QE 3 – Hoodwinked and Bamboozled

Have you ever been hoodwinked?  Bamboozled?  Horns waggled? Led astray? Or mislead? Sure you have!   The full time occupation of bureaucrats in DC is spinning the facts to ensure sure you remain confused. And sometimes it works. Case in point - QE3.  Even for most of us diligent investors and a good number of analysts, QE3 didn't turn out as expected.   However, once you realize you've been had, you absorb the lesson, and move on.   But the question is have you learned the lesson?    If you refuse to understand and acknowledge the lesson, you find that you will continue to repeat the errors of the past.    The Fed's third round of QE duped just about everyone!  Experts and Joe Public alike. I imagine after it's announcement in September 2012, Bernanke ran behind a curtain, smiled and uttered the words, "Ahhhh psyched!  Gotcha's.

The market held a great many assumptions prior to QE3 and they were based upon the notion that adding increased liquidity into the markets would produce inflationary conditions, further debase the dollar, which would be bullish for gold and other non-dollar assets.    It's been almost one year since the Fed announced it's third round of quantitative easing, and as Argentus has aptly pointed out, we find ourselves in a a highly repressive stagflationary environment where gold, silver and for that matter, platinum, palladium continue to languish.   

I've said before the analogy of helicopter Ben throwing fiat from helicopters, or some guy in the basement of the Fed working overtime like the guy in the Dunkin Donuts commercial that says “Time to make the donuts” is largely a metaphor.  The real process behind QE comes through the magic of key strokes.  The Fed creates additional dollars that get put into a banks reserves held by the Fed and are not lend into the economy.

This in stark contrast to the 2008 stimulus package and other historic bailouts that went directly into corporate pockets and employees spend those dollars at the local movie theater and ice cream shops. This is one reason the markets rebounded so nicely after 2008. The stimulus actually went directly into corporations or municipalities and was spent into the economy. Those of you who were speculators in gold and silver leveraged equities including the junior mines made out like a bat out of hell.

It's different this time because now the stimulus is sitting as reserves. These new reserves are basically an exchange. The bank gets cash reserves in return for MBS (mortgage backed securities) The reserves sit in the bank and no additional money is put into circulation.

Australian Professor of Economics Steve Keen explains the process:

Reserves are there for settlement of accounts between banks, and for the governments' interface with the private banking sector, but not for lending from. Banks themselves may swap those assets for other forms of assets that are incoming-yielding, but they are not to lend from.

Or as Rick Rule explained to me when I interrogated him on the lack of money velocity, he said “It's simple. Banks get a much better interest rate by lending to Washington than lending to you”

So we have a great paradox on our hands as described by WSJ writer Andy Kessler.

Here is the great economic paradox of our time: Despite the Federal Reserve's vast, 4½-year program of quantitative easing, the economy is still weak, with unemployment still high and labor-force participation down. And with all the money pumped into the economy, why is there no runaway inflation?

http://www.andykessler.com/andy_kessler/2013/05/wsj-the-fed-squeezes-the-shadow-banking-system.html

So let's look for some answers which can be found in this chart by Richard Koo of Nomura Equity Research comparing M2 (money supply ie money in circulation) vs money base vs bank lending.

We all know that inflation is an increase in the monetary base. So strictly speaking, That is inflation. However, the amount of M2, the amount in circulation has not increased any faster than the previous decade. And as the graph indicates, bank loans are down 22%.  This spells low money velocity or deflationary like conditions.

Ellen Brown author of “Web of Debt” writes about the QE phenomena on her blog in her article “Collateral Damage: QE3 and the Shadow Banking System.

Rather than expanding the money supply, quantitative easing (QE) has actually caused it to shrink by sucking up the collateral needed by the shadow banking system to create credit. The “failure” of QE has prompted the Bank for International Settlements to urge the Fed to shirk its mandate to pursue full employment, but the sort of QE that could fulfill that mandate has not yet been tried. http://webofdebt.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/5835/

The essence of her piece is a good one. I highly recommend her book as well as her blog , however, her summary that the money supply has actually shrunk might be better stated as QE3 has caused a fall in money velocity, and a rise in demand for cash exactly opposite to pre-QE3 expectations. There GL goes again spouting off those fancy words like velocity. Yes, it's important and IMO our financial welfare heavily depends on understanding this relatively intangible economic factor. That's why you'll hear me speak of it ad nauseam.

The money supply didn't evaporate. What was happened is that the Fed's purchases has reduced the existing supply of treasuries in exchange for imaginary numbers. Treasuries are considered “safe assets” and these assets are requirement to extend credit into the public domain. What we have is a reduction of safe assets for funny money. Pretty “ponzi-ish” Essentially you are replacing an over rated, inflated asset, a US treasury, considered a safe asset in exchange for thin air.

If the Fed's money “printing” was inflationary, we would have seen a rise in velocity. And again in certain area's, there has been but the condition has mostly been deflationary. Now to exasperate the situation, we have the condition that Argentus is calling “stagflation” or financial repression which is as much a result of political repression as it is financial repression. Money Printing + Reduction of Safe Assets + Sustained low interest rates/bail-ins (political and financial repression) which has created this phenomena of stagflation despite an increase in monetary base. There is no wind blowing the dust through the system.

Don't Fight The Fed”

Our dear friend, Puck Smith, once posted a comment that is forever etched in my memory. It was about making an argument through the use of quotes, maxims or postulates. Some of our favorites “Don't Fight the Fed” “The Trend is Your Friend” “The Trend is Your Friend, until it isn't “When You Are Crying, I am Buying” “Dance While the music is playing” etc...

They often feel good and sound convincing but a more thorough examination of the facts often show that they are sophisticated form of propaganda. I have not been able to recall the word that Puck used to describe this form of argument for the life of me. If any of you philologist know the word, please share.

I would argue as Rick Santelli at CNBC has many times as well as our friends at ZeroHedge  that the economy is a complex system. For that matter, economics is a complex subject and even the talking heads, and the high tower economists struggle to get a handle at all the complex pieces. The fed being the great Keynesian institution that it is thinks that by interfering in one area of the economy, it can predict the outcome. Well, it can't. The fed is constantly fighting itself moping to the left, and jabbing to the right. And as Santelli has pointed out many times in his morning rants, after following the predictions of the FED in their FOMC reports, one would do much better by being a contrarian to FED advice in light of it's record of poor forecasts.

The Fed is either stoking the markets, or dumping fuel out of the markets. Bernanke's May 29th speech or what Ellen Brown calls “taper tantrum” wiped out approximately $3 trillion from the equity markets according to her website. Those aren't markets working on fundamentals, these are markets that are operating on pure psychological endorphins. $85 billion dollars a month are not flowing into the economy for investors to spend on the stock market. They are being fueled by 100% speculative fever and 100% MOPE.

Am I saying that you can't make money in the broader equity markets? NO. Unequivocally No.   I am also not suggesting that Pining Armageddon's portfolio is a bad one as I have and will continue to eye some continuing and emerging trends under the right macro conditions.    However, people making money off the psychological endorphins while thinking they are making money off of endless QE are deceiving themselves. When markets are out performing while fundamentals are lagging should raise some red flags. Tulips are tulips.   It also doesn't mean that sometime in the future the FED will attempt a more direct form of stimulating the economy which flows more directly into the economy.  However, they are well aware of the risk of doing that.  Wait and watch.

There is certainly no shame in making money from the fumes, however one should do so with the realization that the bubbles which are appearing in the markets and real estate can be removed at will simply by a 10 minute news conference in addition to the real concerns of lingering bank swans which has been the subject of many of our discussions.  Managing your risk is ever more important in these markets.

Junior Gold Mining Preview

One of my favorite sectors to watch this dynamic of over inflated expectation playing out is the gold and silver junior mining sector. I will be talking more about the bullish and bearish cases in the mining sector shortly. But as a preview, I wanted to illustrated one dynamic that occurs with junior miners that we are seeing in the broader markets.

For no apparent reason, a junior mine without solid high grade deposits will just spike simply due to speculation not being supported by the fundamentals of the property. AKA Hype!! Some of the most famous mining analysts, newswriters have gotten caught in these whirlpools.  If you pretend that you are beyond these subtle influences, that is when you get trapped.  An expert mountain climber never takes the next step for granted.  The climber remains humble to the mountain and the unpredictable elements.

A stock will simply go up because people think it's good and have been deceived by poor independent assessments and nicely massaged numbers put out by charismatic mining executives .    Again, nothing wrong with making money on an illusion. However, smart money retreats before the crowd is able to identify the fatal flaw leaving the rest of the investors without an exit door.  Consider this principle in all your investments.

More to come!

119 Comments

lakedweller2's picture

Ready to Read

Monday Morning and what color are we pre market...red

Added:  Peter Schiff had an early morning skirmish with the plastic people on Scripted TV.  In an answer to a question about would you rather have Summers or Yellen, he replied something like "that is like asking if you want to die by hanging or the guillotine:".  Betty Boo Boo got most upset with Mr Schiff.

stubbornman's picture

Still waiting and watching.

Just when you think the bottom may be in....

donnojackshit's picture

1am Tuesday here and top ten!

Not often I get in!

Guess where?

Clubfoolish's picture

2008 stimulus?

Turd, nice piece - the flaming Aholes at the banks have done nice work bending over us diligent folks who pay attention.

One minor possible correction to this part, for historical accuracy:

"This in stark contrast to the 2008 stimulus package and other historic bailouts that went directly into corporate pockets and employees spend those dollars at the local movie theater and ice cream shops. This is one reason the markets rebounded so nicely after 2008. The stimulus actually went directly into corporations or municipalities and was spent into the economy. "

I don't believe there was any stimulus to the economy in 2008.

I believe that Fall 2008 saw a ~$400B emergency TARP package, which mostly went to the underbelly of large banks and a few mega-insurance companies.  Net stimulus about zero (still to this day).  The market continued crashing thru, and for months after, the Nov 08 election...the stock market bottom was early March 2009.  Up since.

There was a stimulus pushed through by Obama in ~Feb 2009 - which cut our Fed income taxes and paid tax rebates directly to each of us, and put $ directly into the economy via spending over the 2009-2010 year or so (about a third of the total $750B going to tax breaks and credits, and two-thirds to infrastructure construction/healthcare/education/retraining etc spending, if I remember correctly). 

Is that the stimulus to which you were referring?

Thx

donnojackshit's picture

Lakedweller2

That is awesome!

Love Peter Schiff's polite irreverence!

SilverSurfers's picture

Sixth

In there for a top tenner!!!

this was funny, speaking of being hoodwinked.

Laura Ingraham @IngrahamAngle 11m
B-I-N-G-Obama was his name-O. "@BradThor: when u r forced to close a record # of embassies, your enemy isn't "on the run," u r."

speaking of being bamboozled

Jim Rickards @JamesGRickards 7h
The #Fed is insolvent. But, you knew that.
http://www.etfguide.com/commentary/1095/Bond-Losses-at-Federal-Reserve-Top-$192-Billion/

Derrick Michael Reid @DerrickMReid 19m
@JamesGRickards We dont know it, until JGR says so. Got it. Thanks

China Reserve Currency Imperialism

Many claim that china wants the yaun to be the world's new reserve currency. Where does that come from? Has the PBoC announced such an intention. That assertion is contrary to Chinese culture which is an inwardly looking culture, and is why Formosa is such a big deal. China desires to keep its country whole, secured from outside manipulations. Chinese culture, which is the driver, does not target a yaun world reserve currency. The better answer is that the Chinese will engage the outside world to keep outside influence out of china. A world bullion money exchange does that. Acquisition of mines outside of China does that. The only real reason why any power would want a reserve currency is to extend diplomatic power and influence for controlling foreign lands, which is not Chinese culture. The better explanation is tha China is accumulating bullion and may back it currency for the purpose of keeping China whole and safe from foreign manipulations and imperialism. This talk of an RMB world currency dont square. Russia and England are more likely to desire control through a world reserve currency, reliving the dead age of imperial powers, but not China.

Bamboozled No Spin Zone

Bill O'Reilly's Welfare Dilemma

Bill O'Reilly, the nations best news commentator, is in a pickle. He on one hand claims that the federal government has the purpose to provide for the general welfare of the people, yet complains about the obscene nanny state at the federal level. The two don't square up. Let me help, if I may.

Welfare as used in the US constitution, did not mean, by any interpretation, the creation of a hand out nanny granny state. Rather it was a general phrase, that at least meant providing a level playing field. Take and Give at the federal level does not provide a level playing field. Bill maybe unwilling to ruffle the feathers of many granny-state social security recipients, and soft peddles certain federal social services at the federal level, where there should be none.

In for a penny, in for a pound. Bill is already against the build up of the Nanny-State at the federal level, in for a penny. Now is the time to go all in for the pound. Bill will eventually resolve this conflict. He is a very smart guy, and when he does, odds are he comes down on the side of freedom, and will suggest moving all federal social programs to the states, where they belong, per the US Constitution, a document of Freedom and Liberty from totalitarian government. On this August 5 anniversary, of Admiral Farragut's run into Mobil Bay, 1864, lets all project a futuristic talking points, Damn the Granny-State, Full Freedom Ahead. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Mobile_Bay

argent rampant's picture

@GL - "Horns waggled"

Yes, just this weekend, in fact. Liked it! devil

Hornswoggle:

bamboozle, beguile, bluff, buffalo, burn, catch, con, cozen, delude, dupe, fake out, fool, gaff, gammon, gull, have, have on [chiefly British], hoax, hoodwink, deceive, humbug, juggle, misguide, misinform, mislead, snooker, snow, spoof, string along, sucker, suck in, take in, trick
Green Lantern's picture

If all the "Too Big to Fail"

If all the "Too Big to Fail" companies hadn't been bailed out, they wouldn't exist today.  Which is the way it should be in a free market economy.  But since, they do exist, that means the pretty little secretary by the coffee machine, Mary Sue, still has a job so she can by lipstick from the lipstick factory.  Nice pumps to impress all the suits, and go out to the local pub on friday with all her colleagues.    When companies stay iin business so does the paper vendor, the marketing consultants, the janitorial staff etc, etc...  so even though it went to banks and insurance companies, that saved LOTS of jobs and those skyscrapers in New York City were kept lit. 

The fed has bailed out railroads, cities, car industry, Lockheed and dozens of case histories of Fed giving money to companies and municipalities, New Orleans.   That is putting money into the economy.

Under a free market Austrian model, it wouldn't happen.  But it did.  QE money doesn't get lent out.

Green Lantern's picture

re: Horns waggled

I'm a city boy. And spell check didn't catch it. 

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hornswaggled

Call out to all you philologists for the word Puck used!

¤'s picture

How about..."Led around by the nose" ?

Thanks GL yes

Fed Should Reverse Commodity-Trading Policy, CFTC’s Chilton Says

i7UoNbIvL6iI.jpg

The Federal Reserve should reverse a decade-old ruling that allows banks to trade physical commodities, said Bart Chilton, a Commodity Futures Trading Commission member.

The central bank’s 2003 decision and subsequent ones allowed firms including Citigroup Inc. (C), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) andMorgan Stanley (MS) to expand into commodities markets. The Fed said last month that it’s reviewing the policy amid Senate scrutiny of whether it allows Wall Street firms to control prices.

“I don’t want a bank owning an electric service, or cotton, corn or feedlots,” Chilton, a Democrat, said in a speech prepared for delivery today at a conference of U.S. cotton growers in Lake Tahoe, California. “I don’t want banks owning warehouses, whether they have aluminum, gold, silver, or anything else in them.” The Fed “can and should reverse” the policy, he said.

JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, said days after a congressional hearing on the matter last month that it’s weighing whether to sell or spin off holdings in physical commodities. The 10 largest Wall Street firms reaped about $6 billion in revenue from commodities in 2012, including dealings in physical materials as well as related financial products, analytics company Coalition Ltd. said in a Feb. 15 report.

“The Federal Reserve regularly monitors the commodity activities of supervised firms and is reviewing the 2003 determination that certain commodity activities are complementary to financial activities and thus permissible for bank holding companies,” Barbara Hagenbaugh, a Fed spokeswoman, said on July 19. She declined to elaborate.

Additional Hearings

Banks’ ownership of commodity interests already has drawn scrutiny from the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission, while U.S. Senate Democrats plan additional hearings on the issue.

CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler, declining to comment on specific investigations, said at a Senate hearing on July 29 that his agency has legal authority to pursue manipulation of markets for metals and other commodities. His agency has sent letters to companies asking them not to destroy documents relating to warehouses registered by exchanges such as the London Metal Exchange or Chicago Mercantile Exchange, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Bloomberg News.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-05/fed-should-reverse-commodity-trading-policy-cftc-s-chilton-says.html

gold slut's picture

Being pedantic but....

In that picture of gold in the posted article by DPH, where is WC9541??  We should be told..

Dr Jerome's picture

Puck's word?

I don't recall reading it, but I would guess "specious" arguments--arguments that seem to be rational but have a logical flaw.  Not the same as lying. There are about a dozen methods of making specious arguments known as argument "fallacies." The practice of which is known as "sophistry"--"making the worse appear the better reason" in the words of John Milton

lakedweller2's picture

Chilton and Gensler

Must have got approval from the Administration to make those statements, ie Wall Street.  I think they should do another study with a target completion date of 2050 and submit it to the Guinness Book of Records for the longest study by a governmental agency having no content.

SilverSurfers's picture

Late August, Best Guess

While the recovery in the gold price was significant on Friday, the Technical position flipped to a weaker bias. It is notable that the Technical picture has flipped three times in the last few weeks, bringing into question just how pertinent a purely Technical viewpoint is at this juncture. It is clear that the fundamentals of falling supply, falling scrap sales and robust Asian demand in gold’s “doldrums”, as this time of the year is called in the jewelry and investment gold front, are supportive of rising prices. We are seeing thin volumes in the market consistent with this, but with the change in the season so close it is difficult to persuade ourselves that we should see a strongly falling gold price. The pattern, to us, is typically indecisive when a major change in fundamental structure is soon to take place. It is a sort of ‘churning’ that can easily mislead investors and a time when one has to carefully balance the Technical picture with the fundamental picture, before acting.

http://www.silverseek.com/article/silver-market-morning-12359

The Attack in Benghazi: Worth Investigating After All

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/08/the-attack-in-benghazi-worth-investigating-after-all/278299/

How about..."Led around by the nose" ?

That could explain JPM hoarding bullion, and TF comments that "lots" are going on with AM behind the scenes.

What happened to all them green shoots? We got hoodwinked by the hoodies!

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/08/02/construction-jobs-are-a-wreck/

argent rampant's picture

@ GL

Sorry, just couldn't resist it.

We're all subject to such minor errors. Just a couple of days ago XTY "kidd-ed" me about my spelling! cool

Still digesting the substance of your post. Good food for thought. Thanks!

lakedweller2's picture

Life Support

I have been waiting so long for the metals to correctly reflect their value and "recover" that I am becoming concerned that I will have to use the gains to pay for Life Support equipment and travel the world by watching Anthony Bourdain reruns.

benque's picture

Gold Slut-bars

None of those bars in the picture are registered to GLD.  For what it's worth...

Although, I'll add the numbers I can read to my database for future reference.

Pining 4 the Fjords's picture

Does history rhyme? Well Limericks do!

A Limerick  in honor of the great Green Lantern and his high-powered light of monetary illumination (whoooo, see what I did there?  Green lantern... a lantern illuminates... money is green...  oh, never mind)
.

I've been snookered, hornshoggled, and duped;

Bamboozeled, fooled, and stooped.

I've been suckered! Misguided!

Deceived and derided!

I've done my due diligence- now I'm pooped.

¤'s picture

P4

Lol :-)

¤'s picture

Gold Bars Worldwide

ACCREDITED GOLD BAR MANUFACTURERS

gold_1662214b.jpg

There are approximately 110 active gold refiners around the world whose relevant gold bars are accepted as “good delivery” by one or more of the associations and exchanges featured in this section.

Section updated to July 2013, according to available information.

ACCREDITATION

A consolidated table in this section records – by region and country of location – the names of active refiners that are accredited to the following:

• London Bullion Market Association (LBMA)

• CME Group – Market Contract: COMEX

• Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM)

• Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)

The names of active refiners accredited to the 6 other exchanges are recorded separately as their lists rely partly on the LBMA list or focus on domestic refiners:

• BM&FBovespa, São Paulo (BM&F)

• Istanbul Gold Exchange (IGE)

• Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd (MCX)

• Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE)

• The Chinese Gold & Silver Exchange Society, Hong Kong (CGSE)

Importance of LBMA list

As covered in the section on “Gold Associations & Exchanges”, the most important list of refiners for the international gold bar market is the one published by the LBMA.

In summary, the LBMA list refers to more than 60 active refiners in 27 countries.

It can be noted that relevant bars of LBMA-accredited refiners are automatically accepted as good delivery by the  Istanbul Gold Exchange, Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd, Shanghai Futures Exchange, Shanghai Gold Exchange  and The Chinese Gold & Silver Exchange Society

In addition, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre  has a separate category for refiners accredited to the LBMA...(cont.)

http://www.goldbarsworldwide.com/PDF/BI_2_GoldBarManufacturers.pdf

Xty's picture

"Slogans are True"

Could this be the concept that leads to hornswoggelry?  

Reductive Fallacy (Oversimplification):

over-simplifying. As Einstein said, everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler. Political slogans such as "Taxation is theft" fall in this category.

From a very good list of argumentative fallacies.  It should be required reading!

A List of Fallacious Arguments

judejin's picture

money velocity is a very faulty concept

first of all. i recommend everyone to read austrian school of economics on the faulty concept of money velocity.

gold/silver didnt go down because money velocity went down. gold was going up before sept. 2011 when money velocity was going down!  the correlation between gold and money velocity is not always positive! even if there's observed correlation, it doesn't mean that there's causal relationship before gold going up/down and money velocity going up/dow. 

gold/silver went down, because BOE and the fed and BIS all concluded together and sold other ppl's gold/silver in custody! it is a crime! if gold/silver market was left alone, we'd already seen much bigger parabolic moves, not tepid 10-20% up years ten years in a row, this alone is a very clear indication that gold market is managed by powerful hand! no other instrument has ever displayed such well controlled ascent!

sorry, 90% of ppl on this board are determined to fight the fed till the end!

what a garbage!

argent rampant's picture

@XTY - RE: arguments

So... what does that leave? sad

Jakarta Expat's picture

@LakeDweller2

I saw that exchange with Peter Schiff and the CNBC parrots, (one of the very few times I have the sound up on that particular channel) after that statement he made, it derailed in to a small amount of shouting and mics being cut down and was truly an embarrassment on CBNC's part. Seemed Betty did get quite upset when Schiff made some comments directed right at Greenspan and the way he created the mess in the first place before QE saying that Greenspan had kept rates way too low for way to long and should have rates early than keeping the easy money on the table for the big banks.  

WhyMeLord's picture

Larry Sez

Larry Edelson sez that Gold may test major support in August/September at $1050 - $1070.

Link

alan2102's picture

argent rampant

"Hornswogglebamboozle, beguile, bluff, buffalo, burn, catch, con, cozen, delude, dupe, fake out, fool, gaff, gammon, gull, have, have on [chiefly British], hoax, hoodwink, deceive, hum....."

They forgot Shanghaied. 

(With all due respect to the good people of Shanghai.  Nothing personal, folks.)

alan2102's picture

judejin

"sorry, 90% of ppl on this board are determined to fight the fed till the end! what garbage!"

Isn't any physical PM person fighting the fed?  What's wrong with that?

Pining 4 the Fjords's picture

The future of the Fed

alan2102's picture

Xty

"As Einstein said, everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler. Political slogans such as "Taxation is theft" fall in this category."

Careful!  Some people in these parts actually believe that.

Turd Ferguson's picture

I thought I should post this here, too

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