Tag Archives: ZIRP

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.

Junk Bonds Record in ‘Goldilocks’ Market

29 Mar

From Bloomberg:

Junk bond sales reached a record this month as rising profits and record low Federal Reserve interest rates foster lending and investment to the lowest-rated borrowers.

Companies worldwide issued $38.3 billion of junk bonds this month, passing the previous high of $36 billion in November 2006, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Yields fell 0.95 percentage point this month to within 5.96 percentage points of government debt, the narrowest gap since January 2008, Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data show.

This is “an almost ‘Goldilocks’ environment for leveraged credit markets,” JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts led by Peter Acciavatti, the top-ranked high-yield strategist in Institutional Investor magazine’s annual survey for the past seven years, said in a March 26 report to the bank’s clients.

This is very bad news.

There has been growing concern around the world that the sales of junk bonds prior to the GFC will lead to a junk bond apocalypse in 2012:

“An avalanche is brewing in 2012 and beyond if companies don’t get out in front of this,” said Kevin Cassidy, a senior credit officer at Moody’s.

Private equity firms and many nonfinancial companies were able to borrow on easy terms until the credit crisis hit in 2007, but not until 2012 does the long-delayed reckoning begin for a series of leveraged buyouts and other deals that preceded the crisis.

Now, the ongoing Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) in the USA, and near zero interest rates in Japan and many other developed nations, has led to a new record in the sales of those same high risk ‘junk bonds’.

In other words, central banks and governments around the world are adding more fuel to the fire.

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