The freezing up of the repurchase agreement (repo) market had nearly collapsed the U.S. financial system as one part of the financial crisis of 2008, however, the market had enjoyed 11 years of relative calm since then. Three weeks after Dudley's editorial, during the week of September 16th, 2019, the repo market returned to crisis mode and was likely saved only by emergency interventions on the part of the Federal Reserve. A contributing factor was some major mistakes that were made by career officials at the New York Fed - Dudley's former staff.
If the current related crises in the repurchase agreement market and with the funding of the national debt continue and get worse (which is far from certain at this time), crossing over into the wider markets, interest rates and the economy, it could become one of the defining political events of our lifetimes. Full Story
Precious metals investors may be getting an unexpected Christmas present this year, beginning with the sudden $25 jump in gold on Tuesday and Wednesday. From what I’m hearing, a shortage of physically deliverable gold is developing in London. In fact, Alasdair Macleod and Egon von Greyerz have both alluded to this development.
The action this past week fits the information. Given the size of the derivative short position (futures, LBMA forwards, leased gold, OTC derivatives, hypothecated gold) in London and New York, if obligated counterparties begin to default on delivery demands, the precious metals sector could become explosive next year. Full Story
For most of this decade owning gold and gold-related investments has required the patience of Job, and the sector is so obscure that it is hard to be sure of anything. But for months now the unusual developments have been piling up so much that it may be possible to regain some optimism.
There are indications of a shortage of metal not just at the New York Commodities Exchange, where for months now most contracts have been settled through a supposedly "emergency" procedure called "exchange for physicals," but also in London, the hub of the world gold market, where the usual flow of metal to Switzerland recently reversed, with metal flowing back to London amid increasing demand. This corresponded with announcements of gold acquisitions by central banks that had not shown any interest in gold. Full Story
That’s almost half a trillion in aggregate in new money in just revolving “temporary” repo operations in place at the end of the year, and when you add the Fed’s ongoing T-bill purchases, it is a half a trillion injected in December alone!
So, no one can convince me the financial world did not crash at the end of summer when I said it would. The Fed may have jumped in with a response massive enough to avoid the recession that I said this financial catastrophe would cause, but that remains to be seen. Anything that requires such an ongoing and gargantuan response was certainly a leviathan of a problem.
The end of the year isn’t here yet, and the Fed has still avoided precisely following Pozsar’s advice by trying to do something similar to what he sought, but in purely short-term temporary operations because it feels constrained to maintain the charade that none of this has to continue beyond the end of the year … or, at latest, beyond April when its short-term T-bill purchases are scheduled to end with those rolling back off the balance sheet fairly quickly, given their short maturity dates. However, banks may simply not have many short-term treasuries to use when D-day comes. Full Story
Among other things, Volcker recommended a continuation of capital controls to prop up the inflated dollar’s overvalued exchange rate and a massive appreciation or “revaluation” of the currencies of less inflationary countries such as West Germany, placing the burden of adjustment to unrestrained US inflation on these countries. Volcker then planted the time bomb that would eventually detonate and seal the fate of the gold standard. He suggested to Nixon that if these measures did not work to sustain the pseudo–gold standard of the Bretton Woods System, a run on the US gold stock could only be avoided by unilaterally repudiating the postwar US pledge to convert foreign official dollar holdings into gold. Unfortunately, the Volcker Group report summarily dismissed the alternative of raising — possibly doubling — the dollar price of gold, i.e., “devaluing the dollar,” which would have increased the value of the US gold stock and facilitated the restoration of a genuine gold standard. Full Story
Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) was considered “extraordinary” when central bankers rolled that out roughly ten years ago. At that time, people would still have laughed at the idea of negative interest rates. Lenders didn’t pay borrowers and nobody paid their bank to hold their deposits.
So much has changed in the past 10 years. Now negative interest rate policies (NIRP) look set to go viral.
German banks will soon start toeing the European Central Bank line and pass negative rates on to depositors there. Germans who endured zero interest rates and somehow still want a savings account will now have to pay for the “privilege.” Full Story
Our friend Stuart Englert, who is writing a book on gold price suppression, calls attention to a declassified 1970 Central Intelligence Agency memorandum asserting that the Special Drawing Rights of the International Monetary Fund were created in 1967 in large part to reduce the world's demand for gold and particularly to reduce exchange of U.S. dollars, the world reserve currency, for gold.
The creation of SDRs corresponded with the troublesome increase in offtake from the London Gold Pool, through which the United States and seven allied governments in Western Europe dishoarded metal from their reserves to hold the official dollar-gold exchange rate at $35 per ounce. The pool collapsed in March 1968.. Full Story
By: John Mauldin, Thoughts from the Frontline - 23 December, 2019
Ballooning Balance Sheet
Merry Christmas and the Happiest New Year
Ignoring problems rarely solves them. You need to deal with them—not just the effects, but the underlying causes, or else they usually get worse. The older you get, the more you know that is true in almost every area of life.
In the developed world and especially the US, and even in China, our economic challenges are rapidly approaching that point. Things that would have been easily fixed a decade ago, or even five years ago, will soon be unsolvable by conventional means.. Full Story
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