Breaking Down the Balance Sheet
The Fed balance sheet fell during May by $25B. This was the first monthly decline in the balance sheet since $220B of “Other” rolled off in July 2020. In that case, “Other” were repurchase agreements with foreign entities to provide liquidity and alleviate stress in the global markets.
When the Federal Reserve tinkers with interest rates, it creates all kinds of economic distortions. This is very obvious in the housing market. Over the last couple of years, the Fed blew up a giant housing bubble. Now, the central bank has pricked that bubble. In this episode of the Friday Gold Wrap podcast, host Mike Maharrey looks at the housing market as a microcosm of the broader economy.
There is all kinds of spin out there when it comes to inflation. Peter Schiff recently appeared on News Nation to talk about the economy. He explained that the spin misses the mark. The real source of inflation isn’t the pandemic or Putin. It’s the Federal Reserve.
People come up with all kinds of excuses for inflation. First, they told us there was no inflation. Then they insisted that it was transitory. Then they claimed it was caused by greedy corporations. Later they shifted the blame to Putin. But none of this gets to the root cause of inflation – the expansion of the money supply by the Federal Reserve.
The Fed has barely started raising interest rates but the air is already seeping out of the housing bubble.
New single-family home sales plunged by 16.6% from March and were down 26.9% year on year. New home sales dropped to the lowest level since the lockdown in April 2020.
The Federal Reserve has talked a lot about fighting inflation. But what has it actually done?
In practice, not a lot. It has nudged interest rates up 75 basis points. And while the Fed has ended the massive quantitative easing program that it ran during the pandemic, it pushed balance sheet reduction back from May until June. In fact, the balance sheet has crept upward throughout the entire month of May.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell insists the central bank can fight inflation because the economy is strong. President Joe Biden keeps telling us the economy is strong. The talking heads on CNBC insist the underlying economy is strong. In a recent podcast, Peter Schiff talked about the economy. As it turns out, it’s not so strong.