Our Ben, Who art in heaven, Hallowed Be-nanke, Thy auctions come, Thy Bill’s be done, In Twos as they are in Sevens, Give us this day our daily Fed, And forgive us our Treasuries, As we forgive those that default against us, And lead us not into recession, And deliver us from deflation, For thine is the borrowing, the easing, and the printing, For ever and ever. Amen.
WASHINGTON – After naming Ben Bernanke Person of the Year for saving us from the crisis that he helped create, Time magazine sales have “dropped off a cliff,” according to one Time magazine employee, speaking on condition of anonymity.
As a result of the drop-off in demand, Time magazine is now going through a liquidity crisis. Because of this situation, Ben Bernanke has decided to provide Time magazine with the necessary liquidity to stave off bankruptcy. The Fed has added millions of editions of Time to its balance sheet.
“From what we can tell, these Time magazines – especially the edition with Greenspan on the cover – have more intrinsic value than do Treasuries. There is actually stuff to read in them. So our balance sheet isn’t impaired in any way by paying cover-price for these issues,” said Fed Chairman Bernanke. “We also felt it would be best for the economy to take these editions out of circulation, and we are asking the American people to sell their Greenspan editions to the FOMC.”
The preliminary numbers are showing that the Fed, through Open Market Operations, has monetized at least 500,000 copies of the edition with Greenspan on the cover – the last time a Fed Chairman appeared on the cover of the prestigious magazine.
“If necessary, the Fed has the tools it needs to remove any excess liquidity from the markets,” said Bernanke. “We could start by selling off the Jim Bunning baseball cards that we have on our balance sheet.”
Dr. Marc Faber shared with the Economic Times his investment themes for 2010. Japanese stocks and shorting US Treasuries are his top picks for 2010:
“I would avoid US government bonds and I think as a contrarian you really want the contrarian play. You should buy Japanese stocks and Japanese banks. This is the absolute contrarian play. Nobody is interested in Japan all the funds have withdrawn money from Japan they have given up on Japan I guarantee you the economy would not do well, forget about the economy the population is shrinking but you can have an economy that does not do well but the companies do well that is a big difference and I think the Japanese banks are very depressed. All the banks in Asia have actually recovered very strongly but not the Japanese banks so as a contrarian play I would look at that.”in Economic Times.
Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) — Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of “The Black Swan,” said “every single human being” should bet U.S. Treasury bonds will decline, citing the policies of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and the Obama administration.
It’s “a no brainer” to sell short Treasuries, Taleb, a principal at Universa Investments LP in Santa Monica, California, said at a conference in Moscow today. “Every single human being should have that trade.”
Taleb said investors should bet on a rise in long-term U.S. Treasury yields, which move inversely to prices, as long as Bernanke and White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers are in office, without being more specific. Nouriel Roubini, the New York University professor who predicted the credit crisis, also said at the conference that the U.S. dollar will weaken against Asian and “commodity” currencies such as the Brazilian real over the next two or three years.
WARREN BUFFETT Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway I have no idea what the stock market’s going to do tomorrow, or next week, or next month or next year. But over a ten-year period you will do considerably better owning a group of equities than you will owning Treasuries. In fighting the economic war, we’ve taken action that sows the seeds of substantial inflation down the road. Not in the next six months or year, but ten years from now the dollar will buy a lot less than it buys today. BOB RODRIGUEZ Chief executive officer, First Pacific Advisors Don’t run with the herd. Being surrounded by people who are doing the same thing as you offers a false sense of protection. Being a loner is extremely uncomfortable, but it’s far better. Today, being a loner means owning short-maturity, high-quality debt on the bond side. And if the U.S. government continues to blow up the nation’s balance sheet through massive deficits, you should probably move at least 20% to 40% of your assets out of the U.S. (more…)
The German Economics Minister Rainer Bruederle has just confirmed precisely what many have known and said for years, namely that the US Federal Reserve is active in the secondary markets, in this particular case in FX. While not so much of a secret for some of the fringe players such as a the SNB, BOE and BOJ, the Fed has never had a formal statement on currency intervention, as, of course, it would have been seen as a sign of weakness (and allegedly could be considered an unconstitutional activity). And why would anybody dream of manipulating the world’s strongest currency. Of course, if Bernanke manipulates currencies, as has now been confirmed, it is more than clear that he directly buys and sells stocks in the secondary market, and/or Treasuries in the primary. We wonder what other juicy disclosure Bernanke’s trans-Atlantic CB colleagues will announce once they are cornered about their recent market manipulative conduct.
From Dow Jones:
The U.S. Federal Reserve is also active in currency markets, German Economics Minister Rainer Bruederle said Friday.
His comments come on the heels of remarks made by his Swiss counterpart who said that the Swiss National Bank purchased euros to buttress the single currency.
“It is a regular procedure of central banks,” to intervene in currency markets, Bruederle said. “It is not a secret,” that central banks have a foreign exchange rate target, he added.
Bruederle said “eruptive” movements have to be avoided. He previously said that China holds 25 percent of its foreign exchange reserves in euros.
In summary, Japan has “$9.5 Trillion in public debt”, 2x GDP (192% 2009 estimate, #2 behind Zimbabwe at 3x from CIA.gov) with threats of deflation and falling wages. This is after 2 lost deflationary decades and a loss of 75% on the NIKKEI index since 1990 (39,000 to 9,700 today, 1st chart below). The good news is, most of Japan’s public debt is held domestically in Japanese Yen. Some analysts believe US Treasuries could end up like Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) and catch a bid even with hardcore reflationary policies (see David Rosenberg’s debate on March, 2010). What about the S&P, would it follow the NIKKEI’s footsteps in a deflationary environment? Or is the US economic machine too strong for that to happen.A 75% drop in the S&P from the October 2007 peak would be around 400, which is David Tice’s S&P target. What are the odds. Paul Krugman had an op-ed in the New York Times today titled The Third Depression. Hopefully Gold and the S&P move in tandem from here if more $ printing is coming. The 10-Year US Treasury Note is trading at $122 resistance in an ascending triangle (Chart 2) and I’m going to see what happens with the $USD at its 50 day moving average tomorrow.
There’s been many letters and symbols used over the last year to describe the shape of the U.S. economic recovery. There’s the strong V-shaped recovery; the square root shaped recovery to connote a strong recovery followed by a period of flat to no growth; and the W-shaped recovery favored by those believing in a double dip recession.
Tech Ticker guest Michael Pento has a new twist on the discussion. Pento, senior market strategist with Delta Global Advisors believes this is a tee-pee shaped recovery with the top of that tee-pee having already formed in the fourth quarter.
Pento is negative on America’s near term economic prospects for three main reasons: too little bank lending, too few jobs and too much public and private debt. “I’ve never seen a v-shaped recovery occur when commercial bank lending was down 7% year over year. So, small business are not getting loans to create capital goods and to expand and hire individuals,” he observes.
Exacerbating the problems at home, is what he describes, as a weak economy abroad. With China looking to clamp down on growth, the EuroZone struggling with its own debt problems, Pento asks, “Where is the growth going to come from in demand from overseas?
When he says “demand” he’s referring not only to products and services but also to our growing debt burden. As the price of servicing our deficit grows, when the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy, Pento is confident others will realize what he already does: the situation in the U.S. is “worse than Greece.”
The way he sees it, there’s a strong potential for a bond and dollar crisis when China starts selling Treasuries. “Tell me which shape recovery that will yield for the United States?”