This week, we saw predictions Trumponomics will indeed bring a spike of growth, but it will be a spike quickly destroyed by crippling interest rates. Could this be what’s causing the US Federal Chair Janet Yellen to suggest raising rates too fast would be “unwise”? As seats start opening up at the FOMC, Trump is in position to add key new members and start swaying the vote in his administration’s favor.
Today, we celebrate the birthday of Irwin Schiff, one of our nation’s most influential activists for free markets and limited government. Irwin was a proud, freedom-loving American who died a political prisoner in a Texas federal prison. Neither the irony of his passing nor his convictions escaped the millions of people Irwin inspired to become activists. He helped them understand the destructive consequences of an over-reaching and over-regulatory government.
The price of gold is moving in contradiction to its economic purpose, which is to serve as an investor safe haven against inflation. Shortly after the election, the dollar index spiked as gold prices began a quick decline; however, recently the trend has reversed. Gold is now up around 7% since the Fed’s December rate hike, according to Bloomberg.
In Peter Schiff’s latest podcast, Peter discussed the Consumer Price Index and retail sales reports released last week. Janet Yellen provided the data in a report to Congress. The chairwoman’s testimony brought on a new wave of optimism in the markets that interest rate hikes would be coming sooner than last year’s cycle of promise-then-disappoint.
Yellen spoke to congress this week, and her remarks about the new Commander in Chief could be foreshadowing an upcoming battle between the Fed’s goals and Trump’s plan to weaken the dollar. The President also made amends with China’s President Xi Jinping, but has new problems to deal with as other foreign governments shed their US Treasury holdings.
Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen testified before Congress today with a hawkish tone that sent gold prices downward and bond yields upwards prior and during her testimony. Gold spot prices were down around $11/oz. toward the end of Yellen’s testimony. The 10-year note rose to 2.5% from 2.43% while the 2-year note yield jumped to as high as 1.25 % from a low of 1.18% during her speech, according to CNBC.
Yellen’s comments strengthened the likelihood of interest rate increases for the foreseeable future, stating that “waiting too long” would be “unwise”. She qualified her comments with the warning that raising rates too rapidly could “risk disrupting financial markets and push the economy into recession.”
Trump’s third week in office brings us a look into rolling back financial regulation reforms, the power of the @POTUS’s tweets, and the new Department of Education director.
New Executive Order Likely to Target Dodd-Frank
This week, Trump signed an executive order calling for a review of financial regulations. Many Democrats are concerned the audit will target the Dodd-Frank regulations enacted to protect consumers after the 2008 meltdown. Although Trump’s request didn’t specifically mention the regulatory law, he has expressed his frustration with it in the past.
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Silver prices have been climbing steadily recently, rising almost 12% since the beginning of the year. The cost of silver is normally closely tied to the rise and fall of the price of gold, which has also seen a recent jump. Causes for the push in precious metals include a sluggish dollar, political and economic uncertainty surrounding Trump’s executive orders, and the Fed’s pass on an interest rate increase last month.
Another factor to consider is Trump’s stimulus plan, which promotes investments in infrastructure: roads, bridges, electrical grids and telecommunications. The industrial uses of silver would make it a high-demand commodity within such a pro-growth environment. Whether Trump’s stimulus plan finds enough congressional support among Republicans is still to be determined.
Earlier this week we got the first jobs report of 2017, and the headline number was the only positive stat presented. Overall, 227,000 jobs were created in January, which was 52,000 more than expected. As Peter Schiff breaks down on his latest podcast, that number is a bit deceiving.
“First of all,” Peter explains, “as always the lion’s share of these jobs are lower-paying service sector jobs. They’re in retail trade, leisure and hospitality.”
The jobs that were created are not jobs to significantly strengthen the labor force; those jobs are stagnant, if not on the decline. In fact, the most revealing number of the Bureau of Labor’s report was found in the U-6 unemployment rate, which increased from 9.2% to 9.4%. These numbers more accurately reflect the true health of the labor market.