FEAR TRUMPS GREED
When it comes to the economy, what matters most is the availability of money and the level of CONFIDENCE that lenders have in being repaid and not the rates or purported Interest Rate stance of the FED. For almost three years, the yield spread between Junk and Treasuries had dropped from a high of 15% in the 80’s to under 3% signaling an almost complete lack of fear. SUDDENLY the Bear Stearn’s Hedge Funds opened everyone’s eyes to the realization that the “Emperor had no clothes.” The FEAR GENIE was now out of the bottle as Risk was re-priced virtually overnight and the world woke up to history’s biggest liquidity crisis as FEAR trumped Greed. Cutting, instead of raising rates by 50 basis points, has only served to reinforce the FEAR factor and accomplished the exact opposite of what the FED was trying to do. Even AAA rated borrowers now require an absolute minimum of 20% CASH down to get a higher priced mortgage regardless of what the FED states the Interest Rates should be. And the world’s central banks have had to pump over a $Trillion into the banking system in order to avoid a complete financial system melt down.
The short term mistaken euphoria of the rate cuts will NOT last as FEAR always trumps Greed, and like it or not RISK has now come front and center to the decision making process.
TIME LAGS: Nobody seems to realize that there are always time lags whenever there are any changes in FED or Government fiscal policy, whether they be taxes, money supply or high oil prices or ??? . It takes time for the Free Market to send its signals through to every participant and it then takes time to adjust to the new information. The estimated average time lag between changes in the Fed Funds policies and the growth momentum of industrial production is on average 18 to 36 months. Hence, at the same time as the FED’S attempted tighter stance (beginning June 2004), the effect of the previous and continuing loose money stance was still in force and continuing its influence for the following 30 months. So, in spite of their regular ¼ % increases, the yearly rate of growth of industrial production stayed strong into the 3rd quarter of 2007. However the strong economic activity made possible by its loose money policy had made the FED Funds Rate targets unsustainable—so the Fed had to continue to increase the money supply to prevent the Fed Funds Rate from overshooting its stated targets. This monetary pumping has thus far prevented the growth momentum of the economy from slowing, also preventing any meaningful increase in long-term Interest Rates.
INFLATION: According to Milton Friedman, inflation is at all times a monetary phenomenon. If you keep printing money (beginning in 1994) at a rate that is 10% + a year above the economy’s real rate of growth, inflation must eventually ensue by definition and it has. It first showed up in the Stock Market, then found its way into the Bond Market and eventually into Real Estate. Now that the world economy is awash in Fiat cash, it’s also found its way into commodities, including food stuffs, private takeovers, corporate buyouts and finally into salaries. Now with nothing much left to inflate, the money will finally find its way into the CPI. Witness the price explosion of Gold and Silver: Even though the government has thus far managed to convince everyone (through their ingenious manipulation of the CPI) that there was and is no inflation, Nevertheless, inflation has already begun to rear its ugly head and it won’t be much longer before we see just how high inflation really is.
I had hoped that Bernanke would have realized that he had no other choice but to push Interest Rates higher, even if it’s in the face of the economy’s growth momentum starting to trend down: In order to try and head off an explosion in inflation and avoid the inevitable Depression that always follows inflation. Like it or not and despite what Wall Street and the politicians want, he knows that the economy cannot continue growing above trend (1 ½ - 2 ½ %) for any sizeable length of time without going into rampant inflation. He realizes that both the USA’s and the world’s economies are now more out of balance and are in a bigger bubble mode than 1929 or at any other time in world history. He realizes (at least I had hoped he did) that our only HOPE is to engineer a CONTROLLED RECESSION. Hopefully it would only be a mild one, so as to avoid a combined Stock, Bond, Real Estate, Hedge Fund and Private Take-over CRASH, which would then lead to a world wide depression. However, I forgot that he is first and foremost a political animal (otherwise he would not have received his appointment).
I had hoped that he realized that cutting Interest Rates now, especially in the face of tightening lending standards, would not only do nothing to save the Real Estate Market, but could actually bring on the depression by causing the US Dollar to tank. A crashing dollar would set the world’s financial system on it ear; the results of which would be devastating. He knows full well that the lag effect of the last 30 months of Interest Rate policies will eventually end up setting in motion a depressing effect on economic activity which has more than likely, already begun to take effect. I had hoped that the FED, because of the lag effect, would NOT (as they always have in the past), take the political easy road and cut rates, exacerbating the problem that they themselves have fermented.
In the meantime, the lag effect of the higher Interest Rate policies since June 2004 in conjunction with the recent rapid increase in fear has found its way into rising real (as opposed to advertised) rates which will, once the euphoria of the recent rate cut is over, undermine the Stock, Bond and Real Estate markets that sprang up on the back of Greenspan’s ultra loose monetary policy. Without this last cut I had hoped that the much needed controlled economic slowdown instead of a Bust, would have been set in motion, giving the economy a chance to self-correct its huge imbalances.
realized full well that the bigger the boom the bigger the inevitable bust. His
main objective was to push the time of the inevitable crash into the next
Chairman’s term and thus preserve his legacy. To give him his due, he was also
trying to raise Interest Rates high enough before a recession and Bernanke finally took over so that the FED would then have
some ammunition to hopefully slow down the crash and keep it to only a
Recession. However, when “IT” finally arrives, it will at first be similar to
2001, too little and too late. In 2001,
we were sitting on projected massive budget surpluses and a unified government
so Bush was able to get massive tax cuts passed and succeeded in stopping the
recession in its tracks. But this time around, the
I was praying that Bernanke was not only smart but lucky as well, but more importantly, that he had the GUTS to do what was right because he is our only chance to prevent a major financial catastrophe. I am sad to say that it now looks like I was wrong about him.
GOLD and SILVER
The Gold and Silver Bugs, after serving a 20+ year prison sentence in Bear Market Prison, have been finally set free: But they are still talking about fundamentals. They have always been right about the shortages of new supply vs. demand, but that didn’t stop the Bear Market. For the past few years, the supply demand imbalances have become so acute that we are now in a world wide Bull Market for all commodities and not just for Gold and Silver. However, that is not where an exploding Bull Market in Gold and Silver comes from. In order to get a 1978-1980 type explosion in Gold and Silver (including their stocks) prices, you require the combined emotions of both GREED & FEAR. So far, we have only been experiencing the beginnings of the Greed phase. I know this is a fact because even the biggest and best of the Gold Bugs have been calling for periodic corrections. When FEAR combines with full blown Greed, there is no longer any more talk of correction as prices begin to jump 5% to 10% in one day and people line up to buy bullion as signs pop up everywhere, “WE buy and sell gold”. That final stage only begins as the FEAR of a collapsing currency embroils men’s guts. Once both fear and greed take over the market and the short squeezes begin in earnest, there is no way of predicting how high the high. $2200 Gold and $100 Silver seems to me to be the barest minimum targets, maybe $5000 or even $10,000 could be in the cards, Your guess is as good as mine. I realize that many of you may think I’m crazy, but when you yourself start thinking that these numbers might actually be too low, then and only then, will we be firmly in the clutches of the blind Greed and Fear phase that will mark the beginning of the final top.
Who are these people that will end up buying at the top? Why they are the same ones that got in near the lows but sold out at the highs for what will turn out to be relatively small profits and were waiting for that one last pull back that never came (it came, it was 36% but it only lasted two weeks) to get back in. Be careful and make sure that I am not describing YOU. Remember The GOLDEN Bull will always do whatever it has to do to make the majority of the people fall off.
WOULDA, SHOULDA, COULDA
We are now firmly into the next up stage (most likely to be its strongest) and that last correction in Gold and Silver that everyone was waiting to catch has come and gone without anybody noticing. (Go back and re-read my RIDING THE GOLDEN BULL articles). We have completed the corrective Wave 2 and have entered the explosive Wave 3. So now that its here, how many of you are actually buying and/or are fully invested? You are about to learn what a real Bull Market in Gold looks like when this market finally explodes and starts to go up so fast you won’t have a chance to get back in.
Just in case you haven’t noticed, the final HOOK in the Stock Market that I have been warning you about is in the process of completing its top. Perhaps it will take one more rate cut and a breakout to a new all time high to set that final HOOK that sets the biggest BULL TRAP in history.
WHAT TO DO NOW?
Liquidate all your short term debt. Build up your cash position by selling most of your stock and long term bonds into any further rally. Buy Gold and Silver NOW. Use your buying power if you have no cash to increase your gold and silver stock positions. But whatever you do, get back in now or you will be sucked back in right near the eventual top.
GOLD & SILVER STOCKS
You should have noticed by now that every new BULL MOVE is always led by the big name quality Stocks and Bull Markes are never over until the cats and dogs have their day.
GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS
AUBIE BALTIN CFA. CTA. CFP. PhD.
The above information has been gleaned from information that I believe to be reliable but is not guaranteed by me. The information provided is strictly for educational purposes only and is not meant to be used as investment advice .