I wish I could borrow big city housing the way you can borrow stocks - I would be shorting the heck out of Chicago and NYC properties right now: "what's that? you have a $500k bid? I got one to sell there and two more to go at the price if you want them" - Dave in DenverIt seems that the market status quo after Bernanke's testimony today is that QE is still on hold. For instance, the purveyor of forexlive.com had this to say: "that he’s a lot more relaxed about both the recent US data and Europe than the market thought he would be."
Hmmm, really? I'd love to play poker at the same table with him...In fact, if you step outside of short-sighted, narrow U.S. perspective, the Finnish Prime Minister, after a being on a conference call with Geithner and Bernanke, had this to say:
“They were very worried about what was going on,” Katainen said in a Bloomberg News telephone interview yesterday. Katainen said he discussed with Geithner and Bernanke the options for recapitalizing banks in trouble. LINKThat was buried on Bloomberg this morning and I had to search google to easily dig up the link. That's a quite different tenor than is being conveyed by the media after losing a hand of poker to Bernanke. Moreover, the S&P 500 is still up over .75% after the Bernanke's b.s. Someone explain to me please why gold and silver have been hammered 2.5% during Bernanke's circus and yet the stock market is flying. We can't have it both ways. Please note, my inquiry is purely rhetorical. If you don't understand why the stock market is up - reflecting QE on - and gold is down - reflecting QE off - please visit http://www.gata.org/ and sift through the archives.
This brings to me my topic on looking for QE signals. To preface, as a good friend of mine pointed out this morning, Bernanke has to be careful about employing more QE, otherwise he'll be accused of supporting the re-election of Obama. This is why Mr. Katainen's comment is so crucial. Bernanke and Geithner aren't worried about the U.S. economy per se, they are worried about the U.S. banks and the exposure to European banks via those off-balance-sheet transactions also known as OTC derivatives. You know, the ones that led to JP Morgan's
My view has been that more QE will first start with some sort of disguised version of it, like a much bigger dollar/euro Central Bank swap program plus more Operation Twist. Interestingly, and drawing on a great post on FT/Alphaville from yesterday, a signal from hedge funds not being reported on in this country was reported by FT: LINK You'll note in the link that the chart shows hedge funds loading up on long bond futures. This investing stance is based on the unequivocal expectation that the Fed will expand Operation Twist to include the longest part of the Treasury curve. So far Twist has entailed the Fed selling short term paper and buying in the 7-10 yr area. But since the Fed is running out of short paper, I would anticipate that it might sell 2-3yr paper and buy even longer duration paper. Again, this is veiled version of QE, because when the bond market collapses, which it eventually will, the value of the Fed's long duration Treasury holdings will plummet in value, leaving the Treasury/taxpayer with the tab.
Finally, for all those suckers at Bernanke's poker table in the U.S. media, I wanted to highlight this commentary from the FT post regarding the Fed's stance on more QE in 2011, right before more QE was rolled out:
But the situation is reminiscent of last August. All signals before that meeting were for policy to stay unchanged, not least because inflation was higher than it had been in 2010, the last time the Fed acted, and it was rising rather than falling.In fact, I can recall in the summer of 2008 - I believe at this same Joint testimony session - that Bernanke said in response to one of the questions that the Fed was prepared to get "creative" with monetary policy if necessary. I don't have the source of the quote, but I know recently that Bernanke said that the Fed has a lot of options on the table with respect to monetary policy.
In the last ten days leading up to that August FOMC, however, came the debt ceiling debacle, an S&P downgrade of US debt, and full scale market panic about growth. In the end, that meeting produced the Fed’s forecast of low rates “at least through mid-2013”. The next Fed meeting will conclude on 20th June, three days after Greece holds fresh elections, and the potential for similar market turmoil is considerable.
Again, my point is that you can't go by Bernanke's prepared, highly massaged statement. His statement did what it was intended to do which was to trigger a sell avalanche in the paper gold/silver Comex pits. Instead, look at the signals below the smoke being blown and use today's market action as a gifted opportunity to buy more gold and silver before they really take off. I know the Chinese, Indians and Russians will: LINK
One last question: why is the dollar down today if QE is off the table? With China cutting rates overnight, the dollar should have been flying today...