Fiscal 2020 started just like fiscal 2019 ended – with a massive federal budget deficit. And that has Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell worried. In an ironic bit of political theater, Powell lectured Congress about the spending he helps facilitate.
The budget shortfall last month was 34% higher than the October 2018 deficit, coming in at $134.5 billion, according to the latest Treasury Department report. That starts fiscal 2020 off on track to eclipse a $1 trillion deficit.
The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 closed on record highs Friday after a stronger than expected jobs report. But in his podcast, Peter Schiff said that the stock markets aren’t surging because of a great economy. They’re surging because of bad monetary policy.
As expected, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates another 25 basis points on Wednesday.
The mainstream read the post FOMC meeting comments to be relatively hawkish, saying Powell and Company seemed to indicate that future rate cutting is on pause.
Peter Schiff opened up his podcast reminding us that just one year ago, the Fed was raising rates and telling us it would continue to do so through 2019. It also claimed that quantitative tightening was on “autopilot.”
Rene Magritte’s 1929 painting “The Treachery of Images,” depicts a tobacco pipe with a caption that reads “Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” (French for “This is not a pipe”). Everyone who has taken a course in modern art knows that Magritte’s exercise in contradiction was meant to draw a distinction between a real thing and a representation of that thing. Perhaps we should send Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell a beret and an easel as he is attempting a similarly surrealistic take on monetary policy.
“In case the people in this room didn’t know, the financial crisis of 2008, which I had been forecasting for some time, and the Great Recession that ensued, was caused predominantly by the Federal Reserve.”
This was the opening line of Peter Schiff’s talk at the Las Vegas MoneyShow.
The Fed managed to “rescue” the economy after the financial crisis, but in the process, it created an even bigger bubble than the one that popped in ’08. This bubble is about to burst and the Fed will try to repeat the process. The difference is this time it won’t work, as Peter explains.
The Federal Reserve is set to begin what a MarketWatch article called a “massive” bond-buying program.
Jerome Powell announced the program last Tuesday and the central bank released more details about the plan on Friday. The Federal Reserve will buy $60 billion in short-term Treasury bills each month. According to a statement, the purchases will continue, “at least into the second quarter of next year.” That would amount to around $400 billion worth of Treasurys added to the Fed’s balance sheet.
Stocks took off on Friday on several big news items – most significantly President Trump’s announcement that the US and China have worked out phase one of a trade deal. In his podcast, Peter broke down the news. He also made an interesting observation: Trump and the Federal Reserve seem to be reading off the same script.
Everybody is talking about the possibility of a trade deal.
Well, maybe not everybody. In this episode of the Friday Gold Wrap, host Mike Maharrey rehashes his standard trade war observations and then moves on to bigger news – Jerome Powell’s announcement that the Fed is resuming QE. Of course, Powell didn’t exactly say that. In fact, he tried to say the opposite in a statement that Mike describes as “word salad.” In this episode, Mike breaks down what’s going on with the Fed and why it matters a lot more than the possibility of a trade deal. He also covers some important gold-specific news that came out this week.
Yesterday, Jerome Powell announced that the Fed will soon launch another round of quantitative easing. Except he insisted it will not be doing quantitative easing.
This is not QE. In no sense is this QE.”
What the Fed will be doing, according to Powell, is expanding its balance sheet. Powell said details of the process will be explained in the following days, but it will involve the purchase of Treasurys.
This sounds an awful lot like QE, as Peter Schiff emphasized in his podcast.
Gold and silver are down this week. There was some more hopeful trade war news and stronger than expected economic data that drove markets this week. In this episode of the Friday Gold Wrap podcast, host Mike Maharrey covers it, plus some news that’s being mostly ignored. And he ponders a question: should we be looking at the economic glass as half-empty or half-full — and why?