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Billionaire Sprott: What are the repercussions of all this money printing?

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Posted by Eric Sprott - Comments by Stephen Todd & Mark Leibovit

on Wednesday, 07 March 2012 00:00

#1 Gold Timer of the Year 2011 Stephen Todd March 6th/2012: "GOLD: Gold got clobbered along with stocks. This finally puts us on a sell."

#2 Gold Timer of the Year 2011 & #1 Gold Market timer for the 5 year period ending in 2010 Mark Leibovit March 6th/2012: GOLD - ACTION ALERT - BUY (And Take Delivery Of The Physical Metals)

Billionaire Sprott: What are the repercussions of all this money printing?

2012 is proving to be the ‘Year of the Central Bank’. It is an exciting celebration of all the wonderful maneuvers central banks can employ to keep the system from falling apart. Western central banks have gone into complete overdrive since last November, convening, colluding and printing their way out of the mess that is the Eurozone. The scale and frequency of their maneuvering seems to increase with every passing week, and speaks to the desperate fragility that continues to define much of the financial system today.

The first major maneuver took place on November 30, 2011, when the world’s G6 central banks (the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank [ECB], the Swiss National Bank, and the Bank of Canada) announced “coordinated actions to enhance their capacity to provide liquidity support to the global financial system”. Long story short, in an effort to avert a total collapse in the European banking system, the US Fed agreed to offer unlimited US dollar swap agreements with the other central banks. These US dollar swaps allow the other central banks, most notably the ECB, to borrow US dollars from the Federal Reserve and lend them to their respective national banks to meet withdrawals and make debt payments. The best part about these swaps is that they are limitless in scope — meaning that until February 1, 2013, the Federal Reserve is, and will be, prepared to lend as many US dollars as it takes to keep the financial system from imploding. It sounds absolutely great, and the Europeans should be nothing but thankful, except for the tiny little fact that to supply these unlimited US dollars, the Federal Reserve will have to print them out of thin air.

Don’t worry, it gets better. Since unlimited US swap lines weren’t enough to solve the problem, roughly three weeks later, on December 21, 2011, the European Central Bank launched the first tranche of its lauded Long Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO). This is the program where the ECB flooded 523 separate European banks with 489 billion euros worth of 3-year loans to keep them going through Christmas. A second tranche of LTRO loans is planned to launch at the end of February, with expectations for size ranging from 300 billion to more than 1 trillion euros of uptake. The good news is that Italian, Portuguese and Spanish bond yields have dropped since the first LTRO went through, which suggests that at least some of the initial LTRO funds have been reinvested back into sovereign debt auctions. The bad news is that the Eurozone banks may now be hooked on what is clearly a back-door quantitative easing (QE) program, and as the warning goes for addictive drugs — once you start, it can be very hard to stop.

Britain is definitely hooked. On February 9, 2012, the Bank of England announced another QE extension for 50 billion pounds, raising their total QE print to £325 billion since March 2009. Japan’s hooked as well. On February 14, 2012, the Bank of Japan announced a ¥10 trillion ($129 billion) expansion to its own QE program, raising its total QE program to ¥65 trillion ($825 billion). Not to be outdone, in the most recent Fed news conference, US Fed Chairman Bernanke signaled that the Fed will keep interest rates near zero until late 2014, which is 18 months later than he had promised in Fed meetings last year. If Bernanke keeps his word, by the end of 2014 the US government will have enjoyed near zero interest rates for six years in a row. Granted, extended zero percent interest rates is not nearly as satisfying as a proper QE program, but who needs traditional QE when the Fed already buys 91 percent of all 20-30 year maturity US Treasury bonds? Perhaps they’re saving traditional QE for the upcoming election.

All of this pervasive intervention most likely explains more than 90 percent of the market’s positive performance this past January. Had the G6 NOT convened on swaps, had the ECB NOT launched the LTRO programs, and had Bernanke NOT expressed a continuation of zero interest rates, one wonders where the equity indices would trade today. One also wonders if the European banking system would have made it through December. Thank goodness for “coordinated action”. It does work in the short-term.

But what about the long-term? What are the unintended consequences of repeatedly juicing the system? What are the repercussions of all this money printing? We can think of a few.

First and foremost, without continued central bank support, interbank liquidity may cease to function entirely in the coming year. Consider the implications of the ECB’s LTRO program: when you create a loan program to save the EU banks and make its participation voluntary, every one of those 523 banks that participates is essentially admitting that they have a problem. How will they ever lend money to each other again? If you’re a bank that participated in the LTRO program because you were on the verge of bankruptcy, how can you possibly trust other banks that took advantage of the same program? The ECB’s LTRO program has the potential to be very dangerous, because if the EU banks start to rely on the loans too heavily, the ECB may find itself inadvertently attached to the broken EU banking system forever.

The second unintended consequence is the impact that interventions have had on the non-G6 countries’ perception of western solvency. If you’re a foreign lender to the United States, Britain, Europe or Japan today, how comfortable can you possibly be in lending them money? How do you lend to countries whose sole basis as a going concern rests in their ability to wrangle cash injections printed by their respective central banks? Going further, what happens when the rest of the world, the non-G6 world, starts to question the G6 Central Banks themselves? What entity exists to bailout the financial system if the market moves against the Fed or the ECB?

The fact remains that there are few rungs left in the financial confidence chain in 2012, and central banks may end up pushing their printing schemes too far. In 2008-2009, it was the banks that lost credibility and required massive bailouts by their respective sovereign states. In 2010-2011, it was the sovereigns, most notably those in Europe, that lost credibility and required massive bailouts by their respective central banks. But there is no lender of last resort for the central banks themselves. That the IMF is now trying to raise another $600 billion as a security buffer doesn’t go unnoticed, but do they honestly think that’s going to make any difference?

When reviewing today’s macro environment, we keep coming back to the same conclusion. The non-G6 world isn’t blind to the efforts of the Fed and the ECB. When the Fed openly targets a 2 percent inflation rate, foreign lenders know that means they will lose, at a minimum, at least 2 percent of purchasing power on their US loans in 2012. It therefore shouldn’t surprise anyone to see those lenders piling into alternative assets that have a better chance at protecting their wealth, long-term.

This is likely why China reduced its US Treasury exposure by $32 billion in the month of December (See Figure 1). This is also why China, which produced 360 tonnes of gold internally last year, also imported an additional 428 tonnes in 2011, up from 119 tonnes in 2010. This may also be why China’s copper imports hit a record high of 508,942 tonnes in December 2011, up 47.7 percent from the previous year, despite the fact that their GDP declined at year-end. Same goes for their crude oil imports, which hit a record high of 23.41 million metric tons this past January, up 7.4 percent year- over-year. The so-called experts have a habit of downplaying these numbers, but it seems pretty clear to us: China isn’t waiting around for next QE program. They are accelerating their move away from paper currencies and into hard assets.

2012 is proving to be the ‘Year of the Central Bank’. It is an exciting celebration of all the wonderful maneuvers central banks can employ to keep the system from falling apart. Western central banks have gone into complete overdrive since last November, convening, colluding and printing their way out of the mess that is the Eurozone. The scale and frequency of their maneuvering seems to increase with every passing week, and speaks to the desperate fragility that continues to define much of the financial system today.

The first major maneuver took place on November 30, 2011, when the world’s G6 central banks (the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank [ECB], the Swiss National Bank, and the Bank of Canada) announced “coordinated actions to enhance their capacity to provide liquidity support to the global financial system”. Long story short, in an effort to avert a total collapse in the European banking system, the US Fed agreed to offer unlimited US dollar swap agreements with the other central banks. These US dollar swaps allow the other central banks, most notably the ECB, to borrow US dollars from the Federal Reserve and lend them to their respective national banks to meet withdrawals and make debt payments. The best part about these swaps is that they are limitless in scope — meaning that until February 1, 2013, the Federal Reserve is, and will be, prepared to lend as many US dollars as it takes to keep the financial system from imploding. It sounds absolutely great, and the Europeans should be nothing but thankful, except for the tiny little fact that to supply these unlimited US dollars, the Federal Reserve will have to print them out of thin air.

Don’t worry, it gets better. Since unlimited US swap lines weren’t enough to solve the problem, roughly three weeks later, on December 21, 2011, the European Central Bank launched the first tranche of its lauded Long Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO). This is the program where the ECB flooded 523 separate European banks with 489 billion euros worth of 3-year loans to keep them going through Christmas. A second tranche of LTRO loans is planned to launch at the end of February, with expectations for size ranging from 300 billion to more than 1 trillion euros of uptake. The good news is that Italian, Portuguese and Spanish bond yields have dropped since the first LTRO went through, which suggests that at least some of the initial LTRO funds have been reinvested back into sovereign debt auctions. The bad news is that the Eurozone banks may now be hooked on what is clearly a back-door quantitative easing (QE) program, and as the warning goes for addictive drugs — once you start, it can be very hard to stop.

Britain is definitely hooked. On February 9, 2012, the Bank of England announced another QE extension for 50 billion pounds, raising their total QE print to £325 billion since March 2009. Japan’s hooked as well. On February 14, 2012, the Bank of Japan announced a ¥10 trillion ($129 billion) expansion to its own QE program, raising its total QE program to ¥65 trillion ($825 billion). Not to be outdone, in the most recent Fed news conference, US Fed Chairman Bernanke signaled that the Fed will keep interest rates near zero until late 2014, which is 18 months later than he had promised in Fed meetings last year. If Bernanke keeps his word, by the end of 2014 the US government will have enjoyed near zero interest rates for six years in a row. Granted, extended zero percent interest rates is not nearly as satisfying as a proper QE program, but who needs traditional QE when the Fed already buys 91 percent of all 20-30 year maturity US Treasury bonds? Perhaps they’re saving traditional QE for the upcoming election.

All of this pervasive intervention most likely explains more than 90 percent of the market’s positive performance this past January. Had the G6 NOT convened on swaps, had the ECB NOT launched the LTRO programs, and had Bernanke NOT expressed a continuation of zero interest rates, one wonders where the equity indices would trade today. One also wonders if the European banking system would have made it through December. Thank goodness for “coordinated action”. It does work in the short-term.

But what about the long-term? What are the unintended consequences of repeatedly juicing the system? What are the repercussions of all this money printing? We can think of a few.

First and foremost, without continued central bank support, interbank liquidity may cease to function entirely in the coming year. Consider the implications of the ECB’s LTRO program: when you create a loan program to save the EU banks and make its participation voluntary, every one of those 523 banks that participates is essentially admitting that they have a problem. How will they ever lend money to each other again? If you’re a bank that participated in the LTRO program because you were on the verge of bankruptcy, how can you possibly trust other banks that took advantage of the same program? The ECB’s LTRO program has the potential to be very dangerous, because if the EU banks start to rely on the loans too heavily, the ECB may find itself inadvertently attached to the broken EU banking system forever.

The second unintended consequence is the impact that interventions have had on the non-G6 countries’ perception of western solvency. If you’re a foreign lender to the United States, Britain, Europe or Japan today, how comfortable can you possibly be in lending them money? How do you lend to countries whose sole basis as a going concern rests in their ability to wrangle cash injections printed by their respective central banks? Going further, what happens when the rest of the world, the non-G6 world, starts to question the G6 Central Banks themselves? What entity exists to bailout the financial system if the market moves against the Fed or the ECB?

The fact remains that there are few rungs left in the financial confidence chain in 2012, and central banks may end up pushing their printing schemes too far. In 2008-2009, it was the banks that lost credibility and required massive bailouts by their respective sovereign states. In 2010-2011, it was the sovereigns, most notably those in Europe, that lost credibility and required massive bailouts by their respective central banks. But there is no lender of last resort for the central banks themselves. That the IMF is now trying to raise another $600 billion as a security buffer doesn’t go unnoticed, but do they honestly think that’s going to make any difference?

When reviewing today’s macro environment, we keep coming back to the same conclusion. The non-G6 world isn’t blind to the efforts of the Fed and the ECB. When the Fed openly targets a 2 percent inflation rate, foreign lenders know that means they will lose, at a minimum, at least 2 percent of purchasing power on their US loans in 2012. It therefore shouldn’t surprise anyone to see those lenders piling into alternative assets that have a better chance at protecting their wealth, long-term.

This is likely why China reduced its US Treasury exposure by $32 billion in the month of December (See Figure 1). This is also why China, which produced 360 tonnes of gold internally last year, also imported an additional 428 tonnes in 2011, up from 119 tonnes in 2010. This may also be why China’s copper imports hit a record high of 508,942 tonnes in December 2011, up 47.7 percent from the previous year, despite the fact that their GDP declined at year-end. Same goes for their crude oil imports, which hit a record high of 23.41 million metric tons this past January, up 7.4 percent year- over-year. The so-called experts have a habit of downplaying these numbers, but it seems pretty clear to us: China isn’t waiting around for next QE program. They are accelerating their move away from paper currencies and into hard assets.

DRUS03-06-12-3

China is not alone in this trend either. Russia has reportedly cut its US Treasury exposure by half since October 2010. Not surprisingly, Russia was also a big buyer of gold in 2011, adding approximately 95 tonnes to its gold reserves, with 33 tonnes added in the fourth quarter alone. It’s not hard to envision higher gold prices if the rest of the non-G6 countries follow-suit.

DRUS03-06-12-4

The problem with central bank intervention is that it never works out as planned. The unintended consequences end up cancelling out the short-term benefits. Back in 2008, when the Fed introduced zero percent interest rates, everyone thought it was a great policy. Four years later, however, and we’re finally beginning to appreciate the complete destruction it has wreaked on savers. Just look at the horror show that is the pension industry today: According to Credit Suisse, of the 341 companies in the S&P 500 index with defined benefit pension plans, 97 percent are underfunded today. According to a recent pension study by Seattle-based Milliman Inc., the combined deficit of the 100 largest defined-benefit plans in the US increased by $236.4 billion in 2011 alone. The main culprit for the increase? Depressed interest rates on government bonds.

Let’s also not forget the public sector pension shortfalls, which are outright frightening. In Europe, unfunded state pension obligations are estimated to total $39 trillion dollars, which is approximately five times higher than Europe’s combined gross debt. In the United States, unfunded pension obligations increased by $2.9 trillion in 2011. If the US actually acknowledged these costs in their deficit calculations, their official 2011 fiscal deficit would have risen from the reported $1.3 trillion to $4.2 trillion. Written the long way, that’s a deficit of $4,200,000,000,000,... in one year.

There is unfortunately no economic textbook to guide us through these strange times, but common sense suggests we should be extremely wary of the continued maneuvering by central banks. The more central banks print to save the system, the more the system will rely on their printing to stay solvent — and you cannot solve a debt problem with more debt, and you cannot print money without serious repercussions. The central banks are fueling a growing distrust among the creditor nations that is forcing them to take pre-emptive actions with their currency reserves. Individual investors should take note and follow-suit, because it will be a lot easier to enjoy the “Year of the Central Bank” if you own things that can actually benefit from all their printing, as opposed to things that can only be destroyed by it.

Regards,

Eric Sprott and David Baker
for The Daily Reckoning



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Currency

Buying “Loonies” Isn’t Crazy

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Posted by Addison Wiggin - The Daily Reckoning

on Friday, 02 March 2012 07:22

The US dollar has been rallying strongly for several months. That’s what we call a “gift horse.” And just as the saying goes, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” Instead, look for ways to exchange your strong dollars for other currencies and investable assets that don’t fly out of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s printing press.

For many Americans, foreign investments are more of an accident than an objective. They might own a few foreign stocks through a global mutual fund. Or they might have some exposure to foreign economies and currencies through the shares of an American multinational corporation like Johnson & Johnson or GE.

But American stocks and bonds remain the steak and potatoes of traditional American investment portfolios. Foreign stocks and bonds are merely the spices and sauces. This provincialism — epitomized by the spectacular success of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway — has served American investors very well for several decades. But a reassessment may be in order.

Simply stated, the America of the future may not reward investors as handsomely as the America of the past. For example, despite doubling from its lows of March 2009, the S&P 500 index has produced a negative total return during the last five years... and only a miniscule return during the last 10 years.

The US dollar’s role as the ultimate “safe haven” currency is also due for a reassessment. While the dollar may be safer than the euro, for example, the dollar is hardly safe in any absolute sense. The dollar is safer than the euro... just as a rabid squirrel is safer than a rabid wolf. But you don’t really want to cuddle up at night with either one.

America’s federal debt has exploded to more than 100% of GDP — an astonishingly large Greek-like debt load. Yet none of America’s political or financial leaders seem to have any plan for reducing the nation’s debt... except maybe to add a graveyard shift to the dollar-printing production line at the Philadelphia Mint.

Our advice: Spend your strong dollars while you can. Reallocate them into other currencies and asset classes.

Throughout the eurozone crisis of the last few months, the US dollar has been attracting widespread “flight to safety” demand. But the dollar is not merely rallying against the euro; it is rallying against almost every investable asset on the planet. For example, a dollar buys 36% more silver today than it did six months ago. A dollar also buys 20% more wheat, 13% more corn... and even 2% more “American house.”

If we broaden out our analysis to include stocks and currencies, the results are similar. A dollar buys 32% more French stocks today than it did six months ago... as well as 34% more Indian stocks and 18% more Japanese stocks. Among world currencies, a dollar buys 11% more Norwegian kroner today than six months ago... as well as 15% more Swiss francs and 8% more Canadian dollars.

It is that last financial asset — the Canadian dollar — that we find particularly compelling as an alternative to holding US dollars. The Canadian dollar, known affectionately as the “loonie,” possesses many virtues.

In no particular order:

  • Canadian government finances are fairly solid; US government finances are spiraling out of control. Canada stands out as being one of the few countries that is not only rated AAA by the major credit agencies, but actually possesses a AAA balance sheet... or at least something close to AAA.
  • Canada’s GDP growth is outpacing US GDP growth.

DRUS03-01-12-1

Canadian employment growth is booming; U.S employment growth is moribund. The Canadian economy has created nearly 800,000 jobs during the last five years, while the US economy has lost more than 5 million! In other words, the Canadian labor force has expanded by 4%, while the US labor force has contracted by 4%!

DRUS03-01-12-2

As a result of these trends, Canada is becoming an increasingly attractive investment destination, relative to the US The Canadian dollar, in particular, is increasingly attractive. The Canadian dollar’s appeal is hardly a new story, but it remains a very relevant story.

DRUS03-01-12-3

As the nearby chart illustrates, the Canadian dollar has been trending higher against the US dollar for several years. We expect this trend to continue — more or less — over the next several years. But investors should expect some bumps along the way. Currencies can sometimes bounce around even more than stocks. The Canadian dollar plummeted more than 25% during the depths of the 2008 credit crisis, for example, as terrified investors piled into the US dollar. Once the crisis eased, the Canadian dollar recovered. But the lesson is clear: Currencies can be volatile.

If you have a mind to Fed Reserve-proof a strong dollar, we like the Canadian dollar.

Regards,

Addison Wiggin
for The Daily Reckoning

Joel’s Note: It’s hard to put one’s finger on the exact date it began, but harder still to deny that the American Empire is in gradual, inexorable decline. It’s nothing personal. All things come to an end...even world dominance.

Some say the beginning of the end ticked over in 1913, with the passing of the Federal Reserve Act and the introduction of the Income Tax. Others argue all was well until Richard “Tricky Dick” Nixon cut the dollar’s last, tenuous ties with gold in 1971. Or maybe it was when the military industrial complex found the excuse it needed to kick into overdrive at the beginning of this millennium. Who knows?

In any case, the writing has been on the wall for some time. What we do know is that, as the managed economy attracts more and more meddlesome parasites, each with a nosier fix than the last, the boom-bust cycle increases in both frequency and magnitude. This general trend has led Addison to forecast the “Mother of All Bubbles.”

Find out what he’s talking about...and discover the safe haven investments you can employ to help protect yourself, right here.



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Currency

Currencies - Crisis & Opportunity

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Posted by Axel Merk - Merk Investments LLC

on Thursday, 01 March 2012 08:36

"Where there is a crisis, there may be opportunities – but not necessarily in the places one might expect."

greece-merkel.jpg

"the course Europe is on may avoid chaos now, but may lead to disintegration down the road. These are serious matters, as the odds of anarchy, followed by military control of Greece have increased substantially. When we suggest that the road to hell is paved with the best of intentions, we are serious.

What does it mean for the euro? Massive short positions previously built-up need to be unwound. As central bankers around the world hope for the best, but plan for the worst, lots of money is being printed: by the Fed, the ECB, the Bank of England (BoE) and Bank of Japan (BoJ), to name the prime instigators. Commodity currencies, i.e. the Australian Dollar (AUD), New Zealand Dollar (NZD) and Canadian Dollar (CAD) should be the main beneficiaries. While these currencies have performed well, Australia is undergoing some domestic political turmoil and Canada’s fate is closely linked to that of the U.S.; as a result, the NZD would be our favorite in that group. Having said that, geopolitical tensions and monetary easing have boosted oil prices in particular, causing headwinds to global economic growth and, with it, also to commodity currencies. If those headwinds play out further, we would make the Norwegian Krone (NOK) our preferred choice, as Norway benefits from rising oil prices, as well as providing investors with relative safety in Europe. It’s not surprising that gold, the one currency with intrinsic value, continues to appreciate in this environment."

....read the whole article HERE



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Currency

A Teeter-Totter of Perception- Bulls heavier than Bears?

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Posted by Victor Adair - VictorAdair.com

on Monday, 27 February 2012 12:27

One of the ways I look at the market is in terms of a giant teeter-totter...I see the market swinging up and down as psychology changes from bullish to bearish. I try to judge what the prevailing mood is, relative to whatever time frame I'm using, and then either establish a position in line with the trend or look for signs that the trend is about to change. I use hard data such as the COT reports, gut instincts such as how a bull market takes bad news, and chart patterns to gauge whether a trend is likely to continue or reverse. I'm mindful that market trends often go far beyond what I think is reasonable so I've developed a risk management technique I call, "Anticipate...but wait for confirmation," to restrain myself from trying to pick tops and bottoms.

We had the biggest credit blow-out in history in 2007-08 (after 30 years of boom times) and asset markets collapsed in anticipation of a depression. Authorities around the world countered the deflationary forces with massive fiscal and monetary stimulus (again and again and again.)

stimulus-bull

In teeter-totter terms the market will rally when it thinks that the authorities are prevailing (like now) and will fall (like August/September of last year) when it thinks that the authorities are losing the battle against deflation. So we have risk-on, risk-off, as public confidence in central planning waxes and wanes.

.....read more of Victor's analysis  HERE



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Currency

Euro rally: point, counterpoint and guesses

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Posted by Jack Crooks: Black Swan Capital

on Monday, 27 February 2012 09:09

It is said that markets discount the stuff we do know and run on the stuff we don’t.  Let’s take a look at what we do know, might know, and some best guesses about the future (called forecasts by “serious” analysts), as it relates to the rally in EUR/USD:  

1. Euro short rates relative to the US have turned higher again, i.e. the yield differential in favor of euro is improving.

Question: Will this continue?

Best Guess: I don’t think so because euro supply may begin to overwhelm demand (see #2 below).  And if US growth is for real, and a the 10 nation Eurozone recession is for real, one would expect US 3-month benchmark rates to drift higher relative to the euro.  

2. European Central Bank expected to flood banks with more credit next week; euro seemed to rally sharply on the last round of Long-term Refinancing Operations (LTRO) by the European Central Bank, i.e. three-year term loans to the European banking system.

Question:  Will we see the same type of rally in the periphery debt this time around?

Best Guess: Unlikely, in fact it might be a good time for those who bought last time to sell into the next round of ECB Long-term Refinancing Operations.  If so, if the EUR/USD rally shows signs of stalling next week, it could be time to start looking the other way.  

3. There is a lot of Fed jawboning about the potential for QE3.

Question: Is QE3 baked in the cake?

Best Guess: I don’t think so.  Two points here: 1) If the US recovery is for real, it doesn’t make sense that Fed Governors are so boisterous about the potential for QE3; and 2) Even Ben Bernanke (going out on limb here) has to understand that monetary policy stimulus has limits that become counterproductive at some stage and many, including me, think we are into the counterproductive territory.  Plus, how will QE3 that sits on US banks' balance sheets help any more than the pledge to hold Fed Funds rates low into 2014, in and of itself an incredible act by a central bank chief? It is what a rational person, assuming Ben is rationale, may ask himself.

Bottom line: Though the recent move in EUR/USD is powerful, I think it is a relatively near-term event. Here’s why:  1) If the US is really growing, the dollar at some point wins on growth and yield relative to euro.  Growth and yield are the intermediate-term drivers for currencies, and 2) if the US goes back into recession, a case we made in our latest Global Investor monthly issue; Europe goes into an even deeper one and China is in trouble too.  This means the US dollar, for all its warts, gets a big risk bid.  

We watch and see how reality plays out against our best guesses ... 

022412 eur

Captain of our fairy band,

Helena is here at hand,

And the youth, mistook by me,

Pleading for a lover's fee.

Shall we their fond pageant see?

Lord, what fools these mortals be!

        - A Midsummer Nights Dream Act 3, scene 2



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