The Federal Reserve is trapped. Currently attempting to wind down their asset purchases, markets and currencies have already been rattled and almost all world indices are lower since the announcement. When the only reason the economy is not in a recession is due to boosted asset prices, it is awfully hard to keep this going when one of the largest asset buyers attempts to stop buying assets – a hard concept for many. Remember when they originally planned on selling their assets? Lol. Good times. All the talk a few years ago was focused on how or when they would sell all of these assets. That quickly was changed to – the Fed will hold them until maturity. Now they are holding all assets and the main dilemma is how to stop buying without causing global market volatility.
Inflation is the perfect scenario for the Fed. Hidden inflation. Attempting to create a scenario where there is 5-10% inflation, while government numbers report 1-3%. They need inflation to keep their balance sheet intact/remit profits to the treasury and for asset prices to not fall. Real income will diminish for most but this is their best solution. Obviously the risk is too much inflation. With too much inflation, investors may sell bonds forcing interest rates higher. Higher interest rates would eventually crush asset prices and increase cost of debt. Even if QE could heat up the economy – fast growth would be quickly cut off by rising interest rates – again, crushing demand for assets such as housing. Their game is working for now, the rich gain income quickly while the middle class stalls. These are merely artificial paper gains just like the housing bubble. If asset prices were to collapse our nation would experience the worst recession ever. Think about it. The rich are becoming richer from asset prices rising – the middle class has had their real income fall for 5 years in a row but has managed to stay afloat. In 2008, interest rates were able to be dropped from 5% to .25%.
The importance of this needs to be visualized in an example…
30 year mortgage for a house of 200,000 – If the interest rate was set at 5% for this house, the mortgage payment would be 1,073 dollars – Dropped to .25 – 577 dollars.
This time, they cannot drop rates – a.k.a, asset prices will plummet because they are unable to extend credit/increase demand like they have done for the past 30 years! If these paper gains are crushed by 20/30% (most likely more) what will happen to the real economy? It would be absolute chaos. This recovery has all been extended by cheap credit and the Fed boosting asset prices.
QE has diminishing returns, especially as asset prices rise. Winding down QE obviously diminishes the returns even more. With an economy single-handedly propped up by asset prices – there is only one thing the fed will be able to do (unless they actually want a recession) – that is to keep printing money. If they continue to taper, the market will stall and/or drop further and the economy will begin to contract. Yields on the 10yr go down when they taper QE – because the market understands the importance of QE and flocks to a “safe haven”.
Many consider deflation the biggest risk. We have mentioned how there are many scenarios for a collapse in assets – deflation. There must be an assumption made though. It is obvious deflation would occur if the Fed were to stop all purchases. The question is, what will the Fed do!? Since we believe deflation would cause the worst recession ever – although necessary – the Fed will have to react with massive amounts of QE. Most likely, they will need to use alternative measures because the middle class will not have any disposable income. Tax credits, extended benefits, government stimulus checks for incomes under 60k. Yes, we expect Obama to go full Orwellian (if he isn’t now) by the end of his term. It will be needed. It won’t work. More on this conspiracy in another article…
The Fed is on a road that slowly dissolves behind them as they move forward. Retreating can only last awhile before everything falls off a cliff.
As the next rounds of insane money printing begin – central bankers will continue to party at Basel – laughing and sharing fine wine as they reflect upon their genius work.
Soon this will come (Baby = World / Stew = Central Bankers)…..