The Bernank Giveth
Well, there you have it. The Fed gave us The Full Monty. Beginning in January, The Fed will provide $85B/month in "unsterilized liquidity". For prespective, QE2 was about $70B/month of unsterilzed money printing for a total of eight months and $600B. This latest incarnation of Quantitative Easing represents 20% more QE/month and it's open-ended! New and improved with even more, freshly-printed greenback! What a deal!!
Here are the headlines, from ZH:
*FED BOOSTS QE WITH $45 BILLION IN MONTHLY TREASURY PURCHASES
*FED TO KEEP BUYING MORTGAGE BONDS AT PACE OF $40 BLN PER MONTH
*FED SAYS MONTHLY PURCHASES TO TOTAL $85 BLN
*FED ADOPTS ECONOMIC THRESHOLDS FOR POLICY TIGHTENING
*FED: RATES TO STAY EXCEPTIONALLY LOW WITH JOBLESS ABOVE 6.5%
*FED: RATES TO STAY LOW WITH INFLATION SEEN AT 2.5% OR LESS
As I type, the metals are rallying but not to the degree that many of us would have expected. Gold is $1722 and silver is $33.70. What gives? The answer is in the details and I suspect it will all be cleared up in The Bernank press conference at the top of the hour.
The one, major, heretofore unseen detail is this: The "exceptionally low" Fed Funds rate is now stated to stay low until two economic conditions are met:
- Unemployment must tick down under 6.5%. (Not happening anytime soon.)
- The CPI exceeds 2.5%. (Also not happening anytime soon as the CPI is about to reconfigured, again, in order to slow the COLAs for Social Security.)
These new conditions have confused the metals markets and slowed the buying. Some are seemingly reluctant to charge into the metals if QE is going to end in April. AHHHH, BUT THAT'S THE RUB!!! If I'm reading this right (and LIESman has said the same), the economic conditions only apply to the Fed Funds rate. They do not apply to QE∞! QE is truly open-ended, potentially to infinity. Expect this to be cleared up during The Bernank's press conference and look for the metals to rally this afternoon.
And again, why is QE∞ open-ended and without conditions?? Because QE∞ is not about economic growth! Oh sure, if it promotes a little growth, The Bernank will take it but QE is about funding the deficit spending of the U.S. and keeping rates low. Period. End of story. And until/unless enough buyers materialize to fully fund the Treasury at auction, The Fed is going to have to continue picking up the slack. Got it? Read this again if you still need help: http://www.tfmetalsreport.com/blog/4202/brass-tacks
Therefore, expect the rallies in the metals to begin in earnest this afternoon or tonight/tomorrow. For perspective, in early November of 2010 the Fed announced the fixed program of QE2, mentioned above at $70B/month for the eight months of November 2010 through June 2011. On 11/5/2010, gold closed at $1397. It then traded as high as $1577 in late April and went on to $1920 in August of 2011.
Silver, as we all recall, was even more dynamic. On 11/5/2010, it closed at $26.75. It ultimately traded to $49 by late April before all that followed. Regardless, it was still trading at $36 when QE2 ended in late June 2011.
For 2013, we must expect more of the same. Not only is QE rolling again but it's for 20% more cash! I am 100% confident that the metals will rally hard in 2013. Why wouldn't they?? The same monetary conditions as 2011 will exist and, this time, the physical metal supply constraints are even tighter as central banks, sovereign and hedge funds, wealthy individuals and even regular blokes like you and I are more keenly aware of the situation and rushing to exchange rapidly-degrading fiat for hard assets.
Please buy more metal today. Now is the time. You can be supremely confident that the fiat-conversion price is only going to be rising in the weeks and months ahead. The madness of the central bankers got more desperate today and physical metal is your only financial protection against them. Buy some more today.
3:05 pm EST UPDATE:
OK, so now we know why the metals aren't rallying sharply. There are conditions for continued QE and they are similar to the Fed Funds conditions.
However, I watched the press conference and personally listened to what The Bernank said. He clearly stated this:
The conditions for curtailing QE and raising the Fed Funds rate are only being offered for the purpose of transparency. There is no change to the actual forecast of "extraordinarily low rates through mid-2015". No change at all. The Fed does not expect a sub 6.5% unemployment rate OR a greater than 2.5% inflation rate through mid-2015 and, therefore, low rates and $85B/month in QE can be expected to continue until then.
YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THIS. The metals are trading this afternoon as if QE will only last through April. This is nonsense and that is NOT what The Fed is saying. The Bernank even went so far as to say that even if the unemployment rate fell to 6.5%, that would not mean a curtailment of QE. They'd still be looking at the labor force participation rate and other factors. He called this ongoing assessment "subjective".
And, again, this is all BS anyway! Economic conditions are only a secondary reason for QE. The primary reason the Fed is compelled to print over $1T in 2013 is deficit funding!! Without The Fed and the PDs buying $1T in treasuries next year, rates would skyrocket to the place where natural, organic buyers would materialize. Given the current state of affairs, at what rate would that be? 8%? 10%? 15%? NO WAY that can be allowed so The Fed is forced to fund almost all of the U.S. federal deficit next year and beyond.
So, the real metric as to when QE might end is this: When can The Fed exit the treasury market without causing rates to violently rise? The answer is, of course, NEVER. Can't do it. Not gonna happen.
Unsterilized QE, at a minimum of $85,000,000,000 per month is here to stay. Permanent and to infinity. BTFD.