massive money printing to prop up the collapsing European bond markets.

From the UK’s Telegraph:

The European Central Bank may soon have to invoke emergency powers to prevent the disintegration of southern European bond markets, with ominous signs of investor flight from Spain and Italy.

“We have gone past the point of no return,” said Jacques Cailloux, chief Europe economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland.“There is a complete loss of confidence. The bond markets are in disintegration and it is getting worse every day.

“The ECB has been side-lined in the Greek crisis so far but do you allow a bond crash in your region if you are the lender-of-last resort? They may have to act as contagion spreads to larger countries such as Italy. We started to see the first glimpse of that today.”

Mr Cailloux said the ECB should resort to its “nuclear option” of intervening directly in the markets to purchase government bonds.

This is prohibited in normal times under the EU Treaties but the bank can buy a wide range of assets under its “structural operations” mandate in times of systemic crisis, theoretically in unlimited quantities.

The issue of the ECB buying bonds is a political minefield. Any such action would inevitably be viewed in Germany as a form of printing money to bail out Club Med debtors, and the start of a slippery slope towards in an “inflation union”.

But the ECB may no longer have any choice. There is a growing view that nothing short of a monetary blitz — or “shock and awe” on the bonds markets — can halt the spiral under way.

China Losing Control of Economy

8 Apr

From Bloomberg:

Failure to rein in local government spending could push inflation to 15 percent by 2012, said Victor Shih, a political economist at Northwestern University who spent months tallying government borrowing.

“Increasingly the choice facing the government is between inflation or bad loans,” said Shih, author of the book “Finance and Factions in China,” who teaches political science at the university in Evanston, Illinois. “The only mechanism for controlling inflation in China is credit restriction, but if they use that, this show is over — a gigantic wave of bad loans will appear on banks’ balance sheets.”

Attempts to curb borrowing by raising interest rates would boost debt-servicing costs for local governments. At the same time, tightening credit may stall projects, triggering “a build-up of bad loans,” the Basel, Switzerland-based Bank for International Settlements said in a quarterly report in December.

Sun Mingchun, an economist with Nomura in Hong Kong, estimates local governments have proposed projects with a value of more than 20 trillion yuan since the stimulus package was announced in November 2008.

Should the boom end in a property-market collapse, even those stocks tied to the local government projects will be affected along with most other industries, said Shanghai-based independent economist Andy Xie, formerly Morgan Stanley’s chief Asia economist.

“Corporate profits are very much driven by the property sector,” said Xie. “The largest sectors will be hit hard, especially banks and insurance companies.”

A gauge of property stocks has fallen more than 6 percent this year after more than doubling in 2009 as the government takes steps to cool rising prices, including raising the deposit requirement to 20 percent of the minimum price of auctioned land. Property sales were equivalent to 13 percent of gross domestic product last year.

“Policy makers may need to start thinking about how to handle the aftermath of the bust,” said Nomura’s Sun.

Greek Debt Woes Rising

8 Apr

From the Associated Press:

European stock markets fell Wednesday amid mounting concerns about Greece’s debt crisis while U.S. shares drifted lower as the Dow Jones industrial average fell short of breaking above 11,000.

Once again, Greece took center stage as investors continued to fret about the country’s ability to pay off its debts — the ten-year spread between Greek and Germany bond yields stood at 4 percentage points, having earlier hit 4.12 percent, its highest level since the euro was introduced in 1999. The spread is also way up on the 3 percent level when the EU agreed on an aid program that would involve the International Monetary Fund.

“All of this puts a question mark over longer term debt sustainability as well as the threat of contagion elsewhere in the eurozone,” said Neil Mackinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital.

With fiscal retrenchment due in Greece, as well as Portugal and Spain, there are also mounting concerns that the debt crisis will weigh on eurozone economic growth for a long time yet, particularly as lower demand for German goods could squeeze the eurozone’s biggest economy.

“This does not look like a sensible strategy and will likely end up in economic slump for the eurozone generally alongside the risk of deflation,” said Mackinnon.

Worries about the strength of the eurozone economy were stoked further on Wednesday with the news that economic growth ground to a halt in the last three months of 2009 as output stagnated in Germany and contracted once again in Italy.

China Crisis ‘A Lot Worse Than People Expect’

6 Apr

Robert J. Brenner, economic historian and professor of history at the University of California, offers a grim forecast of the future for China in a series titled, “Overproduction Not Financial Collapse Is The Heart Of The Crisis: The US, East Asia, and the World”:

I think the Chinese crisis is going to be a lot worse than people expect, and this is for two main reasons. The first is that the American crisis, and the global crisis more generally, is much more serious than people expected, and in the last analysis, the fate of the Chinese economy is inextricably dependent on the fate of the U.S. economy, the global economy. This is not only because China has depended to such a great extent on exports to the U.S. market. It is also because most of the rest of the world is also so dependent on the U.S., and that especially includes Europe. If I’m not mistaken, Europe recently became China’s biggest export market. But, as the crisis originating in the U.S. brings down Europe, Europe’s market for Chinese goods will also contract. So the situation for China is much worse than what people expected, because the economic crisis is much worse than people expected. Secondly, in people’s enthusiasm for what has been China’s truly spectacular economic growth, they have ignored the role of bubbles in driving the Chinese economy. China has grown, basically by way of exports and, particularly, a growing trade surplus with the U.S. Because of this surplus, the Chinese government has had to take political steps to keep the Chinese currency down and Chinese manufacturing competitive.

Specifically, it has bought up U.S. dollar-denominated assets on a titanic scale by printing titanic amounts of the renminbi, the Chinese currency. But the result has been to inject huge amounts of money into the Chinese economy, making for ever easier credit over a long period. On the one hand, enterprises and local governments have used this easy credit to finance massive investment. But this has made for ever greater overcapacity. On the other hand, they have used the easy credit to buy land, houses, shares, and other sorts of financial assets. But this has made for massive asset price bubbles, which have played a part, as in the U.S., in allowing for more borrowing and spending. As the Chinese bubbles bust, the depth of the overcapacity will be made clear. As the Chinese bubbles bust, you will also have, as across much of the rest of the world, a huge hit to consumer demand and disruptive financial crisis So, the bottom line is that the Chinese crisis is very serious, and could make the global crisis much more severe.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,313 other followers

%d bloggers like this: