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March 10, 2011

3 Months From Now, US Fed Will Stop Buying

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigcapital @ 5:43 pm
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3 Months from now, US Fed Will Stop Buying.

Thursday, March 10, 2011 — http://marketpin.blogspot.com

== US Fed bond buys to finish, greenback and global stocks on radar ==

Fed’s Fisher warns could vote to stop bond buying

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A senior U.S. Federal Reserve official warned on Monday that he would vote to scale back or stop the central bank’s $600 billion bond-buying program if it proves to be “demonstrably counterproductive.”

Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher, who has repeatedly said he would not support any more bond buying after the program ends in June, said he was doubtful the purchases were doing much good.

“I remain doubtful enough as to its efficacy that if at any time between now and June, it should prove demonstrably counterproductive, I will vote to curtail or perhaps discontinue it,” Fisher said in remarks prepared for delivery to an Institute of International Bankers’ conference in Washington.

“The liquidity tanks are full, if not brimming over. The Fed has done its job,” he said.

The Fed launched its bond buying program in November to help an economic recovery that was struggling with high unemployment after the worst recession since the 1930s.

But since then, the economy has shown signs of strengthening with the jobless rate falling to a nearly two-year low of 8.9 percent in February.

Fed officials are due to meet March 15 to discuss the bond purchase program. In January, Fisher voted with the rest of the central bank’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee to continue it.

In comments to the bankers’ conference, Fisher said he did not feel that further monetary accommodation would help put more Americans back to work.

“It might well retard job creation, should it give rise to inflationary expectations,” he said, adding that perhaps the Fed’s policy has compromised the central bank by implying it is “a pliant accomplice to Congress’ and the executive branch’s fiscal misfeasance.”

== How About U.S dollar ? ==

Stretching out Treasury purchases past the end of June while reducing the monthly amount would help bond dealers adjust to the Fed’s withdrawal from the market, said Lou Crandall, chief US economist at Wrightson ICAP in Jersey City, N.J

NEW YORK – The Federal Reserve’s $US600 billion bond purchase program will be completed as planned, top Fed officials signalled, though they saw heightened economic uncertainty from unrest in the Middle East.

US central bank officials from Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas said they were keeping an eye on the risk higher oil prices could feed through into broader inflation, as well as their potential to hurt growth.

Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said he would not rule out more bond buys if the recovery dwindles. Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said he would vote to end the program early if higher oil prices fed into broader inflation.

The program, announced in November to bolster a fragile economic recovery, is due to end in June. Since it began there have been signs the recovery is picking up steam.

Mr Lockhart, a policy centrist, said he was more concerned about the risk to growth from the oil price rise. He said he would be “very cautious” about increasing the size of the purchase program.

“Given the emergence of new risks, however, I prefer a posture of flexibility,” Mr Lockhart said.

He expected overall price pressures to remain subdued and warned it is too early to “declare a jobs recovery as firmly established”.

Mr Fisher, an inflation hawk, said he “fully expected” the $US600 billion program to “run its course.”

Mr Fisher told an international bankers’ conference he would vote to curtail or stop the program, however, if it proves to be “demonstrably counterproductive.”

The Fed meets on March 15 for its policy-setting meeting, at which it is expected to reaffirm its purchase plan. Fisher is a voter on monetary policy this year, Mr Lockhart is not.

In a CNBC interview, Chicago Fed Bank President Charles Evans said the Fed was closely watching rising oil prices, adding that they were “obviously” a headwind for growth.

Revolutions beginning in Tunisia and Egypt have spread to other countries in the region, including Libya and Bahrain. This has pushed the price of oil above $US100 a barrel, complicating the Fed’s objective of stimulating economic growth while keeping prices under control.

That said, Mr Evans pointed to the improving job market and said he expected economic growth of four per cent this year and next. He called the size of the purchase program “good”.

“I continue to think the hurdle is pretty high for altering our currently announced” program, Mr Evans, seen as a monetary policy dove and one of the most outspoken proponents for quantitative easing, said. Mr Evans does not have a vote on monetary policy this year.

Mr Fisher said the question will be whether the oil price rise is sustained.

“It is really a question of how that works its way through,” he said. “We have already seen very high gasoline prices. That’s one of the ways that it most affects the consumer.”

http://marketpin.blogspot.com

February 23, 2011

What happens when Quantitative Easing (QE2) ends in June?

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigcapital @ 1:12 am
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What happens when Quantitative Easing (QE2) ends in June?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 – http://marketpin.blogspot.com/

The Congress : “There is no need for us to support Quantitative Easing Part 3” confirmed by the Senate last week.

I remain surprised that in the business press there is little if any discussion about what will happen when Quantitative Easing II expires in June.

From a congressional standpoint, there has been discussion designed to force an early end to the program. Others have gone in the opposite direction mentioning a possible QE3.

In my view, the economy is slowly picking up. Deflation is less an issue, manufacturing activity is up, and consumers are spending a bit more. Corporate profits have exceeded expectations for Q4 2010.

On the downside, the housing market shows no signs of improving and might not have yet bottomed. Trouble in the middle East could disrupt oil shipments. China appears to be experiencing uncontrolled inflation and an asset bubble that is about to burst. Europe is experiencing continued sovereign debt issues. Some analysts believe that the UK is in stagflation. Commodity prices are increasing rapidly. Corporations have no pricing power. The US labor market will take years to repair. And finally, US Budget deficit is out of control!!!

This all points to a tenuous financial environment at the time of QE2 expiration. For 2011, YTD stock prices might be negative.

Any yet the business press seems quiet on this issue …

Read more: Count Down to Quantitative Easing Removal ends in June.

For 2011, YTD stock prices might be negative.

Which would be unlike the quantitative easing that the CABAL (Fed) have been subjecting our economy to… The CABAL chairman told us when he implemented QE1 and Q2, that it was for the good of the economy, to spur economic growth, job creation, and keep interest rates down… Well… That’s strike one, two and three… Go grab some bench, Mr. CABAL Chairman! And that’s all I can say about that right here, right now, as this is the kinder

Since the CABAL introduced quantitative easing in March of 2009, inflation has taken off, just as I told you back almost two years ago that it would… No, we’re not seeing wage inflation, or housing inflation… But get a load of these things that have increased phenomenally since March 2009.

The average price of gas is up 69%… The price of oil is up 135%… Corn is up 78%… Sugar is up 164%… And I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Now, on the other side of the employment that was supposed to improve with QE, the number of unemployed people is up 25%… The number of food stamps recipients is up 35%… The national debt is up 32%… And then the last thing they told us would improve or remain steady was interest rates… Hmmm… Well, the 10-year Treasury is up 100 basis points in the past three months alone! Sorry to be the one that had to tell you these things, but if you only watched cable media, you wouldn’t know about these things, and when the Conference Board called to survey you about how confident you were about the economy, you would be singing the praises of the CABAL for all they had done for you!

December 30, 2010

The Federal Want To Pressure Down U.S Dollar Worldwide

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigcapital @ 9:23 am
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The Federal Want To Pressure Down U.S Dollar Worldwide

There is a saying in the investment business, “don’t fight the Fed.”

Fed Swap Lines Purposely Keeping Dollar Weak

Central banks provided two pieces of market supportive news in the past 48 hours.

China announced its intent to buy Portuguese bonds, and the Federal Reserve extended its “swap lines” deep into 2011:

# China Ready to Buy Up to $6.6B in Portugal Debt (Reuters : http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6BL0Y220101222 )

# Fed Extends USD Swaps With Major Central Banks (Reuters : http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6BK3PS20101221 )

Via Reuters, the swap lines, at first set to expire next month, will now run til August 1st.

The lines were first opened to the ECB and SNB — the European and Swiss central banks respectively — and were later expanded to multiple additional central banks, including those of Sweden, Mexico and Brazil.

The August extension applies to the Fed’s counterparts in Europe, Japan, Canada, England and Switzerland.

So why is the Fed doing this? Straight from the horse’s mouth (official Fed statement):

“[The swap lines] are designed to improve liquidity conditions in global money markets and to minimize the risk that strains abroad could spread to U.S. markets.”

That’s the official justification. A between the lines reading is slightly more self serving: The Fed wants to keep the dollar weak — or otherwise keep it from rising too much.

As you can see, from 2002 onward the $USD had been declining — a trend perceived as good for everyone. As Americans gorged on “stuff,” the vendor finance arrangements put in place by China and Middle East oil exporters allowed the party to continue unabated.

Long term interest rates were kept low via the recycling of $USD back into treasury bonds, in turn keeping mortgage rates low and perpetuating the housing bubble. Meanwhile many emerging markets enjoyed rapid growth — courtesy of a binging U.S. consumer — as the leverage and credit boom radiated outward.

But then, as things fell apart in 2008, the $USD saw a dramatic surge. A wave of panic swept the globe as the supernova debt boom collapsed. Trillions of dollars in credit flows evaporated, and American investors effectively “short” dollars (via overseas investments and ‘carry trade” type arrangements) had to cover with a vengeance.

As the chart shows, the $USD saw another upward surge in early 2010, first on China fears, and then eurozone sovereign debt fears as the Greek situation ignited. (This is when the Economist’s Acropolis Now cover was published — a keepsake to be sure.)

So, as you can guess, one of the many fears keeping Ben Bernanke awake at night is the possibility of a surging $USD.

Not only is the dollar a “risk-off” fulcrum, balanced against “risk on” for all other paper asset classes, a rising buck is also a political headache for the Obama White House and other American interests seeking a U.S. export revival.

So, back to those swap lines. Why and how would they be an attempt to keep the dollar down?

Well, first consider what a swap line actually is. From the Federal Reserve website:

In general, these swaps involve two transactions. When a foreign central bank draws on its swap line with the Federal Reserve, the foreign central bank sells a specified amount of its currency to the Federal Reserve in exchange for dollars at the prevailing market exchange rate. The Federal Reserve holds the foreign currency in an account at the foreign central bank. The dollars that the Federal Reserve provides are deposited in an account that the foreign central bank maintains at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. At the same time, the Federal Reserve and the foreign central bank enter into a binding agreement for a second transaction that obligates the foreign central bank to buy back its currency on a specified future date at the same exchange rate. The second transaction unwinds the first. At the conclusion of the second transaction, the foreign central bank pays interest, at a market-based rate, to the Federal Reserve. Dollar liquidity swaps have maturities ranging from overnight to three months.

In layman’s terms, we can think of a swap line as a standing guarantee of U.S. dollar liquidity. If you (as a central banker) ever need greenbacks in a pinch, you know you’ll be able to procure them instantly, no matter how “tight” the open market may be.

This standing guarantee reduces the odds of another violent $USD spike of the type we saw in late 2008. In a way, one can think of it as “short squeeze insurance.”

The many players around the world who are “short” U.S. dollars — by way of lending arrangements denominated in dollars and so on — have spiking dollar risk implicit in their positioning.

What the Fed has essentially said to these players is, “It’s okay for you to keep borrowing in dollars, because in the event of a new liquidity crisis we will create accessible dollars for you (via the channel of your local CB).”

Consider, too, the conditions under which all these central banks would be pushed to draw on their $USD swap lines at the same time.

By definition, these would be crisis conditions in which availability of $USD was scarce relative to near-term surging demand.

In such conditions, the Federal Reserve would have to create more dollars to meet existing outsized demand (as crisis-driven preferences for holding $USD, or covering short $USD obligations, would create a shortage).

So the liquidity promise is also a sort of printing-press promise: In the event of another crisis, the Fed will be on its toes and ready to “print” however much fresh $USD the world needs.

The really neat trick is, simply in making this promise, the Federal Reserve can achieve its aim of keeping the $USD down. This effect is produced even without the Fed doing anything.

How? Simple:

* The Fed has promised $USD liquidity will be there “if needed.”
* This promise can be “taken to the bank” — literally.
* Commercial institutions can thus rest easier with short-dollar liabilities.
* To wit, whether one is a bank, a commercial operator or a speculator, it’s very tempting to borrow in $USD these days — to leverage the greenback via some form of debt arrangement and participate in the “carry trade.”

But this move could also be considered risky due to the possibility of carry trade reversal and crisis-driven supply/demand crunch … and so, with the extension of the Fed swap lines, Uncle Ben has stepped up and said “Hey, no problem, carry trade away — we’ll be there in a tight spot (via printing press) to provide liquidity for you.”

And so the dollar stays suppressed, and everyone stays happy (apart from those pesky “non-core” inflation watchers, and anyone else feeling a cost of living crunch).

November 19, 2010

Bernanke Fires Back At Criticism About Fed Easy Money Policies

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigcapital @ 1:01 pm
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Bernanke Fires Back At Criticism About Fed Easy Money Policies

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke fired back at criticism from home and abroad that his easy money policies are designed to cheapen the U.S. dollar, arguing China and other emerging economies are causing problems for themselves and the rest of the world by preventing their currencies from strengthening as their economies grow.

By keeping their currencies artificially low, Bernanke argued in remarks prepared for delivery in Frankfurt Friday, China and some other emerging markets are allowing their economies to overheat and are producing what he called “a two-speed…recovery” that isn’t sustainable. Their “strategy of currency undervaluation,” he warned, had “important drawbacks” for them and the world economy.

Bernanke has come under attack for deciding to buy $600 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds in an effort to drive down long-term interest rates. Critics in the U.S say it could cause inflation. Those abroad say the flood of dollars that the Fed is effectively printing to finance the purchases is causing investors to pour money into overseas economies and could cause asset bubbles. Some have accused the Fed of trying to weaken the dollar to spur U.S. exports.

Bernanke countered that argument, saying the Fed’s policies are aimed at strengthening the U.S. economy, which in turn should benefit the U.S. dollar.

The Fed chief underlined that the U.S. dollar’s status as a safe haven during times of financial market turmoil, such as Europe’s debt crisis earlier this year, stems from the underlying strength and stability the U.S. economy has shown over the years. The fact that when global investors get nervous, they prefer the U.S. dollar to any other currency is a good thing which the U.S. wants to maintain, Bernanke signaled.

“Fully aware of the important role that the dollar plays in the international monetary and financial system, the (Fed) believes that the best way to continue to deliver the strong economic fundamentals that underpin the value of the dollar, as well as to support the global recovery, is through policies that lead to a resumption of robust growth in a context of price stability in the United States.”

Bernanke effectively acknowledged the U.S. currency does need to weaken against currencies in emerging markets because their economies are growing so much faster than economies in the developed world.

“The exchange rate adjustment is incomplete, in part, because the authorities in some emerging market economies have intervened in foreign exchange markets to prevent or slow the appreciation of their currencies,” the former Princeton professor said.

Though scholarly in tone, the Fed chairman’s message was unusually blunt in laying blame for inflationary pressures in emerging markets and tensions over currencies on countries like China.

“Why have officials in many emerging markets leaned against appreciation of their currencies toward levels more consistent with market fundamentals?” he asked. Mainly because they believe that will spur exports and boost growth, he said, but that strategy is threatening global growth.

Central banks in many countries intervene in currency markets to manage exchange rates. As dollars flood into their economies from exports, the central banks hold on to the dollars and use them to purchase assets like U.S. Treasury bonds rather than converting them into back into their domestic currencies, which would make those currencies rise in value. Bernanke noted that by selling so much yuan in exchange for dollars to keep the yuan low, China has accumulated a massive $2.6 trillion stock of U.S. dollars assets.

Countries like China that keep their currencies undervalued could face important costs at home, including a reduced ability to use monetary policies to stabilize their economies and the risks associated with excessive or volatile capital inflows. Some economists fear inflation could take off in China’s over-heating economy, or a property bubble may be developing.

Bernanke also tried to respond to domestic critics of the Fed’s recent move, laying out a case that unemployment could keep rising without action by the central bank and that inflation was too low and could fall further.

Though critics say inflation could soar because of the Fed’s actions, Bernanke said he was committed to keeping inflation at around 2%. It is now around 1%, by the Fed’s preferred measures, which strip out food and energy prices.

“On its current economic trajectory the United States runs the risk of seeing millions of workers unemployed or underemployed for years,” Bernanke warned. “As a society, we should find that outcome unacceptable.”

Bernanke got one voice of support from an important internal skeptic Thursday. Narayana Kocherlakota, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, said in comments in Chicago, that he supported the Fed’s easing program. He had expressed some skepticism about its need and effectiveness in the past, but described the program Thursday as “a move in the right direct” though he added he didn’t think it was a cure-all for the U.S. economy, a point that Bernanke echoed in his Frankfurt comments.

(END) Newswires

November 18, 2010 21:00 ET (02:00 GMT)

A web front page of today’s most important business and market news, analysis and commentary

November 12, 2010

Fed to buy $105B worth of bonds in first phase

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigcapital @ 8:52 am
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Fed to buy $105B worth of bonds in first phase

The euro was little changed against other major currencies. At present, the euro is worth 1.3771 against US Dollar

WASHINGTON (AP) -Thursday, November 11, 2010- The Federal Reserve will buy a total of $105 billion worth of government bonds starting later this week as it launches a new program to invigorate the economy.

The bonds will be purchased through a series of 18 operations that start on Friday and end on Dec. 9, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Wednesday. The purchases are the first since the Fed announced last week that it will buy a total of $600 billion worth of Treasury bonds over the next eight months.

The Fed will buy $75 billion of government debt as part of the new program. And, it will buy another $30 billion, using the proceeds from its vast mortgage portfolio.

That totals $105 billion for the first phase of the Fed’s government bond buying. The Fed last week said it anticipates buying on average $110 billion a month.

The Fed’s announcement on Wednesday helped boost stocks and bond prices.

— The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 10.29 points to 11,357.04.

The euro was last at $1.3771 , little changed from late Wednesday in New York

— Treasurys moved higher after the auction of $16 billion in 30-year bonds and after the Fed laid out its bond-buying schedule.

In late afternoon trading, the 10-year note was up 37.5 cents on the day. The slight gain lowered the yield to 2.65 percent from 2.66 percent late Tuesday as bond prices and yields move in opposite directions. The yield on the 2-year note inched lower, from 0.45 percent to 0.43 percent. The 30-year bond traded at 4.25 percent, compared with 4.24 percent late Tuesday.

Through the bond purchases, the Fed intends to push rates even lower on mortgages, corporate debt and other loans. Mortgage rates have sunk to their lowest levels in decades just in anticipation of the Fed’s action.

The goal: Cheaper borrowing costs will lure Americans to boost spending. Lower corporate bond rates will spur business investment. Higher stock prices will boost households’ wealth, which was clobbered by the recession. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said such a chain of events would produce a “virtuous cycle, which will further support economic expansion.” Faster economic growth in turn would prompt companies to boost hiring.

However, some Fed officials and economists don’t think the program will do much to rev up the economy and lower unemployment, which has been stuck at 9.6 percent.

And, there’s fears inside and outside the Fed that the program could lead to new problems: runaway inflation and inflated prices for commodities, bonds or stocks, creating new speculative bubbles. Gold prices have jumped. Some investors see the precious metal as a hedge against inflation.

The Fed’s program also has struck a nerve overseas. China and other countries have complained that the Fed’s bond-buying program could hurt them. Because the Fed’s program could weaken the U.S. dollar further, that makes other countries’ currencies more expensive, cutting into their exports, and fueling inflation.

Dubai Loves Bernanke’s Latest Quantitative Easing

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigcapital @ 8:46 am
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Dubai Loves Bernanke’s Latest Quantitative Easing

 

 

So now we know the Fed’s plans. It will be pumping $600 billion more into the US economy through investing in  medium-term US government bonds.

 

The Gulf is licking its chops. Here’s a quote from the article below (from the Gulf News) … “The new surge in liquidity with international banks and fund managers is expected to result in increased demand for bond issues from the region. This [quantitative easing] should have most positive impact on Dubai.”

 

Sure, let US dollars flow into Dubai and lift asset prices. Let it flow into other emerging markets so the big-moneyed investors can make out. Now, remind me, how does that exactly benefit us? While the sheiks rejoice, we fall deeper into debt. From the Gulf News…

 

Quantitative easing is a way of pumping money into the economy by central banks to encourage banks to lend. The US Federal Reserve is expected to announce a new round of monetary easing later today.

 

In the context of the weak private sector credit growth in the UAE and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region analysts say the new liquidity boost from quantitative easing will increase access to international funding.

 

“While a common theme has been a continued disappointment in private sector credit growth, particularly in the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, an important thread going forward seems to be potential increased access to external funding,” said Turker Hamzaoglu, an economist with Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

 

The new surge in liquidity with international banks and fund managers is expected to result in increased demand for bond issues from the region. “This [quantitative easing] should have most positive impact on Dubai. However, as the demand for MENA credit is not growing as fast as the global peers, the issuance supply should become a major driver of performance in the region,” said Hamzaoglu.

 

Investment bankers and fund managers say Gulf entities have nearly $100 billion (Dh367 billion) in debts maturing over the next 18 to 24 months. This is a clear window of opportunity to refinance the short maturity debts with long term funding.

 

“The fresh dose of liquidity in the market is going to breathe life into the demand side of the Gulf fixed income market. We are likely to see more issuance from the region,” said Nadi Bargouti, managing director of Shuaa Asset management.

 

Analysts say the Fed’s new round of QE is likely to support the GCC recovery, even to a much lesser extent than the rest of the emerging markets through five channels, namely a weaker dollar; lower interest rates; higher commodity prices; higher asset prices and access to cheap and abundant capital.

 

The global backdrop for the MENA markets has largely turned positive lately with the weaker dollar, falling short-term real interest rates, higher oil prices, improved risk appetite and cheaper and more abundant external funding.

 

Let me be clear: All quantitative easing does is increase our debt. Bernanke is hoping (against hope, I suspect) that somehow it will spark growth. That’s not good enough. We’re going deeper into debt over a monetary remedy which has a 2% chance of succeeding.

October 12, 2010

Keeping His Promise, Bernanke Says Fed “Will Do All That It Can” To Boost Economy

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigcapital @ 3:43 pm
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Keeping His Promise, Bernanke Says Fed “Will Do All That It Can” To Boost Economy

The U.S. economy “remains vulnerable to unexpected developments” and growth is “less vigorous than we expected,” Ben Bernanke said Friday at the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole confab.

As a result, the Fed “will do all that it can” to support the economy, he said, including “provide additional monetary accommodation through unconventional measures if its proves necessary.”

At the top of Bernanke’s ‘tool box’ are “additional purchases of longer-term securities,” including Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities.

In sum, Bernanke defended the Fed’s Aug. 10 decision to start buying Treasuries again and pledged to do more, if necessary, to boost the economy.

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